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Neuronal Correlates of a Jivanmuktas Mind

Identification of Markers in the Brain

By Dr. emuri !amesam
!evised "# $%r "&''

$(stract) This paper explicates the essence of Gaudapadas ajativada (nothing is ever born) school of Non-
duality and gives a neuroscientific rationale to develop identifiable Marers! in the brain of a "ivan#uta$ i%e% one
&ho has reali'ed that nothing is ever born%! The sense of an individuating (self has collapsed right in the
present life for a "ivan#uta% )a#adhi or e*uivalent #editation states and epiphany etc% (on &hich published
research infor#ation is available) is considered in +dvaita to be still a (state (i%e% ti#e dependent) unlie
"ivan#uti &here the sense of separation ends for good (i%e% irreversibly)% Though a "ivan#uta is dissolved into
an inexpressible ,neness$ this change happens within and to an individual% -ertain broad traits and
characteristics of a "ivan#uta can be gleaned fro# scriptural literature and taing advantage of the latest
research on brain$ these traits can be expected to sho& their distinct signatures in the brain che#istry and
neuronal activity of a "ivan#uta% Ten such Marers! are identified in the present study% + road #ap of future
research can be thought about only after these Marers! are fir#ed up and their para#eter ranges are
established *uantitatively% These studies #ay also be able to help to thro& light in the future on the (explanatory
gap proble# (ho& #atter can arise fro# -onsciousness in general or ho& a &orld is seen by a "ivan#uta in
specific)$ though this issue is not the focus of the current paper%
Brahmavidya (Knowledge of the Self) is considered .aravidya (beyond the world) in contrast to the worldly
knowledge (aparavidya) basically because Brahman is eternal, ineffable and inexpressible in terms of the worldly
languages and symbols. orldly knowledge is limited to the sensory and mental realms and transient. But
Brahman is inaccessible to either the senses or the mind.
But mind is the only tool we have through which we can understand Brahman and experientially !be" Brahman. #
human mind that gives up its habitual worldly proclivities of likes and dislikes (and other such pairs of opposites)
and is immersed in an unbroken continuous stream of $Brahman thought% is itself Brahman. &his transformation
of the mind takes place through re'orientating its reactive (udgmental attitude. &he re'orientated mind moves
from assessing the external stimuli in terms of opportunities and threats for the protection and perpetuation of the
!self within" to a reali)ation that the !self within" is an imaginary non'existent entity and what truly exists is
!whatever" that *S (indescribable unitary experience of thoughts, sensations and perceptions).
&he thoughts, sensations and perceptions are called $ob(ects% + sensory and mental percepts which have no
inherent meaning within themselves but attain a significance only when and if a meaning is attributed to them.
(,ven the word -onsciousness or Brahman are (ust words in this sense and no salient sanctity exists in those
words). &his reali)ation within the mind changes it to !let" all things happen as they arise effortlessly (ust like
various picture elements appearing on a screen. Such a mind also reali)es eventually that the arisings
(thoughts, sensations and perceptions) are no different from itself (ust like no picture element is any different from
the screen on which it appears. ,ach picture element happens to be only a transient !superimposition" on the
screen at that moment. &hat is to say that the screen temporarily appears in the form of that specific picture
element at that moment. *n other words, the screen, the document on the screen or any pixel is non'different
from one another. &his is a good modern analogy for the .neness of the Brahman, world and the individual
# room thermometer cannot have any memory of the temperature measured even a nanosecond before nor can
it see in the present !now" the temperature that is going to be after a nanosecond. *t functions (senses the
temperature) always in the $0ow.% &hus !time" is a non'existent dimension to a thermometer. &he !reali)ed" mind
too functions ever in an eternal $0ow% transcending time. Because all there is, is only itself and no other entities
separated from it ever exist, there is no scope for space (the in'between dimension separating two ob(ects) to
arise. -onse1uently such a mind transcends space too. #n absence of experiencing of time and space may also
be obtained in a Samadhi state. But as 2audapada in his Karika and Sankarar"s commentary thereon urges,
one has to surpass such Samadhi states in order to attain /ivanmukti (Turiya).
# human being in whom this transformation of mind has happened is called a $/ivanmukta%+ liberated right in this
life. 0ow the 1uestion is whether the present day scientific developments can help us to describe $ob(ectively%
the transformed !mind" of a /ivanmukta.
.ften there is an entrenched !belief" in many of the traditional philosophers that science deals exclusively with
physical $ob(ects% and Brahmavidya which is beyond ob(ects is inaccessible to science. &hey believe that
science deals with materials and philosophy of mind with mind. &his is the unfortunate legacy of -artesian
dichotomy. -racks began to appear in this imaginary wall of separation about a century ago with the arrival of
3uantum 4echanics. 4odern day neuroscientific developments and technologies speeded up the crumbling of
this separation wall. &oday scientists do courageously foray into those domains of mind and consciousness,
which used to be solely the preserves of philosophy of mind.
5urther, $ob(ective% assessment in science does 0.& mean dealing with !ob(ects" or their measurable properties.
$.b(ectivity% in science refers to an unbiased open'minded in1uiry without pre(udgments and establishing the
truth with the operative principles being falsifiability and verifiability, ever mindful of experimental and
observational errors as well as interpretational ha)ards (biases) and limitations. &he true spirit of science is to
!in1uire in wonder". &his is no different from 6edantic Self'in1uiry into $who am *% or $what is this world around% by
apavada (sublation) techni1ue + negating each stage of an understanding reached by the seeker as neti neti until
no further negation is possible.
hereas in the good old ancient days not much was perhaps known about the brain beyond trepanning (though
the ancients might have had their own (argon to explain things of the mind), we are now in a better position to
have a look at the !goings on" in the brain of a /ivanmukta. 7ndoubtedly, neuroscience has to travel a long way
to understand the brain and is only scratching the surface at the present. e may not be able to establish right
away 1uantitative parameters to define the characteristics of a /ivanmukta"s brain. But we can try to identify
specific 1ualitative $4arkers% that distinguish the brain of a /ivanmukta ob(ectively.
#n attempt is made here to present the rationale of the approach and to identify a few $4arkers% that are
amenable for investigation in a lab.
*ho is a Jivanmukta)
# /ivanmukta"s state8 is described in laudatory and eulogi)ing terms in all our scriptures.
98 : Special Note on the word State: /e nor#ally use this &ord to describe a phase or a transitory condition%
0t i#plicitly indicates that there are other states in &hich an entity could exist% 1ut this is not the sense &e use the
&ord here% /hat &e try to convey is the (disposition$ natural isness of "ivan#uta after one achieves
)o the (state of "ivan#uta is not so#ething that co#es and goes% +s per +dvaita 2edanta$ this state is al&ays
there3 other states$ conditions #ay superi#pose on that veiling it$ #aing it invisible% 4or lac of a better &ord$
&e shall continue to use (state to denote the position of a "ivan#uta in order to differentiate fro# the condition
or disposition of an ordinary seeer &ho has not yet reached that (state%;
# /ivanmukta is a Knower of Brahman. <e is ever immersed in Brahman. &he apparent world is unreal to him
and lacks true existence. <e is ,xistence'-onsciousness'Bliss. <e is &ruth'Knowledge'*nfinity. <e is forever
happy unmindful of and unaffected by the goings on in the world. <e is Brahman.
# /ivanmukta"s !self" stays merged with the Supreme Self or the -osmic -onsciousness. <is mind is totally
tran1uil, e1uanimous and always focused on Brahman. <e is the world and the world is him. <e is in close
intimacy with every thing around much like an atom, which loses its individuality in a Bose',instein -ondensate.
*n this intimacy, he loses his individual *= and conse1uently it is the end or !death" of his separate individuating
!personality". &his intimacy is called 7niversal love (!#aitri").
# /ivanmukta"s behaviour and actions, his day to day life and working are, however, described to be
indistinguishable from any ordinary man. <ence we do not have any externally visible and readily identifiable
traits of a /ivanmukta. So we have to understand first without any ambiguity who is a /ivanmukta.
&he best and simplest working definition for /ivanmukta adopted for the current study is taken from that given by
direct path #dvaitins.
$+ "ivan#uta is one in &ho# a separate sense of (self has collapsed.%
e shall use this definition for all of our future reference in this paper.
Does a Jivanmukta have a Mind+)
Note) The ter# (#ind is used here in a generic sense to enco#pass all activities related to #entation% Mind in
Neuroscience and in the /estern languages #ay have slightly a different connotation% 0n order to avoid
a&&ard expressions or ne& ter#inology$ &e shall continue to use the &ord #ind and the context itself #aes it
clear the sense in &hich it is used.;
Self'Knowledge leads one to a state of null mind (a#anasa). Sankara says that it happens by itself (i.e. it is not
causated). 4odifications in the mind and their root'cause, intentions, too cease in a /ivanmukta. <e transcends
the mind. #ll his impressions (vasanas) collapse and he loses all thoughts of and about the world. &he state of
/ivanmukta will be as if he is in deep sleep but with #wareness (5oganidra) unlike our deep sleep when we are
ignorant of who we are.
*n other words Self'>eali)ation is synonymous to ending the mind. /. Krishnamurti calls it !emptying the mind". #
)ero'thought position describes the state of a /ivanmukta. <ow does then a /ivanmukta continue to live and
function in the world with an annihilated mind because mind is re1uired to sense the world and transact within it?
e get many such doubts about #dvaita philosophy. 4uch of the #dvaita argot appears awfully ambiguous and
confusing to us. @ogavaasishta, an #dvaita text attributed to Sage 6almiki (of >amayana fame), but considered to
be of a later period by some, explicates and clearly explains many of these intricacies of #dvaita philosophy.
@ogavasishta clearly states that the world does not end as long as mind exists (See >ef: A). >egarding the mind
of a /ivanmukta, the story of Sage 6itahavya was narrated to show how 6itahavya annihilated his mind through
Knowledge. Sage 6asishta, observed that as a result, 6itahavya obtained noble 1ualities like universal affection
(#aitri). &he dialog between Sage 6asishta (the &eacher) and >ama (the Bupil) went on the following lines at this
!ama) $/ust a second SirC .n one hand you say that the mind was annihilated. .n the other hand you say that
noble 1ualities like universal affection have arisen. hen mind itself was gone, where could these noble 1ualities
asishta) $#nnihilation of mind is of two types. .ne is !#nnulment of mind ith >etention of 5orm 9in memory;".
&he other is #nnulment of mind ithout >etention of 5orm". &he annihilation of mind of the /ivanmuktas is of the
first type. 6idehamuktas achieve the other type of annihilation. 9/ivanmukta is one who is liberated and is still
living in his body and 6idehamukta is one who is liberated without the body 9deadC; ;. 6itahavya obtained
annihilation of mind with retention of form at that time. <ence universal affection and other good 1ualities
generated in it.%
!ama) $Sorry SirC * am unable to follow. hat is meant by annulment of mind? <ow could there be a form for a
mind that is destroyed? <ow can a mind that is destroyed function again? Blease do explain a bit more.%
asishta) $>amaC #n annulled or annihilated or !-almed =own" 4ind is the mind of a steadfast individual whose
e1uipoise is not disturbed by external conditions of sorrow or happiness (ust like a mountain does not get affected
by the inhalations and exhalations of a passerby man.
$<is is a -almed =own 4ind whose expansiveness is not reduced by delimiting concepts of !we + they".
$<is mind is a !-almed =own 4ind", if his face does not alter in expression under conditions of pleasure or peril,
treasure or threat, incentives or impediments.DD. *n this state he gets rid of the idea that the world is true. <is
mind shines forth in its Bure, Bristine and &rue form.
$#s far as !#nnulment of 4ind ithout 5orm" is concerned, it is a state obtained only in liberation without the
body. &here is no 1uestion of any impressions being residual in this state. <ence neither virtuous 1ualities like
universal affection nor performance of actions related to them exist in a 6idehamukta.%
Eater on, Sage 6asishta also clarified that it was wrong to assume that the world would not be visible to
/ivanmuktas. <e said that the entire world would appear to them as pure Brahman (Bure -onsciousness). <e
added, $/ivanmuktas experience sorrows and happiness in a similar way as they did in the past. &he difference is
that these experiences will be like burnt out seeds. &heir actions and experiences do not create new
,he Case for Neuronal Correlates of a Jivanmuktas Mind)
/ivanmukti is a !state" when the sense of one"s existence as a separate entity distinct from what is around
ceases. -et this loss of individuation occurs .ithin and to an individual. &he man does not evaporate into
thin air on >eali)ation, on becoming a /ivanmukta, like the snake disappearing on seeing the rope. <is body very
well continues to exist in the world with all its needs for food and oxygen, experiences, (oys and sufferings etc.
&he man (or rather his body) continues to be physically present and so does a mind that goes with the body. &he
ancient *ndians conceived of an intangible mental body and mental world made up of very subtle !mindstuff" to
explain mind. Bhagavad'2ita (*** + FG) gives a pecking order with increasing superiority of status and a
concomitant fineness to mind and intellect with respect to the gross visible body as follows:
Bhysical Body ''H 0ndriyas (Sense .rgans)''H Manas (4ind) ''H1uddhi (*ntellect)''H Tat (0ameless !&hat" or
#ncient *ndian tradition envisaged four distinct functional aspects of the mind, each different from the other. &he
four aspects are: (i) &houghts and counter thoughtsI (ii) *ntellectI (iii) 4emoryI and (iv) *'consciousness or ego.
*n general as per modern usage, however, the word !mind" subsumes all the four functions.
0euroscience tells us that these are the functions of the brain or in other words, mind is nothing but what the
brain does.
9Note ') )o#e people lie to assign a sort of other &orldliness to #ind (so#e schools in the east hold #ind to be
#ade up of subtler #indstuff$ say that it constitutes the #ental sheath (osha)$ and they conceive of a #ental
&orld (#anoloa))% 1ut &e no& fro# neuroscience that thoughts$ #e#ory$ decision #aing and
autobiographical infor#ation (the sense of (#e) are all discernible &ithin the brain using #odern i#aging
techni*ues% )o for all practical purposes &e #ay regard the &ord (#ind as an o#nibus ter# for all the four
activities identified in the east%
Note ") ,ne can$ of course$ argue &hether brain causes these four functions or that the brain is only an organ
influenced by so#e (forces beyond itself in functioning in a certain &ay% This is a controversial issue that
de#ands a separate essay by itself% 6et us disregard for the present &hat forces cause these functions in the
brain and go &ith &hat neuroscientists are able to identify &ithin the brain%;
Brain scans using the latest imaging techni1ues record the activity of the cells (neurons, interneurons, glia). &he
activity pattern is relatable to the thoughts or other functions that happen in the brain. So brain is clearly the seat
of mind. hatever was attributed to physically invisible !mindstuff" 9mind; by the ancients can be seen in the brain
using techni1ues like magnetic resonance imaging (4>*), functional magnetic resonance imaging (f4>*),
=iffusion'weighted 4>*, single photon emission computed tomography (SB,-&), positron emission tomography
(B,&), diffusion tensor imaging (=&*), arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging (#SE 4>*),
magnetoencephalography, etc. in addition to the more simple electroencephalography (,,2). &hese are sensing
systems beyond the immediate capability of our physical sensory organs.
&he $5orm% of mind is still said to be retained in a /ivanmukta, though vasanas (except in trace residual
1uantities) and mind are annihilated. &herefore, if we can identify such traits which can be observed in the brain
of a /ivanmukta, we will have certain $characteristic markers% to differentiate a /ivanmukta from an ordinary man,
though the physical body may not show any external difference detectable by the human senses.
Stripping out the hyperbole, mysticism, esoteric and !other worldly" attributes and complex descriptors, let us see
what 0on'=ualism says.
.n the attainment of Eiberation $*% and $orld% become .ne.
$*% loses its (individuating) status as a sub(ect perceiving a separate ob(ect $orld% out there.
hen a distinct perceiver $*% is no more present, it logically follows that a distant perceived $orld% also cannot
be present (because there is no one to see it).
9Note) 0n other &ords$ an object cannot and does not (exist by itself &ithout a subject (seeing it% .utting it
differently$ as +dvaita 2edanta holds$ true 7xistence! (transcending ti#e periods of past$ present and future) is
intrinsic to )ubject! only% +n object #ay exist for a period of ti#e (ho&ever long #ay be the period)$ but it is
considered as lacing (True 7xistence if it is (born at a ti#e and (ends at another ti#e%;
hat will then remain is only $#m'ness% or $Being'ness% or simply $,xistence% of whatever &hat *s. *f this sounds
as too much mumbo'(umbo, let us translate this into simple ,nglish.
Sentence A:
$I /ee the *orld.% + (i.e. !*" am here and the !world" is out there).
Sentence G:
$I $m the *orld% or $,he *orld Is Me% '' (i.e. 0o distinctions through !names and forms" are seen).
Sentence J:
$*hatever that $ll Is0 sim%ly I/% '' (i.e. /ust Seeingness or *s'ness is the remnant once the triad of observer'
observing'observed differentiation ends, thus establishing 7nity1.%
&he transformation of Sentence A to J in an individual is Eiberation.
Sentence A is a phenomenon of normal perception. *t involves the sense organs and sensory cortex in the brain.
#s it transforms to Sentence J., via Sentence G., there is no apparent reason to say there are no attendant
cognitive changes (invoking .ccam"s >a)or). 5urther, the change is ha%%enin2 .ithin and to a s%ecific
individual. So this change in cognition has to show up in that specific liberated *ndividual"s (rain areas and
their activities. (e cannot, though, rule out related changes in other body parts e.g. endocrine system).

3ossi(le 4(5ections and $ns.ers to the %ro%osed Neuronal Correlates)
4(5ection ')
# ma(or ob(ection of the traditional advaitin trained in the 2uru'disciple system in looking for possible neuronal
correlates that can work as !markers" for a /ivanmukta runs as follows:

1. # /ivanmukta is a $Knower of Brahman (1rah#avit)%. # 1rah#avit is Brahman <imself (1rah#aiva
1rah#avit). Brahman being the #bsolute (.ara#arthia), the entire empirical (transactional) world
disappears (like the snake in a rope disappearing) on the >eali)ation of &ruth by /ivanmukta.
G. &herefore, there is no extant empirical world for a /ivanmukta. *t is we only who are in the empirical world
that see the body of a /ivanmuktaI but he is not aware of his own body.
3. &he human body including the neurons exists in the empirical (vyavaharia) world. <ence no possible
indicators of the .ara#arthia of /ivanmukta can exist in his brain which is seen only by the people
existing in the transactional world.
!e%ly to the 4(5ection ')

1. e distinguish three types of truths + .ara#arthia$ vyvaharia and pratibhasia. &hey correspond to the
#bsolute, empirical and dream worlds.
2. &he transactional (wakeful) world is illusory and non'existent from the #bsolute (.ara#arthia) angle.
&his is because the world (jagat) is transitory and Brahman is eternal.
3. &he =ream world (pratibhasia) is non'existent and illusory from the viewpoint of the wakeful
(transactional) world.
F. &hough we may not be able to show the dream world of a man when he is later in his !awake" state, we
who are in the wakeful world, (the candidate being in his dream world), can make a record of the brain
waves of his dreaming brain (and dream world).
5. &herefore, the pratibhasia truth (dream) of that man is recordable in our transactional (vyavaharia)
K. <ence it amounts to say that the relatively non'existent dream world of the dreamer is demonstrably
leaving its foot'print in the dreamer"s brain and that specific signature is recordable in the wakeful !real"
(relatively) world.
L. *n the same way, we may expect to see a signature of the #bsolute in the !awake" worldly brain of a
4(5ection ")
&he 7niversal -onsciousness into which a /ivanmukta has dissolved would not be confined to brain only. *t is all
permeating and hence his entire (visible) body should be considered and not the neurons in the brain to find *t.
!e%ly to the 4(5ection ")
&his is a good 1uestion and can also be true.
But ever since bilateralism evolved about KMM millions years ago in biological creatures, the body structure of the
organism has developed a distinct head and tail ends. &he head provided an opportunity to locate a centrali)ed
control system for the entire body of the organism. &hat central control structure is the brain. hile
-onsciousness may be distributed all over the body, we may perhaps find more easily identifiable !markers" in the
brain which is the centrali)ed control system.
Secondly, many of such states of the bodily functions which are relegated to invisible and intangible !subtler
world" in the ancient *ndian tradition (e.g. 1rah#a viharas) have clear markers in the neurons of the brain. *n a
recent neuroscientific study, researchers have been able to successfully correlate even the political orientations
in young adults with their brain structures (See >ef: G), embarrassment to pregenual anterior cingulate cortex and
so on. <ence it is reasonable to expect a signature of the 7niversal Self (into which an individual is dissolved on
>eali)ation) in the brain of the /ivanmukta.
4(5ection 6)
By definition &he .ara#arthia (&he #bsolute) exists all the time and everywhere. &he transactional or
phenomenal world is limited in space and time having finite existence between appearance and disappearance.
&he #bsolute forms the permanent background against which the transitional can be seen. Say, like a passing
train on the unmoving rail track. .r a turbulence in a river, an example 6ince (/ust >est) gives.
&he turbulence may appear in the river. But a !marker" of the river cannot be seen in the turbulence. <ow can we
notice !markers" of the #bsolute Brahman within the impermanent phenomenal brain of a /ivanmukta?
!e%ly to the 4(5ection 6)
*n our day to day world we see shifting things against the background of a fixed thing + like a movie pro(ected on
a screen. So we are conditioned to see only contrast. e readily notice the spike or anomaly but miss the
background + like reading the letters of this write up but not be aware of the constant presence of the paper on
which they appear. e are accustomed to classifying things, fragmenting them into distinct entities. e
continually assess the environment in terms of threats and opportunities for our individual survival. e ac1uired
this characteristic as a result of biological evolution. &he survival tactic and tools developed during millions of
years of evolution are stored and transmitted to the offspring through !information replicators".
2enes are the replicators for an organism. #s each organism learns newer and newer survival tactics, the robust
and sturdy tactics get passed on to the offspring through the genes. &hus the survival information (genes) is
inhered from a succession of ancestral creatures which were born and later dead in the past. &hese perhaps
constitute what are called as vasana's (impressions from past births). *f we consider the !birth and death" of each
of our ancestors (human and pre'human animal ancestors going right up to the beginnings of life (prokaryotes '
single living cells)) from whom the accumulated genetic information gets transmitted, we can think of all those
creatures to be our !past lives"C
.ne of the significant survival tools is the sense of !* am an individual", giving a distinct identity to each organism.
&his sense of $an individual entity% separate from the rest is more developed in man compared to other animals.
*t got solidly concreti)ed as the concept of !self" in us. -ulture helped in reinforcing the concept of !self". &he
replicators for cultural information are !memes", a term coined by Brof. >. =awkins in ANLK. =r. Sue Blackmore
recently introduced the word !temes" to refer to a replicator of technological information. 4emes and temes
facilitated faster communication and spread of the ac1uired characteristics in self'protection and self'
*n other words, it is our sheer habit conditioned by survival information transmitted by genes, memes and temes
that makes us view the world in fragments, divide the world into parts that can be handled and then assign
distinct names and forms to the parts for identification and referral. &he fragmentation of one whole experience
that truly *S into pieces and subse1uent identification of an individual through the claim $as mine% some of those
pieces engenders the sense of a separate individual organism. &his process of individuation results in !conflict of
interest" and !competition for resources" ending up mostly in misery and sorrow.
*n order to redeem this sorrow, #dvaita points us back to the basic !.neness" of everything, the unfragmented
0ow that we understand the biological reason for our conditioned view of fragmentation, it is only a short step to
say that the distinction we make between the !permanent screen" over which a !movie" occurs and the movie
character is also artificial, non'existing. .r taking the example of turbulence and the river, the turbulence and
river are not two separate things. &he distinction is artificial and non'existing. So turbulence is the river and the
river is the turbulence.
&he oft 1uoted metaphor in #dvaita is the non'difference between the ocean water, the wave, the foam, the
spume and the water droplet. # boy at the beach sees them all to be distinct, each with its own name and form,
but an adult looks at them all as water. <ence there is no separate ob(ect sitting there as $#bsolute% + a distinct
entity separate from the world. &his differentiation of the background and the foreground is imaginary, merely
conceptual, because of the force of habit. &his is supported by Shruti statements: neha n+n+sti incana (O there
is no multiplicity, F'iv'AN, Brihadaranyaka 7panishad)I sarva# halu ida# 1rah#a (O every thing here is verily
Brahman, ***'xiv, -handodyoga 7panishad). #parokshanubhuti (verse AAK) says: if you see with the eye of
Knowledge, you will see the world is full of Brahman.
&he world thus is non'different from Brahman. But we consider the world to be a percept of the brain in our day
to day experience. &herefore, we must be able to discern .neness in the brain of a /ivanmukta unlike the
popping up of the sense of individuation and separate entities in an ordinary individual. But in a different way,
one may not find a definitive !positive presence" of a 4arker for 7niversal Self or Brahman or #wareness. *t is
perhaps the $absence% of certain traits within the brain of a /ivanmukta (compared to the brain of an ajnani$ an
ordinary person) that may stand out as 4arkers in the brain of a /ivanmukta.
4(5ection 7)
Brahman or -onsciousness (with capital - and not consciousness as used in psychology) is the Sub(ect, the
self'effulgent illuminator of all. hat is observed or what gets illuminated is an ob(ect only. &he Sub(ect can
therefore be never observable, because by definition the sub(ect will then become an ob(ect. Brahman
(-onsciousness) is ever the Sub(ect. Brahman cannot be an ob(ect. <ence any scientific second person study
or third person observation of the Sub(ect is not possible.
!e%ly to the 4(5ection 7)
*t is true that -onsciousness (Brahman) is always the Seer. .ne of the scriptural definitions for a /ivanmukta is
that hePshe is a Seer when there is nothing to see. &he term 8ri is used for /ivanmukta as per this
understanding. Brahman being one and there being no second, there does not exist any other $thing% to be seen
nor an action of $seeing% can exist apart from what *S.
hat we are arguing for in this paper is 0.& direct observation of Brahman (the Sub(ect). e are only trying to
evolve !correlates" +indicators or markers. &he following analogy may clarify the issue.
Eet us say that the Self'effulgent Brahman is like Sun, a source of light. &he Sun need not be directly detected to
establish his presence. &he Sunlight falling on an ob(ect makes the ob(ect visible (or an ob(ect arises out of
darkness on illumination). #ctually when * see an ob(ect, * do not really visuali)e any ob(ect. * am only sensing
the sunlight reflected off from the ob(ect. * interpret the reflected light with a !name and form" for identification
purposes. * may collate this visual information with other sensory data for confirmation and firming up my belief
of the presence of the ob(ect. #ctually what is involved is the cumulative sensory information and we do not
strictly know what exactly is $out there.% -ognitive scientists have clearly established the Berception'>eality
disconnect (See >ef: J).
&hus once we know the neuroscience behind the identification of an ob(ect, we can reorientate our understanding
of what is sensed from an immediate investment in a belief structure of the existence of an ob(ect to the source of
what illuminates the ob(ect. *n simple terms, instead of saying that there is an !ob(ect", * can say that an ob(ect is
illuminated and hence there is an illuminator of the ob(ect. *n the case of vision, when an ob(ect is visible in
daylight, * can say there is Sunlight and therefore, there is the Sun. <ere the ob(ect is an indicator or marker for
the sunlight and hence the Sun. By observing the !ob(ect", * can establish the presence of Sun. &hus the attempt
in this paper is not direct detection of Brahman but to evolve definitive 4arkers of Brahman in a /ivanmukta"s

4y argument, in short, in looking for 0euronal -orrelates for /ivanmukta"s mind is as follows:
i) e perceive a world.
But neuroscience clearly shows through studies on illusionsPmagic etc. that we hardly perceive what
really exists Qout there.Q
*n other words, there is a disconnect between the !reality out there" and our perception. &his means that
the sensory apparatus (senses and the respective cortical neurons) are inade1uate to show what
RexactlyR is Qout there.Q
ii) .ur brain makes a $map% of the perceptions received from the senses after an interpretation is made
by the sensory cortex to give a meaning to the sensory signals. e are actually aware of only the $map%
formed in our head. But we donQt have a clue about what RexactlyR is !out there".
&his $map% in our head is obviously made up of !thoughts" (generated by neuronal electrical pulses as
waves), or thought'stuff ' whether it is beautiful girl or an ugly duck or a river or a table ' all are
represented as thoughts in brain. So the constituent of all the so called perceived !ob(ects" is thought'
iii) &he thought itself is cogni)ed by us because we have Rconsciousness.R .r as philosophers put it,
consciousness illuminates (shows up) the thoughts.
iv) # !me"'thought acts as the !seer" of the map in our head. &his is the ego providing continuity in time,
coherence to experience and ownership to knowledge. *t gets generated based on memory'based
autobiographical information.
v) 0euroscience is as yet unable to understand how R-onsciousnessR is engendered in us.
vi) /ivanmuktas find a shift in their perception. *nstead of seeing the QmapQ of the world in their brain with
the ego at the center, they identify themselves with the illuminating -onsciousness. #nd this shift
happens within and to an individual.
vii) -an we evolve 0euronal -orrelates as $4arkers% to detect this shift?

8ni9ue characteristics of a Jivanmuktas mind)
e shall next list what could possibly be the uni1ue characteristics of a /ivanmukta"s mind which still retains its
!5orm" in the brain of his physical body and each traitQs corresponding neuronal correlates which can be
expected in his brain in a 1ualitative way to begin with. 4uch research and data are needed before we can inch
towards the development of 1uantitative value ranges for each of these markers and set standards as it is done
for health parameters.
e should also note that some of the traits may arise in a /ivanmukta in the last stages only of the Seven Step
Knowledge Bath. &he Knowledge Bath begins with the first step of an intense desire for liberation, study and
analysis of !self" and the world, arriving at an understanding that the $*% and the world are the same, internali)ing
this understanding unbrokenly and unswervingly, then non'perception of a world and finally a reali)ation that all is
Brahman (See >ef: F). #s what we are discussing presently is a preliminary coarse level attempt, it may not be
wise to try to demarcate the characteristic markers specifically identifiable at each stage of the Sevenfold Bath.
&he neuronal correlates of some of the characteristics can be in the brain chemistry reflected through hormonal
changes detectable in blood. Some other traits can be seen only from the relative activity level of a specific lobe
of the cortex (outer most layer) or a deeper part of the brain detectable through a suitable imaging technology.
Eeaving out the details for the present, * shall tabulate below (&able A) the characteristics that can serve as
possible $4arkers% for a /ivanmukta"s mind. # few additional !markers" like the absence of a sense of
!embodiment", an $active body'inactive mind% may also be identified later on.
* suggest the $ob(ective% approach of $4arkers% proposed here is better than a standardi)ed psychological
1uestionnaire approach because any 1uestion framed automatically implies the existence of a $separate entity%
on the part of the administrator of the 1uestions. *n fact Beter =)iuban pointed out this limitation in the study of
/effery 4artin (See >ef. S). &he study done by Toran /osipovic on the neural networks appears not to be strictly
related to #dvaita because meditational practices do not involve permanent collapse of individuating !self" as
would happen in the case of a /ivanmukta (See -omments section in >ef: S).
,a(le ') 3ossi(le Markers of a Jivanmuktas Mind)
: ,rait Indicator Detecta(le
A. 7niversal
$Eove% (Maitri)
<igh levels of .xytocin Blood

G. ,1uipoise <igh levels of Serotonin Blood

J. &ran1uility <igh levels of SerotoninI
Eow levels of -orticosteroidsI
Eow levels of 0orepinephrine.

F. Sense of
S1uirts of =opamine from 6entral &egmental #rea to -ortical and other areas
produce $<appy% feeling. #ctivity in Brefrontal -ortex, *nsula etc. depends
on an external agent for stimulation in an ordinary person to generate a feel
of happiness. &he $,ver <appy% feeling in a /ivanmukta could be governed
by a different neural circuit. (&he pituitary and the brain stem may be more

S. #bsence of sense
of $self%
# sense of !self" possibly emanates from activity in ventral medial Bre'
5rontal -ortex, precuneus (responsible for autobiographical memories).
>ecent research showed that lower activity in right parietal cortex is
linked to a lesser sense of !self".

K. #bsence of
-onsciousness of a decision for taking an action takes place much later
than the !brain" initiating a !precursor potential". Eatest research shows
that the brain initiates an action by as much as AM secs before we are
consciously aware of deciding to actC (See >ef: K).
# /ivanmukta may lack this second potential of having made a decision
to act ($* am acting%).

L. 2amma activity in
2amma activity in 4editators and 0on'4editators differs significantly.
e may find a different range in a /ivanmukta.

U. State of =eep
Sleep with
=eep Sleep is characteri)ed by slow brain waves in the ,,2. #ctivity in
the brain during =eep Sleep takes place in isolated islands of brain as
reported recently in the work of =r. 2. &unoni. Sensory information from
external worlds is not received as sensory cortex is inactive (asleep).
&herefore, ordinary persons will be unaware of the world during sleep.
Because of the fact that a /ivanmukta appears to be in =eep Sleep and
also is aware, we must be able to notice slow wave activity with the
sensory cortex working in /ivanmukta, though further downstream
processing of the signals in the brain may not be present. Bromises to
be a good marker.

