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Thread: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

  1. #21

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: Generally the term for this is neo-advaita.
    That. Is. Right. Neo-Advaita. Not the same thing at all because it is missing so much information. It's like a shortcut just to be able to say, "I'm Advaitist" without doing the necessary spiritual education, and it is dangerous because people will get mislead by these snake oil salesmen.

  2. #22
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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by LightofOm View Post
    I don't waste my time listening to anybody who is not part of an authentic, bonafide parampara.

    In my opinion, we should .......
    Help me understand your reasoning; how do we reconcile the above two statements about the opinions of non-parampara associated people being a waste of time, with you as the exception?

    Pranam.

    Moderators, Please drop me a line via PM if this post is edited/deleted. Thank you.

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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaskar Believer-ji,

    I'm afraid you misunderstood what I was trying to say. Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough...my apologies for that.

    What I was trying to say is that I'm not going to spend an hour sitting down in front of one of these bogus neo-Adavita teachers and listen to a lecture from them. And I'm definitely not going to bow down to them and consider them a guru. I'm turned off by the fact that they call themselves "teachers" (notice how no one has given them the title of "teacher" but they give the title to themselves) and they feel that they have some sort of special knowledge that no one else has. They also feel that they don't require a guru of their own because they carry this special knowledge. This is a red flag for me. I'd rather spend my time learning from someone who is part of a lineage that can be traced back to God. That person can be called a guru and that person can be considered authentic.

    Now, as far as everyday conversation is concerned, I will listen to anybody and everybody. Why? Because these people aren't claiming to be teachers. If you decide to give me your opinion on this forum, then I will kindly read it and try to take what I can from it. If someone at home or at work or on the street wants to share some knowledge with me, then that is fine, I will listen. Similarly, if I give my opinion like I did in my earlier post, then it is just me sharing my thoughts and insights...that is all. The difference here is that I am not claiming to be a teacher nor am I claiming that my knowledge is final and that there is absolutely no other way. The same goes for the people on this forum and most of the people I talk to on a daily basis. They are not claiming to be teachers nor are they claiming to carry some special knowledge, therefore I will listen to them. Also, you noticed how I prefaced my words with "In my opinion" or "In my personal opinion". I did this to show the reader that I am just giving my point of view, but take it with a grain of salt because I am no master or teacher.

    I was trying to convey that we should not listen to people who claim to be "teachers" of their own accord. However, if you aren't claiming that title and you merely want to share your point of view, then that is fine...we should listen to these people. I hope I have made myself clear here and I am sorry for any misunderstanding that I may have caused in my former post.

    Hari Om Namah Sivaya

    LightOfOm
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    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    Thank you for the explanation.

    What I am trying to bring to the fore is that irrespective of the pedigree/quality of a guru, we tend to latch on to the one who inspires us or in whose presence, the cosmic vibrations penetrate our psyche and make us feel elevated/good.

    As an example take the case of ISKCON. They emphasize the lineage stuff very strongly. Yet one limb of the Gaudiya Vaishvanism has died out as Prabhupad did not appoint/train someone as his successor. The movement is being kept alive by his devotees and a network of administrators, but there is no guru at the helm any more. Some of us may be happy with the mini-gurus within the organization and some of us may look elsewhere. So, at that point even the concept of a continuous thread of guru-shishya parampara breaks down.

    Another thing is the total exclusion of non-parampara based gurus. Is it impossible for a current day person to be gifted to the extent that his realizations elevate his consciousness level to the level of a guru? Is the elevation of consciousness possible ONLY through a parampara based guru? And if a person does not have attachment to a parampara of your liking, would he be under the supervision of an inferior guru?

    In the final analysis, it all boils down to what clicks with me. I make the choices and select a parampara or do without any at all based on what makes my growth possible. I agree that we should not listen to a random self proclaimed guru, but I cannot exclude all of them either, just because they may not meet your criteria of being parampara based. So opinions are just opinions and mine are a complete waste of time for others.

    Pranam.

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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaskar Believer-ji,

    I hope I am not reading into your posts the wrong way, but it seems like you are a bit offended. I'm sorry if I've offended you in any way.

