In the stages of self-inquiry I teach, choiceless awareness of ‘what is’ is a form of meditative inquiry that I teach to prepare a student for the more advanced Advaitic inquiries. At this stage, the duality between the thinker and thought has been negated and through choiceless awareness, the student is ready to understand the true nature of all experiences, rather than how experience presents itself to a deluded mind. In this article, I discuss the three marks of all experiences that are experientially revealed in meditative inquiry: the impermanence of all objects, the illusoriness of the thinker-doer-experiencer that controls experiences, and how the thinker-doer-experiencer is the very cause of human suffering. Only when a student has totally and experientially understood these three marks of experience does he become qualified for further Advaitic inquiry that leads to liberation … Read More Choiceless Awareness: Seeing Things As They Are
Suffering is a fact that is common to all human life. Nonetheless, we are never educated by schools, parents and society to understand and explore the possibility of ending suffering. On the contrary, they teach us to somehow escape suffering. In this article, through the journals of two young female students of NEEV Psycho-Philosophy Inquiry group, the various ways in which people escape or find solutions to suffering are discussed. Finally, it is shown how any movement away from suffering, even in the form of different solutions offered by dualist spiritual paths really do not address the cause of suffering at its root. I show how Krishnamurti’s approach of watching suffering and only non-dual approaches like Advaita solve the problem of suffering comprehensively. As the Katha Upanishad says, “He, who sees any difference here, goes from death to death.”… Read More Watching Suffering: Journals of Two Young Girls
In this article, I am presenting a dialogue on what is the ultimate reality according to Advaita, with a teenage girl who is a student of the Facebook Psycho-Philosophy Group. As I started posting this dialogue, I thought it would be interesting to examine the role of women in the history of Vedanta because it is based on the study of scriptures, dialogue and wherever necessary debates: traditionally the bastion of males. I particularly examine the roles played by two women Gargi Vchaknavi of the Upanishadic era and Ubhaya Bharati of Shankara’s era. Going through the dialogues and roles played by these women, and subsequently going through my dialogue with the teenage girl, one can appreciate the fact that though times have changed- dialogues are held online instead of the forests – the method of transmission of truth, and the way of dialogue between teacher and student in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta remains unchanged, ever since Lord Brahma revealed the Vedas to Rishis and who transmitted this truth to a spiritual family-sampradaya: the lineage of teachers and students who pass the eternal truth down to the present day in an unbroken succession. Women are part of this eternal stream. … Read More You Are Awareness/Brahman: Dialogue with a Teenage Girl & Women in Vedanta
On reading one of my previous blog articles about the quest to understand death, an eighteen-year-old girl who is a member of NEEV Psycho-Philosophy group wrote about her own fear of death and her desire to go beyond it. Death is usually taken as a morbid topic to be spoken about in hushed tones. But for a self inquirer, who wants to know truth, death is an enigma he/she must solve. In my response to the girl’s journal I revisit the two characters – Buddha and Nachiketa – on their quest for going beyond death, whom I had mentioned in my previous article on death. This time I talk about how both of them ultimately conquer death – Buddha with his Nirvana and Nachiketa with his Moksha. I show that the common aspect to both these paths is how the cycle of birth and death actually begins with attachment to objects. Either one remains attached to impermanent objects and keep wandering in the cycle of samsara or one takes the path out of this suffering by taking the path of self inquiry. … Read More Attachment and Facing the Fear of Death
What is love? Can love be defined as “it is this”? Can there be love when there is hurt, possessiveness, anger, jealousy, competition etc? A look at some of these questions in a dialogue… Read More A Dialogue on Love
Self inquiry has its root in solving the riddle of death. Though most of us live in denial of this fact, it has the secret to the truth. No wonder this was a question which not only set me on my path of self-inquiry but also Buddha and Nachiketa in the Katha Upanishad, and every other inquirer across space and time. In this article, I describe my journey of self-inquiry with this question, interwoven with the other historical characters I have mentioned. … Read More Self inquiry: Have you questioned Death?