03 November 2010

This states my basic opposition to the instant enlightenment of Neo-Advaita

Richard Young:

The ego is only a concept, not an entity or object. It is an idea that arises within Awareness. When thought stops for a moment, where is the ego? When you are momentarily swept into mental silence by a piece of music, a breathtaking landscape, or sexual ecstasy, where is the ego? And what is it that is constantly aware of the coming and going of this ego thought? Whatever that is, it is necessarily your true nature.


Yes, but what is it? Are you talking about awareness within waking consciousness as your true nature? What about sleep when there is no consciousness or awareness if you want to make that distinction? Where is your true nature then? Are you aware of consciousness in deep sleep, or aware of awareness? Therefore is there a "your true nature," something eternal and different from waking consciousness in deep sleep that you know directly rather than as a belief or inference in the waking state?


No, Ed, not waking consciousness or consciousness at all. That comes and goes so cannot be our true nature. We are that which is aware of the coming and going of consciousness. Call it nondual, nonconceptual Awareness. When you are in deep sleep and consciousness is silent, then you awaken the next morning, you do not feel as if you ceased to exist while you were no longer conscious. That which notes the coming and going of consciousness is our true nature. Consciousness as we are using the word here is the first step into dualism.


Yes, this is what Ramana said, you do not feel that you did not exist. But during the deep sleep itself, where is this deep sleep awareness? If you are not aware then, its existence during deep sleep is a statement and realization made only in the waking state by mind, but mind only exists in the waking state. This is not a direct perception of there being awareness in deep sleep, but an inference.


Awareness is always present in every state of consciousness. But that presence is not perceived by the mind except in the waking state.


That is only a theory unless you have direct awareness in the deep sleep state itself and can watch the transition to other states without being affected. That is, after you have a direct experience of the comings and goings of all states from a place transcending them, then you can say awareness is there outside all states. Otherwise it is entirely dependent on the mind's arising in the waking state and announcing that something it did not experience in deep sleep, actually was there.

You have only "apprehended" that you, as whatever awareness, continues to exist in deep sleep. All knowledge,  apprehensions, all talking, all realizations are confined to the waking state and mind. Every word, concept and spiritual teaching is learned in the waking state by the mind.

Awareness is always present in every state, but that presence is only perceived by the mind in the waking state? That is a kind of very tenuous "proof" of the immortality of awareness no?


Yes, consciousness is the necessary beginning of all other experiences, Ed. But there is another kind of direct knowing that is not mediated by the mind or consciousness. That is what is being pointed to here.


But that direct knowing cannot be known of except in waking consciousness?


It can't be "known of." That requires the operation of mind. But it most certainly can be "directly known", even in deep dreamless sleep.

Dina Singh:

Richard, I'm in dire suspense of this direct knowing. That's really new for me.


What are you certain of when you look inwards? You know you exist, right? This cannot be denied. And you know that you are aware. So you are the aware presence that is the necessary background in which consciousness and all experiences arise. You cannot be other than that. Start there. Then feel your way into this knowing. Pause thought for a moment and discover what is there before the next thought arises.


This is SUPERB! I see it immediately now as learned as i read this just now, at age six in my vision. This is beautiful, instantaneous. Youre right youre right youre right


Yes! Now abide with that for a while and see that all the ego is just another thought arising in what you are and that suffering is only possible when that ego thought is accepted as real. Withdraw belief in the ego concept and all suffering is pulled up by the roots.


What you asked Dina to do was to explore her waking consciousness, which she did. Yes, it is easy to see that the ego does not exist and is only thoughts. As a a matter of fact, consciousness itself is not real, it is something perceived. But that recognition too happens in consciousness. What experience do you, Richard, have in deep sleep? 

You already admitted you don't have any, only a conviction that the background of awareness is there while your body/mind sleeps and experiences nothing. You have created a background a concept of an awareness that does not exist for you during deep sleep. IIt only exists for you as a concept in the waking state, which requires a mind in consciousness to note. All knowledge is swept away in sleep and in death. There is no personal remainder in deep sleep or death.

This certainly does not help prove in any way, direct seeing or not of no-ego in the present, that I existed before this birth or will after death of this body.

If you are saying, "Yes, you do not exist as an ongoing entity from life to life, and what exists is awareness, with nothing personal left over going from life to life, and that awareness is strictly impersonal, and neither Dina or Richard exist in any way after the death of their bodies, I'd be willing to accept that.

