Saturday, June 18, 2011

Advaita I

Advaita I
by Scott Bradley

Advaita is a Sanskrit word meaning 'non-dual'. And I think I can call myself an advaitist. I believe that Reality is One, non-dual. This is somewhat ironic to me because, though it is the name of a significant movement with a considerable amount of advaitist literature available, I have studied little of it.

There are several reasons for this. One, is that this literature is usually written by or about a guru. In the case of the former, I once bought several books by a (then) living advaitist guru, and found myself unable to get half through the first. It was then that I coined the word 'nanny-ru'. This man had all the answers for all the inane personal issues of his devotees. This kind of dependence does not appeal to me. I prefer to work things through myself.

In the case of the second, literature about past gurus, they are often so deified that I feel as if I am being invited to join some cult. I am not into gurus, swamis, or gods-incarnate. I do not wish to worship anyone. Like so much that I say here, this is part confession — I don't necessarily justify my opinions, I just share them.

Another reason I haven't read much of this literature is that I prefer to arrive at my understanding of things first hand. True, I try and read a lot of primary literature, the stuff written by the ancients, but that somehow seems to still leave me with all the adventure of finding the treasure by myself. They bring you to the wilderness and tell you there is treasure to be found there. Contemporary gurus give you a map with a big X on it. It has all the reality of 'reality' TV.

Finally, how much is there really to say in any case? I suspect that everything one can or need say about 'enlightenment' or advaita could be said in ten words or less. I honestly think I have found those words for myself, and they are a lot fewer than ten. That I continue to blabber is evidence that they remain, for the most part, just words.

Speaking of which, this is supposed to be about advaita, but I guess there will have to be an Advaita II.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.


  1. The non-dual, whatever the Buddhists called it and the Tao are of course identical and unspeakable - this is why the trillion words written about them are shit and why people can fight over the definitions to prove how peaceful and true their interpretation is.

  2. Forget the self, you are not what you think. When you know what you are not you will know who you are. The oneness of all things.


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