Roles of a Teacher

Teacher by Valerie Everett

By role of a teacher here, I mean the role they play in our spiritual journey rather than how they may position or present themselves as a teacher. A true teaching emphasizes practical application and direct experience, with the understanding to support that. If it’s just philosophy, it may only make the mind stronger. Understanding should be to serve the path, not be the path. (Yes, Gyani‘s have an emphasis on understanding, but direct experience is still the core path. Otherwise, it’s just mind.) For someone to have the role of a spiritual teacher for us, there is what I … Continue Reading…

Bhedābheda Vedānta

Vedanta Temple Bell by Ray Sawhill

Vedanta means the end of the Veda or final knowledge and is the last of the 6 systems of Indian Philosophy (Yoga is the 4th). We also know these systems as the Vedanga or subordinate limbs (to the core books of the Veda) and as the Darshana. The core text of Vedanta is the Brahma Sutra of Bādarāyaṇa. The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita are also generally considered Vedantic texts. But like any older philosophy, it has drifted into mind and concepts and then to distinct schools of interpretation. There are three primary schools of Vedanta with many sub-branches. The … Continue Reading…

True Victory

Recently, a friend sent me a quote from Swami Brahmananda Sarawati, a famous Shankaracharya from the Shankara lineage. He was the teacher of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and some other well-known teachers. I was not able to determine the source of this quote or who translated it but I have seen reliable sources who quoted him saying somewhat similar things. I thought it insightful enough to share in any case. “Real victory is that, after which there can never be a reverse. Nobody can call himself a victor forever merely by crushing an external foe, because such foes can spring up … Continue Reading…

What is Nonduality?

What is Nonduality?

Recently, this article rolled out and I thought it might be suitable for the SAND web site. I’m giving the stages talk at their conference this fall. They agreed and the article goes live next Wednesday but I’m sharing it with you here first. Today is Guru Purnima, the year’s most auspicious full moon, where one honours one’s spiritual teacher with gratitude. Guru is the remover of darkness. It is also said to be the birthday of the renowned sage Vyasa (meaning to divide or edit). He assembled the various books of the Veda in written form, the way we … Continue Reading…

The Illusion of Consciousness

In the process of shifting from being a me, identified with a body-mind, and becoming Atman, the cosmic Self, there is a series of stages. I typically describe this in terms of stages of development in consciousness. Shifts in how consciousness is self-aware locally. Adi Shankara described this process in a slightly different way that I’ve mentioned here several times. That is in terms of the dominant guna of our body-mind. This is more about the Shakti or feminine side of the process, unlike the more masculine consciousness-based approach. More of an emphasis on embodiment. As described before, when Tamas … Continue Reading…