Ms. Satya Kalra, Danville, CA
The Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual guide that teaches us step by step how to transcend from duality to non-duality
Today, we hear a lot about duality and non-duality. What does this really mean? In order to answer this, we must understand what is duality? What is non-duality? What are the causes of duality (what separation us from the Supreme?) Who qualifies to attain non-duality (Oneness with Supreme)? How does one transcend from duality to non-duality? What are the benefits of transcending from duality (separation) to non-duality (Union with the Self)?
Human beings are the by-products of duality (matter and energy)
O Arjuna, in this world, all beings are born in utter ignorance due to the delusion of dualities (pairs of opposites, likes and dislikes), arising from desire and aversion. (Gita 7.27)
Q. What is duality?
Duality ( Dvaita):
Duality is usually referred as the pair of opposites: honor and disgrace, heat and cold, pain and pleasure, criticism and praise, birth and death, joy and sorrow, like and dislike, energy and matter, body and spirit, good and evil, reality and unreality.
Duality is the state of separation from Oneself (Reality, Supreme conscious, God). When one is separated from oneself, he goes into deep sorrow, depression, despondency and dilemma and his mind is filled with doubts, emotional conflicts, anger and fear. Due to these negative emotions, he becomes both physically and emotionally weak and loses his capability to cope with challenges in day to day life and feels lost.
In the path of duality, one thinks that God is separate from him (duality) and tries to attain God-Realization through external means such as rituals, selfless services with love and devotion, sacrifices, yajnas without expecting the fruit of one’s actions (Karma Yoga). Every activity is performed to please God. One lives in God’s Consciousness, overcomes pair of opposites and attains God.
It is all external
Q. What is non-duality?
Non-duality (Advaita) is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of the non-separation and inherent Oneness with the Supreme. It refers to the identity of the Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman).
Adi Shankara consolidated the Advaita Vedanta, an interpretation of the Vedic scriptures.
It is the Unity with the Self, merger of oneself with One and realizing one’s true nature (Self-Realization, Oneness with Supreme).
In this path, one realizes that the Self is Supreme, Atma (Spirit, Self, God). It is the ultimate state of eternal happiness, love, peace and bliss (Anandam). In this state, one feels totally complete, wholesome, and finds union with the Self (Higher Self, Absolute, Super conscious, God). The individual experiences the total Oneness with the One (Oneness of Self, Union with Self). After this, for him, there is nothing beyond to experience. The Ultimate Truth is revealed.
However, due to one’svices and 5+2 enemies (impurities of selfish desires, anger, greed, worldly attachment, ego-arrogance), one fails toexperience oneness with the Supreme. By focusing on self-purification and self-transformation through self-improvement (path of non-duality, Knowledge Yoga), one can realizehis true nature (Self-Realization).
Therefore, one does spiritual practices, for transcending from dualities, gunas (limitations), developing divine qualities, going within through contemplation and meditation. He goes through many transcendental experiences over a period of time and finally realizes his true nature, Sat Chit Ananda (Self-Realization). Thus, he becomes one with the Absolute, Oneness with God, He is no longer separated from God–He is God!
After experiencing eternal Bliss (Anandam), he does not feel, sad, angry, unsatisfied, depressed or confused. He is not affected by the external conditions of the material world. He is beyond the cycle of birth and death, he is liberated and lives in the State of Ultimate Bliss-Anandam, Nirvana (Self-Realization).
A person discovers that the entire diversity of beings is actually rooted in One and further has emerged from that One alone, he becomes that very One (Brahman) himself. (Gita.13.30)
Q. What causes duality? (What separates us from the Supreme?)
We are separated from Supreme/Self due to pairs of opposites (dualities), our own negative attributes and our emotions, anger, hatred, jealousy, ego/ arrogance, resentment, discontentment, guilt, have too many selfish desires, undue attachment and possessiveness.
When one’s mind is full of doubts, negative emotional conflicts, anger, fear, attachment, ego, greed and desires, one looses his memory, his power to discriminate between good and bad, and he becomes extremely distressed.He can not even listen to his inner voice of the intellect and looses the touch with his spirit (Self). His judgment becomes tarnished and his actions become impure, and thus his down fall in life and journey to hell begins.
As the Gita says – One develops attachment to sense objects by thinking about them. From attachment arises desire for them. From unfulfilled desires comes anger. From anger comes delusion; from delusion confusion of memory; from disappearance of memory and a bewildered mind; reasoning (Discrimination) is destroyed. When reasoning is destroyed, one falls from right path. (Gita. 2.62-63)
Q. Who qualifies to attain the Oneness with Supreme?
Those who are free from egoism (Arrogance, I-ness) and delusion, who have conquered the evil of attachment, who are totally free from selfish desires and dualities like pleasure and pain and dwelling constantly in the Supreme-Self, such delusion–free ones attain the Supreme state, Oneness with God, Sat Chit Ananda (Eternal Goal). (Gita. 15.05)
Q. How to transform from duality to Non-duality?
The Vedas deal with the three modes of Gunas: Sattva (goodness), Rajas (passion), Tamas (ignorance), attributes of Prakriti, Material Nature). O Arjuna, transcends these Gunas, free yourself from duality (pairs of opposites), be unconcerned with acquisition and preservation and be established in purity (Supreme-Self) with your mind under full control. (Gita. 2.45)
In human nature, there are two forces working together, one leads toward God and the other towards ignorance. The individual, who is ignorant of the Soul, lives in body consciousness due to his three gunas and dualities he possesses. However, the one who is aware of the Supreme spirit, lives in God consciousness and dedicates his life to attain God.
