Tag Archive: Vedanta


Who are you? What happens when you die? Is there a God? Is the universe created? Advaita is a teaching with a tradition of thousands of years which provides totally reasonable answers to all such questions. This essential introduction from the acclaimed author of numerous books on the subject will demonstrate why it is so successful

Book Extract

Chapter 7 – Has the universe been created?

Creation

Religions, together with those philosophies that accept the existence of a god, usually claim that God is the creator of the universe. When they use this word ‘creation’, however, what they invariably mean is that God is the intelligent cause of the universe. Indeed, probably the most commonly used argument for God is the argument from design and the metaphor often encountered is the one of the watchmaker.

When we look at the internal mechanism of a watch, it is said, the workings are so complex that it is inconceivable that they could have come together accidentally – there must be an intelligent designer. In the same way, then, since the world around us exhibits so much complexity and yet all of the various functions operate together with beauty and efficiency, there must be an intelligence behind its creation.

Philosophy differentiates the ‘intelligent cause’ as described here from the ‘material cause’. As an example a wooden table or chair has, as its intelligent cause, a carpenter (ignoring the complications of modern self-assembly furniture). But the material cause of both (table and chair, that is – not carpenter) is wood. Advaita is unique amongst philosophies in claiming that God (or more pedantically Ishvara) is the material cause as well as the intelligent cause. This follows from the earlier discussions on ‘mithya’, since we have seen that everything has Brahman (i.e. Ishvara from the perspective of vyavahara) as its ultimate substrate or dependent reality.

Of course, if you are really alert, you might at this point be asking how there can be a creation at all, since this seems to contradict the very basis of the statement made by Advaita that ‘there are not two things’. And you would be right to do so! Hopefully, this chapter will resolve such issues!

Attribution and rescission

First of all, it is necessary to mention one of the fundamental aspects in the teaching of advaita, namely the practice of stating something as true and then later modifying it – attribution and rescission or retraction. The technical term for this is ‘adhyaropa – apavada’. What it means in essence is that what you’re told initially may not actually be completely true! It is the intention of the teacher to address a seeker at his or her present level of understanding. By analogy, if you think of someone learning mathematics, there would be little point in teaching differential calculus to a student who has yet to learn algebra, and algebra would be of little value to someone who did not even know basic arithmetic.

Note that this does not mean that you cannot trust what the teacher tells you! In fact, many teachers will give you the bottom line right from the start, even though you will almost certainly not understand why it is so. What they will then do, however, is start from the beginning, using simple arithmetic! There is no point in being impatient. You have to take it step by step. Indeed, patience is one of the mental prerequisites for studying Advaita.

For example, there are several accounts in the Upanishads of how the world was created by God. Typically, these involve progressive creation from the basic elements but the various stories differ widely in detail. The skeptic can easily use this as an argument for pointing out the inconsistency in the scriptures. But they are not meant to be taken literally. At a simplistic level, they may be viewed in much the same way as one might tell a young child that she was ‘brought by the storks’, rather than attempting a description of the process of conception, growth in the womb and birth. It satisfies for the time being until she is ready for a more sophisticated explanation.

Differing theories of creation

To continue, then, with the developing explanation of creation: Because Advaita utilizes this methodology of providing explanations appropriate to the level of understanding of the student, it is also natural that it should make use of theories provided by other schools of philosophy. And so it does! The next major explanation to be presented is that used by the Sankhya philosophers. It is called ‘satkarya vada’ and this means the theory (vada) that the effect (karya) is already existent (sat). More usually, it is said that the effect already exists in the cause and the metaphor that is often used to explain this is that of the sculptures of Michelangelo. It is said that he used to claim that he did not really create his sculptures; rather he chiseled away the marble to reveal what was already there beneath.

This is how Sankhya (and Yoga) philosophers envisaged creation and another name they used was ‘transformation’. The unmanifest nature was ‘transformed’ into the people and objects that we see in the world around us.

