Ultimate Truth is higher than everything, perfect understanding and assimilation is the only way to acquire Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana. Neither the caste nor the orthodox living is the qualification for liberation. There is no one of low caste or higher caste because everyone and everything is created out of single stuff. One realizes the ultimate Truth not through one’s deeds but by getting rid of ignorance.
Self-Realization is not an experience. People who think Self can be experienced are still infancy because they are not personally self-searched. Their understanding and assimilation are dependent on intellectual spoon feeding form whatever they have read, heard and assumed. Since their egocentric outlook, they refuse to accept or verify anything other than their accepted truth. Discussing with such people is waste of time. Discussions on the subject are more important than mixing up every teaching or quotation of some great thinkers or scriptural authority.
It is beyond all experience. Experiences imply duality. Duality is mere illusion from ultimate standpoint. The consciousness beyond experience and it cannot be experienced because it is cause of all experiences and it itself is uncaused because it is non-dual in its nature.
The grace cannot be experienced. It is emotionally hallucinated people propagate to experience the grace by plying with people feelings of people hallucinating them with ornamental words promising them with the experience of the self. Such hallucinated experience is not wisdom.
Birth, life and death, Virtue and vice, pleasure and pain are of the waking or dream not of the formless witness of the waking or dream. The formless witness (soul or self) pervades in everything everywhere, in all the three states as their formless substance. The true self is neither the doer not enjoyer because it is not an individual. Doing and enjoying is an individual experience within the illusion.
People think that their chosen path is right path. And it is foolish to tell them they are not in right path because until they themselves become aware that their chosen path is inadequate and useless in quenching their spiritual thirst they will not accept anything other then what they think is right. Pursuit of truth is personal journey and it cannot be imposed on others. The people who have inner urge will find the right path, at right time with right people and move ahead in their mental (inner) journey.
Consciousness is the true Self and it does not belong to any religion or race and creed. It is not perceived by the senses. It is unattached, formless and witness of all the body and universe.
Consciousness is the Eternal Truth, the real Self and the only Universal Reality or Omnipresent Reality which is the Truth of all life and existence whether visible or invisible.
Consciousness has no beginning and no end it is the eternal ageless Consciousness is the One besides which there is nothing else existent.
In Consciousness is the essence of the illusory universe in which the birth, life and death takes place. There is no experience or conception by which one can limit it.
The formless is form, the timeless is time, and the spaceless is space. The form, time and space are mere mirage created out of consciousness. Thus form, time and space are created out of single stuff, which is consciousness.
The cause and effect is the theory based on the false self. When the birth, life and death and the world are mere illusion on the ultimate standpoint, how the physical based theories such as creator and creation, cause and effect, karma can be real.
Illusion is the nature of consciousness. It is in ignorance the illusion becomes reality and when the consciousness remains in its formless non-dual true nature the duality is mere illusion. The universe is in the form of mind. The mind is mere mirage created out of consciousness. Without the mirage it is pure awareness. The mind appears as waking or dream. The dream is parallel waking and waking is parallel dream. Mind and spirit are one in essence.
One has to burn down the ignorance with the fire of conviction that “I AM is the self but the self is I AM-less existence. Until one hold the ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ as self he is duped by his own egocentric outlook and he will remain hallucinating that he knows the truth and what he knows as ultimate truth. Until and unless one comes out of hangout from I and I AM base, it is impossible to cross the threshold of duality. ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ or words used in duality to indicate the self. Deeper self-search reveals the fact that neither the ‘I’ nor the ‘I AM’ is self because the sense of ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ is present only in physical existence whereas the self is beyond ‘I’ or I AM. In the past some sages must have used it to help the seekers to reach up to the level of ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ by revealing only half wisdom and kept the other halfway to reach the destination as a secret. People who are stuck with ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ remain in the stagnant water if they do not proceed beyond ‘I’ or ‘I AM’.
Because People hold their teacher, guru, god men or scriptural scholar as authenticated authority on truth and treat only the words of religious robed god men or gurus as a final say, and they miss their inner track. If one is seeking truth then it is necessary for him to investigate all the facts, on his own by deeper reasoning to realize the fact that, the path of religion and path of yoga are not the means to realize the ultimate reality, because theses paths are egocentric paths. Thus all the egocentric paths lead to hallucination not towards the ultimate realization. Thus, it is wrong declaration to say that, every path leads one to the same destination because egocentric paths leads one to hallucination and only soul-centric path leads one towards the ultimate realization.
Self –Realization is Self - awareness that is, realizing the self is not form but self is formless consciousness and being aware of the true self in the midst of duality, which is mere illusion.
