Seeing multiplicity/plurality and seeing the underlying oneness within the plurality or multiplicity is not the real non-duality at all.
This false notion of non-duality, which is very commonplace, is actually an ego-preservation strategy where the notion of the ‘false-I’ is subtly continued, and suffering still continues in this state – seeking still continues too, as does a subtle sense of individuality.
Non-duality is that in which there is no duality/multiplicity/plurality/individuality whatsoever. Only then will seeking end. Only then will suffering end. Until this is discovered, seeking will continue, and with it the suffering and sense of individuality (ie. duality) will too. To discover the true non-duality one must turn within and discover the Self for oneself, which is indivisible Oneness-Love-Being-Bliss.
At least this is my experience.
This is why Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi states in Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 931:
- “The mukta [liberated sage] like the rest of us perceives
The world in all its vast variety
And yet he sees non-difference in it”,
So people say. This is not true.
Sri Sadhu Om comments upon the above verse as follows:
‘People have many wrong conceptions about the state of a Jnani or Jivanmukta, and one such misconception is refuted here. “What people see as water, the Jivanmukta also sees as water, and what they see as food, He also sees as food. Therefore, in His experience of sense-objects, the Jivanmukta is the same as other people. But even while the Jivanmukta thus sees these differences, He sees the non-difference in them” – are there not many pandits and lecturers who talk and write thus, even though they themselves have no experience of Advaita but have only read about it in books? But who is the proper authority to say what is the actual experience of a Jivanmukta? Only a real Jivanmukta! Thus Bhagavan Sri Ramana, who has actually experienced the reality and who is the true Loka Maha Guru, declares in this verse that such statements are wrong, and in the next verse He explains how and why they are wrong.’
In his commentary to the next verse Sri Sadhu Om continues, relating to us his own direct hearing of Sri Ramana’s teaching:
‘…Regarding this erroneous theory of bheda-abheda or unity in diversity, Sri Bhagavan used to say that if the least difference or diversity is perceived, it means that the ego or individuality is there, so if difference is experienced, non-difference or unity would merely be a theoretical proposition and not an actual experience.’
Qestioner: Why do you say that non-duality means ‘there is only you’? For me it makes more sense to say ‘there is no you’?
Tom: Yes, many people say it the way you do, but there is a specific reason why it is said in the traditional scriptures that ‘only I exist ‘ or ‘only you exist’ as opposed to ‘there is no I’ or ‘there is no you’.
The ‘I’ or ‘I AM’ is being pointed out as indicating the reality.
Why is this?
It is because only when we turn towards the ‘I Am’ or the Subject can the non-dual reality be intuited. Otherwise, as you say, the knowledge remains only on the conceptual level for the ego-mind. This is more fully explained in Chapter 8 of The Path of Sri Ramana.
I also explain this more here.
Sometimes non-duality is described as nothing or emptiness. But this is only from the point of view of the mind. In truth, non-duality is total and utter fullness, it is not empty in the least.
It is the total cessation of suffering, it is the total extinction of multiplicity, duality and individuality.
It is beyond words but we can call it unchanging incomparable fullness-beingness-bliss or love absolute.
This knowledge is already fully within you
All the Spiritual Knowledge you ever need is already within you (it actually is you). What is this Spiritual Knowledge? It is knowledge of what you truly are, namely Pure Ever-Blissful Ever-Full Eternal Formless Spirit.
You already fully know this
You already know this. You have always eternally known this. This knowledge has always been within you, intuitively, meaning non-verbally ie. NOT knowledge in the mind and NOT knowledge known by a person. It is innate inborn knowledge that cannot be lost, ever, and does not need to be gained ever.
If you look within, take the time to really feel, then perhaps you will intuit that you have always known that you are infinite, formless and divine, beyond time and space.
Intuitively you have always known that you are not merely flesh and bone, you are not this mere body and mind.
You do not need any new knowledge or understanding in the mind for this path.
So, what’s the problem?
