(The following article is about the important philosophical vision
(Darshan of Advaita. ) …a collection
(Note:- for those who are not familiar with the word Advaita that is ‘Non dual’, our speech or intellect can not express completely as it is. Though, the Truth is the ultimate goal of all human beings and religions, sages try to say or express this with many names: Aatmaa, Brahman, Aum, Moksha, Ishwara, Nirvana, Buddhahood, Shunya, Allah, God, and so on for our worldly convenience.)
Advaita is not an explanation, it is an experience. It cannot be restricted within any blueprint no matter how comprehensive. It is a fluent immediacy of understanding for which words are inadequate.
We can do no better than quote extensively from ‘Dialogues With The Guru’ complied by R. K. Aiyar in conversation with His Holiness Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Swaminah (1912 to 1954), Shankaracharya of Shrigeri Math, South India
Mr. R.: I shall be very grateful if your Holiness will be pleased to initiate me into the Advaita Vedanta yourself.
H.H.: I shall certainly be very glad to do so, if I can do it. But it is quite beyond my competence.
Mr. R.: I am sure Your Holiness is not serious. If Your Holiness professes incompetence to teach Advaita, I do not see how anybody else in the world can claim to teach it.
H.H.: What can we do? It is the nature of the subject. The Upanishad itself proclaims, ‘He who claims to know, knows not’. The Advaita is not something to be learnt; therefore it cannot be a thing to be taught. It is essentially something to be realized by oneself. I cannot therefore undertake to teach you. If, however, in the course of your Vedantic studies, you want any passage to be explained either in a text or in a commentary, I shall certainly try my best to explain it. I can thus help you only to understand the significance of words or of sentences which are composed of words, or ideas which are conveyed by sentences. But it is impossible to convey to you a correct idea of what Advaita is, for it is neither a matter of words nor is it a mental concept. It is, on the other hand, pure experience which transcends all these. Suppose I do not know what sweetness is. Can you describe sweetness in words sufficiently expressive to convey an idea of sweetness to me?
Mr. R.: That is certainly impossible.
H.H.: Sweetness can be known only when I put some sweet thing on my tongue. It is impossible to be explained in words or to be learnt from another person. It has to be realized in direct experience. If a thing that is so familiar to us as sweetness transcends all expression, what if how much more transcendental will be the truth of Advaita, which is the supreme sweeten.
More on Advaita (Non-dual)
What Advaita presents to us is not a way to accumulate knowledge so as to control the world around us, nor a certificate of self aggrandizement, nor does it provide a diploma to teach others. The essential experience of Advaita means realizing that there are no ‘others’ to teach. What it does offer is wisdom and a way to be spiritually free.
( a collection)
Where there is duality, there you understand another, you think of and think the other; but by what do you understand the under-stander or think the thinker? For you cannot see the seer, you cannot understand the under-stander, and know the knower.
— Brhadaranyaka Upanisad III.4.2
Although the Self/Atma is real, as it comprises everything, it does not give room for questions involving duality about its reality or unreality. Therefore it is said to be different from the real and unreal. —– Shri Raman Maharsi.
An Upanishadic event
Badhva, an Upanishadic sage/guru, is being questioned about the nature of the Absolute by his disciple, Bashkali.
The guru sits motionless and silent.
“Teach me Sir”, prayed the disciple.
The teacher continued to be silent.
When addressed a second and third time he (the teacher) said, “I am teaching, but you do not follow. Self (Aatmaa) is silence” (upshanta FpjwjNjtj)
(The section given above is from an Upanishad, but lost due to some historical reason, and also partially found in Brahma Sutra/Shanker – Bhasya 3/2/17 )
Similar events of “silence as knowledge” have occurred between Daxinamurty and Sanatkumars, and between Lord Buddha and one of his disciples.
Silence is ever-speaking. It is a perennial flow of language. It is interrupted by speaking.
For the Reality which is not expressible as it is, the Vedas express it with the great dictum
“Neti..Neti.”(njeitj njeitj) – Not this ! ..Not this !
I am neither ‘that’ nor ‘this’,
Nor am I merely the meaning content of Sat;
I am but Sat Cit Amrut (immortal bliss)—
Having attained this transparency
And becoming well-stabilized in it,
With no preference for the real or the unreal,
I should gently, gently merge in the SAT AUM !
There is a finer and deeper explanation in the Mandukya Upanishad of our final goal. The following mantra from the Mandukya Upanishad (chapter of Vedas) is a very important and highly intuitive statement in the above context. I offer two translations expressing the Reality.
Na Antah Pragyam Na Bahihi Pragyam Na Ubhayatah Pragyam Na Pragyaanaghanam Na Pragyam Na Apragyam// Adrashyamavyavahaartam Agraahyam Alaxanam Achintyam
Avyapadeshyam//. Ekaatma Pratyayasaaram Prapanchopashamam Shaantam Shivam Adaitam///. Chaturtham Manyante Sa Atmaa Sa Vigyeya : Mandukya Upanishad–(7)
(1) As not inwardly conscious, not outwardly conscious, as not filled with a knowing content, not conscious, not unconscious, unseen, non-predictable, ungraspable, bereft of quality, unthinkable, indeterminate, as the substance of the certitude of the unitive Self, as the calmer of manifested, tranquil, numinous, non-dual (ad]vjEtjN), is the forth limb considered to be. He is the Self; that is to be recognized.
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(2) They consider the Fourth to be that which a not conscious of the internal world, nor conscious of the external world, nor conscious of both the worlds, nor a mass of consciousness, nor conscious, nor unconscious; which is unseen, beyond empirical dealings, beyond the grasp (of the organs of action), un-inferable, unthinkable, indescribable; whose valid proof consist in the single certitude in the Self; in which all phenomena cease; and which is unchanging, auspicious, and non-dual. That is the Self, and That is to be known.
The great Seers/Rushis of Vedas and all others who have realised the ‘all encompassing THAT’ which is called by many denominations Aatmaa/Brahman/Aum- Advait (SELF/ non-dual / unconditional Truth , silence-awareness, Nirvana ). The Vedas, the original scripture of Hindus, express THAT as ‘Neti-Neti’ (not this – not this) as well Anirvachaniya in the Sanskrit language.
Anirvachaniya means:- ineffable, inexplicable, inexpressible, and indeterminable. ‘THAT’ has no name but when the great seers, for our benefit, try to express through the world of time, space, and relativity have to pass through law of object/subject relativity. There a bi-polarity occurs from a horizontal or worldly point of view. Consequently though, the Absolute has no name, as well as no form or face, at same time having many names even like Lord, God, Ishwar, Allah, etc. (The Supreme Lord according to the Vedas is creator, sustainer, and dissolver/destructor). THAT has no birth, but can incarnate as God’s avatars like Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Rama, Krisna, and so on. It is interesting to know that in Sanskrit grammar, all of these gods’ names coming under scriptural authority have abstract meaning; and if all these are reduced to their most precise and finest point or to ultimate final essence, result as “One without second” – Advait – Self/Aatma/Brahman that is: Anirvachaniya.