That Which Is: By Harsha (Harsh K. Luthar, Ph.D.)


Image courtesy of Dana Cocchiarella (2002)

The Self

Stay where you are. See where you are. Look, without looking away, from where the Look emanates. The Guru is Grace. Always Present As Your Own Self. When infatuation with words, methods, technique, and practice drops in awareness, attention becomes automatically focused on its Source with utterly overwhelming power. The Self Is Realized as Complete and Total Immediacy that is not different than where you already are and who you already are.



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The Self-from Panchadashi

Here are the translated verses from Panchadashi by Swami Vidyaranya regarding the above subject:

“As the Self is itself the nature of experience only, It cannot be an object of experience. Since there is no experiencer nor any experience other than It, the self is UNKNOWABLE – not because It does not exist but because It cannot be an object of experience.” 3-13

“How can that, by which the whole universe is known, be known by anything else? By what can the knower be known? The mind etc., the instruments of knowledge, can know their own percepts only.” 3-17

“The Self knows all that is knowable. There is no one to know It. It is consciousness or knowledge itself and is different from both the known and the unknown.” 3-18

“If you ask what sort of thing the Self is, then we reply that the Self cannot be described as being ‘this’ or ‘that’. It cannot be conceived as being ‘like this’ or ‘like that’; so take it as your own real nature.” 3-26

“Though it cannot be made an object of knowledge, the Self is still felt very directly. So it must be self revealing. Existence, Consciousness and infinity, the indications used for Brahman, are all present here also (in the Self).” 3-28

“Existence is what cannot be negated. If the Self which is the witness of the perishable world becomes perishable, then who will be the witness to the fact of its perishability? For destruction without a witness of it cannot be postulated.” 3-29

Translated by Swami Swahananda

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Image courtesy of Amanda (2001)

Seeing and Being

These are my usual thoughts in terms of speaking of That which cannot be captured by experience (in the normal sense of the word), as That It Self is the foundation of experience as well as experience itself. To abide in That, as we are, there is no need to seek experience. When preoccupied with the world, the self esteem of people is connected with their material well being. God bless them. When preoccupied with spirituality, the self esteem of people becomes at times connected with their spiritual or psychic experiences. God bless them. And yet the Recognition and the Abidance in the Primal Being is a Total and Radical departure from the normal way of seeing and doing and experiencing. It Is Seeing prior to any seeing and doing. It is Being Love prior to being loving and loved. It is prior to all experience. Yet, there is no time, it is not experienced. It is not different than you. Here is a stanza from one of my love poems.

Still and Silent I have kept

Loved you very quietly

from a distance while you slept

Know that one day this love of mine

will overtake; it must!

Nothing much I can do because

inevitably this Heart will burst

Being much too full for too long

with unsung lullabies and songs

But I am only too content

to just let it go like that.

Lots of love


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Image courtesy of Dana Cocchiarella (2002)

That Which Is

The difference is only in the words, not in the experience or in understanding of sages whose insight reaches the depth of the Heart. The diversity and unity are seen to be the same in the highest stage. Because most teachers speak from the understanding of partial truth and hence ignorance, they are overpowered by doubt. Spiritual insecurity leads to taking of hard positions, and attempting to defend the indefensible. Hence, arguments and strife is the inevitable result between religions and gurus and religious teachers. Are they not victims of their own immaturity? Blind leading the blind is truly the center of the spiritual circus.

The debate on who has the ultimate truth is a false debate. The debate on what are the proper words to describe the ultimate reality (Self or Shunya or Buddha Nature) is predicated on not having the True Insight. It is a false debate without any foundation! Truth cannot be possessed by any tradition, religion, country, person, guru, etc. When we speak of Buddha Nature or the Original Nature, do we speak of nothingness or NO-Thing-Ness? The Original Face is the Heart. It is empty of all things, concepts, images, relationships, and is the end of all experiences. Yet, time and space are born from it and the mind with the tendency to experience and imagine sprouts from there. The Original Nature Is Truly the Fullness of Emptiness. It Is the Mother that gives rise to all things. It is the Womb from which the Universe is born.

