All my books take
the stance that ‘I have been looking
into advaita as a teaching that explains the nature of self and
reality and this is what I have found so far’. I do not
teach – hold no satsangs or residential courses. I just
write books. I have never claimed
to be a teacher of any sort nor do I claim to be writing/replying
according to purely traditional methods. In fact, 'Back to the
Truth' quotes from all manner of teachers, including neo-advaitin
ones. It is certainly the case that 'Enlightenment: the Path
through the Jungle' advocates traditional
teaching as the only reliable system and I stand by that.
It is possible, therefore, that some readers may
have made the assumption that I have some (traditional) authority
- but this is their assumption, not my claim.
I am still learning, so that what I say
should always be treated as my current understanding.
According to the teaching tradition of Vedanta,
there are several levels of assimilation necessary
before one arrives at the pAramArthika, or absolute
understanding - that all that exists is one non-dual
reality. Sometimes, my views do not accurately
reflect the position that would be taken
from within the tradition. This is especially
the case with regard to some of those topics
which relate to the relative order of reality
(vyavahAra), such as Ishvara, karma, reincarnation
and free will. My own views tend to be more reflective
of what traditional teachings have to say about
and do not necessarily include all that those
same teachings have to say about vyavahAra.
The following are questions that I have answered via email or comments I have made in discussions on email groups. I will eventually group questions into related topics.
Question (or topic of question):
- Why has no realized man written a book?
- Do thoughts create our reality?
- Purpose, satyam and mithyA.
- Watching and thinking.
- Is watching thoughts/feelings of any value?
- What is the practice of Advaita Vedanta?
- Does it rely on faith? Is it a religion?
- What is your view on free will?
- Do you have any comments on the (reported) sex/money behavior of Ramesh?
- Is enlightenment personal?
- Why am I not all-powerful?
- Does the acceptance of Advaita lead to a life of passivity?
- How did being come into being?
- Can meditation bring about enlightenment?
- Is it impossible to do anything that Brahman doesn't want?
- If so, then there is no way we can do anything 'wrong'?
- Everything is 'scripted' and known by Brahman?
- Are jIva-s reincarnated until they realize?
- Does our "sense of self" have the egoic power to manipulate reality?
- If there is no free will, how can our attitude to life change?
- Doesn't this contradict the idea that there is no thinker or doer?
- Do those who have awakened live in reality?
- Is suffering 'necessary'?
- Is there an ego involved in the spiritual teacher who has a 'calling' to teach?
- Who (in my opinion) most embodies the principles of Advaita today?
- Similarities between Christian Science and Advaita. Concern with results.
- Christian Science continued - Nature of reality.
- The monastic lifestyle.
- Is it true that nothing matters? How do we know the Self is not another mind construct?
- A satsang teacher 'laid his hands' on a disciple. Could you explain what was going on?
- Isn't enlightenment a permanent state of peace and happiness?
- Discussion on terms 'happiness' and 'suffering.
- (Sanskrit) Why is the 'm' in saMsAra pronounced as an 'n'?
- Is study of the scriptures a waste of time?
- Meditation - One without a second?
- Does the World exist independently of the perceiver?
- A question about depression and anti-depressants.
- Would you please tell us about your own Awakening?
- How can the elements and guNa-s be both real and unreal?
- Does the mind exercise self-preservation?
- What is knowledge?
- How can one replace ordinary desires by a desire for the Self?
- How can the mind help us to achieve enlightenment if it is illusory?
- Is it possible to 'transmit' enlightenment?
- Who is it who awakens?
- What would happen to the soul if a person were cloned?
- Should we be happy, no matter what we are doing?
- Is the 'Law of Attraction' a useful tool?
- If lIlA is true, why is there enlightenment?
- Why can't I feel your sensations?
- Is truth relative?
- On the teaching of Ramana Maharshi.
- Floating with the stream of life.
- Stopping the mind.
- Is a still mind important?
- What is the difference between non-dualism and monism?
- The simplicity of 'not two'.
- Communicating with others (about advaita).
- How do we reconcile the actionless Self with action in the universe?
- What is the mind?
- Could you explain the words of the Buddha, regarding suffering?
- Could you say something about practice with reference to bhakti and j~nAna in bringing about enlightenment?
- Reality of the world.
- Another question regarding free will.
- How does the message of Advaita deal with the possibility of spirits?
- Don't traditional and neo-Advaita point to the same thing?
- Destruction of the ego.
