Concept of personal God and Advaita

Subrahmanian, Sundararaman V [IT] sundararaman.v.subrahmanian at CITIGROUP.COM
Thu May 23 10:08:47 CDT 2002

Dear Ms. Stephanie Stean,

Kindly accept my apologies for very terse statements that are not
self-explanatory.  I was in a hurry and just wanted to contribute my
thoughts.  I guess, I should write such posts only when I have the time to
sit through and write a decent explanation.  Also, even though my statements
are in the affirmative, it only represents my current level of
understanding.  Having said that, the following is the explanation of the
statement I made:

Realization is not an "experience" in the normal usage of the word - unless
it has been used with an implied meaning.  Every experience has a beginning
and hence will have an end.  What advaita is pointing out to the seeker is
not an experience of brahman, but the true identity of the experiencer.  The
Self(Atman) illuminates all experiences in all three states of existence.

"aham asmi sadA bhAmi..." - "I" always exist and shine forever (as the
illuminator of everything)

"mayyEvodEti chidvyomni jagat gandharva pattanam" - It is in "ME" (do all
experiences) arise like clouds (approx) in the sky.

All experiences "I am tall", "I am a hero", "I am hungry", "I worship", "I
love God" - all are possible only because of the awareness that makes these
experiences known.  Advaita is a quest for that awareness.  And this quest
is not an achievement, but a realization of that which has always been
existing.  Every experience is an "awareness" of something.  Every cognition
is an "awareness" of something.  But there is nothing like awareness of
awareness (will lead to infinite regression).  That is why awareness is not

Regarding your comments about the need for scriptures, I have the following
to say:

One thing for sure is that, one cannot stumble upon one's self, since the
stumbler is what we are interested.  That is why somebody (Guru) has to tell
you that "you are brahman".  Of course he does not have to say it in
Sanskrit, he can say it in English as well.  Vedantic texts incorporate in
them various methodologies to correct erroneous notions about oneself and
lead one in a step by step manner towards what one really is.  Each text has
a methodology: Chandogya uses sR^shTi prakriya, Taitiriya uses panchakoSa
prakriya etc.  Vedanta leads one from wrong notions to correct knowledge.

I hope I have clarified my statement.  Your corrections/comments are


-----Original Message-----
From: Stephanie Stean [mailto:cerebral_rose at MAC.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 8:25 PM
Subject: Re: Concept of personal God and Advaita


I'm unsure of your intent with this comment.

>"Special" Experiences are not a means of knowledge of Self according to
> traditional view point.
> True realization is to know that there is only Self in every experience
> (mundane and special - ie., eating, walking, reading, writing and
> samAdhi).

Before I reply, if you could clarify your posting and what you wanted to
communicate.  Thank you.

And Ashish, to answer your question:

Let me begin by saying that I don't practice or belong to any faith or
religion.  I do not want to give you the wrong idea about myself.  As I said
before, I read to see the knowledge and understanding of others.  I joined
this list to learn more about advaita.  I've only recently become familiar
with this term.

As for describing the experiences: I have no words.  I hoped others did, but
of course, that is not the case.  I do not consider myself to have "special
experiences."  I don't think having just special experience would give me
the knowledge I have and allow me to connect with the scriptures at the
depth that I do.
And as for liberation, I know I have not reached that point yet.  I have
just begun to stop doubting myself and truly explore what it happening.

I wish I could describe to you what I see.  It's even hard for me to write
this much.  I guess I continue reading in hopes that all will make sense to
me eventually.  I have no teacher, so most of my studies and exploration are
done on my own.  And this can be scary.

I'm sorry to not be able to explain more than that.



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