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Vedanta/Neo-vedanta, Advaita/Neo-advaita

an email debate (sort of)

The following is an unplanned dialog that took place recently (in the month of
November, 2006), between Jai Maha Dev and a certain respected American Vedantist,
who chooses to remain unnamed (for this reason, we have given the name Laksman to
this anonymous person). Shri Maha Dev is the author of this site (Aditya Dham) and
Laksman Ji is the author of a website which is devoted to the dissemination of Vedanta
and Advaita.

Using an alias, Maha Dev Ji experimented with the publishing of a controversial blog
titled the Masters of Deception, in which he sought to awaken spiritual seekers to the
dangers of blindly following their own ego or the ego and personality of certain well-
known persons in the field of religion and spirituality. Shortly after publishing the blog,
he came across the writings of Laksman Ji, and requested Laksman Ji’s opinion regarding
the blog. Thus began an exchange of emails that evolved into a discussion that touched
on some of the important ideas pertaining to Vedanta and Advaita. With the authors’
permissions, we are sharing these emails because we feel this dialog sheds light on the
topics of Vedanta and Advaita which are often misunderstood in our modern times.

Please note that some of the language in the emails is not appropriate for the minds of
young children.

On Sat, 11 Nov 2006 Jai Maha Dev, using the alias Dev Singh, wrote to Laksman:

Kindly give your opinion about the following site and tell me which info you think
should be changed, if any, and why. Having browsed your site, I feel an affinity with
your 'real' ness.

mastersofdeception.blogspot.com

Laksman replied the same day (Nov. 11th):

Hi Dev,

I think what's missing on this website is a definition of enlightenment. If you have a


definition then you can perhaps evaluate the words and lives of the people who fit into
your definition. It seems your definition is someone who is a vegetarian and who is
working on his or herself and who is not successful in the spiritual world.

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I understand this is a blog, but what is going to convince anyone that your evaluations are
anything more than an opinion? It would be better if you had testimonials to buttress
your views.

To put a positive spin on your definition you seem to be saying that an enlightened
person is a saint. What's missing is the idea of a jnani, someone who knows the truth of
their own nature but does not develop sattvika vasanas, in other words someone who is
just a regular person 'following his or her nature' as Krishna says in the Gita.

If it were my blog, I would present the position that following Dharma is superior to Self
realization. So if you have a person who claims to be Self realized you can write him off
because he doesn't follow dharma. As Dogzen said, "Next to following dharma
enlightenment is the most important thing in the world.” But you have to be careful what
you mean by dharma because some activities are dharmic in certain situations and not in
others.

The other problem as I see it, is that behavior is not always an accurate indicator of
enlightenment. I'm not saying that people like Sai Baba and Da Free John and Swami
Rama should get a pass but there are many enlightened people who have non-binding
vasanas that may appear to be impurities from the outside but do not injure others nor do
they affect their realization.

As far as your list is concerned you are right in about 80 percent of the cases and wrong
in about 20% if you want my opinion. Anyway, I hope this has been helpful.

Laksman

Dev’s response on Nov. 12th:

Dear Soul Friend,

Thank you for your observations, insights, and reply. Having gone through perhaps 20%
of your site (so far), I perceive that you are certainly an advanced soul, considerably more
imageless (without bias) than probably 90% of those people involved in Eastern studies. I
perceive your studies must have been (are) quite deep and where certainly influenced by
your contact with very evolved souls, but most especially (your studies are deep) because
you have been doing your own ‘homework.’

Though you did not object in your reply to my opinion of both Swami C. and his former
disciple, I have just now read in your info that you hold both of them in very high esteem.
Unlike fanatical followers (of which you certainly are not, and nor am I implying these
two swamis have fanatical followers) you were quite restrained and dignified in your
reply, all the more so because you didn’t even ask for any clarification regarding my
opinion (on this matter). No doubt, you are not one to be very much (if at all) interested
in opinions, particularly of someone who you don’t even know. However, before saying

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anything else, I feel you should know that (unlike some of the others I mentioned) I do
not claim any first hand knowledge of either of these two men (although I did meet
Swami C. once, very briefly, at MIT in 1974, and felt he was certainly an evolved soul).
Nevertheless, I stand by what I have written, which I feel is a true and honest assessment
of both men (based on other information and knowledge available to me).

Now, regarding various points in your reply:

“I think what's missing on this website is a definition of enlightenment. If you have a


definition then you can perhaps evaluate the words and lives of the people who fit into
your definition. It seems your definition is someone who is a vegetarian and who is
working on his or herself and who is not successful in the spiritual world.”

