Introduction To Non-Duality (Advaita)

What I am about to tell you is not the truth but merely a concept. This concept is not a teaching or a philosophy but simply a pointer to something that cannot be known, conceptualized or explained in any way.

If something is unknowable, why bother talking about it? And the answer is that unknowable is your true nature. It is your essence. It is your aliveness. It is the unconditional love that you have been seeking for ages. Whether you know it or not, you have been seeking it forever. 

All of your desires, whether it be wanting a loving partner, money, fame, adulation, validation, and so on, arise from the lack of understanding of your true nature. All the confusion about life, conflicts in relationships, and never-ending suffering stem from this spiritual lack.

You chase for love and validation in the futile hope of completing yourself, not knowing that you already are what you seek. With the understanding of this concept, your seeking for love in the external world comes to an end, and what descends on you is peace with the unconditional acceptance of your true nature. 

It is not the temporary pleasant sensation we experience while doing a workout, yoga, or meditation. The nature of this peace is such that the mind remains unperturbed irrespective of the external circumstances.

Once you know the concept, three things are likely to happen: either you’ll accept the message given in the concept, or you’ll reject it altogether and move on, or you’ll keep exploring the concept in depth. In any case, once you have “heard” the message, it is likely to bring peace into your life at some point in time.

What Is The Concept?

The concept is that there’s one boundless energy that pervades everything known and unknown. 

It is called by many names: ONE, source, pure awareness, pure consciousness, God, infinite mind, spiritual heart, SELF, Brahman, unknowable, nothingness, empty fullness, wholeness, impersonal presence, unicity, etc.

Traditional scriptures use the Sanskrit word Advaita to describe this energy. It means one without the second. It is non-dual. We’ll stick to two conventions for simplification: boundless energy and source.

The source does not have any attributes. It cannot be conceptualized or imagined in any way. It is not knowable. It is “Nothing” and everything at the same time. Both the known and unknown arise from the unknowable. 

The difference between unknown and “unknowable” is that the unknown has the probability of becoming known in the future. But the unknowable cannot be known.

This boundless energy is the potential, which at some point actualizes and creates the illusion of movement. This movement is the manifestation of space and time in which the physical universe is seen as an appearance.

Please note that I use the word “create,” which is highly inaccurate, but I don’t have a suitable word to describe this phenomenon. The source (unicity) projects itself into many (multiplicity). 

The “nothing” shines as everything, which we see as the world of names and forms. The boundless energy in the manifestation creates trillions of creatures where humans are one species of objects amongst many others.

When you build sandcastles on the beach, the fundamental building block of all the sandcastles is the sand, so the sand is projected as another form (sandcastle). The sand is the material cause or reality behind what appears as the sandcastle. 

However, the above analogy is not entirely accurate because, unlike the sand, the universe is not formed by the particles of the boundless energy. The ONE or source or boundless energy is not composed of particles or lower subforms. It is formless. It is dimensionless.

The ONE appears as the subatomic particles, which further create the appearance of the physical universe through geometrical arrangements or bonding.

In the creation process, the source creates multiple contracted energies that appear as mind-body organisms. In every mind-body organism, there arises an “I-thought” that binds itself to the objects of its perception.

The notion of “I am an individual” that exists as a separate entity is the illusion that creates separation between the source and the individual. This separation is suffering—the greater the separation, the greater the suffering.

The individual thinking itself to be separate from the source craves love, happiness, fulfillment, and peace in the external world by accumulating material objects. Therefore, it goes on a quest for material fulfillment.

But even after acquiring everything and fulfilling all desires, the individual remains unhappy. Despite the best facilities available, it experiences a sense of lack on the inside. It is troubled by the continuous thinking of the mind. It feels aggravated by incessant restlessness and irritation.

Now it wants to know the cause of its unhappiness, so it decides to renounce worldly pleasures and go for spiritual discovery. But even there, the individual finds no peace. 

It sees division in the spiritual world in the form of religions, groups, organizations, and sects, where one group or religion claims superiority over the other. The scriptures are confusing, and the teachings are dogmatic. There is unnecessary bickering over trivial matters. It witnesses the same conflicts in the spiritual world as it saw in the material world.

How Does This Concept Bring Peace?

The message is that the individual that thinks of itself as existing in the world of names and forms as a separate entity IS NOT REAL.

Initially, this message feels shocking, radical, and extremely disturbing. It is an awful message for the individual immersed in duality relentlessly chasing after pleasures and avoiding pain. The reality of the individual is nothing but the dream of the source that we call the waking reality. 

In this dream, the source creates numerous finite minds with their own stories. The suffering comes from attachment to these stories in the form of identifications with concepts, beliefs, and ideologies.

