No Vedantic Schools of Duality Present Till the Time of Shankara

About half a century after Shankara, two schools developed: Dvaita (Dualism) and Vishishtadvaita (Qualified Non-Dualism). The founders of these schools seek support for their doctrines in the tradition of Vedanta. In this article, I show that if we study the Brahmasutra of Badarayana and the Brahmasutra Bhashya of Shankaracharya, we don’t find any non-Advaitic schools being mentioned. Though there were several schools not following the approach of Shankara’s Advaita tradition, they were all ultimately non-dual in their final purport. These schools were discussed and refuted by Shankara. These are schools which enjoin subtle actions along with knowledge as means of liberation, while Shankara’s Advaita talks only about knowledge as the final means. Schools which enjoin subtle actions like meditation, worship and even affirmations of knowledge are refuted by Shankara. Ultimately the article shows that the latter-day Dvaita and Vishishtadadvaita schools find no support even from these schools which Shakara refuted, for their doctrines.… Read More No Vedantic Schools of Duality Present Till the Time of Shankara

Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 2 : Pre-Shankara Schools

In Part 2 of this series, I examine the multifarious teachers and schools of Vedanta that existed before the advent of Shankara. I also show how Shankara refers to some of them as knowers of his tradition(sampradaya) in his various commentaries. This goes on to show that Shankara was not the founder of Advaita Vedanta as commonly believed. About a dozen pre-Shankara Vedanta schools and their teachers have been discussed, whose works are lost in history. Knowing all the views of these schools which do not belong to Shankara’s Advaita helps a seeker because at some points he/she holds similar erroneous views in one’s journey of self-inquiry.… Read More Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 2 : Pre-Shankara Schools

Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 1

Many seekers who are studying Advaita Vedanta personally or through a teacher may be totally unaware of the many schools of Vedanta as well as Advaita Vedanta. The teachings of Advaita Vedanta were systemized by Shankaracharya in about 700 AD. Very few people have actually read Shankara’s original works. Most of modern Advaita taught by teachers is a mix of teachings of various schools of Vedanta and Advaita Vedanta sub-schools which came after Shankara. They even mix Yoga and Samkhya. This series of articles has been started by me to show the huge variety of schools and sub-schools which are not Shankara’s teachings. Ultimately this shall help seekers discriminate and appreciate the most unique path of Shankara Advaita which was on the verge of getting lost.… Read More Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 1

Unmasking Ourselves

All of us are aware that we put various masks with different people in different situations. Prompted by a Facebook post of one of my friends, this article asks whether one can live without any masks. It also examines our unconscious motivations to put on different kinds of masks, the conflicts they create, and the enormous risks involved in removing them. Finally, it probes into the reason why anyone would like to unmask oneself.… Read More Unmasking Ourselves

Faith vs Reason in the Spiritual Science of Advaita

Most people believe that spirituality is a question of personal faith and belief; that it does not have some universally accepted truth, which is only in the possession of empirical science. In this article, through a dialogue with my friend, I reveal how Advaita Vedanta is a spiritual science which follows the same procedure as empirical science in investigating reality: except that it goes one step higher. While empirical science demonstrates that reality is known more accurately through our mind/thought/reason rather than our senses, Advaita Vedanta shows that ultimate reality is known by an intuitive knowledge that even transcends thought. The procedure to get this intuitive knowledge is as scientific as the discoveries made in science through the exercise of thought/reason.… Read More Faith vs Reason in the Spiritual Science of Advaita

The Flatland Map of Scientific Materialism: The Dubious Legacy of Rene Descartes (Part 1)

Whether we consciously know it or not, the concept or rationalism and thus modernism is the foundation stone of today’s world affairs. The way our world is structured politico-strategically, economically and socially is based on rationalism and thus modernism, and even if reason as an end in itself is no longer an absolute paradigm today, it has shaped our world in a way no other philosophy recently has. The modernist project, the prioritizing of reason as a project for a whole culture, is the result of the prioritizing of reason by René Descartes (1596-1650), who prioritized reason for himself to a formerly unknown degree. Descartes never aimed at reforming the thought process of society, but merely planned to reform his thoughts without imposing on others to imitate the process. In this series of articles on Descartes, I examine his legacy: what we gained and what we lost.… Read More The Flatland Map of Scientific Materialism: The Dubious Legacy of Rene Descartes (Part 1)

How Maps Of Mind Condition Us to Live and Act

We are born into a given world, a world mapped out for us in the form of ideas. We imbibe this map unconditionally in childhood. Very few know about the existence of this map in our minds, let alone question it. All that we think, and do in our life is because of this map. Even acts of doing good for society are born from this map. In this article I examine what these maps are, how they are formed, the difficulty of knowing them and the urgent need to examining their limitations rather than acting mindlessly from them.… Read More How Maps Of Mind Condition Us to Live and Act

Have we got a complete map of life?