‘Definition of enlightenment’ . . . this is Self-evident, and if it is not, it is NOT


enlightenment. But anyway, here goes: he or she is enlightened upon whose mind has
shown the Light of Wisdom, the Knowledge of the Self. That Wisdom removes the
darkness of Ignorance from the mind (and by extension, the intellect); hence, the Self
stands clear in that clarified, enlightened mind. Of course, the Self is ever-clear, and ever
established in its own Self, but its presence in the mind (in the context of the living self,
Jivatman) is either awakened (standing clear) or not. Most people (jivas) are sleeping in
Ignorance, which explains why their perception and awareness are distorted and not clear.

Now, one who is REALLY established (that is, one whose mind has really been cleared
of all images and false knowledge) will not only be enlightened, but will also be
enlightening. It is an effortless effort to do so (enlighten) since that Light is self-effulgent
(i.e., is not the reflection of another entity).

One (that Jiva) whose Ignorance of the Self has truly been eradicated from the mind, will
naturally manifest the qualities of that real Self. Although the ego and mind remain with
the Jiva, that enlightened Jiva is no longer under any compulsion, because its negative
vasanas have either been annihilated or superceded by positive ones (non-violent vasanas,
i.e., tendencies and desires which are in no way in violation of one’s real Self).

Anyone whose nature is contrary to the nature of the Self cannot be said to be truly
enlightened, regardless how much they may know ABOUT the self. Knowing about and
knowing are quite different from each other. ‘Knowing is Doing’ which means the Self
that has been realized in the mind is actualized in ones behavior.

There are many characteristics which reflect the ignorance of the Self (i.e., which clearly
show one is not truly enlightened). Of course, we could just as easily take a Saguna
approach and say that there are many characteristics which reflect the Knowledge of the
Self. As you know, Lord Krishna in his response to one of Arjuna’s questions, has
beautifully told us what these characteristics are. Without referencing the Gita, I can say
with certainty that these qualities include the following:

• That person will not seek ego-recognition or satisfaction

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• That person will be devoid of selfish motives
• That person will be devoid of false pride, haughtiness, and snobbishness
• That person will not cause any injury to another being (including animals) for any
selfish reason (i.e., for the purpose of gratifying one’s ego or mind)
• That person will NOT have bad habits which will influence others in a negative,
self-destructive way. They will not use their intellect and ego to justify their ego-
centered tendencies and actions.

This is an extremely abbreviated list, but it is sufficient to establish whether or not the
various people mentioned in the MastersOfDeception blog are enlightened or not.

“It seems your definition is someone who is a vegetarian and who is working on his or
herself and who is not successful in the spiritual world.”

Yes, without a doubt, that person will be a vegetarian. The other half of this sentence
‘who is not successful in the spiritual world’ appears to be a little bit of sarcasm, or
maybe you really do misunderstand me. Let me clarify: an enlightened person (I don’t
like using this phrase) has absolutely NO desire to be successful in the spiritual circus or
marketplace, and will actually AVOID making ‘performances’ and ‘deals,’ and by virtue
of this that person IS successful in the so-called spiritual world, regardless how evolved
they are.

“I understand this is a blog but what is going to convince anyone that your evaluations
are anything more than an opinion? It would be better if you had testimonials to buttress
your views.”

Honestly, I have no need to convince anyone of anything. You are no doubt familiar with
the term VASUDEVAKUTUMBAKAM. My only desire is my duty to warn my family
members of dangerous people they may encounter. It was not possible to list all the good,
the bad, and ugly; nor was it necessary to provide evidence which is widely available (or
at the very least, is certainly known to the confidents of those mentioned who are still
living). However, many people are in denial because their self-delusion has become their
comfort zone. Most people, however, have simply never come in touch with the
undiluted Truth and so they continue to stumble in the darkness of their ignorance. In
every case (listed above), this one feels moved to cut to the chase and set the record
straight (as I understand it). In case I am wrong, I certainly welcome one and all to
correct me.

“To put a positive spin on your definition you seem to be saying that an enlightened
person is a saint. What's missing is the idea of a jnani, someone who knows the truth of
their own nature but does not develop sattvika vasanas, in other words someone who is
just a regular person 'following his or her nature' as Krishna says in the Gita.”

My Invisible Friend, Laksmanji, a Jnani is one who knows their own Real Nature (Higher
Nature) and their lower nature too, AND embraces the Real (nature) and is not moved
(motivated) by the Unreal (lower nature). The ‘Unreal’ means Ignorance. Only one who

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is ignorant of the Self will manifest demonic qualities, or will remain as an ordinary self-
involved individual. In other words, one who really knows the Self will definitely be a
Saint (though most likely unknown to the world at large), and one who is engaged in the
process of enlightenment (i.e., is sincerely inquiring into the nature of the Self) will
certainly be a saintly person. Being a saintly person means (to me) that that person is
making a concerted effort to rise above himself (ego-centered self), which can only be
done through the acquisition of divine Wisdom (AtamGyaan, Soul-knowledge). One’s
actions (or more correctly, one’s Guna-Karam-Subhav: qualities, behavior, and nature)
are proof-positive whether or not one has assimilated this Knowledge. Having acquired it
without assimilating it is really meaningless; just as is ‘knowing the truth but acting
against it’, or knowing the truth but not being truthful, or ‘talking the talk’ but not
‘walking the walk.’

