Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31

Thread: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

  1. #1

    Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    It seems that non duality is becoming more popular in the west or outside of India, and many teachers are popping up ( I find it amazing that once one has some understanding they become a teacher, but that's another topic). What I find as a current trend is that they all claim to be Advaita teachers as a way to be connected to an ancient path to give itself more authority, but almost non of them will really quote, discuss or even given much credit to Smriti and Sruti, they may add the odd Sanskrit word in here and there and may mention the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads, but it seems they are creating a new style of non duality which is unique. So what they tend to do is borrow a few words, even when they say "Advaita" it's a borrowed term, they are do not even encourage the study of Sanskrit literature. Perhaps in 10 years there will not be any mention of Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads but only of what Rupert Spira said, or Francis Lucille and the like.

    This post is not to criticize them, as they have some valid points, mostly the audience may not be familiar with the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, Advaita is defined properly in its exact context, and one then may need to learn the whole vast spectrum diversity and literature within Sanatana Dharma, that's a lot of time that would need to be set aside. We may get lost in grasping, Siddhanta's. For example in a recent thread one person asked what are the fundamentals of Advaita, then he gets giving different threads to read, advised to read this book that book etc, but why not just say, just focus on awareness itself. In no way am I saying one is better than the other.

    So a problem that I see may arise in the over simplification, where non dual teachers have reduced the vast teachings within Sanskrit and Sanatana Dharma tradition to just observing awareness, and calling everything awareness and that is awareness is all one, personally that doesn't really tell me much, its a nice meditation, but so much is missing, or is it? And then we have the vast amounts of books from Sanskrit culture, or written forms where they are studied in a systematic way to understand what Advaita actually means. Which would include a way of life, not just academic.


    Is just going back to awareness enough, and if it is how descriptive does awareness become before it's translated into to much theory and jumble of words and concepts. And once one arrives at awareness surely its the result of accumulated past practice and purification. One may describe the view say from Mount Everest, but they may not mention that they had to battle hard to get there, and that leaves many people trying to jump from sea level to the top in one jump, and that sounds impossible to me.


    So the conflict mentioned here is one of over complication against over simplification. Its far to easy to say just find a balance, that again simplifies it to much.

    So there are a few points here

    Are the teachings and teachers of Non Duality outside of India to be considered as Advaitists.

    Is Advaita just one defined practice or school of thought.

    Do we need epistemology and study of the teachings or can we just recognize that we are awareness.

    And whatever else you can draw from this post

  2. #2
    Join Date
    September 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Age
    68
    Posts
    7,191
    Rep Power
    5033

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Vannakkam: Generally the term for this is neo-advaita. There has been a lot written on it, even in these forums. I personally view it as non-Hindu and doing a disservice to the followers of it and to Hinduism. As you indicated, it just overlooks the path and jumps to the conclusion, in a simplistic 'intellectual' way. My main problem is it excuses behaviour, which of course, is not dharma at all.

    Here's my favorite link on it ... sad but kind of funny too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KXidr0z1RY

    Aum Namasivaya

  3. #3

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste EM Ji,

    Thank you for your input, I will search more to see what has been written before, could you provide any links, I did post something last year about how they are dropping the Guru tradition out of Advaita.

    I am not sure what western Advaita/Non Dual teachers you have listened to but I don't see that they teach in the same way as in that video, many will embrace the suggestion of something beautiful and all the experience of life, that video which I only watched for a few minutes and flicked through seemed have some overtones of perception manipulation. But I do feel that it can be easy to build up aversion and bring in a false sense of renunciation and back it up with philosophy, especially if one has been through a lot of suffering. I don't know what you mean by behavior, teachers like Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille who are really the only ones I listen to outside of Indian Vedanta on Non Duality seem to be very fine examples of human beings, whatever followers do isn't my concern, not everyone who follows any teaching is a saint.

    I also consider that being a Hindu is not the be all and end all in life, and many people are tired of religion, I see this mainly in America, and now that people have more open speech in regards to religion it seems that religion has done nothing but suppress free inquiry, which is our birth right, its in a state of rebellion in many ways. So I am not pointing out who is better than who, the post was not written in way to judge who is better and more advanced, but to see parallels, and seek out what is more practical and even if these teachers may not always refer to ancient texts is their teaching still considered as Advaita. In in India their are many types of people who practice Vedanta, but that's something that celebrated as cultural and spiritual diversity, if its done outside of India its considered non related to Vedanta, that confuses me sometimes.

