Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

The Mystery - Part 1

Rarely Asked Questions
Bimal Prasad

Bimal Behari Prasad (60) is a government servant in the Government of India. As a student of Advaita, he also works for the cause of Advaita.




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I register my sincere thanks to my friends and others who have directly or indirectly encouraged me to write this book. In fact it is a booklet of about fifty pages. Nonetheless, it is The Mystery. The idea of a book in question and answer form is intuition driven. A correctly framed question is half answer. But framing questions relating to life is easily said than done. I confess, I am not a professional writer. So writing a book on mysteries of life was an arduous task. There is always a helping hand, divine or otherwise, when there is sincerity of purpose. This appeared in the form of Dennis Waite who has authored many books on Advaita. He offered himself to proof-edit the book despite his own pressing literary commitments. His corrections and suggestions are of enormous value, conceptually and otherwise. I find myself wanting in words to pay my gratitude to him.

May, 2015 Prasad

Bangaluru, India


1. Introduction

The main objective of the book is to help us realize our true nature, what essentially we are and what separates us from that. It will be explained that essential nature of everything is the same: the Truth. The Truth is One. Everything ‘else’ is a manifestation or reflection of the same Truth. We give different names to this Truth: ‘Divine’ or ‘Self’, or ‘Witness’. Our true nature is ‘divine’, yet we do not realize this because of ignorance. Though there is no key to the door of divinity, it is revealed that the door was never locked. If, somehow, we can develop a method or technique to understand this divinity in ourselves and bring it to the surface in our daily life, the quality of life will take a quantum leap.


The book will introduce various concepts with special meanings, namely, Self, Pure Consciousness, Pure Existence, Present, Witness, Ego, Mind and Happiness. Further, it will be explained that all these concepts are inter-related. Understanding of one will help us understand the others. In the final analysis, Self, Pure Consciousness, Pure Existence and Witness are the same and interchangeable. Some concepts are drawn from the teachings of Advaita. However, it is clarified that what is explained in the book is not necessarily according to Advaita. A simple technique of practicing meditation is also explained.


The format of the book is of questions and answers. By asking various questions and answering them, the book will familiarize us with many but essentially similar issues encountered in the life. We live the life. Yet we shy away from raising hard questions of life, let alone searching for their answers. They are Rarely Asked Questions. The book is an attempt to provide answers to these RAQs. (Note that words in Sanskrit language are italicized.)


2. Happiness

Q1: Why do we feel happy at one time and unhappy at other times?

Answer: Our true nature is happiness. However, because of disturbances in the mind we become unhappy. A disturbed mind obstructs the happiness. The mind works like a mirror. The happiness is not clearly reflected or seen in a dirty mirror. For example, we go to a temple and bow before the deity. Because of the serene and calm atmosphere and our faith, the mind is free of many thoughts. It tends to be still. As a result, the latent happiness comes to the surface and we feel happy. The faith in the deity works as an agent of happiness since it slows down the mind-activity.


Q2: It is a common experience that when our desires are fulfilled, we feel happy. Why is it so?

Answer: This is a very important question and a dilemma as well. When we get what we want, the mind has a sense of completeness which makes it still. Once it is still, the true nature which is happiness plays its role without obstruction and we feel happy.


Q3: Does it mean that happiness is not the result of obtaining the object of our desire?

Answer: Yes, that is correct. Happiness lies within us and not in the object. This is why the happiness on getting the desired thing vanishes after some time. The disturbances in the mind again take over. There is no permanent happiness to be found by obtaining the objects of desire. The object provides the ‘completeness’ to the mind for some time only. This is then replaced by the next desire. Until such time that this next desire is not fulfilled, we remain unhappy, and the process continues.

Go to Part 2


Page last updated: 21-Feb-2016