Namasthe! Welcome back to the series “Understanding Advaita”. In the first 2 parts, we’ve discussed Advaita relative to Dwaitha and busted some of the most common myths about Advaita. In this blog, we’ll be seeing the reason for the confusion and discrepancies. Why are there so many teachings of Advaita that are misunderstood?
Why these discrepancies?
To understand the answer to that question, we must know a little bit about yoga. Basics at least. We all know yoga vaguely means ‘union’. It signifies and can be defined in various ways through varied perspectives.
For the convenience of categorizing and understanding, yoga is said to be divided into 4 main categories: Jnana Yoga, Bhakthi Yoga, Karma Yoga, & Raja Yoga. [ However, as you try to understand life more profoundly, you will realize that Yoga is not of types. It’s like a spectrum of light that has beams of different wavelengths. ]
Discrepancies arrive when “Bhakthas”, “Karma Yogis”, & Kriya practitioners, talk about “Jnana”. Do you see what I’m telling? You can find someone who degrades Advaita and defames Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya to be a Bhaktha, not a seeker. [Truly wise people do not try to degrade others’ ideologies, beliefs, etc. And the ultimate wisdom is one that can comprise]. What I’m trying to say is that when you try to understand what is art, from a businessmen’s perspective, you’re far from the truth than when seen from an artist’s perspective. You can’t learn to play football with an astrologer as your mentor.
Similarly, it’s mainly “Bhakthas” who mistook and considered themselves “Jnanis” for reciting Krishna’s lines from Bhagavadhgeetha. Of course, there is the ultimate wisdom in the Bhagavadgeetha, no doubt about that. Did they truly understand it deeply enough to consider themselves “Jnanis” or in other words to speak ill about great scholars, true Jnanis like Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya?
Why do ‘Bhakthas’ degrade or defame Advaitha – Path of Knowledge?
Because they do not understand it. Either they haven’t tried to understand it or while trying to understand, they couldn’t withstand that their beliefs needed to be broken. And that’s not a trait of a seeker.
Only the person who can destroy his own belief system and rebuild a fresh one can grow and realize the truth.
Only a believer says “I don’t agree” without explaining, but a seeker/knower is always open to novel arguments even if it destroys his belief system and he says “I don’t agree because”, according to him there’s nothing that is out of reach through his reasoning.
However, I must remind you that Advaitha does not disregard any form of attempt in realizing truths. I agree Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s words are so straightforward that they might be seen as disrespectful to other forms of realizing the truth. But that’s far from it, he’s being so straightforward, so as to deliberately push our reasoning abilities and provoke us to reason and reflect to realize the ultimate truth.
I’ll give you an example to understand the scenario here:
Seeker: Why does this world exist? Why do we exist in it?
Bhaktha: For all the Jeeva to go through their karmas and attain liberation.
Seeker: I’m asking before that, why do even Jeeva exist? Ok, forget why, tell me this, was Jeeva created by the Paramathma (God) for his entertainment?
Bhaktha: No, God did not create Jeeva.
[ They wouldn’t say yes, because If Jeeva had been created by God, how would it be Dwaitha (Dualism)?]
Seeker: I understand God has no beginning, and that he’s out of the time dimension, but if Jeeva also existed independently since god, then is it also timeless?, does that mean both Jeevathma and Paramathma are derived from one single source, Nirguna Parabrahma commonly called the ‘Brahman’?
Bhaktha: I disagree. No Nirguna Parabrahma.
Seeker: Then who created Jeeva?
Bhaktha: I don’t agree. No Nirguna Parabrahma.
Ok, I must admit this is a real scenario. However, this is not mentioned in the intent to defame Bhakthas as a whole. But it is true that the discrepancies in Advaitha are due to some Bhakthas trying to teach what they do not know.
“Jnana” in Jnana Yoga refers to ”Knowledge of the Self”, the ultimate wisdom. People got confused Jnana to be knowledge of god, specific knowledge, general knowledge, etc, subjectively. “Mithya” refers to delusion. But people got confused that it meant to be “false”.
They were masked by an effect what Psychologists now call “Confirmation Bias”. They couldn’t for once see clearly setting their beliefs aside. They couldn’t even assume there could exist different planes/levels of realities. They couldn’t understand that not only they are telling is truth (in transactional reality) but the other person is also telling the truth (Absolute reality) but in different planes of reality.
Bhakthas Love, Karma Yogis Do, Kriya practitioners experience. The problem began when some of them assumed their roles to that of a seeker (Seekers See) and started preaching ‘Jnana’. It’s the confusion in their roles, or in other words, the lack of self-awareness that led to these discrepancies. [Of course, an individual can choose more than 1 path, but one must be aware of his choice]
And the other reason that added onto this delusion-creating machine is that people got confused with the topic of discussion as to be ‘religion based’. It is not. There existed no concept of religion/caste in ancient times. And especially Sanathana Dharma never specifies religion at all. [Varna system is not a discrimination system based on religion, it was based on the work people do ]
- Try to know about something before drawing conclusions and fixed beliefs and mindset around it. Try to understand Advaita clearly before you come to any conclusions.
- Triple check whose opinion you’re listening to. Let a CA not tell you how to proceed with your artist life! If you want ‘Jnana’ receive from one in the path of knowledge itself, not from who may have high-level expertise, but on a different path!
Sanath Kumar Naibhi