Two other schools, the Nyaya and Vaisheshika philosophies held the opposite view, namely that an effect was not pre-existing in the cause but created anew by the efficient cause (e.g. Michelangelo). And Advaita (eventually) shows how each of these theories successfully contradicts the other and that neither is therefore tenable. The first is tantamount to saying that something that already exists can be born. The second effectively says that something can come out of nothing. For example, chipping away the marble might reveal a fully functioning Aston Martin instead. (And this argument applies equally to the Big Bang theory, of course. How could the creation come out of nothing? It would, at the very least, contradict the Law of Conservation of mass-energy.)

This analysis leads on to the more sophisticated explanation of what is called vivarta vada – the theory that the effect is only an apparent transformation. The argument is that the confusion arises because of language. We give something a name for convenience and, as a result of constant use, we take it for granted that the word refers to some separately existing thing. The classic examples that are quoted in the scriptures are clay-pot and gold-ring-bangle etc. When the potter makes a pot out of a lump of clay, the resultant object clearly has a new function. It can hold a liquid so that we can use it as a drinking vessel, for example. But we quickly forget that the pot is not a new thing in its own right. In the beginning, it was simply a lump of clay. Now, it is clay shaped into a more useful form. If we break it, it will still be clay, albeit now in pieces with little use of their own. It is never anything other than clay.

Problem of language

The Chandogya Upanishad (6.1.4 – 6) says that any product is only a new word: “just as, through a single clod of clay, all that is made of clay would become known, for all modification is but name based upon words and the clay alone is real…” And the same argument applies to everything. Any given object, as we learned earlier is only mithya; its reality is always only Brahman. Its seeming difference depends ultimately on mere words. The making of the pot is simply changing the form of the clay and giving it a new name.

In the same way, then, when the world and the jiva come into being, all that is happening is that Brahman is acquiring new forms and new names to go with them. But, before, during and after, all that actually exists is Brahman.

No creation

And that brings us to the ultimate explanation for creation, when all of the earlier, provisional theories have been rescinded. This is simply that there has never been any creation at all. This is called ajati vada – the ‘unborn’ theory. If the world can neither exist nor not-exist prior to creation, the only logical conclusion is that there has not been any creation at all. This is the contention of Gaudapada, supposed to have been the teacher of Shankara’s guru. The theory is called ajati vada (ajati means ‘not born’). The world has always existed because effectively there is no world – there is only name and form of the non-dual Brahman. Gaudapada, in his explanatory verses on one of the Upanishads, says: “No kind of jiva is ever born nor is there any cause for any such birth. The ultimate truth is that nothing whatsoever is born.”

Below is the list of contents from the book (which, as the title implies, aims to give a short, traditionally authentic, and comprehensive introduction to the subject):

1. What is Advaita?

Introduction
Meaning
Origin
What does it say?
Terminology

2. How ought we to act?

Desire, Action and Results
Karma and Reincarnation
Goals of Life
Free Will

3. What is real and what is illusion?

Waking versus Dream
Mithya
Adhyasa
‘Levels of Reality’
Maya

4. Why is Self-knowledge so important?

5. Am I only this body and mind?

6. Who am I?
Jivas
Ishvara
Brahman
Who am I?
Reflected Consciousnes

7. Has the universe been created?
Creation
Attribution and rescission
Differing theories of creation
Problem of language
No creation

8. How do I become enlightened?
‘Paths’ to realization
What to do to gain enlightenment
Preparation
Three Stages of Learning
Jivanmukti

9. Why is traditional Advaita so powerful?
An arithmetical example
The Sheath Model
Discrimination between the Seer and the Seen
Arundhati logic
Method of Co-presence and Co-absence

10. What different approaches are there?
Categories of Teaching
Enlightenment
Conclusion
What should you read to find out more?

Click here to browse inside.

For more of Dennis Waite’s literary works View here.

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This book is about enlightenment, spiritual awakening, self realization, meditation, awareness, consciousness, happiness, love, relationships, psychological suffering and human predicament. Based on actual dialogues between Francis Lucille, a spiritual teacher of non-duality, and some of his disciples, the music of freedom that it conveys resonates between the words, and gives the reader an inkling of the peace and happiness that are experienced in the presence of an authentic master.