But looking inside and saying you are immortal, does not follow as a conclusion, because you as a personal entity do not exist, and that understanding is limited to the waking mind.

John Tissandier:

Thanks for posting your status message Richard. By coincidence I posted a similar thing about the same time. It is not a message that goes down well in every quarter. Even among "spiritual" people it can cause a fear reaction and all kinds of convoluted arguments will be put forward to say it isn't so. But the fact is when looked for the ego as something resembling a little self is not found. Without thinking about it, just looking, this is seen.


So John, what is it that you supposedly "see" when you look inside?

Your seeing is not seeing when you look inside, it is imaginary seeing. 

When you look within, if you are able to introspect, you find many things: a sense of presence (that most can "see"), emotions (which are not seen but felt), empty space that contains all internal objects is "seen" in the imagination, then here are internal tactile feelings, such as the lungs and diaphram expanding and contracting, some can see thoughts, including the I-thought. But I do not "see" an entity that I can call me or I.

But does that make it so, that because I cannot "see" an I or a me, means one does not exist?

I cannot "see" my heart either, or my spleen, or my brain, but does that mean they do not exist?

What about the unconsciousness mind, the source of many things such as dreams, wants, needs, aspirations, etc. Does it exist, or are all the millions of people, psychologists and psychoanalysts that have explored these levels using various techniques over the past 120 years, simply wrong and nothing exists as the unconscious or in the unconscious? 

Are you saying that everything exists right on the surface when you look inside into the inner fantasy space, and if it is not immediately there, it does not exist? Is this what you believe?

Then again, about this awareness that is supposedly "seeing," how is that "background of awareness" not an object like the supposed ego you are trying to get rid of? Is not the concept "background of awareness"--Richard words, an entity? An object, a dualism?

So, to you, are there two I's, the false ego I and the real "background of awareness I?"

What are the properties of that background of awareness? Is this background something "you" perceive? Is this "you" the perceiver or looker the same or different from that background awareness perceived? If you are the same as it, how come you can perceive it as an object?

When you say you are certain you exist, therefore there must be a you that exists, is this the totality of your proof that something exists always, and how does this I differ from the I as ego you cannot find?

Five hundred years ago, the pre-science world view based on faith, was that the the world was flat and the sun rotated about that flat earth. People knew this with certainty. Thus is certainty a proof of anything?

You can reach any simplistic conclusions you want by having your mind turn inward and look into your imaginal internal world in waking consciousness, but you cannot prove there is something immortal in that waking consciousness that is not aware of anything in deep sleep let alone before you were born or after you die. Instead, you posit an awareness background that is immortal, and within which all experiences happen. But this is just theory unless you have a direct experience of this awareness at all times, including dream and deep sleep.

The entire neo-Advaita philosophy is extremely superficial.

Real Advaita requires you to go deeper than mind, down past the level of unknowing and non-existence, passing through it and knowing you exist through that passage of unknowing, and you do this through ever deepening meditation on that sense of presence, and the feeling 'I', which points to the subject.

Otherwise, that certainty that you exist is no more than habit and a concept in mind. For 10,000 days you have awakened from the non-knowing deep sleep, and you feel unchanged. It is the mind that is certain you have existed during those 10,000 nights of deep sleep. Memory ties the sequences of knowing and not knowing together, but without that memory and the waking mind, there is no conviction.


Thank you for asking me all these questions Ed. But I'm not sure what you are expecting. Advaita Vedanta has been going for about 5000 years. If in all that time it hasn't managed to provide answers that satisfy you, why should a few minutes with me make any difference?

If you have found something better then I'm pleased for you.

In any case no philosophy ever helped me. For me it started with a miraculous experience that totally undermined my understanding of life. This gave me an enthusiasm to investigate things afresh. The method I used was Ramana's Self-enquiry. This is because it suited my scientific background and didn't require starting with beliefs. It was an experiment to see for myself what the word "I" refers to. 
This is the best advice I can give anyone: don't take anybody's word for anything. And don't think about it. Just look!


Religions in general have been going for thousands of years. That's not much of an argument, John.

But the point you make is interesting. However, on another thread, a F/B friend has been referring to his miraculous experience as the basis for his Christian belief. So this makes me think...despite your advice not too.


John, What you are teaching is not Advaita, it is neo Advaita. The great teachers of Advaita all recommend lots of ever deepening meditation, not, as Richard recommended, to stop making any spiritual effort. Besides, Advaita is only about 1,000 years old.

