Our very nature is that of presence. We are not in the present. We are the present.
In this essay, I suggest that the philosophies and perspectives of the gradual or the direct path are not inherently meaningful. Their truth lies only in being teaching tools. Words and concepts such as the “direct path” and the “gradual path” are meant to point at the truth but they are not themselves the truth. The Truth must reveal itself to us in our own Heart.
A Popular Dichotomy
A popular dichotomy has emerged about Enlightenment in the West since the 1970s between the schools of “gradual enlightenment” and “instant enlightenment”. Some of this can probably be traced back to Poonja ji’s and Nisargadatta Maharaj’s disciples returning to the west in the 1970s and 1980s from India and bringing their understanding of Advaita Vedanta with them as given to them by their teachers. However, because many of these students deviate from traditional Advaita as taught in the classic lineage of Adi Shankracharya, they are referred to as neo-advaitins.
Given this thesis and antithesis between the gradual path and the direct path, I address the following question:
It is said that there are two approaches to the Truth of Being or Reality which some call Enlightenment or Self-Realization. A gradual path and a direct path. What is the truth of it? Are their really two paths? If…
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Sri Ramana used to say that wherever we go, we take our mind with us. Therefore, regardless of our circumstances, we have to create the mental atmosphere of satsang (company of the Self). Bhagavan’s teaching is that serenity is a state of mind and not our circumstances.
Sri Ramana says, “Solitude is in the mind of a man. One might be in the thick of the world and yet maintain perfect serenity of mind; such a person is always in solitude. Another may stay in the forest, but still be unable to control his mind. He cannot be said to be in solitude. Solitude is an attitude of the mind ; a man attached to the things of life cannot get solitude, wherever he may be. A detached man is always in solitude”.
Photo art is from Eden Kailash FB page.
I selected a few pictures from my stay (July 21 to July 25) at the NY Arunachala Ashram for Guru Purnima. Continue reading