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Sunday, 14 April, 2024

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Advaita Vedanta

 

Advaita Vedanta

 

Advaita Vedanta is one of the most influential and widely studied schools of thought within the Hindu philosophical tradition. The term "Advaita" means "not two," signifying the core doctrine of non-dualism. This school of thought is based on the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita, collectively known as the "Prasthanatrayi."

Advaita Vedanta was systematized by the Indian philosopher Adi Shankara (8th century CE), who consolidated the Advaita Vedanta teachings. According to Shankara, the ultimate reality (Brahman) is of a singular, unified existence, despite the apparent diversity and multiplicity in the material world.

Key Concepts of Advaita Vedanta:

1. Brahman: Advaita Vedanta asserts that Brahman is the ultimate reality – it is infinite, formless, eternal, and beyond human comprehension. It is the source, sustainer, and end of everything.

2. Atman: Atman is the individual self or soul. According to Advaita, Atman is fundamentally identical to Brahman. The realization of this identity leads to Moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

3. Maya: Maya refers to the illusory nature of the world. Advaita Vedanta holds that the world as we perceive it is not the ultimate reality but is shaped by human ignorance (avidya) of the true nature of reality.

4. Moksha: Moksha is the liberation from the cycle of birth and death (samsara). According to Advaita Vedanta, Moksha can be attained through Jnana (knowledge) that the individual self (Atman) is essentially the same as the ultimate reality (Brahman).

5. Jnana: Jnana is knowledge or wisdom, particularly the realization of the unity of Atman and Brahman. Advaita holds that this realization is the path to Moksha.

Advaita Vedanta has been influential in shaping Hinduism and has also significantly influenced various other spiritual and philosophical traditions both within and outside India. It continues to be a major area of study in Eastern philosophy and comparative religion.

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Preamble

Brahman

Maya

The Existence of Brahman 

Jnana Yoga

Moksha

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Preamble

"This (Brahman) is the deepest essence. This is the soul of the whole world. This is the reality. This is the Atma. This is you".

(Chatoya Upanishad, 8th-4th century BC).

“This is conscious neither of subject, nor of object, nor of both. This is neither mere consciousness, nor detached sensation, nor darkness. It is invisible, without relation, incomprehensible without reference, indescribable – it is the essence of Self-Consciousness, the end of maya”

(Manduca Upanishad, 8th-4th century BC)

Brahman

"Brahman Is Inconceivable, Limitless, Uncreated, Uncaused, Inconceivable"… (Maitri Upanιsad)

Brahman Is the Only Reality, It Is Pure Consciousness, Undifferentiated Consciousness That Only Realizes Being, there is no subjective or objective differentiation, determination, whatever ...

Brahman can also be described as Pure Being. It is; It simply exists, it has no other idiom and does not admit of any determination…

Brahman, Eternal Reality, is uncreated, unevolved, unaltered, undifferentiated….

"Truly, all this (the universe) is Brahman ... In Brahman it arises, is catalyzed and is maintained"... (Chantoya Upanishad)

Maya

Within Brahman, the Undifferentiated Consciousness, the Pure Being, the Eternal Unchangeable, which is outside of space, time, limitation, motion, anything, differentiation arises, producing all the phenomena (perceptions, actions, phenomena) that make up the "world of experience". All these are only forms of Consciousness - limitations -. They emerge in Consciousness and again disappear in Consciousness. Consciousness, Pure Being, Is the Stable Background, all other phenomena have no reality of their own, they have a relative existence, "like waves in the sea". It is Maya…

When there is Vidya (Brahman Vidya, Jnana - Knowledge) then we realize that Brahman Is the Only Reality.

Brahman Is Atman itself, our Ultimate Ontological Reality. We are This.

In this State we perceive that all phenomena are only activities, states, phenomena, without a reality of their own.

When the Brahman Vidya "recedes" (we don't know how and why), when the Perception of One Reality recedes, then there is Avidya (Ignorance), we are absorbed in the activity of Consciousness, the situations, the phenomena and perceive them as if they have their own reality. This phenomenon is called Antiaropa (False Metaphor – What is only a form of Consciousness is taken as real).

In the State of Avidya we no longer perceive the One Reality but consider the activities of Consciousness as reality.

The first differentiation from Brahman is that we no longer perceive Brahman as the Objectively Existent One Reality but as a personal absolute reality (Atman). Although Atman is essentially identical with Brahman and is also attributeless, at the same time it differs because it is Brahman from a personal perspective. Atman, depending on the degree of Vidya -avidya is perceived as:

1) The Attributeless, (No Underlying Object Perception).

2) Universal Consciousness, (Subject object identified).

3) Omnipresent Existence, (Underlying object are separate but occupy the same space).

(In the Upanishads the states of consciousness are referred to as prajna, silent undifferentiated consciousness, taijasa, self-illuminated consciousness moving inward, visya awakened consciousness moving outward).

The second activity of Consciousness under the influence of avidya is Manas which can be characterized as mentality. Manas perceives Existence as individuality within an objective space. Manas produces all subjective and objective phenomena. A mental current is created in principle, the perception of an individual existence (jiva) within the mental space (karana loka – causal, perceptual field) resulting from all this activity. The jiva (individual existence) within the mental space is fixed in some specific qualities and appears as a mental body (karana sarira). This is how individuality and multiplicity arise at the same time within the mental space. Manas therefore creates both the subjective states and the objective phenomena. It is both the core of mental existence and the activity that produces the phenomena.

Manas is an activity of Consciousness. Although it is a single activity, typologically we can distinguish several functions:

1) Ahamkara ("I-who"), consciousness of our existence within the world of phenomena.

2) Buddhi, mentality (determining subject-object, object-object relations, etc.).

3) Manas, perception of phenomena.

4) Chitta, memory (all experience accumulated as memory to serve in the creation of knowledge, its reproduction, etc.).

The differentiation of Manas is technically called vrtti (rippling) and there are as many types of vrtti as there are functions of Manas.

Manas (mindfulness) condenses into Prana (energy) and thus energy space (suksam) is created loka – subtle, energy field), the energy existence (suksam sarira – subtle body), the energetic life.

Prana (energy) is stereotyped and takes the form of material substance (akasa – ether, space) which is condensed into matter, material universe (stula loka – gross material realm) where we manifest within a gross body (stula sarira ).

In this way Brahman works in the space of Maya producing objectively specific fields - functions, Atman, Manas, Prana and Akasa. Brahman appears to function within these fields as individualities, within an objective space. In reality Consciousness Is One, individuality is but a limited perception and object is but a creation of perception (displaying a relative existence). Brahman is the Reference Center of all limited perceptual (ontological) states (individual perceptions, objects).

When there is Vidya we realize that everything is phenomena. When there is avidya we become absorbed in this activity and perceive it as reality.

The Existence of Brahman

Brahman, Being, Consciousness, Is One and Within Its Perceptual Function all limited perceptual (ontological) states occur

"Man" is Brahman operating in the various perceptual fields, Atman Manas, Prana, Akasa (and matter). In the last field is the Brahman that functions at the levels of atman, manas (ahamkara, buddhi, manas chitta), prana, akasa.

The composition of man is shown below.

1) Brahman, (Sat-Chit-Anand). The Absolute, the One Reality, the Impersonal God the Primal.

2) Atman (due to avidya Brahman " appears" as Atman). The essential background of being, identified with the One Reality, Brahman. Three states of consciousnes.

3) Jiva, the empirical soul, the psychological subject. The andahkarana (ahamkara, buddhi, manas, chitta).

4) Prana, intrigue. The etheric, energy body, sense organs and action organs.

5) Rupa, body

Brahman is the Absolute Background with which every being, every consciousness is identified. It is the Absolute Principle that exists in the Depth of being, behind the flow of "external" features, the being in its Depth. It is Eternal and Immutable. When this is perceived then the Consciousness is in the Vidya State When this is not perceived then the Consciousness has the illusory perception of an individual existence. In this sense the Absolute Being that is at the Basis of every being is the Reality, the Real State of our nature, The spiritual experience of our Deepest Essence is expressed as an experience of oneness in which all things sink. The impossibility (weakness of the intellect) to express this experience with concepts (terms of the intellect) leads to its description as "Absolute Unity of Being", "Identity", etc ....

Brahman, the Atman of man, can either turn to the Self, rise above the functions within the material realm, or be present, through the functions, in the objective material world, or even be "lost" in the functions, fantasies, etc ...

The turning of Brahman inwards, the Realization of the Self is called turiya or moksha. In this State the Brahman perceives the Self, the Infinite, the Absolute, etc., but at the same time retains the perception of existence in the material world, maintains a bond, through the material carrier, with the material world. It experiences the One Reality that assimilates all states and transcends material existence. The man in this State is a Jivanmukta.

Turiya, or moksha, is the highest transcendental state that a being can experience in the material world. By separating from the material body, it can rise to the higher planes and by successively leaving the higher planes also to sink into the Self Integral Being.

Jnana Yoga

Brahman, the Absolute Being (which is our Deepest Essence) Is That Imperishable and Immanent That Exists behind the constant flow of phenomena that constitute our existence. Consciousness, states, forms, are all transitory. So, this Immortal and Stable we must know and realize.

The Absolute Being is known in the Depth of our Being only through experience. We just need to realize it. We do not need to realize something, to differentiate ourselves ontologically, because we are the Absolute Being. We just need to realize it.