N. 5earlessness and
Subdued amygdala activity. (See >ef: L) *maging
AM. #lways in the $0ow% $&he left lateral parietal cortex was differentially activated by nonpresent
sub(ective times compared with the present (past and future H present).
# similar pattern was observed in the left frontal cortex, cerebellum, and
thalamus.% (See >ef: U).
3ur%ose of the /tudy)
&ying up a study with $Burpose% or $7tility% is a mundane technological perspective. Blue sky type of >V= is for
knowledge enhancement without predetermined ob(ective. Science (done with an open mind) has brought out
unimaginable transformation during the past couple of centuries on our understanding of the 7niverse, its Eaws,
4an"s position in the 7niverse and so on. #ma)ing examples can be cited from 2enetics, 4olecular Biology,
3uantum Bhysics, #strophysics, 4edicine and many other fields. e do not know what the future scientific
discoveries will unfold. So it is unwise to get tied up at the very start with a demonstrable utilitarian purpose or
goal in this nascent field of understanding the neurobiology of a /ivanmukta"s brain.
*t may also be pointed out here that 0on'=ualism is inarguably a uni1ue achievement of our ancient seers and
sages within the means of in1uiry and investigation available to them millennia of years ago. 0on'=ualism and
its derivatives helped in the redemption of sorrow. But the important point is that #dvaita ends the sufferer and
not sufferin2 per se. ,xistence of !suffering", inviolability and inexorability of 0atural Eaws (Niyati) are
accepted as +naadi (without a beginning) and hence taken as un1uestionable in 6edanta.
Causal !elations)
# 1uestion may come up whether the $4arkers% would be mandatory or necessary conditions in a /ivanmukta
and whether externally inducing the electricalPchemicalPstructural changes will result in /ivanmukti (Eiberation).
3uestions like these can become relevant far into the future. >ight now, one has to establish first that certain
indicators as !signatures" of the /ivanmukti can be detected in the brain. 5urther, even if we do find the $4arkers%,
we should remember that one'to'one causal relationships cannot immediately be postulated in biological systems
unlike in deterministic physical systems. &hat is to say, if we find that 9#; indicates 9B;, we cannot say in natural
systems that given 9B;, 9B; automatically implies 9#;. *n other words, correlation may not imply causation.
!e9uired ;uture 3lan of $ction)
&he suggested markers are indicative only. 3uantitative base level information for each of the markers has to be
established for a normal person from a review of the available published research documents or actual studies.
hen once the bench mark levels are agreed to, we may measure the same parameters in any of the
volunteering individuals who are known to be those in whom the separate sense of !self" has already collapsed
(i.e. /ivanmuktas). 9/effery 4artin claims to have a database of over JMM 0on'dual awakenings (See >ef. S);.
# road map for a possible extension of the research can then be drawn if we are successful in une1uivocally
identifying $4arkers% in a /ivanmukta.
* am grateful to =r. &. S. >amakrishna, 5ounder Bresident of ,S#>#, at whose behest the preliminary thoughts
on the topic were laid in early GMMN through an opportunity he provided for a talk at the 5orum ,S#>#. * am
greatly obliged to /ohn (,ditor, 0=4), Baula (#uthor of $&he &eachers of .ne%) for their encouraging comments
on the draft version. -harles (#uthor of $-ircuits in the Brain$) was kind to suggest one correction. * am indebted
to >am (6ision >esearch *nstitute, #cton, 4#, 7S#) who suggested incorporation of explanatory
notesPamplifications in order to improve the understandability of the terminology of the paper for readers
unfamiliar with the #dvaita argot.
0euroscientist Toran (#d(unct Brofessor, 0ew @ork 7niversity) says that the neural correlates of /ivanmukta or
nonduality, is perhaps the most important topic but stresses the need for rigorous definitions of 6edantic terms
and points to the difficulties because of the complexity and variability in neuronal phenomena. <e also points out
that gamma synchrony may have some technical problems.
Some of the scientists brought to my notice their own research work. 4uch of this scientific effort, in general,
seems to have gone on the basis of analy)ing $concepts% ' #dvaita and Brahman too were !concepts" for them
to be assessed or compared with other concepts. Such an approach betrays a lack of clear understanding of
#dvaita. #dvaita is not a !concept". *t is beyond the realm of mind and senses. So the 1uestion whether a non'
conceptual nameless &hat (Brahman) which is inaccessible to the mind can be examined remained unaddressed
within the scientific endeavor. 0evertheless, * would like to express my thanks to many of the scientists whose
work is referred to in the paper but no specific citations are given in order to avoid too pedantic a look.
A. @ogavaasishta, Bart *6, &he -alm =own, by K.6. Krishna 4urthy, (,nglish &ranslation by =r. 6emuri
>amesam), #vadhoota =atta Beetham, 4ysore, *ndia, pp: ANF, GMMU.
G. Bolitical .rientations -orrelated with Brain Structure (>. Kanai et al, GMAA):
J. Berception + >eality =isconnect: Blog Bosts at:
(i) http:PPbeyond'advaita.blogspot.comPGMMNPAMPseeing'is'believing'is'it'really'so.html
(ii) http:PPbeyond'advaita.blogspot.comPsearch?1OrealityYperceptionYdisconnect
F. Knowledge'based Spiritual Bath: Blog Bost at: http:PPbeyond'advaita.blogspot.comPGMAMPAGPyoga'based'and'
S. >esearch on 0on'=ualism: Blog Bost at:
K. #wareness of decision making: -hun Siong Soon et al., $7nconscious =eterminants of 5ree =ecisions in the
<uman Brain,% Nature Neuroscience AA, no. S (4ay GMMU): SFJ at:
$.ne interpretation of this finding is that frontopolar cortex was the first cortical stage at which the actual decision
was made, whereas precuneus was involved in storage of the decision until it reached awareness.%
L. Eoss of fear: Blog Bost at: http:PPbeyond'advaita.blogspot.comPGMMNPMNPon'fear'hypnosis'consciousness'
U. -onsciousness of sub(ective time in the brain, 0yberg E, et al, Broc 0atl #cad Sci 7 S #. GMAM =ec
GAIAML(SA):GGJSK'N. ,pub GMAM =ec K. #lso http:PPneuroskeptic.blogspot.comPGMAMPAGPtime'travelling'brain.html
>#4,S#4 6,47>*
Intervie. .ith non<duality ma2a=ine
July "&'&
NDM: Can you please tell me how you became interested in ivanmukti9
>amesam 6emuri: Berhaps it was smeared on to my brain cells even when * was a young boyC Being born and
brought up in a family steeped in philosophy (my father was a &heosophist and author) and having been exposed to
4r. /. Krishnamurti"s talks early in my life (even before * could fathom their full import) could have triggered my
interest in /ivanmukti. *t is rather difficult to mark a specific date or relate to an eventI it happened as a process of
nature and nurture in the general atmosphere of *ndian cultural milieu * grew up with.
NDM: !hat would you say ivanmukti is e"actly#
>amesam 6emuri: #s the word connotes, /ivanmukti is release or freedom (in Sanskrit !#uti") when one is still
living (in Sanskrit !jivan") with a body. &he immediate 1uestion that comes up will then be: is there release after
death also? &he answer is yes. *t is called 6idehamukti or Eiberation without the body.
But what !exactly" is the freedom or release from? &his is the most critical point to be appreciated.
&he release is from the !bondage" of the world. But the world does not bind one down with any ropes. &he body of
the person is as much a part of the world wherein it moves and works unfettered. <ow then is the person bound by
the world?
# person living fascinated by the world is a $orldly person% or in Sanskrit a $)a#sari.% (S)he is driven by his mind
and senses captivated by various ob(ects of the world. <e struggles for his continuity and perpetuation. .ne of the
survival tools that the mind 1uickly discovers in nature is the pattern of causation.
&he mind detects a cause'effect relationship even in random unrelated happenings in the world. <e entwines
himself in these imagined cause'effect relationships weaving several theories around them and building prediction
mechanisms. <e ends up ever struggling, ever chasing. <is happiness and sorrow depend on the success or
failure of what his expectation was. <e is thus caught up in or totally $bound% by the apparent cause'effect
machinations in the world (in Sanskrit !sa#sara").
*s there any other way of living in the world? @es, there is. *t is being $not'bound% by the cause'effect e1uation.
,ven after one is unbound, the world and the things in it (including his body) continue. So do all the other natural
processes including the hunger, pain and aging of the body.
<owever, two big changes take place. 5or one, he clearly understands the falsity of the cause'effect relationship
and other such calculations of patterns conceived by the mind. <e also becomes free of the limitations and
constrictions imposed by the mind isolating him as a separate creature here confined to his body'mind fragmenting
him from a world sitting out there from which he needs to be protected and saved. /ust as you see a man in totality
as a man and not as an ensemble of separate legs, hands, eyes, ears etc. etc., he $sees% the entire world (inclusive
of his body'mind) as one seamless whole.
Blease notice the 1uotation marks used on the word sees. &he word $sees% is used only to convey a sense of what
it will be like. *n fact he does not !see" or cogni)e" anything after being unbound. <e is not a !seer" or !cogni)er"
seeing an ob(ect located out there separate from him. &he whole thing, whatever that is (including his body) (ust
remains as is. /ust as !seeing" takes place without the !seer", actions also happen without a !doer." *f things are
experienced by him, the experiencing takes place without an !experiencer." <e is thus not any more !conscious" of a
separate body with an independent *= to be taken care of, to be protected. So no more struggles, no more chasing
or being bound by cause'effect and expectations. <e takes all things in his stride as they come to happen on their
own accord without any effort on his part. &his is the second big change.
&he earlier contracting and confining mind with its tendency to reify and deify does not any more isolate the
individual. *t melds and dissolves into the very -onsciousness that cogni)es everything and that is everything. <e
does not identify himself with the limited body'mind and he is synonymous with .neness without any other. &his
infinite expansive mind is /ivanmukti.
.ne who firmly abides in it is a /ivanmukta or Sthitapra(na or #rahant (in Buddhism).
NDM: !hen you say he clearly understands the $alsity o$ the cause%e$$ect relationship and other such
calculations o$ patterns conceived by the mind Are you also re$erring to saMskAra%s and vAsanA%s and
can you please e"plain what these are#
>amesam 6emuri: &hat is right. /ivanmukta understands the unreality of samskaras and vasanas too.
Eet us see what these words stand for.
Samskaras and vasanas are the learned behaviors. *f * wish !2ood 4orning" to 4r. Z, my samskara (culture)
expects an appropriate response from him. *f * run away in disgust at the sight of a rotting carcass giving off
unbearable stink or if a baby cries with fear on seeing a dark scary spider, it is as per the blueprint (vasanas) of the
learned behavior stored in the genes.
Suppose the strong smelling spice asafoetida is stored in a container. ,ven after the spice is used up completely,
its flavor (in Sanskrit vasana) clings to the container and lingers on, though the container may be broken. &he
learned behaviors (the lessons drawn, the results of prior actions etc.) are called !vasanas" comparing them to the
asafoetida smell left in the container. 6ery roughly speaking, we can view the stored !impressions" of samskaras
and vasanas are the ancient technical terms indicative of what in modern biology are phenotype and genotype.
9Baraphrasing from various sources: Bhenotype is the outward, physical manifestation and behavior of the
organism. 2enotype is the internally coded, inheritable information carried by the organism. &o explain these terms
with an illustration: =ifferences in the genotypes can produce, say, cats to have normal ears or curled ears. &he
pinkness we often see in flamingos is not encoded into their genotype. &he food they eat makes their phenotype
white or pink.;
&he mind views its own imagined characteristic of $pattern recognition and development of conceptual models% as
an effect of something and looks for that cause somewhere !outside." Bop comes the answer !samskaras and
vasanas" as the cause. &his answer may not have come to !my" mindI it may have occurred to some mind and
handed down as a memeC &hus the words samskaras and vasanas have come as appeasements for a mind that is
searching for a cause for its own behavior. &hey are lollipops.
&he most basic point to remember is that in order to talk in terms of vasanas and so on, one has to first believe in
the !reality" of the existence of a cause, an effect and a relationship between them.
Eooked at from the position of a /ivanmukta, there are no different entities, one as a cause and another as an effect
and a formula expressing a relationship between them. &he entire thing is .ne. #nd that is the only &ruth. 0ot so
many different things and their inter'relationships which are all imaginary.
NDM: Do you believe it&s possible to be a ivanmukta and still be 'acting out' on negative saMskAra%s and
vAsanA%s# Such as lusting a$ter ob(ects) money) sel$ish ambitions) $ame) spiritual reputation) worldly
success and so on# *r to have aversions o$ any kind# +ear) an"iety and so on#
>amesam 6emuri: 4ay * first make explicit the assumptions behind some of the terms in the 1uestion?
$#cting out%: @ou have put very aptly $acting out% in 1uotation marks. 5or a !me" ' positioning myself as an aloof
observer, a separate distinct individual ' a /ivanmukta may !appear" to act. But a /ivanmukta does not act. #ctions
(ust happen by their own force. &here is no sense of doership, a motive for action or expectation of an outcome on
his part. &he supernova explodes, the sun shines, the earth rotates, the ocean waves. # /ivanmukta acts. &hings
(ust happen.
0egative: -lassification of positivePnegative or desirablePundesirable or sinPmerit and so on re1uires an a priori
standard in relation to which we can compare and (udge the things. ho and what for does one set these
standards? #re the standards not highly contextual, local, artificial and sub(ective? =oes 1ualifying anything '
vasanas or actions + based on such purely (udgmental aspects have any holiness? # society"s imposition of rules
and regulations, howsoever high may be the value and whatsoever may be the morality and nobility, does not have
#bsoluteness. &hey may have a societal sanction but lack intrinsic Sanctity. ho to say right or wrong or good or
bad? &hings (ust exist. 0othing is positive or negative until a !thought" interferes.
.sama is as much a part of the world as .bama isC Berhaps * should even omit $a part of% because .neness does
not have parts in it. *t is simply indivisible. 0on'duality is not exclusive. *t does not sieve out, winnow or filter. *t is
all inclusive.
* shall now try to answer the 1uestion in the light of the above disclaimers.
Berchance * should answer at three levels: from that of a /ivanmuktaI from the position of his bodyI and from the
viewpoint of the rest of the world.
5rom the position of /ivanmukta: /ivanmukta is Brahman. <e does not carry any individuating *=. <e does not
$act out% or even act. Brahman is immutable, actionless and utterly stable. <e is complete and has no lack. <e
does not have to seek or run after so called good things, name, fame, wealth, lust or status. 0or has he to avoid
undesirable things. *t is a !choiceless" life with no likes and dislikes, attractions and aversions, acceptance and
&he /ivanmukta"s body works (ust for its bare maintenance until it meets its natural end. <e has no !fears" including
the fear of death. *f we, say, try to push his body into a burning fire, it may because of its inherent nature resist the
push. But there may not be a sense of !fear" felt by /ivanmukta. .r he may even (ump into the fire. ho knows?
5rom the position of /ivanmukta"s body: # /ivanmukta carries the same physical body that he had before his #uti.
,xternally there are no visible changes in it either in its appearance or normal functions. But does /vanmukti
bestow a license on his body for a free run of all whims and fancies as per its so called vasanas?
&he answer is an emphatic and unambiguous 0..
&hen what happens to the samskaras and vasanas? &hey are all there only in form but totally ineffective. 6edanta
offers two metaphors to exemplify the ineffectiveness of samskaras and vasanas in a /ivanmukta. &hey will be like
roasted seeds that cannot germinate even if all other conditions (water, soil etc.) are favorable. &hey will be like a
burnt out rope that retains the shape of the plaid of its strands but has no strength to pull.
*f we extend the analogy of phenotype and genotype, can we expect changes in the genes or neuronal connections
in the brain of a /ivanmukta"s body? e do not have any scientific data on this point. &his is completely a virgin
area of research that needs to be actively taken up.
e normally notice that as one stays more and more with Self'in1uiry, many of the usual temptations and desires
diminish. .ne does not hanker after power, prestige, privileges etc. 4undane desires and pursuits automatically
drop down.
5rom the view of the rest of the world: &hough it is all .ne world including me, you or any observer for the
/ivanmukta, we do see him !acting." *t is so because we view the world with the filter of our mind. .ur mind first
conceives us to be distinct entities separate from the body of /ivanmukta. 0ext it imagines motives for his actions
and (udges the motives with reference to our anticipations. So it is we who see those actions on the part of
NDM: !hen you say: !ho and what $or does one set these standards# Are the standards not highly
conte"tual) local) arti$icial and sub(ective# Does ,uali$ying anything % vAsanA%s or actions - based on
such purely (udgmental aspects have any holiness# A society&s imposition o$ rules and regulations)
howsoever high may be the value and whatsoever may be the morality and nobility) does not have
Absoluteness. /hey may have a societal sanction but lack intrinsic Sanctity. !ho to say right or wrong or
good or bad# /hings (ust e"ist. Nothing is positive or negative until a 0thought& inter$eres.
1ut what about dharma# /he natural laws o$ the universe or 2od as some would call it. Some vAsanA%s
violate dharma) others do not. Such as a vAsanA $or smoking cigarettes like Nisargadatta had) is an
unhealthy vAsanA but it&s only going to in(ure his lungs at most. Someone like the American guru Adi Da
had e"treme vAsanA%s such as having se"ual relationships with his students) physically and
psychologically e"ploiting and abusing them. 3ow does dharma play into this e,uation?
>amesam 6emuri: !=harma" to me in the context of #dvaita is synonymous to Brahman, undefinable, ungraspable.
&he Sanskrit word for the $0atural Eaws of the 7niverse or 2od% is !niyati." &hus these two words are not the same
for me.
=harma being whatever $*s%, and there being no second, there is no 1uestion of some other !thing" violating *t. &he
natural laws being inexorable and inviolable there is no 1uestion of violating them either. (&hese Eaws are said to
be embedded in the very first thought that kicks off (imagines) !creation" of an $*% and a visible world.)
&endency for addictions (smoking etc.) and promiscuity do appear to have some genetic basis as biology tells us.
&hese therefore may 1ualify to be termed as vasanas in the light of the analogy discussed earlier.
0ow the 1uestion is what relation does =harma have with the vasanas?
2enes, world and all ob(ects (perceivables) are a creation of *'consciousness. *'consciousness originates when
Brahman (abidance in or being Brahman) is ignored. *n other words !ignore'ance", as Beter puts it so beautifully,
engenders $*%. Subse1uent thoughts of claiming some perceivables as $me or mine% and some others as not $me or
mine% consolidates the entity $*% and cocreates an $other% which is the world. So the relation of =harma and
vasanas is that of Brahman and the world.
NDM: 3ow does one measure these vAsanA%s or draw the line#
>amesam 6emuri: #ny $measure% whether of vasanas or any other thing has only a relative value. .ne can sit
down and evolve measures like we have traffic rules to move about on roads. * do not need them in my house,
NDM: !ould they all not get burned out# !hy would some remain over others#
>amesam 6emuri: &his is a very interesting 1uestion. * would like to cite the famous illustration from 6edanta. &he
rope seemingly appears to be a snake because we forgot that it was a rope. &he reali)ation that !it is actually a rope
and not a snake" does not happen in steps + first the tail, then the wiggly body and finally the hood. &he whole
snake disappears at one go.
So also on the reali)ation of Brahman, the 0on'dual .neness dawns at one go. But scriptural evidence and
experience of many individuals suggest that firm unwavering abidance in Brahman is obtained only after some back
and forth swings. *f one falters here, he may continue to retain a $memory% of seeing the rope at one time (i.e.
reali)ation) and exhibit an intellectual understanding of it. But he may have practically slipped back again into the
phantasm of the mind"s creation (world) and indulge himself in the worldly temptations. Scriptures warn a seeker to
observe utmost care and vigilance to avoid such a fall when once reali)ation dawns.
hy should such a time gap be there between the first reali)ation and complete abidance in Brahman? atch here
the tricky mind playing once again its cunning roleC *t is looking for a cause outside itself. So in order to provide an
explanation to the mind, a reason is invented using the artifacts of vasanas. e say some vasanas are hard to
burn, they take time, long habits die hard and so on. /ust a bunch of explanations. #ctually what is happening is,
the mind keeps popping back even after the first reali)ation.
&he Sevenfold Bath to >eali)ation described by some Sages says that the first reali)ation happens at the fourth
step. (&he first step is *ntense yearning for ,nlightenment). &hey spell out the characteristics and tendencies of a
seeker at each stage. &he seekers at different stages are even christened as $Knower of BrahmanI Better knower
of BrahmanI 4aster Knower of BrahmanI and ,xcellent Knower of Brahman.%
#n important caveat, though. &hese gradations and stages are not for ornamentation as titles. &hey are purely
meant to help the seeker in one"s own self'assessment and self'guidance and not for (udgment. &he Sevenfold
Bath too thus indicates the existence of time delay between the first reali)ation and the final stage.
hen we discuss a /ivanmukta, we usually talk with reference to the one at the Sixth or Seventh stage.
Some of the /ivanmutas may sometimes let a few habits of their body to linger. &hey ignore those habits totally
unable to draw themselves from $being Brahman% towards their body to rid it of its residual habit. 4ahara("s smoking
could be of this type.
NDM: !hen you say: /he most basic point to remember is that in order to talk in terms o$ vAsanA%s and
so on) one has to $irst believe in the 0reality& o$ the e"istence o$ a cause) an e$$ect and a relationship
between them. 4ooked at $rom the position o$ a ivanmukta) there are no di$$erent entities) one as a cause
and another as an e$$ect and a $ormula e"pressing a relationship between them. /he entire thing is *ne.
And that is the only /ruth. Not so many di$$erent things and their inter%relationships which are all
So are you saying that the ivanmutkta no longer acknowledges that there is an empirical relationship o$
cause and e$$ect on this relative level. 5samvriti%satya or vy6vah6rika%satya7
/hat they only recogni8e or acknowledge the absolute perspective# 5p6ram6rthika%satya7. /hat they in $act
deny that a relative level even e"ists like some o$ the neo advaitins do.
>amesam 6emuri: &he terminology of #bsolute &ruth, transactional reality and dream'like reality and stories
around them are inventions for appeasing a seeking mind. &hey have as much value, meaning and significance as
the conversations and technologies of a dream experience have in the wakeful world. @ou may dip into a river and
next thing suddenly be flying over a mountain peak in a dream. @ou could do so in the dream because you
possessed that technology in your dream. But what relevance has it in the wakeful world? Similalry, the
terminologies and classifications and theories used in the wakeful world carry no meaning or relevance to a
# /ivanmukta does not have to even acknowledge the absolute perspective or deny relative levels. <e is #lone '
#ll Y .ne. hat and whom does he have to perceive when there is no other?
0evertheless, we should also be aware of another important aspect. #s >upert would put it, it is disingenuous to
claim that there is no one to seek or search as long as there is a sense of lack, a feel of void. &hat lack itself is the
NDM. As $ar as the brain changes a$ter enlightenment) are you $amiliar with the work o$ /odd Murphy. 3e
says that there are changes in the amygdala) also the anterior commisure) the two%way communication
between the two amygdala5s7. As well as changes in the hippocampus and so on.>enli2htenment.htm
>amesam 6emuri: &hanks, /ohn for the link. * am aware of the studies by =r. Bersinger whose work &odd heavily
draws upon. #s you know =r. Bersinger" s research was a bit controversial (Swedish scientists could not replicate
his resultsI also /ohn <organ"s report). #part from it, most of his work was done in the pre'f4>* days and before
single neuron studies. <is research was based on magnetic stimulation of large parts of the brain.
#t the present day, much more sophisticated technologies are available and we could study hundreds of individual
neurons in a network at one time and also interactions that take place at protein level. &rans cranial and =eep
Brain stimulation studies and modern imaging techni1ues are throwing up new information. 4any of the concepts
presented at the web page appear to need updating. 4oreover 0euroscientists are yet to get a handle on
-onsciousness. #re we really ready now to translate the meager neuroscientific knowledge into meaningful
applications and pedal instruments in the market?
NDM. 9t seems that anyone who is a ivanmukta o$ten talks o$ a sense o$ no%sel$) 5anatta7) also
unconditional love) 5ma:tri7) bliss and not being the doer. As well as no likes and dislikes but this can also
be (ust talk.
3ow could one tell) know i$ someone were a true ivanmukta or was (ust putting on an act and $aking it.
+or e"ample a western avatar once said ' ;ach tree is recogni8ed by its own $ruit. <eople do not pick $igs
$rom thornbushes) or grapes $rom briers'
Can you (udge a ivanmukta tree by its $ruit#
>amesam 6emuri: 7nfortunately, we do not have any clear cut indicators for identifying a /ivanmukta by an
external agent. Several scriptures do however leave large hints for self'assessment and self'improvement. #
tabular statement comparing the traits of a /ivanmukta and an ordinary individual is available at>discourses>teachers>advaita?ramesam.htm at the very end of the article.
* hope modern scientific technology can help us in identifying a few parameters as $markers% for a /ivanmukta. e
have to establish the validity and range of such parameters and build a database. #s you pointed out already,
ma[tri, absence of !doership" etc. could be such markers. (also vide:
&he possibility of detecting a fake /ivanmukta was discussed in @ogavaasishta. Sage 6asishta declares, not in
exasperation but in encouragement, that it is good even if somebody pretends and playacts as a /ivanmukta. <e
says that such pretension eventually will lead him to BrahmanC
NDM: /he American philosopher =en !ilber said. A schmuck be$ore enlightenment) a schmuck a$ter
Do you think it&s even possible to be enlightened and be a 'schmuck'. 5A Schmuck is most o$ten used in
American ;nglish as a pe(orative or insult) meaning an obno"ious) contemptible person> one who is stupid)
$oolish) or detestable7
>amesam 6emuri: &his can be true in view of the wide range of people and personalities and the stage they are
in. e have in a way discussed such a possibility under 3 S.
NDM: !hat is the di$$erence with simply being enlightenment in the advatin sense) knowing one is
1rahman) in$inite) eternal non%dual awareness and so on and being a ivanmukta#
>amesam 6emuri: &he first and foremost thing is the knowing of information $* am Brahman.% &his has to be
understood by the mind intellectually. *t is the Shravana (Eistening) phase. 0ext is to assimilate it and internali)e it
to the extent that no doubt remains in one"s mind about the &ruth of that statement. &his is the 4anana (>eflection)
phase. #fter being firmly convinced and free of doubts, one needs to continuously stay with it as Brahman (not
become Brahman but be Brahman). &his is the 0idhidhyasa (-ontemplation and 4editation) phase. /ivanmukta is
one who unwaveringly and unbrokenly abides as Brahman.
NDM: !hy would one person become enlightened and get the added bene$its o$ bliss) no aversions) $ears)
desires and being a ivanmukta) while another may not# 9s this grace) karma) or because o$ one&s practice
or some other $actors involved#
>amesam 6emuri: *f one continues to mistake the rope as snake or understands only superficially, the
understanding is obviously incomplete.
Berfect understanding is not a !phala" (fruit or result) of an action. So looking for reasons of one obtaining it and
another failing to do so is of no help. e may supply some theories and lame explanations using the words karma,
lack of grace etc. but they are all (ust that + unfalsifiable fiction. So what has one to do? Scriptures advise to go
back, start with shravana, manana and nidhidhyasa.
NDM: Do all ivanmuktas e"ist in a $ourth state o$ turiya or the $i$th state) turiyatita#
>amesam 6emuri: *f * may point out, * am sure you are already aware, &uriya is not a state. *t does not come and
go as the word state would imply. &he other three + awake, dream and deep sleep states + may come and go.
&uriya is ever there. &he other three states exist in &uriya. &uriya is Brahman.
*f &uriya is Brahman, what can be there as the fifth state or turiyatita? Strictly 6edanta does not admit the word
turiyatita. &uriyatita ac1uired common parlance even in some important ancient texts for the purpose of emphasis
only to prime the seeker to look beyond the three states and be ever established in &uriya.
Some people e1uate &uriya to Brahman and turiyatita to Barabrahman (Supreme Brahman). But Brahman is
Barabrahman. *t is (ust a poetic expression.
&uriya is /ivanmukta.
NDM: Can you please take a look at the $irst ? minutes o$ this video on !ayne 4i,uorman talking about the
di$$erence between a sage and a saint#$eatureAchannel
!hat do you see is the di$$erence with a sage and a saint#
>amesam 6emuri: ayne defines a Saint as the embodied person of a set of high values believed in by a group.
&he Saint becomes the role model for virtuous behavior for that group and may not gel with another group. # Sage
is defined by him as one in whom the individuating $*% has collapsed.
4aybe my knowledge is limited. * am familiar that the Sanskrit word Sanyasi (an absolute renunciate who
renounced even thoughts and counter thoughts) is usually translated as Saint. &he word >ishi (a reali)ed man) is
translated as Sage. 4aharishi is now accepted into ,nglish (.xford =ictionary). Sanskrit scriptures use >sihi,
4aharishi, /nani, /ivanmukta, Sthitapra(na, =rik, 4uni etc., a whole variety of such names interchangeably.
But one thing is clear. hen one is a /ivanmukta, he is already a complete renunciate + has no desires,
preferences, likes and dislikes, wants and fears. &here is a natural nobility and a spontaneous morality in a
/ivanmukta + not any showy or artificial morality sanctioned by an authority. #c1uiring many embellishing 1ualities
but retaining a <imalayan ego can hardly make a person a /ivanmukta.
NDM: So what e"actly happens in the Nidhidhyasa 5Contemplation and Meditation7 phase# Does some
kind o$ shi$t take place# 9s this like an intuitive understanding or gnosis o$ some kind#
>amesam 6emuri: 0idhidhyasa is an umbrella term. *t subsumes under it whatever it takes on the part of the
seeker to achieve permanent abidance in Brahman.
&he twin acts of Eistening and >eflection bring about clarity in thinking and conse1uently result in a better
appreciation of the meaning of the 7panishadic statement Tat tva# asi. &hat in turn helps in comprehending
unambiguously the essence of Brahman. <owever, one"s intellect does not get unwaveringly established in &ruth
by this process. 0egative thoughts keep emerging and become impediments for enduring abidance in Brahman.
&he foremost thing for the seeker is to appreciate that -onsciousness which enables $me% to be conscious of
ob(ects is not an entity confined somewhere within my body'mind and also that *t is not something * own. &he next
thing is to understand that the various ob(ects * perceive are not disparate elements distributed in space but it is my
thought that assigns a name and a form by abstracting part by part of what otherwise is one whole undivided
space. *f * see an ob(ect and recogni)e it two things have happened. 5irst is being aware of something and then
adding a name to it. &he 1uality of being aware, the sensitivity, is by virtue of -onsciousness. #dding a name, a
form and recogni)ing it as a specific ob(ect is the (ob done by the mind.
But how do * know that * am !conscious" of a thing? hen do * know * am conscious at all? * know * am conscious
only when * observe (using any of the five senses) a thing (even a thought observed is a !thing" for this analysis).
So it is only that thing that is telling me * am conscious. .r in other words, the thing is no thing but my
-onsciousness appearing in the form of the thing. &herefore, the so called ob(ect is no different from (my)
-loser and careful investigation will show that for me to be conscious of a thing, * have to first exist or more
generally the 1uality to $be% (not as an ad(ective but as a noun, i.e. $beingness%) has to be present prior to being
,ventually it will be seen that $me being conscious% and $consciousness of my being% are not two distinct things but
one and the same. &hat means that * understand that my Beingness, my -onsciousness and the ob(ective world
around are all (ust .ne indivisible thing.
#fter the first glimpse of this reali)ation, non'attachment to the ob(ects of the world has to intensify. ith
decreasing attraction to the ob(ects (of all the five senses), the mind develops a tendency to be a non'cogni)er. *t
settles into an intensive meditative state described as !non'perception of ob(ects." #s a matter of fact all the above
processes keep running parallel, not strictly one after other. !0on'perception of ob(ects" is the sixth stage in the
Sevenfold Knowledge Bath to Self'reali)ation. &he seeker has hardly to do anything from this stage as this stage,
by itself, will lead him to the final &uriya.
&he above is a very 1uick run of the things. 2raphic descriptions of individual experiencesPstruggles in 0idhidhyasa
phase are available in literature. &hey vary considerably and we need not be concerned with the details.
NDM: !hat about an energetic shi$t# Does this also take place#
>amesam 6emuri: # particular individual may call his experience as !energetic shift" and only he can tell what those
terms signify. 4ost people may figuratively express $reali)ation% as a change in perspective, a sort of re'orientating,
rather than anything extra'ordinary or dramatic.
NDM: So i$ the understanding isnFt crystal clear) are you saying this is the reason why one may not become
a ivanmukta#
>amesam 6emuri: &hat is true. #bsolute clarity without even a speck of confusion or doubt on the teaching (shall
we call the $theory%?) of advaita is a must and is the primary step. Eack of clarity or misunderstanding can lead one
astray into pursuit of false mental states, fancy expectations and may even result in unhealthy minds or dead ends.
NDM: !ill crystal clear knowledge wipe out all vAsanA%s#
>amesam 6emuri: -rystal clear Knowledge will once for all establish without any scope for a doubt that !vasanas"
is (ust a conceptual term and like all concepts, it is purely imaginary, fallacious and unreal.
Blease notice that * capitali)ed Knowledge. &his is to show a distinction from the type of knowledge we ac1uire and
accumulate in brain like Bhysics or carpentry. Knowledge with capital K is Self'Knowledge, not accumulative. *t is
not something hoarded. *t is never of the past. *t is always in the present, alive and afresh. *t is prior to the
concepts of space and time. *t is the experiential Knowledge that what all exists (including the seeker) is .ne
whole undivided -onsciousness or Brahman.
=escription of 0irvana as e1uivalent to total annihilation of vasanas appears to be a model more popular in post'
7panishad period. 6asanas is a concept developed to explain the accumulated and stored knowledge, the
behavioral pattern of responses based on habituation. &he stored knowledge with lower case k is a function of time
and training.
Knowledge of Self gets inputted, undoubtedly, through knowledge (using language, words, symbols). hen
Knowledge takes root, *t does not go piling up like worldly knowledge or expertise. *t destroys knowledge and
destroys itself too in the end. hat then remains as residual is Brahman. 6edanta gives several metaphors to
explain the process.
&he paste of ground ater'purifying 5ruit (Knowledge) added to turbid water, precipitates the turbidity (knowledge).
#long with turbidity, the added paste too is sedimented. *t does not remain and add on to the turbidity. &he second
example is fire (Knowledge) and firewood (knowledge). 5ire initially burns the logs. hen the logs are fully burnt,
fire also gets extinguished. *t does not remain and continue as !fire." # third is the washing dirt off a cloth. #
detergent is added to the dirt. But the detergent too is washed away along with the dirt.
NDM: !hat e"ercises can one do to wipe out their vAsanA%s# Do mantras) (apa) meditation help at all#
!hat would you suggest#
>amesam 6emuri: 4antras, (apa, meditation, etc. are all actions that help in the reduction of vacillations in a mind
and are conducive towards the development of a focused mind. Bilgrimages, holy dips, rituals, donations, service
etc. may help in the development of detachment and also free one from too narrow an outlook and loosen the vice
grip of a belief system.
5or a reasonably analytical, intelligent and disciplined mind with an above average *.3., cultivation of any of such
exercises is superficial, irrelevant and of no concern for attainment of 0irvana, *4<.. # balanced diet and limited
exercise that can contribute to a healthy body'mind are more necessary so that Self'in1uiry may proceed
unimpeded by health problems
-oming to the 1uestion of 6asanas: hat * am presently !conscious" in the now is an undesirable trait. (Eet us not
for the present 1uestion the legitimacy in branding the observed trait as !undesirable." e discussed this aspect
under 3uestion F). * am not !conscious" of the vasana which is an imagined cause for the undesirable observed
6asanas are (ust fictitious !culprits." 5urther, we place them not only outside us but also so far away from us in time
(in an unknown past). hy is it so?
*f something (a good or bad trait) arises in my -onsciousness in the !now", it is -onsciousness which has taken the
shape of that trait !now." *s it then correct to link it to a past? =oes this not imply that -onsciousness has a past
and a history?
Eet us take a detector of temperature. e call it thermometer. -an a thermometer ever detect a temperature of
yesterday or even the temperature a minute ago? *t can only and always function in the !now."
So also -onsciousness (which for the present analysis may be viewed as a multi'sense, multi'parameter detector)
can function always and only in the !now." hat it detects is always new, fresh, alive, never dead or in the past.
-onsciousness has no memory, no history. ,ven if a thought or image about a past event occurs, that thought itself
is detected (i.e. we are aware) in the !now." &hat thought is a new, live arising.
So the trait, desirable or undesirable, appearing !now" has no past history. &he imagined causal vasana is a concept
that has arisen !now." # concept is (ust another thought. ,ach thought is highly ephemeral, has no true existence. #
thought comes and as easily disappears in a flash. hy should we make any effort to wipe it?
*n fact any effort to cleanse a thought, or offer resistance to it, is surprisingly counterproductiveC .ur resistance
gives strength to it. So best thing is (ust to observe the trait arise and let it go (ust by ignoring it.
Eooked at from another way, my search for a culprit and effort to kill it is avoidance of taking responsibility. #t the
moment the trait arises, it is !me" who is conscious of it. !4e" is my -onsciousness. &he observed trait is the shape
-onsciousness has taken as an arising. So !me" is the trait at that moment. &here is no separate !me" here
possessing an unwanted !trait." 4e is the trait and the trait is me. *s it at all possible for me to wipe out myself
naming !me" as an undesirable trait?
(* hope the logic is not too confusing. *f * need to elaborate, * shall do so).
NDM: !hat would you say are the odds o$ someone being 'enlightened' also becoming a ivanmukta#
>amesam 6emuri: #dvaita holds that everyone is already a /ivanmukta. Some scriptures une1uivocally declare
that the mind is most important. *f it knows clearly that it is unbound, it is free. *f it thinks it is bound, it is in
#nd incidentally, the #dvaita teaching does not say one $becomes% a /ivanmukta. &he teaching is that $@ou are
&hat.% *t is not to !become" but (ust to !be."
,nlightenment or the first glimpses of !reali)ation" may entitle one to be called as a /ivanmukta. But to be in
Brahman unceasingly, one has to overcome several of the distractions that the mind keeps posing.
NDM: /he one ,uestion that really interests me is what someone can do about their vAsanA%s i$ they are
enlightened) but still have problems with them#
>amesam 6emuri: @es, Sir. &his is one 1uestion that bugs every seeker at every stage until he is firmly
established in &uriya.
&he first thing that needs to be appreciated is that the seeker is conscious of the hindering behaviors that are
coming in his way and that he is not swayed by them and pulled down back into the phantasmagoric world. &his
#wareness itself will help him to overcome the problem. But it will be useful to come to grips with the impediment
as perceived in the !now" rather than attribute the problem to a distant cause called vasana and try to kill the !enemy
hordes." * surely cannot be a =on 3uixoteC
0ext is 0idhidhyasa + discussions with co'seekers and or with established /nanis are useful so that the actual kink
in the $7nderstanding% could get identified. &hat identification of the misunderstanding may act as a remedy to the
# related and significant point is !sat sangatya" or association with noble people. *t is not merely in terms of human
relationships but also in terms of the total environment which also needs to be !satvic". Such a facilitatory
environment will and can bring about changes even in the thought patterns and wean away the seeker from the
blocks being faced by him.
Bresent day science too recogni)es the important role that the environment plays in the genetic expression. *n fact
the environmental influence modifies the genetic expression from the very next moment after the formation of a
)ygote. *t is the environment in the mother"s womb that exerts a great influence on the developing fetus. &here is
not a single week these days where significant research findings relating the environment and brain are not
reported in scientific (ournals. &o give an example, these are some of the research findings this week:
a) &he mind is the body ' tumor suppression by enriched environment
b) hat @ou >eally 5eel (htt%)>>neuroske%tic.(>"&'&>&#>.hat<you<really<feel.html).
c) .f bugs and brains: >esearchers discover that gut bacteria affect multiple sclerosis
&hus satsangatya, a facilitating environment and food, may help overcome the problem.
5inally, * can"t help but 1uote Beter =)iuban of Consciousness is $ll in response to similar 1uestions. *t is hardly
possible to better his inimitable, direct and pointed expression.
# situation or problem may appear to present itself, maybe it even seems to be recurring.
&he only .ne who is conscious is Self *tself, 0. *tself. &he RapparentR situation really has no prior status, no
foothold of existing whatsoever, no 1ualities of being lingering or tenacious, 0. 4#&&,> <. *& 4#@ S,,4. &o
this 0.'#wareness, there having been nothing besides *tself, there can be nothing besides *tself that 0. is
interested in, or that Rgets *ts attention.R
Bodies are left entirely out of consideration. *t is #EE about 0. only, for *& is the only .ne being conscious''not
Rus.R &here are no situations that 0. has to Rwork overR or Rbe worried aboutR because there have been no prior
situations. 0. has to be, in fact *S, Rsolely interestedR in *ts Rnever'before'#live BresenceR because there simply
is nothing else present.
&hen the thought may come, R@es, but the problem still appears to linger.R &his is where one must Rput oneQs
spiritual foot downR and Rstand oneQs groundR as 0ever'before'ness, because only this is RhonestR and consistent
with the way 6ife actually N,/ is present. &he claim of lingering'ness or tenacity isnQt true''for that, too, only would
be a current thought trying to arise. &here has been no long past in which something could have lingered. here
we get unclear is in accepting the seeming (and sometimes see#ingly very persistentC) suggestion that there has
been a prior time in which all this began. #nd then, if accepted, this notion will add feelings of guilt, inade1uacy,
etc. etc. because thereQs a feeling that R*R havenQt been spiritually clear enough to have this apparent situation
dissolve. &hatQs why RBeterR is left entirely out of consideration. &he responsibility of being 0. is entirely up to
0.''there is no middleman called a Beter'awareness that has to be as good at being 0. as 0. *tself is.
(*talics were by him only).
>#4,S#4 6,47>*
Intervie. .ith non<duality ma2a=ine. 3art "

NDM: Did you ever $ormally study traditional Advaita Gedanta#
>amesam 6emuri: * should at the outset say that other than as a matter, perhaps, of curiosity, !me" or what * did is
utterly inconse1uential, not to be considered important. * never studied #dvaita formally under a 2uru'Sishya
sa#pradaya (tradition) nor did * pursue any particular teacher or ashram. *n fact * feel hesitant to $follow% any
organi)ed system that upfront demands obse1uious obeisance, dictates a belief structure, creates a hope and
promises a distant carrot.
4y spiritual in1uiry, if * may use that term, has been more like the pursuit of research in science + define the
problem as it arises, do a literature search, then investigate, check and cross check to the extent possible and so
on. 7ndoubtedly there is a greater influence of #dvaitic thought of the ancient *ndian texts on me simply because
they are some of the finest philosophical texts based on logic and they were also the more readily accessible
resources for me. * am indebted to them and to the innumerable peoplePteachers who helped me in arriving at a
clear understanding.
NDM: 9s there any particular method or study out o$ all these various ways that clicked with you over the
>amesam 6emuri: &o me it looks that the best way is: 0ever give up 1uestioning even in the face of an apparently
convincing answer. Keep wading through the (ungle (of information) until a clear meadow is in sight and you begin
to feel the fresh breath of air (ust like that at the daybreak after a stormy night (sorry for the mixed metaphorI but
hope you got the pictureC).
NDM: !hy e"actly do you $eel hesitant to $ollow any organi8ed system that demands obse,uious
obeisance e"actly#
>amesam 6emuri:: # Bhilippine friend of mine used to 1uote a proverb. *f you want the bird in your hand to fly
high, you have to loosen the grip of your fist. &here cannot be free in1uiry when you are already told to fall in line
with a system P a method. #n open wondering mind is a pre're1uisite for any new discovery, particularly so in the
case of the unknown.
Eet me 1uote from Scientific #merican, /uly GMAM, about a research paper regarding a 1uestioning mind:
(>article.cfm+idCthe<<%aradoID%a2eC") :
R9&;hose with 1uestioning minds were more intrinsically motivated to change. &hey were looking for a positive
inspiration from within, rather than attempting to hold themselves to a rigid standard. &hose asserting will lacked
this internal inspiration, which explains in part their weak commitment to future change. But in terms of addiction
recovery and self'improvement in general, those who were asserting their willpower were in effect closing their
minds and narrowing their view of their future. &hose who were 1uestioning and wondering were open'minded\
and therefore willing to see new possibilities for the days ahead.R
Supplication or obedience to an authority or sub(ugation or deference to a power is a poor imitation of what
happens in !surrender" after Self'>eali)ation. &rue Surrender is an effortless collapse of an individuating Qself.Q .ne
cannot impose by force upfront the lashana (1uality) that automatically comes with the attainment of lashya
(goal), more so in this peculiar situation where lashya and lashana are one and the sameC
#ny extraneously imposed discipline P method P system re1uires a rigid disciplinary structure, an ad(udicating
authority and a policing mechanism. &hese systems then ac1uire a life of their own and struggle for their survival
and perpetuation. &hey adopt all the tricks of the !ego" in creating a $personality% for themselves, ultimately proving
to be counterproductive and detrimental to the very !death of ego", the ostensible purpose for which they have come
in the first placeC
NDM: 3ave you read the 2uru <apers: Masks o$ Authoritarian <ower by the way# 3ere is a short pd$ $rom a
chapter $rom this book. Assault on Heason.>do.nloads>2uru?%a%ers>2%<$ssault?!eason?col.%df
>amesam 6emuri:: &hanks /ohn for the Eink. * have not read the book. * do vibe with 1uestioning any authority,
however spiritually high it is rated to be + not out of derision or disrespect but in order not to be impeded in my own
search being fed by second hand wisdom transmitted with a diktat to obey.
4ost of the 2urus, whatever color robes they come draped in + black, orange, white, pink, yellow and so on + are
concerned most of the time with human !relationships." Some of them treat .neness as a theory from which
societal !user apps" can be derived. *n the process they build up empires of their organi)ations, expand with
imperialistic ambitions, develop loyal colonies and be lost in a plethora of monetary and material problems + all in
the name of transcending those very problemsC
#dvaita teaching is not aimed at groups. *t is not a group activity or team effort. *t is an individualistic in1uiry,
deconstruction of one"s own imaginary world until it is sublated into an ineffable ,xistence'-onsciousness'*nfinity
(satya# jnana# ananta#).
NDM: So without a teacher@guru o$ some kind) how does one navigate a path through this non%dual (ungle#
3ow did you do this without $alling into all the traps like getting stuck in the absolute) or only seeing hal$
the picture and the other pit$alls#
>amesam 6emuri:: 0on'duality is not the (ungle. 0on'duality is clarity. *nformation on it, about it and around it is
the (ungleC
.ne of the derivative meanings for the Sanskrit word 2uru is, as you know: the dispeller of darkness. *n the ancient
times when knowledge is transmitted through oral tradition, a human 2uru (dispeller of darkness or ignorance) was
necessarily re1uired because the 2uru was the only information source. ,ach 2uru developed, used and expanded
certain terminology to explain the &ruth as reali)ed by that 4aster to a lineage of his disciples.
5ast forward to the present day. e have now multimedia storage devices as information resources and satellite
communication technologies for its dissemination. &hese do dilute the mandatory re1uirement of a human 2uru
(dispeller of ignorance).
&he more important 1uestion is how do we manage with the information !overload" and distinguish the grain from
the chaff.
0o acid tests are available. 0o guarantees provided. 0o Bureau of Standards certifications.
* do not know how it happens, but normally some or the other appropriate information source becomes accessible
when a seeker is sei)ed with an intense yearning. (4aybe because information is existent everywhere or whatever
the reason). @ou resonate with the information that opens up before you and keep moving with your in1uiry without
giving up 1uestioning as we discussed (in the beginning of Bart ' **).
NDM. 3ow does one know i$ one is deluding onesel$ without some outside source) authority) validating the
persons understanding and knowledge and e"periences#
>amesam 6emuri: &ests, validations and approvals by an external agency can certify an ac1uired and
accumulated knowledge and expertise.
&rue Knowledge is not accumulative nor does it get stored. *t"s ever fresh, always in the $0ow.%
@es, it is 1uite possible a person may be wallowing in hisPher deluded understanding. #dvaita does not have a
British Bharmacopeia or an #merican =S4 to prescribe a standard line of therapy for such situations. (*n the
strictest sense of #dvaita, ultimately everything is okay !as *s"I nothing needs to be changedC So no need for any
prior manuals of remedies). # thumb rule is: Keep on 1uestioning (as we already discussed). hen the 1uestions
get exhausted, 1uestion whoPwhere is the 1uestioner.
*f a particular individual is unclear, gets a doubt at one time or other, it is (s)he who has to define his problem and
probe deeper into it. 0o one else can hold a brief on his behalf or pose the 1uestion and look for an answer. 0o
proxy will work to ask and seek solution. ,ach individual seeker has to himself pose his 1uestion as it arises to (in)
him and find the solution. (&he surprise is that the $1uestioner% is the %ro(lemI not the form or content of the
1uestionC &he answer does not lie in a solution but in the dissolution (of the $1uestioner%)).
NDM : Do you see we are living at a time o$ the end o$ the traditional guru# *r the days o$ the cyber guru)
giving email satsangs) or the universal guru that speaks one language only. ;nglish.
2reg 2oode says: No longer can people believe that liberation speaks only /ibetan) or that the world was
created $rom holy Sanskrit syllables. <eople are saying) '9$ it canFt be said in my language) then it isnFt so
universal a$ter all.' ;ven as recently as thirty years ago) seekers o$ sel$%awareness had to trek to 9ndia or
the 3imalayas to see someone who could impart a message o$ liberation. /hese days there are many
routes: 1arnes E Noble) 1orders) Ama8on) Bahoo) 2oogle) mobile phones and 1lack1erries'>files>other..ritin2s.html
>amesam 6emuri: #ny stored information will always be something of the $past.% *t can never be in the present like
a live teacher is. 5urther, human communication is predominantly non'verbal. *n contrast a storage device
conveys what is merely stored. # live teacher may be able to convey more than that in an interactive mode and
also through an appropriate interpretation of the info in a more contemporary manner.
5or example, ocean and waves were an ancient metaphor for Brahman and the world. *n the mid GM
cinema and film pro(ection was the oft'cited example. Bresent day teachers talk about computer screen and the
multiple documents on itC
#t any given point of time, the #dvaitic search is for the $7nknown% and not for what is known. ,very new
generation may come with new 1uestions in the light of their own backgrounds and experiences. # static dead
information device cannot meet such growing demands.
&hus a live teacher may not get totally replaced. # seeker in the cyber age may be able to pursue his in1uiry in
greater physical comfort under a distant human 2uru providing an occasional interface.
NDM: Also what about this sensitive money issue that seems to hit a raw nerve whenever it&s raised.
9s there anything right or wrong with doing this# 9s there any thing right or wrong with making a $ew )
rupeeFs on this ancient non dual teaching# !hat is your take on this controversial and almost taboo
>amesam 6emuri: 5irst of all no 1uestion need be a taboo. *f a particular doubt posits itself as a stumbling block,
well, it should be attended to.
&he ancient *ndian system advises a student to redeem his indebtedness to the teacher by rendering service, by
payment in kind or cash or in the absence of any other means of repayment, by passing on the wisdom obtained by
him to others after obtaining 2uru"s permission. &his obviously shows the necessity of some accepted social
structural norm to preserve and propagate the knowledge to others. *t is also important that a seeker had to be
eligible (ready) to receive the wisdom, the most important criterion being his single minded unswerving devotion for
liberation in exclusion of any other desire (including food, clothing, wealth, status etc. beyond the barest minimum
re1uired for sustenance).
#nother point * may mention is that the ancient sages foresaw a danger in throwing open the knowledge for one
and all because it can be detrimental to the very health of the individual and the society, if it is misunderstood
andPor incompletely understood or perverted in interpretation.
5or example, if everything is Brahman, is it okay to feed dog shit to a hungry beggar? .r because all is .ne and
there is nothing like right or wrong, is it okay to go on chopping off the heads like the 3ueen in #lice"s wonderland?
*s not one accountable for a crime as per #dvaita?
&he point is one has to stick to the full course of Self'in1uiry, right up to the very end + the end being he, his
separate individuating ego with all its desires, plans, wishes, needs etc. etc. is completely dissolved. hen that
happens a spontaneous morality will shine in him, not the ac1uired or assumed or imposed type of social orderP
rules and regulations.
#s declared in the 7panishads and repeated in Bhagavad'2ita, a Self'reali)ed man is feared by none nor is he
afraid of anyone. <e harms no body nor does anybody harm him.
Such sages, during the ancient times, were the conscience keepers of the nation state whose rulers always sought
their guidance and advice (by visiting their forest dwellings if necessary) in the governance of the country.
&he social fabric too was designed in the ancient times to facilitate the development of the individual through four
stages of life + learner, householder, forest dweller and renunciate. # supportive economic rubric was built around
this structure as if the entire nation state is one smoothly functioning organism, not composed of disparate
7nder such circumstances, what for are the green backs or red francs re1uired by a /ivanmukta?
0ow the cyber'guru has thrown open free access to the knowledge without the necessary social support structure
for his own maintenance. .n the top of it, promises (misleadingly in some cases at least) of permanent happiness
are made by some teachers even in the absence of some ground preparation by the seeker. <ave we then
reduced 0on'dualism to the gimmicks of market forces and ad campaigns? -an it then be called true teaching?
NDM: 9$ one is pure actionless non dual awareness) A ivanmukta) then who is doing the spending o$ this
money that is earned through the teaching# !ho is the doer@en(oyer@spender@earner# !ould a so called
ivanmukta) or a so called arharant be interested in making some rupees $rom this knowledge#
>amesam 6emuri: e have already seen that a full blown /ivanmukta who does not have even the consciousness
that there is a separate body with limbs for him would hardly need any money. <is life goes !effortlessly" taking
things as they happen, eating whatever is available, sleeping wherever possible without any sense or claim of
possessions, ownership or doership or experiencership.
But we have seen (in Bart + *) that there is usually a time gap between the attainment of firm unswerving abidance
in Brahman and obtaining Knowledge on Brahman. # seeker is not totally unaware of his body and a need to feed
it during this intermittent period. <ow will he survive in this phase?
&he guiding texts (in the traditional system of teaching) for the three stages of Eistening (shravana), >eflection
(#anana) and -ontemplation 4editation (nidhdhyasa) are the 7panishads, Brahmasutras and Bhagavad'2ita
respectively. &hus Bhagvad'2ita is the life'strategy manual to answer any 1uestions regarding correctness of one"s
actions and conduct in each phase. &hat was the system followed in the olden days.
But we are now in instant coffee days. e want instant enlightenment and instant permanent abidance in
Brahman. 7nfortunately we are unable to shed the accumulated baggage of habits and thought patterns e1ually
e have the super structure but lack the lower floors in the cyber age. Some people even put 0on'dualism up for
sale to make both ends meet. =riven by market forces, they may like to have their own 7SB and wear their wisdom
as a flashy ornamentation. *n the process are we forgetting that we are back in the old game of the worldly miasma
presenting itself in a new avatar?
NDM: *k) what about the belie$ in karma# Heincarnation# !hatever the incorporeal essence is that some
believe transmigrates.
9t is known in di$$erent spiritual traditions> 'the most sacred body' 5wu(ud al%a,das7 and 'supracelestial
body' 5(ism asli ha,i,i7 in Su$ism) 'the diamond body' in /aoism and Ga(rayana) 'the light body' or
'rainbow body' in /ibetan 1uddhism) 'the body o$ bliss' in =riya Boga) and 'the immortal body' 5soma
athanaton7 in 3ermeticism.
=arana%Sarira % causal body) subtle body) iva) Atman' and '<urusha' in Gedanta. 1udhuta) 4inga Sharira
in /heosophy. Hudol$ SteinerFs Anthroposophical teachings usually re$erred to the ;theric and Astral
1odies. American 9ndians and indigenous peoples $rom around the world re$er to this as a spirit)
animism) or guide.
*thers like ames 3illman call this psyche. /hese are the various ethereal bodies that some believe
contain samskaras) or sin and so on# Do you believe that such an ethereal essence or a thing e"ists#
!hat are all these various traditions talking about or pointing to e"actly#
>amesam 6emuri: hen we discussed !samskaras and vasanas" in Bart + *, we have seen how we invented those
explanatory fictions. Karma is no different. &ransmigration and re'birth are further stories to back up the fiction of
karma. (please see:>discourses>teachers>karma?ramesam.htm )
&he three bodies you are referring to + gross, subtle and causal + correspond to the three states of awake, dream
and deep sleep. &hey are said to be made up of finer and finer substances. *t is said that the grossest part of the
food you eat is excreted. &he grosser part goes to make the physical body. 5iner material goes to make the subtle
body and the finest the causal body. @ou can draw your own conclusion on what all this would mean.
*n the olden days dreams were a complete mystery. &hey believed that dreams belonged to the mental body
(subtle or #ano#aya osa) made up of mind'stuff of the mental world. &he mental world was said to be accessible
to yogis and gods. *t was believed to have its own life even after the death of the physical body. &hanks to the
modern research, we have much better picture now about dreams. .f course, the last word is not yet said in
science. But we are able to pierce through some of the mystery. e may even get a handle in future to control our
dreams (see:>article.cfm+idCho.<to<control<dreams).
&hat being the case, do you still like to go along with all these bodies and stories?
5urther, when we understand that nothing is really born, nothing has a birth, where is the 1uestion of a variety of
sheaths (oshas) or re'birth? >ebirth for whom + an unborn !something"?
NDM: !hat would you say is the di$$erence between 'cra8y wisdom' teachings and simply being cra8y#
>amesam 6emuri: * do not know what is $cra)y wisdom% teaching.
NDM: 9 would like to ask you about non duality awareness and dissociative disorders such as dereali8ation
and depersonali8ation. 9$ you look at this list o$ symptoms below) how di$$erent are they $rom what you
described earlier concerning ivanmukta#
Continuous or recurring $eelings that youFre an outside observer o$ your thoughts) your body or parts o$
your body .
Numbing o$ your senses or responses to the world around you
+eeling like a robot or $eeling like youFre living in a dream or in a movie
/he sensation that you arenFt in control o$ your actions) including speaking
Awareness that your sense o$ detachment is only a $eeling) and not reality
3ow would you make the distinction between someone who is sel$ reali8ed) and someone with a
dissociative disorder o$ some kind#
>amesam 6emuri: &here is another psychiatric problem referred to as -otard"s syndrome. #n individual claims
that he is dead because he feels that he does not possess a bodyC Such people even take up some actions that
could endanger their body or prove fatal under the false impression of having no body. .bviously it is a
pathological case.
#t the same time, it is true that our ancient scriptures also say that sometimes it is hard to distinguish a mad cap
from a highly reali)ed individual. &hat is why any assessment by an external onlooker is said to be impossible
about the reali)ation status of an individual.
hile neuroscientists do have some knowledge of the pathological state of the brain of sick individuals having a
variety of symptoms as listed by you, we have absolutely no known record of the brain scans of a reali)ed man. *t
is high time we should build up this information base and examine what sort of signature Self'reali)ation leaves in
the brain, if *t does so at all.
NDM: H.D. 4aing said '/rue sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution o$ the normal ego) that
$alse sel$ competently ad(usted to our alienated social reality... and through this death a rebirth and the
eventual re%establishment o$ a new kind o$ ego%$unctioning) the ego now being the servant o$ the divine) no
longer its betrayer.'
9n the west) when this happens it is re$erred to as when an ego collapses) $ragments) or disintegrates and
when the shadow and archetypal contents $lood in $rom the personal and collective unconscious causing
psychosis) or a psychotic break $rom reality.
9n the east) its considered Sel$%reali8ation or 2od%reali8ation) seeing the $ace o$ 2od) Shiva and so on#
3ow do you make the distinction between a psychotic break like this here and a satori or awakening
>amesam 6emuri: #ny of the psychological phenomena, hallucinations, lack of control, inability to filter diverse and
dissonant signals coming to the brain (e.g. schi)ophrenia) are all related to the activity of the mind. So also the
visions etc. &hese leave a clear foot'print in the brain. .rgasmic or epiphany states are
also clearly seen in the activity of different cortical regions (see: Bleasure of Sex vs. Bliss of Self in Brain Scans,
>amesam, 6. in >eligion =emystified , GMMU, p: UK'UU.
(....=en%u(>forms>frm?2?(ook? ).
*n contrast, #dvaita is about when the activity of the mind is nulled. #s per the metaphor provided by the sages, still
wind is Brahman. 4oving wind is the world. 4ovement implies that work is done. *t is energy expensive. *n other
words, Stillness is -onsciousness, movement is mind. But again, Still mind is -onsciousness. hen mind
becomes still, the cogni)er, what is cogni)ed and the process of cognition become one. &here is no sub(ect, a
separate distant ob(ect and the process of acting. *t will be 1uite interesting to see the scan of such a brain. &his
has got to be different from epiphany.
NDM. Do you think it is wise $or someone to make sel$ evaluations) sel$ assessments) sel$ enlightenment
claims and assertions) with it being thoroughly ,uestioned) tested) investigated by someone who knows
the ropes) has been there and done that so to speak#
>amesam 6emuri: self'evaluation and self'assessment is advised in #dvaita. &he very fact that he is conscious of
a !self" within him to do an evaluation barely conceals the final answer to be expected.
But #dvaita does not and cannot support declartions and assertions of self'enlightenmentC # claim to do so is an
oxymoron. &he very loss of !self" is enlightenment. ho or what is there to make a claim then and addressed to
#n external agent, as we have already discussed, can at the best provide some pointers as and when a 1uestion is
raised by a specific individual. *t is up to the individual to see the $moon% in the direction of the finger. #nother
person cannot see it for himC
NDM> 9s entrusting someoneFs eternal soul (ust as important as entrusting someoneFs mind or physical
body to a doctor $or an operation# 9 ask this since there are many snake oil salesman out there)
mas,uerading as gurus#
>amesam 6emuri: *s there an $eternal soul% that you really are in %ossession of? #nd does that $eternal soul%, if
any, need a fixing?
.r are all such beliefs the marketing tricks of the snake oil salesmen?
NDMJ 3ow should someone make a decision like this#
>amesam 6emuri: *f you are going by the metaphor of handing over your body'mind to some doctor: # $@ou% sitting
here do not surrender to other $some one or something% there in 0on'dualism. *f you and the other are two distinct
entities to be related by !surrendering", it is dualism. /ivanmukti does not exist in dualistic philosophies.
NDM: 3ow do you know i$ a guru is legitimate or not i$ they do not belong to some kind o$ tradition and
have been thoroughly tested by their own teacher# +or e"ample) 9 could even say 9 was a guru) anyone
can make this claim#
>amesam 6emuri: &his is an age'old 1uestion, discussed even in the *ndian scriptures too. &here are innumerable
schools of thoughts and e1ually highly competent individuals in all lines of teachings. &he advice we find in the
scriptures is that a seeker should explore what appeals best for him, find a knowledgeable man in that school of
thought and discuss with him all the issues in detail. &he seeker then may adopt an approach that resonates best
to his heart. *f, by chance, he finds later on that that particular teacher was a fake, he should leave that teacher and
find another. &here need not be any feelings of regret or guilt, for what he needed at that time perhaps was (ust
that + whatever he gotC
Some sages suggest that the 2uru need not be a fully reali)ed person to communicate the teaching. *n fact
Sankara says that some of the /ivanmuktas may not even teach because they do not find an !other" to impart
knowledge to.
NDM: Do you think some sort o$ guru test could be devised) to measure the gurus knowledge about
enlightenment) as well as teaching it#
>amesam 6emuri: &he sort of industrial mass scale manufacturing model of assembly line production, 1uality
tests, setting standards with tolerance ranges, franchising the technology for replication may be inapplicable to
#dvaita, its core message being there is only .ne, no other.
<aving said that, * would also like to point out, as already expressed in Bart +* of our discussion, it will be interesting
to investigate if a !footprint" of the absence of doership, universal care, =eep Sleep with #wareness (@oganidra) and
such other markers can be found in the !brain" of a /ivanmukta. 4aybe someday an organi)ation will take up this
research workC
NDM: Bou touched on the dangers o$ mis%understanding these ancient non%dual teaching and how they are
out there on the internet $or anyone to see) and use.
3owever in the west) what seems to be happening is the $inal parts o$ the Gedanta traditions have been
cherry picked) appropriated) taken out o$ conte"t.
Can one really understand advaita without having a deeper knowledge o$ Gedanta in general# /he other
aspects that are taught with this to do with dharma and so on#
>amesam 6emuri: * am not competent to provide a scholarly response to this 1uestion from an academic angle. *
shall highlight, however, a few points to be considered.
&he core message of #dvaita is straight and simple, invariant with respect to time and space, independent of any
background or experience: &he ,ternal &ruth is no thing is ever born. &here is a caveat though: until a thought
interferes creating a !cogni)er" in you here separating from what is !cogni)ed" out there.
#nything, if arises, exists within &hat 0ameless, 5ormless .ne. So any entity that is created (arises or born) is
already and naturally a !part" of *& only. #ll !parts" being already and automatically within &hat .ne 0ameless thing,
the ancient sages considered the entire creation (universe) as one whole (vasudaiva utu#baa#). So no !part"
re1uired a !citi)enship" certificate or conversion from one to another thought process. <ence the !concept of
proselyti)ing" was never there in #dvaita which always pointed only to the .neness.
*f the above message is understood clearly, unambiguously and without a speck of doubt , all pedantic 6edantic
discussions, backgrounds of upbringing , epistemological, grammatical, linguistic expertise are unnecessary and
ritualistic rites and mandatory obligations are irrelevant. #ll such techni1ues have relevance and a need when one
wants to enlarge the individualistic philosophy of #dvaita as a mass'curriculum of lessons for teaching purposes. *n
order to increase the success rate of the teaching, one would also devise methods of preparation (pre'
1ualifications) for receiving the teaching, minimum eligibility criteria etc.
*n this sort of picture, things start to become more complicated particularly when the $theory% is inseparably mixed
up with social conditions of life and human relationships using the same terminology interchangeably (e.g. dharma).
*n short, *4<., understanding the core message of #dvaita in its Burity has nothing to do with what background
one hails from. #n excellent example right in our midst now is Beter =)iuban who arrived at the same &ruth of
$0othing is ever born% all by himself without any exposure to #dvaita. * am sure there could be many more.
NDM: /hese teachings were deeply rooted in grounded in the matri" o$ the 9ndian spiri tual culture and
society as a whole.
Do you think its possible to uproot this teaching $rom a deeply $ertile spiritual soil like 9ndia and transplant
them in a culture like the Inited States that is very di$$erent in many regards.
9 ask this because it appears that the IS culture is also more about a culture o$ war) aggression. /he
morals also are very di$$erent#
>amesam 6emuri: &he $deeply spiritual soil like *ndia% is a myth. hat were the geographical boundaries of that
*ndia of the past where the #dvaita philosophy was developed, propagated and taught? =o they coincide with the
present political nation state? <as entire *ndia and every individual within *ndia retained the same pristine Burity of
that !matrix" you imagine to be mandatory? ere there no wars and aggressions in ancient *ndia? ere there not
constant battles between the so called 2ods and =emons even in the 6edic period?
* do not know even if the <yderabad soil, where * live now and try to understand #dvaita, was a part of that ancient
6edic *ndia.
Brof. >. 0isbett and later a few /apanese and other scientists did find a difference in the #merican culture and that
of the people in the 5ar ,ast. &he estern education trains the mind to focus on the central core issue, whereas
the people in the 5ar ,ast are trained to be more aware of the totality of the scene and the inter'relationships of the
elements within. &he #merican culture believed in creating an opportunity for the growth of the $*ndividual% whereas
the social and family structure was more hierarchical in *ndia (at least from what * have seen). .kay, we are aware
of these differences. But why should they come in my way of true understanding of the basic message of #dviata?
#s we have already discussed earlier, the moral values (lashana) will automatically come with the $7nderstanding%
(lashya). <ow can putting the cart before the horse help?
&he #dvaitic message is universal, eternal, non'conceptual and unlimited by politico'religious'legal'moral
boundaries. &here is no 1uestion of uprooting the message. *t is already there everywhereC
-<>*S <,B#>=
Intervie. .ith non duality ma2a=ine

-hris <ebard

NDM: Can you please tell me how you $irst
became interested in non duality#

-hris <ebard: .h, yes, of course, there is the
story of -hris, perhaps an interesting one.

5irst, letQs state the obvious: there are no
&ruth is not found in the story, and no ones is
more or less important than any other.
Stories merely reflect truth in all itQs glory, and
this story is no exception.
0othing that is shared here is meant to imply
anything. *t is simply the record of this (ourney.

Some come to this gracefully, gently, while
others, like me, have to be hit over the head
with a GxF.
&here was absolutely no interest here in non'
duality, at all, before GMMK.
/ust the opposite, my life was total resistance
to what is.
*n fact, * would have placed non'duality in the
trash bin along with many other seemingly
new age hi'(inx like power crystals, pet
psychics and 75.s.
But, as >obert #dams once said, R#ll is well and unfolding exactly as it should.R

&he -hris story is a brilliant example of ignorance in itQs glory: one attempt after another to complete myself through
ob(ects of all sorts: career, politics, philosophy, beliefs, drugs, alcohol, woman, family, travel, luxury....the classic
symptoms of greed, lust and vanity, the bell weather of lack.
*n a word, my prescription was simply, R4oreCR.

.nce thing was certain, this profound and deep sense of lack could be satisfied through obtaining some ob(ect that
was always (ust out of reach.

,xtroverted, entrepreneurial, even slightly sociopathic, this certainty began a slow motion train wreck, culminating in

* was experiencing a crisis in all areas of my life. * was in litigation with everyone from ex'business associates to the
7.S. government. * lost a very successful business that * had run for over AM years. * lived in economic fear as one
problem seemed to build on top of another. 4y entire economic estate was ruined by costly litigation and unfruitful
business plans.
4y wife had divorced me, leaving with our one year old child. 4y mother, father, 7ncle and 2randmother had all
died''all within one year. &wo of my pets died unexpectedly.
# routine surgery for an impacted wisdom tooth went badly resulting in my (aw being broken, being wired shut for S
months, re1uiring S surgeries and causing the permanent loss of feeling in part of my face.
* was facing a huge tax liability and was in danger of losing my home.
* could not sleep. * had been taking sleeping medications for many years and they no longer seemed to work. *
would take the medication and it would force me to sleep for a short period of time'' only to wake up a few hours
later, full of dread, fear and anger. * was at war with the world, which * felt was treating me unfairly.
.ne sleepless night, * experienced what * can only call a complete breakdown.
=uring an extreme Rdark night of the soulR experience, * had a massive, catastrophic collapse which left me spent
and speechless, praying fervently to a 2od * did not believe in, the only honest prayer there is: RBlease help meCR
&his collapse was sudden, left me completely empty, with not even one ounce of resistance left in me, with no more
answers of any sort, in a sort of cathartic and limp state.
Bulling myself up from the floor, where * had been curled in fetal position, still sobbing, * poured what was left of me
into a wing back chair,
hile * sat in this darkened, private library in the middle of the night, mentally and spiritually exhausted, in final
despair, with absolutely no clue on what to do with my next breath, much less the rest of my life, a most peculiar
phenomena occurred: sitting in absolute silence, * noticed my thoughts arising to me.
4ind you: these were no longer Rmy thoughtsR.
5or some peculiar reason, in this stillness, it was spectacularly clear to me, that these thoughts, which were arising
in the stillness of QmeQ, were not me at all, or, more specifically, that what * was had to be something 1uite separate
from these thoughts. 5or, it was clear that, if * observed these thoughts arising, then, who was observing them, if
not me? #nd, if it was what * call QmeQ that was observing these thoughts, then, what exactly was this QmeQ which so
clearly did not include these thoughts?
&his was a profoundly unsettling awarenessI in fact, it completely shattered my world. ,verything that * had taken
for granted up to this point, came roaring back into 1uestion: my career, my marriage, every decision supporting the
entire direction of QmyQ life. &he only thing * was certain about was that * was uncertain about everything.
*n this space of not knowing, of complete uncertainty about everything, * began to reach out for help. =esperately, *
searched for any clue as to what * was experiencing. 5or better than a year, * locked myself in an apartment,
meditating, (ournaling reading everything * could locate, leaving my residence only when * uncovered authentic
teachers who might offer me direction.
&his initial experience, completed shattered and redirected my life. * can not imagine how * could ever reconstruct it.
5rom there, * have merely followed the perfume. *t has been a spectacular (ourney that has honored me with
meeting many gifted teachers who patiently and gently tolerated my fumbling , feeding my deep curiosity with
insights and gem like experiments designed to challenge deeply held beliefs that colored what remained of my
&his sadhana left nothing but scorched earth as lightning struck many more times.
* suspect revelation never ends.

So, this is how my interest in advaita was born.
* hope this answers your 1uestion.
Bring it on, /ohnC
NDM: *k) thanks Chris. !hen you $irst noticed that these thoughts were arising and that they were not
'you'. Did you clearly understand what this meant at the time#
*r did this take some e"tra outside help $rom a teacher#
-hris <ebard: 0o, * gained nothing. 3uite the opposite. &his RseeingR disintegrated the fabric of my belief in
identity. hat became crystal clear was that * understood nothing about what * thought * was and, thus, knew
nothing about anything else either. * had no clue about what had occurred and was bewildered. #t times, * believed *
might need psychiatric assistance.
&here was also a visceral recognition of boundlessness, Rspaceless spaceR that, alternatively, was experienced as
infinite peace and discomfiture. *t was like a vase, shattered but still standing in place.
&here is no way to explain how completely disorienting this experience was on absolutely every level. *t changed
7p until this point, there had been no interest in non'duality, advaita, self in1uiry. &here simply was no reference
point in my experience for what had happened.

*n this sea of uncertainty, my interest became dramatically redirected. #s little as * understood, * had no clue as to
how to return to my former life nor where * was heading.

