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Nonduality and Bhakti

Originally, I adopted a very "perennialist" position, there is the outer being, the intermediate/psychic regions, the celestial/divine regions, and the ineffable self. I also added Sri Aurobindo's cosmology to this, but basically I emphasised the Self/Jnana to the exclusion of God/Personal Creator.

Later I noticed that Sri Aurobindo often used theistic language. I thought maybe I was being narrow minded, and that as Sri Aurobindo says, duality is just as valid as nonduality, and that in anty case an integral worldview has to include all perspectives and all realities, each as valid and authentic as the other.

More recently, corresponding with my friend "st", it seems to me that what he says about nonduality makes a lot more sense to me than dualism or theism. In a way, I was beinga n Aurobindo fundamentalist by putting so much emphasis on theism. Ultimately one has to strike out on one's own, and not slavishly imitate the beliefs or worldviews of others, no matter hoew elevated or sublime such worldviews may be.

For me, dualism is not real, but I-Thou, the path of Surrender to the Supreme, and the personal presence of the Realised Guru (for me this is Ramana Maharshi) is. So I have now developed my own interperetation, which integrates Aurobindonian qualified theism with traditional nonduality. This can be explained as follows:

There are two types of bhakti - the traditional, exoteric, hare krishna or fundamentalist moslem or evangelical christian type, which is dualistic and shadow-projecting, and hence intolerant of other beliefs (considering them at best inferior or partial revelations, at worst outright falsehood), and the esoteric, nondual kind, represented by Rumi, Francis of Assisi, Yogi Ramsuratkumar, and myself in my own way.

In my own take on nondual theism, there is an I-Thou relation with the Supreme, which ultimately isn't a relation because there is only shushnuss, only That. But when Being relates to its Source appears as distinct (self-arising) then there is Thou, more distinct again there is I-Thou, more again there is duality and I-It (hence exoteric dualistic religion, as well as materialism and duality or lack of oneess and unitary empathy/identity in general).

This can be represented in terms of the following "great chain of being", which is actually a hiararchy of states of consciounsess or stages of Realisation, rather than metaphysical strata of being, although in keeping with the perspective of monism it can be and is also that as well.

These four stages can be compared to the three bodies of the Buddha, or three hypostases, or the Three Poises. With the exception of the last, it is not that one is superior tpo the other, but there is a chain of manifestation, from original unmainfest to multiplicitry



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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 10 March 2010