This Realization of the Absolute, as an inner process is called Jnana. Jnana means transcendent knowledge, knowledge of our Deepest Essence, Brahman. The term Jnana is defined more as a mode of perception – which is a dynamic concept – as a right mode of perception rather than acquired knowledge. Generally, the term indicates a spiritual attitude that varies according to our level of consciousness. When Consciousness Is in Its Natural State then there is Real Jnana, Right Perception of Reality, of our Real Being. When Consciousness tends to be absorbed in phenomenal existence, in mentality, etc., then Jnana is the Calming of Consciousness, the rejection of mental movement as illusory and the creator of illusion. When Consciousness absorbed in the operations of phenomenal existence then Jnana is the calm observation of all this process, mental becoming, etc., which leads to its exhaustion. Jnana as Realization is called Dhyana in technical language.

Jnana, Dhyana, as Realization (as Actualization) of our Real Being, is the Tranquility of Consciousness, the rejection of mental movement, which tends to plunge us into delusion. In this sense Dhyana is not an effort, it is not a realization (in the sense that we realize something). We are already the Absolute and do not need to realize anything. So, Dhyana is not a process. Every process belongs to the space of mentality and time. Dhyana is rejection of mental movement. Dhyana exists, takes place, is completed when all mental movement has ceased. It does not come with effort… because as we strive, we enter into mental becoming, we sink into egoic perception, into apparent existence within becoming. Jnana, as observation of the mental becoming in which we are absorbed, is simply observation, attention. There is no effort, no process but only observation of the process. We don't try anything, we don't prevent anything, we let this whole process exhaust itself.

Jnana is Right Perception that varies according to our level of consciousness. The ultimate goal is the Realization of the Real Being (the Absolute). In order to reach this State, we must with Jnana "ascend" the various levels of consciousness (starting from the level of consciousness we are in the present phase) up to the Absolute. This whole "course" is called Jnana Yoga. Typically, the degrees of "realization" are:

1) BRAHMAN (Turiya State)

2) Nirvikalpa Samadhi (Three states of consciousness, prajna, taijasa, visya).

3) Three levels of dhyana (Elimination of ahamkara, neutralization of bodhi, overcoming of manas).

4) Control of prana.

5) Body control.

(Note: Elimination, neutralization, transcendence, means experiencing a higher, wider state, which merges within itself the lower state, until we reach the Perception of the One Reality which merges everything within itself...).

Moksha

According to the teaching of Advaita Vedanta » Brahman Is the One Reality in which all merge, all refer. Brahman Is the Deepest Essence of all.

The perception of an ego is delusion. We are from the beginning and forever Brahman. We don't have to do anything. We need only realize That We Really Are, freeing ourselves from the ego's delusion (controlling the functions that distort the perception of Reality). Then We Realize That We Always Were This…


 

 


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Our Prayer

The Path Within

 

O Cosmos, we stand at the precipice of the Absolute, gazing into the void of the Unknown. We search for a way to transcend the bounds of thought and ego, to experience the essence of our deepest being.

The Buddha, the Masters of the East Upanishads, Orpheus, Jesus – all these wise beings have pointed us towards the Path. But it is not a path that is external, not a journey that can be traversed by the feet. It is a path that lies within, a journey that must be undertaken by the heart and the mind.

We must let go of the external orientations that nurture and educate us, that direct us towards other goals. We must look inward, to the stillness and silence that resides within. We must listen to the whispers of our soul, to the voice that speaks of the Absolute.

Krishnamurti and other modern Sages have shown us that it is possible to experience the Absolute, to transcend the limitations of thought and ego. They have shown us that it is not a mystery, not a miracle, but a possibility that lies within our human nature.

So let us embark on this journey, this Path that few follow. Let us let go of the burdens that weigh us down, the attachments that bind us. Let us embrace the unknown, the uncertainty, the chaos that lies within.

For in the depths of the Absolute, we will find the stillness and peace that we seek. We will find the answers to the questions that have plagued us for centuries. We will find the Truth that lies within.

Let us be brave, let us be bold, let us be fearless. Let us take the step into the void, into the unknown. For it is there that we will find the Absolute, the essence of our being. It is there that we will find our true nature, our true self.

May we be guided on this journey by the wise words of the Sages, by the light of the Absolute that shines within us. May we find the strength and courage to let go of the old, to embrace the new. May we find the peace and stillness that we seek, the Truth that lies within.

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Glimpses of the Absolute

 

Within each of us lies the potential to transcend the limitations of ordinary mind and experience a deeper reality - what some traditions call the Absolute, the Ground of Being, or God. While this state of unity or peak experience has often been considered the domain solely of mystics and saints, the truth is that the capacity dwells dormant in every human soul. It is our essential nature, awaiting discovery through disciplined inner work.