So, seeking took a new direction, with a singular intensity towards discovery of what had occurred. &his (ourney
eventually led me to my teacher. &his role, the role of the teacher, was absolutely vital here.
NDM: !hen you say ' 9t was like a vase) shattered but still standing in place. 3ow long did this last $or
e"actly# And was there also any kind o$ physical) or an energetic shi$t that took place.
-hris <ebard:.nce again, * can only share what is true here. hat is most true here is that * truly donQt know.
&his 1uestions implies an end. *t is not clear to me it ever does. &he apparent process is like revelationI * do not
know if it ever stops.
&ime itself is seen as an invention of mind.
EetQs start with the definition of two terms which may be helpful in answering this 1uestion: enlightenment and self
,nlightenment could be defined as the timeless and instantaneous recognition of our true nature as boundless,
causeless reality. ,nlightenment is Bresence recogni)ing itself.
Bardon the cliche, but, there never has been an enlightened human being. ,nlightenment could be said to be the
sudden reali)ation that there is no one who could ever have been enlightened.
&his recognition is unmistakeable, total and irreversible. .nce 2od has kisses you, there is simply no turning back.
hat follows, relatively speaking, over time, could be characteri)ed as Self >eali)ation. *t is the process of
dissolution of residual conditioning born of the core belief in separation. *t is a comprehensive realignment: it
extends into very nook and cranny our thinking, our sensing and our perceiving.
E*ke some sort of virus, itQs influence is buried not only in the mind but in how we sense and perceive that which we
call the body and world. *n fact, it creates it.
&he desire to change what is''is the bell weather of separationI in the most extreme, it manifests as suffering or
lack. *n itQs least noticeable forms it is missed entirely: boredom and daydreaming are two safe places for this sense
of separation to hide and maintain itself. *tQs offspring is the bitter fruit of lack.
*n the deepest sense, seeing resistance and desire operate is like watching the leaves on a tree flutter about in the
wind after the ground root has been severed with an axe. Since much of this change occurs outside of time and
space altogether, we may only notice itQs absence in retrospect.
*t is like the classic *ndian metaphor of the rope: after it has been burned up in a fire, all that remains of the rope is
itQs ashen skeleton, standing in itQs previous form. *tQs substance has been consumed by the fire. *t stands ghostlike
as the silence eventually blows it away.
>esidual conditioned behaviors, originally created by this fundamental sense of lack, may seem to continue to arise
from time to time, but, have little traction, dying 1uickly, like a clutch that slowly spins long after it is disengaged.
Both sage and seeker continue to experience 4ayaI the difference is that the sage no longer believes it. hat
never leaves is the Rspaceless spaceR in which even this appears.
&hese apparitions are simply seen with loving indifferenceI things get very roomy upstairs. e cooperate with this
process out of our interest. #ll of it and none of it truly touches you anymore. *n itQs path, e1uanimity arises and a
continually deepening peace remains. #ll things are e1ually held gently, in the loving hands of indifference, which
births it all, sustains it all and welcomes it home in dissolution. &his under'standing never leavesI it is the ground of
all experience.
&he difference is that you have reali)ed that you no longer live in the nowI instead, you are the now.
Berhaps, this is the Renergetic shiftR you refer to, although this RshiftR is actually nothing other than the clear
unveiled recognition of your forgotten nature. >elatively, this grounding stabili)es over time.
,ven saying this is too much.
NDM> !hen you say that Enlightenment is "Presence" recognizing itself. By presence do you
1. /he $act or condition o$ being present#
J : /he part o$ space within oneFs immediate vicinity#
?. Divine presence#
Such as
2odFs presence in nature
2odFs presence among all human beings
2odFs presence in each human being or something along these lines.
Also when you say R!hat never leaves is the 'spaceless space' in which even this appears' 9s this is
something you see with your eyes#
*r inside your minds eye#
-hris <ebard: @es, good catch. * find that much of the confusion understanding non'dual teachings results from
failure to define the words we use''before we startC 4any common words have significantly different meanings in
different teachings.
*n this case, we are using Bresence, #wareness and -onsciousness interchangeably.
&he definition * would like to use is one taught to me by my teacher:
-onsciousness, #wareness or Bresence is whatever it is that is actually reading these words right now.
*t is also that which hears, sees, smells, tastes, feels and thinks...right here, right now.
Self in1uiry 1uickly proves that what we are is not the body. &he body does not see, hear, smell, taste or touch
(perceive). *t is actually perceived by that which we are.
Some might say it is the brain that perceives, but, upon close examination this does not hold up either. <ow could a
mass of cells be the sensing agent?
* am not a scientist but JM minutes of research will demonstrate that brain tissue is comprised of neurons, which
are composed of molecules, which, in turn, are all made of atoms. #toms are made of protons, neutrons and
electrons, which are composed of 1uarks and gluons, waves and particles which behave strangely. # physicist will
lead you from here into string theory and other fascinating research but, none of them will come close to identifying
the intelligence where understanding actually occurs.
But, this is (ust so much conceptual knowledge meant to 1uiet a busy mind, determined to locate a phenomenal
source of sentience which simply does not exist. # better source to determine the answer to the riddle, R hat is it
that actually reads these words on this page, right here, right now?R is our direct experience....right here, right now.
*n actuality, we never experience anything but the present. 0otice * did not say Rthe present momentR, as this would
imply that something existed before and after it. But, do we ever directly experience something existing before
RnowR or after it? &hat which is experienced as RbeforeR, also referred to as the RpastR is nothing more than
memories RarisingR in the present. 4emories are simply a kind of thought arising now. &he only RplaceR thoughts can
occur is RinR the now. hat we refer to as the future is also a concept, as it is never present, it is a pro(ection of
some RthingR that never arrives.
*t is not difficult to identify the ob(ects we experience as the body presently. Broadly, we could categori)e them as
thoughts, sensations and perceptions. e experience the RmindR as thoughts, the RbodyR as sensations, and the
RworldR as sensory perceptions. So, what is this thing we call Rthe bodyR? *s it not a collection of bodily
sensations...perceptions received as sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch? *n reality, donQt each of these sensations
appear to that which we are?
e actually never experience a RbodyR, we merely experience perceptions we refer to as a body. hat we call the
body, ultimately, consists only those perceptions identified as RoursR, while Rthe worldR is a pro(ection of perceptions
identified as Rnot oursR.
5or this mind, it was important to explore perception very deeplyI what resulted was a series of =6=s that walked
with the viewer step by step thru the process some refer to as 0eti 0eti but in a directly experiential way. * have
received correspondence from all over the world from seekers for whom this work has been very beneficial, even
pivotal to a much deeper understanding of the ever present reality of our nature.
&his investigation never gets us any closer to that which perceives. *t only dances around with the ob(ects of
perception, constantly ignoring the ma(estic reality that never changes...that which perceives. &he deeper we
explore, looking for this RperceiverR, the more obvious it becomes that Rwhat we areR is not phenomenal at all.
Rhat we areR in actuality is RbeingnessR itself. .ur RbeingnessR only ever exists in what we call Rthe nowR, so, what
better word to describe it than Bresence? *s Bresence divine? @ou betC
&he great discovery is that there is no RpartR to this thing we are calling BresenceI it has no borders at all. &he
examination of perceptions reveals the sub(ective reality of the witness. 5urther exploration proves that this
RwitnessR has no borders and boundaries. &he boundaries we perceive between us and the world are, in fact,
simply more artificial, conceptual creations of the mind. Some refer to this process of naming and fracturing our
seamless reality by the ancient *ndian term, 0ama >upa. 0o place can ever be found where R what we areR, this
present awareness, ends and ob(ects begin. &his, then, is what * mean when * refer to RbeingnessR as Rspaceless
spaceR, the RglueR of the ob(ective RmirageR.
Seeing this reality is a life shattering experience. 0o words can effectively describe it.
#bout my self, one thing is certain, and it is that * exist. &his one fact may seem so obvious that we continually
overlook it, but, when inspected closely, we discover that this is the single fact known to us without any ob(ective
reference. &hink about this: *t is the one certainty based upon a source of information not sub(ect to any ob(ective
hen we consider this, it makes sense. -learly, for something to change, there must be a changeless element. #ll
ob(ects, be they thoughts, feelings, images, bodily sensations or perceptions begin and end. <ow could this be
possible unless there was a changeless element to report it? e are this changeless element.
&here is no evidence that consciousness is contained in anything, much less a body. &his recognition is as far as
the duali)ing mind can go, for beyond this, duality dissolves entirely.
0othing separates what we are from that which is witnessed.
But, this is fine. &he process of investigation has set the stage for the only certain re1uirement for under'standing:
the mind must be satisfied and surrender. *t is exactly this voracious need to Rfigure it outR that is the ultimate veil to
seeing. >emember, this discovery is simply the sudden re'discovery of that which always has been and will be. *t
was never Rnot present.R *t is all that ever is.
&here is simply no witness at all. Eike two sides of a coin, eternal emptiness and fullness co'exist simultaneously,
one a reflection of the other. Berception is creation.
3$!, ,*4
NDM: Can you please tell me how you $ound your teacher and what this did $or you#
-hris <ebard: 5rom this place, this 1uestion is fundamentally important. *f nothing else is heard in this interview,
hopefully, this answer registers.
&ruly, the teacher is always present. ,verything is Brassad, a gift in answer to our deep longing to return home.
R*f the desire for &ruth is strong enough, a stone will teach you.R 5rancis Eucille.
#ll apparent conflict and crises, no matter how large or small, are magnificent reflections of our deeply held belief
in separation.
#nandamayi 4a once said, R&here are two kinds of pilgrims on lifeQs (ourneyI the one, a tourist, is keen on sight
seeing, wandering from place to place, flitting from one experience to another for the fun of it. &he other treads the
path that is consistent with manQs true being and leads to his real home, to Self Knowledge.
Sorrow will of a certainty be encountered on the (ourney undertaken for the sake of sight'seeing and en(oyment. So
long as oneQs real home has not been found, suffering is inevitable. &he sense of seperate'ness is the root cause
of misery, because it is founded on error, on the conception of duality. &his is why it is called Qdu'niya ( based on
#ll seeking is sufferingI there is no difference. Spiritual seeking is no exception. 5reedomQs watermark is
e1uanimity born of the deep reali)ation of the falsity of belief in containment, the belief that * am separate from that
which * witness.
-ontinuing on, #nandamayi 4a says:
R# manQs belief is greatly influenced by his environmentI therefore, he should choose the company of the <oly and
ise. Belief means to believe in oneQs Self, disbelief to mistake the non'Self for oneQs Self.R
* met my teacher entirely by accident, stumbling along trying to make sense of the discovery that * knew absolutely
nothing coupled with a burning desire to understand who * was. *n the very fabric of the 1uestion, Rho am * ?R is
the seed of knowledge of what * actually am. Both the 1uestion and the answer arise from the same placeless
# friend had a Rprior to publicationR B=5 copy of the book, R,ternity 0owR and offered it to me. *t was immediately
obvious that this book, more than any other * had read to this point, was in a league by itself. *t simply, patiently
and surgically dismantled the false attachments to identity, revealing something * intuitively knew but could not
#t that time, the author, 5rancis Eucille, was not nearly as visible as he is today. &his was by design. *t is
fascinating that there seems to be a direct relationship between a teacherQs interest in notoriety and the value of his
* had no clue who he was. 5inding a phone number in the manuscript , * decided to call.
&he person on the other end of the phone, a close associate of 5rancis Eucille, greeted me with great affection,
and suggested * might like to fly in, attend a dialogue, have dinner and watch a movie with friends. Stunned by the
informality of the invitation, * immediately went. *n one fell swoop, my imagined sense of hierarchy between teacher
and student was destroyed. *t was discovered that the only price of admission here was a deep and sincere
interest in self discovery, nothing more.
* flew to &emecula. &he Bresence was palpable, the experience of which continues to this day, and for which * have
no explanation.
=uring these first encounters, there was a total experience of dissolution, unexplainable, outside of what we all
Qtime and spaceQ, in which only pure awareness remained.
ithout any ob(ective orientation present, it was an experience of pure freedom of unimaginable depth. #s all
experiences do, it came and passed over time, but, it left me absolutely certain of the reality of the RdestinationR.
&he rest is history. &hese first visits reset the course of my life. >eturning home to =allas, having no plans beyond
that moment, it suddenly occurred to me to sell my home and relocate as close to my teacher as possible. * did so
and have never regretted it, even for one moment. *t was a tremendous gift of grace.
<ow important is a consistent and intimate relationship with the teacher? hat can you say about the person who
gently shows you where the keys to your (ail cell are located?
4any ask me, R<ow does one know when they have met their teacher?R <ere, there was no mistaking it. *t was as
obvious as the nose on my face.
*n answer to this 1uestion, 5rancis once offered this anecdote from his teacher, /ean Klein, as to how he knew he
had met his teacher. *t was an exercise in three very wise 1uestions to ask the prospective RguruR. <ere they are:
A) #re you happy?
G) *s your happiness dependent on any thing?
*f the teacher answers affirmatively to these first two 1uestions, then, the final 1uestion is relevant
J) -an you take me there?
&hese 1uestions conceal great wisdom.
*t takes clarity to understand that seeking enlightenment is actually the seeking of happiness. *t occurs when seeking gross and
subtle ob(ects have failed miserably to fulfill their goal of bringing us lasting peace and contentment. &he second 1uestion
reveals the hard won knowledge that happiness is never found in the ob(ect. hen an ob(ect, be it relationship, money, career,
possessions, even the enlightenment RexperienceR is obtained, what actually occurs is the cessation of desire. &his temporary
end of seeking allows happiness and peace, already ever present but concealed, to shine through.
# true teacher, a karana guru, approaches the student , not as a separate person, but as awareness itself, and the unspoken
impact of this relationship is mystical and pervasive. *t is an active demonstration of the power of Stillness Speaking, the impact
of transmission between teacher and student. &his aspect is rarely discussed in the est, although *ndian Saints, most notably
>amana 4aharshi, recogni)ed and discussed this. *t is no surprise that there is little written about this here, as it is difficult to
report about that which is not in our direct experience.

#t some point in Self *n1uiry, it is true that the mind is no longer useful. *t can not and will never come to any successful
conceptual understanding of awareness. hat occurs is a dissolution of ignorance as the mind reali)es its own folly. 7ltimately,
the vastness reveals itself. *n this RseeingR, the mind becomes subservient to Bresence rather than the other way around. .nce
Rthe mindR sees the &ruth regarding awareness, itQs struggle ends.
So, what does one do at this delicate point?
&he answer is simply, that Stillness actually speaks. #s * have 1uietly shared for years, the greatest and humblest
piece of advice * offer others deeply interested in Self *n1uiry, the deepest secret * know, is the ineffable benefit of
being in the presence of the teacher. *t is Bresence itself that teaches.

*f you have been in the presence of a great teacher, you may have experienced this phenomena. -all it shakti,
Rspaceless spaceR, RBresenceR, -onsciousness or 2od. &his is where the real teaching happens.
#s 5rancis Eucille once shared, Rords are what we do to keep the mind busy while the transmission happens in
the silence.R
* call it R2odQs silent kissR.
.f course, some will say this is (ust so much pro(ected fiction of a desperate ego. *t is not.
# truly under' heralded #merican mystic, monk and master, 5ranklin 4errell'olff, shared this insight , which he called &he
*nduction. &his is a monster revelation in print by a former <arvard and Stanford educated Brofessor, who left his career behind
him when he concluded that consciousness was primary. &his conclusion was so unlike his normal rigorous intellectual
approach to Self *n1uiry, that it stands in stark contrast to it.Q
<ere is what he said: time * went through this analysis in ANJL and as * finished it, somehow or other, there was induced in me a state that
was later identified as waking Samadhi. *t seemed like a great pillar of force surrounding 9me; with its center apparently
coalescing with the spine. #nd * would have estimated, as it felt to be, about six feet in diameter, and within that, energies were
rising and descending. &he body began to get stiff. *t was difficult to walk over to the podium. * had been at the blackboard and *
rested on the podium. Speech became lower in register. 4aintaining function ob(ectively was difficult without breaking the state.
* say that the whole audience was involved. @ou could see it in their faces and so on. * described the state to them for a short
time. #nd when * felt there had been enough of it, because this would be rather strong for one that was green to it, * turned it off.
0ow that was an easy thing to do. &here"s (ust a little valve somewhere in one"s total psyche '' * call it the butterfly valve. @ou
flip it as easy as you would move a finger. *t shifts your consciousness to another way and all of this began running down, like
an engine with a flywheel on which the power is turned off.
#nd * had them, the students, give me a report on their experiences. #lmost every student had an induction that night....&hat is
what * mean by induction.R

*n itQs entirety, it directly confronts this most remarkable fact: #wareness reflects back itQs *nfinity thru the ineffable to those who
deeply desire it. Simple as that.
#s experienced here, Self >eali)ation is the tricky and delicate process, apparently in time, in which those thoughts and
behaviors, now seen as incongruent with our greater understanding of reality are tagged and allowed to dissipate. Bresence
may be universal but ignorance has a million faces, each specifically crafted to the uni1ue needs of the individual seeker. &o
disentangle this mess, and truly benefit from these teachings, it was critical here for there to be someone, both gifted and
awake, to share in this humbling and intimate Rprocess in timeR. <ow anyone could affect this transition without close access to
the dispassionate, e1uitable and loving assistance of the teacher is simply beyond me. &his exploration mines the very deeply
held samskaras, conditioning coupled with Rthe sense of meR attached. .ne can cooperate with this process of realignmentI to
do so, the assistance of the guru is priceless.
R5rom the standpoint of this ephemeral world, the guru who ignites the flame of dispassion and indicates the higher, permanent
spirituality becomes our Q6ihita guruQ (the noble one). .nce anestheti)ed by dispassion to the ups and downs of life, we are
ready to be led by the QKarana guruQ, the one who removes the disease of QQSamsaraQQ by curing the very cause (karana) of itC R
Swami &e(omayanda -hairman -hinmaya 4ission
5rancis Eucille: R,nlightenment is the sudden recognition that non'duality is, has always been, and will always be the reality of
our experience. =uality is an illusion. -onsciousness is not private and personal, but impersonal, universal, and eternal. &here
is no limited personal entity, no conscious ego. &he ego is a perceived ob(ect, not the all perceiving awareness. Self reali)ation
is the subse1uent stabili)ation in the peace, happiness and freedom of our natural state. &he world, seen in the light of
impersonal awareness, reveals itself as a permanent miracle, a divine display that celebrates its invisible source.R
NDM: !hat are your thoughts on some people that make enlightenment) sel$ evaluations# +or e"ample)
they have a $ew glimpses) read a story online) buy a couple o$ books and read about someone elseFs
e"periences) or shi$t and come to the conclusion that they then must also be enlightened#
Do you think there is away to test this# /o know i$ some one is '3al$ way up the mountain') as Marianna
Caplan re$ers to it in her book. *r has enlightenment sickness as ames Swart8 would say. 9n Ken they
call it the stink o$ enlightenment#
-hris <ebard: * do not mean to imply that what has been helpful here should be a standard anyone else should
use. * can only speak about whether any particular approach or teacher was helpful for me or not. Eong ago, *
discovered that the the RpathR followed here, fre1uently, is not appropriate for others. ho am * to say what
approach is correct and what is not?
#s * said before, ignorance has a million faces. ,ach RindividualR receives exactly the experiences it needs in this
moment, including disappointing teachers. <istory is littered with examples of misdirected trust in un1ualified
teachers. ho are we to say that these encounters did not provide exactly what the seeker needed to learn in that

4any are 1uick to note that past disasters later were discovered to be significant turning points in their lives
''changes that led them to huge breakthroughs. hy would we presume that the difficulties being experienced
right now are not actually gifts, designed to help us return home?
&his whole idea that there is a proper path is contrary to my experience. <aving met many seekers throughout the
world, some have followed a rigorous traditional path and others have stepped on a leaf. #s /eff 5oster says,
R&here are no rules for this.R
&he proof is in the pudding, the resulting experiential seeing of our true nature. &he destination seems the same
across many diverse traditions. Bart of our charter is to demonstrate non dual wisdom across many traditions,
,astern and estern. &ruth is true because is does not changeI this understanding is fundamental.
* endorse no standard of certification for Renlightenment.R &his is simply based upon my direct experience with
innumerable authentically awake people. &hese people have no interest in publicity, in teaching or notoriety. &hey
are what * call 1uiet R(nanis in our midstR , contented and as Rclear as a bellR.
* may accept someoneQs evaluation provisionally regarding a teacher, but, ultimately, * rely on my own experience
to (udge the relative merits of the teaching. &his is the old axiom of >onald >eagan, R&rust but verify.R &his in1uiry
isnQt about beliefs. *n the teaching business, acceptance does not confer credibilityI there are lots of popular
teachers out there who are not my cup of tea, but, that doesnQt mean that they could not be exactly what another
needs. 4y experience is 1uite the opposite: everything that is occurring now is exactly what is needed. *s there a
place where 2od is not?
&he idea of certification by ignorance of non ignorance is amusing here. *t belongs to the province of the mind and
is a classic trap. *t is the ,nlightenment -lub. *Qm enlightened and you are not. -onsider this: =oesnQt this seem a
duality in itself? &here is only one. &here has never been an enlightened human being.
*t is a great irony that, in an effort to unravel the delusions of identification and thus reveal our inherent beauty, we
can fall prey to yet another identity''this time a Rspiritual identity.R &his sense of separation can become very subtle
and hidden from view.
*f you follow this, you might en(oy our interview with /eff 5oster entitled #we and onder: =arkest before the
=awn. *t covers these issues in depth.
<aving said all this, there are some indicators of an authentic teacher, if you are in close proximity. &hese are
spontaneous expressions of gratitude, service, empathy and ease of being. &hese behaviors are reflections of the
under'standing...that which stands under everything. 4y best advice is as /oesph -ampbell once said, R5ollow
your bliss.R 5or your heart will not lie to youI it is grace itself.
* hope this helps.
NDM: Bes) thank you. Can you please tell me about the work you do) all these wonder$ul $ilms you make
and who you have interviewed# !hat this e"perience has been like $or you meeting all these teachers#
!hat other $ilms you are working on# !ho else you have lined up#
-hris StillnessSpeaks is a labour of love. *t simply chronicles my (ourney of self discovery. *t is not intended as a
ikipedia for awakening, but, instead, as a safe resource for like minded people interested in truth. hen this
search began, there was a dearth of centrally locatable material on Self *n1uiry.
#s * stumbled along, * simply decided to leave a trail of Rchannel markersR at sea, (ust in case anyone else might
find themselves trying to navigate their way to shore. &here was allot of heavy lifting re1uired here to fully unfold
some of these teachings. #ll of the interviews we have conducted have been on sub(ects and material that * was
greatly interested in.
&he conversations are unrehearsed and represent dialogues in which we humbly and publically explore various
teachings. * have been honored by terrific guides including my teacher, 5rancis Eucille, and many very special
friends who have helped me in my housekeeping including /ames Swart), >upert Spira, -huck <illig, Beter
=)uiban, 2reg 2oode, and /eff 5oster. #ll of these teachers have patiently endured my indulgences and helped
me on this (ourney. 5or this * am forever indebted. 4y exploration with different teachers helped accelerate my
understanding of various subtleties of these teachings. &o a man, these are special guides, each of whom deserve
the attention of serious students.
&he patience and impartial benevolence of my teacher in this process is remarkable to me. * do not recommend
bouncing around with teachers as a substitute for having a singular guru who is capable of walking with you on this
e have completed filming a few others that are worthy of mentioning. 5irst, there is a new G =6= set with >upert
Spira, entitled E.6, which we hope to release shortly. *t is a landmark interview with an emerging giant in non'
dual teaching. Second is an in depth dialogue with Baul <edderman on #ddiction, >ecovery and Spiritual
#wakening. &his =6= focuses on the relationship of addiction and spiritual bankruptcy. *t is a practical and direct
dialogue on lack in the extreme.
e are currently completing work on a new =6= entitled, R estern 4asters of 0on'=ualityR which asks a series of
1uestions to AK teachers of advaita including 5rancis Eucille, >upert Spira, /oel 4orewood, =r Stephen olinsky,
-huck <illig, 2reg 2oode, Beter 5enner, /ames Swart) and others. 5ollowing this pro(ect, we intend to release
interviews with three scientists discussing how 1uantum physics affected their spiritual view of the world with 5red
olf, #mit 2oswami and Beter >ussell.
&here are other teachers we are excited to be interviewing in the near future. 4ore will be announced as
agreements are reached.
/ohn, thank you for the opportunity to participate in your new website. * wish you great success with it.
What You Really Feel
Arthur Schopenhauer is my favorite 19th century German
philosopher. Not that this is enormous praise given my attitude to the others !ut any"ay here#s one of his
pearls of "isdom $source%&
'f you "ant to find out your real opinion of anyone o!serve the impression made upon you !y the first
sight of a letter from him.
(oes your heart leap does it sin) do you get !utterflies in your stomach in the moment "hen you first
see a message from that person? *hat#s ho" you really feel and if you didn#t think you felt that "ay you
thought "rong.
Schopenhauer#s tric) relies on the fact that emotion is faster than thought. A letter ta)es you !y surprise&
even if you#re e+pecting to hear from someone you don#t )no" e+actly "hen it "ill arrive. 't arrives& in
that first second your emotions have a chance to sho" through !efore your thoughts have got into gear. 't
"or)s "ith emails and phone calls as "ell of course !ut not "ith any encounter "hich is planned out in
*he point is that you do not en,oy direct and perfect )no"ledge of your o"n feelings. -ou can !e "rong
a!out them ,ust li)e you could mis,udge anyone else#s feelings. .ay!e you thin) that you li)e someone
"hen you really find them annoying. -ou !elieve that you li)e someone as a friend !ut you really feel
more than that.
'n fact it#s not clear that "e have any special insight into our o"n emotions !eyond that "hich is
availa!le to others. /e tend to assume that "e do. 0or one thing "e say they#re our emotions& "e o"n
them. '#m the one "ho feels my emotions and emotions are ,ust feelings so ' must !e the e+pert on them
-es !ut feeling an emotion and understanding it are entirely separate. As ' "rote previously "e all
interpret our feelings in various "ays and li)e any act of interpretation "e can !e either right or "rong.
Suppose ' love you and ' thin) 1' love you1. 'n that case '#m right. 2ut ' could love you and thin) ' don#t
$may!e ' thin) it#s ,ust lust% or then again ' could not love you $it is ,ust lust% !ut thin) that ' do. Any
com!ination of feelings and thoughts is possi!le.
*he notion that our mind is a single monolithic thing and that "e )no" everything that#s in our o"n
mind is a stu!!orn one !ut 3uite misleading. 'n fact "e )no" very little a!out "hat goes on in our o"n
heads4 155 !illion cells are firing all the time and "e#re not a"are of any of them. Sometimes "e can
achieve self6)no"ledge !ut it is never guaranteed.
The mind is the body - tumor suppression by enriched environment
An ama7ing article !y 8ao et al. !rings home the intimate attachment !et"een mental "ell6!eing and
health 6 in mice $and !y implication for us too%. An enriched environment promotes formation of a
nerve gro"th factor "hich in turn inhi!its tumor gro"th through a series of !iochemical steps sho"n in
the summary graphic !efore the a!stract. A commentary !y 9onah :ehrer notes that "e need 1a ne"
metaphor for the interactions of the !rain and !ody. *hey aren#t simply connected via some pipes and
tu!es. *hey are emulsified together so hopelessly intert"ined that everything that happens in one affects
the other. ;olism is the rule.1
8ancer is influenced !y its microenvironment yet !roader environmental effects also play a role !ut
remain poorly defined. /e report here that mice living in an enriched housing environment sho" reduced
tumor gro"th and increased remission. /e found this effect in melanoma and colon cancer models and
that it "as not caused !y physical activity alone. Serum from animals held in an enriched environment
$<<% inhi!ited cancer proliferation in vitro and "as mar)edly lo"er in leptin. ;ypothalamic !rain6
derived neurotrophic factor $2(N0% "as selectively upregulated !y << and its genetic overe+pression
reduced tumor !urden "hereas 2(N0 )noc)do"n !loc)ed the effect of <<. .echanistically "e sho"
that hypothalamic 2(N0 do"nregulated leptin production in adipocytes via sympathoneural =6adrenergic
signaling. *hese results suggest that genetic or environmental activation of this 2(N0>leptin a+is may
have therapeutic significance for cancer.
0eo'#dvaita or Bseudo'#dvaita
and >eal #dvaita'0onduality
(y ,imothy Con.ay
!ead entire essay at ....enli2htened<s%irituality.or2>neo<advaita.html 4r see eIcer%t (elo.

