Understanding Advaita | Part – 4 | Why Advaita?

I hope by now you’ve realized that non-duality is simply the reality of nature. And that Understanding Advaita = understanding reality. Non-duality is an obvious conclusion (after reading Part -1). That is, when you are viewing from the widest scope, everything is one. And that, dualities exist in our perception (i.e, duality exists only when you’re zoomed in).

In this part, let us see why we need to understand Advaita. To answer that question, first, we need to understand the core of this question itself.

And as already mentioned, Advaita is simply the best understanding of reality. That means, Advaita is derived from understanding. Of course, it is the final essence of Jnana yoga/Saankya yoga.

If you recall from Part-3, there are 4 major ways or paths of or to yoga. Jnana Yoga (Path of Awareness), Bhakthi Yoga (Path of devotion or ultimate love), Karma Yoga (Path of Action/work), Raja Yoga/Kriya Yoga (They are not the same, you can say one belongs to the other).

So, the question “Why Advaita?”, at the core, points to this: Why Jnana Yoga? or, Why the path of awareness? Especially, when other paths are easier to understand.

And this also points to: “Why not that?”. I mean, why not Bhakthi, Karma, or the Kriya path? Sure, all of them work! Ultimately, it is your choice. Let the choice be made with the awareness of your strengths.

Let us now see objectively here. What do all these paths lead to? Liberation, Enlightenment, or realization? Why is it called enlightened? Or realized? It’s because whatever the path you choose, ultimately, you realize, or in other words, it is the awareness that makes you “realized”.

Let us say, for example, one is following the path of Karma (Actions/Work). Ultimately, it is about realizing the non-dual nature of Life, through the work one does. In simple words, in Karma Yoga, One knows by doing.

A Kriya yoga practitioner will know/realize through inner experiences.

If one is devoted to a deity, that is, if one is on the path of devotion (Bhakthi), he/she finally realizes or at least the goal would be to realize that his/her choice of a deity is everywhere and in everything. [ And there are devotees who were enlightened by Rama, Krishna, Shiva, etc as their deity. That is, one realized Raama everywhere, and one realized Shiva everywhere. So, think about it, only Advaita can explain that phenomenon.]

And speaking of people on the path of Bhakthi, it reminds me of some ignorant cults and pseudo-Jnanis who like to show off by reciting the verses from Bhagavadgeetha and according to them, the whole purpose of studying the ancient texts is to study the god and help themselves to love and surrender to him/her.

Sure, that is a purpose. However, it is not the only purpose of reading ancient texts. And it is not the ultimate purpose either. One should have the minimum common sense to understand that the purpose of reading or listening, preaching or writing in general is to transfer knowledge, right? It is so that the awareness realized by the one writing/preaching be transferred, at least as knowledge, to the person reading or listening.

If it was not for Awareness, why would Krishna preach to Arjuna what we call the Bhagavadgeetha? If enlightenment or Life was only about Love (Bhakthi), he would just say “Arjuna, I love you”. He wouldn’t even say “Love me, love everyone”, because then, it would be preaching right? He wouldn’t preach at all if it weren’t for awareness.

If enlightenment was just about Karma (Work), Krishna would just be fighting battles as Kshatriya. And if enlightenment was just about Raja Yoga/Kriyas, Krishna would be doing intense Sadhanas, sitting cross-legged and with eyes closed.

And the reality is, Krishna did all of these. And he did all of it with awareness. We can also say, he could do all of it because he was aware. Krishna lived the most fulfilling life because he was the epitome of a balance of all these spectral lines of Yoga.

Life is about yoga, in all forms – Awareness, Love, work, energy, all of it is very essential.
The 4 major paths of Yoga, are not distinct and independent. You need all of them. [You can notice this when these paths merge. If you consider Mantra yoga for example, it is a convergent node between Jnana, Bhakthi, and Kriya yoga].

Life is this way, one thing fuels another. Hence the need for balance. However, the proportion can be a subjective choice.

And this balance can be achieved only if one is aware. When I say aware, it is to be understood, that it is everything from what to eat for healthy long life, and self-awareness, to the ultimate nature of reality – Non-Duality or Advaita.

The path of awareness has its own drawbacks. We’ll see to it in another part because this blog is already too long. But for now, you know that, Advaita: Jnana = Awareness. It is the awareness that we must seek if it is your deliberate choice to understand Advaita/Reality. And we now know that, regardless of the path chosen, in the end, it is the awareness that we’re seeking directly or indirectly.

And when one is aware, he/she is naturally in love, naturally a worker, and naturally, he/she becomes a master observer of inner experiences.

So from this blog, I think we were able to see the whole overview and where Advaita connects to the whole picture. In fact, I hope you could realize, it is the whole picture.

Thank You
Sanath Kumar Naibhi

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