Therefore one has to become aware of the true self, is neither the waking entity nor the dream entity but the formless substance and witness of the three states. Therefore, one has to dropping all the baggage of the accumulated dross, which is blocking his realization of his formless true identity by starting a fresh in his pursuit of truth.
Advaitin Orthodox people think themselves as great Gnanis and they are very pure and think that whatever they know is ultimate truth but they are unaware of the fact that their conduct oriented preaching and practices are part and parcel of the illusion.
They try to snub other by quoting scriptural citation which they have mastered and try to prove that they are right.
They try to establish their philosophy as the only right vision, the only right perspective: that all is Maya, illusion.
They propagate rituals and theories as the means to get freedom or Moksha.
An old story about the Advaitic orthodox and untouchable :-
Ancient day’s orthodox people used to take dip in the river. An Advaitic orthodox pundit took a dip in the river. And as he was coming up the steps, a man touched him on purpose, not accidentally, and told him, "Please forgive me. I am a low caste, I am untouchable. I am sorry sir, but you will have to take another dip in the river to clean yourself."
The orthodox Advaitic pundith was very angry. He said, "It was not accidental, the way you did that; you did it on purpose. You should be punished in hell."
The low caste man said: - “When all is illusory, it seems only hell remains real." That took the orthodox scholar aback.
The man said, "Before you go for your dip, you have to answer my few questions. If you don't answer me, each time you come up after your bath, I will touch you."
It was lonely and nobody else was there, so orthodox Advaitin said, "You seem to be a very strange person. What are your questions?"
v He said, "My first question is: Is my body illusory?
v Is your body illusory?
v And if two illusions touch each other, what is the problem?
v Why are you going to take another bath?
v You are not practicing what you are preaching. How, in an illusory world, can there be a distinction between the untouchable and the Brahmin? -- The pure and the impure? -- When both are illusory, when both are made of the same stuff as dreams are made of? What is the fuss?"
The Advaitin pundit could not answer this simple man because any answer was going to be against his understanding of philosophy. If he says they are illusory, then there is no point in being angry about it. If he says they are real, then at least he accepts the reality of bodies... but then there is a problem. If human bodies are real, then animal bodies, the bodies of the trees, the bodies of the planets, the stars... then everything is real.
The man said, "I know you cannot answer this -- it will finish your whole philosophy. I will ask you another question: I am a low caste, untouchable, impure, but where is my impurity -- in my body or in my soul? I have heard you declaring that the soul is absolutely and forever pure, and there is no way to make it impure; so how can there be a distinction between souls? Both are pure, absolutely pure, and there are no degrees of impurity -- that somebody is more pure and somebody is less pure. So perhaps it is my soul that has made you impure and you have to take another dip in the river?"
That was even more difficult. But he had never been in such trouble -- actual, practical, in a way scientific. Rather than arguing about words, the low caste had created a situation in which the Advaitic scholar accepted his defeat.
The low caste said, "Then don't go take another dip. Anyway there is no river, no me, no you; all is illusory. Just go in the temple -- that too is an illusion -- and pray to God. He too is an illusion, because whatever appeared as waking experience is also as unreal as the dream.
Conceptual or religious Advaita is not the means for Self- Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana.
That is why Sri, Sankara says in VivekaChudamani :-
56. Neither by Yoga, nor by Sankhya, nor by work, nor by learning, but by the realisation of one's identity with Brahman is Liberation possible, and by no other means.
58. Loud speech consisting of a shower of words, the skill in expounding the Scriptures, and likewise erudition - these merely bring on a little personal enjoyment to the scholar, but are no good for Liberation.
59. The study of the Scriptures is useless so long as the highest Truth is unknown, and it is equally useless when the highest Truth has already been known.
60. The Scriptures consisting of many words are a dense forest which merely causes the mind to ramble. Hence men of wisdom should earnestly set about knowing the true nature of the Self.
61. For one who has been bitten by the serpent of Ignorance, the only remedy is the knowledge of Brahman. Of what avail are the Vedas and (other) Scriptures, Mantras (sacred formulae) and medicines to such a one?
62. A disease does not leave off if one simply utter the name of the medicine, without taking it; (similarly) without direct realisation one cannot be liberated by the mere utterance of the word Brahman.
63. Without causing the objective universe to vanish and without knowing the truth of the Self, how is one to achieve Liberation by the mere utterance of the word Brahman ? — It would result merely in an effort of speech.
64. Without killing one’s enemies, and possessing oneself of the splendor of the entire surrounding region, one cannot claim to be an emperor by merely saying, ‘I am an emperor’.
65. As a treasure hidden underground requires (for its extraction) competent instruction, excavation, the removal of stones and other such things lying above it and (finally) grasping, but never comes out by being (merely) called out by name, so the transparent Truth of the self, which is hidden by Maya and its effects, is to be attained through the instructions of a knower of Brahman, followed by reflection, meditation and so forth, but not through perverted arguments.
