Over the next few months I plan on explaining the teachings of classical Advaita by providing an exegesis of the primary writings of Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ranjit Maharaj. I find their writings express concepts closer to my experience and understanding that even those of Robert Adams and Ramana Maharshi in that Nisargadatta and Ranjit make very explicit the relationship between consciousness and the absolute, the manifest and the unmanifest, and also the relationship between consciousness as manifest through apparently discrete individuals and the universal consciousness.
I have to warn you that all concepts are false, that reality cannot be captured by the mind in any way. So you have to consider what they say as "pointers," or "mental training wheels" that guide and direct both your understanding and experiences, until even they are taken from you.
Ranjit, and his teacher Siddharameshwar Maharaj, spend a great deal of time talking about the nature consciousness, and the structures which make up the self. These things you never hear from the Neoadvaitins or other modern teachers. These are the things that were conveyed to Rajiv through me that led to his awakening. Rajivwas able to awaken using these pointers and concepts, although the concepts are not really expressive of anything true.
I quote from the introduction by Jean Dunn to Consciousness and the Absolute the entirety of Nisargadatta's method:
"He (Nisargadatta) said one must find out what the body is, where it came from, study it with detachment, watch it without judging. One soon sees it's like a robot which has been programmed by others. We are to turn within to that which lets us know that we are, to become one with that (i.e., knowing and the knower).
"Abiding in the "I Amness" (or consciousness, which is pure love), that consciousness itself would give us all the answers. At the present time, consciousness is what we are, not personal consciousness, but impersonal, universal consciousness. In the course of time, the consciousness will show us that we are not even this, but we are eternal absolute, unborn, and undying."
Nisargadatta requires us to ponder his words, reflect on their meaning, and to see for ourselves whether what he says is true or not. It requires a remarkable degree of honesty and self truthfulness to take us beyond concepts and especially conventions and protocols in our everyday life. We need to be free from convention in every way in that it takes this kind of radical truth mentality to distinguish between the true and the conventional.
On page 1, Nisargatatta is asked, "How does a jnani see the world?"
"The jnani is aware of the origin and value of consciousness, this beingness, which has spontaneously dawned on him. The same consciousness plays a multitude of roles, some happy, some unhappy; but whatever the roles, the jnani is merely the seer of them. The roles have no effect on the jnani.
"All your problems are body mind problems. Even so you cling to that body. Since you identify with the body mind, you follow certain polite modes of expression when you talk. I do not. I might embarrass you; you may not be able to take what I say. I have no sense of propriety or boundaries.
"You (on the other hand) are bound by your own concepts and notions. Actually, you love only this sense of "I"; you do everything because of this. You are not working for anybody, nor for the nation, but only for this sense of "I" which you love so much.
"All (of your) activities go on, but they are only entertainment. The waking and deep sleep states come and go spontaneously. Through the sense of "I", you spontaneously feel like working. But find out if the sense of "I" is real or unreal, permanent or impermanent.
"The "I" which appears is unreal. How unreal it is I have proven. The moment the "I" is proven unreal, who is it who knows that the "I" is unreal? This knowledge within you that knows the "I" is unreal, that knowledge which knows change, must itself be changeless, permanent."
You see, you are the triumvirate of knowledge, knowing, and the knower. Knowledge and knowing occur and are expressed in the I am, but the knower stands behind that as a mystery, itself unknown, as it is not an object, but consciousness unmanifest.