All these notions of no-self and self and Buddha nature are concepts only and empty in themselves without any meaning whatsoever other than what we give it. In order to communicate, words have to be used to indicate the experience of Reality. What ever term one uses to describe THAT, It Is What It is. Call it God, God Consciousness, or the Self, or the non-self or Shunya or Buddha Nature, The Mother, The Great Way, etc. It Is That What Has Always Been Here. What Is That, That Is Always With You. Is it anything different from you?



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Image courtesy of Dana Cocchiarella (2002)

Interpretation and Perception

Ultimately the mystery of existence is tied to the mystery of perception. What is it that we are truly able to perceive without interpretation? Whatever must be given interpretation is necessarily going to be distorted.

Yet there are moments in life which require no interpretation until they are remembered. When two lovers meet there comes a moment of being without interpretation. It may be in a simple embrace or after the consummation. When a child is held by his mother, a similar moment arises for the child.

Such moments point to or indicate the possibility which is always alive in us. Self-Realization is simply that. It is infinity caught in the moment and the moment expanded to infinity. Whether one is sipping tea, playing chess, in meditation, with friends, family, etc., that moment is always there. It is just You. So ultimately the mystery of existence is tied to the mystery of perception. What is it that we are truly able to perceive without interpretation? Whatever must be given interpretation is necessarily going to be distorted. What is it that requires no interpretation?

Love to all


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Discarding Conditioning

How can One discard that which does not belong to It? And how can one discard that which One Is?

Once the Heart of Attention has fundamentally shifted to Itself, that Itself is the fuel of the effortless effort which eventually burns up leaving nothing behind.

When the Ground of Being absorbs all attention and all effort, what is there to discard and how and by whom?

Still, I am not opposed to discarding various types of conditioning at all or self-improvement.

If you are for it, I am for it!



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Memory and Self-Realization

In many circles, the absence of memory is considered equivalent to Self-Realization. We see that claim made by neo-nondualists in different variations. Absence of memory, in fact, can occur in many states.

People get drunk and become quite forgetful of who they are and cannot remember things. Just because drinking alcohol on a long term basis undermines the memory, it need not be viewed as a path to Self-Realization. Absence of memory, or even undermining of memory as a construct through logic (logic, which necessarily relies on memory as an assumption) is not Self-Realization.

Some people also lose memory due to accidents, illness, or disease. It can lead to much suffering. We do not refer to that as Self-Realization.

Memory can temporarily disappear in either sleep or Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Even though memory is absent, the two states are not considered equivalent. In one, unconsciousness pervades, and in the other, there is fullness of pure consciousness. In only one type of absence of memory (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) can it be said that the Self has been Revealed or Recognized.

In Sahaj Samadhi, the question of memory existing or not existing is completely moot.

While the absence of memory may be correlated with Alzheimer’s, it has little to do with Self-Realization.

Love to all


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Thanks for your message Jerry. Advaita (Nonduality) is revitalized in every generation by the Sages who live in Awareness.

You speculated that Nonduality at some point would become a religion. It might be true but Advaita (Nonduality as practiced in India) has never really been a religion, although it has a religious orientation. Advaita is essentially viewed as one of the philosophical systems within the Hindu religion that has its origins in the Vedas (Upanishads) which according to historical accounts were written about 3000 to 4000 years ago.

The themes of Nonduality can also be found in Buddhism and even in Christianity in a variety of ways and although I am not a religious scholar many experienced people say that this unifying orientation is present in all major religions.

Advaita (Nonduality) as a philosophical system has never shown any interest in influencing the world, etc. as all such things exist only in relationship to the observer, the actor. Hence the main focus has been to enquire into the existence and nature of the observer itself who perceives the world. When the observer disappears, the world as something separate from the observer, oneself, goes along with it as well.

Great sages such as Ramana Maharshi have exemplified that compassion and nonviolence are the natural expressions of Self-Realization. Seeing the same Awareness in All, one cannot help but spontaneously confirm the uttering of saints that “Ahimsa Parm Dharma” – that “Nonviolence is the Primal Principle.” With that feeling of compassion at the center of our being we can move freely in accepting others and loving others without regard to what philosophical system or religion or race or gender they belong to. In my view that is true Advaita or Nonduality.

Love to all


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