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

Shabda Pramana: Enlightenment through Words in Advaita Vedanta: Presenting a Dialogue

Advaita Vedanta is unique amongst all paths for liberation. It is the only path that does not consider any form of action (meditation, yoga, chanting, worship) as the final means to liberation. These actions are a means to purify the mind so that it is qualified to receive and assimilate enlightenment through Knowledge. The only knowledge that can grant enlightenment to a student is the shabda/word of the Sruti/Upanishads transmitted by a teacher established in Brahman himself/herself. In this article, I describe the theory and practice of enlightenment in this unique path. Finally, I furnish the article with an actual dialogue that takes place between a teacher and a student in which the student gets enlightened.… Read More Shabda Pramana: Enlightenment through Words in Advaita Vedanta: Presenting a Dialogue

Attachment and Facing the Fear of Death

On reading one of my previous blog articles about the quest to understand death, an eighteen year old girl who is 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. Though their quest into the reality beyond death returns different answers, 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

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

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

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