Do we ever think that we have been conditioned to view life in a particular way: most of us don’t. However, we all agree with the fact that we face conflicts. Why do these conflicts arise? Some of us would like to go deeply into this question, while the majority responds by getting more entrenched in their conditioning. This article is meant for those who would like to go into the root of all conflict, which is, we all have maps of reality embedded in us. In this article, I explore how these maps are formed, how they govern our lives, and how we may not be having complete maps of reality with us.… Read More Have we got a complete map of life?

Stages : From Self Inquiry to Self Realization

Self Inquiry/Jnana Yoga is said to be the ultimate path to enlightenment. But before one enters Jnana Yoga, it is said that one has to purify one’s mind through years of Karma Yoga. However, if one has the prerequisites, one can enter Jnana Yoga directly: without doing Karma Yoga or renouncing the world, as is usually required for Jnana Yoga. This is a unique path I followed and teach. It combines the teachings of J Krishnamurti and Advaita Vedanta. In this article I give a brief description of the stages involved in this journey for interested seekers. … Read More Stages : From Self Inquiry to Self Realization

Turning Within : Taking the Plunge to Find One’s True Self

Most people are lost in the outer events and turmoil of their life. For the rare few, however, at some point of their life, they cannot help noticing the fact that all their outer pursuits, no matter how deep they are, have failed to provide them lasting happiness. This is the point they turn within; in search of something that can give them something lasting and permanent, that no outer objects can provide. In this article, I share the journey of a meditator who is poised on the point of turning within; addressing his doubts, fear and hopes, as he plunges into this unknown journey.… Read More Turning Within : Taking the Plunge to Find One’s True Self

The Liberated Being : Beyond all Acts – Good & Bad

History, culture, mythology all go into creating a prototype of an enlightened being or a Liberated Person. These prototypes inform the common man about the kind of greatness of person, or personality, that a liberated person has. The personalites of enlightened beings are worshipped as Gods or saviours, or beings with superhuman powers. However, the highest truth, which only Advaita Vedanta elucidates through the Vedas, is much more simple, but most difficult to penetrate. The liberated being, who in Advaita is called a Jnani, has gone beyond all names and forms, and acquired a non-dual vision. What is that vision and who is a Jnani? How does he act? I explore these questions in this article. … Read More The Liberated Being : Beyond all Acts – Good & Bad

Arjuna – Krishna and the Corona Virus Crisis

Nobody expected that a small invisible virus would arrive one day and hold the whole world captive for months. Life is capricious. We can make hay till the sun shines. But then there is always a crisis lurking somehwere in the womb of time. We can either fear it or at best prepare for it. But it comes. Crisis is unpleasant but it also has a light, and an opening to a wisdom that is timeless. In this article I make an attempt to show how we can use this crisis to reflect and perhaps make a movement to acquire a wisdom that permanently takes us beyond all suffering: which no crisis can affect.… Read More Arjuna – Krishna and the Corona Virus Crisis

Tat Tvam Asi – You are Brahman

Most people think about spirituality as some form of action – yoga, meditation, chanting etc. While this is true for some schools, in Advaita, where the highest truth of Non-Duality is taught, truth has nothing to do with action. This is because in your essence, YOU ARE TRUTH. There is no difference between you and truth ultimately. This is Non-Duality and Path of Knowledge of Advaita. This article shows the uniqueness and difficulty of this path as compared to other dualistic paths of Yoga. … Read More Tat Tvam Asi – You are Brahman

Turiya : The Fourth State of Consciousness & End of Suffering

As normal human beings going about our daily lives, chasing dreams, getting happy, or grieving over life’s inscrutable experiences, we are all aware of three states of consciousness – waking, dream sleep and deep sleep. They are so much taken for granted, we can hardly imagine a treasure concealed by these three states. However, for a person who has devoted himself to solving life’s paradoxes, the study of these states holds the key to liberation from suffering.… Read More Turiya : The Fourth State of Consciousness & End of Suffering