/hort 3rolo2ue) the three levels of nondual !eality
#ny wise pondering of life eventually reveals that there are'' most paradoxically'' three si#ultaneously true levels
of the one Nondual :eality, one of which is R#bsolutely &rue,R the others being RpragmaticallyR or Rrelatively trueR:
-onventional truth: &he world exists (Rstands outR in experience) as miraculous appearance, vividly, palpably
experiential, filled with distinct bodymind persons or sentient beings, some of them well'behaved, some ill'behaved,
and one is advised to Rbe good, not bad,R and promote (ustice where there is in(ustice, kindness where there is
cruelty, integrity where there is corruption, and so forth.
3sychic truth) *n this =ivine dream'play of manifestation, all beings, all souls, are growing more subtle and RripeR
for spiritual awakening, and\though for some souls it may take many lifetimes\they will eventually #EE awaken to
the .ne =ivine Self, for there is only this .ne Self. <ence whatever happens for souls in this world or any world is
perfect, =ivinely meant to happen (otherwise something else would be happening). &imelessly we are all perfectly
intermingling, interconnected heavenly Buddhas, so whatever happens Rdown in the mortal realmsR is dream'like,
an evolutionary play of RBerfection perfecting *tself perfectlyRC 4eanwhile, we timelessly abide inPas Berfection, all of
us ga)illions of souls made of the .ne =ivine Eove, Eight, /oy, Beace and BowerC
#bsolute &ruth: 0othing is really happening and nothing has ever happened\there are no distinctly existing RsoulsR
or RworldsR (high or low)'' there is .0E@ 2.=, only the .penness',mptiness'5ullness of #bsolute Being'
#wareness'Bliss, entirely birthless'deathless, timeless'spaceless, infinite'eternal, clear and simple.
*n the Ten tradition there is a saying, R0othing matters... and everything matters.R *t is in this context that we say
thereQs a lot at stake in who gets to define #dvaita or 0ondual Spirituality. *s it going to be the Rneo'#dvaitaR throng
of RenlightenedR or even Rfully enlightenedR teachers (as they usually style themselves) who go around the 7S#,
,urope, *ndia and elsewhere, presuming to teach (usually for a price) the Rhighest levelR of nondual spiritual truth?
.r is it going to be the real #dvaita sages like Shr[ >amana 4ah]rshi, Shr[ 0isargadatta 4ah]r](, Shr[
>]makrishna, #mma #mrit]nandamay[, Sw]m[ 2^]n]nanda, 0]r]yana 2uru, and much earlier luminaries like
Shankara, /^]neshvar, 0]g]r(una, and other avat]rs, adepts, sages and saints''who never charged any fees or
Rsuggested donationsR and who generously, virtuously, compassionately and heroically lived and exemplified the
#dvaita or #dvaya, not (ust talked about it.
&he pre'eminent 4ah]y]na Buddhist sage 0]g]r(una (Gnd century -,) and <indu #dvaita 6ed]nta sage Shankara
(c.LMM -,), both of them staunch advocates of nonduality (advaya or advaita) made clear, on the basis of old
teachings from the Buddha (c.SUK'FUK B-,) and the oldest 7panishad texts (UMM'FMM B-,), respectively, that
there are Rtwo truthsR (dvayasatya) or two possible levels of discourse:
A) the conventional, relative level of ordinary experience (samvriti'satya or vy]vah]rika'satya), and
G) the ultimate, absolute level of discourse about nondual spiritual &ruth (p]ram]rthika'satya).
&he conventional truth'level acknowledges a world of personal beings (Ryou,R Rme,R Rhim,R Rher,R Rthey,R RweR), things
and processes, right and wrong (appropriate and inappropriate), (ustice and in(ustice, clarity and delusion, freedom
and clinging, authentic spiritual reali)ation and inauthentic (not yet complete) reali)ation.
&he absolute truth'level knows that only infinite, eternal, formless, spaceless, timeless, birthless, deathless
#wareness is really R>eal,R in the sense of being unchanging, abiding, permanent, and truly solid (partless,
seamless), whole, and <oly.
(#nd notice that i have posited several paragraphs ago an intermediate level between these conventional and
absolute levels, namely, namely, the reality'level recogni)ed in knowing Reverything is perfect,R whatever happens is
=ivine ill, all souls are coming <ome to fully awaken as the #bsolute Self in complete liberation.)
# misunderstanding of the subtle nuances connected with these two (or three) truths can lead to the following
problems and syndromes for those teachers and students of what has been called the $neo'#dvaita% or $pseudo'
#dvaita% movement of our own era.
0eo'advaita, which attempts to articulate nondual spirituality, and often does a very good (ob of presenting some of
the traditional advaita teachings (though usually, it seems, 1uite ignorant of the specific ancient sources for these
teachings), can be fairly summed up by its main teaching: R-all off the search, @ou are already the Self, no need to
seek for *t, and no need to make any efforts or engage in any practices.R
0ow, traditional #dvaita\as articulated by authentic sages from @a(^avalkya to Shankara to >amana 4ah]rshi in
<indu 6ed]nta\along with real nondual spirituality in all our genuine Rpure mysticismR traditions, also would have
one abandon any neurotic, selfish seeking for a desirable goal'state for Rme.R
But the obvious limitation of neo'advaita is that it tends to completely ignore the Rego'free holy aspirationR for real
=ivine expression that ensues for the true sages and saints once selfish seeking drops off in initial levels of
awakening. 0eo'advaita also completely ignores the Rpre're1uisite virtuesR that Shankara and all true masters have
insisted upon for one to even be considered mature or RripeR enough to hear the #bsolute teaching. &hus, while
traditional #dvaita 6edanta speaks of the ultimate efficacy of /nana (isdom'Knowledge) alone, that is to say,
Knowledge is the sole RwayR or RmeansR for waking up, what so often gets ignored by neo'advaita is the great
emphasis on what Sankara called the Rfour pre're1uisitesR for authentic Knowledge: namely, vair]gya
(unattachment, dispassion), viveka (discernment of the abiding real from the fleeting unreal), mumukshatva
(supreme earnestness or yearning for authentic liberation), and the shatkasampatti Rsix attainments,R entailing
shama'concentration, dama'control of the sense organs, uparama'contentment through dharma (virtue), titiksha'
e1uanimityPforbearance, and shraddh]'supreme faith in the Self. &he cultivation of all four pre're1uisites or
RattainmentsR (as the last category is explicitly named) is a sina 1ua non for Shankara, and he is often to be heard
urging this cultivation of such virtues in his scriptural commentaries and independent treatises.
So to speak of RKnowledge aloneR (the Knowledge that there is only the Self, #bsolute #wareness) is the ultimate,
puristPpurest way of putting the matter of liberation, but realistically, pragmatically, thereQs much more to talk about
in this Self'>eali)ation )ero'distance R(ourneyR from here to <,>,. e could metaphorically say that #tma'bodha
or #tma'(^]na Self'>eali)ationPKnowledge is the very Rlast stepR back into release and clarification of our own &rue
0ature as spaceless, timeless, birthless, deathless, formless, shapeless #wareness. @et thereQs a lot of Rdis'
identificationR or RextricationR or RliberationR from momentary ego'involvements, selfish identifications and karmic
entanglements that has to happen for one to become RripeR so that the /^]na is irreversible and the samsk]ra
binding likes and dislikes utterly lose their distracting and enticing power. &hatQs why eminent sages like
0isargadatta fre1uently spoke of Rgetting out ofR or Rreceding back fromR egoic tendencies.
0isargadatta, his 2uru Siddhar]meshvar 4ah]r](, >amana 4ah]rshi, Sankara, /^]neshvar, 6asishtha,
#sht]vakra, @a(^avalkya, 0]g]r(una and other true sages are all 1uite clear about this. But nowadays, far too many
people simply want to hear the Rhighest truthR that they are Ralways already the Self,R therefore there is Rnothing to
be done, no efforts to be made,R and that they are Rever'freeR inPas the Self. 4eanwhile, their selfish tendencies
(samsk]ras, v]san]s) rage on, fueling either a thick or insidiously subtle egoic self'sense that will only perpetuate
the dream of the sams]ra'rebirth cycle and experientially'binding karmas. #ll the aforementioned sages and texts
will deny rebirth or individual self'hood on the #bsolute level but affirm rebirth and limitation as being unfortunately
1uite true on the relatively real level of most everyoneQs empirical experiencing.
&herefore, liberation from the dream of Rselfish meR and Rmy actionsPreactions (karmas P samsk]ras)R is the real aim
in this =ivine dream'game of apparent bondage'liberation. 4ere cognitive knowledge alone doesnQ cut it.
&o reiterate: (ust to merely have Rthe 7nderstandingR (as some have made a fetish out of it) that Ronly the Self is
>eal,R or that R-onsciousness is all there isR and think that there is nothing more to spirituality than this conceptual
understanding and a corresponding Rblanked'outR )ombification is simply not sufficient for authentic awakening from
the selfish Rme'dream.R
*n an analogy given by genuinely free sages like the awesome holy woman 4]t] #mrit]nandamay[ (the Rhugging
motherR #mmachi), we can say that it is certainly true on one level that the acorn is in some RpotentialR sense an
oak tree, destined to grow into one if conditions are right. But the acorn is not yet fully functioning and serving as a
full'grown oak tree. *n the same way, all sentient beings truly have the =ivine #tma'Self as their real *dentity. But
are they maturely functioning and fully serving as the Self? #re they really manifesting the =ivine virtues of self'
sacrificing compassion, generosity, empathy, goodness, kindness, and all'embracing love that we find in the true
spiritual masters? .r are they still plagued by egotism in various subtle or not'so'subtle fashion, but rationali)ing
and (ustifying all such egocentricity as R2odQs willR? >ecall /esusQ great criterion for genuine spirituality: RBy their
fruits ye shall know them.R
<ere follow some other less'than'wholesome aspects of neo' or pseudo'advaita:
A) 4any neo'advaita teachers, not fully balanced or compassionate in their living and teaching, exploit the two'level
nature of discourse by repeatedly, chronically one'upping their dialogue'partner, their interlocutor. 5or instance,
they respond to 1uestionersQ legitimate 1ueries and concerns with: ho is asking the 1uestion? or hat are you
before your thoughts and feelings arise? or hat happens when all such concerns entirely stop? Such 1uestions
subrate or undermine the finite, personal sense of self and intuitively point to the *nfinite, &ranspersonal 6astness of
our abiding, eternal >eality. 0ow granted, going to the ultimate, absolute level of discourse is an ancient way for the
2uru to undermine false thinking and ego'identification by a disciple. hen used in certain circumstances, at the
right time, it can have a beautifully liberating effect. &he problem is that many so'called spiritual teachers in the neo'
advaita movement evidently feel a contrarian compulsion (it is definitely characteristic of the $mis'matcher%
personality style or temperament) to repeatedly prove their superiority over any and all dialogue partners by using
this techni1ue in chronic oneupsmanship manner to stay $on top% in any relationship by posturing as the 2uru of
*nfinite #wareness mentoring the lowly disciple, still identified with the finite self. &his is (ust egocentric attachment
to power over others in a posture of $being right%\it is not compassionate, skillful means (up]ya) to help sentient
beings fully awaken. # true sage, one who is authentically free, feels entirely at ease to communicate on either the
absolute or conventional truth'level, at any time in any situation. # true sage acknowledges the partnerPinterlocutor
(a disguise of the 2od'Self) as both *nfinite #wareness and wonderfully, poignantly human. #nd the usual human
being will naturally have some legitimate concerns and 1uestions from time to time, deserving care'full
consideration, not (ust the RoneuppingR strategem.
G) Similarly, the pseudo'advaitin labors under and suffers a chronic compulsion to always absoluti)e everything
onto the $ultimate% or $final% truth'level of discourse (param]rtha'satya). &here"s no appreciation for the =ivine
manifestation\the 5orm of the 5ormless, i.e., the multiple worlds and beings emanated by the 2od'Self for the
sake of =ivine l[l] or relationship'play. #ll relationship is negated, dismissed or de'valued in a manner that verges
on or falls completely into de'personali)ation, a syndrome marked by strong, pathological dissociation and
detachment, apathy and loss of empathy. Basic humaneness, warmth and tender loving care vanish in a preference
for a cool, robotic demeanor.
J) .ften needing to go perfectly still and stare and smile (or not smileC) in human interactions with a partner and in
other ways go Rnumb V dumbR (insensitive and silent) in oneQs relationships with fellow beings, especially fellow
human beings. &his is the Rplaying possumR approach to relationships. &hereQs nothing wrong with and actually
something very beautiful with being able to silently Rga)e at the BelovedR in the form of a dear fellow human being,
with a tremendous sense of gratitude and veneration for the 4anifest =ivine Self. But when one feels the chronic
need to go cool or cold on someone and suppress or ignore our warm expression as human beings on the relative
plane of existence, this comes close to or falls right into the de'personali)ation disorder, not honoring the richly
meaningful =ivine manifestation as the beautifully uni1ue and wonderful person. @es, it is true (on the absolute
level) that any and all personalities and worlds are deconstructively reali)ed in penetrating spiritual wisdom to be
$(ust a dream,% but the final wisdomPlovePdevotion reali)es, $owC hat a dream the =ivine Self dreamsC% *n this
consummating reali)ation, well'known to the -h"anPTen tradition in the daily'chanted <eart S_tra, it is clearly seen
that $,mptiness is form, form is emptiness, emptiness is not different from form, form is not different from
emptiness,% and so on with each of the other aggregates (skandhas) of personality (i.e., not (ust formPenergy, but
sensations, perceptions, emotions and volitional impulses, and the cogni)ing sense of personal consciousness). *n
other words, the personality'aggregates need not always, chronically be deconstructed via literal stillness'
fro)enness and Rblanking out.R 0o, the personality can be appreciated as a wondrous, miraculously'manifest
#ppearance of the 6oid. #s Ten might say: 2uest (Bhenomenon) meets and is welcomed and suffused by <ost
(0oumenon, #wareness). 7ltimately, <ost and 2uest are nondually the same 5ormless'5ormfull >eality.
F) &he aloof pseudo'advaitin condemns any forms of engaged spirituality (politically aware'active spirituality) as
$m]y]% (illusion) or $buying into sams]ra% (the cycle of cause'effect, death'rebirth). 5or the pseudo'advaitin, matters
of (ustice and in(ustice (e.g., economic (ustice, environmental (ustice, gender (ustice, racial (ustice, political (ustice,
etc.) have no meaning and are simply absurd, not worth bothering about. .f course, this makes a mockery of
everything the Buddha and other sages taught about morality, virtue, ethics, and a (ust society. ,ngaged spirituality
heroes and heroines like 4ah]tma 2andhi, 4artin Euther King, /r., =orothy =ay, et al., according to this stunted
view of spirituality, were (ust wasting their time. # woman is being raped or a child is being physically abused on the
street? 0o problem for the pseudo'advaitin. $*t"s all (ust a dream. 0othing"s really happening. hatever happens is
2od"s will, the insubstantial play of the .ne.% (&his is staying stuck at Rlevels two andPor oneR in my earlier'
mentioned model of Rthe three simultaneously true levels of 0ondual >eality.)
S) # pseudo'advaitinQs own misbehavior can be 1uickly rationali)ed away in the same glib manner as merely Ra
dream,R R2odQs will,R R4]y]R. .n this point, the towering sage of nonduality, Sri >amana 4ah]rshi (AULN'ANSM), has
strongly criti1ued this confused mixing of levels and Rmisplaced advaitaR by saying that advaita should 0.& be
applied to action, in the sense of non'discrimination between proper and improper behavior. &he great #dvaita
master Siddhar]meshvar 4ah]r]( (AUUU'ANJK) and his famous disciple, the sage 0isargadatta 4ah]r]( (AUNK'
ANUA), always taught that one must reali)e the Self Rand behave accordingly,R staying clear of desires, selfish
behavior and anything else that binds one to the dreamlike sams]ra'cycle of egoic rebirths according to the law of
karma. @et one estern neo'advaitin has written, in the type of remark echoed repeatedly by other neo'advaitins:
$.nce awakening happens, it is seen that there is no such thing as right or wrong.... #ll concepts of good or bad,
karma or debt of any kind are products of an unawakened mind that is locked into time and the maintenance and
reinforcement of a sense of father, mother and self.% (&ony Barsons, .pen Secret, p. FM) &o this we can only reply:
.h really? &hen the Buddha, 0]g]r(una, Shankara, >amana 4ah]rshi, Siddhar]meshvar 4ah]r](, 0isargadatta
4ah]r]( and many, many other great advaitins were all by this neo'advaitin definition 1uite unenlightened, because
all of them taught that, on the conventional level, we must still be able to distinguish between wholesome and
unwholesome actions, and be well aware of karmic conse1uences. &he Buddha, for one, often defined the disbelief
in karmic conse1uences as that dangerous heresy of nihilism (uccheda'ditthi).
4uch of what is taught by neo'advaita (and postmodernist versions of Buddhism, for that matter) is clearly a form of
the nihilist heresy, as defined by the Buddha. >amana 4ah]rshi said, R*t is true that we are not bound and that the
real Self has no bondage. *t is true that you will eventually go back to your Source. But meanwhile, if you commit
sins, as you call them, you will have to face the conse1uences of such sins.... hatever is done lovingly, with
righteous purity and with peace of mind, is a good action. ,verything which is done with the stain of desire and with
agitation filling the mind is classified as a bad action.... &herefore even the means of doing actions should be
pure.... hat is the use of merely saying with your lips, Q* am freeQ?R Shankara wrote some AJMM years ago, in his
famous commentary on the Bhagavad 2[t] (xiii.G): Re see that an ignorant man regards the physical body, etc., as
the Self, and is impelled by attachment and aversion and the like, performs righteous and unrighteous deeds, and is
repeatedly born and dies, while those are truly liberated who, knowing the Self to be distinct from the body etc., give
up attachment and aversion, and no longer engage in righteous or unrighteous deeds to which those passions may
lead.R So a perfectly released, unidentified sage, no longer caught up in the RmeR'dream, is certainly free from all
karma and rebirth (that is, if he or she stays impeccably clear and lucid, and does not fall for karmic involvement
with any ob(ects), but hePshe will still teach others on the conventional level about right and wrong, karmic
conse1uences and rebirth, as well as sharing the Rsecret teachingR about our >eal 0ature as beyond all action,
birth and death.
K) .ne of the most characteristic marks of pseudo'advaita is the premature demanding that people $call off the
search% when they"ve not yet authentically intuited their true *dentity as the vast, open, empty, formless, boundless,
changeless, birthless, deathless `tma'Self, but instead are still stuck in confusion or mere concepts about the Self
and yes, are still riddled with samsk]ra'reactions of attachment and aversion, the karmic ties of binding likes and
dislikes. #nd yet this is fallaciously termed $,nlightenment% or $5reedom.% 0ot by any stretch of the imaginationC
>eal advaita is about being awake and lucidly dreaming the dream of manifest life with great unattachment, virtue,
compassion and generosity, it is not about having the mere R7nderstandingR that Rlife is but an empty dreamR and
yet continuing to act with ego'driven greed, lust, anger, fear, competitiveness, (ealousy, violence, insensitivity andPor
apathy. Siddhar]meshvar 4ah]r]( often spoke of the R#uspicious #spirationR and 0isargadatta 4ah]r]( fre1uently
emphasi)ed the Rgreat earnestnessR needed to recover real spiritual freedom and virtue, not (ust have a glib
cognitive RunderstandingR of &ruth. #s Siddhar]meshvar puts it: R*t is not enough to have a merely intellectual
understanding of the concepts of the Self, humility, etc. Butting this teaching into practice is what really matters....
0ever let the Knowledge be contaminated with impurities.... &hose who are not true devotees 9of the Self; do not
attain the !Bliss of the Self." &hey... drink of the world, and not of the Self.... .ne should carefully consider as to how
far he has succeeded in giving up pride and curbing body awareness.... .ne should give up being obsessed with
the body. .nly then does one discover one"s true Self.... .ne should investigate and find out how much body
consciousness and how much consciousness of the Self one possess, and in what proportion.... Eoyalty towards
the !7ltimate &ruth" leads to Self'reali)ation, whereas loyalty to desires leads only to the generation of more desires.
&he Self is present everywhere, even present even in desires, but desires have blinded the Self into believing that !*
am male, female, etc." &he 4aster weans his disciples from desires and reveals their !&rue 0ature" to them. &o get
rid of the inclination towards desires, it is necessary not only to say that the desires are untrue, but also to bring this
understanding directly into practice.R (#mrut Eaya, vol. G, pp. KA, AGU, LN, FJ, KM, FM).
*n short, it is not enough merely to be RenlightenedR about the cognitive &ruth that Rthere is only the Self.R .ne must
be thoroughly liberated intoPas this &ruth on the affective and motivational'behavioral levels, i.e., fully established in
real freedom from binding samsk]raPv]san]s. But even more simply: one must Rwalk the talk.R
L) 0eo' or Bseudo'#dvaita condemns or denigrates any form of devotional spirituality as more $m]y]% or $dualism.%
&his, despite the fact that the most towering figures of #dvaita nonduality in *ndia, from Shankara to /^]neshvar to
7tpaladeva to >]makrishna, >amana 4ah]rshi, Sw]m[ 2^]n]nanda, B]p] >]md]s, Siddhar]meshvar,
0isargadatta, #mmachi (4]t] #mrit]nandamay[) and others, all featured a strongly devotional side''albeit a
nondual devotion (abheda bhakti, Rdevotion without difference,R or parabhakti, Rtranscendent devotionR). *n truly
mature and full Self'reali)ation, a spontaneous love flows nondually inPbyPfrom the transcendent Self for the Self
immanent within all persons, human, celestial and divine. &hus there can blossom the ancient nondual play of love
for the Beloved, who is both Sub(ect'ively and .b(ect'ively alive as &ranspersonal and Bersonal .ne. *Qm speaking
here of this delightful sense of wondrous awe that an appearance of worlds and beings is happening at all, through
the almighty power of this Self or #wareness. # blissful )est and Rnondual heartfelt gratitudeR spontaneously
express over the fact that the .ne is somehow 4any, and the 4any are really this .ne, i.e., that ,mptiness is
5orm, and 5orm is ,mptiness. $#ll this is indeed Brahman% (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma) (-h]ndogya 7panishad,
U) #nother serious flaw in neo' or pseudo'advaita is a strong aversion to or apathy about genuine spiritual
education or intuitive'intellectual development, an attitude shared with many 0ew #gers, right'wing -hristians, and
others in our tragically dumbed'down modern society so rife with spiritual, political, and environmental ignorance,
often 1uite willful ignorance. @et the great nondual wisdom traditions of *ndia, -hina, /apan and &ibet (as well as
western mystical traditions) all put a strong emphasis on study of wisdom texts as an essential part of the spiritual
curriculum. -onsider how the eminent modern'era (^]ni'sage >amana 4ah]rshi, so famous for his wisdom'
inducing silence and whose own powerful spiritual opening occurred without any significant intellectual preparation
(he had read a book about the great Shaiva saints before his awakening in AUNK), in the ensuing years actually
spent much time listening to and promoting the reading of sacred texts, especially the 7panishads, Bhagavad 2[t],
@oga 6]sishtha, &ripura >ahasya, Bh]gavatam Bur]na, #sht]vakra 2[t], >ibhu 2[t], #vadh_ta 2[t], the works of
Shankara and stories of saints. -hQan'Ten'Son Buddhist masters of the 5ar ,ast likewise spent much time poring
over classic texts of their own tradition, as well as the earlier -hinese and *ndian classics. &he &ibetan 6a(ray]na
masters are well known for their devotion to textual study. #ll this study promotes a balanced understanding of the
various subtly nuanced teachings about authentic spiritual reali)ation, the avoidance of common pitfalls, working
through more insidious forms of delusion and attachment, and so forth. Such study is, of course, the prime
ingredient in the classic Rtriple methodR of de'hypnosis utili)ed in both the <indu #dvaita 6ed]nta tradition and
0]g]r(unaQs and 4ah]y]na Buddhism wisdom path: repeatedly, diligently hearing the scriptural teaching about our
real *dentityP0ature as the birthless, deathless, spaceless, timeless #wareness or Self'0ature, pondering *t ever
more deeply through intensely penetrating reflection and rumination, and meditating upon this &ruth (or having the
&ruth RmeditateR you). (&hese are respectively, in 6ed]nta, shravana, manana, and nididhy]sanaI and for
0]g]r(una: shruti, cint], and bh]van].) #las, modern pseudo'advaita advocates no such study of the classic works
of the 2reat &radition, and is mute on the subtle dynamics of the classic Rtriple methodR of
hearingPponderingPmeditating. *nstead, one is seduced and trapped by neo'advaita in a Rfalse choiceR of either'or
logic: R@ou are coming either from your head 9badC; or your heart 9goodC;.R @et a mature, balanced sage is not at all
lopsided. # true sage knows sPhe is neither the head nor the heart energy, but &<*S #bsolute #wareness prior to
and beyond bothI and yet the sage utili)es the clarity of a well'developed mind'instrument and the warm loving'
kindness and compassion of a fully'feeling heart to help all sentient beings (paradoxically, none other than the .ne
SelfC) consciously come <ome to the Self'effulgent Eight and omni'healing Eove.
N) #long this line, much of neo'advaita presents itself as an attack on the mind, an attempt to stop the mind in its
tracks and destroy it forever. 0othing wrong with the Rno mindR or RmindlessnessR state from time to time, especially
when a person is addicted to mental contents in lieu of a pure, open intuition of their >eal *dentity as &<*S bodiless,
mind'free #wareness always prior to the mind. *tQs also well'known to Buddhist RmindfulnessR meditators that one
can very easily RdropR below the mind and its concepts'perceptions'reactions by simply paying ex1uisite attention to
sensations and energies (the first two khandhas of the five'levels of personality). But the notion that a sage no
longer has any kind of mind at all and (ust spends the rest of his or her days in some kind of a tranced'out )ombie
state is ridiculous. >amana 4ah]rshi, we have already noted, made great and beautiful use of the mind, utili)ing it
as an instrument for editing and translating texts, monitoring correspondence, resolving the doubts and clarifying
the confusions of his interlocutors, in1uiring into their well'being, managing the kitchen work, and so forth. &here
were clearly paranormally gifted ways in which his ego'free mind worked, too. But a really interesting Ten'like kaan'
riddle for neo'advaitins is this: >amana 4ah]rshi was observed on almost a daily basis to carefully read the
newspaper. *f there was Rno worldR and Rno need for the mindR for anything, what was this daily newspaper'
browsing all about? &he old'timers iQve talked to insist that >amana was not (ust Rlooking at the pictures,R nor using
the newspaper as some kind of a RcloakR or RcoverR merely to go into interdimensional states or avoid any visitors
assembled in the old hall. <e was genuinely interested in the well'being of people, animals, and society. &he
newspaper (along with the radio, to which he oftened listened) was a conventional way for him to access
information about sentient beings at other places, (ust as the 4ah]rshi obviously seemed to have paranormal ways
of accessing information about them, too.
Eet us here further consider how too many neo'advaitins in their anti'intellectual bent put down all book'reading as
a waste of time being stuck at the mere RmentalR level. (ould they like to return us to the medieval andPor
totalitarian days of massive public book'burnings?) #nd yet, in a 1uite unintended but hilarious stroke of irony, we
are encouraged by many of these same neo'advaitins or by their disciples and B> persons to buy all the books
(and -=s and =6=s) of their 2reat &eacherQs teachings. e are to ignore classic gems of spiritual instruction like
ShankaraQs 7padesha S]hasr[ and /^]neshvarQs #mrit]nubhava, and the @oga 6asishtha, but by all means we
should hasten to buy the dumbed'down, distorted pile of deconstructivism from the latest Rfully enlightenedR neo'
AM) So much of neo'advaita, as revealed by many 1uotes from its main proponents, can be seen as a stunted form
of spiritual development in only emphasi)ing the deconstructive via negativa or Rnegating way.R -h"anPTen
Buddhism has long taught a truly complete model of unfolding spiritual reali)ation that, in its more elaborate form, is
depicted as the $&en .xherding *mages,% but more simply and memorably schemati)ed in threefold manner as
follows: $5irst there are mountains and rivers. &hen there are no mountains, no rivers. &hen there are mountains
and rivers.% &he first of these three stages represents the average sentient being who treats the manifest world as
solid, real, something to be reacted to from an e1ually solid, real, but narrow and alienated position of $me and my.%
&he second stage refers to the utter dropping or relaxing of all sense of self or world. 4ystics with an aptitude for it
can in this stage easily merge in formless trance states (nirvikalpa sam]dhi, etc.), thereby literally blanking out any
perceptible inner or outer world of phenomena. &he third stage in this Ten model refers to the $intrinsicPnatural
oneness% of saha(a sam]dhi wherein the sage lovingly honors and responsibly interacts with a world of beings,
promoting their wellbeing and awakening from the selfish dream of $me.% Such action spontaneously flows,
however, from a nondual intuition of nonseparation from the world and no distorting presumption of an alienated,
addictive, or aversive $me%'self.
*n its presentation of spiritual teaching, neo'advaita stumbles badly here, falling into the $dark cavern% of second'
stage $no mountains, no rivers.% *ndeed, it is actually an even stranger state of nihilism that neo'advaita falls into''
i.e., denying the relative reality and meaningfulness of $persons%I denying any =ivine purpose or plan to lifeI
denying the validity of any and all phenomena, including moral distinctions between help and harm, virtuous
morality and selfish sinfulness, ego'free behavior and egocentric behavior. *n this way, neo'advaita nihilistically
stays stuck in a strange $no man"s )one% which at best can only be considered an intermediate, deconstructive level
of spiritual development. &he only $purpose% for the $0o'thingness% teachings of this intermediate level (as originally
presented by the true advaita sages) is to clear out all false egoic'identifications with the bodymind and relax all
worldly or otherworldly attachments'aversions. .nce free and liberated from these identifications and attachments'
aversions, it makes no enlightened sense to fixedly dwell in the vacuous limbo of $mere nothingness,% amorality and
impersonality, like so many neo'advaitins do. (4any neo'advaitins appear like a team of Rdemolition wrecking crewR
men who delight in exploding and collapsing all the old beautiful buildings in a neighborhood, and then triumphantly
standing atop the pile of rubble.)
&ruly enlightened spirituality is transcendence so fully transcendent as to be fully immanent within and involved with
a manifest world of distinctions. &he famous modern'era Ten master Shaku =aibi (7nkan), abbot of Kokutai'(i,
declared, Risdom can be divided into two: the original wisdom, and the wisdom gained after satori 9first ma(or
enlightenment;. .riginal wisdom is the 2reat isdom of ,1uality, and is inbornI but the wisdom gained after satori
is the wonderful isdom of =ifferentiation.R So authentic spirituality is to be fully disengaged and established as
R0o'thing,R while paradoxically fully engaged with a world of differentiation. @es, the world is Ra dream,R but the
great spiritual adepts are compassionately engaged with it for the sake of liberating sentient beings who are,
paradoxically, none but the .ne SelfC e see this holy, helpful and healing involvement exemplified by the most
acclaimed sages and saints. &hey know that, ultimately, there is no $absolute% reality to personality or morality, but
on the conventional, relative level these holy ones (the .neC) are themselves supremely moral persons (by =ivine
2race) and they invite $other% $persons% to come into this same beautiful and benign $morality% or enlightened
ethics. Such is the $Bure Eand Baradise% realmPno'realm of $mountains and rivers% appearing as =ivinely'dreamed
appearance. #nd these mountains are flowing and rivers are solidC :')
Eet me close this section with a 1uote from the #vat]r *ncarnation and nondual (^]ni'bhakta Shr[ >]makrishna, R*n
the beginning, when a man reasons following the 6edanta method of Q0ot this, not thisQ 9neti, neti, i.e., Q* am not the
body, not the mind, not the soulQ;, he reali)es that Brahman 9>eality or Spirit; is not the living beings, not the
universe, not the twenty'four cosmic principles. #ll these things become like dreams to him. &hen comes the
affirmation of what has been denied, and he feels that 2od <imself has become the universe and all living
beingsD. #fter reali)ing 2od, one sees that it is <e <imself who has become the universe and the living beings.
But one cannot reali)e this by mere reasoning.R (2ospel of Sri >amakrishna, p. JFS)
Sr[ 0isargadatta 4ah]r]( simply put it this way: Rhen you see the world, you see 2od.R (* #m &hat, 6ol. A, ANLN
ed., p. LA)
4ay all beings (the .ne Being in disguise) be awake to real 5reedom, Bliss, Beace, -larity and Eove.
S7T#00, 5.Z&.0
NDM: Su8anne) can you please tell me about your awakening) when this happened) how this happened
e"actly) why you believe this happened. !hat was going on in your li$e at the time#
Su)anne 5oxton: Eet me start by saying that the overwhelming 1uality of Rmy awakeningR was the realisation that
there is no such thing. &hat R*R couldnQt RawakenR because there was no me to awaken, and what * had taken
myself for was a whimsical fabrication, albeit a fascinating one. ithin that paradox lies enlightenment, or whatever
weQre calling it today.

#pparently, * had been going through some very thorough, very effective therapy. &he thrust of the therapy was
dealing with past trauma. &he memories of the trauma ' three separate issues ' hit me hard, arising as vivid
flashbacksI * could smell my attacker and was seemingly in the room where the attack occurredI the regret and
remorse over an incident where * was the perpetrator overwhelmed meI the loneliness of my childhood engulfed
me. Bit by bit, * faced these traumas, unraveled the story of my life, and saw my past for exactly what it was, not for
the stories * had told myself about it. *n other words, * was going through in a estern fashion the kind of deep self'
in1uiry that many ,astern paths advocate. 4y ego and its conceits were stripped away, one by one.

*n the midst of this, * was washing some dishes. * took a knife from the sink. &he knife became an ama)ing wonderI
it was exactly rightI it was the most knifish knife that ever knifedI it was life, knifing. # kind of vision engulfed me, or
replaced meI my mind needed to supply visuals, so * seemed to see a sort of cosmic winking in and out, creation on
a grand and colourful scale, swirling being sucked into some kind of black hole and renewing, over and over again.
* knelt on the kitchen floor. RhoaCR * said, like Bill and &ed on their excellent adventure. * then wandered around
the kitchen, saying to the ether, R*tQs so obvious. *tQs so obviousCR
NDM: !hat was obvious#
Su)anne 5oxton: ell, that everything was everything, but it actually didnQt existI that everything was illusory,
existing in no time and no space, and yet fruitily, fleshily, impossibly real and existent. &hat what * had been looking
for was this, all around me, all me. &here was no difference between me and everyone and everything. *t was all,
most obviously, the same thing, and the only thing that actually existed was a sort of absolute knowing. 4y
persona, the game of life, everything * had considered so important, (ust dropped awayI certainly, the importance
dropped away, and * saw * was free, to an extent that cannot be communicated. ,verything, no matter how
RbadR, was the icing on the cake of awarenessI the gift of duality.
>e'entering the drama of life on these new terms, for my ego, was to be rebuffed by anyone * tried to explain it to.
0o one wants to hear about how everything is utterly meaningless, except in its intrinsic worth by virtue of mere
existence. * began writing the blog to give vent to my urge to describe what had happened...including trying to
communicate that it never happened at all.
NDM: !hy do you think that this kni$e looked di$$erent $rom all the other times you had seen this kni$e#
Su)anne 5oxton: *t didnQt. &here was nothing different about the knife. Berhaps there was something different about
how * was apparently seeing it. *t seemed to be a knife with no filters, no pro(ection, no interference. /ust, very
simply, exactly what it was.
NDM: 3ow long did this kni$e e"perience last $or#
Su)anne 5oxton: *t wasnQt strictly Ran experienceR, there seems to be no one RhereR to receive Ran experienceR. *t
lasts forever. *t happens now.
NDM: !hen you saw that '9tFs so obvious) that everything was everything) but it actually didnFt e"ist> that
everything was illusory) e"isting in no time and no space) and yet $ruitily) $leshily) impossibly real and
e"istent.' !hat do you mean e"actly by 'everything was everything' and that it did not e"ist.
Do you mean this on the relative level) or on the absolute level or some other way#
Su)anne 5oxton: *tQs difficult to describe, so poetic language seems to come up to try to do it. * suppose * mean that
* saw that everything is appearance,and that nothing in Rreal lifeR exists other than in our apparent ability to see
energy arranged in a certain way. R,verything was everythingR * guess means that everything is (ust exactly as it
is,without having to think about it, make (udgments about it, or figure it out. &he poetic expression of it conveys the
1uality of reality more accurately than the mindQs specific, analytical need for description. &he less concepts, the
NDM: !hen you say 'He%entering the drama o$ li$e on these new terms)$or my ego) was to be rebu$$ed by
anyone 9 tried to e"plain it to.F!hat do you mean by ego e"actly#
Su)anne 5oxton: * suppose my poor olQ overworked, overvalued mind would describe ego as the personalityI the
construct of the individual, which seemingly negotiates and navigates its way through the story of life. &here is
nothing whatsoever, by the way, RwrongR with the ego. #nd it seems the ego is here, but not taken as the be'all and
end'all anymoreI and the story of life, not taken so seriously.
NDM: !hen you say that ' there is nothing whatsoever) by the way) wrong with this ego') Do you mean
your own ego in particular) or was that a broad generali8ation) including everyone elseFs egos as well. 9$ so)
what about the unhealthy ego o$ someone who is in(uring others) or itsel$. Contemplating suicide. *r as in
the e"treme case o$ a murderer) a thie$) a liar and so on#
Su)anne 5oxton: &here is nothing wrong with anyoneQs ego, or ego as a useful labelling concept. &here is nothing
wrong with anythingI everything is. 7nhealthy egos, or those labelled as such, certainly seem to exist.<omicidal
tendencies and acts exist, as well as suicidal onesI also more irrational sociopathology, and, of course, people who
are big fat meanies. * suppose these are balanced by creative (oy and loving nurturing kindness, altruism,
philanthropy, and other good stuff like thatI the stuff that doesnQt make it into the news as much.
NDM: 9s someone with a 5ego7 'story' like this also not to be taken seriously#
Su)anne 5oxton: *f a suicidal ego wasnQt taking the life story so seriously, perhaps suicide wouldnQt even come into
the 1uestion?
NDM:. Do you mean this strictly $rom the absolute non dual level) or the relative dualistic level# Do you see
a di$$erence) a distinction o$ these levels or do you not recogni8e or acknowledge these levels#
Su)anne 5oxton: *Qm not sure what you mean. *n the unfolding story, remembered now, * was suicidal for yearsI AG
or so attempts, two of them nearly successful. >elatively, if * hadnQt been taking my story to be all that * am, it is
unlikely * would have been suicidal. #bsolutely, there is no one suffering, but suffering certainly happens, and is as
much an important part of life as anything else.
NDM: !here does morality) 5right and wrong7 play into this e,uation#
Su)anne 5oxton: &here is no right or wrong. &here is what is. *ncluding many differing ideas about what is right and
what is wrong. <owever, compassion often seems preferableI yet if every apparent individual were consistently
compassionate without exception...gag, barfC <ow dull would &<#& be? #0= thereQd probably be a loved'up
population explosion.
e live in 7topia. e are 7topia. e are the perfect, dualisticplayground with every possibility shining, weaving,
tearing, growing, destroying, creating 0..
NDM: 9$ someone was not aware o$ these neo advaita teachings and were to read this) living in 9ra, or
A$ghanistan $or e"ample) who had (ust had their $amily and children murdered) home destroyed and so on.
1ased on your e"perience with communicating this message. 3ow do you believe this would be
Su)anne 5oxton: ow, it wildly varies. *Qve had contact with people who have had problems on the level of /ob,
much as you describe. Eots of anger, oftenI outrageI but also acceptance. *tQs ama)ing, what is bearable. *tQs
incredible, what kind of apparent healing can occur. #nd through anecdotal evidence, those who respond to
devastation with compassion are the ones who feel the most peaceI if peace is, indeed, the goal. #ll things unfold,
the horrific and the beautific. *t can be (udged...or not.
NDM: Can you please tell me what happened to this ego as a result o$ this realisation@awakening#
Su)anne 5oxton: 0othing happened to the ego. &he ego still arises in awareness, if thatQs the preferred way of
putting it on a &hursday morning. * suppose the ego is, paradoxically, looked upon with more affection and tolerance
(compassion, perhaps) by itself than before.
* guess the point is that there seems to be at least a lot less of some sort of receiver of knowing, or doing, or being,
or seeing feeling touching hearing smelling. Knowing known by itself. # gift,from the gift to the gift. /ust the knowing.
/ust the gift. 0o knower. 0o giver.
NDM: So i$ nothing happened to the ego. 9$ it is still there) then which sel$ are you# Are you saying there
are two selves) or you are still this ego) or something other than it#
Su)anne 5oxton: *Qm saying that there is only one thing. &he mind will try to split it, understand it, categorise it into
this compartment and that pigeon hole...what * am, what is, can be labelled RawarenessR, and ego, toast in the
morning, kids needing a ride to the cricket match, the wall, the body, the mind, the feelings, all seemingly arise in
this awareness. *tQs all one thing, seamless, whole, perfect.
NDM> So i$ there is no knower or giver) (ust the knowing) the gi$t) how is the knowing possible# !ho or
what is this knowing known to#
Su)anne 5oxton: <ow the knowing is possible is something the mind is preoccupied with. *t wants to figure it out.
Knowing is, unto itself. &he knowing is known by knowingI the giving is given to the gift. &here is only .ne.
NDM: Did you ever study meditation) or any traditional $orms o$ spirituality be$ore your awakening or read
any books about this sub(ect o$ non%duality or consciousness#
Su)anne 5oxton: *tQs not my awakening...but * understand we have to use limited concepts and language.
0o, * didnQt study and formal meditation. /ust the kind of Rnotice your breathR stuff that gets into mainstream
estern mental health circles. /esus, * canQt meditate to save my life. Sit down in an uncomfortable position and try
not to think. Q.h noC *Qm thinking about not thinking. #h ' thereQs a gap. .h shit, * thought about the gapC 0ow *Qm
thinking about thinking about the gap. #0= * have to pee. .h, f888 it.Q &hatQs about how a meditation session goes
for me. * donQt even attempt it. *tQs unnecessary, and *Qm not talking to any other apparent egos Rout thereR. *f you
want to meditate, meditate. *f itQs good and blissful and still and calming and seems beneficial, go for it. But *
suppose for RmeR that all apparent states seem meditative. &here is stillness present in the loudest cacophony.
&here is bliss within turmoil ,very state is meditationI every act, a prayerI something like that.
#lso, * read no books about nonduality therapist, however, follows a spiritual teacher and he
introduced the concept to me. <e called it Rmetaphysical nondualityR. #t the time * thought,Q.K....thatQs weird, but *Qm
definitely making progress here so *Qll (ust let the weirdness slide.Q R#fterR whatever it is with the apparent knife
RhappenedR, * saw &ony Barsons and thankfully got some words that seemed to fit the seeming phenomenon of
Qclear seeingQ.
5or a while, * thought * was going cra)y ' or, more accurately, even cra)ier. * occasionally felt like * was seeing from
(ust next to the right of my head and a little higher than my eyesI that * was coming out of my body through the top
of my headI and that * had no edges. 4y mind didnQt know how to handle that stuff. 4y therapist would (ust say, Q.h,
donQt worry about it.Q * thought, easy for you to say 4ate, *Qm coming out of the top of my head hereC <owever,
although thereQs no process in time, not really, all that seems to have settled down. &he identification * got with the
description of RawakeningR (or whatever) from &ony was (ust enough to reassure my fevered brain.
NDM: !hat words did /ony <arsons use that seemed to $it the phenomenon o$ Fclear seeingF#
Su)anne 5oxton: *t was simply the phrase Rthis is itR.
NDM: Can you please tell me which one do you see as being you# !hich one is your identity# *neness or
these inclinations) predispositions) habit $ormations) urges to write blogs and so on# !hat is the e"act
relationship between the these elements#
Su)anne 5oxton: * see everything as being me. 4y identity is unleashed. &he habits,urges, inclinations etc. are (ust
what seems to come up. &he exact relationship between these elements ' oneness and the ego'bundle ' is that
they are the same thing, in apparently different, fascinating, guises.
NDM: A$ter your awakening) how much time did you spend contemplating) or investigating through sel$
en,uiry) these inclinations) predispositions) habit $ormations) urges) your shadow sel$) /he subconscious
mind up to this point in time#
Su)anne 5oxton: 0one. * (ust let Qem rip. &aking note of them with amusement seems to happen a lot.
NDM: !as this metaphysical non%duality therapist knowledgeable in traditional Gedanta) was he Sel$
reali8ed or was this some $orm o$ 'neo advaita' therapist#
Su)anne 5oxton: 0either * think. <eQs friends with this 5rench guru'dude named #lain 5orget, who has a kind of
non'traditional formula called the F'=Qs: distanciation, dis'identification, and * forget the other two.
NDM: !hen you said you were coming out o$ the top o$ your head. !hen this occurred what did this
metaphysical non duality therapist say this was# !hat do you think this was#
Su)anne 5oxton: 4y former therapist is an expert in trauma and addictionI the non duality stuff is (ust his hobby, for
want of a better way to put it. *Qm not sure what he thought it wasI he (ust told me not to worry about it. Brobably that
* was having a therapeutic psychotic breakC <e likes my blog though.
NDM: !hen you describe your brain as being $evered. 3ow would you describe the energy o$ your brain
today# 9s it usually active or dull) or very clear#
Su)anne 5oxton: &he Rfevered brainR was (ust a pretty turn of phrase. Brain not really feveredI it seems calm, clear,
active but nicely paced, donQt sleep too much (not from any worries, but because * seem enthusiastic to start the
day). &his is most of the time, except when my husband leaves the cap off the toothpaste for the F,GJSth time in a
NDM: !hat were your spiritual belie$s be$ore this awakening took place#
Su)anne 5oxton: 4y spiritual beliefs were very vague, somewhat agnostic, and more or less along the lines of the
iccan philosophy of R=o what you will and harm no oneR.
NDM: 3as this changed at all since your awakening or do you still practice this#
Su)anne 5oxton: Bretty much. *Qve never been a iccan, by the way, but *Qve always liked that phrase. #lso, * was
raised in the 7nited 4ethodist church, which is as laid'back as -hristianity gets. 74 minister: QSo you sinned?
ell...thatQs not good, but oh well, (ust try not to do it again.Q &he 74 philosophy is not so far off Rand harm none, do
what you willR.
NDM: 3ave you heard o$ the Sanskrit terms samskaras and vasanas that are created through karma# <ast
actions that leave deep psychic imprints#
Su)anne 5oxton: * have read these things, yes. &he story can be (ust as interesting, complicated and involved as
you likeC
NDM: !hen you say ' 9Fm still a procrastinator and a bit o$ a per$ectionist) but these donFt seem to be
character traits that are (udged to be 'bad' anymore. !hen these tendencies arise) do you still act out on
them like be$ore. 9$ so) why do you think you are doing this#
Su)anne 5oxton: * suppose the actions are similar, but the feelings and thoughts are 1uite differentI more relaxed
feelings, and more magnanimous thoughts.
NDM: Do you have a choice) or is this something beyond your control#
Su)anne 5oxton: #pparently there is an unfolding story where * have a choice to change certain behaviours, much
as the characters in a film often seem to make choices. &ruly, it is choiceless.
NDM: !hen these emotions arise) do they have an impact on your decision making or your actions) choice
o$ words) behavior and so on#
Su)anne 5oxton: Berhaps, but not to the same extent...apparently. 4ore importantly, * donQt poke it with a stick all
the time. hatever happens, happens.
NDM: !hen you said that '9 was $ree) to an e"tent that cannot be communicated.F !hat were you $ree o$
e"actly and why do you say this cannot be communicated#
Su)anne 5oxton: ell, * canQt communicate it no matter how many times and in how many different ways you askI it
canQt be communicated because itQs not an idea, or a feeling or a concept, itQs...well, everything borne of nothing.
#nd &<#& (ust sounds sillyC #nd what was * free from, exactly? 5ree from all the boxed'in ideas * had about what
my life was. 5ree from having to make things RbetterR. 5ree from the treadmill of goal, action, goal achieved,
contentment still elusive. 5ree from everything * ever thought was importantI free from the story of my life being the
be'all and end'all. 5ree from the tyranny of the body and the mind and the emotions. 5ree from everything, because
* was never anything that could be enslaved. * was never anything at all. Eimitless.
NDM: !hen you say '9 began writing the blog to give vent to my urge to describe what had happenedF
!here did this urge come $rom. !hoFs urge was it and who was venting it#
Su)anne 5oxton: *da know where the urge comes fromI itQs (ust there. * donQt particularly care where it comes from,
either. &here it is. *tQs my urge, and *Qm venting it, in the drama of life that seems to unfold but is taken with a wryly
raised eyebrow Rthese daysR.
NDM: !hen you say 'No one wants to hear about how everything is utterly meaningless) e"cept in its
intrinsic worth by virtue o$ mere e"istence' 9s this your personal opinion) view) belie$) conclusion you
arrived at and i$ so can you please tell me what is the basis $or this view#
Su)anne 5oxton: ell...that was a broad and sweeping generalisation. Berhaps there are a heck of a lot of people
who want to hear that everything is utterly meaningless, except in its intrinsic worth by virtue of mere existence.
<ow do * know? * could be totally wrong. <owever, based on the anecdotal evidence of how friends and family react
when * present this concept, which is nearly AMMX negatively, and buoyed by further accounts from a disciple or two
at a &ony Barsons meeting, one of whom was deserted by her best friend of GM years when presented with a similar would seem that blanket meaninglessness is not a popular idea.
NDM: Bou mentioned in your conscious /G interview that you went to see /ony <arsons a$ter your
awakening. !as he help$ul to you in understanding this and i$ so) can you please e"plain how#
Su)anne 5oxton: * believe * answered this in a previous 1uestion, more or less. <is words seemed to fitI * finally
had some words to describe what Rhad happenedR. *t was, apparently, comforting to my mind, which still thinks it
needs to figure everything out...or at least have some vague handle on whatQs going on.
NDM: 3as your character) temperament) personality) habits) proclivities) inclinations changed since your
Su)anne 5oxton: *tQs not my can have itC 5ree for all. But * suppose *Qve apparently become less
RlostRI there is very little suffering, although there is painI all those RnegativeR states and emotions seem to be
relished (if not en(oyed) rather than resisted. *tQs all life, after all. *Qm still a procrastinator and a bit of a perfectionist,
but these donQt seem to be character traits that are (udged to be RbadR anymore. &he procrastination leads to
adrenaline'fired creativity, on a tight deadlineI the perfectionism seems to foster more carefully honed work, which,
at the moment, is writing and work in Bhotoshop, and the very interesting (ob of tending to my family.
*t all seems much the same, but without bouts of depression or running away from what used to seem unbearable.
#nd it is all fantastically, phantasmagorically fascinating, right down to the pile of dog poo * tell the kids to step
around. <owever, it was much the same RbeforeR...if my head ever managed to shut up for a minute. 0ow, if my
head is noisy, * ignore it. *t can do what it likes.
NDM: !hat would you say is the di$$erence with an awakening glimpse and liberation#
Su)anne 5oxton: *da know. *t seemed to whack me over the head, over the everything in fact, and if it was a
glimpse *Qm still glimpsing, and in fact, itQs all been one big glimpse...even RbeforeR.
NDM: !hat would you say is enlightenment#
Su)anne 5oxton: *Qd say thereQs no such thing. *t implies something that can be obtained by some non'existent
person in some non'existent future. .neness isnQt getting any Rone'erR. Being isnQt going to be any more existent
than it is. &his is enlightenment, with interesting and perhaps misguided commentary laid on top. Eife is
enlightenment. ,verything is enlightenment, even the misguided commentary. hat people are perhaps looking for
is their life, RrealityR, whatever, exactly as it is...they (ust canQt believe it. &here doesnQt need to be some knifish knife
or years meditating or the careful stripping away of the ego. &his is it.
NDM: According to the 1uddhist tradition) there are Seven +actors o$ ;nlightenment@nirvana . /here are
also L hindrances to enlightenment@nirvana @per$ect wisdom.
/he seven $actors are:
M. Mind$ulness 5sati7 /his is being mind$ul o$ every word) thought and action one takes.
J. =een investigation o$ the dhamma 5dhammavicaya7 /his is similar to atma vichara) sel$ en,uiry practiced
in Gedanta. 9t is ongoing investigation o$ the Sel$ ) or awakened nature) 1uddha nature and other.
?. Hapture or happiness 5piti7
N. Calmness 5passaddhi7
L. Concentration 5samadhi7 *ne pointed concentration in what ever you are doing.
O. ;,uanimity 5upekkha7
!hat are your thoughts on this#
Su)anne 5oxton: 4y thoughts are .42, what a lot of workC 4any of these 1ualities and actions, interestingly, seem
to be unravelling RbackwardsR (after my thingy ' call it awakening if you wantC
NDM: /hese are the $ive hindrances to enlightenment according to the 1uddhist tradition.