Nisargadatta, Robert, Ramana and Ramana's students. Nisargadatta's teacher was adamant about the need to go down to ever deepening levels of consciousness. There are several books about his teachings, like the Amrit Laya where he talks about the different levels of of beingness and which are fully described also in Autobiography of a Jnani at: http://itisnotreal.com/AOJ.htm. This means progressively deepening meditation.

It is not an instant discovery of merely looking into your imaginal world once and coming up with all kinds of conclusions. In fact, you are interpreting whatever experience you have in terms of current neo advaita philosophy, which is an interpretation of what these new teachers say they find when they look within themselves.


  1. Actually Richard is correct.
    You Edji requiring proof via lots of deep meditation is only one way and not a efficient way at that.

    Om shanti shanti shanti


  2. That is your opinion. Do you have anything more to offer than your opinion?

  3. I continue to be amazed each time I run into this neo-advaita nonsense promoted by people who say there is nothing to do, you are already "it." You are already a Buddha.

    It amazes me in multiple ways.

    ONE, it amazes me because some of these are people did engage in massive efforts to find awakening experiences. Apparantly, they suffered memory loss concerning their own history.
    But there is also another dimension that seems amazing.

    To say that there is nothing to be done is like saying, in order for you to have light in your house, you don't need electric wiring, nor a switch, nor anything else. Just have light. There are minor awakening modalities that do not, indeed, require much.
    However, there are deeper awakening modalities that come not just by way of Awareness Presence, but they come along with the Presence of a Massive Experience of Electricity. And this Electricity requires that the body is prepared in order to sustain it and not blow the fuses in your nervous system.

    I want to say this point blank. If the avearage human being were to experience Divine Presence full on, without any buffering whatsoever, the body would simply die instantly. There are Divine Beings, such as Archangels, that we could not experience full on, because their electric magnetic frequency is so high, they would simply blow the little light bulb of our existence upon contact.

    It is for that reasons the preparation and daily practices are necessary to change the nervous system of the body so that it becomes capable of sustaining this Electricy that I am talking about.

    When I had this explosion of electricity go through my body, I faced my master afterward. All I could say was.... IT is Electricity!!!

    And he said,Yes. It is.

    I could have said also, "How do you manage to live with this and function at all? It does seem like a death to the person to whom it happens..."

    So, to all the people who teach this neo advaita nonsense: Maybe you have a certain modality of awakening, but as far as consciousness mapping is concerned, you make me feel truly embarrassed.

    Awakening is not just an on-off phenomenon. It is connected to a dimmer switch. Therfore, it exists in different degrees and depth modalities. And it is separate entirely from the capacity to map and present it. This requires a tremendous laser-like Intelligence.

    Truly, I cannot begin to express the depth of my embarrassment when I hear these neo advaita statements by people who have "gotten it" in some flash, without the years of meditation, deepening and integration that beings such as Ramana Maharshi seem to have required. How comfortable to bypass that. It is embarrassing on one hand, but at the same time also misleading those who are even bigger beginners, keeping them from what the Buddha calls RIGHT EFFORT. To be deluded is one thing. To take others into the same delusion is another matter. And it is because of this misleading of others that I speak out against the delusions of neo advaita.

  4. Actually, based on my reading, I understood that Ramana had this immediate, intense awakening at age 16, then he cultivated it by years of meditation or self inquiry subsequently. Perhaps that in itself demonstrated that he knew the awakening he had was too insufficient to fully understand ultimate reality and additionally insufficient as something he could impart to others who were prospective candidates for awakening.

    In a Satsang retreat I attended nine years ago, I vividly recall a teacher(a well known neo-Advaitin) stating, "nobody is a problem to be solved." Initially it didn't resonate with me in any fashion but I later realized it should have been placed in the proper context. Because in the Absolute sense it would be true(as there are no "persons" with "problems" in the world)but in the Relative sense so many people DO suffer with problems and a statement like that isn't doing them any benefit. If anything, they could be in need of some kind of therapy or even medication so as to "solve" the problems as best they can.


  5. Edji,

    Some excerpts from Swami Dayananda Saraswati, a wonderful vedantic teacher. I don't how relevant is this for the topic discussed.

    " If hypnotism could do it, I need not teach like this. I need only tell you from the first day onwards, 'You are all happiness, you are all joy'....It doesn't work.

