20 October 2015

Shankarananda Shaivism and Nisargadatta

I like many things about Shankarananda’s book ‘Consciousness is Everything’, among them is the emphasis on being a person.   Advaita is really, really remote, and in a way, is very Zen like and very abstract.  There is no love in Advaita or in Zen.  Love is replaced by either indifference or compassion.

I am from a Zen and Advaita background. I got out of Zen because there was no warmth or love there, but I found a lot of that in Shankarananda’s Los Angeles ashram. Basically I left Siddha Yoga with when the LA Sangha was destroyed by Chidvilasanda, and I gradually found my way back into Advaita through Nisargadatta and Jean Dunn, and Robert Adams and Ramana.

What Shankarananda’s book does is give an entirely different perspective on Consciousness, the Absolute and the human condition than Advaita.  It makes many things clearer, like having stereo vision.  Some things pop out. The human condition is not to be ignored as per Nisargadatta and Robert, but recognized as aspects of Consciousness.  Shaivism is more open, Advaita more absolutist and elitist.

Shankarananda’s emphasis on the phrase “Consciousness is Everything” is quite different than Nisargadatta’s resting in the Absolute (Shiva state), yet is a phrase that Nisagadatta also uses to describe the what I call the Manifest level of Self or personal awareness and within that, the awareness of God within us, the divine spark of sentience, bliss, and life.

I think a true dialogue between Shankarananda and I would be very valuable.  We would shed light on each other.

I would very specifically note that neither Shaivism, nor Zen, nor Advaita has anything like the moralism or judgmentalism of Christianity or New Age spirituality.  Recently there has been a movement in Zen to come together in a Council and create a list of ethics for Zen Buddhism, which is an encroachment of the old Theravadin emphasis on ethics with its 513 moral precepts.

In Zen there is no pure or impure, good or evil. In Advaita there certainly is no moral considerations at all; it is all about Self-Realization, whether of the Manifest Self or of the Absolute (Shiva).  Shaivism seems much the closest to accepting “impurities” (as opposed to pure Consciousness), or “contractions,’ and using them to expand and grown by observing them, loving them, incorporating them, and then watching them disappear through absorption. This is also what I teach, I just did not know that Shankarananda beat me to it.

Anyone engaged in a lot of judgementalism or casting of stones, really has not a clue about what Shaivism is, or any form of spirituality above Fundamentalist Christianity or Sharia Law.

No comments:

Post a Comment