Salutation Over several millennia seemingly Hindus have developed a spiritual aspect to their lives that centres on the process for realising the self. The ancients developed wisdom that was handed down through generations verbally before methods of writing developed because they considered these to be very important in our daily lives. The sayings of our ancestral sages that became scriptures guided me in my search for the truth.
1. I begin with the most appropriate of these scriptures as a salutation to this blog post on Realisation. The shloka is from Mundaka Upanishad III. i. 6 which states: “सत्यमेव जयते नानृतं, सत्येन पन्था विततोदेवयानः; येनाऽऽक्रमन्त्यृषयो ह्याप्तकामा, यत्र तत्सत्यस्य परमं निधानम् l “Satyameva jayate nānritam, satyena panthā vitato devayānah; yena ākramanti rshayo hiāptkāmā, yatra tat satyasya paramam nidhānam l
Only truth prevails, not untruth, by the path of truth is laid out the Divine way; on which the sages of yore fulfilled in their desires, attain the supreme treasure of Truth.
2. When I was a young boy I was brought up by this shloka that we prayed with and knew Saraswati goddess to be the consort of Brahma:
Yā kundendu tushāra-hāra-dhawalā yā shubhra-vastrāvritā; yaa vīnā-vara-danda-mandita-karā yā shveta-padmāsanā l yā Brahmā-Acyuta-Shankara-prabhritibhir-devaih sadā pūjitā; sā mām pātu Sarasvati Bhagavatī nihshesha-jādyāpahā ll” O Devi Saraswati, who is cool as the moon, white like jasmine garland, and who is covered with pure white garments, whose hands are adorned with vīna and the boon-giving staff; and who is seated on white lotus, who is always adored by Lord Brahma, Lord Acyuta (Lord Vishnu), Lord Shankara and other devas, O Goddess Saraswati, please protect me and remove my ignorance completely.
And recently, the following came to my attention:
Saraswati mahā-bhāge, vidye, kamala-locane l vidyā-rūpe, vishāl-ākshi, vidyām dehi namostute ll O Devi Saraswati, the most auspicious goddess of knowledge with lotus-like eyes, embodiment of knowledge with large eyes, kindly bless me with knowledge. I Salute you.
3. Om. This sound both means truth and by uttering it invokes truth by imploring it to bless the work in progress.
Methodological Considerations I was inquisitive. I needed to know. Know what? Know everything. Why did I try and understand existence? That was why I am here on this earth: to understand who we humans are. What makes us do what we do. Because I am who I am: a person born to know by whatever means it takes to find out. Why should that be so? There was no earthly answer to that? The answer lay in heaven, namely, that I was an avatar of Sri Krishna, on a mission to delve into reality to find out what life is, what existence is and to put the process of discovery on record for all of humanity to see and ponder over. That is why I asked the question of who I was and what I was doing with myself. Why I was here? What was the meaning and purpose of my life?
How did I set about finding the answers to these questions? By examining my Nature and my motivation for living and the nature of all other humans and organisms that I share the Earth with fortified with scientific knowledge.
There is clearly more going on in life than living to survive and procreating. If we were just animals we would not be asking these questions. So we are more than animals. We have got all that we need to conquer Nature, including our personal nature. There is nothing more that we need to live in any better way than we are. We have the minds to invent ways of going to visit other planets. We are no longer ruled by the physical environment that we live in: we in fact rule the environment to a significant extent to live our lives in the greatest comfort possible in all corners of the globe. At one time in human history we feared wild animals like tigers and lions? Now they are all but tamed or decimated out of existence so no longer a threat. We are truly ingenious in science and technology and live in a globalised world managed through the internet. We had the necessary physical attributes to do all of this. So we ask is that why over the past 2 million years since Homo ergaster came out of Africa no other species has emerged from us humans? That is worth considering. So what is our next objective as a human species now that we are so dominant in nature? What is the next step for mankind. I would suggest that it is to discover how all this has come about by examining who we are that such incredible feats were attained.
There are therefore valid reasons for questioning who we are. Our intellect has evolved to ask this question or has it been manipulated to do so. How could intellect evolve to wish to determine the answer to a specific question concerning the reason for our existence? That is philosophy that we are examining. The theory of evolution through natural selection concerns itself with the evolution of genes in accordance with the needs to survive in the natural environment, not to bother the mind with questions that have no value in survival fitness. Is then the question of why we are here part of a more general question, namely the search for the truth? Searching for truth could have survival value for the more we know of our natural environment the easier it is to determine the steps necessary to ensure that we dominate and cope with the stresses of living. But then why do not all humans get the urge to seek the truth? Most people are quite happy about looking after their bodies and gratifying their senses. The attribute of questioning is therefore not in our genes as a truth gene that all humans inherit. We need to look for an alternative explanation to our questionings about ourselves. What is the evidence that somehow our intellect has been manipulated by an unknown entity in a way that our genes have no power to resist? Thereby we arrive at the question of whether the manipulator of our minds is a God acting within us to guide our thoughts into actions beyond what is necessary for us to survive as animals, that is, we are developing a cultural aspect to human civilisation with a philosophical outlook that explains who we are individually and what humanity is at large. To realise this is the ultimate reason that we humans live.