No doubt (as declared by Patanjali) the enlightened state is beyond the quantitative or
qualitative imprints (samskaras). The Self is beyond the sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic
qualities of Prakriti, and always remains such. But we are living souls; we are embodied
in mind and matter. Our essence (the Self) is unchangeable, but our lower nature is
constantly changing. These changes in our lower nature (mind and body) are certainly
not random or uncontrolled. We (as living souls) have the power (inherent in the Self) to
shape our mind (and life) into a beautiful dance, a beautiful expression of our Essence
(Self). It is only by PRACTICE that we ultimately attain the state of effortless effort; then
everything seems to flow effortlessly, like the movement of a skilled dancer, musician, or
artist. It will NEVER just happen by simply knowing ABOUT the Self.

Too many Vedantists know too much for their own good, because they do not put what
they know (about) into practice: they DO NOT take hold of their own mind and shape it
into something beautiful and useful, but instead they retain their selfish inclinations and
impressions and imagine themselves to be in the world but not of it. The fact is, many of
them are buried up to their necks in this world of unreality, but they hide in their neo-
vedantic egos and personalities, and continue to fool themselves and others.

“If it were my blog I would present the position that following Dharma is superior to Self
realization. So if you have a person who claims to be Self-realized you can write him off
because he doesn't follow dharma. As Dogzen said, "Next to following dharma
enlightenment is the most important thing in the world. But you have to be careful what
you mean by dharma because some activities are dharmic in certain situations and not in
others.”

Dharma simply means the Nature of the Self, and it is absolutely impossible to realize
the Self without practicing the nature of the Self (Dharma). Unfortunately, you are
definitely playing mind-games, which should be expected of you since that is what all
neo-vedantic people are doing. However, in your case, I think you are an exceptional
person who knows a lot, but is also capable of going beyond what you know, think you
know, and don’t know.

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I am not a very well-read man, and have never heard of this person Dogzen, but I can say
without hesitation the person is deluded. He (or she) talks of dharma and enlightenment
as though they are commodities in the marketplace (or the mind), when in fact they
constitute our own Being. One who is established in the Self.. . . or heck, leave that aside.
. . One who is truly established on the Path, . . . . leave that be too. . . . ONE WHO IS A
TRUE HUMAN BEING, one who is honest with himself (or herself), one who is Real (to
the core of their own being) knows what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what
is real and unreal, what is dharmic and adharmic. ‘Knowing the Truth’ is NOT an
intellectual grasp of ‘things.’ It is beyond the language of thought, but it is not
thoughtless. It is beyond the mind but it is not mindless. It is beyond emotions and
feelings but it is not beyond experience. It is the Self, but it is NOT selfish.

[After going through some of the Dogzen newsletters available from the Dogzen site, I
must recant my comments about Dogzen. I personally found some of the techniques
presented in the site to be very good and useful. I was too quick to judge and should have
at least done a google search on Dogzen before writing this paragraph. DEV]

“The other problem as I see it, is that behavior is not always an accurate indicator of
enlightenment. . . . . there are many enlightened people who have non-binding vasanas
that may appear to be impurities from the outside but do not injure others nor do they
affect their realization.”

The second half of this sentence is of course true, and irrespective of so-called prarabdha
karma. That is, an enlightened soul, or in any case a very evolved soul, may still have
ordinary likes and dislikes, etc., which are NOT of the type that would be injurious to
others (or one’s self). To say that these vasanas do not affect one’s realization, however,
cannot be true. Realization is not a static ‘experience’ (as you will surely agree), but it is
the State of Being, and That (State of Being) is Changeless yet Ever-New, which means it
is always fresh, beginingless and endless. The one (living self) that realizes the Self never
gets stuck in any image. The realized Soul remains in the state of limitless (ASEEM)
Consciousness. There is no end to refining our mind. The one who stops refining their
perception and awareness is not self-realized but self-deluded.

Only those in whose minds the ego remains embedded will continue to live in self-
delusion and confusion. The ego cannot be removed from the mind except through the
application of divine wisdom. The seeds of divine wisdom are found in the Vedas and the
various teachings that have emanated from them (and continue to emanate from them).
You have studied many vedic teachings but I feel you have not given enough attention to
the Vedas themselves, otherwise you would not have some of the views that you seem to
espouse.