Since we know that the major barriers for separation from self (Spirit, Atma) are our own dualities (impurities, 5+2 Enemies, negative emotions and behaviors). The solution is very clear; we can overcome this only by removing all these impurities and dualities within ourself by self-discipline and self- development, self-purification and self-transformation and reach to non-duality. However it is not a quick fix, it requires constant practice.
It is a spiritual journey.
Based upon individual’s aptitude people try to develop non-duality through many ways such as focusing on their hobbies: painting, cooking, poetry, music, spiritual practices, developing certain noble qualities, meditation, etc. However,the Bhagavad Gita, the ancient spiritual guide from India teaches a step by step method to develop non-duality/Oneness though self-discipline, self-awareness, self-purification and self-transformation.
“Bhagavad-Gita calls on humanity to dedicate mind, body and soul to purity.” Mahatma Gandhi
Therefore, based upon the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, I have prepared following simple seven steps to transcend from duality to non-duality (separation to Oneness) though self-purification and self-transformation:
- Transcend from dualities and three gunas (modes of nature, attributes/ old habits, limitations) by developing divine qualities and eliminating bad qualities through spiritual practices.
- Develop Awareness and self-discipline
7-steps action plan to transcend from duality to non-duality:
- Set the Supreme Goal in life to develop non-duality (Self – Realization).
- Keep the company of divine people.
- Read and practice the teaching of the scriptures (Knowledge Yoga)
- Do selfless service with love and devotion without expecting any fruit of action (Karma Yoga)
- “Love All Serve All” Satya Sai Baba (Bhakti Yoga)
- Maintain healthy body and healthy mind and connect with Supreme Soul by doing Yoga, Pranayam and Meditation (Focus on Supreme and always live in His consciousness).
- Unconditionally SURRENDER to Him. (18.66)
Note: Practice in daily life and follow the daily spiritual planner (provided by Satya Kalra).
Have faith and patience, do not be so hard on yourself; He will take care of us. (18.66) Relax, Relax….. Do your best and let go, let go……
“Spirituality is not an activity but it is a lifestyle and a life long commitment.”
Q. What are the benefits of transcending from duality (separation) to non-duality (Union with Self)?One gets answers tothe basic questions of human life that who am I, what the purpose of my life is and how to attain it.
- Practice of non-duality helps to develop good health, mental peace and freedom from miseries in the material world and beyond.
- Not only does one develop eternal happiness and peace, one also enjoys his life to the fullest and attains the purpose of his existence, and contribute to society and bring happiness and peace to others.
- One becomes one with the Absolute, and attains Oneness with God. (Gita.2.72)
- The self disciplined person, who has control over the lower self (mind, senses and body) and remains firmly established in the Supreme-Self, has attained tranquility and everlasting peace. Such a person is always balanced in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, and also in honor and dishonor (duality). (Gita.6.07)
- After attaining such a Supreme State of Bliss, Sat Chit Ananda —-one does not consider any other gain superior to the blissful state and once established in ttis state, the individual remains unshaken even by the greatest calamity. (Gita.6.22)
- Thus, a self-disciplined yogi, who is constantly living in Supreme Consciousness through meditation and other spiritual practices, becomes free from sins and easily attains the Infinite Bliss of Oneness with Brahman (Union with Self, God). (Gita.6.28)
- One attains the supreme goal of his life-Self-Realization Nirvana, Liberation.
The path of Non-duality fulfills the purpose of one’s existence. It takes one beyond his limitations and helps him realize his highest potential. It takes one from miseries and pains to Union with the Self and experiences everlasting happiness and peace, “Sat Chit Ananda”, (Self-Realization, Nirvana, Liberation)
Process of transcending from duality to non-duality and its benefits:Self-Purification →Self-Transformation → Divine Qualities → Freedom from miseries and pain → Good Health & Eternal Peace and Anandam → Self-Realization, Liberation (Moksha, Nirvana)
Non-duality leads to Oneness of the External and Internal world.
Om ! That (Brahman, Supreme) is infinite (whole) and this (universe) is infinite (whole).
The infinite (whole) proceeds from the infinite (whole).
(Then) taking the infinitude (wholeness) of the infinite (universe),
It remains as the infinite (whole, Brahman) alone.
Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace