Teaching and Writing about Non-Dual Self Inquiry/ Jnana Yoga
Hello ! I am the writer of this blog. My name is Anurag Jain (born 1975). I live in Jamshedpur, India. I graduated as a Civil Engineer in 1997. After that I took to teaching in J. Krishnamurti School, Chennai because of my interest in his teachings. I started NEEV Trust in 2006, working in the areas of social work, social entrepreneurship and education for the underprivileged. Finally, when I understood without doubt that the root of all problems of man lies in his ignorance of the ultimate reality of life, I closed all social work and educational activities and started the NEEV Centre for Self Inquiry. In its present form it is this website in which I am writing and teaching self inquiry. Although I followed and teach certain schools of non-dual inquiry, I do not affiliate myself with any particular school of Non-Duality. I take various methods of different schools as tools in my non-duality toolkit to deconstruct subject-object duality at every single level for living and experiencing the Unborn Wholeness – called Brahman, Tao, Awareness or Emptiness in different non-dual traditions – which is the true nature of the world. We also have a campus for this centre in Hurlung Village, Jamshedpur, which we are in the process of developing. I run two Facebook Groups to teach Self Inquiry. Details of them can be found here
I started NEEV Trust, a social work organization in 2006; the Centre for Self Inquiry came into existence only in 2017, after about a decade of work done in the areas of social work and education through NEEV Trust and my self inquiry. My aim throughout these years was to create a transformation in the world. However, through all my experiences and reflections I found that the cause of all suffering is not outside but in our self. I realized that no amount of changes in the systems and structures of the outer world can end suffering at the root level. So in 2017, I closed down all my educational and social activities to focus on self inquiry and help others in the same journey through NEEV Centre for Self Inquiry.
My Journey of Self Inquiry
Self inquiry is about understanding the nature of suffering within oneself, and the ending of it, without resorting to any belief/authority. It seeks to understand what is world, mind, body, thought, action, experience and death. While most people do not find the need for this, some people do: at some point in their life. Depending upon the intensity of this need, self inquiry becomes, one and the only, important thing in the world to uncover the truth: the Unborn Wholeness called Self, Brahman, Tao, Awareness or Emptiness in different traditions
Sooner or later, the amount of time one devotes to it becomes substantial. Moreover, as self inquiry keeps exposing the falsities in which the mind is embroiled in, one sees the utter futility of all organizations and institutions to solve anything psychologically. In my case, when I was 20 years old, my head went into the tiger’s mouth of self inquiry. I worked for about 22 years to create a decent saving while pursuing my self inquiry. Because of this I was able to take early retirement at the age of 42; and in 2017 I decided to devote all my time and energy to further self inquiry through this website and NEEV Centre for Self Inquiry.
I had been very interested in the teachings of J Krishnamurti for the last 25 years, because he has gone deeply into the questions of everyday life and suffering without resorting to any belief or authority. I also read very widely in other fields of religion, philosophy, psychology, science, economics, sociology, history, literature and politics to gain an understanding of myself and the world. Ken Wilber was another big influence. His Integral Theory helped me create a useful map of developmental stages of consciousness which is lacking in the teachings of Krishnamurti but which I felt a great need for at that particular stage of my inquiry. All this eventually brought me to Advaita Vedanta – a Non-Dual school of Self inquiry and Self Realization – attributed to Shankaracharya (though this is a widely held erroneous view, himself being a link – albeit a prominent one – in a vast tradition of Advaita). The technical term used by Advaita Vedanta for Self Inquiry is called Jnana Yoga, but I use this term in a generic way to indicate all non-dual inquiries of different schools that help one in understanding the ultimate reality free from all subject-object duality and get released from all suffering, without resorting to any belief.
I gained direct knowledge of my true Self/Witness/Awareness through Advaita in 2012. I have written about it in my article “Self inquiry and insight into one’s true nature in Advaita“. I am indebted to Advaita teacher James Swartz, whose writings on the internet helped me get Self Knowledge. Prior to this, I had read the basics of Advaita Vedanta for merely a month. All my previous work with J Krishnamurti’s teachings had helped me negate most of the falsity. The final nudge required by Advaita was – Tat Tvam Asi : Thou Are That. It meant, I had to stop seeking truth as an object and understand the subject: my true Self/Witness/Awareness as the ultimate reality. This happens through an insight called the akhandakara vritti.