I will continue to go through the materials on your site, because I have not come across
any other sites that contain as much wisdom as your site (as far as I can tell up to this
point). I am not a ‘surfer-seeker’, nor am I a wannabe guru, saint, or whatever. I am a
simple human being like you with an ‘I’ for the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but
the Truth.

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Thank you for sharing your insights with me. I will endeavor to put what I have learned
into practice. OM

Your nameless well-wisher,

Dev

Laksman’s response on Nov. 13th:

Hi Dev,

Did you want feedback on your interesting letter? I have a policy of not speaking unless I
am asked. There are a few points that I could comment upon that might be of interest to
you. I basically agree with most of your views, however. Usually I reply in detail to the
letters that come through my website but in the case of yours I get the impression that
you know...or think you know...quite a lot and the tone of your letters seems quite
cocksure and rather aggressive...which does not always make for satisfying
communications. I do not want to pick a fight with anybody. Would it be fair to say that
you see yourself as some sort of warrior for the truth? Incidentally, I do not use sarcasm
in emails with strangers. The questions and comments are straightforward. It is always
better to communicate face to face in cases like this because a lot more subtle information
is available that can make it easier to evaluate the other person's words and their
intentions. It is easy to misunderstand in emails unless there is genuine love between the
communicators. If I was not so old I might like to take you on in friendly dharma
combat...if that were something that appealed to you...but almost forty years of sadhana
and easy life has mellowed me out to the point where I am totally uninterested in
quarreling over beliefs, opinions, doctrines, ideas, etc. In any case I am happy to respond
to some portions of your letter if you want. It may take a few days as I am in transit on
my way to India for the winter season.

Laksman

Dev’s reply on Nov. 14th:

Dear Jivatma,

Please do respond at your leisure. Soul friend, I do not know you except for the little bit I
have gleaned from your writings, which can only represent, at best, an infinitesimal bit of
who you are, or appear to be.

I am not really interested in appearances, since really it is all just another permutation of
Avidya (ignorance). Who you are, I am that; who I am that you are. Whether or not you
really know it doesn't appear to be a question in your mind, but then appearances can be
misleading. Sometimes questions should appear but they do not, and by that too one can
be misled.

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I am not cocksure, but I do possess AtamVishwas (Soul confidence), which sometimes
prompts me to speak my mind, just as it can make me to keep my mouth shut (which is
usually the case). I believe in speaking the Truth straightforwardly, but with love and
candor as counseled by the Sage Manu. I do not see myself as anything, really, just
another beginingless, immortal Soul engaged in the Sport of Life, for the time-being.

I speak to you as one human being to another, without any aggression or repression. I am
far from being a perfect being, but in my own right (Light of Consciousness) I am a
Siddha because my power is the power of Truth. What is that? That is nothing, except to
call a spade a spade, and see things as they really are and not just as they appear to be.

I should stop here for now because this stuff is beginning to sound too holy for me. I am
a whole human being and my only purpose is to manifest the Total Well-being in this life
and forever.

Certainly face to face communication would be better, but I have no problem


communicating a few ideas like this (as both of us seem to have very good written
communication skills). I'll promise to remember that I am communicating with the Self
in the Self through the Self. There is no battle here, just as there are really no opposing
teams on the field, it just appears that way for the sake of the Game. When the Game is
over we will all leave the field, remove our different uniforms, and go back to being who
we have always really been: the Self.

OM

Sent by Laksman on Nov. 15th:

Hi Dev,

Yes, I like the idea of communicating with you. You can appreciate my reluctance to get
too friendly too fast...although I have not had one difficult contact from the website...a
couple of 'spiritual' crazies but that is all. The email that I have nearly completed in
response to your last letter is more or less about communicating enlightenment, not about
you or me personally. As I point out it doesn't matter to me whether someone is
'enlightened' or not. If they are polite well-mannered people I will communicate on any
topic. The proof of the pudding in the enlightenment game is giving and receiving love.
It doesn't matter if the person is a saint or a sinner. The blog is provocative so I needed to
find out what is behind it...that is all. I find it difficult to communicate with 'righteous'
and 'holy' people. Anyway, look for a reply soon.

Om and Prem,

Laksman

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Dev’s email simultaneously sent on Nov: 15th:

Respected Soul-friend,

Having gone through more of your writings, I think it is only fair that I should be more
open about myself, as you certainly have about yourself. I believe that we could engage
in a very useful dialog together and come to a deeper understanding of the real Self.

Please go through the Aditya Dham website (adityadham.com) and the associated blog
(blog.adityadham.com). My real name is Jai Maha Dev. The name Dev Singh is the name
of a distant (long past) relation (non-blood). The MastersOfDeception website (as you
may have noticed) is a very recent creation; one which I hesitated to publish and which I
still have second thoughts about (that is, second thoughts about having published).
Realizing that you are a man of noble character, I have divulged this to you and request
that you not reveal the real identify of Dev Singh, aka Sahunta Devananda.