Francis Lucille was for over twenty years a close friend and disciple of Jean Klein, a well recognized French teacher of non-duality. They both belong to a lineage of Advaita Vedanta teachers stemming from India. (Advaita Vedanta is the main nondualist Hindu spiritual tradition). Jean Klein’s guru, Pandit Veeraraghavachar, was a Professor at the Sanskrit College in Bengalore. Their teachings, despite some superficial similarities, are quite different from those of most contemporary western neo Advaita teachers.

They emphasize for instance the importance of the direct transmission from guru to disciple, through presence, beyond words, and they recognize that the same universal truth was expressed by various saints, philosophers and teachers throughout history and across the world. That which matters here is not the form of the teaching, direct or gradual for instance, as much as the authenticity of the teacher, the vibrancy of his realization, the outpouring of his love, the freedom of his humour, the brilliancy of his intelligence, the splendor of his poetry, the spontaneous sharing of his peace.

Nonduality is the common ground of Buddhism (especially Zen and Dzogchen), Advaita, Sufism, Taoism, the Kabbalah, the Gnosis and the teachings of Jesus in the Thomas Gospel, the teachings of Parmenides, Plotinus, Gaudapada, Abinavagupta, Meister Eckhart, Ramana Maharshi, Atmananda Krishna Menon, Ananda Mai and many others. For more info on Francis Lucille: http://www.francislucille.com


Biography
A graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris where he studied Mathematics and Physics, Francis Lucille managed missile tests for the French armed forces, then ceased all weapon related activities after discovering the writings of J. Krishnamurti. This discovery triggered an intense quest for Reality that found its resolution shortly after his 1975 encounter with his spiritual teacher, Jean Klein. His friendship and close association with his guru lasted until the death of J. Klein in 1998.Â

He was a friend of Robert Linssen, Wolter Keers, Yvan Amar, Douglas Harding, William Samuel and Robert Adams. He was also influenced by J. Krishnamurti, Krishna Menon and Wei Wu Wei whom he knew personally.Â

Francis transmits the ancient teaching of nonduality, the common ground of Advaita Vedanta, Ch’an Buddhism, Zen,Taoism and Sufism. Many contemporary spiritual teachers have attended his teaching events.

Click Here To Browse Inside

Western Masters of Non-Duality. Francis Lucille: What is Self Inquiry?

Francis Lucille speaks answers the question, “What is Self Inquiry?”

Be Who You Are is one of the earliest published books of dialogues with Jean Klein. Written in the lucid and eloquent style which characterises his work, each chapter is composed of an introductory discourse followed by questions and answers.

“The ‘eternal present’, our theme in these meetings, lies within the depth of ourselves. It is the eternal awareness of the Self. Seen from the Ultimate, the world projected by the mind appears and disappears, in other words, it “becomes”. When we talk of time and space, it must be thoroughly understood that their reality is relative, it is a reality in the world of becoming. But beyond space-time is that stillness which knows no becoming.”

Jean Klein (October 19, 1912 – February 22, 1998) was a French author, spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita Vedanta (Nondualism). According to Jean Klein, it is only in a “spontaneous state of interior silence that we can open ourselves to our true nature: the ‘I Am’ of pure consciousness.”
Click Here To Look Inside

Jean Klein – The Flame of Being

Michael Toms’ interview of Jean Klein is a profound and meditative exchange that reveals the real nature of being: silence, space and listening.

Michael Toms’ thoughtful questions encourage Dr. Klein to go deeper into the fundamental issues that confront anyone searching for the truth: the real meaning of freedom, the thinking process, silence versus the quiet mind, welcoming the essence of our being, the relationship between teacher and student, death and how to assist someone who is dying.

Full video available from: http://www.non-dualitypress.com

When we are living in confusion, in suffering, in the ego, it seems natural to deify or look up to those who appear to have all the answers, who appear to be very spiritual – the gurus and teachers of this world. Of course, they are a real and valuable asset to society and the evolution of mankind, but we put them on a pedestal at our peril.

It may be true that someone who is widely regarded as being an ‘enlightened master’ has great clarity about life and, in many respects, may appear to be light years ahead of everyone else, but in essence his true nature and our true nature are no different. The person may be different, the energy may be different – but essentially what he is we are also, except that he is conscious of it and we are not. His body will die and his mind will go, just as will happen with our body and mind. He, as an individual, can no more escape death than we can – except that we would like to and he is not bothered.

A truly ‘enlightened’ master will never tell you that he is great or that he is enlightened. He will never tell you that he alone can realize the ultimate, that he is a perfect master or avatar, whilst you are an ordinary human being. There are people who will tell you these things, who will make enlightenment out to be something exclusive. There are people who will put themselves on a pedestal and encourage you to bow down before them, to serve them, to idolize them. The world is not short of a good supply of such ‘teachers’. But do these ‘teachers’ encourage you to awaken inwardly to the point where you don’t need them anymore?

When one goes with such a teacher, one instantly gives away one’s power, one’s autonomy, and one becomes dependent on their grace, on their goodwill, on their method of teaching. Of course, such teachers do offer a refuge, a support and advice for those who, for whatever reason, do not wish, or are not able, to take decisions or responsibilities for themselves in this life. But if one is seeking ‘enlightenment’, it is better to go to a teacher who does not have pretensions about his or her status in life. It is better to go to someone who offers you a pure and unconditional mirror in which to see into your true nature, rather than one which is clouded with ego and the spirit of control and manipulation.

We all have the potential to be awake, to be conscious, in the silent emptiness of our true nature. However, there are thousands of us who have studied spiritual writings and scriptures for decades and still are unable to break through the enclosure of the mind, to taste the nectar of realization directly. Thought cannot take us there. No prescribed practices will jolt us into this realization. No book will lead us there. The fact is that there is nowhere to go, nothing to realize and no one to realize it. We have created this myth about enlightenment and the enlightened seer, out of our own frustration and confusion. We have set them apart from ourselves, as something to achieve, something to reach out for, and in doing so have made them unattainable.

Enlightenment is something we have put on a pedestal, knowing that it is beyond our grasp. Even though the enlightened seer may tell us that all we need to do is to rid ourselves of the notion that we are not enlightened, still we are unable to put this notion, this concept aside. So where do we go from here? Clearly, any move we make in any direction is a mistake. So, we stay where we are, fully experiencing our unclarity, our confusion, our frustration. But, instead of indulging in emotional reaction and negative moods, we simply stay where we are. We live our life, aware of our thoughts, our feelings, our moods and emotions. We do our work, raise our family, whilst all the time watching what arises in consciousness. We see the play of the world, of life, and we stand back from any emotional involvement in it.

There are wars here and injustices there. We may work for peace in the world or try to put right injustices that are taking place, but we continue to stand back from emotional involvement. In doing so, compassion may arise in the heart. When we get involved emotionally, there is a personal reaction. This personal reaction neither solves the problem nor allows us to move on. When compassion arises, it comes with an all-seeing awareness of the suffering of all humanity. It takes us away from personal reaction into effective action. This compassion spirits us closer to realization. It takes us out of the ego, out of the personal, into the universal. We are then no longer concerned about personal realization. The realization comes as a natural side effect of the blossoming of compassion in our heart and mind.

It is natural to have respect for those who have greater knowledge, understanding and wisdom than ourselves. But it is also a mistake to get pulled in by appearances. Be careful of the one who stands before you offering sugar and spice. What’s in his other hand? Why is he so keen to get your attention? There are many characters in life who have learned how to act in order to get what they want. If someone keeps telling you he is a good man, does it not arouse your suspicion? If someone goes around under the banner of ‘enlightened master’, do you not have a few questions to ask? Of course, the teacher doesn’t always go around claiming that he’s an enlightened master (though some are not ashamed to do this), but he often doesn’t try to prevent his followers from doing so.

In my own experience, every teacher I ever met who really impressed me deeply, made no such claims. The moment that someone does make such claims, it gives away the fact that they are living in duality, in separation, in the ego. The bigger the guru, the more likely it is that they have fallen into this trap. We take their advice at our peril. Listening to the voice of our own true nature is what we really need to trust in. Then we need no outward teacher. The outward teacher then becomes, maybe, a source of inspiration and a motivating force rather than someone on whom we become dependent.

The above article is an extract from Roy’s book ‘The Texture of Being’. Purchase this from Amazon.com or Amazon.UK

Click Here to read extracts from the chapters of ‘ The Texture of Being ‘

About the Author
Roy Whenary moved to Devon, in the South West of England, over 25 years ago – attracted by the outstanding natural beauty of the area, epitomized by the upland area of Dartmoor and the spectacular and inviting South Hams coastline. Originally, he was born in London.

During the first half of his time in Devon, Roy became known as the founder and vision behind the New Age Music label ‘Dawn Awakening Music’, which released in excess of 150 music albums in its time, launching the careers of many artists and musical composers who have since moved on to greater things. ‘Dawn Awakening Music’ also released several albums of Roy’s own music, including ‘Dawn Awakening’, ‘Starlight’ and ‘Inner Peace’. Later, Roy also co-launched the label ‘Deep Spirit Music’ with composer Robert Nicholas

Roy’s interest in the spiritual/philosophical aspects of life began at the age of 16 or 17 and, in advaita/nonduality specifically in about 1970/71. His main inspirations, between then and now, were J.Krishnamurti, Vimala Thakar, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Jean Klein … although Roy has always had an eclectic and wide appreciation, and acceptance, of different forms of spirituality.

Now, in his expression as a writer/communicator, Roy does not assume the mantle of ‘teacher’, seeing what he does as simply ‘sharing’, rather than ‘teaching’. He sees Realization, Awakening or whatever one prefers to call it, as a natural flowering of human potential … something that is already latent in us all, which only needs to be nurtured, for it to find individual expression. That individual expression is not seen as the possession of the individual, but merely the flavour or scent of the understanding/realization they embody. ‘Living in Open Awareness’ refers to being fully receptive to all that arises, both within and without.

What is enlightenment? What is it not? exposes the myths and defines this misused term once and for all. Which teaching methods will get you there? And which will not? explains how the traditional methods work and why the modern, Western approaches are most unlikely to.

The clearest book that has ever been written on the subject of enlightenment, it provides a detailed examination of the satsang phenomenon (and its more extreme, neo-Advaita variant), contrasting these approaches with the traditional methods passed down from teacher to disciple for over a thousand years. It indicates what is needed in the way of preparation and path in order to gain enlightenment, given some modern teachers statements to the effect that there is no person and nothing to do. With a Foreword by Dr. Greg Goode, philosophical counselor and one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on the subject of non-duality.
Click Here To Preview

Dennis Waite’s Biography
Following an intense scientific-based education through the nineteen sixties, he emerged with a fundamental dissatisfaction with the perceived values and belief systems of Western society. Thus began his search for a philosophy that could provide satisfactory answers to the universal questions of life. He joined the Ouspensky influenced School of Economic Science in London in 1972 but left after several years, disillusioned with the lack of rigour and the mystical element. He renewed his involvement with them in the mid-eighties, by which time Shri Shantananda Saraswati, one of the four Indian Shankaracharyas was directing the School along a path influenced by Advaita and Sankhya Yoga. He remained with the School until 1998, by which time he had been acting as a tutor for four years at the Bournemouth branch and was assisting in the teaching of Sanskrit. He left because some of the teaching methods and much of the material diverged from the tenets of pure Advaita.

He is a moderator of the Advaitin Email Group (Chief Moderator in 2007) and a member of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation in London, for whom he produced and maintains the website at http://www.ramana-maharshi.org.uk.

His own extensive website is http://www.advaita.org.uk . This contains essays on topics relating to the spiritual path of Advaita Vedanta and other material, together with links to relevant organisations, teachers and resources. He still reads extensively on the subject, though no longer actively ‘seeking’. He is the editor of the Advaita sub-category for the Open Directory Project on the Internet (http://dmoz.org/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Advaita_Vedanta/).

Educated to degree-level in Chemistry, he has worked for most of his life in computing. Since 2000, he has devoted his life to writing. He completed a philosophical/ecological thriller in 1999 (extensively revised in 2007-8) and a book on Earned Value metrics in March 2001. His first book on Advaita, ‘The Book of One’, was written for students of that path and published in 2003. An introductory book on Sanskrit (‘The Spiritual Seeker’s Essential Guide to Sanskrit’) was published in India in 2005.

His book ‘How to Meet Yourself’, published in 2007, was aimed at the non-specialist reader and addresses the fundamental topics of meaning and purpose in one’s life and the nature of happiness. Though not intended for the ‘spiritual seeker’, its intention was that, by the end of the book, the reader will wish to become one! It approaches the subject from the standpoint of western philosophy, sociology and psychology but increasingly introduces Advaitic concepts so that the last two chapters explain in some detail the non-dual nature of self and reality.

His major book on Advaita, also published in 2007, was entitled ‘Back to the Truth’. This is a systematic treatment of Advaita which, by using examples from many sources, helps the reader to differentiate between approaches and teachers. It compares the scriptures of traditional Advaita with the words of contemporary Sages and with the modern ‘nothing to be done’ teaching of neo-Advaita. Should we ignore the mind? Is the world real? Is there anything we can do to become ‘enlightened’? These questions and many more are addressed and explanations given, in their own words, from those who discovered the truth.

His most recent book, published in 2008, was ‘Enlightenment: the Path through the Jungle’. This aimed clearly to define the term ‘enlightenment’ and dispel the many myths about it propagated by ‘new-age’ books on the subject. It endeavoured to set down the proven methods, passed down for over a thousand years in the traditional teaching of the subject and contrast these with those of modern ‘satsang’ teachers and the non-teaching of neo-advaitins, demonstrating in the process that only the traditional methods are likely to bring about enlightenment.
Click Here on the interview

In a clear and concise approach, albeit in a mild mannered humor, James explains the difference between who we think we are and who we truly are. How ‘reflective awareness’ differs from ‘ pure awareness’. With illustration examples, such as the ‘sun’ and ‘rope and snake’ analogy, you will enjoy this video with amusement, and perhaps more aware of who you really are in essence.


James Swartz clarifies Who we are

Who Am I? Part 2

James Swartz explains who we are and what we are not

What is enlightenment? What is it not? – Dennis Waite’s latest work exposes the myths and defines this misused term.

Which teaching methods will get you there? And which will not? – Enlightenment: the Path Through the Jungle clearly explains how the traditional methods work and why the modern, Western approaches are most unlikely to.

This book is one of the clearest and most powerful works to date on the subject of enlightenment ­- it provides a detailed examination of the satsang phenomenon (and its more extreme, neo-advaita variant), contrasting these approaches with the traditional methods passed down from teacher to disciple for over a thousand years. Waite’s lucid and engaging writing indicates what is needed in the way of preparation and methodology in order to gain enlightenment, with special attention given to the problems created by modern teachers’ statements to the effect that there is ‘no person’ and ‘nothing to do’.

With a Foreword by Dr. Greg Goode, philosophical counselor and a recognized expert on the subject of non-duality.

Extracts from the Book

From ‘What Enlightenment is Not’

213. Enlightenment has nothing to do with ‘merging with the Self’ or ‘becoming one with God’. In reality, we are already the Self so that these expressions could have no meaning. Nor is it a ‘feeling of unity’.

When a pot is broken, the ‘pot space’ does not merge with the ‘total space’; the ‘total space’ is entirely unaffected by the presence of the container and remains the same before, during and after the temporary appearance of the pot.

216. Enlightenment is not about ‘experiencing the Self’ – otherwise everyone would be enlightened. It is not about experience at all, it is about self-knowledge – the direct knowledge that you are already that which you seek . (See 25 – 97 .)

217. Nor is enlightenment itself an experience – experiences come and go. Enlightenment is not temporary – once it happens, that is it. Consequently, if you had an experience and wonder whether you are now enlightened, you can be sure that you are not. Also, there is no need for a seeker to try to recapture a ‘good’ experience, thinking that it was somehow closer to enlightenment than the usual ‘bad’ experiences. (See 102 to 104 )

219. Enlightenment is not a ‘state’ – these also come and go.

221. It is pedantically true that there is no such thing as ‘gradual enlightenment’. As noted in 94 , however, there is another potential misunderstanding of terms here. It is true that you cannot be ‘partly’ enlightened – you either are or you are not – but the removal of self-ignorance can certainly be gradual.

222. There is much confusion about ‘who’ it is that gains enlightenment. Clearly the non-dual Self, brahman, cannot become enlightened and yet the ultimate truth is that there is no separate entity, no satyam ‘ego’ or ‘person’.

(From) Self-ignorance
46. Traditionally, the root cause of the beliefs that we are separate, that there is a dualistic world, that we are unhappy and so on is self-ignorance – avidyA.

47. Given the fact that, in reality, there is only brahman, the existence of ‘self-ignorance’ is not easy to explain. It would seem that either brahman or the jIva must be the locus of the ignorance but either poses problems. The post-Shankara vivaraNa school claims the former while the bhAmatI school claims the latter. The essential reason for the diverging views is the ultimate irreconcilability of absolute reality with the empirical world – a problem which will crop up again and again in this book.

48. The bhAmatI-s attribute two aspects to avidyA: a ‘veiling power’, called AvaraNa (which prevents us from seeing the reality of the rope, in the rope-snake metaphor) and a ‘projecting power’, called vikShepa (which projects the appearance of the snake). Our experience is already non-dual; we already are brahman but the fact is covered over by AvaraNa, allowing the mistaken mind to project the illusion of duality.

49. Only self-knowledge can dispel self-ignorance.

50. The self-ignorance is in the mind. The appropriate use of the means of self-knowledge (i.e. presented according to proven, traditional methods by a skilled teacher to a prepared and receptive mind) automatically removes the ignorance.

But receipt of unsupported statements, without any method (e.g. the bare statement that ‘This is it’) is effectively only adding more ignorance about the nature of the self and reality to that which is already there.

51.In truth, we are already the Self; it is the mind that thinks otherwise.

52. Consequently, ‘enlightenment’ is that ‘event’ in the mind that dissolves this self-ignorance once and for all.

“By mind alone can That (brahman) be attained, There is no difference between the two (brahman and the world). He who sees them as different goes from death to death.” Katha Upanishad II.1.11 (Ref. 93)

Dennis Waite

Following an intense scientific-based education through the nineteen sixties, he emerged with a fundamental dissatisfaction with the perceived values and belief systems of Western society. Thus began his search for a philosophy that could provide satisfactory answers to the universal questions of life. He joined the Ouspensky influenced School of Economic Science in London in 1972 but left after several years, disillusioned with the lack of rigour and the mystical element.

He renewed his involvement with them in the mid-eighties, by which time Shri Shantananda Saraswati, one of the four Indian Shankaracharyas was directing the School along a path influenced by Advaita and Sankhya Yoga. He remained with the School until 1998, by which time he had been acting as a tutor for four years at the Bournemouth branch and was assisting in the teaching of Sanskrit. He left because some of the teaching methods and much of the material diverged from the tenets of pure Advaita.

Upanishads considered the highest form of knowledge in Vedic tradition. The video gives an introduction to the Upanishads, their prime teaching and available literature

> What is the source of the aliveness and awareness, which are fundamental to all life?
> What is the nature of desire, and how do our desires relate to suffering?
> How do we know what is true?
> What is the nature of belief, and how do our beliefs affect our ability to experience the deeper reality that is always here?
>And in the midst of these mysteries, how do we live our daily lives in the most satisfying and integrated way?

Meeting the Mystery explores these questions and will help you discover new dimensions and possibilities in your life. This collection of articles and answers to questions posed by spiritual seekers is a springboard to ever deeper inquiry into the greatest mystery of all—Presence, which is who you really are.

Also included with this book are links to seven mp3 recordings of talks given by Nirmala that expand on the material in the book. These talks are not available anywhere else, and the links are found at the end of each chapter of the book.

