What is Advaita Vedanta, Non-duality, Enlightenment, and Satsang?
What is Enlightenment, Advaita Vedanta and Non-duality Teachings?
In the East, non-dual teachings are referenced by the term Advaita Vedanta. In Sanskrit, "Advaita" means "not two" and "Vedanta" means "the end of knowledge." Non-dualism is the "experience" which is beyond knowledge.
However, in non-duality, there is no experiencer and no experience. There is no perceiver or perception. The points of reference of the experiencer, the perceiver, as well as the witness, are limited and therefore, all objects of perception can only exist in limitedness.
Self-realization is the discovery of oneself as the infinite Peace, the eternal formless, the indescribable Love, the unfathomable Sacred, which is transcendent of conditioned thought. It is transcendent of you, as you think that you are, as well as transcendent of the world and all objects. It is the Mystery beyond the dual mind.
What is Satsang or Advaita Satsang?
With integration and the full embodiment all form is recognized as none other than the Real and as the manifestation of the formless as Itself. There is no self-referencing whatsoever and no abidance anywhere.
Who you are is beyond the mind and cannot be intellectually understood. When the illusory veil of the ego is lifted, the perception of duality culminates, which removes the illusion of separation and the illusion of all opposites. The concept of individuality is released into the Ocean of Love. Like water pouring into water, without the possibility of return, it then manifests as waterfall, river, or ocean.
Sacred Love is the topic of enlightenment. Although we speak about it and use words to point to it, the Love remains untouched. Presence shines to Itself, by Itself and in Itself. The dual altered state of consciousness is freed and it realizes the incredible beauty of it's true nature, which is the eternal Silence. Then, in service, becomes the hand-maiden to Truth.
Consciousness recognizes Itself by being fiercely now, by intense investigation and, once the mind is tranquil, by making no effort. At this point, effort is seen to be a future endeavor and a moving away from the Truth of Being. Until that time, it is essential to observe the functioning of dual thought and recognize that you are the spaciousness in which all comes and goes. You remain still, immovable, being vigilant, being Heart. It is the realization that Love is all there is, Love is all there ever was and that you are this Loving now and naturally free. The illusory pain and suffering were caused by the shadow cast by duality and the uninvestigated assumption of "me."
Satsang is not simply a public meeting where a teacher sits before students and the intellectual topic of discussion is consciousness, presence, being now, Truth, Self-realization and enlightenment using concepts, ideas and beliefs. In Satsang, "sat" means "truth" and "sang" means "community." The term "satsang" means "in association with Truth."
There is a palpable "new" frequency of Being and an inexplicable silent Stillness that is alive. In satsang, if words are spoken, which is not required, the words arise from the Stillness. The "vibrating" of the Quiet is on top of, behind and through every word. The teacher is not "doing" or "transmitting" anything. Instead, the teacher is like an open window with a breeze blowing through, a breeze with no separation. When the mind is quiet, it is called Presence and this Presence is very contagious by Itself. Everyone who comes in contact with it is affected, whether they are conscious of it or not.
There is no positionality whatsoever between you and the teacher. In fact, the teacher is recognized to be none other than one's true Self. It is directly experienced that you are not separate and that you are already aware and whole. There is no need to heal a perceived broken past, since in the Now, you are already radiant and complete. There is no need to fixate on any aspect of the future, in search for an obscure happiness through more becoming, since as Now, Supreme Happiness is. You are the Now that is formlessness and it is realized that this is the only eternal moment in which true life IS.
In satsang, Love burns everything into Itself. Like the alchemy of transforming base metal into gold, there is a natural transmutation of pain and suffering into Love. With 100% willingness, there is the destruction of everything false, while true and lasting fulfillment outpours.
Papaji, one of the world's greatest sages, shared that there are certain requirements for the student who attends satsang. First, there must be an ability to discern what is real and what is unreal (permanent or impermanent) Second, it must be recognized that Truth is beyond the senses. In addition, there must be a willingness to be timelessly present (as you truly are), releasing all concepts of the past and future. Finally, there must be intense yearning and the desire for freedom.
The Essence of Enlightenment