People who are yearning for spiritual truth will not find it through intellectual speculation and assumption. Intellectual truth is individual truth. Love implies duality and love is individual feelings within the falsehood. Love is necessary and valuable in the stated of ignorance but it is not the means to acquire wisdom. Love is religious tool to lead life in practical world. And Religious truth is individual truth and it is not universal truth because the religion is based on individuality.
It becomes difficult for the orthodox cult to accept anything else as truth other than their accepted belief, which they hold as truth. Although all religious followers are participants alike in the spiritual endeavor of the world, overzealous followers of each religion are not prepared to accord equal status to other faiths and assert the superiority of their own. Thus universal brother hood is total impossibility because it is difficult to accept anything other than their inherited belief system.
Most of the pundits are egoic and they try to snub others who question them. They think they are unquestionable authority. They quote the citation from the scriptures as proof without verifying the validity. All punditry is a great obstacle in realizing the Advaitic truth expounded by the Sri, Sankara and Goudapada.
One finds lots of differences between Advita preaching and practice. There is need to bifurcate religion, concept of god and scriptures from Adavitic philosophy to assimilate the essence of Adavita.
Sri, Sankara says in Brahma Sutras: that Brahman is the cause of the world, whereas in Mandukya he denies it. This is because he says that at the lower stage of understanding, the former teaching must be given, for people will get frightened as they cannot understand how the world can be without a cause, but to those in a higher stage, the truth of non-causality can be revealed.
Sri, Sankara himself has warned us not to use ambiguous words, and to practice semantic analysis in his book "Definition of one's own Self.(" Page 199, v.24 of "Sankara's Selected Works)
Sri, Sankara founded his Advaita Vedanta either on reason independent of sruti or on sruti confirmed by reason." Sri, Sankara's commentary on the Mandukya Upanishad, II, 1: This [the unreality of duality] is borne out by the Srutis ... But it is possible also to show the unreality of the object world even from pure reasoning, and this second chapter is undertaken for that purpose.
Sri, Sankara himself had often said that his philosophy was based on Sruti, or revealed scripture. This may be because Sri, Sankara addressed the ordinary man, who finds security in the idea of causality and thus in the idea of God—and Revelation is indispensable to prove the latter. He believed that those of superior intelligence, have no need of this idea of divine causality, and can therefore dispense with Sruti and arrive at the truth of Non-Dualism by pure reason.
Non-duality does not need the support of any Scripture or Revelation like the Veda. For it is based, not upon the varying theological fancies, which are as numerous as the sands of the sea, but upon reason, the common heritage of all mankind, irrespective of colour or creed or clime.
When Upanishad itself declares:- sarvam khalvidam brahma - all this (universe) is verily Brahman. By following back all of the relative appearances in the world, we eventually return to that from which it is all manifest – the non-dual reality [ Chandogya Upanishad].
Then it is no use going roundabout way, trace the Brahman which is the formless substance and witness of the universe, which is in the form of mind. By tracing the source of the mind or universe one will be able to realize the Brahman.
Thus, self-knowledge is meant only for those who have intense urge, and courage to accept the truth with humility and reject the untruth. Since people start comparing with their scriptural knowledge, it becomes impossible to assimilate and realize the non-dual truth. Therefore, there is no need to convince anyone other than our own-selves to get the firm conviction.
Gaudapada says :- the merciful Veda teaches karma and upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, while jnana is taught to those of higher intellect.
So they clearly indicate rituals and theories are not meant for those who are searching for the higher knowledge or wisdom.
All the orthodox Advaitins indulge and immersed themselves in ritualistic oriented life style and preach theoretical philosophies which are obstacle in realizing the Advaitic truth. Many chose these orthodox scholars as their gurus. But these gurus are good to learn the conceptual Advaita meant for those orthodox who believe their conduct oriented life style leads to liberation. But those who are seeking truth have to do their own homework in order to acquire Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana.
That is why in Ish Upanishads declares :-
Vidya and Avidya both are hindrances to Self-knowledge, but Vidya is even worse than Avidya. The word Vidya is used here in a special sense; here it means worshipping gods and goddesses. By worshipping gods and goddesses you will go after death to the world of gods and goddesses. But will that help you? The time you spend there is wasted, because if you were not there you could have spent that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is your goal. In the world of gods and goddesses you cannot do that, and thus you go deeper and deeper into darkness.
Avidya is Karma and therefore a hindrance. You perform Avidya - i.e., you perform Agnihotra and other sacrifices. This is a roundabout way of purifying the mind, and it is also groping in the dark. But it may not have as heavy a toll on your time and energy as the other.