Well, in truth there is no problem, and there never has been, and never will be (no problems are real, and time such as past and future are also not actually real)…and you already intuitively and deeply know that there is no problem…but…
…But so long as you believe the limiting ideas thrown out by the mind – and all the mind’s ideas are limiting – then you will consider yourself to be limited. You will consider yourself to have name and form, you will consider yourself to be flesh and blood, and to be subject to birth, disease, suffering and death. You will consider the world to be real and you will consider problems to be real.
In Truth you are Spirit Divine, Eternal, Lumonious, Blissfull, devoid of time, space, individuality, devoid of one iota of suffering, devoid of one iota of multiplicity or duality, ever whole, pure, pristine Beauty and Love.
This ‘knowledge’ is not in the mind – no body or mind is required for this ‘knowledge
As I said, you know this already – ‘in your heart’ – meaning intuitively this is known, ie. this is not known and can never be known with the mind or with concepts/thoughts, but it is always known in your Heart or Being.
Your True Nature always knows itself to be Divine, fully. This knowledge does not require and body or mind, both of which, together with the world, are non-existent and unreal.
In truth there is no you and me. There is only ONE, THAT. And ‘we’ are THAT ONE.
The only ‘issue’ (not that there really is any issue) is that we take on wrong concepts, believing ourselves to be a body-mind entity living in a world when actually these are all false and non-existent In Truth.
All ‘we have to do’ to realise this is lose the wrong concepts, lose the wrong beliefs, which means to stop attending to them, to stop paying attention to the body + mind + world, especially our thoughts and concepts. All we have to do is have faith in our own innate unborn non-mental non-conceptual knowledge of what we are, and attend to and nurture that intuitive-faith-knowingness-self.
Then, as ignorance slips away, all will eventually be seen to be One and Yourself, Shining as Pure Consciousness, initially with Objects Present (Savikalpa, with forms or with objects) and then in its pure Divine Form devoid of objective phenomena (Nirvikalpa, without form or without objects).
This is Self-Knowledge devoid of a shred ignorance, this is what already IS, this is what you already are, this is what is already and eternally intuitively known ‘in the heart’, meaning never with the mind.
The Self always fully knows itself to be Divine and Full, without words, without a body and without a mind – ignorance never really ever was.
If anything is needed, all we have to do is to nurture and attend to this intuitive self-knowledge. It is the guru, it will teach us, it will reveal itself to us.
Therefore the teaching is simply: KNOW THYSELF or BE THYSELF or ATTEND TO THYSELF or HAVE FAITH IN AND NURTURE YOUR OWN INNATE INTUITIVE KNOWING/KNOWLEDGE
Ignore body/mind/world and see/intuit only consciousness-beingness-love-bliss. Attend to your beingness-knowingness, which is Self-Knowledge. Nurture, stoke and tend to this intuitive knowing – it will grow and consume everything. This is what you truly are.
And of course, you know all of this already
For the last seven years I have been actively guiding people in their spiritual, emotional and human journeys. From non-duality and spiritual experiences, to helping people through relationship and practical issues, I have met with hundreds of people and have pretty much seen it all!
It’s a deep honour and privilege for me to assist people in this way.
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Namaste & best wishes
Here is a prayer or salutation that was read out by someone at Satsang this Thursday. It is taken from the wonderful text Yoga Vasistha, where it is referred to as a prayer:
‘Salutations to that reality in which all the elements, and all the animate and inanimate beings shine as if they have an independent existence, and in which they exist for a time and into which they merge.
‘Salutations to that consciousness which is the source of the apparently distinct threefold divisions of knower, knowledge and known, seer, sight and seen, doer, doing and deed.
‘Salutations to that bliss absolute (the ocean of bliss) which is the life of all beings whose happiness and unfoldment is derived from the shower of spray from that ocean of bliss.‘
~Vasistha’s Yoga (translated by Swami Venkatesananda)
As you can see, the prayer is naturally divided into three sections, with each one corresponding to Sat-Chit-Ananda (Reality-Consciousness-Bliss), which refers to the Self, ie. what we truly are, or Brahman, the Divine Absolute. So this is really a prayer to God, Brahman, or a Prayer to Ourself:
I bow down and worship my Own True Self!