Understanding “Consciousness is Everything”: Journal of a 15 yr Old – Part2/2: The World Was Never Created (Ajativada)

In Part I of this article series I discussed the journal of a young, 15 yr old student who studies in my Advaita Study Group. In his journal, he describes how he has conceptually understood that Consciousness is the Ultimate Reality and how all the phenomena we see in the world is just a projection of Consciousness which does not actually affect Consciousness. Further, in his journal he has also described, even though he is Consciousness, it is actually the Lord who is willing the actions of all Jivas and creatures of the world. The Lord is a sort of supercomputer, while the individual minds/Jivas are just receptors of the thoughts and actions willed by the Lord. In Part 1 I gave the whole of my attention to show how his journal had flashes of genius in it, uncannily describing the journey of a seeker in Advaita towards Self Realization as described by the four Mahavakyas. In this article, I would like to delve into the highest peak of Advaita: Ajativada. This is the doctrine propounded by Gaudapada in Mandukya Karika. It reveals something absolutely unbelievable: in the Absolute sense, the world, including oneself is devoid of changes or mutations like birth, growth, death etc. as also it is devoid of all duality. All this is verily Consciousness/Awareness alone. CREATION NEVER HAPPENED. Consciousness never gave birth to any world of Jiva(individuals)-Jagat(world of objects)-Isvara(creator). They are all nothing but imaginations of a mind operating in Maya/illusion. I show how even this was anticipated by my student in his journal.… Read More Understanding “Consciousness is Everything”: Journal of a 15 yr Old – Part2/2: The World Was Never Created (Ajativada)

Understanding “Consciousness is Everything”: Journal of a 15 yr Old – Part1/2: Mahavakyas (Great Statements)

In this article, I am presenting a journal of a student of the NEEV Advaita Study Facebook Group. He happens to be a 15 yr old boy, studying in the 11th grade, who discusses Advaita with me in the midst of doing his homework. Recently he sent me a journal describing the conceptual understanding he gained about how everything, including himself, is in reality Consciousness, and he is actually not a person. In Part 1 of my response to his journal I show how uncannily he has managed to pack all the four Mahavakyas of Advaita. Mahavakyas are “great statements” that serve as signposts for the journey of a seeker in the path of Advaita from ignorance to enlightenment. Thus, I use my student’s journal as a base to explicate on the journey of a seeker in the path of Advaita as he/she progresses through the four Mahavakyas. … Read More Understanding “Consciousness is Everything”: Journal of a 15 yr Old – Part1/2: Mahavakyas (Great Statements)

Advaita & Paradox of Practice vs No Practice: A Dialogue

A modern seeker of truth is faced with a plethora of paths and schools in this digital age. While this is a boon, it also presents a challenge for the seeker to decide which path to take, because more often than not, paths conflict and critique each other. In this dialogue, a seeker raises some of these dilemmas. One dilemma he raises is that of the issue of practice vs no-practice. Many new age teachers, like Neo-Advaitins scorn effort, path and methods of traditional paths as useless baggage. In this article I show how this can be very self-defeating and disorienting for the vast majority of seekers who need a structure, path and practices for preparing the mind. I show how Advaita Vedanta teachings have a sophisticated methodology to lead a seeker through alternate superimposition and cancellation of concepts, and from practice to the final state of no-practice. One can enter the spiritual path at any point on the scale of practice to no-practice. I show how my teachings start just a shade beneath the point of no-practice but I do not totally discount practices.… Read More Advaita & Paradox of Practice vs No Practice: A Dialogue

Prarabdha Karma After Self Realization: It’s Experience of Suffering and Pleasure: Part3/3

With this article, I finish the three-part series on Prarabdha Karma. In this final article which has extensive quotes from the text Panchadasi, a reader gets the most exhaustive treatment of this subject found anywhere in Advaita literature, corroborated by my own experience. The purpose of these articles was to draw out the complexity of experience and actions of a Jnani/Jivanmukta, evident only to him/her rather than to an outsider, who sees nothing saintly or special in a Jnani, when contrasted to full-blown Jnanis who have got freed from Prarabdha Karma like in Ajativada. Such Jivanmuktas whom I talked about in part 2, has ended with Prarabdha Karma while others have not. The keynote for a Jivanmukta undergoing Prarabdha Karma, however, is that the world of phenomena is mithya or only apparently real, therefore he does not evince any serious commitments to this world of mithya even if he appears to. His attitude is therefore of ‘high indifference’. Though the Jivanmukta may seem to undergo suffering and do acts which can be labelled under the categories of virtue and vice, a Jivanmukta knows himself to be Self/Awareness which is not a thinker/doer/experiencer. For a Jivanmukta, his BMI (Body/Mind/Intellect) appears as an object to Awareness/Self, so even though his/her BMI is affected by Prarabdha, the Jivanmukta as Self remains unaffected. I wanted to explore the enigmatic inner world of the Jivanmukta; his/her experiential dimension that escapes onlookers: a person who is in the world yet not of it.… Read More Prarabdha Karma After Self Realization: It’s Experience of Suffering and Pleasure: Part3/3

Prarabdha Karma After Self Realization: Seeming Refutations: Part 2/3

In Part 1 of this series I introduced Shankara’s concept of Prarabdha Karma to show that a Self Realized being/Jnani/Jivanmukta is not necessarily an epitome of virtuous conduct as he is still affected by the momentum of past actions (both virtue and vice) called Prarabdha Karma which is sustaining the body of the Jnani. Though these actions do not taint the Jnani as Self. In Part 2 of this series I am exploring some post Shankara works that seem to refute the theory of Prarabdha Karma. I analyse these works and show what is the basis of their seeming refutation. I end with my understanding that they are speaking from the standpoint of Ajativada which is different from the standpoint of Vivartavada that Shankara adopts in his teachings. … Read More Prarabdha Karma After Self Realization: Seeming Refutations: Part 2/3

Prarabdha Karma After Self Realization: It’s Philosophy – Part 1/3

In this series of articles, I am going to take a deep look at a very elusive topic of Prarabdha Karma. After Self Realization in Advaita, a Jnani/Jivanmukta is supposed to have got knowledge of himself as formless Awareness over which the body/mind/intellect is superimposed. So does a Jnani/Jivanmukta suffer like others or does he not? Does a Jnani have a body/mind/intellect or does he not? Why does the body of a Jnani not drop after attaining Self Knowledge? Why does it continue? This series of articles unearth the answers to these questions philosophically and experientially. To my knowledge, one rarely comes across a deep exploration of these topics in a manner that lays to rest all doubts and confusions. Through this series, I show that questions on philosophy and experience of Prarabdha Karma are not answered simply. The answer is complex and it depends upon the standpoint from which the question is being asked which leaves room for a lot of confusions about its nature. … Read More Prarabdha Karma After Self Realization: It’s Philosophy – Part 1/3

You Are Awareness/Brahman: Dialogue with a Teenage Girl & Women in Vedanta

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