Therefore, self-realization is necessary in order to realize the ultimate truth or god. Self-realization is real God realization.
People are ignorant and they are unaware of the reality of their true existence. Man and his experience of universe is simply a mirage created out of the consciousness, Consciousness is the real Self, the real Atman, is the reality.
That is why in Mundaka Upanishad indicates: - The rituals and the sacrifices described in the Vedas deal with lower knowledge. The sages ignored these rituals and went in search of higher knowledge. ... Such rituals are unsafe rafts for crossing The sea of samsara, of birth and death. Doomed to shipwreck are those who try to cross The sea of samsara on these poor rafts. Ignorant of their own ignorance, yet wise In their own esteem, these deluded men Proud of their vain learning go round and round Like the blind led by the blind.
Sri, Ramana Maharishi said: scriptural knowledge is conceptual divisions invented by teachers of philosophy by their excessive analysis. Where do all these concepts end? Why should confusion created and then explained away? Fortunate is the man who does not lose himself in the labyrinths of philosophy, but goes straight to the source from which they all arise.
Ramana Maharishi indicated the direct path to the truth, is the source from which the false arises. Thus the source is the soul/ Atman, which is the true self. Atman itself is Brahman. Thus it is necessary to view the world-view on the base of the source, which the true self, and formless substance and witness of the experience of diversity. Thus deeper inquiry, analysis and reasoning on the true base, one can acquire the self –knowledge in lesser time and effort. The unity in diversity is possible only through self-knowledge not by mastering the scriptural knowledge.
One has to bifurcate the physicalized Advaita(religious orthodoxy) which is meant for the mass mind set, who are incapable inquire to verifying their inherited beliefs. But for the seekers truth, to get the pure essence of non-duality which is based on the formless soul. The path of inquiry, analysis and reasoning on the true base, leads one towards the non-dual destination. Therefore, there is need to rectify the seeking base from ego base to soul base to understand, assimilate and realize the non-dual truth.
Even Ramana Maharishi also says: this self –inquiry is not the critical study of the scriptures. When the source is reached the ego gets merged into it. The result of self-inquiry is the cure for all the sorrows. It is the highest of all the results. There is nothing greater then it. It only indicates there is no necessity to study the scriptures to acquire self-knowledge. (Page-66-practicle guide to know yourself c/e by A.R.N).
Ramana Maharishi says:
Q by D:- Is not necessary to study the Vedas or at least the Prasthanatraya [the Bhagavad Gita,Dasopanishad and Brahma Sutras, all with commentaries]to ensure firm realization?
Ramana Maharishi:-No. Do you need all that to see yourself? All that is intellectual wealth, useful in explain doubts and difficulties if others rise them or if you yourself encounter them in the course of thinking. But to attain realization, all that is not necessary. You want fresh water to drink, but you do not require all the water of the river Ganges to quench your thirst. (Page 111/112 of Practical guide to know yourself c/e by A.R.N).
This surely indicates Sri, Ramana Maharishi’s path is independent path nothing to with the religion and scriptures.
Even Upanishad declares :-
This Atman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas, or by intelligence, or by much hearing of sacred books. It is attained by him alone whom It chooses. To such a one Atman reveals Its own form. (Katha Upanishad Ch-II -23-P-20)
Mundaka Upanishad :-
This Atman cannot be attained through study of the Vedas, nor through intelligence, nor through much learning. He who chooses Atman—by him alone is Atman attained. It is Ataman that reveals to the seeker Its true nature. (3 –page-70 Mundaka Upanishad Upanishads by Nikilanada)
The scriptures indicate that Atman is Brahman, and Brahman is ultimate truth. Therefore the soul, which is in the form of consciousness, is ultimate truth. Thus to realize the ultimate truth is the prime goal. A well-directed inquiry, analysis and reasoning will lead one to his non-dual destination.
Self-Realization is direct realization of the ultimate truth or real god, in contrast with traditional paths, which are indirect. And the other paths cannot lead to the ultimate destination because they are based on the false self, which they hold as real self and false experience as reality.
Until and unless one overcomes physical shackle it is impossible to understand and assimilate the non-dual truth, which is beyond the physical existence or the universe. Consciousness itself is lord of itself though not of the universe. And having nothing it has all.
Gaudapada quotes from the Upanishads: "There's no plurality here"; "The Lord [Atman] through his powers appears to be many"; "those who are attached to creation or production or origination go to utter darkness"; "the unborn is never reborn, for who can produce him [Atman]?”
It is only who base on ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ as self, argue and quarrel amongst themselves. The people who are fully aware of the fact that, the form, time and space are mere mirage created out of consciousness have no reason to quarrel, because for them everything is consciousness and no second thing exist other than consciousness.