Weekly Food For Thought

NON DUALITY CAN NEVER BE AN EXPERIENCE

Non duality is not a magical experience in which I start ‘seeing’ everything as one!  To understand non duality better, we should know how and where does the duality exists. Duality is experience of existence of ‘two’ in my mind. Mind only creates the   split in my every experience. How? When I see a flower, mind makes me to feel there are two – I the seer (experiencer) and the second thing flower which is ‘seen’(experienced). The ego aspect limits my awareness to the extent of my body and mind. This creates the separateness and otherness. In deep sleep we do not experience any duality when the mind (ego) is not active. Experiencing duality gives rise to fear, hatred, attraction, jealousy etc. This is the cause for misery (samsara). Chandogya Upanishad – ‘one who sees duality goes from death to death’- meaning one would get caught in repeated births and deaths if true knowledge of non-duality does not set in. If duality is the conditioning of the impure mind, non-duality is deconditioning of the mind which is pure.

Let us see one more example to understand non-duality. A gold piece is made into a necklace. I can see the gold as gold or as necklace. The gold is appearing as necklace. In reality the necklace has its existence in gold and it cannot be separated from gold. When melted, the necklace gets resolved in the gold. All that exists is only gold. The form with a name has created ‘two’. One only appeared as two. All our experiences are projected in our mind which is illumined by the consciousness. As light only (on the screen) undergoes modifications to form shapes as people and objects, all the projections in the mind are nothing but consciousness (light). Understanding all the ‘experienced’ as seeming reality (mere appearance) which exists in ‘me’ (I) is the ‘knowledge’ of non-duality (Atma jnana). It is not a factual knowledge but a direct knowledge.

Our mind (due to latent tendencies) gets captivated by the projections, and ‘forgets’ the underlying truth, the consciousness. Enabling the mind to correct the error and ‘realize’ the reality is the ‘summum bonum’ of spiritual practices (sadhana). Even after this realization, experience of duality will continue when we transact with the world. It is like, one who has learnt that mirage is just a false appearance, he will continue to see the mirage.  But that knowledge will avoid going to it to get water. Non-duality (advaita) is neither a belief nor an experience. It is the cognitive understanding (clarity) happening in an elevated and mature mind. The absolute reality is one and division-less (EKAM – ADVAYAM). THAT is, YOU. (Tad tvam asi) Here YOU is the conscious principle which pervades in and out of all beings. Getting an interest to know our non-dual reality is stated to be obtained by the grace of God – “Isvara anugrahaat eva pumsam advaita vasana”.

Until the absolute knowledge emerges, one has to look unto others as jig saw puzzle pieces. Me and others are part of a big picture. I share the place with others. Everyone’s place is irreplaceable. Play the game of life with the right understanding!

Weekly Food For Thought

WHY DO I SEE DUALITY?

I have forgotten what Swami Vivekandanda said – “All is not, God only is.” I have put God in the sky out of reach, forgetting that divinity is in every leaf, every grain of sand, in you and in me. I see everything as ordinary, stripping the sacred from everywhere, overlooking the wonderment in every facet of my life. I make-believe that God is not available to every soul and in every breath. Swami has said that the One appears as many, only to the prejudiced eye and that through Prema alone can the inherent, the immanent One be recognized. Imagine what would happen if you started feeling tremendous love for all creatures, for every plant, animal, all beauties of nature? Imagine if every child seemed like your own and every person you saw looked like a beautiful flower with its own color, expression, shape and sound? As you go deeper and deeper, you will notice that you are no longer judging. To differentiate is to judge. We tend to judge when we fall into the illusion that one creation is better than another, and so we fall into the endless fear of differences. But when your heart is filled with love, in place of judgement, there is respecting, appreciating, loving and cherishing. This kind of transformation will bring you closer to realizing the divinity that you are and when you begin to feel this joy, that’s when you will know God’s nature. Then nobody will upset or disappoint you, nothing will create a problem. Your natural state will get higher and higher. This expression of oneness is what we call love, compassion and kindness.

In the Gita, Krishna says there are some who love me as the oneness in all beings. We don’t see it, we see 10,000 waves, but we do not see the one water running through all the waves. We see the golden ornaments and our eyes are attracted to them, but we do not see the one gold running in and through all of them. There is a oneness to life which we are missing, it is there right now. It needs a break through, an intuition. If you feel it once, you have felt God. The test of all truth is if anything unites you it is true, if it divides you and sets you against one another it is false. That oneness which unites all of us, in which we are all grounded, the divine oneness is the very definition of Brahman. We love God as the oneness of all existence.

Activity and inactivity, like and dislike, good and bad, right and wrong, gain and loss, all come from ignoring or overlooking the underlying unity of being from which things and people derive their temporary name and form. If I do not allow appearances to veil their reality, my innate peace and happiness will pervade all experience. When my thoughts and feelings are governed by restlessness, holding and seeking, I no longer see things as they are. I make distinctions and judgments, see duality and multiplicity only because I overlook the unity of being that underlies all people and things. 

Compiled from Swami’s teachings and writings/discourses of contemporary spiritual teachers.