1. a#acchanda \ sensual desires
2. vyapada \ ill'will
3. thina#iddha \ obduracy of mind and mental factors
4. uddhaccauucca \ restlessness and worry
5. viciiccha \ doubt
*hat are your thou2hts on these+
Su)anne 5oxton: #gain, unraveling backwards, these RblocksR may well arise from RtimeR to RtimeR...but they are not
taken seriously. 0or do they arise with any force. #ny Rdefects of characterR that seem to come up for the character,
Su)anne, apparently making her way through Samsara, are regarded (by who? *da know) with affection, tolerance,
amusement, compassion. &he same with the same traits arising in the behaviour of apparent RothersR. *t seems that
rather than clinging to the world, the world is loved by the worldI the world is love, manifest, and because it is
expressed in duality, both sides of each coin are love, and loved.
NDM: !hen you say already 'here') do you mean like to 'be in the now' as in the teachings o$ ;ckhart
/olle. !hat do you mean by 'here' e"actly #
Su)anne 5oxton: * mean that there is only now. @ou donQt have to make some effort to Rbe in the nowR. @ou are in
the now, whether you want to be or not. @ou are the now, whether you know it or not. &his is it, whatever thoughts
are arising. *t is always now oQclock. &his is wholeness, now. &here is nothing that needs to be done, but most
people donQt believe that and would rather play. So playC &hatQs fine too. *tQs all the same thing.
NDM: 9$ 9 came to you and asked $or your help) a$ter having tried everything else) psychotherapy) yoga)
meditation and all the rest. !hat would you say to me#
Su)anne 5oxton: *Qd say, give upC @ouQre already here.
NDM) !hat i$ 9Fm here like Angulimala) a vicious serial killer# A serial killer in the now# ;very time 9 cut o$$
someoneFs $inger and wear it around my neck my watch says 'now o clock.' 3ow is giving up) 9Fm already
here going to get rid o$ my ignorance#".php#titleAAngulimala
Su)anne 5oxton: ell, * see what youQre getting at. *f a serial killer came to me for help, *Qd probably say RyouQre
already hereR as * surreptitiously dialed emergency services. *f the serial killer had tried psychotherapy, yoga,
meditation, etc., *Qd say heQd be likely to confound the cast of -riminal 4inds. *f itQs illusory, itQs illusory, all of it,
including vicious serial killers named #ngulimala. .neness is oneness, including murder. *tQs the mindQs
confoundedness with these conundrums of morality that keep the mind locked in a cycle, unopenedI yet an
unopened mind is .neness, too. #ll is one, and all is a perfect expression, even the horrible bits, and compassion
arises for it allI it is all compassion. 0ow if my head was locked in a vice by 4r. Serial Killer, whether boundless
compassion would arise is up for debate. But itQs possible, though in pain, there would be no suffering. #s * said,
devastation can be met with compassion as well as the more common negative (udgement, resistance and
NDM: /his is what 9 meant earlier by the relative and absolute levels o$ reality. 3ere is an article by a direct
student o$ Nisargadatta Mahara( on this.
!hat are your thoughts on this#
Su)anne 5oxton: #bsolute reality, Brahman, as opposed to illusory day'to'day reality,4aya, seems as logical a way
to conceptualise .neness as any. &he mind loves the categorisation of it, the sense of it, the comforting explanation
of how illusory reality arises in awareness. *f itQs .neness, itQs oneness, beyond (udgement, beyond right and wrong,
beyond all concept. &here is simply this, now, what arises, and the stillness it arises in. Being tricked or fooled by
4aya is the devil in another guiseI duality needs the bad to balance the good. hat is, is. 4aya is lovedI maya is
love, manifest.
NDM. !hat about dharma) the natural harmonious laws o$ the universe Anything that deviates $orm this
law is considered adharma) meaning immoral) unnatural) wrong) wicked or plain evil.
Su)anne 5oxton: Sure, thereQs dharma, and thereQs adharma. <ow else would it be?
NDM: !hat are your thoughts on karma#
Su)anne 5oxton: &hereQs many many ways the mind goes about splitting reality, retelling it, perpetuating the ego ad
infinitum. *tQs what the egoPmind does. *t doesnQt want to perish. So thereQs karma, and a hundred thousand lifetimes
to balance karma. hat a great dealC
NDM: Do you consider yoursel$ a teacher o$ non duality) do you do satsangs or hold meetings on this
sub(ect to help others in some way#
Su)anne 5oxton: 0o, * definitely donQt consider myself a teacher, * donQt hold satsangs, although * get lots of 1ueries
about this. * did a thing at 0ever 0ot <ere in -hicago last /anuary, at >ichard 4illerQs re1uest, and it was 1uite the
merry ride keeping the thing going for &<>,, #0= # <#E5 <.7>S. * also did an interview with 7rban 2uru -afe
and>nonduality.html they contacted me after seeing my blog, and *Qm happy to do these things
if asked. *f it seems to help some nonexistent soul, why not?
NDM: As $ar as teachers go. 3ave you read any o$ the classics by Nisargadatta or Sri
Hamana by the way#
Su)anne 5oxton: *Qm afraid * (ust read a few blogs on the sub(ect here and there.
NDM: Do you have any interest in learning about the ancient wisdom traditions o$ non duality. Gedanta)
1uddhism) Su$ism) /aoism) udeo Christian mysticism) 2nosticism) indigenous or Native American non
duality traditions and so on or do you see this more or less as dogma) religious indoctrination)
meaningless) nonsensical stories#
Su)anne 5oxton: *Qm interested, but have little (nonexistent) timeC * know a fair amount about <induism and Sufism,
as * studied them at university. #nd all stories are meaningless and nonsensical...thatQs why * love Qem.
NDM: Can you please tell me about your book '/he Iltimate /wist'. !hat is this book about e"actly#
Su)anne 5oxton: &he 7ltimate &wist is about a love triangle that isnQt really a triangle at allI a mental breakdown
that turns out to be Ra good thingRI love in healing, and healing that turns out not to be necessary. *tQs also about life'
changing revelations on a trip to Bakistan, that turn out to not change that character at allI and stony skepticism
about spirituality, and a refusal to change, in the character who ends up changing a great deal...Ra tale told by an
idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothingR
NDM: !hen will this book be published#
Su)anne 5oxton: &he book is coming out early GMAA. Bublished by /ulian 0oyce of Nonduality 3ress.
B,>>@ *E=
Intervie. .ith non<duality ma2a=ine
NDM: Can you please tell me about your 'awakening'. !hen and where this was#
Berry ild: L years ago there was an old expat #ustralian woman. Some .cker slang (glossary of uni1ue
#ustralian words) were spoken aboard a Euxury -hinese /unk in <ong Kong. So the story begins. &here is an

* digress, for all the old QducksQ out there going through menopause. @es it drove me mad and this led to
meditation knocking at the door.

4editating through menopause? (0o <ormone >eplacement &herapy re1uired, horse wee, forget it) Some thing or
really it was no thing that lead me to meditating. * say that, as * was totally not for meditating. aste of time and so
on. hat a load of bunk * had been conditioned to.

#ll the way * was laughing inside, how the children would tip toe, have some sort of hushed movements about them
when mum was in the lotus position.

Something stopped resisting this idiotic calm cra)y spontaneity and seemed to follow along. 4ost annoying was,
the incompatibility with alcohol. Stopped drinking much to my disgust. #nti social in that climate not to partake in the
beverage. &he QgroggQ was incompatible with this clear still suddenness. hat was happeningC
#s the ancients have passed along leaving trails of wisdom, it was not QmeQ that was meditating, it (ust seemed or
appeared to be happening. 6ery strange.

*nvestigating this 1uiet sight, * seemed to look at the thousands of thoughts that would invade my mind the moment
* woke up in the morning.

&he daughters name is 2race) led me to .shosQ #B- of enlightenment. * thought it was some -hinese sage
ramblings so was hooked on these books regardless of finding out it was Qthat sex guru guy thatQs deadC * didnQt
reali)e he changed his name to .sho or * would not have begunC)
0ever understood that stuff, yet it resonated and one word led QmeQ to fall into universal bliss'ness. Showering
flowering or whatever, * forget now. *t was an experience. Q*Q had died, something shifted.
Blot goes on. # wish to have sat with .sho after reading all that was transcribed, sounded like missing out on
actually meeting him.
5inally here * was in the presence of Q.shoQ called QSailorQ Bob #damson. <e felt like home. * was home. #ll those
suitcase loads full of books that * was drawn too, lead to meeting Bob. <e is not a book. >eality. &here it was,
2race staring at me in the face resonating.
Sorry, there was no QawakeningQ

0o suffering

0o thing wrong any moreC

0o &houghts? bring em on. >andomly popping up and disappearing.

# certain sense of peace, cant put a finger on it.

EetQs name it 2race. EetQs name it hogwash. *t does not matter as cannot say any thing happened. * can type bits
and pieces and there is nothing or what some call (oy.

<oorah anyway. Bring it on, look at it, what is it really, life. &hat death thing mentioned well suppose you could say it
was the death of the imaginary separate suffering person.

.r thatQs how the story goes. 6ery unentertaining. ,nd of story. ,nd of anyone awakening.
*t has all been told before and the &ao that can be told is not the &ao full stop.
NDM: !hen you say 'Sorry) there was no FawakeningF Do you mean this $rom an absolute level#
Berry ild: * would absolutely laugh out loud anyone saying they are awakened at whatever QlevelQ. here there are
no levels, no awakening for the imaginary separate entity. Simplicity being the root core of all this, seeing there is
no one to be awakened. 0o one is enlightened no one is self reali)ed as the one saying that is not.. #ha, * (ust
noticed my daughter who when showed 3G had her sayC She is AL perhaps she is the one to be interviewed :
&he one that believes they have achieved enlightening is not enlightened for enlightenment cannot be achieved, it
is innate ' the natural state of being ' the reali)ation of this is often enlightening therefore can be seen as though
enlightenment has been achieved
NDM: !hat 9 meant by the 'absolute level' is this. ....enli2htened<s%irituality.or2>neo<advaita.html
Berry ild: >ightio /ohn. *t is easy for me to type bits and pieces that donQt resemble answers to interview type
1uestions. &his expression cannot come close to the actual livingness.
0ow, on with the show. * am retired, supported in the shade of a rich husband ( a living Ten toy flyboy) and do
nothing all day, so have plenty of time for practicing how to spell out and express the inexpressible. hat grace is,
fullness totally effortless and sense of ease. .verflowing love and wholeness. * am being lived. yippe ky yayC
&hose big words that * look up in the dictionary QempiricalQ and QrelativeQ and QabsoluteQ etc (<a ha QabsoluteQ ' the
dictionary said it was an alcoholic beverageC) donQt sit here. &he word non duality? * keep forgetting whatever that

#ll * can simply say is Bob and Barb, yes he has a wife and not many ever mention that woman. &he two of them,
they took me in and nurtured me when * was a refugee in the country * was told * was born in. &hey didnQt know me
from a bar of soap, yet welcomed this stressed unhappy QpersonQ, listened,massaged, warmed and harboured.. (of
course Bob doesnQt see the QpersonQ he sees the truth essence he is, and can get that across in an simple elo1uent
way thank goodness)
NDM: Bou say that there is no awakening. /hen who was this apparent person named 1erry !ild#
Berry ild: Berry ild is a silly name * use on the net. &he name is not the thing. # label. 4y mother named me
4andy. *tQs obvious * am certainly not a name as they keep changing. Before landing on BobsQ doorstep * QbelievedQ
what * had been told and conditioned over the years, that * was defect, ungrateful (especially having everything,
heaps of money unconditionally loved and supportive family and so on)
.f course * was ignoring freedom happiness enlightenment wholeness. 0ot seeking anything, caught up in
bewilderment. * felt lost when * knew my way. *t is clear now, not intellectually, but within that frontier that had never
been looked at.

# person sees from the point of view of the person: a bunch of images memories labels perceptions or self center,
it is made up, it is non existent yet seems to appear and disappear. &hink mirage.. no drinkable water (ust an
appearance of a shimmer type thing. Berry or 4andy or bean wild (coffee handle when * thought * was a famous
coffee expertC) is not the real * keep changing names. *nvestigation lead to collapse of all my beliefs.

Seeing is a word * must have picked up from 2ilbert Schult). <e edited BobsQ meetings and spoken words into that
book RhatQs rong ith >ight 0ow 7nless @ou &hink #bout *tR (few know he was the one that highlighted it as the
title for the book.)
NDM: !hen you say 'seeing there is no one to be awakened.' !hat do you mean by 'seeing' . 3ow do
you Fsee' this. Do you mean with your two eyes. !hat did you see# Do you mean like some kind o$
mystical vision) $lashing lights#
Berry ild: * may write the word Seeing, it is not eye sight itQs movement of energetic insight when * use this word.
4ystical vision, flashing lights? -osmic energy? Been there done that had the experience and where is it right now,
dead and gone, some past image * may recall and 1uestion if it ever really happened. 0o thing happened.
,verything is happening in this awareness of presence, ever changing fresh new not a drop of any or all gone
before it. By the word QBresenceQ itQs QnowQ and BobsQ 1uote is a beauty Rhow can you ever get out of the nowR. /ohn
heeler may have said itQs not even QnowQ. (4et this 1uiet bloke at BobsQ and he writes as it is, a direct no nonsense
fella)C 2reat.
Being, a word pointing to that natural self, the self thatQs not owned by a me, * or you, the universal self that
everyone has direct every day ordinary awareness of that which canQt be denied. *t has been so all along always is
and * say this from direct looking. So we may have not noticed this, busy noticing stuff out there. (=eadlines, bills,
weddings, what to have for tea etc) and that doesnQt matter as you already are that. Being or whatever word you
use to describe, point or speak about that which resonates or something Bob couldnQt of stopped shouting from the
rooftops when he reali)ed this freedom is what he always was, the is ness.&allyho and thanks to the 1uestioner
NDM: !as ohn !heeler help$ul to you in any way#

Berry ild: /ohns words, brilliantly sharp and direct, speaks out to many and (* would say) user friendly, modern
pointers. * put a short old utube of him up as there is no other images of him except a photo on his website itQs
grainy as it was filmed spontaneously)

NDN: !hat e"actly did Sailor 1ob say to you) to help you in understanding this#
Berry ild: Sailor BobsQ kind comforting wake up calls, did not (ust pass on Rthe greatest help that can be given to
anyone is to take them beyond the need for further helpR. *t was his direct activity, a movement of energy. So
familiar it is an immediate recognition, call it loving to be knowing * am. &hat vast expanse of space, sitting, hearing
Bob, whether it was at a meeting, an interview, or standing at the railway station chatting about our clothesC # friend
inviting you for breakfast, there, peace abides. #s he speaks there is, standing in stillness wide open awareness
NDM: Did you make a $ilm about him#
Berry ild: * have lost them somewhere between here and <ong Kong on various computers discs etc. <e is not
fussed about them on utube these get stale. 7sually * can hunt for them when * live in <ong Kong as * have more
facilities there.
Sailor Bob urls : ....sailor(o( and htt%)>>mem(>Kadamson#>
/ohnsQ website &here are emails on them which may give you phone numbers if you want to
talk to any of them, (2ilbert Schult) htt%)>>seein2< and so on) if you perhaps have opportunity.

,xcellent to hear there are such vibrant enthusiastic interested interviewers getting the word out /ohn 0=4 directly
to the rootC ( * am talking about @.7 /ohnC )
>*-<#>= S@E6,S&,>
Intervie. .ith non<duality ma2a=ine

NDM: Can you please tell me about your childhood religious belie$ systems. !hat did you learn about F2odF
$rom your parents) school and society in general. !hat was the impact o$ this religious indoctrination had
on you#
>ichard Sylvester: hen talking about nonduality, 1uestions about our personal history can be misleading.
Eiberation is impersonal, and as such has nothing to do with the story of the individual who is reporting on it. #s
soon as we start to tell this story, we may be thought to be implying that there is a causal path that led to liberation,
where no such causal path can in fact exist. hy any individualQs head is caught in the tigerQs mouth is always a
0evertheless *Qll answer your 1uestion in the spirit in which it is are asked. 4y parents were agnostic humanists
who brought me up with no creed. &he concept of Q2odQ had little meaning in our house other than as a
philosophical concept or a superstitious idea. #t school the dullness of assembly greeted me every weekday
morning + the dreary hymns, the mumbled prayers re1uesting 2odQs favour to fall particularly on our ruling class,
the empty words of the address given by an unenthusiastic teacher in a black gown.
*n spite of the tedium of school assemblies and -hristian Sundays in ,ngland before the loosening of the Sunday
trading laws, * did have a brief flirtation with -hristianity when * was about sixteen. &his was partly because my
school was very strict, and the local church youth club was one of the few places we were allowed to go where we
could meet girls. # pushy young curate at St 0ickQs got hold of my soul and * was actually confirmed + * guess to the
horror of my mother. But the 2od vaccination failed to take properly, and by the time * left school there were other
opportunities for meeting girls. -hristianity fell away from me shortly afterwards.
NDM: Can you tell me about your pre%awakening period and your early spiritual seeking# 3ow did this
begin# !hat kind o$ methods did you try) what gurus did you $ollow) and what books did you read# !hat
results) i$ any) did all this bring#
>ichard Sylvester: *Qm sorry to be so picky about language, but * would not call it Qmy pre'awakening periodQ.
Eiberation is the dropping away of the person, the seeing that there is no one who has ownership of anything.
0either the story before awakening nor the story after awakening is owned by anyone.
But again, *Qll enter into the spirit of your 1uestion, and write a little about my spiritual roller'coaster ride, which was
like many other peopleQs at the time. 5irst, a ma(or acid trip in my early twenties revealed that there is, as it were, an
intimate connection between consciousness and reality. &his everyday reality, and the nature of time and space
within which it unfolds, is only one possible version of reality. &inker with the chemistry of the brain with a small
1uantity of E.S.=., or some other drug, and a 1uite different reality emerges.
*n some ways this powerful acid trip was like being kicked in the head by a mule, and * do not recommend it.
0evertheless the trip, combined with a certain amount of existential despair and some reading of #lan atts, led
me into some amateurish and failed efforts at the practice of Buddhist meditation and an interest in @oga. &hen, at
the age of thirty, after a broken relationship had added a little more despair to my life, * stood one sunny 4ay
afternoon on the doorstep of the &ranscendental 4editation -entre in Bimlico holding a bag of fruit and feeling
pretty foolish.
&ranscendental 4editation, like acid, was a revelation. *n that first meditation, having handed over my bag of fruit, *
felt as though * was bathed in warm honey and experienced a freedom and free'floating happiness that * had never
experienced before.
* became a fanatical meditator, sometimes turning up at dinner parties and demanding a spare room to meditate in
before * would (oin the other guests for soup. * talked fre1uently to my friends about &ranscendental 4editation, and
a few of them paid large sums of money to learn it but got little or nothing from it. * went on &4 retreats and
determined to Qde'stressQ as much as possible. * considered giving up my reasonably paid (ob as a lecturer in order
to train as a &4 teacher. &hen, after two years, * heard the words Q2uru >a( #nanda @ogiQ and fell in love with 4y
Q&he &eacher ho *s &he @ogi King .f EoveQ was a short round charismatic man with dark limpid eyes. * have given
a brief account of his career as a guru in my book Q* <ope @ou =ie SoonQ. <e taught very powerful meditation
techni1ues, involving mantras and candles and mandalas and chants and a huge &ibetan gong, and * became one
of his teachers. &hen, after about three years, the scandal hit the fan and his organisation imploded.
-ast adrift, * looked around for another guru to fall in love with. * hung around 4uktanandaQs ashrams for a while but
never felt any pull towards him, nor towards either of his pair of young replacements after he died. #nd soon
scandal engulfed them too. Scandalous revelations were becoming an occupational ha)ard of being a guru, and
several guru cults self'destructed at about this time. #lthough *Qd accumulated three spiritual names (two @ogic and
one Shamanic), the 2uru >a( years proved a complete inoculation against any further involvement with gurus. *
continued meditating for many years, and even now practise tai chi which might be considered a replacement, but *
never spent 1uality time with a guru again.
#fter a few years of following gurus and doing spiritual practices, it became clear that yogic meditation techni1ues
were very effective at stirring things up, but not so effective at dealing with the psychological and emotional after'
effects. So like many other people * became involved with psychotherapy, firstly through QB.BSQ, or QBsychologically
.rientated 2roupsQ, such as ,S& and Self &ransformations, then through personal one'to'one therapy, and finally
through training as a <umanistic psychologist and therapist.
* was always drawn in therapy to a mixture of &ranspersonal and <umanistic approaches, and * respect those
therapies that combine the two, such as QSpiritual ,ncounterQ. ithout the transpersonal, humanistic approaches
can eventually hit a wall, and without the humanistic, transpersonal approaches can suck you into an endless round
of visualisations and forgiveness processes. &he temptation for some of us to float away into spiritual realms
without doing the work of bucketing out the mud and silt from the bottom of our well, to use >obert BlyQs wonderful
image, can lead to what ,va -hapman calls $Sugar on shit.% &his is why, under the aura of love and peace, some
spiritual people often seem so irritable. By the way, * strongly recommend >obert BlyQs book Q*ron /ohnQ to anyone
who either is a man or who knows a man.
NDM: 9n your book F9 3ope Bou Die SoonF you re$er to seeing
that there is no separation. 3ow is this 'seen' e"actly and what
does seeing it mean#
>ichard Sylvester: 5rom the time that self'consciousness first arises
when we are very young children, most of us feel that we have a
separate identity and exist as a sub(ect in a world of ob(ects. &he
thoughts, feelings and perceptions that arise seem to be my
thoughts, feelings and perceptions, and consciousness seems to be
coagulated here in my individual being, although by extension we
assume that other people have their individual consciousness as
well. *n other words we live in a world of separation and
#t any moment it is possible that this sense of separation into an
individual identity may simply drop away. *f it does, it is seen that
there is in fact no separation and no differentiation, that there is only
emptiness out of which all apparent phenomena arise. &he Buddhists
describe this very well when they speak about $,mpty phenomena
rolling by.% * will 1uickly add, in case this sounds existentially
depressing, that when liberation is fully seen, the emptiness from
which everything apparently arises is also seen to be full of love. *n
other words, every phenomena is the outpouring of love.
NDM: !hen you write 'the sense o$ vulnerability and $ear that
attaches to the individual $alls away' does this mean that
vasanas) samskaras and karma) also $all away at this time#
>ichard Sylvester: 4y charismatic guru gave some exciting and
colourful talks about vasanas, samskaras and karma. &hese talks
were very sweet and inspiring, because at the time they were
listened to by a mind that wanted to believe in them and the
evolutionary path to enlightenment that they implied.

0 ;ope 5ou 8ie )oon %

Q6asanasQ, QsamskarasQ and QkarmaQ are stories that seek to make sense of the mystery of being. 4any other stories
seek to do the same, such as the stories of the Kabbalah , of Buddhism, and of salvation through the love of /esus.
*f you want one of these stories, have it. But while you are following it, the wonder of presence is being missed.
Barticular personalities will be attracted to particular stories, but in general all minds seek for meaning, and many
minds are attracted to stories that seem to explain in(ustice and to promise (ustice, if not in this lifetime, then in the
next or in the one after that. &his is why the story of karma is so delightful. &he mind hates the idea that it can get
no purchase on liberation, that where liberation is concerned it is in reality helpless and none of its stories count for
By the way, the stories of vasanas, samskaras and karma are excellent ones for explaining certain psychological
tendencies and processes that go in on people, (ust as 5reudQs stories or /ungQs stories provide excellent modern
alternatives which re1uire fewer metaphysical beliefs.
NDM: Bou write 4iberation cannot be described in words. 9t cannot be understood by the mind. 9t cannot
be seen until it reveals itsel$. /hen no words or ideas are able to e"press it and no mind is able to grasp it.
3owever Gedanta says the e"act opposite. /he Gedas % the secret $orest teachings) and the Ipanishads %
the Chandogya) =ena) Aitareya) =aushitaki) =atha) Mundaka) /aittriyaka) 1rihadaranyaka) Svetasvatara) 9sa)
<rasna) Mandukya and the Maitri Ipanishads) all say the opposite. /he writings o$ Adi Shankara) Hamana
Mah6rshi) P6neshvar) Gasishtha) Asht6vakra) Nisargadatta) his 2uru Siddhar6meshvar Mah6r6()
Ba(Pavalkya) N6g6r(una and many others all describe e"actly what liberation is and even how to attain it
step by step. /hey lay out a clear%cut method) through sel$%en,uiry) Atma vichara) and =arma) 1hakti and
nana yoga) o$ how to do this and they say e"actly what liberation is with words and concepts) so that the
mind clearly understands it. 9n $act they say that i$ the mind does not understand it) liberation is not
!hat are your thoughts on this#
>ichard Sylvester: Berhaps some of us have too much respect for the words of dead *ndians. .thers of us may
have too much respect for the words of dead <ebrew prophets or dead *talian -ardinals. &herefore we do not
recognise how over the centuries the mind builds complexity on complexity on top of an original insight into ultimate
reality, like the monstrous temple built on top of 0asruddinQs dead donkey.8 &he original seeing of liberation could
never in any case have been put into words, as the Buddha recognised.
&he idea that oneness would need to follow a particular path with prescribed procedures in order to reveal itself is
utterly absurd, an invention of the mind and the egos that attach to it. #nd you cannot put enlightenment in a box
and sell it. .neness is neither a petty bureaucrat nor a door'to'door salesman. .neness is the lover who is
constantly whispering in our ear $* am here. * am closer to you than you are to yourself. 0otice me.%
&here have been many hints of the real nature of liberation in many cultures and at many times. Some of the
clearest are from the 7panishads, for example:'
$&he Scriptures even proclaim aloud: there is in truth no creation and no destruction. 0o one is bound and no one is
seeking liberation. 0o one is on the way to deliverance. &here are none who are liberated. &his is the absolute
truth, my dear disciple. &his, the sum and substance of all the 7panishads, the secret of secrets, is my instruction to
7sually these hints have been misunderstood or ignored, because they offered no purchase for power or wealth to
be built on them. &hey were instead the purest expression of anarchy. Some who hinted at this were murdered by
the sects and creeds that held power at the time. *Qll 1uote from (ust one of these, 4arguerite Borete. Before being
executed by the church in the early fourteenth century, she wrote $0ow this soul has fallen from love into
nothingness, and without such nothingness she cannot be all%, and $*f you do not understand, * cannot help you.
&his is a miraculous work, of which one can tell you nothing, unless it is a lie.% Berhaps you recognise an echo of
the Kena 7panishad here ' $#dvaita is not an idea. *t isC &he lightning flashes, the eye blinks... &hen? @ou have
either understood or you have not understoodD *f you have not understood, too badC% 0or was 4arguerite Borete
impressed by those who sought sanctity through morality, writing $the annihilated soul is freed from the virtues%. day, 0asruddinQs father, who was a famous spiritual teacher with a huge temple and many thousands of
followers, became so fed up with his wastrel son that he sent him packing with (ust the clothes he stood up in and
his decrepit and aged donkey for company.
0asruddin roamed aimlessly till he was far from home in a strange country. <e was miserable and tired and to
make matters worse, his donkey suddenly keeled over and died. 0asruddin was so downhearted that he (ust sat
down in the dirt beside the dead donkey and sank his head into his hands.
#fter a while, a group of travellers came by. &hey saw 0asruddin sitting wretchedly by his donkeyQs corpse and they
said to each other $&his poor man has been so saddened by the death of his donkey that he does not even have
the heart to bury it. Eet us out of charity bury the beast for him.% So they set about burying the donkey and then
proceeded on their way, leaving 0asruddin sitting silently by the burial mound.
#fter a while some more travellers came by and seeing 0asruddin and the mound, they thought that perhaps
0asruddin was grieving the loss of a friend. &hey too took pity on him, saying $See. &his poor unhappy man is so
saddened by the loss of his friend and travelling companion, that though he has buried him he has no strength to
erect a little memorial for him. Eet us build a small pile of rocks on the burial mound to comfort the wretched fellow.%
So they built a little cairn of rocks and went on their way, leaving 0asruddin sitting silently by the cairn.
Some time later another group of travellers came by. Seeing 0asruddin, the mound and the cairn of rocks they
thought that perhaps a rather important man, perhaps a teacher, had died and that 0asruddin might be his devoted
follower who would not leave his grave. So they determined to build a little mausoleum over the grave to show
respect. 0asruddin watched them without saying a word and continued to sit there after theyQd left.
#fter a while, another group of travellers came by. Seeing 0asruddin and the rather impressive little building, they
thought perhaps that 0asruddin might be a teacher and the mausoleum his temple, built maybe by some followers
of his. .ut of respect, they added a wing at both ends of the temple, and then sat down by 0asruddin to imbibe his
2radually, more and more travellers came by. ,ach added a little more to the temple, then sat to drink in the spirit of
this master, until there was an enormous temple and there were hundreds of followers. Still 0asruddin hadnQt said a
word. #s 0asruddinQs fame spread, the hundreds of followers became thousands, until word even reached his
father, far away in his own temple, about this great holy man who had so many devotees.
0asruddinQs father determined to travel to this teacher to see for himself his great spiritual aura. ,ventually he
reached the huge temple, and after pushing his way through the great throngs of people he was astonished to see
his son, the wastrel 0asruddin, sitting on a great velvet cushion on an ornate golden throne, still not saying a word.
#s soon as he was able to, his father approached 0asruddin in private and said $4y son. *Qm ama)ed. &ell me, how
did you become such a great teacher with so many followers?% So 0asruddin told him everything, starting with the
dead donkey and finishing with the mighty temple and the crowds of devotees.
hen he had finished his father looked at him in silence for a moment and then said $&hatQs incredible. ,xactly the
same thing happened to me.%
NDM: Bou write 4anguage by its nature describes duality. /here is no language to describe nonduality.
!hat about vedic sanskrit# !hat about the poetry o$ the Su$i mystics such as Humi) or the 2nostic 2ospel
o$ /homas) or Ken 3aiku# !hat about dance and theatre and art# !hat about the $ollowing:%
-rossing long fields$
fro'en in its saddle$
#y shado& creeps by%!
>ichard Sylvester: &here is ,mptiness, 0o &hing, the #bsolute, out of which 5ullness, ,verything, the >elative,
pours forth in unconditional love. .f course the >elative is not different to the #bsolute + it is 0o &hing appearing as
ords can only describe phenomena, the stuff that happens. &here are no words to describe 0o &hing. ,ven words
like QemptinessQ and QsilenceQ can only be pointers to the seeing of liberation. 0evertheless, as you suggest, poetry
and prose, theatre, dance and the visual arts as well as humour can all sometimes point towards liberation in a
beautiful way. .ne of my favourite pointers is this:'
$<ow can we ever lose interest in life?
Spring has come again
#nd cherry trees bloom on the mountains.%
#nother favourite of mine, perhaps because * am 1uite la)y myself, is the following:'
$#mong a thousand clouds and ten thousand streams,
<ere lives an idle man,
*n the day time wandering over green mountains,
#t night coming home to sleep by the cliff......
<ow pleasant to know * need nothing to lean on,
&o be still as the waters of the autumn river.%
NDM: !hen you write Fthe sense o$ sel$ suddenly disappears. 9 do not live) 9 am lived. 9 do not act) but
actions happen through me) the divine puppetF) are you re$erring to not being the doer or the actor#
>ichard Sylvester: @es. *t is seen in liberation that there is no person who does anything. $#ctions there are, but no
doer thereof% is a traditional way of putting this. But we should also beware of this phrase Qthe divine puppetQ. *t is
only a metaphor and of course there is no puppeteer. *f we do not recognise this, we are likely to gallop off after
another story of meaning and significance.
NDM: /hen you say: F3owever during the ne"t year the sel$%$rantically tries to reassert itsel$) sometimes
apparently very success$ully as issues manage to re%emerge) as boredom) emotional pain somehow still
have to be e"perienced.F Do you still e"perience emotional pain) boredom) irritation) anger) an"iety)
$rustration and so on#
>ichard Sylvester: &hese words refer to a period which is sometimes known as Qthe desertQ, which can be
experienced between awakening (a sudden glimpse of the emptiness of the self) and liberation (the seeing that
there is both emptiness and fullness and that the nature of oneness is love). *n this desert, all the stories about
personal seeking have been seen through, but the separated seeking self still seems to remain a reality. &his often
results in a sense of hopelessness and despair.
&he seeing of liberation has no necessary implications. #nything that occurred before the seeing of liberation could
occur after it. *t could not be liberation otherwise, for liberation is all'embracing. 0evertheless, liberation is a
profound energy shift, and there is a tendency for certain feelings to lessen or to drop away entirely. 5or example
many feelings have a distinctly neurotic element to them, such as irritation and anxiety. &hese might disappear.
.ther feelings, which could be described as more natural feelings, might actually get stronger, so instead of a long
period of neurotic irritation there might be a short period of natural anger. Eiberation has been described as living
with the blinkers removed + everything is more raw and immediate when the person is no longer in the way filtering
and toning down experience.
&he topic of what experiences happen here is not very interesting. But since youQve asked, *Qll report that boredom
and depression are now unknown. Boredom is unknown because this, presence, is seen not only to be all that
there is, but also to be enough, so the ordinary and the everyday becomes fascinating. =epression is unknown
because there is no longer a person here suppressing natural feelings and draining the colour out of life.
NDM: And what about contentedness) (oy) or happiness# Do you $eel any o$ these#
>ichard Sylvester: &hese feelings, like any feelings, can come and go. Eiberation is the seeing that they do not
come and go for anyone.
=ud(om >inpoche said $,ven in the greatest yogi, (oy and sorrow still arise.%
NDM: !hat about problems % e"ternal problems like paying the bills or internal problems like $ear#
>ichard Sylvester: Before liberation, paying the electricity bill. #fter liberation, paying the electricity bill.
5ear is a natural feeling. ithout it we would long ago have been wiped out by sabre'toothed tigers.
NDM: Bou write F4iberation does not bring unending bliss. +or that try heroin) pro8ac or a lobotomy.F !hat
do you mean by bliss#
>ichard Sylvester: 5or many people, bliss is the ultimate pot of gold at the end of the spiritual rainbow. e might
notice that the end of any rainbow retreats from us at exactly the same speed that we try to approach it.
#s long as we are searching for bliss, we are missing the wonder of this. Bliss is another experience, another
feeling. Eiberation is neither an experience nor a feeling. *n liberation it is seen that bliss has no more meaning or
significance than any other experience. Eiberation is so far beyond bliss that they are not even within the same
But as long as we feel a sense of separation, as long as we feel incomplete, it may seem natural to search for bliss.
NDM: 4ao /8u wrote F/hose who know) do not speak. /hose who speak) do not know.F 9$ this is the case
then why write books about this at all# !hat is the point o$ trying to articulate the ine$$able. 9s it) as Alan
!atts said) to try to take some o$ the e$$ing out o$ it#
>ichard Sylvester: @our 1uotation from Eao &)u is pithy and pointed. .f course if we take it literally, we wipe away
the 7panishads, the Buddhist sutras, and everything else ever written about this. 4aybe that would not be a bad
thing. &he Buddha said $Believe nothing, no matter who has said it, not even if * have said it, unless it agrees with
your own reason and your own common sense.% * know that this saying is authentic because * found it printed on a
bar mat in a pub in ales.
Eiberation does not need scriptures or gurus or priests to make itself known. .ne moment thereQs somebody
crossing a field, the next moment thereQs nobody crossing a field yet itQs seen that crossing a field is still happening.
&he non'existence of the person is seen in that. 0othing written or spoken, nothing studied and no techni1ue, can
have any purchase here.
EetQs be clear, there is no reason to write books about this and there is no point in trying to articulate it.
0evertheless, oneness obviously sometimes en(oys attempting to write or talk about itself in as clear a way as
Blease excuse the personification of oneness in that last sentence. *tQs not intended, itQs (ust a conse1uence of the
nature of language.
*t is part of the madness of the mind that it always looks for a point to everything and for reasons why. &he mind
rarely regards anything as sufficient in itself. &he mind takes an instrumental view and treats most things as a
means to an end.
* love #lan attsQ remark. * hadnQt come across it before. *f anything *Qve effing written has taken some of the effing
out of the ineffable, * shall be very pleased.
NDM: !hat is the di$$erence between doing psychotherapy to puri$y the subconscious mind and deal with
the shadow) and doing sel$ en,uiry or (nana yoga#
>ichard Sylvester: 3uite probably there is no difference, except that the techni1ues used are sometimes different.
,astern philosophy, unlike modern estern philosophy, has always been very practical. *t is probably best to regard
advaita vedanta and Buddhism as psycho'philosophies, as combinations of psychological and philosophical insight.
&he effectiveness of certain ancient ,astern practices in dealing with psychological and emotional problems is now
being acknowledged within our mental health services, where, for example, techni1ues derived from Buddhism are
being used with patients to very good effect. 4any mental health workers have now been trained in mindfulness.
NDM: Do you believe in cause and e$$ect# *r is everything a%causal#
>ichard Sylvester: *n your dream last night you may have waved you hand at a taxi in the street, causing that taxi to
stop and pick you up. But when you woke up you could see that actually nothing had happened + there was no taxi,
no street, no waving of your hand.
.r a week ago you may have gone to see a film in which <umphrey BogartQs steady ga)e and proferred cigarette
lighter caused *ngrid Bergman to fall in love with him. But you know that this was an illusion, (ust flickering light
falling on a screen.
Berhaps these metaphors are useful, perhaps not. But in this waking dream it is much the same. *n this dream of
time and space there seems to be cause and effect. *n liberation this is seen through and it is known that there is
only this, presence, in which the dream of cause and effect arises.
NDM. !hat about Dharma# !hat about Morality#
>ichard Sylvester: &he idea that we have a special dharma is a story which is very appealing to the ego of the
person. But when itQs seen that there is no person, there can be no dharma because there is only this.
4orality also belongs to the person. *f you want to concern yourself with morality, *Qd suggest that all that is needed
is the golden rule. &his is so simple that a child of seven can understand it. Berhaps that is why there is a version of
it in many different cultures. *t simply says $=o not do to other people anything that you would not want them to do
to you.% &hatQs pretty comprehensive.
NDM. !hat do you mean when you write about liberation being FseenF# !hat about FknowingF# !hat about
>ichard Sylvester: &here are no good words for describing this. * could have written QsensedQ or QknownQ, but QseenQ
seems to me to be the nearest that words can get.
&he trouble with QunderstandingQ is that it implies that concepts about liberation are relevant here. But they have no
relevance at all. *t is possible to see liberation with no understanding of it, or to have an ex1uisite understanding of
liberation but without seeing it. &he first is like en(oying a cake without knowing what the ingredients are. &he
second is like knowing what the ingredients are without ever tasting the cake.
NDM. Do you have a an aversion to 9ndian gurus and wisdom traditions because o$ the negative
e"periences with your own Fguru o$ the single maltF which you write about in F9 3ope Bou Die SoonF.
>ichard Sylvester: 4y experiences with my Qguru of the single maltQ were overwhelmingly positive. &hat was the
most en(oyable ride that * went on in the Spiritual 5un 5air.
But when the person drops away, all stories of becoming, all stories of evolutionary paths to enlightenment or other
forms of salvation, are seen for what they are, as simply stories. So they lose their fascination, and it becomes
difficult to hang around them any more except for the sake of old friendships or for the sheer colour and
entertainment offered by some of them. * prefer to walk round the park and drink coffee by the lake now.
NDM: Bou write about words being pointers. 1ut in traditional Gedanta words are more than pointers) they
deliver knowledge and remove ignorance. +or e"ample) the word FawarenessF is not a pointer) it is
>ichard Sylvester: e will (ust have to agree to disagree about this one. &he word QawarenessQ is (ust a word.
#wareness itself can never be put into words. eQre back to #lan atts and the effing ineffable.
NDM: Some o$ what you write sounds very close to e"istentialism. Are you an e"istentialist# 9$ not) what
are you#
>ichard Sylvester: #n existentialist is someone who has seen through all the stories about meaning and purpose
but still feels themself to be a separated person. &his often leads to depression.
*n liberation, all the stories about meaning and purpose fall away because the person has been seen through. &his
does not tend to lead to depression. *nstead, for the first time, the glory of presence is seen.
* am, perhaps like you, a very ordinary bloke. * am, as you are, also the light in which everything arises, and so is
Ei))y and &ommy and /immy and #nne. *t would be more accurate to say $&here is only the light in which
everything arises.%
NDM: !hen you speak o$ liberation) what are you liberated $rom#
>ichard Sylvester: * am not liberated. 0o one is liberated. &here is no such thing as a liberated person. #nyone who
claims to be a liberated person, or to be an enlightened person, is by that very claim dis1ualifying themself from
having anything authentic to say on the matter.
Eiberation is seen, impersonally, when the person drops away. *t makes as much sense, by the way, to say that
there is in any case only liberation, that being awake and being asleep are the same thing. <owever, in being
awake they are known to be the same thing, but in being asleep it is believed that there is a difference, and
therefore it is thought that there is a pot of gold to search for.
NDM: !hat are your thoughts on neo%advaita#
>ichard Sylvester: *Qve come across the suggestion that there are three kinds of advaita. #ccording to this
description, in traditional advaita there is both liberation and a path to liberation, in neo'advaita there is liberation
but no path to liberation, and in pseudo'advaita there is neither liberation nor a path to liberation.
&he idea that there are three kinds of oneness, or three kinds of not'twoness, is very entertaining. *t generates a
great deal of heat on the internet, which even spills over into Qweb'rageQ, the internet e1uivalent of road'rage, at
times. But it has no importance.
&he Sharp Sword of Bra(na
(y Judy Lief