- Why is there so much misinformation about
- Further questions
on the dialog with Jeff Foster (see Q67).
- A question on
Ramana Maharshi's method of Self-inquiry.
- What should be
the life-style of an "enlightened" person
in todays world?
- Language and reality.
- More on Life
- More concerns about the teaching
- A question about Michael
Langford's interpretation of Ramana Mahrshi's teaching.
- 'A little investigation
is all it takes'
(Charlie Hayes) .
- Experience versus
- Do we have a choice about whether to become enlightened?
'I am' the content?
Technique of Michael Langford.
- What does it mean to say that we are 'one
- You really seem to have got it in for the modern nondualism
- 'No-path' teaching and neo-advaita.
- svadharma and Hitler.
- How can I be brahman yet not know brahman?
- Pairs of opposites.
- Traditional Vs
- Why should I be afraid of a thought?
- What is the difference between samAdhi and
the deep sleep state?
- (A long question and answer about) knowledge,
science and enlightenment.
- (A very long question and answer about) Ignorance
and Enlightenment (continuing from the
previous Q & A).
- Concerns for
- Are some people unable to be sufficiently
detached from the suffering of the world?
- Insight and spiritual
- The qualities
of Krishna in Advaita.
- Meditation on
objects and asking 'who am I?'.
- 'Giving up on
- On the existence
- Is there evil in brahman?
- Some questions
about karma yoga.
- How did we become
- On the relationship
between brahman and mAyA.
- On reading a
single text as a practice.
- On experiences,
enlightenment and contentment.
- On the confusion between liberation and enlightenment.
- How do you pronounce advaita?
- On being in
the present and j~nAna yoga.
- Studying the
Upanishads and goal of man.
- Experience of
- ) Questions on
- ) neo-advaita 'teaching'
- ) and the new
- ) Is Ramesh
- ) enlightened?
- Does mAyA hava
- Some comments
on 'Enlightenment' E-Book.
- Reading (Back
to the Tuth) and practice.
- Lots of questions
on the 'Enlightenment' E-Book.
- Problem of good
- Can one 'get
- Why do you have
links to neo-advaitins?
- Does nothing
- More questions
on Enlightenment E-Book (Continuation of
- On Happiness
- Is there only
- On the desire
for making money.
- Where is the
'bliss' of pure being?
- How does one
move towards enlightenment in advaita?
- Does advaita
endorse man's dominion?
- Is there room
for individuality in Brahman?
and spiritual progress.
- An alcoholic
looking for happiness.
- Is my understanding
of Advaita correct?
- Are there other
people having subjective experiences?
- Are teachers
x and y neo-advaitins?
- How do you rationalise
your lack of belief in free-will with traditional
- Body, memory
- j~nAna yoga
and the Brahma Sutras.
- On shabda pramANa
and knowing the Self.
- Question about
mAyA and its origin.
- On the notion
of a 'witness'.
- On the 'silly
arguments' between traditional and neo.
- On Near Death
Experiences and communication with the dead.
- Do the enlightened
- Surely individuals
cannot have multiple lives?
- On the merits
of neo-advaita, with particular reference
to Jeff Foster.
- Why do people
have near-death experiences?
- Was Nisargadatta
- I'm not sure
that my goal is enlightenment.
- [I've had a
powerful religious experience and wonder
if it is enlightenment.]
- Who is it who
- How can brahman
be indescribable and yet be said to be sat-chit-Ananda?
- After realization,
can one simply enjoy reading books by neo-advaitins?
- Why do you recommend
books by neo-advaitins?
(See also question 122)
- Is there a distinction
between consciousness and awareness?
- Is our sense
of 'being' only a reflection of the absolute?
- Is there an
easy translation of the Mandukya Upanishad?
- What are your
top 10 (5) books? Which would you most want
to keep (not including 'Back to the Truth'?
- How does one
convert 'partial' enlightenment into 'complete'
- If a teacher has
not completely eradicated his saMskAra-s,
can he call himself enlightened?
- Do you feel
the need to write about advaita? Is this
- Are dreamed
- How can traditional
be 'better' than 'neo'?
- Some more short
questions on my criticism of neo-advaita.
- Regarding mAyA.
- Am 'I' the 'sense
- If one person
becomes enlightened, why does not everyone
- Are only unenlightened
- More criticism
of the traditional versus neo-advaitin debates.
- I have problems
with the notion of 'choice' and 'doing'.
- Could you give
me your opinion of Gangaji?
- How does one
cope with anger?