    If you read my original post, then you would know that I said that Truth can be discovered by anyone, anywhere at anytime. So, no, I am not saying that a non-parampara individual can't realize Truth. What I'm saying is that I personally don't see those individuals as gurus in the traditional sense. I see them as brothers and sisters on the path to Oneness and I see them as individuals who indeed have some knowledge of Truth, but I don't necessarily see them as my teachers.

    A guru who is part of an authorized parampara is like a presidential candidate with a great resume. We are able to see who he is and where he came from and this gives him more credibility. I prefer this over "teachers" who spring up out of nowhere, but that is just my opinion.

    I didn't know that about ISKCON, but I don't follow that sampradaya so it is really of no concern to me. The sampradaya I follow has a living, breathing guru which was appointed by the last one, so in my case the parampara has not failed at all, in fact it is quite alive and well.

    I don't disregard gurus of other sampradayas, I am quite liberal, so just because they aren't a part of my sampradaya doesn't mean that they are inferior.

    Opinions aren't always a waste of time sir. In fact, I very much enjoy listening and reading about other people's opinions, that is why I am on these forums. I hope you are not offended by anything I have said. Have a great day sir.

    Hari On Namah Sivaya

    LightOfOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    No, I am not offended at all. we are on the same page with a little different perception of the forest, based on our exposure to the outside world, our thinking and our attachment to SD.

    On a lighter note, I can't resist but,
    Quote Originally Posted by LightofOm View Post
    A guru who is part of an authorized parampara is like a presidential candidate with a great resume. We are able to see who he is and where he came from and this gives him more credibility.
    Really? 'The Donald' has a great resume and is credible?

    Pranam.

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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaskar Believer-ji,

    I'm guessing you're referring to Donald Trump? I have no idea if he is credible or not as I do not keep up with politics at all because it takes away my peace of mind. From what I've heard about him he has a great business resume, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has a great political resume. When I was talking about the presidential candidate having a great resume I was referring to a political resume, meaning something that shows what he has done for the welfare of humanity. This isn't necessarily a resume on paper, it can be as simple as previous actions that were performed and recognized by others that show why this person is the best choice for president. In the same way, I see the parampara as kind of a spiritual resume. It allows to track who the person trained under, where they came from and what kind of philosophy they carry in life.

    However, there are exceptions to every rule, and you are right, just because they have a good "resume" doesn't necessarily mean they are right for the job.

    Hari Om Namah Sivaya

    LightOfOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

  8. #28

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    I have only quickly read through the posts but hopefully have the jist of it. It may take one of the members to put things in perspective according to shashtra and Veda, and the original meaning of the Veda. I hope someone can organize this a bit better. In MahaBharata there was a time when Vysadeva was at his Ghat and Narada Muni visited him and told him to put into literature the Vedas or transcendental knowledge, Vysa already had this idea and Narada Muni confirmed and gave his instructions, blessings. Before setting out for Badhrinatha Srila Vysa met with 100,000 Munis, who came from all over and spoke many dialects and had different scripts and ways of writing Sanskrit. Later when compiling the Vedas He including each Munis view which most the time differed or representative some variable. Each view was related to and ending in Veda and each view became a branch of the Vedas, and each branch has sub branches and just spreads out, the knowledge of the Veda becomes diverse, one branch maybe totality at odds with the other superficially as we have with Siddhanta.

    Even with Gaudia Vaishnavism there are many lineages of devotees that never hit headlines, all the sub-branches are given in Chaitanya Charitamrita, but they are there and true sadhakas upholding the tradition. Srila Prabhupada is the Acharya of that one branch, considered Shaktivesha Avatara, so nobody can take his place and no real need to artifically appoint a new one, I think many sampradayas also have the same thing where the Sampradayas are carried on in smaller circles until its empowered again.

    Swami Laxman Joo did not leave a successor, there are also gaps in lineages across the board.

    Taking a few things into account Sampradayic Guru's are not the only bonafide ones, but weather the knowledge can at least in some philosophical points be traced back to the Veda.