I look forward to deepening our spiritual relationship and expanding our understanding of
the Self.

OM

Laksman’s response on Nov. 16th:

Hi Dev,

The secret of your true identity is safe with me. Not to worry. I checked out the site. As I
said about your blog I believe it would be more effective if you made a point of defining
your terms. For example one has to read quite a bit in the Images section to figure out
what you mean. Other than that it is a good site, well organized and clean. As you will
see when you read the email I just sent we have quite different views of
enlightenment...or at least words to describe enlightenment. I think it would give your
site more depth if you included the view I present in addition to the experiential 'state'
view.

Laksmanji

Laksman’s reply to Dev’s comments from Nov. 12th (regarding Laksman’s original
reply). This reply was sent on Nov 16th.

Laksman (from previous email) “I think what's missing on this website is a definition of
enlightenment. If you have a definition then you can perhaps evaluate the words and
lives of the people who fit into your definition. It seems your definition is someone who
is a vegetarian and who is working on his or herself and who is not successful in the

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spiritual world.”

Dev (excerpt): ‘Definition of enlightenment’ . . . this is Self-evident, and if it is not, it is


NOT enlightenment.

Laksman: Self evident to whom, Dev? Perhaps you are a jnani and therefore it is self
evident to you but what about a person who might read your web log? If they were
interested in following any one of these gurus I should think they would not know what
enlightenment was. Therefore, it might be of interest for them to have some kind of idea
of what they were seeking and how the guru in question was either capable or incapable
of helping them.

Dev (from previous email): But anyway, here goes: he or she is enlightened upon whose
mind has shown the Light of Wisdom, the Knowledge of the Self. That Wisdom removes
the darkness of Ignorance from the mind (and by extension, the intellect); hence, the Self
stands clear in that clarified, enlightened mind. Of course, the Self is ever-clear, and ever
established in its own Self, but its presence in the mind (in the context of the living self,
Jivatman) is either awakened (standing clear) or not. Most people (jivas) are sleeping in
Ignorance, which explains why their perception and awareness is distorted and not clear.

Laksman: You say ‘its presence is either awakened (standing clear) or not” Do you
mean that a person is clear about the presence of the Self in the mind? I’m not sure how
‘its presence’ can be ‘awakened or not.’ It is the view of Vedanta that the Self is neither
awake nor asleep. I think the sruti would agree that the Self is not ‘presence’ or
‘absence’ either. A third doubt that your statement brings up is this: in my experience
there is no ‘person’ to be clear or not clear about anything. There are sattvic, rajasic
and tamasic states of mind which affect the mind’s perception but they don’t belong to
anyone. Perhaps you will think this is all semantics…and indeed it might appear that
way…but my opinion is that while formulating enlightenment from a human point of view
is understandable in so far as human beings will not seek it unless they feel there is
something in it for them, to speak of it this way can also be misleading. If someone asked
me what enlightenment was I would say there was one Self with apparent knowledge or
ignorance (of itself) and you are that Self, not a person who knows that he or she is the
Self. I would hope that such a statement might stimulate inquiry and that the inquiry lead
to the removal of the ignorance, “I am a person.” As long as someone hangs on to the
human identity they will not know the truth. Yes, in a non-dual reality everything is the
Self and since the Self is Awareness everything in Awareness is also Awareness...so
everyone is enlightened by default. But this is not the end of it.

If someone sincerely asked me who I was I would not say that I was a person who
attained enlightenment. I would say that I appear to be a person because I have a very
convincing person act but that the person I once thought I was, the one that seems to be
there from the outside, is long gone. If someone wanted a more direct statement, keeping
in mind the limitation of words, I would say that I am limitless Awareness, minus
apparent knowledge and apparent ignorance. I would say that I’m not enlightened nor
am I unenlightened. I would say that I am that in which enlightenment and endarkenment

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exist. I would not say that I am not evolved or unevolved. I suppose that what I’m trying
to suggest is that this ‘who is enlightened’ game is not really helpful, not only because of
the abstract nature of the subject but because it really takes a jnani to know a jnani. This
is why I suggested that if you feel the need to judge someone you use Dharma as a
standard. It is easier for a seeker to understand and a more important viewpoint. What
good is enlightenment if a person’s behavior violates dharma?

Dev (from previous email): Now, one who is REALLY established (that is, one whose
mind has really been cleared of all images and false knowledge) will not only be
enlightened, but will also be enlightening. It is an effortless effort to do so (enlighten)
since that Light is self-effulgent (i.e., is not the reflection of another entity).

Laksman: I agree with this completely. Does this statement apply to you?

Dev (from previous email): One (that Jiva) whose Ignorance of the Self has truly been
eradicated from the mind, will naturally manifest the qualities of that real Self. Although
the ego and mind remain with the Jiva, that enlightened Jiva is no longer under any
compulsion, because its negative vasanas have either been annihilated or superceded by
positive ones (non-violent vasanas, i.e., tendencies and desires which are in no way in
violation of one’s real Self).

Laksman: I can’t argue with this.

Dev (from previous email): Anyone whose nature is contrary to the nature of the Self
cannot be said to be truly enlightened, regardless how much they may know ABOUT the
self. Knowing about and knowing are quite different from each other. ‘Knowing is
Doing’ which means the Self that has been realized in the mind is actualized in ones
behavior.

Laksman: Yes, but (here’s the famous ‘but’) it may take some time for the enlightenment
to manifest behaviorally owing to prarabdha. Prarabdha does not affect the jnani but it
will affect people with whom the jnani comes in contact. This is why in the old days
gurus recommended that the newly enlightened ‘sit in a cave’ like Ramana Maharishi for
some time depending their prarabdha. This is probably why you have a negative
evaluation of C.. His guru told him that he did not think it wise to teach so soon after his
Moksha, but he didn’t listen. I knew him very well. I was personally with him from
morning till night for almost two years and saw him often for about twenty years. We
were like brothers. And he was an amazing mahatma but there were traces of rajas and
tamas in him…which caused a few small problems but which did not in any way impede
his effectiveness as a guru. And I can tell you for a fact he was completely beyond money
and women. He was an ocean of compassion and one of the most generous people I’ve
ever met. He took care of my room and board for two years and never asked a thing from
me. He was a pukka sanyassi.

Dev (from previous email): There are many characteristics which reflect the ignorance of
the Self (i.e., which clearly show one is not truly enlightened). Of course, we could just

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as easily take a Saguna approach and say that there are many characteristics which reflect
the Knowledge of the Self. As you know, Lord Krishna in his response to one of
Arjuna’s questions, has beautifully told us what these characteristics are. Without
referencing the Gita, I can say with certainty that these qualities include the following:

• That person will not seek ego-recognition or satisfaction


• That person will be devoid of selfish motives
• That person will be devoid of false pride, haughtiness, and snobbishness
• That person will not cause any injury to another being (including animals) for any
selfish reason (i.e., for the purpose of gratifying one’s ego or mind)
• That person will NOT have bad habits which will influence others in a negative, self-
destructive way. They will not use their intellect and ego to justify their ego-centered
tendencies and actions.

This is an extremely abbreviated list, but it is sufficient to establish whether or not the
various people mentioned in the MastersOfDeception blog are enlightened or not.

Laksman: I disagree. I know quite a few people who fit this definition who are definitely
not enlightened. These kinds of qualities can be unconsciously developed through
lifetimes of evolution. This is a pretty good definition of a saint but if you read the
autobiographies of saints it is quite clear that while many may have indirect knowledge
of the Self most do not have direct knowledge “I am limitless, non-dual Awareness”
which is my definition of enlightenment.

A problem is created when someone sets out to judge enlightenment in people: what is
the means of knowledge? A belief or an opinion is not a means of knowledge. So asking
someone else to believe what you believe is, in my opinion, not helpful spiritually. Unless
you have lived with someone for a long time and you are a dispassionate person you
cannot really figure out a person’s true motives. People who are into judging others…no
matter how noble the reasons…often have an axe to grind. For every person who sees
guru X as a rakshasa there is someone who sees guru X as a saint…so who is ‘right?’ It
all depends on your views, which depend on your values. And people generally come to
their values honestly. Nobody sets out thinking “I’ll delude myself and become a selfish
nasty person.” It happens. This is why I like Christ’s approach. He said, “Hate the sin,
not the sinner.” It doesn’t seem to me that you are making a distinction between the sin
and the sinner. I don’t know about you or about your motives but to take this blog
seriously I would have to believe that Dev is enlightened. You may be or you may not
be…but how is a stranger visiting a web log to tell? A person’s own words are not
enough…in so far as self delusion is one of human’s most salient characteristics. I will
eat my words, however, if you start getting emails from people who claimed that they got
burned by gurus on your list and should have paid attention to your warnings.

Laksman (from previous email): “It seems your definition is someone who is a vegetarian
and who is working on his or herself and who is not successful in the spiritual world.”

Dev (response to previous email): Yes, without a doubt, that person will be a vegetarian.

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The other half of this sentence ‘who is not successful in the spiritual world’ appears to be
a little bit of sarcasm, or maybe you really do misunderstand me. Let me clarify: an
enlightened person (I don’t like using this phrase) has absolutely NO desire to be
successful in the spiritual circus or marketplace, and will actually AVOID making
‘performances’ and ‘deals,’ and by virtue of this that person IS successful in the so-called
spiritual world, regardless how evolved they are.