    When I get time I will post something in Buddhism that faces this issue full on, but I still need some research to make sure I am presenting it in the right way, I know what I mean but not sure how to write it out at the moment

    One of the reasons why Buddhism has been a great success globally is because it manages to integrate with the existing culture.

    If I study any tradition in India, what does it point to where all the traditions meet, that there is something which we would call awareness, which is our very true nature, the outside objective world is just a passing phenomenon and suffering is caused due to grasping on to that reality to rigidly, and hence we build up a negative psychology, then each tradition will encourage a practice, the practice varies, each level of practice will align to a level of awareness until it reaches its goal. Of course this is simplistic but how can anyone cover all the diversity in one page, one book, one forum, one lifetime

    Maybe they are very skillful teachers, gradually starting the evolution of consciousness towards the final realization. At this moment in time, specially with Rupert Spira, I see him using Advaita as a form of psychotherapy much the same as what Buddhism does. He doesn't deny the validity of Advaita Vedanta, he has no adversity to it, he openly admits that he is an immense admirer of Ramana Maharshi, but he talks very little of the texts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    September 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Age
    68
    Posts
    7,191
    Rep Power
    5033

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Vannakkam: I'm sure that there is great variance in non-dual western teachers, as with any group of teachers. The true test is in the change one might see in students, over time.

    Aum Namasivaya

  5. #5
    Join Date
    March 2014
    Posts
    554
    Rep Power
    1400

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Namaste,

    Are the teachings and teachers of Non Duality outside of India to be considered as Advaitists.
    Namaste Ji,

    As EM Ji said it is called as Neo-Advaita.I do not much about the people or approach you mentioned but many times I heard traditional scholars dismissing modern non-dualists as Neo-Vedantins.A traditional disciple doesn't study just Advaita literature but also has delve into theories of other Indian schools.Neo-Advaita may be appear good but who knows whether it is real Advaita or not?If one doesn't understand Advaita as understood by the ancient teachers one may get false impressions of progress and attainment.I personally believe that knowledge of Sanskrit is required and one needs to study and practice in a systematic manner under traditional Gurus.
    He dances in the golden hall of Chidambaram, Let us worship His rosy anklet girt Feet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    June 2012
    Location
    Mumbai
    Age
    40
    Posts
    1,210
    Rep Power
    1360

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    Being aware is an important part of Advaita, but only being aware is not adviata .Advaita is a journey fro mduality to non-duality. Even Yoga schools and texts like Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Shiva Samhita, Yoga Yajnavalkya and Ofcourse Patanjali Yoga sutras all talk of the final state as non-duality.

    But like all vaidika schools, advaita too is dependent upon the grace of God. One has to accept Higher authority, else lots of misconcepts will arise. EM ji's funny cartoon is a classic example of not considering 3 states of reality

    1. vyavaharika satya
    2. pratibhasika satya

    (both relative reality) and

    3. pArmarthika satya.

    What is true for parmarthika satya is not applicable to practical life.

    Again, uprooting of all dis-satisfied desires does not happen only by being a witness. You may not study sanskrit, but one must atleast listen to a saint who has dedicated his life and soul to the study of shastra-s, has performed intense meditations and then he starts to give discourses on Gita. When such a saint gives discourse, he/she will connect it with upanishads, prakarana granths and even brahma sutra-s. So he will cover the essence of upanishads too.

    Remember, in advaita, the duality or trinity of observer, object of observation and process of observation has to be transcended.

    In practical life, a father remains a father, mother a mother, boss a boss and so on. But for meditative purpose, abheda bhAva is adopted. In ancient days Yoga and advaita were simultaneously practiced. All those negative definitions of removing the veil of mAyA are only applicable to an advanced sAdhaka and so advaita is not for everybody. Mind cannot implement what it wants to implement. Later on, as one progresses, thinking on mAyA as illusion also drops. One simply focuses on Brahman with abheda bhAva. The vAchyArtha may be dvaita, but laxyArtha is always advaita as in case of all examples explaining non-duality including mahAvAkya-s.