    The whole teaching is an unfolding. Just as the artist makes you see beauty in something you generally take as commonplace, so the teacher makes you see yourself. He uses your experience as the basis for teaching and makes you see the truth of that experience. This brings about assimilation in terms of knowing the experience of yourself. So it is not hypnotism.

    Then, why don't this knowledge stay with me. It is because your mind is still the old mind with all its likes and dislikes which it picked up over many years and which doesnot drop away overnight.

    In order to learn anything I must be silent, otherwise learning can't take place. Because I am silent now and then, I have gained some knowledge. Silent is not something one must strive for. Thoughts come and go. Silence always is. And still I miss it. Because I walk upon thoughts.

    So what can I do to discover the silence. Instead of having many varied thoughts that would lead to a chain of thoughts, I create thoughts that are many in number but are all identical. When the subsequent thoughts are identical, no captivating chain is created. There is no association, no connection. Thought-period. Thought and silence.

    If I take a meaningless word and start repeating it the mind tells me that I am doing meaningless thing.

    So there are mantras like Om. Silence. Om. Silence. I do this all in order to see that I am silence in spite of having two successive thoughts. This new occupation, called mediation, helps me discover with ease that I am always the same. Inspite of all actions performed, perceptions gathered, and thoughts entertained, I remain the same free being that is silent and does no action whatever."


  6. Edji,
    That is your opinion. Do you have anything more to offer than your opinion?

    2 main principles of Advaita are you can never become something you already are. So that what you seek is in fact you.
    Therefore there is no person to be enlighten as there is no such thing as a person.
    Therefore meditation is of little help here. All you really need is to take a real look at yourself.The you has never change nor moved. Once you take a authentic look no more needs to be done!

    Be careful of anyone that wants to put you on a path of effort. To make lot of effort has no place as far as realizing who you are.

    These are not only my opinions but the realizations of millions of true beings that have woke up.
    Om shanti

  7. Amrit,

    You say your path of no effort reveals there is no person to enlighten and there is no person.

    A few sentences later you say, this understanding is not your opinion, but the "realizations of millions of true beings that have woke up."

    This contradiction shows your understanding is incomplete.

    What I am saying is that what Richard talks about is not real awakening. In fact, it is what Nisargadatta defines as looking into or abiding in the I. This is not a wake up, this is the method of self-inquiry that can result in an awakening after a long time.

    Read Ramana or his disciples. Read Nisargadatta. Read Robert with his endless techniques but mostly self inquiry. Read Langford. Read almost anyone who says self-inquiry is important.

    Do this inner looking for several years and you'll get somewhere because the looking changes oneself. Deeper layers than the conscious mind are exposed.

  8. Andreas, Yes! Yes! Yes! Love your post.

    Electricity, Lightning. That's why it's termed En-Lightenment.

    Like Being electrocuted ... crucified by God Himself.

    Beautiful, D

  9. I would recommend any seeker wondering about the necessity of meditation read chapter 7 (Realisation) of "Advaita Bodha Deepika" (downloadable from scribd.com). The Master in this dialogue makes amply clear to the disciple why he still has efforts to make when the disciple clearly thinks his work is finished.

    This little book is an excellent instruction manual and comes with the endorsement of Sri Ramana Maharshi himself.


  10. A neo-advaita teacher typically claims that the world and the person are unreal. Consequently, there is no one searching for the truth and no one who can help them to find it (i.e. neither seeker nor teacher). There is therefore no point in wasting time and effort looking for the truth; the scriptures are of no value and so on. So no, you cannot say that ‘they teach advaita but without the traditional methods’ because the traditional methods are really what constitute advaita. Advaita is a proven methodology for helping seekers to remove the ignorance that is preventing them from realizing the already-existing truth, namely that there is only Brahman (or whatever you want to call the non-dual reality). Neo-advaita makes the same claim but offers nothing at all to help the seeker remove the ignorance.

    Given that there is only Brahman, we are obviously already That. But clearly we do not know this to be true. Simply saying that it is true is of little help, but this is effectively all that the neo-advaitins do.

    Ramana is someone who is acknowledged to have attained enlightenment without any of the usual prior teaching and is therefore held up as proof by many modern teachers that prolonged studies with a qualified guru are not necessary.Unfortunately a single example does not disprove the general rule, and history shows that most do need prolonged formal teaching.