Shifting Framework of Ethics in the Journey of Self Inquiry

In this article, I take up one of the most complex and vexing issues that face any seeker in the journey of self-inquiry. The article begins with the journal of a student of self-inquiry who talks about his need for social approval and how it contradicts his ethics imbibed in childhood. In response to his journal, I wrote this article to show how a student of self-inquiry in the modern capitalistic society has to navigate through different ethical frameworks in his journey to freedom, right from childhood, till he is ultimately freed from all ethical frameworks, reaching the state of spontaneous compassion as the consummation of self-inquiry. … Read More Shifting Framework of Ethics in the Journey of Self Inquiry

How Does A Jnani Person Deal With the Negative Impacts of the World: Part 2/3 – Udasinata/High Indifference

Self Realization in Advaita brings one to the Witness stage. But this is not the end of the journey. In Vivartavada of Shankara one has to abide as Witness till all vasanas/karmic imprints/defilements end and the Witness dissolves, resulting in the total ending of subject-object duality. This is a very long period involving basically two stages. I talked about the first stage of Witnessing in Part 1 which was related to Titiksha/endurance of all consequences. That was an amoral stage of Witnessing to root out powerful worldly vasanas. In this article, I discuss the second stage of Witnessing called Udasinata/High Indifference. This comes about after Titiksha has ended all extroverting and reactive vasanas. After this one develops the capacity to consciously adopt the passive virtue of calm impartiality to all negative events and thoughts so that one can uproot the deepest and most primal vasanas resulting in the complete destruction of all karmic defilements/vasanas that cause suffering.… Read More How Does A Jnani Person Deal With the Negative Impacts of the World: Part 2/3 – Udasinata/High Indifference

How Does A Jnani Person Deal With the Negative Impacts of the World: Part 1/3 – Titiksha/Endurance

A Jiva/ embodied being is subject to the attack of the dualities of life: to the turbulence of grief and joy, to the violent touches of pleasure and pain and to the tumult of his emotions and passions. It is not that the Jnani or a Self Realized being does not have to deal with all this. Just that the Jnani knows that these are events in the phenomenal reality affecting the phenomenal Subtle Body (Mind/Intellect) and the Gross Body (Sensations) but not his core Self. As Self/Witness he is unaffected by these phenomenal changes because Self/Witness is Unattached, and Contactless. However, till the Prarabdha Karma exist for the Jnani, ‘his’ BMI has to experience the dual phenomena. I have covered all this in great detail in my articles “Tat Tvam Asi” (You are-Brahman) and the three parts article series – “Prarabdha Karma After Self Realization”- through the lens of traditional Advaita scriptures. There has been very little literature, to my knowledge, talking about the subjective ways in which a Jnani deals with the negative impacts of the world. In this two parts article series, I am taking a psychological approach of describing two stages of psychological attitudes, the Self Knowledge of a Jnani fashions, to front the negative impacts of the world. I describe how this approach subverts conventional morality and ethics so that the ways a Jnani deals with the world can neither be termed as moral or immoral but amoral, especially so in the first stage which I describe in Part I: Titiksha. … Read More How Does A Jnani Person Deal With the Negative Impacts of the World: Part 1/3 – Titiksha/Endurance

You (Self) Are Not (Your) Thoughts: A Dialogue

That we all suffer conflicts of various kinds in our life is an undeniable fact. Self Inquiry is about unearthing and ending the root of all conflicts. In this dialogue with a seeker, I examine the conflict of the division between the thinker and thought. What sustains this division is the process of psychological becoming. One of the processes of psychological becoming is seeking to be virtuous. In this article, I differentiate between dharma/virtue as a process of psychological becoming and adhyatma/the spiritual science of eternal being, to help the seeker appreciate the difference, and overcome the conflict caused by this form of becoming. Finally, I introduce the various stages of self-inquiry, by which I help a seeker completely transcend the duality between the thinker and thought, as a means to ending of all conflict.… Read More You (Self) Are Not (Your) Thoughts: A Dialogue

Prasthana Traya: The Triple Canonical Base of Vedanta Scriptures Followed by Shankara – Part 3/4: Bhagavad Gita

The Gita is a revolutionary and syncretic scripture in the canon of Vedanta. It brings down the Vedic truths from sequestered Himalayan caves into the active field of political life and crisis evoking tensions of fratricidal war. Religion is philosophy in action. Through the words of Krishna, who acts as his friend, guide, seer and prophet, Arjuna receives the practical application of teachings founds in the Upanishads. Throughout my active public life, I found myself in the position of Arjuna, facing a war, and asking the same questions he did, to Krishna. Thus it was that it was my favourite book till the time I did not renounce all organizational life. In this article, I discuss the Gita as a scripture of Advaita Vedanta along with its unique reformulation of action and renunciation, through what it calls action in inaction and inaction in action. I also discuss Shankara’s queasiness with this reformulation and his grudging acceptance even though it does not sit very well with his ideal of Upanishadic monasticism for a liberated being. … Read More Prasthana Traya: The Triple Canonical Base of Vedanta Scriptures Followed by Shankara – Part 3/4: Bhagavad Gita

Prasthana Traya: The Triple Canonical Base of Vedanta Scriptures Followed by Shankara – Part 1/4: Introduction

I spent the first seventeen years of my inquiry with the teachings of J Krishnamurti (JK) after which I reached a stalemate. JK was primarily a master in investigating the psychological causes of suffering and despite having learned immensely from him in this regard, something within me kept clamouring to get metaphysical answers for questions like what is life, birth, death, self and creation. Moreover, like most Yoga-based teachings, Krishnamurti used to hammer at thought which according to him, in line with the teachings of Yoga based dualist schools, veils reality. However, unlike the depictions of Yoga based teachers like Buddha, Mahavira and other Hindu Yogis, Shankara is never depicted in a posture of meditation with eyes closed: always with a bundle of scriptures in his hand. This is a great testament to the fact that Advaita Vedanta, the path followed by Shankara does not believe in ending or shutting thought, but its science of Jnana Yoga is about using the subtle organ of thought, called intellect, and sharpen it to such an extent that it takes one to the reality that lies beyond thought, called Self/Brahman/Witness/Awareness, as revealed by the scriptures. In this series of articles, I shall be discussing the canonical base of scriptures and their paramount importance for the teachings of Advaita Vedanta of Shankara, where I found myself at home ultimately and received all my answers. … Read More Prasthana Traya: The Triple Canonical Base of Vedanta Scriptures Followed by Shankara – Part 1/4: Introduction

The Place of Devotion/Bhakti in Shankara Advaita

Advaita, especially Shankara’s Advaita negates all attributes for the Absolute truth it calls Brahman. According to Advaita, Brahman is the only formless reality. The phenomenal world we see is just an apparent reality like a dream. Brahman never creates the world and the souls we perceive. The only way to get enlightened is to get intuitive knowledge of this Absolute Reality of Brahman. This can only happen through knowledge and not through any acts like work, meditation or worship. However, we find several works attributed to Shankara which speak about creator Gods like Vishnu and Shiva. Did Shankara worship these Gods? This article sets out to show that most of these works are not considered by all scholars as undisputed works of Shankara. After giving a short history of the beginning of the worship of Shiva and Vishnu, who are not Vedic Gods like Brahma, the article shows that even if we see some inclination of Shankara towards Vishnu, there is no evidence to show that he worshipped them but used these concepts provisionally only for their helping in purifying the minds of seekers to finally make them fit for attaining enlightenment through Jnana/Knowledge.… Read More The Place of Devotion/Bhakti in Shankara Advaita

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