    Simplifying the process is good, but not enough.

    Some also find advaita as more rational and scientific and find it has a capacity to by in harmony with other religions. They find the neti-neti part and separating 'I' from non-I as interesting.

    but these people are not traditional advaitins.

    I have listed my thoughts on neo-vedantins here

    EDIT:

    Adi Sankara and acharyas of other sampradayas have also commented on yoga, nyaya, and other schools like purva mimamsa, though they have themselves refuted them. Advaita accepts everything upto a certain level but makes sure that final sthiti is advaita only Hence you will find Adi Sankara's commentary on Yoga Sutras by the name Yoga Taravali and on parts of Apastamba dharma smriti, patala khanda. Adi Sankara also mentions rishis like Gautama and Kalipa with reverence though he dis agrees with the whole philosophy. Adi Sankara has also pointed out 24 tatvas of sankhya in his bhASya-s.

    OM
    Last edited by Amrut; 07 July 2015 at 11:40 AM. Reason: added last para
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

  7. #7

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste,

    I am fully in agreement about Sanskrit and associated literature, as they won't be a wide enough depth in expressed. When certain non dual teachers just point to awareness it becomes a bit bland and doesn't really say to much.

    I am not very educated in Advaita but again I have to agree that the epistemology that leads upto any realization is critically important.

    I read Wikipedia on what is Neo-Advaita and it seems there is some sort of following with Ramana Maharshi to bring the attention back to its source which is awareness or the Self, if one has not had sufficient purification of the vasanas, samskaras, vrittis and upadhis then its seems reasonably impossible to understand Advaita, if these are not sufficiently purified then it can only really hit some superficial level and will become an intellectual game. I read a few things today associated with the subject, I think the word spiritual bypassing is good way to describe what is termed as Neo Advaitist.

    So it does seem that a non duality teacher is not really to be considered an Advaita Vedantist. I guess in the west there is a certain conditioning to understand and want everything immediately, many lack the sufficient patience and hard work that is needed to get the real fruit of practice. Austerity is the wealth of the Brahmins

    I dont want to be to hard on many westerners because so many are sincere people who are really searching for the right reasons, I am sure their spiritual journey has begun.

    BTW nice website Amrut Ji
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 07 July 2015 at 10:27 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    June 2012
    Location
    Mumbai
    Age
    40
    Posts
    1,210
    Rep Power
    1360

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste markendeya 108,

    Ramana Maharshi is the most misunderstood saint. He often remained silent not answering questions to most newbies. Most of the time, he replied to people who have studied shastras and still had doubts. After Self Realization Ramana Maharshi read Vivekchudamani and at request of devotees, he translated it into Tamil as copies were out of print. He read shastras so that people who are satisfied with answers only from shastras also get reply. In general case he used to reply upon Self knowledge.

    If a person who has read shastras for 20 years like Kavyakantha Ganapati muni, who is said to have 200 disciples, will ask questions that are very subtle and so will get answers accordingly. A novice mind cannot impliment the teachings. Hence all prakarana granthas ask for pre-requisites. Important thing is vike-vukta vairagya. IF this is absent i.e. the 4 qualities vivek, vairgya, 6 qualties and mumukshutva, then a person cannot detach himself i.e. the 'I' from his body, thoughts, emotions and mind. Mind which is strongly extrovert cannot be immediately turned introvert. Hence no matter the philosophy looks impressive, still, mind is not in a position to apply it. Mind of average Joe cannot dive deep within.

    Necessity of reading shastras and application of Sri Ramana Maharshi's philosophy.


    Regarding not meditating, or no need to meditate or who is the one who meditates or no need of shastras, etc are not applicable to the newbies.


    All these things are given in Ashtavakra Gita, but Gita itself warns that if you take it rightly, you will enter into nirvikalp samadhi, if not you will drop everything that you do and this will cause downfall.


    The thing is extrovert mind cannot meditate or is not capable of even doing japa. vivek-yukta vairagya is necessary for spiritual development. The 4 qualities - vivek, vairagya, satsampatti, mumukshutva are necessary. You can expect them to be fully developed, else you are a GYAnI, as strong faith in brahman is only possible when you abide in it. Hence another word for GYAnI is brahmaniShTha. nishTHA means shraddhA. Strong faith in Brahman is called as brahmaniShThA. Hence GYAnI is brahmaniShTha.


