”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”- Astavakra Gita
whats is Advaita Vedanta?
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 Universal Self.The one 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 of reality.It is 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 revealed truth.It comes 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 skilfully wield the means of knowledge.
At the beginning of most Vedantic 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. If I am gay I can’t be straight. If I’m a man I can’t be a woman. If I’m a Republican I can’t be 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 is a fantastic link that further introduces Vedanta.