    Its not that Neo Advaita is bogus or dangerous, in fact they emphasis an important point or returning to the same source of consciousness we all exist in together. Its perhaps more about how far they can take you, how deep is the knowledge pool and experience of what they are teaching. I'd say that pool is not so deep yet, its just the start, maybe giving it in a package that people can understand. So for Neo Advaita to advance it needs the depth and knowledge of the ancient traditions of which it came from to make more advancement spiritually in the correct way.

    Veda is free from constructs of language, all conventions, forms of religion and practice are just conventions that lead to true knowledge, knowledge in the conscious sense, or knowing full unbounded consciousness free from the limitations of material nature.

    That maybe the biggest problem, they will lack the scientific studies on Samkhya and the epistemology that supports Veda realization, merely just returning to awareness in Jagat illusory waking state they wont understand so quickly the finer constructs of consciousness and what truly supports the process of self realization, for that we need examples, representatives of the right path and practice for whatever school. The experience is needed, the path back to Veda for most people is in a gradual path.

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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    It is a favorite pastime for many people to indulge in debates on authenticity of a teacher/path. I won't say that it is not required as it is very important to select a proper teacher / path if you are really serious about your quest for the Truth.

    My Guru ji says that a Guru can be only one who Himself has reached the destination where you want to reach through your Guru. A blind person cannot guide another blind person towards the right direction to our ultimate goal. So, if there is someone who claims to be Guru of Advaita, the pertinent question should be "Has he attained Self-realisation ?". If he has not attained Self-realisation, then whether he is a traditional Advaitin or Neo-Advaitin, he cannot be a Guru. Ramana Maharishi was a Neo Advaitin and he was Self-realised. There are many saints who give fluent and highly impressive lectures on VedAnta but they are not Self-realised. So, if one has to choose a Guru between Ramana Maharishi and those saints, I would vote for Ramana Maharishi as "he knows the way with his own experience". Who should I rely upon for getting the taste a Rasogulla ? That who has read about the taste of Rasogulla and is a Ph.D in that field but has no practical experience of tasting Rasogulla or that who has tasted Rasogulla himself ?

    Similarly, if someone claims to be a Guru of Bhakti-path, one should ask this question : "Has he seen / met God ?" If he has not, then he is unfit to be taken as a Guru in spite of his being highly learned in Shastras. Vivekananda asked this question from Ramkrishna : "Have you seen God ?". Ramkrishna said, "Yes. I have seen God more clearly than I see you". The next question he asked was, "Can you show God to me ?". Ramkrishna unhesitatingly said, "Why ? Yes.". That should be the test of Guru. Don't go by the name of the path / sect / his qualifications in Shastras / Neo or traditional ... these are useless discussions. The question is : Where do I want to go ? Has the person who I am going to select as Guru reached where I want to reach ? Can he take me there ? " All other things are just mental concepts and useless for real spiritual benefits.

    Now, there are many people who would claim that they have seen God or they are Self-realised but they are just cheats. Bhagwad Gita tells us the qualities of Sthitpragya, a JnAni and one who has realised Self. If one doesn't have these qualities, he is certainly a fraud.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaskar brothers and sisters,

    We are all saying the same thing here with just slightly different viewpoints. I am not claiming that non-parampara based teachers cannot tap into Truth. Anyone and everyone has the capacity to know Truth; I have stated this over and over again in my posts. All I am saying is that I prefer the parampara system. This is just my opinion, so take it as just that. I have chosen to follow a school of thought which places importance on the guru-shishya tradition, so obviously I am going to lean towards what I know and what I have been taught. However, this doesn't mean that I can't see beyond my own tradition. I realize that there are teachers out there who are not part of a parampara who indeed have great wisdom, knowledge and renunciation. But for me personally, if they are not part of a lineage that I can check, then it gives them less credibility right off the bat.