    Advaita sits on karma kANDa, which gives us inner purity. Now since vedic karma kANDa and agnihotra are not carried out, chitta shuddhi has to be done by other ways like chanting rAma nAma, etc.


    shastra-s gives one direction-road map, clarity and gives you words that you can ponder upon. In Ramana Maharshi's words, sajAtiya vritti pravAh, vijAtiya tiraskriti. Mind has to be filled with thoughts on God. Absence of bhogya padArtha in mind is called as vairAGYA. Only then mind can stay calm and allow japa to happen. Only then consciousness can separate itself from body / bodies, thoughts, emotions and various scenes that are created inside mind. If you skip this preparatory step of turning the mind introvert and creating ability to forget the world and focus only of brahman or ISvara, then advaita would be very difficult.


    Ramana Maharshi's Who Am I philosophy is very good, but is effective only to very pure mind. He didnt even take support of OM to enter into samAdhi. The goal of Self Enquiry is to effortlessly abide in our natural state - samAdhi. Hence after enquiring Who Am I? the mind tries to locate the source of thoughts, emotions and desires. The source of all is none other than brahman. Hence after repeating Who am I, separation of Non-I takes and mind naturally gets pushed towards it's source - Brahman resulting in samAdhi. Who Am I is not a mental repetition, but an inner exploration about our true nature.


    Without foundation one cannot build castle and building foundation takes time. More we try to rush, more our progress is stalled.

    Ramana Maharshi didnt even cared if anyone was building his idol. He didnt care when he let docs operate his hand for treating cancer without any anaesthesia.

    In Ramana Gita, he has clearly pointed out the pre-requisites or qualifications for the one to be able to practice Self Enquiry. Ramana Maharshi was not for everyone, but people would neverthless follow him, interpret his teachings in their own limited way and apply them. Desires of past lives cannot be uprooted without the grace of God. Even if you consider mAyA as mithyA, still only by her grace and compassion one rises above mAyA, not otherwise.

    Regarding westerners, they may initially find peace and bliss, but chances of their journey being stuck up in the middle because they do not have clarity and proper direction.

    OM
    Last edited by Amrut; 07 July 2015 at 11:38 AM. Reason: corrected typos
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

  9. #9

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Namaste Amrut Ji,

    Truly excellent

  10. #10
    Join Date
    June 2012
    Location
    Mumbai
    Age
    40
    Posts
    1,210
    Rep Power
    1360

    Re: Advaita Vedanta and non dual teachings.

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post

    BTW nice website Amrut Ji
    Thank you. From an article, mAyAvAda and brahmavAda the article grew into a 550+ page website

    Recently, I thought of writing an article on Hindu Dharma (Google Docs version | Html version). Earlier, I had written an article, but wanted to create a fresh one from traditional POV. I started it with around 36 page article which expanded to 136+ pages

    Sometimes, you realize that you learn more and more while writing on the stuff that you already know but it's too much time consuming. Passing through this phase also helped my to offload little frustration and anger towards GV's and ISKONites. Later I began to remain calm even if someone raised objection to advaita. I was no more agitated, but peace and bliss used to continue to flow through me uninterruptedly. Later in free time, I generally wrote with a neutral and calm mind. I leanred to I have have 2 choices - to respond or not to respond. I always have a choice. Even if I chose not to respond, still I have an option to reply later - I learned this too.

    Sorry for being off topic.

    OM
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Advaita Vedanta scientific and rational
    By Sriram257 in forum Advaita
    Replies: 70
    Last Post: 28 April 2015, 12:23 AM
  2. Moksha in Advaita Vedanta
    By ale84 in forum Advaita
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 14 July 2014, 03:09 PM
  3. Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism
    By Nirguna in forum Advaita
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 07 December 2013, 03:52 PM
  4. Ishvara in Advaita Vedanta?
    By Nirguna in forum Advaita
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 08 November 2012, 04:45 AM
  5. Sufism and Advaita Vedanta
    By faylasufi in forum Advaita
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11 January 2008, 08:18 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •