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Fool’s Parade–A Study of False Advaita

Fool's Parade – False Advaita
A study by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri)


“All that glitters is not gold,” is a maxim that can prevent a great deal of mistaken action and thought, including acceptance of ideas that on the surface appear truthful, but if examined prove utterly foolish. Many people love high-flown and seemingly spiritual–and even cosmic–statements that if accepted unquestioningly can appear to be supreme truths throughout one’s life, yet really be foolish or harmful untruths.

When I first read the teachings of the great Nath Yogi master, Sri Gajanana Maharaj of Nashik, I was struck by the way in which without rancor or negativity he spoke of false gurus and false yogas. Further, he insisted that the true yogi–who of necessity must be practicing true yoga–was fearless and unafraid of examining anything and anyone and coming to a conclusion that might be contrary to that of everyone else around him. When I began to practice Soham Yoga sadhana (see Soham Yoga: The Yoga of the Self and Light of Soham), almost immediately the anxiety and concern about my practice that I had to some degree kept with me through decades of association with false gurus and false yoga practices, simply evaporated and I knew I had found the true yogic path.

The evidence was that I became completely unafraid of looking squarely at what I had never before dared to look at with perfect honesty and application of my intelligence. As a result I came to realize that nearly all “gurus” and “masters” I had bowed before (and some I had even worshipped) were purveyors and respositories of ignorance, superstition and falsehood–all harmful and not just silly (which most were, as well). And the yogas they advocated where like themselves: false, misleading and ultimately detrimental–spiritual blindfolds and spiritual “fool’s gold.” Without careful and informed scrutiny they appeared to be the real thing, but when examined with full intent and simple good sense they were revealed to be iron, just like fool’s gold (iron pyrite). I well remember one American “guru” who visited me several times with a disciple who was a chief source of his money. Finally I got a letter from “guruji” saying, “I won’t be coming there anymore, because N. is beginning to ask questions and I don’t think I can survive.”

I recently read an article by an Indian Brahmin who had investigated quite a number of false gurus during his travels in India. One thing he observed over and over was that whenever a fake guru’s teachings broke down on the face of common sense, or the stirring of common sense in his disciples, in panic he would resort to what the author called “Advaita clichés.” And all reason would subside, for who would dare to contradict these sublime platitudes accepted for centuries as the highest truth?

But actually, anyone with an operative brain ought to examine and contradict them. And we should do so right now.

We are going to examine the first fifty-six verses Vivekachudamani–The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination–a book on Advaita Vedanta by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the greatest Advaita philosopher of India. I believe they are not authentic, but false additions to the original text, for all the subsequent verses are marvels of pure Advaita. So please understand that I am not criticizing The Vivekachudamani itself–just the illegitimate additions.

A Brief Sanskrit Glossary defines viveka as “Discrimination between the Real and the unreal, between the Self and the non-Self, between the permanent and the impermanent; right intuitive discrimination.” For the yogi aspiring to higher awareness viveka is an absolute essential, for “When he has no lust, no hatred, a man walks safely among the things of lust and hatred” (Bhagavad Gita 2:64). So let us walk safely in the jungle of delusion, illusion and deception–no matter what it may be called.

The translation I will be using is that of Swami Madhavananda which was published by Advaita Ashram in Kolkatta, and which I read over fifty years ago and swallowed whole without a single question. But not without a shadow of doubt, which has after all this time proved to be a glimmer of truth.

I will be commenting only on the first fifty-six absurd verses, that are, like most false Advaitic texts, a mixture of truth, half-truths and outright falsehoods. I truly believe they were inserted into the real Vivekachudamani sometime after the lifetime of Sri Shankara. The other, genuine verses truly are a crest-jewel of profound knowledge.

Swami Nirmalananda Giri

The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination

Before beginning this study I want to state that I absolutely believe in the non-duality of all things since all things have as their essence the non-dual Brahman. Yet, the human mind being what it is, there can always be a wrong and a right way to understand any concept or principle. Unfortunately, if people encounter any writing or speech about “Advaita” or “Non-duality” they simply bow before it and accept whatever may be said. To express doubt or disbelief would be the ultimate heresy and an indication of inveterate wrong-headiness. Consequently I am not interested in just refuting false Advaita, I am hoping to free the minds of readers so they will realize the necessity for them to detect and reject wrong and foolish ideas themselves, especially if they are coming from some “recognized” authority that merits no acceptance at all.

1. I bow to Govinda, whose nature is Bliss Supreme, who is the Sadguru, who can be known only from the import of all Vedanta, and who is beyond the reach of speech and mind.

Right here at the beginning, with the salutation to Guru Govinda, we are faced with one of the primary falsehoods of fake Advaita–and fake Bhakti as well: the Divine Guru sham.

We are told in this sentence the supposed nature of the guru who is actually usurping the place of Brahman. For only Brahman is Bliss Supreme; only Brahman is known through the experience of the import of the Vedanta; and only Brahman is beyond the reach of speech and mind. To attribute these characteristics to any other is utter folly.

The Self of each one of us is divine and possesses the qualities of Brahman as finite reflections of Brahman, as waves of the ocean, but never the ocean. Any other view is the blasphemy of charlatans and tricksters: the fake gurus who abound everywhere. And since it does Take One To Know One, fake disciples flock to the fake gurus. They deserve each other.

Now having said that, who is a true, qualified teacher? Someone who knows the way to enlightenment-liberation and is capable of teaching another person that way. That is all.

Our first-grade teachers taught us to read because they had learned to read before us. Finish. No more to be said. No teacher could make us intelligent or articulate or insightful. That had to come from within us. That is why our classmates made different grades. Some had aptitude and others did not. We all sat in classes with outstandingly intelligent and capable students, mediocre students and obviously unintelligent and even stupid ones. (Some of my classmates in the earlier grades were mentally defective.)

So we need only learn the practice of true yoga sadhana and the rest is up to us. No one need or can do it for us or make us capable of sadhana. That is either innate in us or it is not. No one can infuse it in us, though lying gurus and the lying dupe-disciples will swear on their life that it can be done, and has been done to them. This is why the sacred observation known as Vyasa Purnima has been turned from the right and proper reverence and worship of Veda Vyasa, the greatest of sages and the formulator and teacher of Sanatana Dharma in its true and divinizing form, into Guru Purnima wherein the deceived worship the deceivers.

As the memorable Doctor Bronner used to say on his product labels: Judge Only By The Results. False gurus dare not say that, but only talk about “grace” and other other mythologies. If the disciple fails, the guru says it is the disciple’s fault: he is not “attuned” or has not “surrendered” or “taken refuge” correctly. Like any worthless teacher he puts the blame on the student he has failed to show the way–because he himself does not know the way.

2. For all beings a human birth is difficult to obtain, more so is a male body; rarer than that is Brahmanahood; rarer still is the attachment to the path of Vedic religion; higher than this is erudition in the scriptures; discrimination between the Self and not-Self, Realization, and continuing in a state of identity with Brahman–these come next in order. (This kind of) Mukti (Liberation) is not to be attained except through the well-earned merits of a hundred crore of births.

The kind of mukti is not be to attained at all! Yet we have many false Advaita treatises that have three acts. In Act One the disciple asks the guru about liberation. In Act Two the guru goes on and on in platitudes and specious reasonings, presenting a thoroughly erroneous exposition of enlightenment. In Act Three the disciple declares himself enlightened and rhapsodizes about his state, often giving absurd, inflated descriptions of his attainments which, of course, he attributes to the guru. End of story.

Let us consider the steps to liberation-enlightenment according to this verse.

  1. Being born a human being.
  2. Being a male human being.
  3. Being born in the Brahmin caste.
  4. Being an adherent of Vedic religion: the Karmakhanda.
  5. Being knowledgeous of the scriptures (though which ones is not stated).
  6. Intellectually discriminating between the Self and the not-Self, even though he does not at this level know the Self–only about the Self.
  7. Continuing in a state of identity with Brahman (though how it is attained or the characteristics of that state is not stated).
  8. Moksha.

The interesting thing is that the attained moksha-liberation is declared impossible to attain except through the merits earned by the individual in ONE BILLION births. And not just ordinary births, but meritorious births. Where is jnana in all this? Where is tapasya? Where is yoga sadhana? Absent. As my stepmother used to say: Everyone who believes this stand on your head. (And a lot are standing on their heads, aren’t they?)

3. These are three things which are rare indeed and are due to the grace of God–namely, a human birth, the longing for Liberation, and the protecting care of a perfected sage.

A lot more than three things have just been listed! And longing for liberation and the protection of a siddha guru were not on the list at all.

The idea that just wanting liberation leads to liberation is folly. And more outrageous and foolish is the supposition that an aspirant needs the protection of a guru. What is needed is authentic yoga sadhana. Yoga that does not supply both protection and guidance directly to the sadhaka is false in both nature and effect.

It is interesting to observe that most “spiritual teachers” in any tradition continually say contradictory things in their teachings and their groupies never seem aware of it. Both teacher and taught are fundamentally unconscious, devoid of any real awakening, even intellectually.

4. The man who, having by some means obtained a human birth, with a male body and mastery of the Vedas to boot, is foolish enough not to exert himself for self-liberation, verily commits suicide, for he kills himself by clinging to things unreal.
5. What greater fool is there than the man who having obtained a rare human body, and a masculine body too, neglects to achieve the real end of this life?

These verses again insist that having a male body is a necessity for liberation. How odd that male sex organs should be the keys to moksha!

7. There is no hope of immortality by means of riches–such indeed is the declaration of the Vedas. Hence it is clear that works cannot be the cause of Liberation.

I agree with this totally, but why in verse 2 were we told of the necessity for “merits of a hundred crores of births”? This is double-speak produced by double-think, a precarious state of mind indeed.

8. Therefore the man of learning should strive his best for Liberation, having renounced his desire for pleasures from external objects, duly approaching a good and generous preceptor, and fixing his mind on the truth inculcated by him.

Moksha comes through awakening into the Self alone, not through fixing the mind on “truth” taught by a teacher. And that awakening comes only through the practice of true sadhana by the yogi.

9. Having attained the Yogarudha state, one should recover oneself, immersed in the sea of birth and death by means of devotion to right discrimination.

Yogarudha means establishment in yoga. And that is sufficient, for only yoga sadhana leads to liberation. What need is there for “devotion to right discrimination” which will arise of itself through continuance in the yogarudha state?

This kind of circular writing is a prime characteristic of the confusion in the minds of those who expound fake Advaita and fake yoga practices. It reminds me of the incident when a man I knew went to visit the best-known guru in California back before the Yoga Boom of the late sixties. When he said that he was a disciple of another, newly-arrived guru that taught another type of mediation, the guru exploded in anger and shouted at him: “Who ever heard of the idea that liberation can come from practice of a technique? All you need is love! NOW GET OUT!”

10. Let the wise and erudite man, having commenced the practice of the realization of the Atman give up all works and try to cut loose the bonds of birth and death.

This is supremely idiotic. No authentic sadhaka will stop all positive and purifying actions, because they are the requisites for successful yoga sadhana! Here we see how a false guru insists that no discipline or “giving up” of anything is needful to be a successful yogi. If negative actions are not abandoned and positive actions engaged in, it is impossible to practice yoga sadhana which alone cuts loose the bonds of birth and death. Certainly, the abandonment of negative acts and the engaging in positive acts is not in any way self-sufficient in attaining freedom from birth and death, but it it absolutely necessary to successfully practice yoga sadhana.

Of this and so much of fake Advaita we can truly say: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

11. Work leads to purification of the mind, not to perception of the Reality. The realization of Truth is brought about by discrimination and not in the least by ten million of acts.

Realization is not brought about by discrimination, vital as that is, but by constant practice of yoga sadhana which requires purification in deed and thought. So this verse is both a lie and a truth put together. A person of true viveka (discrimination between true and false) will reject it.

12. By adequate reasoning the conviction of the reality about the rope is gained, which puts an end to the great fear and misery caused by the snake worked up in the deluded mind.

The example of a person’s thinking in the darkness that he sees a rope and thinks it is a snake is commonly cited in relation to illusion and its dispelling. But the example never says that the person just pauses and thinks it over and figures out intellectually that the “snake” is a rope. Rather, he either brings a light or goes closer and examines it. His perception puts an end to his delusion–not “adequate reasoning” alone. Here again we see the necessity for sadhana, since yoga alone dispels illusion and delusion. Just as we must see the rope for what it is, we must perceive and experience the Self through yoga. There is no other way.

This verse demonstrates that false Advaita is based on mere intellect and not on direct experience, and thus is itself avidya maya–delusion arising from ignorance.

13. The conviction of the Truth is seen to proceed from reasoning upon the salutary counsel of the wise, and not by bathing in the sacred waters, nor by gifts, nor by a hundred Pranayamas (control of the vital force).

Here again is the false idea that mere reasoning is the door to insight and that reasoning about the “counsel of the wise” leads to true knowledge (jnana), which actually is attained only through knowledge-experience of the Self by a yogi.

It is obvious that the author of this text was not a yogi at all, otherwise he would have known from his own perception produced by his sadhana that to bath in sacred rivers has great benefit. For our bodies are mostly water, and contact with sacred water enables us to absorb into our subtle levels the subtle energies in the water. No conscious yogi can deny the tremendous benefit of bathing in the Ganges, and especially in the Triveni where the Saraswati, Jumna and Ganges rivers come together at Rudra Prayag. I was not much of a yogi, but the first time I saw the Ganges on the first day I arrived in India, I nearly fell in because I saw that it was only superficially water, but was really Divine Consciousness flowing by. When I saw the Ganges I saw God.

I am sure the author of this collection of delusions was also one of those I Never Go To Temple types of “Advaitins.” How wise in their ignorance!

15. Hence the seeker after the Reality of the Atman should take to reasoning, after duly approaching the Guru–who should be the best of the knowers of Brahman, and an ocean of mercy.

No. The seeker should flee for his life from contact with someone who teaches that reasoning and a guru are guarantees of true knowledge and liberation, when the truth is just the opposite. Reasoning and false gurus lead to delusion and bondage.

16. An intelligent and learned man skilled in arguing in favor of the Scriptures and in refuting counter-arguments against them–one who has got the above characteristics is the fit recipient of the knowledge of the Atman.

Give me a break. The mind-gaming exalted here is sure path away from the truth. The only one that is a “fit recipient of the knowledge of the Atman” is an adept yogi. For knowledge of the Atman comes from yoga sadhana alone, not from being “an intelligent and learned man skilled in arguing in favor of the Scriptures and in refuting counter-arguments against them.” What outrageous nonsense this is! Truly this author “speaks emptiness from an empty heart.”

17. The man who discriminates between the Real and the unreal, whose mind is turned away from the unreal, who possesses calmness and the allied virtues, and who is longing for Liberation, is alone considered qualified to enquire after Brahman.

Anyone who is able to enquire after Brahman is qualified to enquire after Brahman. And his inquiry will succeed only through the only way to Realization: Yoga.