    For instance, let's say John Doe from Berkeley, California has realized the Absolute Truth and now he wants to be a teacher. He grew up in an atheist family and indulged in illicit sex life, meat-eating and intoxication for many, many years. However, that lifestyle wasn't working out for him so he started looking into spirituality for some answers. After spending a few years studying and practicing spirituality, he finally had a direct realization of Truth and now he feels he is ready to be a teacher. So he starts claiming to be a teacher and people start following him and eventually he becomes a neo-Advaita 'master'. He tells his followers, "There is no need to change your lifestyle, keep living as you wish, you may remain comfortable, that is fine, but just remember this teaching I am giving you." There are SO many people like this nowadays, especially in America and when I think of the term neo-Advaita, this is the kind of person I am referring to. I am not referring to Ramana Maharishi. I do not know much about Ramana Maharishi's life, but at least he grew up in a culture that taught him that 'we are not the body'. At least he grew up in a spiritual family that taught him great values. And we can actually research all of this and read up on his history! That in itself gives him a bit more credibility in my opinion versus somebody like John Doe who grew up in a materialistic, voidist society and, popping up out of nowhere, decided one day, "I know the Truth now, I think it's time to teach".

    Now, let's look at somebody who was taught Truth from the beginning of his life, and at a very, very young age he was practicing yoga and meditation and was studying the sastras and Veda. At a very young age he was already following the rules and regulations given in the scriptures. One day, he chooses a particular sampradaya and decides to start following the guru of that school. As he grows older, the guru sees (and everyone else around him sees) that he is a very special individual. Sure, everyone in that school has realized Truth, but still, there is something about this particular person that makes him stand out from the rest. So naturally, when he is old enough, the guru decides that he needs to be the next teacher in the parampara and everyone else around agrees with that decision. Finally, he becomes the head of that sampradaya and he continues the legacy. Would this person not be more credible to all of us than John Doe? I think he would, but that is just my opinion.

    Now, that being said, just because somebody is part of a parampara does not mean that he is able to truly show us the Absolute Truth. Once again, I stated this in my previous posts. There are two sides to every coin and there are always exceptions to every rule. Just because someone is part of a parampara does not mean he is a bonafide teacher, and just because someone is not part of a parampara does not mean that he is a bogus teacher. There may be parampara teachers who are just frauds and cheats and there may be non-parampara teachers who are actually of a very high-caliber and are actually able to guide us to God. But, generally speaking, the parampara teachers tend to be more credible; at least this has been my experience. Why are they more credible you ask? Because in most cases, they grew up in a spiritual environment and from a very young age they were already practicing spirituality, and their lives were being observed by others around them (therefore we can read up on their history) and when it was time to choose the next teacher everybody was saying, "Choose him, Choose him, he's the one!" Whereas some of these neo-Advaita teachers just all of a sudden pop up out of nowhere and start there own YouTube channel saying, "I am a teacher, listen to me" and nobody knows what kind of life they lived (or what kind of life they are currently living) nor where they came from or anything like that! I've seen this across the board.

    Now, please don't misunderstand me. I have said this in nearly all of my previous posts in this thread and I will say it yet again: anybody and everybody, no matter who you are, where you came from, what kind of life you lived, etc. can realize and know the Truth. You can realize and know GOD! Therefore, just because you are not a Hindu who is part of a parampara does not mean that you are bogus. And just because you are a Hindu that is part of a parampara does not mean that you are bonafide. Generally speaking though, the parampara does give one more credibility. I will give the president example again. If Bob Smith wants to become president and wants to be the leader of the country, but has no political background or no experience in leadership positions, then he is probably not a very good fit! On the flip side, if Mike Johnson wants to become president and he has a long history of political background, humanitarian work, leadership roles, etc. that we can trace back and check up on, then he would probably be a great fit for president! This only makes sense. Once again, yes, there are exceptions to this just like there are exceptions to anything! But we don't debate on exceptions, we debate on what is generally true. So I am coming from a viewpoint that is generally true.

    I hope I have made my position clear enough so that everyone can understand that I am not knocking people just because they are not a parampara guru. I am merely speaking from what I have experienced to be true in my life. Maybe your experience is different, and that is fine.

    Hari Om Namah Sivaya

    LightofOm
    Last edited by LightofOm; 08 August 2015 at 12:30 PM.
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

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