Advaita Vision


Advaita for the 21st Century

Questions and Answers
Dennis Waite

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How to Meet Yourself cover   The Book of One cover  Back to the Truth cover  Enlightenment: the path through the jungle

Read extracts from and purchase my books: For beginners to Advaita - 'How to Meet Yourself (and find true happiness);
For intermediate Advaita students - 'The Book of One';
For advanced students - 'Back to the Truth: 5000 Years of Advaita'.
For a comparison of teaching methods in Advaita - 'Enlightenment: the Path through the Jungle' .

No more questions...

Q. A few weeks ago, I sent you an email. It was one of the run-of-the-mill emails that you probably receive on a daily basis; another involved question arising from the standpoint of the 'me' who was asking. Thank you for your prompt reply.

Since that time something wonderfully simple has happened. The 'me' story ended. In the blink of an eye, I saw clearly that my entire life, physically, emotionally and mentally, has been constant change - and I understood fully: that what has not changed, and cannot change, is the 'I' that has always been aware of the changes while unchanged by them. I am that, pure and simple. So simple!

A. Sounds great! What about the world?

Q. What about the world, you ask. Is this like that old question about whether or not a tree falling in the woods makes any sound in doing so if there is nobody there to hear it? If it is, then I would have to answer, no. Neither wood, tree, or sound would be at all.


After your 'what of the world' question, there was a pause, a short period of contemplation, on my part of how to answer. Some advice is therefore needed, if you please.

It was only yesterday that the understanding arose of my being that awareness, which is of an unchangeable nature. Whether or not this is understood as fact is not an issue. What is an issue, to be honest with you, is a sense that the understanding is something that must be concentrated (for lack of a better word) upon, in order to keep the understanding unobstructed. In other words, it is an understanding that does not seem fully grounded, though it is fully understood.

There is this sure sense that a line has been crossed, and though I am aware of having crossed it, it seems there is still more to come. I can't really put this into better words. It is like I stand in awarenesses vantage point for the first time, but, there remains a deepening still to come. It is something sensed. Would you briefly address this? If indeed I have made any sense at all to you. A smile. Thank you in advance

A. That is exactly right! The reason for my question was to prompt you to say that. As you continue to reflect upon what has been realized, it is likely that there will be doubts and questions. The clearing of these is what is known as 'manana' in Sanskrit. And following on from this (or rather, in parallel, and lagging slightly behind) is the �deepening� and complete �grounding� which you speak of � this is nididhyAsana. But the key step has now been made!

Q. It has only been hours since I have last contacted you. At present there is nothing to assure who, or what I am contacting. I feel as though I am writing to myself. So strange. Nevertheless, I shall proceed.

Tonight, while watching CNN etc., I was struck with the absurdity of it all. It was as though being aware of what was being heard, holds the essence of a 'so what'. Segments of the news, of imagined peace, or of war and killing, held no real distinction or meaning. None of it was what is being experienced now. To be dispassionate was natural. War or peace are known as simply rising ideology, and as such, are hollow.

In other words: no meaning of 'anything' now holds water, period. Even writing this email seems so stupid. This sense of dispassion is nothing new, it has been around awhile. It has simply become far more acutely evident. At the moment, all seems a joke. The 'intelligibleness' of anything seems dumb, and this viewpoint seems to be solidifying and dizzying. Nothing makes sense, and yet nor does it need to. Nothing, except for the fact that I am aware of what seems to be now nonsensical, is in focus. Wow, what is going on? And to whom, or what, is this observation even being addressed? Are you really there?

A. The appearance goes on regardless. It is not like your own dream, which ends as soon as you wake up. This is Ishvara�s dream and it has empirical reality, which will continue for you until your body falls away. So by all means recognize that it is all only an appearance but you must still act as though it were real � the other participants in Ishvara�s dream will not take kindly to your new outlook on life!

'Knowledge' series

Q. I have been reading the mANDUkya upaniShad translated by Swami Chinmayananda, and on p. 249, he talks about how when one knows an object, a flower for example, the object cannot exist for me apart from my knowledge, and that this great truth has been dealt with in other scripture. Which scripture is he talking about and which translation? Do you know other books that talks about this clearly?

A. The scripture that discusses the means by which we find out about the world is vedAnta paribhAshA by dharmarAja adhvarIndra. This is available in a translation by Swami Madhavananda from Advaita Ashrama. But I wouldn't really recommend this original version - it is virtually unreadable. If you are really interested in this topic, I suggest you start reading Sadananda's 'Knowledge' series at the website, which is an attempt to make this work comprehensible. I have edited it and tried to make it as reader-friendly as possible but I confess to still finding it hard going at times. And, although there are currently some 65 parts, it is still nowhere near complete. I suggest you read a few pages and see how you get on.

If you want to ask a question, and do not object to its being included in this section, please email me.

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012