18. Regarding this, sages have spoken of four means of attainment, which alone being present, the devotion to Brahman succeeds, and in the absence of which, it fails.
19. First is enumerated discrimination between the Real and the unreal; next comes aversion to the enjoyment of fruits (of one’s actions) here and hereafter; (next is) the group of six attributes, viz. calmness and the rest; and (last) is clearly the yearning for Liberation.

None of these attributes can arise in anyone who is not a yogi. The author truly is a Cart Before the Horse thinker, but a boon to those who wish to avoid life-and-consciousness-changing yoga sadhana: those who talk but never walk.

20. A firm conviction of the mind to the effect that Brahman is real and the universe unreal, is designated as discrimination (Viveka) between the Real and the unreal.

This is true, but only a yogi is capable of these things.

This author reminds me of the authors of Catholic catechisms that categorically state that one becomes a knower of God by reading their catechisms!

21. Vairagya or renunciation is the desire to give up all transitory enjoyments (ranging) from those of an (animate) body to those of Brahmahood (having already known their defects) from observation, instruction and so forth.

No. Vairagya comes only by the clarification of the mind and intellect and the resulting revelation of the inner consciousness that is the Self. And that comes through yoga alone.

22. The resting of the mind steadfastly on its Goal (viz. Brahman) after having detached itself from manifold sense-objects by continually observing their defects, is called Shama or calmness.

Thai Buddhists are told to meditate on the defects of sensual objects, especially the sexually appealing human body, in order to free themselves from attraction to them. Yet a Thai Buddhist abbot spoke to us of the silliness of such a counsel, saying he had once visited an autopsy room in a morgue whose walls were covered with pornographic photos! What does not work does not work.

Addicts who know the destructive nature of the things they are addicted to are not at all thereby enabled to rid themselves of addiction. I grew up with weepy penitents who “knew” they should reform and reject their various addictions and who could eloquently denounce themselves and the objects of their addiction with fervor. IT DID NO GOOD. This verse just advocates more mind-gaming, which is an admittance of spiritual bankruptcy–an admittance the author should have made many centuries ago and not written this foolish book.

Let’s face realities: The author of these interpolated verses believes in everything the leads away from the Self, but not that which leads to the Self: Yoga. His teachings are a sure guarantee of remaining in ignorance and bondage, and therefore loved by those who intend to remain in them. Sri Ramakrishna told about a magician who used to say throughout his act before doing a trick: “Come delusion! Come confusion!” That is the magic formula of contemporary “Advaita teachers.”

23. Turning both kinds of sense-organs away from sense-objects and placing them in their respective centers, is called Dama or self-control. The best Uparati or self-withdrawal consists in the mind-function ceasing to be affected by external objects.

As my no-nonsence, down-to-earth friend, Joe Davenport used to say which confronted with such statements: “Well Gooooolleeeee!!!” This verse is like a part of a Monty Python sketch in which the viewers were told that later in the program they would be told how to play the flute. When the time came, the instruction was to blow through one end of the flute while moving the fingers around the holes. This verse is the same thing. It is like saying: “The way to be liberated is to be completely free.” Why do people tolerate this stuff? As one of Milarepa’s songs says as a refrain: “Examine your mind; then there may be hope for you.”

25. Acceptance by firm judgment as true of what the Scriptures and the Guru instruct, is called by sages Shraddha or faith, by means of which the Reality is perceived.

Here we go again. This is no better than the silly ditty we used to sing over and over again in the church I belonged to: “Only believe. Only believe. All things are possible. Only believe.” Just believe in the Bhagavad Gita? Just believe in the Upanishads… the Puranas… the Itihasas? Billions in the history of the world have believed false political, social and religious philosophies. They had faith. And nothing else but eventual disillusion.

26. Not the mere indulgence of thought (in curiosity) but the constant concentration of the intellect (or the affirming faculty) on the ever-pure Brahman, is what is called Samadhana or self-settledness.

Concentration of the mind on the idea of Brahman gets us nothing but entanglement in more thoughts. Involvement with concepts leads nowhere. What a noble name for an ignoble counsel.

