21st August 2003
Some Iraqi dinars in between...........
An excerpt from an article about Advaita from WIE (Andrew Cohen's
While Advaita's profound inspiration and power to liberate is
undeniable, its worldview has not been without its critics.
Advaita has no view, let alone a world-view.
The absence of the presence of views .........AND......... the absence of the absence of the presence of views,...
.....for ease of convention,.... is refered to as the gestalt of Advaita.
though "modern" Advaita seems to emphasize the indivisible nature of
the world and Brahman, or the Self Absolute,
If any consequential positing occurs, ........Advaita is lost.
Advaita philosophy has
traditionally expressed, as noted religious scholar Lance Nelson
points out, a "deep metaphysical bias against the world. . . . In the
end, the Advaita tradition fails to present a true nondualism of
world and Absolute. . . . It is rather an acosmic monism. It achieves
its nonduality not inclusively, but exclusively. Empirical reality is
admitted in a provisional way, but in the end it is cast out of the
Absolute, out of existence. From the highest perspective, the world
is simply not there [emphases ours]."
Highest or lowest, .....a perspective births the world.
A negated world is also a perspective.
Once again, even though modern
proponents of Advaita do not appear to exclude the world in their
vision of nonduality, in the classical view, the world is clearly
recognized as being either completely unreal, or only partially real.
Partially pregnant, eh.
And this is what Advaita has been historically criticized for.
Precisely because of its emphasis on the ultimate unreality and
illusory nature of the world and embodied existence, any teaching of
how to live in the world is entirely absent.
A "how", establishes a religion.
Advaita is the end of all religion.
More specifically, the
nondual teaching does not in any way address the ethical or moral
dimension of human life.
That which is related to time, i.e. changes with time and thus with circumstances,.....hooplas of the mind.
And even though modern Advaita does not seem
to exclude the world in its nondual view, it still is devoid of any
teaching that addresses the realities of human life.
Any attempt to address anything, including the so called realities of human life, is to apriori acknowledge and accept the existence of the issue.
As the dude in the diaper, muttered, ...."before trying to solve the problem, should you not find out who has the problem?"
A grasp of Advaita (to use a phrase), may not save your marriage, may not make you a better parent to deal with your teenager daughter, may not make you tons of money.
Or it may.
Interestingly enough, it appears that historically Advaita did not
address ethical or moral questions because, according to Nelson, the
highest nondual teachings were "never intended to be a philosophy for
the general public."
There is no schools of Advaita, there is no thingy called, no centre of Advaitic authority, which is authorised to deal or address.
The Hindu will never accept, but....singing farmers, carpenters, cobblers, householders, ......some five thousand years back appercieved and were moved to sing, ...........the arising expressings.
The songs were carried by one to another.
It was members of the general public who sang these songs, not learned Brahmins or theocratic priests.
Advaita literally means not-Two.
That is all.
Not-Two.............does not posit.............a One or a Self or an Absolute or a ParamBrahma.
Not-Two just connotes........Not-two.
In the apperception of this, .............where is the self left, and thus where is the "other" left, ......for the self to have ethical or moral questions to deal with.
Ethics, morality and thus the "how",...........can only exist in the gestalt of duality.
The exposure of the very gestalt of duality and not because it is some esoteric teachings to be whispered in some darkened room, in the ears of a select few, .........makes Advaita,...what it is.
In fact, he states that they were "formulated by
and for a narrow spiritual elite of male brahmins [members of the
highest, priestly class], primarily sannyasins [renunciates], who
alone were believed qualified to fully appropriate its import."
practically would have meant that the individual to whom the absolute
teachings were revealed would have already fulfilled the demanding
moral and ethical qualifications for discipleship. And even more than
that, Shankara himself states that the qualifications for
discipleship also demanded an extraordinary degree of detachment from
and transcendence of worldly desires:
And this same Shankar, when a low caste villager crossed his path, went back to the river Ganges to have another bath in order to purify himself and sit in sadhna.
The Upanshidic sages who sang and expressed Advaita, were householders, performing all the tasks that a householder's duties entail, but were so gone from themselves, ........that very few names remain for attributions.
The singers of yore truly exampled,..........
There is singing but no singer thereof
There is writing but no author thereof.
There is speaking, but no speaker thereof
There is doing, but no doer thereof.
Yes, .........apperception of Advaita is rare.
The pupil must be dispassionate toward all things noneternal. . . .
[Having] abandoned the desire for sons, wealth and worlds, endowed
with self-control [and] compassion, he is a brahmin who is internally
and externally pure, whose thought is calm, who has reached
tranquility. . . . [Thus] let him go to a spiritual teacher who is
learned in the scriptures and established in Brahman.
The unusual phenomenon occurring in the postmodern spiritual
marketplace is that now, as never before in history, what were once
considered the highest esoteric teachings, revealed only to those who
were prepared and had proven themselves worthy of their unimaginable
depth and subtlety, are available to anyone who wanders into a
That is true.
But so what?
When the "original" dudes sang, I am sure the bulk of the audience, back five thousand years ago, prefered Britteny Spears, or whoever was topping the charts, back then.
An important question seems to be: Are most
seekers genuinely prepared for the psychological upheaval and world-
shattering shift of perception that penetration into the Absolute
The upheaval and the shift, happens only through a specific object, at a specific time, at a specific place, ...............because non-upheaval, non-shift was not possible to occur through that object, in that place in that time.
Whether a paper-back from Amazon.com is the instrument or a sight of a leaf leaving the sanctuary of it's home and floating in the breeze in total trust,...is the instrument,....
.....to effect that upheaval,...........what difference does it make.
Advaita's emphasis on the illusory nature of embodied
existence has the potential to give license to human weakness and
self-indulgence if the individual is not already firmly grounded in a
fundamentally wholesome relationship to life.
Such a functioning, labeled by some as "human weakness" or "indulgence",.........will not await the blessing of Advaita,...to indulge, ............if it is to rock.
tendencies characterized by narcissistic, neurotic and deeply cynical
convictions so common today create a dangerously weak foundation for
a nondual perspective that transcends all pairs of opposites,
including right and wrong.
Part of "the thickening of the plot".
While Advaita's great strength is its
singular, unwavering emphasis on the Absolute dimension of existence,
its weakness is revealed in the limited scope of its singularity.
provided an assumption that a scoping is a paramount need, such an assumption is believed.
while any truly absolute view must, by definition, transcend all
distinctions, the inherent potential of Advaita or non dualism to
inspire a worldview that is perilously empty of any value whatsoever
It is the very emptiness of the presence of all values,......... including the value labeled Advaita.
Apperception of Advaita, .............is the end of the relevance of Advaita.
Indeed, the potential for escape, rather than genuine
transcendence, is great in such an absolute teaching. For to be
embraced, absorbed and utterly consumed by the Absolute is one thing
but to escape from the inherent complexity of life in order to avoid
the overwhelming demand that true surrender requires is another thing
Both being hooplas, ........the inter-alia differential profoundity,......... is yet another baloney hoopla.
So whether one takes place or the other,........rock-away-baby.
Doooooobeeeee Dooooooobeeeee Dooooooo.