Here is a sample quote from the book:

“Awareness is a fundamental quality of our Being. Awareness is always here in everything and in every experience. We need to be aware in order to experience. If you could turn off your awareness, then the world, your body, your thoughts, and everything else would simply disappear. Since we are constantly having experiences, it must be true that awareness is always here.

And yet, what a mystery this awareness is. Why is it we have this capacity to register and notice what happens? Where does this capacity come from? Does it come from our brain and nervous system or from something beyond our physical form? Are you aware of anything at all in this moment? What is that awareness like? How do you know you are aware right now? And what if the source of awareness is also the source of everything else?

Because spiritual seekers seek expanded awareness, they often overlook the mystery of the awareness that is already here. Just as a single drop of water is wet, the awareness that is reading these words has all of the qualities of your true nature as pure awareness. Does the part of you that is already awake need to wake up, or is it already profoundly and mysteriously aware? Just for a moment, instead of seeking more awareness, find out more about the awareness that is already here.

The awareness that is here in this moment is alive, spacious, discriminating, and full of love. Everything that really matters is found in this awareness. Love, peace, and joy flow from within us to the experiences we have of the world. Seeking the source of peace or love in the world is like looking for the source of the water in the puddle that forms under a water faucet. Not only is the source here within us, but it is flowing right now as the simple awareness that is reading these words.”

Nirmala

After a lifetime of spiritual seeking, Nirmala met his teacher, Neelam. She convinced Nirmala that seeking wasn’t necessary since everything is already here within us; and after experiencing a profound spiritual awakening in India, he began offering satsangs (gatherings for inquiring into the truth) and individual spiritual mentoring with Neelam’s blessing.

Nirmala offers a unique vision and a gentle, compassionate approach, which adds to the rich tradition of inquiry into the truth of Being. He is also the author of several books including Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self. He has been offering satsang throughout the United States and Canada since 1998. Nirmala lives in Sedona, Arizona with his wife, Gina Lake.
Nirmala – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

After a lifetime of spiritual seeking, Nirmala met his teacher, Neelam, a devotee of H.W.L. Poonja (Papaji). She convinced him that seeking wasn’t necessary; and after experiencing a profound spiritual awakening in India, he began offering satsang and Nondual Spiritual Mentoring with Neelam’s blessing. This tradition of spiritual wisdom has been most profoundly disseminated by Ramana Maharshi, a revered Indian saint, who was Papaji’s teacher. Nirmala’s perspective was also profoundly expanded by his friend and teacher Adyashanti.

Nirmala offers satsang in gratitude for the love and grace that flow through his teachers, Neelam and Adyashanti, and for the Truth brought to this world by Ramana Maharshi and H.W.L. Poonja. Advaita satsang is offered as a celebration of the possibility, in every moment, of recognizing the truth of who we are. Nirmala offers a unique vision and a gentle, compassionate approach, which adds to this rich tradition of inquiry into the truth of Being.

“What is appealing about Nirmala is his humility and lack of pretense, which welcomes whatever arises within the field of experience. In the midst of this welcoming is always an invitation to inquire deeply within, to the core of who and what you are. Again and again, Nirmala points the questions back to the questioner and beyond to the very source of existence itself-to the faceless awareness that holds both the question and the questioner in a timeless embrace.” – From the foreword by Adyashanti, spiritual teacher and author of Emptiness Dancing, to Nirmala’s book, Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond The Illusion Of A Separate Self.

“Nirmala is a genuine and authentic spiritual teacher, who points with great clarity to the simplicity and wonder of nondual presence.” — Joan Tollifson, Advaita spiritual teacher and author of Awake in the Heartland

Nirmala lives in Sedona, Arizona with his wife, Gina, and their two corgis, Bodhi and Gracie. Contact Nirmala by using the contact form here. Read an interview with Nirmala here. More information about Gina and her books, including Radical Happiness: A Guide to Awakening, is available on radicalhappiness.com.

More of Nirmala’s books:

That Is That: Essays About True Nature
Gifts With No Giver: A Love Affair With Truth
Living From The Heart
Meeting the Mystery: Exploring the Aware Presence at the Heart of All Life

Interview recorded 6/2/2012

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