28. Even though torpid or mediocre, this yearning for Freedom, through the grace of the guru, may bear fruit (being developed) by means of Vairagya (renunciation), Shama (calmness), and so on.

Mumukshutwa, yearning for liberation, arises only from within after countless lives of evolution. The only guru, God, has implanted this yearning with us, but it surfaces only after a long evolutionary journey. It never comes from any external teacher, though a momentary enthusiasm or mental attraction may be produced by the words of someone external to us.

31. Among things conducive to Liberation, devotion (Bhakti) holds the supreme place. The seeking after one’s real nature is designated as devotion.

If we understand bhakti as total dedication to the pursuit of liberation, then all is well. But if we consider bhakti as an emotional “devotion” we are total astray. As Swami Sivananda said many times: “Emotion is not devotion.”

32. Others maintain that the inquiry into the truth of one’s own self is devotion. The inquirer about the truth of the Atman who is possessed of the above-mentioned means of attainment should approach a wise preceptor, who confers emancipation from bondage.

Nothing and no one confers liberation but the total awakening into our own Self.

33. Who is versed in the Vedas, sinless, unsmitten by desire and a knower of Brahman par excellence, who has withdrawn himself into Brahman; who is calm, like fire that has consumed its fuel, who is a boundless reservoir of mercy that knows no reason, and a friend of all good people who prostrate themselves before him.

Countless expositions of the the path to enlightenment insist that knowledge of the Vedas counts for absolutely nothing. A knower of Brahman is a friend to all without distinction–not only a friend of “good” people who prostrate before him.” Here we see that ego remains paramount.

34. Worshipping that Guru with devotion, and approaching him, when he is pleased with prostration, humility and service, (he) should ask him what he has got to know:

The guru is to be groveled before and adored, and “when he is pleased with prostration, humility and service,” then he can be questioned. Why even remain in the presence of such a demanding ego? And what about “unconditional love”? God alone is worthy of worship.

35. O Master, O friend of those that bow to you, yourself ocean of mercy, I bow to you; save me, fallen as I am into this sea of birth and death, with a straightforward glance of your eye, which sheds nectar-like grace supreme.

The statement that a master teacher is a friend of those that bow to him is ridiculous. A true teacher is the friend of all, those that bow and those that do not bow. And if he is consulted, he will say that he prefers that no one bows to him in the sense of prostration. To clearly see the characteristics of a worthy spiritual teacher, see the perfect example of Sri Gajanana Maharaj of Nashik in Light of Soham.

36. Save me from death, afflicted as I am by the unquenchable fire of this world-forest, and shaken violently by the winds of an untoward lot, terrified and (so) seeking refuge in you, for I do not know of any other man with whom to seek shelter.

We have only one savior: our Self, which we must realize in its fulness, which includes the mantric form of the Self: Soham. For as Sri Gajanana Maharaj said, “The mantra Soham is the sole savior.” There is no man whatsoever with whom we should “seek shelter.” Soham sadhana alone brings deliverance from bondage. Blessed are those who find a teacher who will tell them this. But their salvation (liberation; moksha) will come only from their Soham sadhana. There is no other savior.

37. There are good souls, calm and magnanimous, who do good to others as does the spring, and who, having themselves crossed this dreadful ocean of birth and death, help others also to cross the same, without any motive whatsoever.

This is true. But they are not those who are described in this book.

39. O Lord, with your nectar-like speech, sweetened by the enjoyment of the elixir-like bliss of Brahman, pure, cooling to a degree, issuing in streams from your lips as from a pitcher, and delightful to the ear–do yourself sprinkle me who am tormented by worldly afflictions as by the tongues of a forest-fire. Blessed are those on whom even a passing glance of your eye lights, accepting them as your own.

