Q: Is there a difference in the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj?
A (Dennis): This is too general a question, really. The short answer is that the bottom-line message of any teacher of Advaita must be the same, obviously. But the methodology depends upon the teacher lineage. Nisargadatta did have a lineage, although his own style developed somewhat! And Ramana did not have a lineage at all. The absence of a lineage means that what is said lacks rigor and is subject to differing interpretations etc. This is why the recommendation is always to try to find a qualified, traditional teacher.
Q: I do realize that my question was too general and could not be dealt with in a short answer. What I had in my mind was with regard to their approaches to meditation/ self enquiry or the “path” recommended by them. In self enquiry Ramana stated that while enquiring into “who am I?” the I that is enquired into is the individual or the ego and not the Self. According to him, focusing on the ego or I would make one realize that it is a phantom and thus lead one to the Self. Nisargadatta, on the other hand, seems to suggest that one should focus directly on I am, which is the same as the Self. In this sense, I thought there was some difference in their teaching. Continue reading →
I edit Awakening Clarity, a Nondual blog, and as a result of that I get emails from the four corners of the worlds. A fair number of them express confusion. The writer has had some sort of spiritual experience. And now they want to know where they are on the spiritual map. One response that arises here when someone asks me something along the line of, “Hey, am I awake, or what?” is exactly this:
“If you’re concerned about whether you’re awake or not, then you’re not–at least not rightnow.” Such a question simply would not occur to conscious awakeness. Generally, in fact, given the nature of the situation the person is writing in about, and their choice of language their letter contains convincing evidence that they are not awake right now–at least not in the way they are asking about. In truth, everyone is always equally awake, so all we are ever talking about is whether or not we are consciously awake, knowingly awake–right now. If we can get clear on this we can see that there’s no room left for higher or lower, better or worse, more spiritual or less. All of those things spring from beliefs, opinions, and positions (BOPs), which conscious awareness simply doesn’t have. The apparently separate being it’s working through will certainly have a broad array of BOPs–that’s essentially what a separate being is–but not the awakeness behind it. You will understand, of course, that language is failing us here; we do what we can. Continue reading →