Comment on the 8thC summary of Nonduality by Adi Shankara


RP This wonderful 6 stanza summary of Nonduality seems to me to be pointing to the Godhead, the unknowable Infinite Mystery that is beyond all access.

When we rest as Awareness we rest in the enveloping, boundary-less presence of the Whole. But we can never penetrate or embrace the Whole of the manifest/phenomenal world – let alone the Godhead/void from which all of the manifest/phenomenal emanates.

That is at it should be. Mystery is the number one fact of life! It is only in standing silent before Mystery that we can be united.

It is in the humility and Mystery of our not knowing that we are One.


“The great Adi Shankara (first Shankaracharya) of the eighth century summarized the entirety of Advaita Vedanta (non-dualistic philosophy) in six stanzas. When a young boy of eight, while wandering in the Himalayas, seeking to find his guru, he encountered a sage who asked him, “Who are you?” The boy answered with these stanzas, which are known as “Nirvana Shatakam” or “Atma Shatakam.” “Nirvana” is complete equanimity, peace, tranquility, freedom and joy. “Atma” is the True Self. The sage the boy was talking to was Swami Govindapada Acharya, who was, indeed, the teacher he was looking for.

I am neither the mind, nor the intellect, nor the ego, nor the mind stuff. I am neither the body, nor the changes of the body. I am neither the senses of hearing,taste,smell or sight. Nor am i ether, the earth, the fire, the air.I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I am neither the Prana, nor the five vital airs. I am neither the materials of the body, nor the five sheaths. Neither am I the organs of action nor objects of the senses. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I have neither aversion nor attachment, neither greed nor delusion, neither egotism nor envy, neither Dharma nor Moksha. I have neither desire nor object of desire. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I am neither sin nor virtue, neither pleasure nor pain, nor temple,nor worship,nor pilgrimage, nor scriptures. And I am neither the act of enjoying,the enjoyable nor the enjoyer. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He, I am He.

I have neither death, nor fear of death, nor caste nor was I ever born, nor had i parents, friends and relations. I have neither Guru nor disciple. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He,I am He.

I am untouched by the senses. I am neither Mukti nor knowable, I am without form, without limit, beyond space, beyond time. I am in everything, I am the basis of the universe, everywhere am I. I am existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. I am He,I am He.’

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Two realms; duality, nonduality – A J Heschel, R Spira and Baha’u’llah

1 The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;
on the immense expanse beyond it
only the sense of the ineffable can glide.

It alone knows the route to that
which is remote from experience and understanding.
Neither is amphibious:
reason cannot go beyond the shore,
and the sense of the ineffable
is out of place where we measure, where we weigh…….

Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:
we sense the ineffable in one realm;
we name and exploit reality in another.

Between the two we set up a system of references,
but can never fill the gap. Abraham Joshua Heschel

2 ‘Thought encloses Reality in names;
sensations and perceptions enclose it in forms.

Divested of these projections, Reality stands as the raw, unnameable, indivisible intimacy of
all experience.’ – The Daily Quote from Rupert Spira, 21st January 2016

3 “Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery.” –

My ultimate purpose in all that I have…

My ultimate purpose, in all that I have written, is but to say this one simple thing to my readers – whether they know it or not, whether they reflect on it or not, human beings are always and everywhere, in all times and places, oriented and directed to that ineffable mystery we call God (Karl Rahner)

New experiences of God, shaped by already held beliefs, in turn will ‘correct’ one’s previous interpretation of those beliefs and thereby enrich future possible experiences (Ormond Rush)

Richard Rohr Knowing is always balanced by…

Richard Rohr, “Knowing is always balanced by not knowing.” He was referring to the two great Revelations in the New and Old Testaments.

‘YHWH’ (no syllables) as the ‘breath’ – our first, our last and our truest prayer – was a key to uniting the Eastern and Western contemplative traditions.




TAGS: ‘YHWH’, knowing, mystery, not knowing, breath, Yahweh, Contemplative Prayer,

Circles by Carl Sandburg The white man drew…

Circles by Carl Sandburg

The white man drew a small circle in the sand
and told the red man, “This is what the Indian
knows,” and drawing a big circle around the
small one, “This is what the white man knows.”
The Indian took the stick and swept an immense
ring around both circles: “This is where the
white man and the red man know nothing.”

TAGS: circles, Carl Sandburg, white man, red man, Mystery, not knowing, N American indian,

The mystery of the incarnation of the…

“The mystery of the incarnation of the Logos is the key to all the arcane symbolism and typology in the Scriptures, and in addition gives us knowledge of created things, both visible and intelligible. He who apprehends the mystery of the cross and the burial apprehends the inward essences of created things; while he who is initiated into the inexpressible power of the resurrection apprehends the purpose for which God first established everything.”

St. Maximos the Confessor, ‘First Century on Theology’
The Philokalia, volume 2
various authors, compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain



Q. Do you believe that you are the centre of the universe?

A. Assuming you say “No” then the single Power, the life-force or Chi, the all that isn’t you, is the Whole, Mystery or what some call God, Allah etc.

All of its many powers, the water cycle, human thought etc seem to many to be tributaries that lead back to the single Ocean, the Oneness, the Infinite – the Whole – or what some call God.

The experiences of the Whole, with the ego quietened, are more important than labels.

If labels like ‘God’ are problematic use ‘the Mysterious Whole’ or ‘Ultimate Reality’ as an alternative.

Thats it!

I entered into unknowing and there I remained…

I entered into unknowing,
and there I remained unknowing
transcending all knowledge.


I entered into unknowing,
yet when I saw myself there,
without knowing where I was,
I understood great things;
I will not say what I felt
for I remained in unknowing
transcending all knowledge.


That perfect knowledge
was of peace and holiness
held at no remove
in profound solitude;
it was something so secret
that I was left stammering,
transcending all knowledge.


I was so ‘whelmed,
so absorbed and withdrawn,
that my senses were left
deprived of all their sensing,
and my spirit was given
an understanding while not understanding,
transcending all knowledge.


He who truly arrives there
cuts free from himself;
all that he knew before
now seems worthless,
and his knowledge so soars
that he is left in unknowing
transcending all knowledge.


The higher he ascends
the less he understands,
because the cloud is dark
which lit up the night;
whoever knows this
remains always in unknowing
transcending all knowledge.


This knowledge in unknowing
is so overwhelming
that wise men disputing
can never overthrow it,
for their knowledge does not reach
to the understanding of not
transcending all knowledge.


And this supreme knowledge
is so exalted
that no power of man or learning
can grasp it;
he who masters himself
will, with knowledge in
always be transcending.


And if you should want to hear:
this highest knowledge lies
in the loftiest sense
of the essence of God;
this is a work of his mercy,
to leave one without
transcending all knowledge.

~Saint John of the Cross (1542–1591)

Theology starts with dogmas philosophy begins with problems…

Theology starts with dogmas, philosophy begins with problems. Philosophy sees the problem first, theology has the answer in advance.

We must not, however, disregard another important difference. Not only are the problems of philosophy not identical with the problems of religion; their status is not the same.

Philosophy is, in a sense, a kind of thinking that has a beginning but no end. In it, the awareness of the problem outlives all solutions. Its answers are questions in disguise; every new answer giving rise to new questions.

In religion, on the other hand, the mystery of the answer hovers over all questions.

  • Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism (1955)

Love all that has been created by God…

Love all that has been created by God, both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf and every ray of light. Love the beasts and the birds, love the plants, love every separate fragment. If you love each separate fragment, you will understand the mystery of the whole resting in God.
– Dostoyevsky