“The fire of certainty which is the result of knowing Onself as immaculate Awareness, burns down the entire forest of ignorance. The eradication of ignorance and the dawning of happiness are one event.” – Aṣṭāvakra Gītā
What is Advaita Vedanta Philosophy? (Brief)
Total freedom, total confidence and total satisfaction. This is the fruit of Vedanta, a proven methodology that equips you to enjoy life with a full sense of ever steady freedom. We call it moksha, the reward of self-knowledge.
You know that feeling of fearless assurance and free potential when you’re aware that you’re dreaming whilst in the actual dream? Perhaps we can describe the nectar of self-knowledge a little similar to that; absolute free confidence.
Until self-knowledge is established in the mind, one will continue to feel limited, fearful and uneasy whilst rafting down the currents of life. You will continue to chase an endless array of objects mistakenly thinking it will quench that existential sense of lack that you feel.
You can’t change life’s currents but you sure can change your raft. It’s going to take some effort but it’s well worth it, promise.
You have an opportunity to trade in your fickle rubber duck inflatable for a mighty solid steam ship engine. Self-knowledge (Vedānta) is just that, a solid transporter with an inbuilt roadmap. Attain self-knowledge and you’ll never get lost again, nor will any rapids be able to flip you over, ever.
Self-inquiry and self-knowledge is not something magical or mystical, nor is it some high transcendental state or status, it’s not personal nor is it some profound spiritual experience. Self-inquiry is simply an investigation into how-things-really-are. This investigation also signposts you right back home to your true self, your already limitless free nature.
When self-knowledge is firm you can weather any of life’s existential storms. Discovering both our oneness with everything and our freedom from everything is liberation.
What is Advaita Vedanta? (Intermediate)
For a detailed explanation about roots of Vedānta and it's origin, read this comprehensive article.
If in the beginning there was only One, and in the end there is only One, Can there be two in the middle?…
The word Advaita means ‘Non-dual’; the One without a second. Advaita is Reality and points to the fact ‘that there is nothing with which it may be compared’.
Vedanta is a combination of two words ‘Veda’ and ‘anta’, it means ‘the end of knowledge’. The knowledge which brings an end to the quest for knowledge-that knowledge which encompasses all knowledge.
Vedanta declares that one already is Brahman. The individual self is the Universalone who seeks Liberation is already liberated. Self has no bondage or Liberation. The seeker is the sought, here and now.
The Self is not a hypothetical concept. It is the most immediate, direct and certain perception of all. When are you not experiencing yourself?
To attain the unattained, action is necessary, but to attain the already-attained, no action is required. How does one liberate That which is already liberated?
When you acquire Self knowledge you no longer have a doubt about the nondual nature ofis the desire of all people to be free of limitation and only by understanding that one is the Self can this desire be realised.
Vedanta is not a philosophy nor a contention of a particular religion or a philosophical school of thought. Although they appeared in India, there is nothing ‘Indian’ about them. They revealedcomes directly from the Self.
Revealed truth usually needs additional revelation because the people who hear it tend to interpret it according to their own tastes. There is no ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’ in Vedanta world. The Self is one and the knowledge of it can only be one.
Is it possible to simply read these texts and come away “enlightened”?
It may be possible but it is unlikely because truth, like anything else, is only good as one’s understanding of it. Therefore the teaching tradition of Vedanta has evolved.
It requires a mature qualified mind seeking to know – and a teacher established in non-duality who can skillfully wield the means of knowledge.
At the beginning of most Vedāntic texts one usually finds a verse that tells the purpose of the text, who is it is intended for and the benefit to be derived from understanding it.
In this case it is for a qualified seeker and its purpose is to explain the nature of reality. The benefit to be derived is freedom from existential suffering. A teacher is someone who helps remove Self ignorance.
Modern society is a veritable supermarket of identities. But all its identities are based on ignorance of our true identity. Though limited identities offer to solve our existential problems they only offer limited relief.
EG: If one is gay, they can't be straight. If one is a man, they're not a woman. If one is a Republican, they're not a Democrat.
The teachings of Vedanta reveal an identity that encompasses all identities and is not in conflict with any.
To realize our true identity the process of discrimination (viveka) should be employed. The knowledge of the Self is mixed with Self ignorance.
Therefore a discriminative inquiry is needed. This inquiry will only yield successful results if the student is qualified.
This complimentary explanation further elaborates what is Advaita Vedanta about.