Is This Advaita or What???

December 25, 2006

Someone asked recently if our institute is teaching Advaita. That is not an easy question to answer. Because one could say yes, and be correct. And one could say no, and also be correct. 


Let us say that we are teaching a unique, multimodal approach to the living realization of the nondual nature of our true Reality. Our approach values the struggles and victories (and the apparent losses as well) that make up the path toward the ultimate realization as well as the goal, the unitive realization itself. Perhaps the best description of the Sat Yoga Approach is to call it Advaita+ (Advaita plus a map of the levels of consciousness leading from the conflictual multiplicity of ego-consciousness to the realization of the Supreme Reality plus a variety of processes designed to bring about such transformation).


Perhaps the major drawback of ordinary Advaita is the underestimation of the power of the ego to appropriate the discourse of nonduality for its own covert narcissistic agenda, and the lack of sufficiently powerful means to depotentiate the ego and release its hold upon consciousness. Sat Yoga offers a methodology to ensure that the ego cannot continue its parasitic possession of our being. To realize the truth that underlies its verbal representation in Advaita discourse, we require a methodology that ensures that our spiritual guides actually walk the walk, not simply talk the talk.


Moreover, in order to break through the bedrock of the ego’s narrative construction, we must develop the skills of deep listening, of listening with the third ear, as the psychoanalyst Theodor Reik felicitously phrased it. This practice enables us to overcome the blind spots in our conscious awareness, and to help others go beyond theirs. In the practice of meditation, along the way toward achieving sahaja samadhi, or nisarga samadhi, as we term it—the natural state of nondual awareness, of inner silence and presence that remains constant throughout the day and night, throughout the states of waking, dream, and deep sleep—many phenomena of imperience (as opposed to experience) may arise. The