Anyone who likes to be spoken to like this is mentally and spiritually ill. Such say things like the following:

43. Fear not, O learned one, there is no death for you; there is a means of crossing this sea of relative existence; that very way by which sages have gone beyond it, I shall inculcate to you.
44. There is a sovereign means which puts an end to the fear of relative existence; through that yourself will cross the sea of Samsara and attain the supreme bliss.
45. Reasoning on the meaning of the Vedanta leads to efficient knowledge, which is immediately followed by the total annihilation of the misery born of relative existence.

Here we are back at the mind and mere intellectual gymnastics. It is like being lost in a forest and wandering around in a circle. Two friends of mine met an official of the Aurobindo Ashram who was visiting the United States. They went on a retreat with him, and when they came back home they told me that he was continually speaking of “the yoga of Sri Aurobindo.” When they asked him what that yoga was, he told them, “The teachings of Sri Aurobindo.” When they asked him what the teachings of Sri Aurobindo were, he answered, “The yoga of Sri Aurobindo.” And this round-and-round persisted through the entire retreat. It is the same here. As a friend of mine one said about “the secret teachings” of a yoga cult, “The secret teaching is that there is no secret teaching!”

47. It is verily through the touch of Ignorance that yourself who art the Supreme Self findest yourself under the bondage of the non-Self, whence alone proceeds the round of births and deaths. The fire of knowledge, kindled by the discrimination between these two, burns up the effects of Ignorance together with their root.

Thinking does not make anything so. The “fire of knowledge” is the knowledge that comes from direct experience of the Self. And that is gained only through sadhana. This is the truth. Everything else is nonsense and deception.

50. The Guru replied: Blessed art you yourself ! You have achieved your life’s end and have sanctified your family, that yourself wish to attain Brahmanhood by getting free from the bondage of Ignorance!

The first part of this verse is a reference to the idea that he who seeks and attains liberation purifies and liberates seven generations of his family before him and seven generations that come after him. This assertion is supremely idiotic and is made solely because the families of those who seek the Self usually do everything they can to prevent his search because it entails renunciation. So it is hoped that this promise will make them want him to take up the search and persevere. It never works that way. “Let the neighbor’s boy do it!” is the conclusion.

It amazes me that for over two thousand years people have read this stuff and considered it the highest wisdom. As a high official of Ramakrishna Mission once asked a monk of the Mission in the presence of two monks of our ashram: “Brain Out?”

51. A father has got his sons and others to free him from his debts, but he has got none but himself to remove his bondage.
52. Trouble such as that caused by a load on the head can be removed by others, but none but one’s own self can put a stop to the pain which is caused by hunger and the like.
53. The patient who takes (the proper) diet and medicine is alone seen to recover completely–not through work done by others.
54. The true nature of things is to be known personally, through the eye of clear illumination, and not through a sage: what the moon exactly is, is to be known with one’s own eyes; can others make him know it?
55. Who but one’s own self can get rid of the bondage caused by the fetters of Ignorance, desire, action and the like, aye even in a hundred crore of cycles?
56. Neither by Yoga, nor by Sankhya, nor by work, nor by learning, but by the realization of one’s identity with Brahman is Liberation possible, and by no other means.

Now after all the nonsense we have examined, suddenly good sense appears–sense which contradicts all that has gone before. This, I believe is evidence that the previous verses were interpolated into Vivekachudamani. Especially note the words: “The true nature of things is to be known personally, through the eye of clear illumination, and not through a sage.” This contradicts the previous assertions and grovelings. The last verse refers to the philosophies of Yoga and Sankhya, not actual sadhana.

So the fools parade has come to an end. From now on in Vivechudamani there is only the true, highest wisdom. I urge you to obtain a copy and study it carefully and keep it with you always.

All writings on Advaita must be approached with caution and without any fear of pronouncing ignorance to be ignorance, and error to be error.

The fundamental wisdom still is:

“Therefore be a yogi.”
(Bhagavad Gita 6:46)

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