Welcome again, this site serves as our ashram and a place for sharing. Our usual area for study is the section on the Upanishads. We have published the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad into a free ebook which is available now. We are now working on other commentaries.
With reference to the above quote, to explain, Advaita is not a religion or a stand alone academic subject. Advaita means "not two" and is simply a realisation of non-duality to the point of the absolute primal singularity of existence. To create a system of knowledge under the label Advaita, would be to miss the point of this singularity.
If you arrived here whilst seeking the wisdom of Advaita Philosophy I commend you in your work, and because this work is of the utmost importance may I confirm to you the need for a teacher?
The words of the scriptures floating on paper or internet pages although appreciated by we seekers, are the words of the
Sages written down to remind and guide us. These are naturally good words because they
are designed to communicate truth and understanding. But, the scriptures do have layers of subtle meaning, so they need to be anchored to a tongue that sees behind them and can
guide access to these layers of meaning. Unless the teaching is delivered fresh and supported with proper understanding
the words alone are second hand and somewhat opaque. Like dried flowers, quotes and passages from the scriptures demonstrate the original
beauty but can lack the life to produce fruit.
It is recognised that finding a teacher is difficult, books by teachers can be good company if a connection can be felt with the author. Some books that are still referred to are listed below as recommended friends.
A first meeting with Sri Ramana Maharshi. in 1931 was described by the spiritual seeker and traveller Paul Brunton in his book 'A Search In Secret India' His description of the occasion seems to give a good feel of what it was like to be in the presence of Sri Ramana and is very worthwhile reading.
Sri Ramana recommends the technique of inner enquiry to realize this truth, He himself through complete surrender to that within gained enlightenment. The understanding, silent Being and words of Sri Ramana are well presented in the book 'Be As You Are, The Teachings Of Sri Ramana Maharshi', edited by David Godman.
Nisargadatta-Maharaj. is an inspiration as a being and a teacher. Sri Nisargadatter is described as a man of little formal education, the relevance of which to this observer proves it is through the heart/intellect that the Absolute is reached, not through the accumulation of knowledge. His Guru set him on a path of inner inquiry and through devotion and trust alone this enquiring revealed The Absolute. Elsewhere within this site/ashram the practice of Enquiry is recommended whilst also trying to explain that the scriptures are only a signpost to the truth, they are not the Truth in themselves. The master practices are Meditation and Enquiry.
The Book 'I Am That' of Sri Nisargadatter is a classic and reveals his direct understanding.
Our own teachers were guided by the then living Swami Shantananda Saraswati Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math.
I had for some years studied alone starting with Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. It was only after finding teachers and taking up Meditation that our understanding of Advaita became organised and deepened.
His Holiness is the author of several books, one being 'Good Company' Element, 1992.
This book is essential reading for all who are dedicated to pure Truth. All who intuitively know that that truth is all there is that is real. Zen means Meditation and dropping all that is not that truth. Koan is living this Truth by inner inquiry and becoming it. It seems to this reader that Taizan Maezumi Roshi walks a direct path from Realisation to fetch the reader back to Realisation. This book itself works as Koan when read continuously.
" Please, I do not know how to say it: focus or unfocus. Focus in the sense that this life is the life of the buddhas! Live it and clarify it! On the other hand, if we are trying to figure out what to do with our so-called limited or confined conscious mind, then unfocus"
from Appreciate Your Life: The Essence of Zen Practice, by Taizan Maezumi Roshi
His Holiness The Dalai Lama Of Tibet is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. His Holiness is, of the revered teachers mentioned here, our only living Sage. It seems here that in terms of relevance and universal respect His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet is perhaps the world's most important living spiritual guide because the nature of His Non Dual understanding has relevance to all religions. The Dalai Lama has written many books, in this book 'How To Practice' The Dalai Lama speaks with direct reference to spiritual practice and Realisation. This book is 'chatty' informative and good company.