- Do I need to
- Can one still
attain enlightenment if one blasphemes against
- After all jIva-s
have attained enlightenment, might lIlA start
all over again?
- Does Self-realization
arise as the result of dissolution of all
- Is there choice
at the moment of awakening?
- On Ramana Maharshi's 'Who am I?'
- Why is 'OM namo...'
sometimes written 'OM namaH...'?
- What does chidAbhAsa
- A question about
- A discussion
on kuNDalinI yoga.
- On functioning
in the world post-enlightenment.
- Why do we suffer,
while God does not?
- Further objections
to the criticism of neo-advaita.
- Everyone is
as enlightened as everyone else.
- How do we know
that the seat of awareness is not in the
- Aren't 'truth',
'justice', 'faith' etc real?
- What is the
relation between 'waking consciousness' and
- The experience
of a j~nAnI.
- Do you make
a distinction between Awareness and Consciousness?
- Is advaita fatalistic?
- A question about
the enlightened 'person'.
- On the need
for a teacher.
- On shravaNa,
manana and nididhyAsana.
- How can different
philosophies derive from the same sciptures?
- On traditional
teaching and 'methods'.
- 'The sound current.'
- On the freedom
to dedicate bhAvana (mental attitude).
- On the Ramakrishna
- Various paths
- Getting rid
of the false sense of 'I'.
- My understanding
is only intellectual.
- Can one 'lose'
- The role
of the mind in enlightenment.
- On the 'changelessness'
- On selfishness
versus selflessness and svadharma.
- What is meant
by 'Consciousness is not the final reality'?
- On the mind,
brain and Buddhism.
- How should one
reconcile spiritual seeking and career?
- What does Nisargadatta
mean by Consciousness 'coming out of' Awareness?
- On the mind, brain and reality.
- On the concept of 'Beingness'.
- On requesting payment for teaching.
- How does one reconcile 'right action' with helping others?
- Is it necessary to practise karma yoga etc in order to understand the higher teaching?
- How can I be the creator of the world and yet the world is an illusion?
- Why don't I come to know everything on enlightenment?
- Are the vAsanA-s stored in the causal or subtle body?
- If given the choice between liberation from rebirth, and rebirth with self-knowledge, which should one choose?
- What about people who are clearly enlightened but claim they are not?
- Is there a difference between the observer and the observed or not?
- I have difficulty trying to 'see' my thoughts.
- The nature of jIvanmukti.
- The concept of shabdha pramANa.
- The perils and pitfalls of Neo-Advaita.
- Is Advaita a cure for life?
- The Release Technique?
- Nondualism - a question of definition.
- Neo versus traditional Advaita... again.
- Consciousness, brahman and samAdhi.
- Awareness vs Consciousness Part I of II.
- Awareness vs Consciousness Part II of II.
- brahman and the mind.
- The relative status of jIva, world, Ishvara and brahman.
- The mind and the I-thought.
- The content of enlightenment.
- Enlightenment, meditation and mithyA.
- Karma and reincarnation.
- The last rug.
- The enlightened dream?
- Knowledge versus experience.
- Free will.
- Ignorance and existence.
- Finding a teacher.
- Neo-Advaita and meditation.
- Behavior of the guru.
- Near-death experiences.
- Enlightenment and the brain.
- Self-realization - why bother?
- Enlightenment and the nature of reality.
- Traditional Advaita versus Neo-Advaita... once more.
- Describing brahman.
- Different approaches and practices.
- Consciousness and the Brain.
- No more questions...
- 'Knowledge' series.
- Why is not everyone interested in Advaita?
- The Void.
- Inquiry into the nature of 'I'.
- How does a plant grow without an observer?
- Practical requirements for studying advaita.
- Who is the individual?
- Who is afraid/angry?
- Need to 'resonate' with a guru.
- Enlightenment at the end of the universe.
- Does an object exist before we see it?
- Direct Path and the 'intellectual mind'.
- saMskAra and memory.
- Qualified guru.
- brahman and mAyA.
- Shankara and advaita.
- Do we have to read certain scriptures?
- prArabdha karma and reincarnation.
- Suffering and neo-advaita.
- Does a j~nAnI still see the world?
- Emotions and enlightenment.
- Cause of creation.
- I am not the reflection.
- Ignorance and the Self.
- Advaita and Buddhism.
- Why do we see duality?
- Pursuing enlightenment and rebirth.
- Questions (and answers) continue at Advaita Vision.
If you want to ask a question, and do not object to its being included in this section, please
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