The Non-dual teaching is quite simple, straightforward and very clear. advaita says that that there is no multiplicity here. Whatever exists is all Oneness. This Oneness does not give scope for a second thing to arise within it. It is so Absolute and Alone. If anyone sees a multiplicity of things, such an appearance to the eye of the beholder is merely an illusion arising out of the ignorant stance taken by him/her. The word “ignorant” is not used in any pejorative sense. It simply means that the seer has ignored the truth. The upanishad even cautions that one goes from death to death if he misses to see the Oneness. By that the scripture is telling us that suffering and misery are inevitable for one who ignores this plain Truth of Oneness.
Reinforcing the statement above, Chandogya Uupanishad famously adds, whatever that is all that you see it is you, yourself alone:
(tatvamasi – VI – 8 – vii) [Thou art That]
All these upanishad vAkya-s are fairly easy statements to grasp. These do not contain turgid phrases, complex formulae, intricate logic or ethereal invocations.
One can understand that the world is perceived through the five senses and given a meaning to by the mind. All this happens because of my fundamental quality of being present and being conscious. Yes, I know I am present (i.e. I exist) and I am conscious (I am aware). I can also see that there is no separate consciousness away and different from me. So I am my consciousness. And everything I perceive is Consciousness taking all those forms.
But why is it I seem to still feel a distance from all objects, I see and interact with a seemingly different person, I still have to show an ID to board an Airplane, and file taxes, secure my savings? I eat food which is different from me. I have to rush to a doctor to mend the broken leg in a traffic accident. Where is the Oneness in all this activity? Is any action possible at all in the absence of an “other” being present?
Why does not the intellectual understanding of Oneness percolate down into the day to day functional level of the body? Questions galore keep rising. No convincing answers available anywhere.
(To be completed)
(From ‘KNOTS AND KINKS IN HE WAY OF KNOWING THE TRUTH’, by Ramesam – recently published in ‘Advaita Vision’)