The best way of finding out who we are is through the science of biology in which we examine the workings of the human species. Although we are a species united as humans, the clearest thing that strikes us is that we are all different in the way we behave, each an individual living within a world of their own. Each human being has his own character and destiny. Yet we are all living together somehow blended into a humanity with rogues as well as saints sharing the resources of the planet as a species. And there is no guarantee of how each one of us will turn out through one’s growth and achieve our potential in life: we specialise as a musician, a scientist, a sportsman, an adventurer, a fiction writer, a singer, an actor, or a religious preacher, each best at something different. Some of us wish to do good in this world in order to better the world we live in; some are evil; more generally, we find people who are routinal or normal. Such is the diversity that we need to explain. We need to realise who we are through a process of truth search and truth exposure so that mankind has the appropriate guidance. Through that we serve our society.
Philosophy is the attempt at rationalising incomplete science into the comprehension of reality, in which religion may or may not result as the product. Satya-advaita is the process of comprehending reality by practicing oneness with truth (truth accommodation) through rational and scientific truth-seeking based on faith in truth. I invented this term myself and do not know how many others practice it as the Hindu path to Realisation, sometimes known as self-realisation. We know of a lot of different traditions in Hinduism that teach self realisation but I do not think if there is any bona fide tradition of satya-advaita in India, like a sampradaya/parampara. All the methods of self-realisation that I have come across follow scriptures and to get indoctrinated about Brahman. I did not go through that path. My path was simple: learning from direct observations and education, but there was a difference: I started as a theist. Yet I knew I had no knowledge or wisdom. It was theism by faith. This needed to be examined and tested because it was not good-enough for me for the mind was not satisfied. I needed to comprehend reality. For this I first studied science and then religion to see whether there was any congruence of ideas which would made sense. This is because I wanted to know if there was a God with certainty and if there was one what was His Nature. To determine this I had no alternative but to adopt the method of truth accommodation. This was the path of seeking truth on the basis of total freedom from attachments to any ideas, beliefs and doctrines. I gave it the term satya-advaita because I did not come across anything described as such from my Hindu upbringing. Finally after 16 years I found what I know of Reality that I am satisfied with: my realisation was complete. It took me through examination of other methods used for comprehending reality, like advaita Vedanta, which I found not to be the ultimate reality. God had demonstrated Himself to me in no uncertain terms.
Thus for me satya-advaita was the means for attaining Realisation. It was the only way to be: for in practicing the process one lived in truth every moment of one’s life as one immersed oneself into the deepest levels of search. That is what Om signifies to the seeker of truth. One cannot seek the truth without simultaneously seeking God. This absolution takes place even after one comes to know as much as one can about the Nature of God. For as long as there was breath left in my life I needed to tread my path forward carefully, and once I realised the value of satya-advaita that is the only way in which it made sense to continue. Through my devotion to truth in this manner I arrived at the point of total devotion and submission to God. I had surrendered to find out that He did not wish me to surrender, nor that it was a sustainable frame of mind. One lived in union and separation at the same time for the common denominator was the focus on truth. That is the greatness of God, that He has in place the mechanism of truth consciousness that one can perfect through the process of satya-advaita.
Thus, satya-advaita was a method of yoga of knowledge that came to me. It discovered truth relentlessly by oneness with truth. The process developed out of necessity, for God in his wisdom had left me in the wilderness in 2004 after a shocking end to the phase of devotion that ended with my incarceration in a mental hospital and compulsorily being treated by the British State for persistent delusional disorder. I was puzzled with what had happened to me. So following rehabilitation in a job I set about trying to acquire knowledge of whether God truly existed. I had to put truth at the highest level of priority for I had lost faith in God. During my rehabilitation I went to internet forums to add to my scientific and religious knowledge. I knew the value of truth from Hindu shastras and a relative of mine. I put the theory to the test on the basis of: if God was going to be of any good as a God the one thing that He must be known as is Truth-incarnate, that is He must uphold truth and assist the truthful person in doing so. Man was already suffering from lots of delusions as anyone would know from the diverse religions that existed. I did not know until 16-17 years of practice that satya-advaita is actually the means of attaining Realisation that is 100 per cent reliable. Reliable in the sense that one connot fail from pursuing it. It assumes and indeed relies on total faith in truth as the only thing that should chart one’s progress in life from day to day, moment to moment. It means that whatever I do I must always be seeking the truth of a situation and as it becomes clear becoming at one with the truth that I have discovered from hour to hour. It is accommodating reality as one progresses. One updates one’s knowledge as one goes along. One is therefore totally detached from any ideas that one may have in ones mind, including the idea that there is a God. One must investigate anything that crops into the mind for its true value. One cannot assume anything to be true, but one must always look for evidence using all means available to one, and accepting the truth revealed.
This was first a technique for me to test my theism 17 years ago. Was I justified in believing that there is a God who is available to me? There were moments of such strong doubt that I became a satya-advaitic atheist for a year and a half. But I continued the practice of satya-advaita for truth was its own reward I found. Slowly I began to see that it was God in fact who was providing me with the truth that I was longing for and which I thought I was finding for myself. And this happened very clearly. I developed a refined method for testing it, modifying the practice of my earlier years before I had lost faith in God. This gave me conclusive proof of God. That is why I believed in acintya bhed abheda tatwa. And it was then that I returned to becoming a satya-advaitic theist again.
I value truth more than anything else. When one recognises that God exists, one can either just treat it as incidental knowledge or one can submit oneself totally to that God or as near as practicable to run one’s life according to the wishes of God as being the only thing that can provide one with truth. So one uses a technique to find out whether God is there to guide the person. The great thing about satya-advaita for me was that it had a built-in reward in itself. It finds proof of God in the end that satisfies one and simultaneously, one is gradually getting enlightened in the process of sifting out the truth from the falsehoods. One is slowly getting towards pristine knowledge and wisdom. The mind is getting clearer and clearer because one by one one is ridding the mind of the impurities of falsehoods. This only works if God is assisting the process. And this one can only be determined by trying the method that I have done. My own hunch is that God is amenable to such a search from anyone in the general population. I was not the beneficiary of this knowledge simply because I considered myself an avatar that He chose to commandeer to be in receipt of this special knowledge from direct experience. That is why I recommend satya-advaita to any person. I am not insane for doing what I have done.
When one has a personal relationship with God the truth-seeking jnana yogi will wish to go his own way to seek knowledge from interactions with the world because God does not come to the jiva and say here you are: I will teach you all there is to know. The jiva is the jnana yogi wishing to enlighten himself with knowledge and understanding. He does this by surrendering himself to God when he has seen proof that God is far more knowledgeable and is willing to impart knowledge to the jiva. But it is like a real teacher and student relationship in that He will let the jiva go his own way from time to time to build on his beliefs. However, He will still be there to take proactive steps to protect the jiva and improve his knowledge. When one goes one’s own way one is doing so with the approval of God but there will be times when the jiva still needs help. Having once embraced the jiva by accepting his surrender He will not abandon the jiva and when the jiva feels lost He will quickly restore his/her longing for Him for living is incomplete once one has tasted the fruits of union in terms of discovering oneself through attaining knowledge. Thus, the dilemma between surrender and freedom is only resolved when there is perfect union of the jiva’s surrender and God’s embrace and God protects the jiva from self harm. God develops a different relationship with a jiva depending on whether the person is practicing jnana yoga or devotional worship (bhakti yoga). In bhakti yoga there is unconditional surrender in love and devotional worship (saranagati). It is unconditional in the sense that there is no question of questioning God about any matter. A person accepts God as a matter of faith. For the jnana yogi truth is all that matters and directs his actions. Bhakti does not play a part and there is no worship of God, for that itself is an impediment to truth. He just acknowledges the supremacy of God as truth-incarnate.
God has given humans purpose to their lives, depending on who we are individually so that we are all satisfied with our lives. Those who suffer depression do so because their lives are unsatisfactory in some way. They are not finding the meaning of their individual lives. It is because being born to a particular nature, one needs to absorb oneself in the work that is appropriate to that nature. These natures range in the guna-consciousness triad of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic attributes. Each person realises his or her own nature accordingly. Seeking the truth is a sattvic attribute and the most difficult to contend with. These are the people who will suffer mental illness from lack of knowledge that society has not been able to teach the person. Rajasic and tamasic people do not have the same mental problem because their objectives in living are different and society is better-geared to providing them with their educational needs. These gunas are part of God’s creation that produces the diversity of human life.