4ahayana is referred to as Rthe great vehicleR of Buddhism because it is vast and challenging and open to
everyone. #t the heart of the mahayana path are compassion and wisdom, or pra(na. 5or the practitioner, the
challenge is how to bring these two together.
Bra(na is a Sanskrit word literally meaning Rbest knowledge,R or Rbest knowing.R Bra(na is a natural bubbling up of
curiosity, doubt and in1uisitiveness. *t is precise, but at the same time it is playful. &he awakening of pra(na applies
to all aspects of life, down to the tiniest details. .ur in1uisitive interest encompasses all levels, from the most
mundane, such as how do * turn on this computer, up to such profound levels as, what is the nature of reality?
Bra(na is symboli)ed in many ways: as a book, a sun, a vase of elixir, as a catalytic spark. .ne of the main ways
pra(na is symboli)ed is as a sword. hen you think of a sword, it may make you feel a little uncomfortable. # sword
can be dangerous and if you do not handle it properly, you can get hurt. So depicting pra(na as a sword points to
knowledge thatQs threatening.
hy is pra(na threatening? Because pra(na is the means by which we perceive emptiness, or shunyata, it
undermines our very notion of reality and the limits we place on our world view. .pening to the vastness and
profundity of shunyata re1uires us to let go of our petty'mindedness and self'clinging completely.
4any sutras deal with the topic of pra(na. .ne of the most beloved is the extremely concise and elegant exposition
known as the <eart Sutra, which is recited daily by Buddhists of many traditions. *n such famed and provocative
phrases as, R0o eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind D no suffering, no origin of suffering, no
cessation of suffering, no path D no wisdom, no attainment, no nonattainment,R the <eart Sutra, step by step,
precisely and systematically'almost surgically'removes any and all barriers separating us from the vivid experience
of shunyata.
&he sharpness of pra(na cuts at many levels. *n the mundane sense, pra(na represents a sharpening of perception
and in1uisitiveness. #s we go about our lives, and particularly as we enter a spiritual path, we are always raising
1uestions. e are always trying to understand. *nstead of (ust accepting a superficial understanding, we think
deeply and ask, Rhat do * really understand? =oes any of this make any sense whatsoever?R Bra(na has this
1uality of creative doubt'not (ust accepting things based on authority or hearsay, but continually digging deeper.
*n addition to being sharp, swords have sharp points and they are able to puncture. &he sharp'pointed sword of
pra(na punctures all sorts of delusions, all sorts of self'deception, all sorts of false understandings and false views.
&his puncturing 1uality of pra(na is abrupt and immediate. *t catches you by surprise. Berhaps you are a new
practitioner exploring the dharma, studying these interesting new things and starting to practice meditation.
Suddenly pra(na sneaks up on you and you feel skewered. @ou are caught. Bra(na has caught you in the act,
whether itQs the act of self'absorption, the act of being bloated, or the act of lying to yourself. Bra(na is a lying'free
)one. henever we try to remove ourselves from the present, immediate reality of things, weQre setting ourselves
up as a target for this puncturing 1uality of pra(na.
@ou could say that pra(na is a defense mechanism. *f we keep bloating and bloating, at some point we are
punctured by pra(na and the whole thing collapses. &hatQs good, but at the same time, this sharpness and
puncturing 1uality can be seen as a threat. e are threatened by the possibility of being found out, but since pra(na
is our own inherent insight, who are we being found out by? By ourselvesC *t is not that someone else is going to
say, R.h, * know your number.R &hrough pra(na, deep down we actually know whatQs going on: we know our own
number. &o continue to fool ourselves takes effort. *f we donQt work to keep fooling ourselves, pretending that we
donQt really know what is going on, then sooner or later we are going to be skewered.
@ou could view all this as a bit of a warning: as soon as you enter the Buddhist path and start practicing meditation
and studying the dharma, you are picking up this sword of pra(na. 0ow that you have this sharp thing, this sword
that skewers and cuts through ego trips of all sorts, you have to deal with it.
&he sword of pra(na has two sharp sides, not (ust one. *tQs a double'bladed sword, sharp on both sides, so when
you make a stroke of pra(na it cuts two ways. hen you cut through deception, you are also cutting through the
egoQs taking credit for that. @ouQre left nowhere, more or less.
&he more mindfulness you develop, the more powerfully the sword of pra(na cuts. .nce you have this sword, it cuts
every possibility of escape. But no one is doing this to you'it is your own intelligence, not some cosmic boogey
man. &he stroke of pra(na is like hara'kiri. #s you are holding the sword, you take your back stroke, getting ready to
attack'and you find youQve sliced yourself in two. Bra(na never stops cutting. *f you are pruning a plant, you can (ust
say, R*Qll (ust prune, prune, prune and then *Qll have this little twig left over to grow back.R But pra(na keeps cutting
and keeps cutting, so thereQs nothing left over, (ust this sword, slicing and slicing.
Bra(na does not allow us to make a credential or ground out of anything. e could create credentials out of
anything we do, including spirituality or the Buddhist tradition or the practice of meditation. e could use any of
those things in our usual, conventional way of building credentials, building identity, trying to be special. e could
say, R0ow *Qm a spiritual person who does blabbady'blah'blah.R &he response of pra(na is, Rell, thatQs fine. @ou can
say that, but you know that it doesnQt hold a lot of water. @ou know that itQs not all that solid.R &he sword of pra(na
cuts through our clinging to solid ground.
#nother image for pra(na is the sun: the sun of pra(na is illuminating our world. *f weQre in1uisitive, if weQre attentive,
a kind of natural illumination happens. &here is light shining on the dark corners and a sense of being under the
spotlight, totally exposed. hat is funny is that we actually think we can hide. <ow could we think that? <ow could
we think that we actually donQt know who we are? But a lot of times we take the approach of not really wanting to
look too closely at ourselves or at our lives. e (ust look the other way and move on. <owever, thereQs no corner
where the sun of pra(na isnQt shining. Bra(na is like having a sun shining all around, everywhere, never setting.
.nce you open up to pra(na, to this fundamental in1uisitiveness, it tends to burst into full flame. *t is like a little
spark dropped into a pile of dry leaves. .nce there is that little spark, that little bit of insight, that little bit of
suspicion we actually know more than we think we do'it explodes, itQs all consuming.
Bra(na is represented iconographically by the feminine deity Bra(naparamita and the masculine deity 4an(ushri.
Bra(naparamita is depicted as a beautiful feminine deity with four arms. &wo arms are folded on her lap in the
classic posture of meditation, and her two other arms hold a sword and a book. &hrough these gestures, she
manifests three aspects of pra(na: academic knowledge, cutting through deception, and direct perception of
#s the masculine deity personifying knowledge, 4an(ushri is also depicted holding a sword. Sometimes he also
holds a vase filled with the elixir of knowledge, which symboli)es direct intuitive insight. &he sword is the activity of
pra(na and the vase is the receptive aspect of learning. Sometimes 4an(ushri holds a book and a flower. &he book
symboli)es scholarly learning and the flower represents the organic unfolding of pra(na, which like a flower,
naturally opens and blossoms. *t does not need to be forced.
Bra(na has to do with cultivating in1uisitiveness of mind, cultivating deep understanding that is not a mere credential
but transforms who we are altogether. <ow can pra(na be cultivated? &he process of deepening our understanding
is referred to as the three levels of pra(na, or the three pra(nas. &hese are called hearing, contemplating, and
&he first pra(na, hearing, is based on being open to new information, gathering knowledge, and really trying to
listen. #lthough it is called hearing, in addition to listening with oneQs ears, it also includes reading and observing
through all our senses. hen you hear the dharma or listen to the teachings, you are supposed to be like a deer in
the woods. @ou hear a noise'footsteps on leaves'and you donQt know if that noise is a hunter or a mountain lion. #t
that moment your senses perk up completely. @ou are focused and ready to leap from danger, if need be. @ou are
absolutely alert and absolutely tuned into the environment. &hat 1uality of refined alertness and attention is the
1uality of hearing. @ou need to listen to the teachings as though your life depended on it. &hat is the proper way to
go about the first pra(na.
<owever, at this point, we see knowledge as something thatQs separate from us, an ob(ect out there that we are
trying to figure out how to deal with. &o go deeper, we turn to the second pra(na, contemplating. .nce weQve heard
or read or experienced something, contemplation means really chewing it over. e continually 1uestion what we
have heard, looking at it from different angles, taking time to explore it. * remember my teacher, -hbgyam &rungpa
>inpoche, saying that if you really understand the teachings, you should be able to describe them to your
grandmother in a way that she can hear it. &hatQs pretty challenging'you canQt (ust march in and lay out your cookie'
cutter talk or your many layers of lists and terms. @ou have to have chewed things over and really thought it
through. @ou need to get to the point where you can express the teachings in your own words, your own images.
@ou need to find your voice, and that takes time. &hat is the idea of contemplation.
Studying the Buddhist teachings is not like going to school, where you take one course after another. *n the
Buddhist tradition, you take one or two things and you study them over and over and over. @ou take a topic and you
come back to it and come back to it. @ou work with it your whole life. .ver and over you come back to a few basic
ideas, and each time thereQs a deepening of your understanding. &he process of contemplation is a long'term
relationship, like that of an old married couple. *t does not happen 1uicklyI it takes time.
&he third pra(na is called meditating. &his is the point where you have studied something so thoroughly, looked into
it so completely, that itQs not separate from you anymore. *t is part of who you are, down to your very bones and
marrow. &he pra(na of meditation means that you have actually digested the teachings. &hereQs no need to try to
call the dharma down from somewhere, or make an effort to reconstruct it, because itQs already there. *tQs in your
cells and your =0#.
<earing is like putting a morsel of food in your mouth. -ontemplating is like swallowing that food and starting to
digest it and seeing whether it gives you indigestion or not. 4editating is when youQve already digested it and that
food is a part of you. *t cannot be separated from youI it is completely incorporated in your being. @ou have taken
the essence and youQve discarded anything thatQs irrelevant, the same as we do with the food we eat or the air we
breathe. &he whole process is as natural as eating.
7sually we think that knowledge means having all the answers, but the 1uality of pra(na is more like having all the
1uestions. &he phrase &rungpa >inpoche used over and over again was, R&he 1uestion is the answer.R eQre
looking in the wrong direction if we think some path or some teacher or some book or some practice is going to
provide us with Rthe ultimate answer.R hat we really should be looking for is the ultimate 1uestion. e could learn
to trust our 1uestioning mind. e could learn to trust our insight without reducing it or pinning it down into our
conventional categories. *n fact, pra(na canQt be pigeonholed. &hat would be like trying to put the sun into a
pigeonhole. *t simply doesnQt work.
hat is this knowledge that canQt be possessed, that we canQt hold, that isnQt our credentials, that isnQt an ob(ect?
hat is this knowledge that seems to only appear when weQre not trying to grasp it? hat is that knowledge that
seems to come from nowhere? hat is this knowledge that is inspiring, but at the same time threatening? hat is
this knowledge that challenges us to recogni)e what we know but prefer to keep buried? hat is this penetrating
insight that leads us to the direct experience of emptiness?
5undamentally pra(na is big 1uestioning mind. *t is big 1uestioning, not even mind.
/udy Eief is a senior teacher (acharya) of Shambhala Buddhism. She is the author of 4aking 5riends with =eath: #
Buddhist 2uide to ,ncountering 4ortality.
# Eink Between Bast Eives, &ime and
(y /arah Meskanen

4ost people would agree that time seems to change speed in the most annoying way. * remember as a child being
dragged to a school concert to witness my sister"s first attempts as a violinistC * recall feeling genuinely pu))led as
to how my mother, who * knew had definitely sat through the entire performance with me, could possibly have
thought the time had gone 1uicklyC
&he usual explanation for such anomalies is that it is not time that changes, but our perception of time. * agree that
it is our perception of time that changes, but * do not feel that time does not change, because * do not believe time
is real. #ll time is imagined and depends entirely on our perception of it, for it to seem to exist at all. *n other words,
time is part of our belief system, and we are only aware of time because we think it is real.
&he perception of linear time allows our awareness to arrange whatever we imagine into separate, individual
moments that seem to form a se1uence within our mind. 7sing this tool, we imagine separation on the basic level of
apparent physical form' ( e.g. this person appears to be a separate person from me), by observing them as
seeming to be physically disconnected from ourselves. e can also imagine events unfolding, however, and this
allows the expression of ego through apparent interactions with other people, who we believe to be separate from
us. &ime, therefore, is a tool that allows separation to appear to exist.
* think that understanding time is very difficult to do when you have no reference outside of it. * first knew time was
not all it seemed, when * realised that travelling to visit past lifetimes can be done simply by intention alone.
&o remember eating breakfast this morning, * simply travel back in my mind to breakfast time. .f course, * never
actually ate breakfast' * am imagining the entire thing, because my apparent life as a separate human being is (ust
a way to play out my imagination on what it may be like to be separate' that is all this illusion is. So * am not actually
travelling back in time, * am simply seeming to experience the se1uence of snapshots from my imagination of
eating breakfast. .f course, (and this is the whole point) none of my apparent previous lifetimes actually happened
either' they, too, are imagined. So to seem to visit a past life, * (ust recall a memory from another lifetime rather than
from the one * seem to be living now. *t is no different. *t is (ust recalling memories from my imagination.
So * could represent time visually as a short length of thin wire. * take each end and bring them together, so * have a
loop in the shape of the loop of an ankh. &he beginning and end of my time line are represented by the same point,
which is the point on the narrow end of the loop where the two ends of wire meet. 4y apparent lifetimes seem to be
represented along the loop. #lthough * can visit any lifetime, because they are all e1ually accessible, the point
where the ends meet is the most interesting. &he first apparent point in time is represented as being the first
discernable part of the wire"s length emerging from the start of the wire. *t would represent more than one instant
seeming to be perceived, and linear time sets off, as it were. *n other words, separation is imagined. #t the far end
of our length of wire, however, if the sense of awareness represented using this length
of wire were to let go of perceiving separation, (we are getting excitingly close to enlightenment at this pointC) there
would be no need for perception of linear time, because there would be nothing to need to seem to make separate.
So the beginning and the end of the perception of time are represented in the same way, as the same point,
because they are exactly the sameC
#fter seeming to visit many other lifetimes, * had an experience that took me completely by surprise. * think * had an
experience of being aware of all apparent time condensed into one moment. * am still not sure if my awareness was
at the point of the ankh where the two ends meet' it certainly felt like it may have been. =uring this experience, my
sense of identity was not with any worldly physical body. 4y sense of identity seemed to be with what * have, at the
moment anyway, chosen to call the 4ind.
* knew with inconceivable detail every thought that every !person" had ever seemed to have had in every lifetime *
had ever imagined them to have lived. * knew every movement they had ever seemed to make, because * knew
that * imagined them making it. * was aware of every blade of grass, and every insect that had ever seemed to be,
throughout the universe and more besides. * also knew of many other expressions of my imagination beyond that of
our apparent universe. &here were many, and they varied in apparent complexity. * knew everything about the entire
illusion in that one moment. *t was not fantastic to me and it did not feel special, because * knew it is not real. *t felt
completely natural somehow, and it did not occur to me that it should ever be any different. * also felt it to be
perfect. &here was nothing about it that * felt needed to be changed. &here was complete acceptance.
* know one way (there may be many other ways) to let go of that sense of separation and so move towards this
point. 5orgiveness
allows all (udgment to be released, and when comparisons make way for complete acceptance, it is no longer
possible to see differences, and all is .ne.
ith a shift in the belief system, * believe forgiveness can be a far more powerful tool than time.
Sarah 4eskanen
#0#0=# ..=
Intervie. .ith non duality ma2a=ine

#nanda ood

#nanda ood is a disciple of the Sage Sri #tmananda Krishna 4enon (AUUJ ' ANSN). <e was
born in ANFL of mixed parentage (mother *ndian national of Barsi descent, father ,nglish
national of *rish descent). <is upbringing and school education took place in 4umbai, *ndia.
<e obtained his bachelors degree in mathematics and theoretical physics at KingQs -ollege,
-ambridge, 7K and his doctorate in anthropology (with speciali)ation in *ndian tradition) at
the 7niversity of -hicago, 7S#. #fter his university education, he returned home to *ndia,
where he worked for some years as a (unior industrial executive. <e has now settled down to
work from home in the city of Bune, on a long'standing interest in the modern interpretation of
#dvaita philosophy. <e is married, but with no children.

NDM: Can you please tell me how you became a sadhaka@disciple
o$ Shri Atmananda 5=rishna Menon7#
#nanda ood: 4y mother was a disciple of Shri #tmanandaQs, and in
ANSG she took my sister and me to see him. * was then a five year old
boy, troubled by a fear of death. hen my mother told him of this, he
asked me: Rere you not a small baby, some years ago?R * had of
course to answer yes.
<e asked again: Rhere is the baby now?R * answered: R*t is gone.R <e
asked if * could bring it back, and * had to agree that this was
impossible. #s he went on to say, the baby * was once had gone for
ever, and it could never come back again. *t had thus died away, while *
stayed undeniably present and alive, 1uite unaffected by the natural
dying of this now passed babyhood.
Shri #tmananda then pointed out that this boy would also die, and *
would become a young man. &he young man too would die and * would
become an old man. #ll these deaths keep succeeding one after the
other, in the natural course of the bodyQs (ourney through the world.
&hen why be afraid of the old manQs death? *s it not also like the many
deaths that will have passed already?
#nd then he said: Rhy were you not sorry when the baby in you died?
Because you knew that the baby alone dies and that you do not die.
Similarly, it is only the old man in you that will die. @ou know that you will