Laksman: I agree with the last sentence although not completely because there are no
rules for jnanis. Knowing who you are is the big success, not what you do or don’t do
with the knowledge. My view is that if you are enlightened you should keep your mouth
shut because to say that you are enlightened is not evidence of special attainment since
enlightenment is the nature of all beings. In fact it is evidence of a long stay in
ignorance…which would be better left unmentioned. This whole who is enlightened
business is a complete non-starter.

As far as the vegetarian idea is concerned even plants are living beings. You’re taking
life when you eat them. Just because they have a rudimentary Subtle Body it is OK to eat
them? I suppose this might force you to modify your definition to exclude vegetarians.
Maybe you should claim that enlightened people can only be breatharians. But they what
would happen to their enlightenment if they inhaled a few microbes…which are living
beings as well…and which is happening all the time to everyone? And what about
Tibetan lamas in the winter with not a vegetable in sight? Their spirituality is
compromised because they eat Yak butter and meat? In case you didn’t notice, Dev, life
eats life. Nobody can avoid it. Even meat eaters are vegetarians once removed. The
cows eat vegetables and they eat cows. So they are actually eating vegetables.

Laksman: (from the previous email) “I understand this is a blog but what is going to
convince anyone that your evaluations are anything more than an opinion? It would be
better if you had testimonials to buttress your views.”

Dev (response to previous email): Honestly, I have no need to convince anyone of


anything. You are no doubt familiar with the term VASUDEVAKUTUMBAKAM. My
only desire is my duty to warn my family members of dangerous people they may
encounter. It was not possible to list all the good, the bad, and ugly; nor was it necessary
to provide evidence which is widely available (or at the very least, is certainly known to
the confidents of those living). However, many people are in denial because their self-
delusion has become their comfort zone. Most people, however, have simply never come
in touch with the undiluted Truth and so they continue to stumble in the darkness of their
ignorance. In every case (listed above), this one feels moved to cut to the chase and set
the record straight (as I understand it). In case I am wrong, I certainly welcome one and
all to correct me.

Laksman: OK. I wouldn’t say you were ‘wrong’ but I wouldn’t say you were ‘right’
either. I’m just suspicious of people with a self-defined ‘duty’ to protect the ignorant for
this reason: as long as you try to protect them you keep them ignorant. People only learn
when they make their own mistakes. Fucking up can make you think. And thinking is

13
good. If I just blindly do what I’m told because Dev or anyone else tells me it is for my
own good, I will still be an idiot at the end of the day. I have been teaching Vedanta for
almost forty years and I have found that the best way to protect people is to teach them
how to think for themselves. Often people come to me who are ‘following’ a very bad
guru and I do not try to dissuade them from it. In the first place almost nobody takes the
advice of other people…particularly when they are attached to their desires…and
secondly it is good to suffer from a lack of discrimination. These lessons really stick. If I
tell you not to do something…like God told Eve…there is always a doubt. And that doubt
will send you right into the arms of suffering. If God had said, ‘Those apples are very
healthy; they have the recommended amounts of calcium and iron” Eve would have
never looked twice at them. She would have gone off to the candy store for some
chocolate. Sometimes people left Swami C. and the devotees often said, “Hey, Swamiji,
why didn’t you try to keep them from leaving?” And he would say, “Let them go. Maya
is a much better teacher than I am.”

When America was about to go to war with Iraq many people told the President that it
would work. But did he listen? He had to do it and mess up completely and now he is
singing a different tune.

Laksman: (from a previous email) “To put a positive spin on your definition you seem to
be saying that an enlightened person is a saint. What's missing is the idea of a jnani,
someone who knows the truth of their own nature but does not develop sattvika vasanas,
in other words someone who is just a regular person 'following his or her nature' as
Krishna says in the Gita.”

Dev (response to previous email): My Invisible Friend, Laksmanji, a Jnani is one who
knows their own Real Nature (Higher Nature) and their lower nature too, AND embraces
the Real (nature) and is not moved (motivated) by the Unreal (lower nature). The
‘Unreal’ means Ignorance. Only one who is ignorant of the Self will manifest demonic
qualities, or will remain as an ordinary self-involved individual. In other words, one who
really knows the Self will definitely be a Saint (though most likely unknown to the world
at large), and one who is engaged in the process of enlightenment (i.e., is sincerely
inquiring into the nature of the Self) will certainly be a saintly person. Being a saintly
person means (to me) that that person is making a concerted effort to rise above himself
(ego-centered self), which can only be done through the acquisition of divine Wisdom
(AtamGyaan, Soul-knowledge). Ones actions (or more correctly, one’s Guna-Karam-
Subhav: qualities, behavior, and nature) are proof-positive whether or not one has
assimilated this Knowledge. Having acquired it without assimilating it is really
meaningless; just as is ‘knowing the truth but acting against it’, or knowing the truth but
not being truthful, or ‘talking the talk’ but not ‘walking the walk.’

