Sunday, December 23, 2007

Advaita Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta is a system of pointers, words used to go beyond words to the reality prior to the world. It's heritage is based in Hinduism, however Advaita Vedanta ultimately reveals that all religions are false, including itself. No words can ever BE Truth.

The Vedas can be seen as the activity of the world, that which you believe you are a part of but somehow separate from. The Vedas is also this body-mind form, which moves about, thinks, acts, may or may not be reborn, may or may not have karma... The Vedas is literally everything that you can perceive or conceive of. This is what you have falsely identified with, believe to be what you are, a person in a body with a mind that you use to think, make decisions, go into the past and future to determine your goals. And it is within this framework that you find suffering - the dissatisfaction with some part of this Vedas.

Every aspect of the Vedas (the manifest world of form and activity) is created of the elements, is created by the life force which spins planets, pulls objects together with gravity, creates and destroys cells...

But the nature of the Vedas is impermanence. Every single thing that is created in form, by the life force and from the elements, will eventually perish, pass, die. And this fact is resisted. The "individual" feels separate from the world and attempts to hold on to or gain that which may put off or stop this impermanence. But it's a futile goal - all forms change and die - this body will pass in a relatively short time, the Universe itself will also die. So we're always trying to hold on to something which, by its nature, is fleeting, changing and dying.

Vedanta is the end of the Vedas. This doesn't mean that the world of form and activity stops and there is a big nothingness. This means that the identification and association with the individual form of body and mind ceases, is seen to be false.

The way to Vedanta is in Neti-Neti, not this, not that, negation. This is seeing that each form, each identification, each association, is not what you are. This can only be seen through witnessing, through awareness of each form and thought that arises, seeing how thought creates this world, creates this false sense of identification, creates this belief in a substantial and separately existing entity called "ME".

Through witnessing of each arising thought, you are free of it, because it's an object. You then become the subject to that object. You see the thoughts, memories, emotions, the tendency to run off in thought to the past or future - you see these and they are then objects in awareness. You are free from them because they come and go, but that witnessing awareness never comes and goes.

It's then seen that this witnessing awareness is always there, always watching, never changing, never affected by anything witnessed. Even this body is just a perception arising in this witnessing awareness. It's seen that this simple, ordinary awareness, which has always been there - but previously taken for granted, is in fact the only reality - all else comes and goes in this presence of awareness.

So Vedanta is the end of the Vedas - not the stopping of the world but the end of the illusion that what you are IS this passing, temporary form. The Vedas arise IN you but never touch you. You could be cut off in traffic or the Universe could explode into a million bits, but what you ARE is never touched, not in any way. It's clear that there is no birth or death, because birth and death are of the domain of the Vedas, objects of form are born and die. You are the witness to it but are never affected by it.

Advaita means not-two. Through the realization that what you are is not any object, through the end of the Vedas, Advaita may be realized. Advaita means that there is only one substance, one reality, one solid block of reality. This may be seen as emptiness, energy, God... This one substance creates the world out of itself, both the manifested and unmanifested aspects. This one substance IS the life force, IS the elements, IS the appearance of all the forms and activity, IS the Vedas. And this one substance IS also this witnessing awareness.

It becomes clear that this witnessing awareness has no position, no time, no center, no borders. It's clear that all that arises within this awareness is arising IN you - there is no YOU over here and the OBJECT over there - this very awareness is only known because there is an object arising. If no objects were arising, no shapes, no sounds, no sensations, no perceptions, there would be no awareness, no witnessing.

So what you are IS in fact everything that arises. You ARE the Vedas and also BEYOND... There can be no separation found except what the mind creates. Without the mind or words, there is no real separation between the witness of the Vedas and the Vedas, no ME and YOU, no this and that, no black and white.... all opposites collapse, all duality vanishes.

And in this, true Peace, Love and Freedom are found to be the already-existing, natural state or essence, not personal or individual, but timeless and infinite Peace, Love and Freedom. This is recognized as the silence beneath the sounds, the space in which the world arises, the open potential for any possible form or situation or activity without it ever touching what you are.

True Peace can never be touched or affected, never shaken or threatened. It's the very space which allows the Vedas to be. True Love is the open space for the Vedas to be without judgment, without resistance. And True Freedom is the total lack of attachment or association with the particular, with the activity and form of the Vedas, including being a separate person. In this Freedom, it is known that I am both none of it and never affected by it, and also that I am all of it, all of it is happening IN me, AS me.

In this, the seeking falls away as the seeker is seen as a false creation, the very goal of seeking is known to be already existing, always already what I am. There is nowhere to go and nothing to get - all already exists in what I am. I need nothing - because there is nothing that I am not.

And the ultimate Freedom is, once the illusion is over, to recognize the miracle of the Vedas, to fully live each moment as the appearance of this body-mind, fully recognizing the illusion and still enjoying this temporary being as an apparent human being. The Peace, Love and Freedom which is known to be your true nature then manifests in every aspect of the Vedas.


Sina said...

I'm not sure this is correct. Veda means knowledge and vedanta (-anta means end) means the culmination of knowledge or final knowledge. Vedanta originally means "the final conclusion of the Vedas" reffering to the texts themselves. In none of these cases does it make sense to talk about the vedas as the manifest world or "activity".

Other than that, thank you for an excellent blog!

Randall Friend said...


Thank you for your excellent comments.

Yes - you're correct that Veda means knowledge - isn't knowledge really mind? And isn't that knowledge what we call the world, the activities and all that arises?

So, conceptually, the Vedas is everything known, or as you point out, knowledge. Vedanta is the end of the Vedas - the end of the texts - but it's also a pointer... it's a pointer toward the open spacious awareness or knowingness in which the entire spectrum of knowledge, the world, arises in.

And in this space, all appearances arise and disappear, even the texts, even Advaita Vedanta.


Sina said...

Happy New Year, Randall!
Yes, I understand how you are using the term, but it is actually not that kind of conceptual mind-knowledgde the word veda is pointing to, at least as I understand it. It's more like the "knowing" that Schultz is talking about here: "In engagement with the imagination we forget that 'seeing and knowing' are what we are."

You are almost using "Veda" as synonymous with Maya, when true Veda is the knowing that Maya is illusory. And you see vedanta as the abscence of knowledge when it is the culmination of it.

But it doesn't really matter. At least I don't care about it. I thought I would just point out the differences between your use of the term and the usual meaning of it.

Take Care, my friend.

Randall Friend said...


Yes - all that you say is correct. This post isn't intended as a textbook definition of the terminology, but as a pointer.

Thank you for your comments.

Happy New Year to you, my friend.