I am so and so. I support this political organization. I am religious. I am a socialist. I am a capitalist. I am an activist. I identify with this particular gender. I suffered a lot in the past. I am depressed. And the story goes on and on, strengthening the sense of personal identification.

If identification with concepts creates suffering, why are you giving me this message? Isn’t this another concept? Yes, it is. But the thing is that the message contained in this concept destroys all other concepts and is also self-destructive.

When this message goes deep into your consciousness, it destroys your sense of personal identification or what you call “me.” Things continue to happen as before, but there’s no individual with its stories. With the identifications gone, who’s there to suffer?

Okay, if I don’t exist, who feels pain and suffering? Nobody. The feeling of pain arises in awareness. What converts that pain into suffering is the ownership of the pain by the individual, “I am feeling the pain.” 

The awareness does not belong to the individual. It is simply the space where physical and mental objects manifest. The individual creates suffering by claiming ownership of the awareness, “the pain comes up in my awareness.” The awareness, however, is impersonal.

The suffering is not real because it is not your continuous experience. There is no pain or suffering in deep sleep, but there is an awareness of the absence of the personal self.

So what is your continuous experience? Peace. In deep sleep, peace is all there is. In the waking state, suffering gets superimposed on the peace that is your true nature.

But I Still Need To Pay My Bills

I’m not saying that you as the person will disappear from the world. No. The person or individual continues in the world, but with the higher awareness that “you” are much more than the finite physical entity you imagine yourself to be. You are the source. You are the boundless energy. And there is no separation. That’s what the message is.

You don’t disappear. What disappears is the suffering, fully knowing that the flow of life is NOT in the individual’s control. The consequence of this spiritual understanding is that you start accepting yourself for who you are and with all your flaws and imperfections.

The perceived you are a character on the screen of consciousness. You are the screen. You’re not the character. The character has flaws. The character can undoubtedly work on self-improvement or personal development, but it is merely a character nonetheless.

So this message does not make you into a better person because “better” is just an idea in mind. All it does is bring peace which remains undisturbed by external events. 

Things like paying bills, loans, mortgages, etc., continue to happen without the individual’s involvement—the fear of “what will happen if I don’t do this or that” disappears. 

You continue to live your life as earlier but with the realization that you’re neither the doer of actions nor the receiver of consequences. Actions happen through the mind-body organism, and corresponding consequences – good or bad, also happen. Therefore, the seriousness or involvement in things is reduced.

But all of this so-called happening is just an appearance on the screen of consciousness or pure awareness. You are ONE watching the movie.

How Can I Merge Into The Bliss And Become One With The Source?

The fact that you, as the individual or the limited self or the contracted energy, are trying to merge into the boundless energy keeps the separation alive. In other words, seeking itself becomes the misery of the seeker. 

Therefore, salvation lies at the end of seeking and not in merging with the source. You can’t merge into yourself. However, the mind continues to question and tries to find ways, methods, tips, and tricks, to find liberation. Despite your best efforts, you are unable to find peace.

So what’s the solution?

At some point, when it is the Will of the source, the message reaches deep, which annihilates the ego and its sense of doership. The individual has no control over when this happens. The individual realizing its false existence gives up the search to become one with the source. It is then that true spiritual understanding comes about.

There is no particular method or practice that can guarantee spiritual awakening. It happens when it has to happen. What helps is the investigation into the nature of the mind, where the individual investigates its identifications with thoughts, feelings, ideas, and beliefs.

What Is Your Role In All of This?

My role is simply to point you to that eternal truth. I’m not a guru. I’m not a messenger of the divine. I’m merely a signboard. You have to evaluate the concept and come to a conclusion based on your personal experience.

I’m willing to guide you in this process through my articles, videos, books, and more. Feel free to get in touch if you need clarification on concepts. There’s lots of information on this website that you can go through. 

My peace of mind happens when I help you discover yours. That is the role that I’m committed to fulfilling without any expectations. Whether my efforts will or will not bring you peace is not in my control.

As you investigate further and go deep into the concept, your own experience will bring the understanding, and at some point, the sense of personal identification will dissolve into the bliss of pure awareness.

Some essays on non-duality

  1. The Essence of Non-Duality
  2. The Bliss of Nothingness
  3. Ego is the Master of Deception
  4. Annihilation of Ego.
  5. The Ultimate Nature of Reality
  6. The Pain of Spiritual Awakening
  7. Spiritual Enlightenment Is Not An Experience
  8. Sat-Chit-Anand

Some Videos On Non-Duality

Do You Want To GAIN a Deeper Understanding of Non-duality?

Feel free to check out my e-book – The End of Me & My Story. It’s a comprehensive resource containing a collection of thought-provoking essays on non-dual teachings. For additional clarifications or queries regarding the concept, feel free to ask me.