Advaita Vedanta is the name given to the most universal and purest stream of Indian philosophy. It is the name of the philosophy that seeks to know the nature of the Absolute.
Advaita Vedanta can be explained simply in the following way: most religions agree that before anything was created, before anything happened, there was only the One. After everything comes to an end, and all creation reverts back into its Source, there will also only be that One. If in the beginning there was only One, and in the end there is also only One, how can there be two in the middle? How can there be a cause other than the One?
The word Advaita means “Non-dual”; in other words the One without a second. Advaita is Reality and points to the fact that there is nothing with which it may be compared.
Vedanta is a combination of two words “Veda” and “anta”, which means “the end of knowledge.” It is that knowledge which brings an end to the quest for knowledge, that knowledge which encompasses all knowledge. That One thing, knowing which, everything becomes known.
In that sense the words Advaita and Vedanta are synonyms. Advaita is the One beyond all dualities, and Vedanta is that Knowledge which is able to contain all possible contradictions.
When one seeks to explain Advaita Vedanta, one uses words and concepts that are born of the mind. All words and concepts exist in duality, and the very intention to explain Non-duality with duality is absurd. This is why traditionally the Non-dual Truth, is described in negatives: Neti-neti, not this-not this.
A quiet, and focused mind is needed for this subtle inquiry into the nature of man. Thus yoga practices, mindfulness practices and meditation are some most valuable tools for this introspection, the dropping of beliefs and patterns that create the illusion of a personal self.
By Susie Roy, yoga teacher and Vedanta Scholar in South Africa and India. She is currently facilitating Mansoor’s visit to South Africa. For more information on his tour click here. some text has been used from Mansoor’s book – Ashtavakra Gita which can be purchased via lulu.com.
For more information about Mansoor, visit this website.