First of all the word ‘West’ simply does not locate any region lying outside of the Indian subcontinent, or westwards in direction of it, but simply those who have misconstrued a clear, intellectual understanding of Advaita.
First of all, Advaita is not a philosophy is the way it is described. It is not a religion. It is not a form of thought. It is not discourses and debates. It is not excursions, discoveries, formulae, rituals and everything that can falls within ambit of human thought, such human though itself (by derivation, this blog itself!).
Advaita is Absolute Truth. There is only Truth and nothing else – that in a nutshell, is the thundering statement of Advaita – it is not an experience, it is pure a Pure State of Existence – a state which you even now are!
There is nothing to be deliberated in Advaita. There is nothing to be done. There is nothing to be attained. There is nothing to contemplate. There is nothing to meditate. Truth reveals itself by itself. No effort is necessary or can ‘reach’ it. As once gets this revelation of the already existing Truth, nothing more is left to be done. And, that is the exact state is you and I are currently now – no you, no I, only Truth. At this State of Being all means of Knowledge, secular and scriptural can be jettisoned as useless burden. As it were, prior to this state of Absolute Being, these carry value in as much as not to teach anything to you, but to aid in Truth revealing Itself to you, that is Itself.
Advaita, in its most purest and non-negotiable form (ajati-vada) does not admit any God, gods, any creation, any sustenance, any dissolution. It concedes nothing except to the Supreme Truth.
If it is difficult to understand intellectually, you are not alone. Even the great so-called Yogis and Swamis could not get it.
Let us see some misconceptions about Advaita. Not that it matters, Truth is always the same. Yet, let us from the standpoint of a (non-existent) ignorant discussion see some key elements of this misconception.
1. Vedanta (literally “end of Veda-s” or the “Upanishad-s” – one of the sources of empirical knowledge that is basis for revelation of Truth) is pantheism or idealism.
This is because these scholars see Advaita (which I will interchangeably use with Vedanta) see it only from a phenomenal or relative view point and try to explain. The Supreme Truth that is Advaita does not see any idealism, as it does not see in any Platonic fashion, the duality of illusory external objects and reality of ideas (incidentally, this also knocks off Freudian and Jungian, of the libido – the psychic energy – as another form of energy having any reality of its own).
2. Vedanta is similar to Buddhism idealism, where ideas, which alone are real, have birth death and characteristics of misery. The Buddhism, in all it three sub-schools, have nothing to with Vedanta and the concept of ‘emptiness’ or ‘sunya’ is Advaitic Truth (yet is one sense, as nothing exists outside the Advaitic Truth, even ‘sunya’ cannot be discarded from the Advaitic Supreme!)
3. Vedanta is similar to Kantian dualism. Notwithstanding significant problems with Kantian philosophy as evident in his 1st and 2nd edition of his magnum opus ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ which Arthur Schopenhauer tried to revaluate in his work of the summarized as the ‘World as Idea’, Advaita has nothing to do with Kantian thought. Kant kept the phenomena and noumena (a posteriori and a priori), things-in-itselfs etc. as distinct. Nothing of that sort is even remotely present in Advaita. It deals only with the Absolute Truth where the very notions of phenomena and noumena lose their meanings and validity.
4. Vedanta has got nothing to do with Berkelian philosophy. Berkeley says that external objects are ideas of the perceiver’s mind and God sends these ideas. Advaita says nothing of this sort. From the point of view of the Absolute – God, world and the individual – all have the same relative level of reality. They rise and set at the same time, as it were, out of (non-existent) illusion. The Advaitic Self is not God in the way is usually understood. Advaita says that God is also an idea and plurality of these ideas and their relationship cannot be rationally proved.
5. Vedanta is not pantheism. Advaita does not recognize any God, independent of the Self (not the Jungian self), which is the Supreme Absolute. Indeed the only tenet of Advaita is that the Self is the Absolute.
6. Vedanta does not support evolution in absolute sense. Hegel propose that the the Absolute endlessly evolves. That is not the Advaitic Truth. Vedanta denies causality in the Absolute and automatically, the process of ‘becoming’ carries no content whatsoever.
7. Vedanta has nothing to do with Bradley’s proposals. While Bradley says, while time, space or causality cannot be applied to the Absolute, he also simultaneously says that the Absolute somehow becomes the manifold universe. There is no ‘becoming’ only ‘Being’ in Advaita. On the Supreme Absolute is – and it never undergoes any change.
8. Vedanta is solipsism. Amongst innumerable concepts, the simplest is that Advaita does not proclaim that the ego is the creator of non-ego. Advaitic Truth has nothing to do with solipsism.
The only aim of Advaita is to dehypnotize the mind which has been hypnotised into the belief that duality really exists. As Sankara said, the Knowledge of Reality (which is nothing but Reality itself), destroys the hankering after the unreal, the source of all misery and sorrows. This Knowledge may be chimerical to those tinsels and gew-gaws of the world and prizes it offers – but has supreme value to seeker of Reality.
The conclusion of Advaita, in the words of Sankara is simply this:
ब्रह्म सत्यम् जगन् मिथ्य ।
जिवोब्रह्मैव न परः ॥
brahma satyam jagan mithya ।
jivobrahmaiva na paraḥ ॥
Brahman (Absolute) is alone Real, the manifold is an illusion;
The individual is identical to the Absolute.
Om Tat Sat.
- Anna UniversityElectronics - Neural Computing, 1993 - 1994
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