However, it took some time (7 years) to clear mostly philosophical doubts relating to Self/Awareness/Witness which arose from my readings of different schools, both within and outside Vedanta, that speak of Truth in different and contradictory ways. I was immensely helped in all this by my online friend, Direct Path teacher and philosopher, Greg Goode, who patiently had dialogue with me through all my mind-boggling questions, changes and reversals. Not only did he help me resolve the incredibly complex issue of multiple paths but also showed me the way to Ajativada beyond Vivartavada of Shankara which most Advaitins are familiar with.
In early 2020, I stabilized in Self-knowledge/Witness stage, completely beyond all doubts. My mind, body and the universe appeared and disappeared as phenomena to the eternal Witness/Self/Awareness. This stage is called Jivanmukti in Shankara’s Vivartavada. Beyond this is the stage when all objects too stop appearing as entities/objects and are seen to be Awareness itself. This is when the superimposition of Witness function on Awareness collapses and subject-object duality ends. Everything is realized as empty Awareness. I was initiated into this path after a series of dialogues with Greg Goode and my readings in Ajativada of Gaudpada as well as my readings in Direct Path (chiefly books written by Greg Goode).
Therefore, the path of self inquiry/Jnana Yoga I took is a combination of J Krishnamurti, the traditional paths of Advaita called Vivartavada of Shankaracharya followed by Ajativada of Gaudapada/Direct Path by Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon as unfolded by Greg Goode in his books.
In non-duality, paths are only spoken from a relative standpoint. Since non-duality means acknowledgement of the fact that ultimate reality is always non-dual, a “path” in non-dual inquiry only implies negating conceptual errors of the mind and vasanas that prevent one from resting in always available, ever present true nature of reality as Non-Dual Awareness.
A Short Note on My Path of Self Inquiry
Self-inquiry is a path requiring a highly philosophical bent of mind. Those interested in learning self inquiry through this website should definitely go through my page “Stages of Self Inquiry“ before they begin exploring the site. As a practitioner and teacher of Non-Dual self-inquiry I do not affiliate myself to any particular school of Non-Duality even though I used certain Non-Dual Paths at certain phases of my inquiry. For me the guiding light was not identification with any school or path but total deconstruction of subject-object duality at every level through self inquiry.
Talking about my journey in Advaita, in traditional Advaita path, if one is a householder, a seeker first enters the path of Karma Yoga; after attaining sufficient mental purity he becomes qualified to enter the path of Self Inquiry/ Jnana Yoga.
However, my path has been a departure from traditional Advaita because I did not do any Karma Yoga. Instead, I entered Jnana Yoga through the unique teachings of J Krishnamurti. In my mind, this is a phenomenal and novel contribution of J Krishnamurti to the world of spirituality. I left his teachings at a certain stage to enter Advaita. Why I did so, is a topic for a very advanced practitioner of Jnana Yoga (and a topic for one of my future articles). Suffice to say that a seeker can realize the potential of his teachings to enter Jnana Yoga of Advaita directly, while being a householder and, without entering the traditional teachings of Karma Yoga, which rely on the concept of God. (Later the concept of God is negated in Jnana Yoga of Advaita). With Krishnamurti, one can enter deconstructive Jnana Yoga, right from the word go !
Having said this, there are points of divergence and contention, along with several similarities, between Jnana Yoga of Advaita and Krishnamurti’s teachings. So it is unwise to conflate both the teachings and assume that they are saying one and the same thing in terms of methodology. One can read about this here: Differences Between Advaita and J Krishnamurti : A Dialogue. The same can be said about Direct Path and Advaita of Shankara. One who has deconstructed the subject-object duality completely can see how all non-dual paths operate, and can easily sift through the various languages of these paths. But the different languages of different paths is bound to confound entry level, middle level and even highly advanced seekers. So it is best to have a very good teacher to guide one through these paths.
Thus, I use Krishnamurti’s teachings for the first two phases of my self inquiry, i.e. Psychological Inquiries and Meditative Inquiries, Shankara’s Advaitic Inquiry for Witness stage and Direct Path for the Post-Witness stage. It is not necessary for any seeker to follow the same trajectory I did in my journey of self inquiry. Each of the paths I followed is complete in itself. I just switched paths according to my changing predilections/sticking points. The various stages of Self-Inquiry can be found here: “Stages of Self Inquiry”.
Those interested in learning Psycho-Philosophical inquiry in the lines of J Krishnamurti can contact me through the details provided in the ‘Learn Psycho-Philosophical Inquiry’ page. Those interested in learning Advaita can contact me through the form provided in the ‘Learn Advaita‘ page in this website.