Sri #tmananda

never die. @ou know your many deaths from your babyhood onwards.
Similarly, you are the knower of the death of your old age also.... 0ow
you are deathless, the ,ternal. &hat is 2od. =o you follow me?R
* found this simple explanation deeply comforting, and * think that my
sister did as well. .ur mother was very much a devoted discipleI and
we too came to accept Shri #tmananda as our Rkarana guruR or in other
words our Rspiritual teacherR. So too did my father, though somewhat
later on.M'N
NDM: And $or the western readers who may not be $amiliar with this Sanskrit word 'sadhaka'. Can you
please tell me what this is and what this truly means to be one# !hat kind o$ practice does this take and
so on#
#nanda ood: # RsadhakaR is one who strives towards achievement, in particular towards a spiritual achievement
of plain truth beyond all compromise. &hat achievement cannot take place outwardly. *n all our picturing of an
external world, there is a taint of compromise. Such picturing is always compromised by the limitations and
partialities of our bodily and sensual and mental personalities.
#s we perceive and think and feel, we build up pictures that are never 1uite complete or fully accurate. *n all our
picturing of world, thereQs always something left obscure, thereQs always some remaining ignorance confusing what
the picture shows. &hereQs always some contaminating cover'up, which somehow taints our understanding of
whatQs plain and simply true.
*n order to achieve plain truth, a sadhaka must keep on striving to reflect all 1uestioning back in. &he 1uestioning
must turn back down: from different ob(ects shown in space, through changing thoughts which come and go in
mind, to underlying consciousness beneath all change and difference.
&hat consciousness is knowing light, whose shining is completely sub(ective. *t shines alone, uncompromised,
completely independent of all different and changing show produced by all our bodily and sensual and mental
#ll show of change and difference appears in our world'picturing, produced by bodily and sensual and mental
personalities. But no such pictured show appears without the light of consciousness. &hrough all their change and
differences, all pictures show reflecting light that stays sub(ective underneath.
*tQs only by reflecting there that truth is found uncompromised: as every personQs unmixed self. #ccordingly, for
everyone, plain truth is found as oneQs own true identity, which each of us has always been.
&hus, for a sadhaka, all striving to achieve is necessarily paradoxical. hatQs ultimately sought by striving is no
ob(ect in the world. 0or can it be any improving transformation of personality, for such improvement also is a worldly
&he striving is better directed at a change of perspective: a change of standpoint from where the world is viewed
and interpreted and understood. &his change is achieved by standing deeper back into oneQs own personality,
closer and closer to the knowing light that is its inmost ground.
But then, how can anyone come all the way back downI so as to stand there unattached and unperturbed,
throughout all seeming change and confusion of appearances? *n answer to this 1uestion, Shri #tmananda was
very insistent upon the role of a living guru.
<e said that when a sadhaka was ready for plain truth, beyond all worldly compromise, the truth itself would
manifest: in the form of a karana guru (a spiritual teacher) who would show the sadhaka how to en1uire back from
worldQs confusion to plain truth found free of any compromise.
#fter that, such a sadhaka would have only to keep on asking back from seeming world to that same truth, until all
egotism was removed from the sadhakaQs character, thus leading to a steadiness of understanding unperturbed by
egotistical distraction.
Shri #tmananda spoke of this as the Rdirect methodR, which is particularly suited to the modern world.
NDM: 9 understand you do not call yoursel$ a teacher) but can you please tell me about this 'direct
method'. !hat this is) how one does this#
#nandaood: *n Shri #tmanandaQs Rdirect methodR, thought is applied reflectively. *t is here recogni)ed that our
construction of world pictures is in doubtI and it thus needs to be 1uestioned thoroughly, so as to remove all
mistaken assumptions.
&he 1uestioning must turn back in: from a material world of co'existing ob(ects in structured space, through differing
sensations that are meaningfully organi)ed, through a conceptual process of succeeding mental states, to a purely
knowing sub(ect that stays always present through all change and difference.
&hat sub(ect is no partial and mixed personality, which needs to be developed and improved. *t is instead that
utterly impartial and clear knowing light which always shines, from deep within all built'up picturing of ob(ects in a
changing world.
*tQs only personality that needs to be developed and improved. #nd such development has long been used by many
sadhakas, in many old traditions, to help prepare their personalities in search of unconditioned truth.
&he direct method is for those who are now ready to reflect: beneath all partiality of pictured world to utterly
impartial and sub(ective truth. But, to succeed, the 1uestioning must dig beneath its own assumptions, thus falling
back eventually into that one unpictured ground beneath all partial picturing.
NDM: !ould anyone be able to practice this or would one have to have certain ,uali$ications or
#nanda ood: #s * understand it, the starting re1uirement is a wish for impartial truth, beyond all partial ob(ectives
in the world. *t is this wish that drives the practice of reflective en1uiry. #nd Shri #tmananda was 1uite insistent that
a living guru is essential, in almost all cases. # sadhakaQs wish for truth brings contact with a living guru: who shows
that truth as knowing self, remaining always utterly unchanged, at the inmost background of sub(ective experience.
5rom that background rise up feelings, thoughts and actions into show: expressing values, meanings, forms in
ob(ects that are seen perceived at the narrow surface of attention. #ll of the world thus gets to be better understood,
progressively, as an outwardly changing expression of its inmost background. &hat background is sub(ective self,
found shared in common at the depth of everyoneQs experience.
>epeatedly returning there, from changing appearances, a sadhaka gets better grounded in the changeless
background. 4otivation rises better from within, less pushed and pulled by hatred and desire. -lear understanding
gets more steady, less disturbed by changing circumstance. #s feelings, thoughts and actions rise, they show clear
understanding more spontaneously and naturally, less driven artificially by interference from outside.
*mpartially knowing self is thus detached from partial personality. # sadhaka progresses thus to be a R(nyaniR or a
RsageR: who from outside appears a person in the world, but inwardly has reali)ed that self in truth is utterly
NDM: 3ow would you know i$ someone were ready to do this direct method# 9s there some sort o$ test a
teacher would give#
#nanda ood: &his is a 1uestion 1uite outside my competence. But * would guess that any test would be
essentially sub(ective. *t would depend upon the teacherQs inner (udgement of how sincerely truth is sought for its
own sake, beyond all thought of narrow ob(ects to be gained by partial personality.
NDM: Are there any dangers in someone doing this direct method without the proper guidance o$ a
teacher# 9s a guru necessary to do this#
#nanda ood: 0o, * do not see the direct method as dangerous. *t aims essentially at knowing truth, unmixed with
any falsity. #nd where that aim is genuine, where unmixed truth is sought for its own sake, it gets spontaneously
expressed in the form of a living guru whose guidance steers a sadhaka past danger and protects from harm.
NDM: 3ow does this direct method di$$er $rom atma vichara mentioned by Shri Hamana or Nisargadatta $or
e"ample. *r what Shankara taught#
#nanda ood: Shri #tmanandaQs direct method is essentially the same as >amana 4aharshiQs atma vichara. But
there was some difference in the mode of teaching, in that Shri >amana made more use of meditative influence
conveyed in the absence of outwardly spoken words. By contrast, Shri #tmananda used less of meditative influence
and more of spoken words to ask reflective 1uestions, philosophically.
Shri #tmananda was very much a householder, with an active and distinguished career in the &ravancore State
police. But his guru was a sannyasi in the tradition of Shri Shankara. #nd he clearly acknowledged that he followed
the Shankara tradition of #dvaita 6edanta.
<owever, Shri #tmananda did not teach Shri ShankaraQs theory of RmayaR. <e said that this theory was needed at
its time, for historical purposes. *t was needed to provide an explanation of the world, in accordance with old <indu
scriptures (in particular the 7panishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad 2ita). &hat was a historical need of
Shri ShankaraQs times, as he debated with a variety of opponents and founded some monastic institutions that
would maintain his #dvaita 6edanta tradition, in various parts of *ndia.
But, beyond his debates and his founding of institutions, Shri Shankara was primarily a philosopher who asked
reflective 1uestions. &his 1uestioning is described in his prakarana works, like #tma Bodha (Self'knowing) and
6iveka -hudamani (&he /ewel of =iscernment). *tQs in these philosophical works that we find the reflective
1uestioning which Shri #tmananda called the Rdirect methodR.
<ere is a sample from 6iveka -hudamani (stan)a JA, freely interpreted from the original Sanskrit):
#mong all ways of striving to be free,
it"s love that is the best, one must agree.
&o 1uestion one"s own truth, to ask what"s there:
that is the love of those who ask with care.
NDM: 9$ Shri Atmananda did not use the theory o$ maya) then did he not see this relative reality as a $alse
imposition) like in the snake and the stick metaphor) an appearance that is both real) but also unreal#
#nanda wood: @es, Shri #tmananda most certainly did see the worldQs relative reality as a false superimposition,
brought about by mistaken perception. But, his interest here was only to reflect back in: from all ob(ective picturing,
to that sub(ective consciousness whose very being is to know.
&hat consciousness is knowing light, whose very being is to shine. *ts shining is no outward act, which gets put on
or taken off. *t always shines, unchangingly: throughout all show of acts put on or taken off by changing body, sense
and mind. *t is each personQs inmost self, found always utterly unchanged, throughout all show of pictured world that
is perceived or thought or felt by anyone.
&hat self alone is all reality, shown by all world appearances, in anyoneQs experience. 0o picturing can ever be
completely real. *n course of time, what pictures show may be increased by fitting more perceptions in. #nd thus
increasing what is shown, new pictures may be thought more real.
But this increase of picturing must pay a price. *t makes the picturing more complex, and the increased complexity
is liable to bring confusions and mistakes. .ur pictures thus get compromised, by partiality and wrong. &hey do not
show us everything. &hey partly show and partly hide whatQs fully real and unmistakably correct.
#ll show of world is thus part real and unreal. *tQs a confusion, mixing up whatQs true and real with what is false and
wrong. &o reali)e whatQs plainly true, investigation must reflect back in, from mixed'up show of ob(ect'world to
unmixed light of knowing self. *tQs only by returning there that truth is found uncompromised.
NDM: 9n Sri AtmanandaFs teachings when he re$ers to the lower witness and the higher witness) is this the
same thing as how Nisargadatta would e"plain consciousness and awareness# Awareness being the Sel$#
#nanda ood: * am afraid that * canQt recall any distinction of Rlower witnessR and Rhigher witnessR in Shri
#tmanandaQs teachings. 0or am * familiar with 0isargadattaQs explanation of consciousness and awareness.
Shri #tmananda spoke of the RwitnessR as a silently knowing R*R, which carries on through changing acts of
perception, thought and feeling. &hese acts produce appearances which come and go, silently recorded by that
knowing witness which stays on present underneath, at the changeless background of experience.
6iewed from the world of changing show, the silently recording witness may seem dark and unconscious, at the
changeless background. But coming down back there ' beneath all change of surface show ' all thought of dark
unconsciousness gets utterly dissolved, in consciousness whose unchanged being always shines.
/ust that self'shining consciousness is knowing self. *tQs that which shines in depth of sleep, where all appearances
dissolve. *tQs not aware of any ob(ect shown by sense in outside world, nor any thought or feeling shown somehow
conceived in any made'up fantasy of dreaming mind.
NDM: 9$ someone wanted to do this direct path o$ Shri Atmananda) how would one go about this# 9s there a
place where someone may go and sign up $or classes# +or instruction in doing this) like you would do
with a yoga class#
#nanda ood: Shri #tmananda insisted that the direct path could never be institutionali)ed. *t must be transmitted
individually, from living teacher to disciple. So, in this context, it can hardly be essential to sign up formally for any
classes, or to achieve some formal 1ualification.
NDM: 9n the book Notes on Spiritual Discourses) it is reported that a disciple asked: '!hy was secrecy so
strictly observed in e"pounding the /ruth in the old shastras#'
)ri +t#ananda< =7vidently$ for fear of jeopardi'ing established religion and society% :eligion had no place except in
duality and social life% 0t &as the pri#e #oving force of social life in ancient ti#es% 1ut the concept of religion could
not stand the strict logic of vedantic Truth%
=The sages of old$ &ho recogni'ed the great need of religion in pheno#enal life$ expounded the ulti#ate Truth
under a strict cover of secrecy$ thus enabling religion to play its role in lo&er hu#an society% 1ut religion in the
present day &orld has been dethroned in #any &ays$ and ungodly cults have co#e into existence in large
nu#bers% Therefore it is high ti#e no& to thro& off the veil of secrecy$ and broadcast the &hole Truth in the face of
the &orld &hich has already advanced #uch$ intellectually%=
N2M: Do you believe we are living in a time where his teachings are now ripe to throw o$$ this veil o$
#nanda ood: @es, * do believe that the direct method can now be more openly discussed.
NDM: !hat are your thoughts on some o$ the radical teachings o$ 'neo advaita'. Such as saying there is no
path) no method) stop the seeking) you are already per$ect (ust the way you are. 9t is all a story. A method
only makes the ego stronger and so on#
#nanda ood: *t strikes me that there may well be some truth in such teachings. -learly, all paths and methods
must start off and proceed for a while 1uite paradoxically, through confused conceptions which must eventually be
transcended by a pathless (ump to already perfect truth. #nd any method may depend upon some compromised
story that may strengthen ego more than purifying it.
&hatQs why a living teacher is so essential: to express a living truth with immediate spontaneity, in a way that is
suited to each individual disciple.
NDM: Do you think itFs ok $or someone to make sel$ reali8ation evaluations) or assessments# Decide on
whether they are 'hal$ baked') or '$ully cooked') 'enlightened' A ivan mukta. A sage and so on#
#nanda ood: &his is no 1uestion that * can answer for anyone else. 5or me, as an unsteady sadhaka, such
evaluation or assessment is only too likely to waste energy and time.
NDM: 9n Marianna CaplanFs book) '3al$ way up the mountain) premature claims to enlightenment' she
discusses many o$ the pit $alls ) cul de sacs) the places where one can get stuck) the dangers o$ teaching
this i$ one is not ready. !hat do you think are the dangers o$ going out there and giving courses) lectures)
DGD presentations) workshops) satsangs on this) i$ one is not ready or has not learned this $rom a true
#nanda ood: #gain, * can only answer personally. * have occasionally written and talked about advaita en1uiry.
But only as a sadhaka who can do no more than share information and compare notes with fellow sadhakas.
NDM: !hat are your thoughts on someone who calls themselves a guru) sage) without being tested by
some kind o$ traditional authority# *r belonging to a traditional lineage#
#nanda ood: &raditional authority and lineage can of course have their advantages. But they can go wrong as
well, especially in a modern world where circumstances have been changing so rapidly. So * would not agree that
they are essential.
NDM. !hat are your thoughts on charging $or advaita teachings#
#nanda ood: 6ery problematic. * canQt see that #dvaita teaching can rightly be conducted as a commercial
transaction in the world.
What they don't tell you about the handshake
Saturday, 26 March 2011 05:31 Murali Chemuturi Contributing Writer ! Murali Chemuturi
What they don't tell you about the handshake
by Murali Chemuturi
#t i common to ha$e hand %ith omeone %ho i introduced to u, e&ecially in Wetern
culture. 'hi cutom ha &read all o(er the %orld and i common e(ery%here no%. We
ha$e hand not only at the time o) introduction but alo %hen %e meet omeone %e
already $no%. * handha$e i treated a the norm )or a buine greeting. Meeting
normally begin %ith ha$ing o) hand. #t i rumored that the hand o) the +reident o) ,S*
get %ollen )rom ha$ing o many hand in (ictory in election- .(idence ho% that the
&ractice o) handha$e e/ited in the era be)ore Common .ra, ay the 5
century 0C..
What is the meaning of shaking hands and how did it originate?
1ne chool o) thought indicate that the handha$e originated in %ar. 'o demontrate that
the intention i &eace)ul and that the hand bear no %ea&on, the handha$e %a ado&ted
a the geture. #n the &reent day, all athlete including bo/er ha$e hand be)ore and
a)ter the match to ho% that they bear no ill %ill to%ard each other. +olitician alo ha$e
hand, at leat a)ter the reult i announced, to demontrate that they ha(e )orgotten the
bitterne di&layed during the election cam&aign. 'hi &reent day cutom o) ha$ing
hand eem to con2rm the chool o) thought that the cutom originated in %ar.
*nother chool o) thought ugget that thi cutom did not originate in %ar but in
marriage and %a then carried o(er to %ar ituation. 3or e/am&le, in day gone by,
%hene(er a young man a&&roached a )ather to ee$ hi daughter in marriage, he normally
a$ed omething li$e, 4Sir, # ha(e come to ee$ your daughter5 hand in marriage.4 6*nd
the 7ocular re&artee %a, 4Well you %ill 2nd it in my &oc$et and # am glad to tran)er it to
your &oc$et.48 'hi &ractice i adhered to in ome )amilie in Wetern culture e(en to thi
day, e&ecially in )amilie that conider themel(e a cla o) u&erior being. #n )act, in
many culture 6tribal culture o) *ia, *)rica, and *utralia and in 9indu, 0uddhit and
Mulim8, holding the hand o) a girl by a man 6or o) a man by a girl8 i contrued a
marriage in itel). 0y holding the hand o) a girl, the man i deemed to &romie that he %ill
ta$e care o) the girl )or eternity, in all )our a&ect o) li)e, namely: 1. lo(e : e/ li)e; 2.
money, com)ort and lu/urie o) li)e; 3. &er)ormance o) righteou ritual dictated by
religion; and 4. the a)ter li)e. 'he holding o) hand i a &romie o) )riendhi&, and $inhi& )or
e(er bet%een t%o &eron.
#t a&&ear to me that the econd chool o) thought i the a&&ro&riate one. #n 9indu ritual o)
marriage, the )ather hand o(er the hand o) the bride to the bridegroom and thi geture i
een to be the eence o) marriage. 'he marriage in(itation too in(ite the guet to the
ceremony o) <holding hand=-
In Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim cultures, touching each other including holding
hands is prohibited in a frivolous manner
>o you $no% %hy? When t%o &alm come together, %hat ha&&en? We ha(e an e/cellent
&arallel ur&riingly in +hyic, namely thermodynamic and hydraulic. #n
thermodynamic, one la% tate that %hen t%o bodie come together, heat @o% )rom the
body %ith higher tem&erature to the body %ith lo%er tem&erature. 'he iAe o) the body i
not rele(ant here. #n hydraulic, one la% tate that %hen t%o %aterBliCuid ource are
connected %ith each other, the %aterBliCuid at a higher altitude @o% in to the %aterBliCuid
at lo%er altitude. 'he Cuantity o) %aterBliCuid i not &ertinent here. .(en i) the Cuantity i
lo%er in the ource at the higher le(el than that in the lo%er le(el, it till @o% do%n%ard-
'hu, %hen t%o &alm come together, the in 6bad luc$8 @o% )rom the &alm o) the &eron
%ith higher in 6bad luc$8 to the &eron %ith leer in 6bad luc$8. Some &eo&le do not
belie(e in bad luc$. 0ut many do- While thi belie) in goodBbad luc$ i im&licit in many
&eo&le, it i (ery e/&licit the in glamour %orld o) cinema. #) the mo(ie o) a heroBheroin
bomb at the bo/ oDce, that heroBheroin %ould 2nd it (ery diDcult to 2nd another
aignment. 'hi i alo true in the cae o) 'E ho% and tar.
ou would !nd politicians eager to shake hands with you " they have good
reason " they pass on their sin #bad luck$ to you and take on your good karma
#good luck$%
1ne ti& )or you here, i) you are uFering )rom bad luc$, 2nd a many righteou &eo&le a
&oible and ha$e their hand. >on5t ruh to &riet G they ha(e bleed o many &eo&le,
it i doubt)ul i) they are le)t %ith anything but in 6bad luc$8-
'hat i the reaon %hy 9indu greet by )olded hand. 0uddhit bo% their head. Mulim
&er)orm a geture o) 4Salaam,4 %hich i imilar to the Wetern alute. While the alute i
&er)ormed once, a Salaam i &er)ormed thrice u&on greeting. #t i intereting to note that
both alaam and alute originated )rom 9indu greeting. While 9indu greeting i %ith both
hand, alaam and alute are &er)ormed %ith a ingle hand.
#n Wetern culture too, e(en though handha$e i %ide&read, in the armed )orce, the
handha$e i only bet%een &eron o) the ame eniority in the ame ran$. * 7unior, either
in ran$ or eniority in the ame ran$, cannot ho&e to ha$e hand %ith a enior G the
&eron need to alute hi enior, either in ran$ or eniority. Hoyalty alo doe not ha$e
hand %ith commoner, and ometime, not e(en %ith other elected head o) tate. 'he
Cueen and $ing ha$e hand %ith other Cueen and $ing. #t i conidered an oFene )or
a commoner to try to ha$e hand %ith royalty.
&If you shake hands with a person and then betray his con!dence, it amounts to
3inally, %hat doe a handha$e connote? #t connote that, by ha$ing hand %ith the other
&eron, you are ma$ing an im&licit &romie that you %ould ta$e care o) the other &eron a
you %ould ta$e care o) your %i)e. #) you ha$e hand %ith a &eron and then betray hi
con2dence, it amount to in.
'hat i the handha$e. Io% you $no%.
J2011!04!05 14:2K:26 .theric&lane ! Why do hand ha(e 4 2nger and one thumb?
'he human hand i a ymbol o) the Lodhead, 7ut li$e the ymmetry o) the human body i
%ith it 5 a&&endage: head, t%o arm, and t%o leg. 'he Lodhead conit o) a 3ather,
Mother, Son, >aughter a&ect, and %hen thi )amily combine into action, they create a
2)th &eron ometime called the 9oly S&irit, Lod, Iature, or 7ut the 'ao. 'hi ame
organiAation i &reent %ithin the 9igg 2eld o) cience.
'he human hand %a deigned by Lod and alo re@ect thi uni(eral organiAation, the
middle 2nger re&reent the 3ather )orce o) 7udgment hence %e @i& 4the byrd4 at &eo&le to
cure them. 'he lightly maller, but al%ay cloe, Hing 2nger re&reent the lo(ing and
u&&orti(e Mother )orce. 'he #nde/ 2nger )unction li$e the Son, &ointing out the %ay, %hile
the +in$y 2nger re&reent the maller le de(elo&ed >aughter )orce that in5t ued much.
'he o&&oing 'humb %or$ %ith all the other 2nger to grab thing, or to mo(e or re)orm
them. 'he 'humb there)ore )unction a a ymbol )or the S&irit o) Lod 4grabbing and
)orming4 the @uid energy into (ariou &hyical )orm and &rocee.
# ha(e coined the term 4the +entany4 to co(er all 2(e o) thee being a a %hole. 'he
+entany i the com&leted 'rinity that Chritian and other ha(e not been able to
com&rehend due to lac$ o) enlightenment , re(elation, and &oor cri&tural inter&retation,
but it i trongly uggeted in He(. 1. and in other 0iblical &aage %here the >aughter o)
Mion or the 0ride o) Chrit i mentioned. 'he >aughter a&ect i the e(ol(ing human race,
in other %ord. 'he >aughter i 7ut another name )or our grou& oul, a.$.a. the 4image4 o)
Lod %ithin u all.
#) a &eron undertand the Sacred Hay 6and not many do...8. 'hey %ill alo come to
undertand that the Lodhead i the >ynamo behind thee Sacred Hay. 'here are 14
Sacred Hay total, and 2(e o) thee are neceary to create all the other ray, o, thee
color alo re&reent the +entany. 12 o) the 14 acred Hay tand directly behind the
Modiac %hich i a teting and timing de(ice ued by the +entany to com&el e(olution. 'he
lat t%o Hay are o)ten combined to create 13. 'here are diFerent %ay to organiAe thee
'he 2(e mot baic Hay can be neatly &ro7ected %ith the 5 2nger on the human hand,
and thi &otential ma$e the human hand, and the human handha$e, a acred agreement.
'hi agreement co!mingle energy to get a bond intead o) actual blood a Iati(e
*merican and e(en e(il Ma2a and Militant gang till do today.
#) a human being hold the Sacred Hay, in an enlightened )ahion, the 2nger can emit
thee ray a )ollo%: Middle 2nger emit the %hite ray, ring 2nger emit the ruby ray, the
inde/ 2nger the blue ray o) Nrihna, the &in$y 2nger emit the unny yello% ray, and the
o&&oing 'humb emit a color # call 4Eiyel4 6%hich i a blend o) Eiolet and Oello%8.
+entecot %a a &rime e/am&le o) ho% the 5 baic color o) the +entany mani)eted a
tongue o) 2re on the >ici&le a)ter their 450 day4 %ait )or an energy bleing. 3ire
&oee the color o) the 5 baic Hay and that i not a random coincidence.
'hi i %hy you cannot ha$e hand %ith a 'aoit Mater, you mut &oint your 2nger at
your o%n belly. 'hi i alo ho% a 'aoit Mater create a ball o) chi bet%een hi hand
during 'ai Chi ty&e e/ercie. 'hi i alo ho% healing and bleing are ditributed
throughn the laying on o) hand, by enlightened &eo&le %ho &oe the Sacred Hay in
their heart cha$ra. Main tream religion, the Charimatic Hene%al, and modern
enlightenment methodologie ha(e all but lot thi once ob(iou in)ormation. 'hey no
longer undertand that .nergy create .nlightenment, &eriod.
So, &ractically &ea$ing it i not a good idea to ha$e hand %ith, or hug, anyone that i
le enlightened than you. 3ollo%ing thi teaching to it logical concluion, it i not
ad(iable to tal$ a lot, or ha(e e/ %ith, being o) lo%er energy, either. >o not catter your
good energy to the %ind. Culti(ate it.
e!ning the concept of "od as energy
3riday, 1K Panuary 2013 15:54 Murali Chemuturi Contributing Writer ! Murali Chemuturi
Adherents of most religions !elieve that God is all6
pervasive omniscient and omnipotent. 'slam
seems to specify that God e+ists only at one place and that is in the ?aa!ah at .ecca. @erhaps that idea
is "hy all .uslims are directed to face the direction of .ecca "hile praying "herever they may !e
located. <ven so li)e 8hristianity and 9udaism 'slam also preaches that God is omniscient and
*heists !elieve that there is a physical God "ho oversees every!ody#s actions ,udges them and a"ards
them points !oth positive and negative. <arning positive points helps us to en,oy a !etter 3uality of life
"ith comforts lu+uries and a place in heaven "hile negative points put us in trou!les and may push us
into hell on our death. *heists also !elieve that God listens to prayers and responds to them.
Atheists !elieve that God does not even e+ist leave alone a"ard points or listen in on our prayers.
'uestioning (od
' "as a theist from !irth. 2ut as ' gre" up and !ecame an engineer dou!ts cropped up in my mind. *here
are !illions of people on earth and at least half of them "ould !e praying and petitioning God for granting
some favor or the other. ;o" can one entity listen in to all those prayers and grant those petitions? /ould
he have assistants? Ar does he have a closed loop mechanism to handle all those chores? *hen ' "as
interested in the theories of atheists.
2eing a theist resolves so many issues. /hy am ' !orn to these parents? /hy in this country? /hy "ith
this mother tongue? /hy "ith these si!lings? /hy "ith my physical characteristics and limitations? /hy
"ith my mental capa!ilities and limitations? *he e+planation in my ;indu faith "as simple& God made
you thus !ecause of your )arma in the past life. ;o" "as the universe created? ;o" "as this earth
formed? ;o" "as the perfect !alance !et"een the environment e+isting on earth and the life it supports
achieved? God created it 6 you )no" that he is omnipotentB
"The explanation in my Hindu faith was simple: od made you thus because of your !arma in the past life""
)theist )nswers
;o" do atheists handle these 3uestions? ' discussed the topic "ith many atheists and as it happens most
of them are of scientific !ac)ground. 't loo)s li)e that "hen you are educated up to post6graduate level in
sciences li)e chemistry or physics atheism "ells up in you.
*he atheists to "hom ' spo)e say that creation "as all an accident of nature. /hat caused this accident?
*he energy that !uilt up due to the contraction of the universe e+ploded the universe "ith a !ig !ang
and from then on the universe is e+panding causing collisions !et"een the fragments releasing further
energy that someho" gave rise to life. :ife adapted and evolved itself !y mutation and intercourse.
Atheistic scientists contend that the life is still evolving and that "e are not a!le to see it !ecause it is too
slo" to !e perceived in one lifetime.
8oming do"n to more mundane 3uestions such as the differences in individuals li)e more>less
intelligent more>less tall etc. the atheists ' as)ed said they are due to genes. /hy do genes differ? *hey
say it is an accident !ut are confident to fi+ that !y genetic engineering in the near future. ;o" a!out
luc)? Some people garner !etter luc) than the others. Atheists say that the people "ho put in !etter
efforts garner !etter luc). @ositive attitude !egets luc) and negative attitude !egets ill luc).
(od as *nergy
8entral to all this scientific e+planation is the
energy !uild6up that caused the 12ig 2ang1 and
started all this creation. 0rom "here energy did the energy come in? Science says that energy can neither
!e created nor destroyed. Af course it can !e converted from one form to the other.
.y 3uestion "as and still is can "e not call this energy as God? Atheists seems allergic to the "ord
1God1 !ut let us loo) at the similarities.
God has no !eginning and no end. So does energy& 't "as there at the time universe e+ploded and it
continues to !e there. Ane could argue that energy and God have !een around since creation and "ill
perhaps end "ith the "orld as "e )no" it.
<nergy is all pervasive ,ust as is God. *here is no place in the universe "here energy is a!sent. <nergy
may !e of very high intensity as in the case of stars li)e our sun. 't may !e of lo" intensity as in the case
of inert !eings li)e roc)s. .a)e no mista)e roc)s have energy !ut it is !ottled up inside them released
"hen you !rea) them. <nergy is also very lo" in outer space. 2ut it is all pervasive.
"#ner$y is omnipresent% omnipotent and omniscient% &ust li!e the od""
<nergy is omnipotent ,ust li)e the God. 'f you )no" ho" to harness the energy you can practically do
anything. Airplanes are flying !ecause of the energy. 8ars are running !ecause of the energy. /e have
electricity in our homes !ecause of the energy. -ou name it and energy runs it. <ven human !eings live
and "or) !ecause of energy. *he moment energy goes out of our !ody "e are dead.
<nergy is omniscient ,ust li)e God. 't )no"s ho" to run a car4 ho" to light a lamp ho" to fly4 ho" to
ma)e us run. 'n fact there is nothing that the energy does not )no". Anly "e do not )no" "hat energy
)no"s. Scientists conduct research to learn "hat the energy is further capa!le of.
<nergy cannot !e seen and so is God invisi!leB 2oth are never seen and !oth can only !e felt. Scientists
have faith in energy and theists have faith in God.
/hy do "e come "ith different capa!ilities? 't is !ecause of the different energy levels present in the
sperm and the egg "hen they mated together to form the fetus.
-ou may !e !orn a "ea)ling !ut you can !ecome stronger !y supplying your !ody "ith the right )ind of
energy in the form of food and e+ercise. -ou may !e !orn "ith a "ea) intellect !ut you can improve
your intellect !y feeding the right energy to it through study and learning.
/e )no" ho" to convert energy from one form to another. /e
convert thermal energy into mechanical energy4 "e convert
mechanical energy into electrical energy4 "e convert electrical energy into mechanical energy as "ell as
thermal energyB
"'ll the ener$y that we use on earth comes from one sin$le source: our sun""
All the energy that "e use on earth comes from one single source& our sun. /e are all living ,ust !ecause
of that energy.
No" "hat is "rong in calling the energy as God?
Energy is God, and God is Energy!
Scientists are still learning a!out energy. *he e3uation E ( mc) $< is the <nergy4 m is the mass4 and c is
the constant speed of the light in vacuum% appears to !e magical as does the 0i!onacci num!er series.
Cnderstanding these concepts properly is not easy. As more "or) is carried out in the scientific field and
the religious field ' thin) that energy and God "ill gradually fuse together.
/hat is the difference !et"een saying that energy sustains us or God sustains us D ,ust the ta+onomyB
:astly "e )no" ho" to convert some energies into others li)e electrical energy into mechanical energy.
/hat "e really need to convert the energy of !ad luc) into that energy of good luc) 6 right? ;o" do "e
do that? Science is not focusing on that aspect !ut religion isB
Birth# death and rebirth in $induism
Saturday, 10 Puly 2010 13:50 Murali Chemuturi Contributing Writer ! Murali Chemuturi
$;imalayan Academy @u!lications%
4Oou &eo&le belie(e that there i re!birth. #) the &eron doe good $arma, he %ill get a
better birth and i) he commit in he %ill get a %ore birth G right?4
So enCuired the %i)e o) a &ator o) a church o) me. # an%ered in the aDrmati(e. She hot
bac$, 4'hen tell me ho% a mall ant can do any good or bad $arma and get a better or
%ore birth ne/t time?4
#n 2002, # (iited 'oronto in Canada on a %or$ aignment. 'oronto ha&&en to be the
nearet city to the )amed Iiagara 3all )rom Canadian ide. # too$ a conducted tour to
Iiagara 3all. * it ha&&ened, there %a a %orld!%ide con(ention o) churche 6not all but o)
one branch8, and # %ent on the conducted tour on %hich the delegate )rom that
con(ention %ere boo$ed. #t %a on thi tour the &ator5 %i)e caught me oF guard. 1F
guard, becaue # %a a com&uter &rogrammer and not an e(angelit o) 9induim e(en
though # %a o) 51 year o) age.
9indu &hiloo&hy tate that all &eo&le born on thi earth are certain to die and eCually
certain i the )act that all the dead %ould be reborn. 'hi conce&t i enunciated in 2Q
Slo$a 6cou&let8 o) the econd cha&ter o) 0haga(ad Lita, the acred boo$ o) 9indu. 'hey
belie(e that there i a oul 6*tman8 in e(ery li(e being, and that it goe through the cycle
o) birth!death!rebirth and ultimately merge %ith the uni(ere 60rahman8. 'he econd
cha&ter o) 0haga(ad Lita 6Slo$a 1Q, 20, 23, 24 and 258 tate that the *tman cannot be
hurt, burnt or detroyed.
#n Chritianity, there i no antonym )or 4in.4 Oou can commit 4in,4 but can you commit
%hat i o&&oite o) 4in.4 9indu belie(e that a &eron i ca&able o) committing not only in
but alo 4&unya4 64u4 to be &ronounced a in 4&ut4 G 4&ut it do%n48. +unya i currently being
tranlated a 4good $arma4 by ome atrologer in the %etern %orld.
4Narma,4 by the %ay, mean 4duty.4 'here i nothing good or bad about it, 7ut a 4duty4
ha neither bad nor good connotation to it. We %ill dicu about 4Narma4 in another
Why do souls go through cycles?
Why doe the *tman 6oul8 go through the cycle? #t i becaue o) the debt 6obligation8 it
acCuire during li)e. .(ery time %e &er)orm a )a(or )or ome one 6it need not be to &eo&le
alone but could be to animal, ociety, air, %ater or to the en(ironment8, %e recei(e an
#1,. Whene(er %e recei(e a )a(or )rom any one, %e e/ecute an #1,. We teal omething
and may eca&e getting caught. *ll the ame, %e igned the #1,. * %e li(e )rom day to
day and year to year, %e e/ecute o many #1, ome in our )a(or and the ret in other5
)a(or. Io%, %ho $ee& an account o) all #1, o) all &eron? 9indu belie(e that there i
one Lod in charge o) it G namely 4Chitra Lu&ta,4 the celetial accountant.
Io% you may be laughing. 4#m&oible,4 you ay, 4ho% many terabyte are needed to $ee&
the core?4
Ret me tate the other incredible belie) that i common to #lam, Chritianity and Pudaim:
'hey belie(e that there i going to be total detruction and a day o) rec$oning on %hich
e(ery &eron ha to an%er the Lod )or their action on earth. Io%, )or the lat 6,000
year, no uch day ha ta$en &lace. Su&&oing today total detruction ta$e &lace and the
day o) rec$oning i cheduled )or tomorro%, ho% many &eo&le %ould be in Cueue? 0illion,
i) not ten o) billion G right? 1N, o all three religion claim that that their adherent %ould
be 2rt in the Cueue %ithout much e(idence to attet to the claim e/ce&t their holy boo$.
Io%, %here do the oul o) the dead reide till the >ay o) Pudgment? >on5t tell me that they
do not belie(e in oul- 'he &hrae 4H#+4 ! the )ull )orm o) %hich i, 4May hiBher oul ret in
&eace till the day o) 7udgment4 ! attet that they do belie(e in oul.
#n 9induim, one5 action are accounted )or immediately u&on death. * &eron5 re%ard
6&oiti(e or negati(e8, a %ell a the ne/t birth, i decided, and the *tman i ent bac$ to
another birth to en7oyBuFer the re%ard. 'he indi(idual5 account i deleted. 'hi action
reduce the %or$load dratically. 'he 7udgment can be automated )ully. * it i on a daily
bai, the %or$load i ditributed more or le e(enly. 'he %or$load i not &ot&oned and
tac$ed to a ingle day ome%here in )uture.
'hat conce&t i %hy the 0haga(ad Lita and ad(anced conce&t o) 9induim tate that Lod
i none other than 0rahman 6the uni(ere8 itel)-
What determines the place of our ne+t rebirth?
Where doe the ne/t birth ta$e &lace? 9indu cri&ture tate that there are 14
0hu(ana 6earth!li$e %orld8 in thi uni(ere %ith e(en abo(e u and the ret belo%
u. 'he birth can be at any &lace. 9ea(en and hell are &art o) thee )ourteen. 9ea(en i
u&&oed to be abo(e u and hell belo% u. 'he ne/t birth can be either in hea(en 6the
bet &lace8 or hell 6the %ort &lace8 or in any o) the remaining 12 0hu(ana. 'he )orm o)
birth %ould be directly &ro&ortional to the #1, %e e/ecuted. +leae note that the &oiti(e
and negati(e #1, do not cancel out each other- *ll the #1, ha(e to be either re&aid or
collected. Oou can5t e(en %rite them oF- #) you ha(e more &oiti(e #1,, you %ill get human
)orm. #) negati(e #1, are more than &oiti(e #1,, the )orm %ould not be human.
&,aking what nature gives and giving back to nature what it needs is the only
way to get out of the cycle of birth and death%&
Io%, ho% can the oul get out o) thi cycle? .ay G become debt!)ree in a li)e- Collect all
the #1, o%ed to you and &ay all the #1, you %oe and do not e/ecute any )reh #1, to
become debt!)ree. 0uddhit call thi tate 4Iir(ana.4 0ut e(eryday li(ing demand )a(or
)rom u and to u. 'hat i %hy 9indu clamor to become Hihi %ho d%ell in )oret and li(e
a one %ith the nature. Hihi do not &luc$ )ruit )rom tree. 'hey eat only the )allen )ruit.
'a$ing %hat nature gi(e and gi(ing bac$ to nature %hat it need i the only %ay to get out
o) the cycle o) birth and death.
Io%, %hat about animal, bird, inect and other non!human li)e? 9o% %ill they eca&e
the cycle? *ny non!human )orm o) li)e i a$in to a 7ail term. *ny )orm o) li)e other than
human )orm i a &unihment )or the *tman. 'he *tman uFer the &unihment and re(ert
to the human )orm imilar in circumtance in %hich it %a be)ore ta$ing on non!human
)orm. 'hi i the an%er # ga(e to the &ator5 %i)e in 2002. # told her that e(en in 7ail, the
term i e/tended or reduced baed on the goodBbad beha(ior o) the inmate. When the
en(ironment i tightly controlled by &eo&le o) abolute authority, ho% can inmate till
beha(e badly? 1r, %here i the o&&ortunity to e/hibit good beha(ior %hen they are
conigned to a cell mot o) the time? *n animal or an inect i a$in to a &eron in a 7ail. 'he
ame o&&ortunity i a(ailable to the non!human li)e a i a(ailable to a 7ail inmate.
# %a not ure i) # con(inced her on that day but he did not a$ any )urther religiou
Cuetion o) me.
*ew translations of the Ramayana by +r" ,urali -hemuturi.
Sundara ?aanda of Eaalmi)i Faamayana
2aala ?aanda of Srimad Faamayana of .aha Fushi Eaalmi)i
*dd Ie%
Comment 6258
J2010!0Q!1S 02:3S:26 ad
Sorry, don5t buy any o) that. 'he religion # in(ented i a )ollo%:
18 'he natural %orld e/it. #t may %ell ha(e had natural antecedent but that only get
you o )ar... o there mut ha(e been a trannatural 2rt caue. 'here mut ha(e a been a
&ur&oe in that, o the natural %orld %a created to do omething that the creator could
not do directly? Since # am &oiting already a trannatural entity, a creator, there may a
%ell be other entitie &erha& o) a leer nature. 1b(iouly they deire union %ith the
creator, but being demiurge they can only com&lete themel(e by becoming better. 9o%
to become better? 0y demontrating the right choice.
28 When an animal &ecie i uDciently e(ol(ed and it brain com&le/ enough 6that %ould
&robably only be human on thi &lanet8 a to com&rehend good )rom e(il and act on thoe
ditinction 6ma$e the right choice o to &ea$8, then it become t%inned %ith one o) the
oul. , doing good i ho% a oul e(ol(e, it earn #1,5 i) you li$e. >oing bad doe not
gi(e a%ay #1,, a a oul cannot de(ol(e. +eo&le do bad thing %hen they loe their %ay
on the &ath and act on their baet intinct only. 'he %ort that can ha&&en to a oul in a
li)etime i to ma$e no &rogre. Iot being in a &oition to ma$e choice doe no good at all.
* hermit in a mountain ca(e or li(ing on )allen berrie in the )oret i 7ut a total %ate o)
38 #) a oul e(ol(e it maye(entually eca&e the cycle o) rebirth, other%ie it5 bac$ )or
another go.
48 Memorie, emotion etc are &urely o) thi %orld,. Soul ha(e none o) thee, certainly not
&eronalitie. *ny trannatural )eature they ha(e %ould be incom&rehenible to u. We %ill
not be reunited %ith anyone a)ter our death. 1ur li(e are li$e brie) @ic$ering candle, but
they are not &ointle.
#n ummary, %e and the mar(ellou uni(ere %e 2nd ourel(e in are here to hel& our oul
on their 7ourney. We can do good and hel&, or do bad or nothing and 7ut lo% thing do%n.
.(erything ele that ha&&en i 7ut collateral damage.
-cienti!c .usti!cations for /ew )ge 0hilosophies
T 3inding your o%n meaning : inter&retation
Pohn SmithT0KB200Q
%s long as &e try to 'ustify or e(plain our spiritual e(periences &ith
scienti!c philosophies &e only bury oursel)es deeper in
ignorance by clutching to the illusion of understanding.
/F Y01 R#'+ ' 20T 0F *#W '# 34/R/T1'2 !oo)s and articles or if you have "atched Ne"
Age films li)e What The Bleep! or The Secret, you "ill !e a"are that there is a revolution of ne"
thin)ing that has !een ta)ing place over the last decade in the Ne" Age community and that much of it is
scientifically $some "ould say pseudo6scientifically% ,ustified. 0or e+ample "e are told that our thoughts
create our reality and that this is e+plained !y 3uantum mechanics4 or "e are assured that "e survive
death !ecause our very !eing is rooted in the eternal 7ero6point field that pervades the space6time
No"adays for any ne" spiritual theory or assertion to !e ta)en seriously it seems that it needs to !e
couched in scientific vernacular and presented as ne" or cutting6edge science. /hilst this is all very "ell
if it really does have a scientific footing most spiritual or Ne" Age theories !eing promoted do not
,ustify this sort of scientific presentation. 'n fact such a presentation is e+ploiting the scientific ignorance
of the general population "ho hold anything remotely scientific6sounding in high esteem. .ention
3uantum6this or 3uantum6that and the average person in the street is impressed despite )no"ing
a!solutely nothing a!out 3uantum mechanics G "hich is perhaps "hy they are so impressedB Science
has !ecome a mar)eting tool for Ne" Age theories.
<+ploiting science for mar)eting purposes is certainly successful. *here are many high profile Ne" Age
or Ne" Spirituality authors and teachers "ho have shamelessly e+ploited science to mar)et their
"or)shops lectures and !oo)s. .ost sincerely !elieve that their use of a scientific presentation is
,ustified !ecause most li)e the general pu!lic at large are ignorant of "hat science actually is and and
are themselves in a"e over its remar)a!le successes $modern technology forms the practical application
of science%.
;o"ever !y riding on the !ac) of science#s respecta!ility these teachers are inadvertently promoting
science as the gold6standard of legitimacy in the area of ne" spirituality. 2ut is this really appropriate?
Should science#s !lessing count for much in relation to spiritual e+periences and theories? *o ans"er that
3uestion "e need to define e+actly "hat science is.
Science i the re2ning &roce, in(ol(ing theoriing and e/&erimentation, by %hich %e Aero!
in on conitent mathematical model %hich can accurately &redict ober(able and
re&eatable Cuanti2able e(entB&rocee.
*here are four )ey descriptions in the a!ove sentence that define the )ind of events>phenomena>processes
that science can !e used to descri!e&
1. 1ber(able: 'hi one i the mot ob(iou T i) %e can5t ober(e it, %e can5t
mathematically model it. *nd not only that, but it i the cienti2c etablihment that
mut be able to ober(e it )or that model to be oDcially acce&ted.
2. He&eatable: #) the &henomena doe not re&eat itel), then the Aeroing!in &roce o)
re2ning the mathematical model cannot ha&&en and the model remain a &oor 2t.
3. Uuanti2able: 3or u )ormulate a mathematical model %e ha(e to be able to Cuanti)y
a&ect o) the &henomena. #) %e cannot, or i) too )e% a&ect are Cuanti2able, then
a mathematical model i ina&&ro&riate.
4. Conitent: * much a &oible, the &henomena hould be decribable %ith
mathematical model that are conitent mathematically *I> &hiloo&hically %ith
cience a a %hole.
/hy this o!session "ith mathematical models? 2ecause unless a numerical value can !e given to
something a numerical value that others can concur "ith then the model is neither accurate nor
o!,ective. 'f our models !y contrast "ere merely philosophical and su!,ective then they "ould !e of
limited predictive value. Science is all a!out modeling reality so that "e can accurately predict o!,ective
or collective outcomes. 'n fact it is so accurate and detailed in its predictions that it has produced the
computer on "hich you are reading this article. Science "or)sB
2ut ,ust !ecause science is so remar)a!ly successful at modeling o!serva!le repeata!le consistent and
3uantifia!le phenomena does NA* imply that it should !e the gold6standard for the legitimacy of A::
phenomena or that phenomena that cannot !e modeled !y it are illusory. .uch of human e+perience can
and does fall outside "hat can !e mathematically modeled and to deny the veracity and reality of that
e+perience on the !asis that it is not amena!le to scientific analysis is a recipe for psychosis. *he
assumption that everything can !e mathematically modeled is untesta!le and therefore a statement of
faith rather than one of science.
0aith forms the foundation of A:: modeling systems and philosophies !ecause the conte+t "hich gives
direction and meaning in the modeling process is su!,ective. And science is no e+ception. Science is
1done1 !y human !eings and human !eings are meaning6driven. Scientific and mathematical models rest
on the follo"ing assumptions A:: of "hich are untesta!le and therefore statements of faith&
1% <very phenomena in the universe can !e modeled mathematically and those mathematical models or
theories fit together in a single consistent super6model or 1theory of everything1. $2ig assumption !ut
certainly the ;oly Grail of physics.% *he main criteria for choosing these models "hen several
possi!ilities are availa!le is to choose the simplest G philosophically called Accam#s Fa7or. $;o"ever
"hat is the simplest for one person may not !e the simplest for another G so su!,ectivity again creeps
2% *he Scientific .ethod G the process !y "hich science investigate phenomena G is valid in all
situations for ascertaining the 1truth1 of theoretical models. $@arado+ically the Scientific .ethod is not
itself amena!le to the Scientific .ethod so it#s veracity is not actually testa!le.%
3% 8omple+ phenomena or processes can !e understood as the sum6!ehaviour of their components
something called reductionism. *he mind for e+ample is merely an emergent property arising from the
collective activity of our neurons "hose function in turn can !e determined !y the !ehaviour of the
atoms and molecules from "hich they are comprised. 8ausality is therefore !elieved to originate at the
su!6atomic scale G the smallest possi!le components of any system G "hich is "hy modern physics is
so o!sessed "ith su!6atomic investigations. $*his pec)ing order of causality from the su!6atomic realms
and up is the reason "hy any evidence for mind over matter is so vehemently re,ected.%
H% Scientific theories "hen they are accurate are not ,ust modeling reality !ut AF< reality. 'n other
"ords 1God1 is a mathematician !ecause the universe o!eys mathematical la"s.*he model !ecomes the
reality and so everything not descri!ed !y the model !ecomes !y definition non6reality or an illusion.
*hese four $' am sure there are more% core !eliefs give science its conte+t and have a direct effect on its
modeling process. 2ut although they are su!,ective and not o!,ectively testa!le $e+cept perhaps mind
over matter "hich challenges reductionism% they have determined the course of scientific progress for
the last fe" centuries turning science into an accurate mathematical modeling system for material
*a)ing into account the limited types of phenomena that science can model and the su!,ective !iases
listed a!ove A0 8ACFS< S8'<N8< (A<S NA* F<8AGN'I< @S-8;'8 AF S@'F'*CA:
@;<NA.<NA. *hese sorts of phenomena do not repeat in predicta!le manners fly in the face of
reductionism and often are not amena!le to mathematical analysis. *he very process of science as it is
currently practiced !y the ma,ority of the scientific community re,ects these phenomena !ecause they fail
at the very first hurdle of the type of phenomena that science is "illing to model. And !ecause the
ma,ority of scientists are epistemologically ignorant confusing their models "ith reality rather than ta)e
the stance that these type of unusual events are ,ust not amena!le to mathematical modeling they re,ect
their very reality reasoning that if it can#t !e modeled it can#t !e real.
Given these limitations of science Ne" Age or ne" consciousness teachers are generally $not al"ays%
acting out of ignorance "hen they use scientific terminology to lend legitimacy to their !eliefs !y lin)ing
them philosophically "ith current scientific models. *hey do this !ecause they do not understand the
limits of science. And !y pushing science into places "here it is not $yet% a!le to go they only further
!olster its reputation in the mind of the pu!lic so society !ecomes even more influenced !y the ignorance
of scientific esta!lishment.
*a)e for e+ample 3uantum mechanics. *his successful theory of modern physics developed in the early
25th 8entury has !ecome *;< ,ustification for us creating our realities. Fead any ne" age material and
you "ill come across 13uantum6this1 and 13uantum6that1. 2ut the term 3uanta is used merely to descri!e
the fine lumpy te+ture of energy called 3uanta that is o!served at microscopic levels and the theory
itself mathematically models the counter6intuitive !ehaviour of these minuscule lumps. *hat is 3uantum
theory in a nutshell. And the reason that science developed this model even though it "as so much more
comple+ and difficult to understand than the earlier smooth6energy models is !ecause it fits so much
!etter at the su!6atomic scale $and in a fe" places at larger dimensions%.
2ut "hat a!out the fact that consciousness collapses the "ave function and that therefore 3uantum
mechanics is scientific validation for the po"er of our minds in creating reality? *"o points need to !e
made here& firstly models of reality although they predict reality are not reality. 'nterpretations of "hat
the "ave6function collapsing actually means is not actually a scientific 3uestion !ut a philosophical one
and so can !e open to many different interpretations. Juantum mechanics ,ust so happens to !e the !est6
fit mathematical model at the moment for small6scale physics and this does not imply that it is correct or
represents 1truth1 in the same "ay that an accurate road map "hich can successfully predict a city6street
location is not the city itself !ut merely a 26dimensional representation that !y necessity focuses on one
tiny aspect of that reality. $'f it "ere the city itself you "ould find it difficult to fit in your poc)et G its
very usefulness is precisely the fact that it is not the reality itself !ut a concise version of one aspect of it.%
And the second reason that 3uantum mechanics cannot !e used to ,ustify mind6over matter even if you
do confuse maps "ith reality is that "ithin the 3uantum model itself the collapsing of the "ave6function
only needs some sort of recording device $a recording devise assures that the model is time6consistent%.
<ven an inert recording device li)e a calculator memory "ould !e enough& the consciousness factor is
,ust one meaningful philosophical interpretation of this mathematical model !ut not one that can !e
proved scientifically in any "ay.
Af course this does not mean that consciousness does not influence reality. 't does and in a fundamental
manner. ;o"ever the scientific model called 3uantum mechanics cannot !e used as ,ustification or
scientific ratification for this position although it does offer a convincing scientific metaphor for reality6
/hether our minds create reality or not is actually an untesta!le hypothesis !ecause any e+periment !y
definition "ould !e part of the reality !eing created so could not !e used as an o!,ective measure for that
reality. *he statement that "e create reality is ,ust too all6encompassing to have any scientific meaning.
$*he less am!itious hypothesis that our minds can influence matter is ho"ever testa!le and has passed
that test many times. *he evidence is su!stantial if you are open6minded enough to e+amine it.% 2ut total
mind reality creation does have huge psychological and philosophical meaning for it places
consciousness firmly !ac) into the centre of reality delivering a death6!lo" to the philosophy of
scientific reductionism that has tried to s3uee7ed all higher meaning from modern society reducing it to a
mechanism G al!eit a 3uantum oneB
/hat most of us thin) of as the profound implications of science G such as the implications of 3uantum
mechanics G are actually the non6science philosophical part. *his is the human part that insists on
placing some sort of meaning or conte+t on mathematical models. *his is ,ust another form of reality
creation G manufacturing a reality "hich psychologically fits the mathematical model. And scientists do
not have the monopoly on this sort of reality creation. So "hy use scientists# reality creations to try to
1e+plain1 psychic or spiritual or ne" consciousness phenomena as if that particular reality6creation
someho" has more validity than your o"n? 't does not have any more validity !ecause there the meaning
aspect of scientific theories is not testa!le. -our meaning as as relevant to your life as a scientist#s
meaning is to his.
So it is time to stop parading scientists !efore the camera so that "e can hear them e+pound on their
personal philosophies. *hey are no more right than you. *he !ottom line is that 1unusual1 $usual for
some% e+periences mean "hatever the e+periencer decide that they mean. So "iden the search. (on#t ,ust
loo) to scientists to in,ect their meaning on your e+perience !ut play "ith different meanings and see
"hich one 1feels1 right for you. *hat is real psychological and spiritual gro"th.
.odeling is something that "e do "ith our heads4 and life thro"s up many e+periences that do not fit
into the models "e have availa!le. 'f "e are a very model6focused person G more intellectual or 1heady1
G then "e "ill dismiss e+periences as illusory that are not mapped !y the models "e predominantly live
!y. 'f on the other hand "e are less model6focused G more open6minded G then "e have four choices&
"e can modify our current model4 "e can leave our current model as it is and ,ust add another model for
use in different circumstances4 "e can thro" everything out and !egin again "ith a ne" model that
encompasses more of our e+perience4 or "e can get out of our heads altogether and stop trying to
model>interpret everything.
2ut one thing is certain& as long as "e try to ,ustify or e+plain our spiritual e+periences "ith scientific
philosophies "e only !ury ourselves deeper in ignorance !y clutching to the illusion of understanding
confusing scientific mathematical models "ith reality itself and ignoring the fact that scientific theories
al"ays eventually !ecome outdated and their philosophical interpretations are al"ays changing too
!ecause they are actually largely cultural. So science and the philosophy of science is not itself sta!le
enough to !e held up as the ar!iter of all things G especially not your personal e+perience of realityB
#) you e/&erience li)e in a meaning)ul, &iritual and concioune!centered %ay, my ad(ice
to you i not to mee$ly $neel at the altar o) cienti2c legitimacy and acce&t your o%n
e/&erience and inter&retation o) thoe e/&erience %hole!heartedly. >on5t %ait )or
&ermiion )rom a Ie% *ge cientit to in7ect meaning and &ur&oe into your li)e T do it
%ith the authority o) your o%n being.