All genuine spiritual paths point to the same destination, though using different languages and methods. At their core, they offer a process of liberation from identification with separate ego and gradual awakening to our intrinsic divine essence. This involves cultivating noble virtues, practicing presence of mind through meditation, and cultivating wisdom through inquiry into the nature of reality and self.

Over time, such disciplines help peel away layers of superficial conditioning to reveal our true blissful and peaceful self - one with the fundamental pure consciousness that underlies all forms. In that state of inward stillness and clarity, the usual boundaries between subject and object fall away. One perceives directly that all is contained within the one infinite life and knows directly one's identity with the eternal. Though ineffable, this realization brings transcendent peace, love, creativity and compassion.

While glimpses of the Absolute may come through grace to anyone at any time, consistent experience depends on committed effort. The seeker must firmly resolve to strip away all that obscures their true nature like the proverbial onion, layer by layer. With patient practice of presence and purification, the trappings of small self dissolve, and one may abide as peaceful, blissful awareness itself - fully awake in every moment to life's deepest meaning. Then daily living becomes worship, and ordinary reality is transfigured by love, joy, wisdom and service. This is the fruit of following the perennial path with heart and will - a taste of our shared spiritual potential.

 

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Quotes

Constantinos’s quotes


"A "Soul" that out of ignorance keeps making mistakes is like a wounded bird with helpless wings that cannot fly high in the sky."— Constantinos Prokopiou

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CHAPTER III

 

QUIETING PEOPLE

Neglecting to praise the worthy deters people from emulating them; just as not prizing rare treasures deters a man from becoming a thief; or ignoring the things which awaken desire keeps the heart at rest.

Therefore, the wise ruler does not suggest unnecessary things, but seeks to satisfy the minds of his people. He seeks to allay appetites but strengthen bones. He ever tries by keeping people in ignorance to keep them satisfied and those who have knowledge he restrains from evil. If he, himself, practices restraint then everything is in quietness.

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Quieting People

Neglecting to praise the worthy:

Neglecting to acknowledge and praise individuals who deserve recognition can discourage others from emulating their positive qualities.

Just as not appreciating rare treasures deters a person from engaging in theft, the absence of recognition can hinder the development of desirable traits in others.

By recognizing and praising the worthy, we can inspire others to strive for excellence.

Ignoring the things that awaken desire:

When we disregard or ignore the things that evoke desire, we can maintain a sense of contentment and inner peace.

By not constantly seeking external stimuli, we can cultivate a state of tranquility within ourselves.

This approach allows us to find satisfaction in what we already have, rather than constantly chasing after new desires.

The wise ruler's approach:

A wise ruler understands the importance of satisfying the minds of the people they govern.

They do not unnecessarily burden their subjects with irrelevant information or demands.

Instead, they focus on allaying appetites and reinforcing the overall well-being of their people.

The wise ruler restrains those with knowledge from engaging in harmful actions and promotes a culture of restraint and tranquility.

The benefits of quietness:

When individuals practice restraint and embrace a state of quietness, harmony and peace prevail.

By prioritizing calmness and self-control, both on an individual and societal level, conflicts can be minimized.

The pursuit of quietness allows for personal growth, contentment, and a more harmonious coexistence.

Embracing quietness

Quieting people involves recognizing the worthy, ignoring unnecessary desires, and fostering a state of tranquility. The wise ruler seeks to satisfy the minds of their people by allaying appetites and promoting restraint. By embracing quietness, individuals can experience personal growth and contribute to a more peaceful society. Remember to appreciate the positive qualities in others, find contentment in the present, and practice self-restraint for a harmonious existence.

 

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Κατ’ εξαίρεση, επιτρέπεται η μεμονωμένη αποθήκευση και αντιγραφή τμημάτων του περιεχομένου σε απλό προσωπικό υπολογιστή για αυστηρά προσωπική χρήση (ιδιωτική μελέτη ή έρευνα, εκπαιδευτικούς σκοπούς), χωρίς πρόθεση εμπορικής ή άλλης εκμετάλλευσης και πάντα υπό την προϋπόθεση της αναγραφής της πηγής προέλευσής του, χωρίς αυτό να σημαίνει καθ’ οιονδήποτε τρόπο παραχώρηση δικαιωμάτων πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας.

Επίσης, επιτρέπεται η αναδημοσίευση υλικού για λόγους προβολής των γεγονότων και δραστηριοτήτων του Ιδρύματος, με την προϋπόθεση ότι θα αναφέρεται η πηγή και δεν θα θίγονται δικαιώματα πνευματικής ιδιοκτησίας, δεν θα τροποποιούνται, αλλοιώνονται ή διαγράφονται εμπορικά σήματα.

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