Buddhism, Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma, Interview, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 29: What is Advaita Vedanta? — Interview with Swamini Brahmaprajnananda


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As Swamini’s guru most eloquently put it: ‘In psychology there is no solution to the human problem. In Vedanta, there is no problem.’

Swamini was classically trained as a modern psychologist and moved her consciousness forward, based on the limits she saw within this framework. Thus, she trained under her Advaita Vedanta guru and master, H.H. Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji — renowned as the best teacher of his time until his death in 2015.

Advaita Vedanta is an ancient body of wisdom which has two functions: to realise God/Brahman fully and to live day-to-day life well. Advaita aims to realise non-duality and also relies on the Vedic Upanishads as core guides to truth and realisation. Thus, we see these two functions in action: direct recognition of God and also living a wise life.

As a follower of Advaita Zen (also called neo-Advaita), I have gained a deep intellectual understanding of non-duality, the formless, emptiness, and being. However, the experience or manifestation of these has been few and far between, leading me on a more gradual approach to enlightenment via the Buddhist path — because I found that I was still suffering, or experiencing dukkha (dissatisfaction) in my everyday life.

As a seer of this, Swamini points out to us what neo-Advaita lacks in terms of longevity for the awakener, which my direct experience has also taught me. She elaborates on these points in our episode with ease and grace:

1. Neo-Advaita lacks lineage, gurus, and disciples
2. Simple reliance upon the Netti-Netti method (Not-this, Not-this)
3. Based on the individual human being only, without a larger context
4. De-emphasis on the importance of a guru, prepatory practices, and maturity of the student/seeker
5. No scriptural basis, as scriptures point out ‘what cannot be figured out by my own perception or logic alone’

We also go over Hinduism in relation to Advaita and whether Buddhism and Advaita share the exact meaning in the face of spiritual awakening, where I believe that they do and Swamini believes they do not… unless we interpret the Buddhist Dharma in the correct way

Listen, enjoy, and send your questions to me at curiousbodhi@zoho.com and find Swamini at www.discoveratma.com and on The River of Wisdom Podcast.

 

Satsang

Episode 3: Organic & Spontaneous Satsang in London

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In this episode, I share the recent insights gathered in a spontaneous Satsang, unplanned and natural. There will be more organic Satsangs in the future. A Satsang is a sacred gathering, where beings meet to come to meet Themselves, as They really are — or meet reality, as it is.

Satsangs are lacking in Western societies by and large, and non-duality is not a buzz word on the streets and isn’t ready as a conversation starter at the cocktail bar, yet they have been going on in India since time immemorial. Regardless of this notion, we can also come together in a virtual Satsang where we share from across the globe and meet non-dual awareness together no matter your country, upbringing, age, or background. Those don’t matter, because they are not who you are!

In 2012 and 2016, I sat with my guru, Mooji, in Bethnal Green in London. He taught the way of the Satsang with the help of his master, Papaji, and his master, Sri Ramana Maharshi. Mooji has shown me the light that I needed to be propelled, against all odds, to awaken to my true nature. You can, too. Here’s a preview below of a Satsang by Papaji, a wise and hilarious character, now gone beyond. Enjoy, and om namo Buddhay!