Laksman: OK, Dev. I agree but it takes time to assimilate it. At what point does one
pass the Dev enlightenment test? When there are no negative vasanas? When there are
95% sattvika vasanas? All qualities are in Maya and even the divine qualities are only
meaningful because of the demoniac qualities. It seems to me that non-dual vision means
that everything in Maya is equal to everything else in so far as it all serves the Self.

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Speaking as a person I used to be an evil doer and it was the correct path for me because
it lead me to the Self at an early age. If I’d been a nice decent well meaning holy person
always doing the right thing and following the good advice of others I may not have
waked up at all. Virtue is not always helpful. A golden chain can bind you as completely
as an iron one. It’s nice to want to save people from their folly but remember the
Inquisition.

Dev (from previous email): No doubt (as declared by Patanjali) the enlightened state is
beyond the quantitative or qualitative imprints (samskaras). The Self is beyond the
sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic qualities of Prakriti, and always remains such. But we are
living souls; we are embodied in mind and matter. Our essence (the Self) is
unchangeable, but our lower nature is constantly changing. These changes in our lower
nature (mind and body) are certainly not random or uncontrolled. We (as living souls)
have the power (inherent in the Self) to shape our mind (and life) into a beautiful dance, a
beautiful expression of our Essence (Self). It is only by PRACTICE that we ultimately
attain the state of effortless effort; then everything seems to flow effortlessly, like the
movement of a skilled dancer, musician, or artist. It will NEVER just happen by simply
knowing ABOUT the Self.

Laksman: From the human point of view this is true. But I don’t accept it. As I said I’m
not a human being. So ‘we’ does not apply to me. It may apply to you, however. I am
not living and I am not embodied. This idea is just a humble ‘spiritual’ way keeping
oneself limited. I also do not accept the formulation of enlightenment as a ‘state.’ This
confusion started a long time ago with a misreading of the Mandukya Upanishad which
called the Self ‘the forth.’ It does not say ‘the forth state’ but this is how people read it
who studied its discussion of the three states. The Upanishad meant that the Self is the
forth factor, i.e. the invariable Awareness in and beyond the three states.

I understand Patanjali’s definition of enlightenment…chitta vritti niroda. But it is not a


good definition. It is good for anta-karana suddhi, purification of the mind, but that is
all. It turns enlightenment into an event that depends on karma and doership.
Enlightenment is the nature of the Self and the Self cannot be attained through action.

Dev (from previous email): Too many Vedantists know too much for their own good,
because they do not put what they know (about) into practice: they DO NOT take hold of
their own mind and shape it into something beautiful and useful, but instead they retain
their selfish inclinations and impressions and imagine themselves to be in the world but
not of it. The fact is, many of them are buried up to their necks in this world of unreality,
but they hide in their neo-vedantic egos and personalities, and continue to fool
themselves and others.

Laksman: This is true of many Vedantists but it is equally true of many people following
other spiritual paths.

Laksman: (from a previous email) “If it were my blog I would present the position that
following Dharma is superior to Self realization. So if you have a person who claims to

15
be Self realized you can write him off because he doesn't follow dharma. As Dogzen said,
"Next to following dharma enlightenment is the most important thing in the world. But
you have to be careful what you mean by dharma because some activities are dharmic in
certain situations and not in others.”

Dev (response to previous email): Dharma simply means the Nature of the Self, and it is
absolutely impossible to realize the Self without practicing the nature of the Self
(Dharma). Unfortunately, you are definitely playing mind-games, which should be
expected of you since that is what all neo-vedantic people are doing. However, in your
case, I think you are an exceptional person who knows a lot, but is also capable of going
beyond what you know, think you know, and don’t know.

Laksman: I’ll just ignore the insult, Dev, because you don’t know me. I am surprised you
don’t get the idea since it is basically in harmony with your view of enlightenment. In
any case I am not an exceptional person. It may seem that way to you but it doesn’t seem
that way to me…and I should know since I’m me. Since you don’t seem to get the idea
perhaps you would like me to explain it again?

Dev (from previous email): I am not a very well-read man, and have never heard of this
person Dogzen, but I can say without hesitation the person is deluded. He (or she) talks of
dharma and enlightenment as though they are commodities in the marketplace (or the
mind), when in fact they constitute our own Being. One who is established in the Self.. . .
or heck, leave that aside. . . One who is truly established on the Path, . . . . leave that be
too. . . . ONE WHO IS A TRUE HUMAN BEING, one who is honest with himself (or
herself), one who is Real (to the core of their own being) knows what is right and wrong,
what is good and bad, what is real and unreal, what is dharmic and adharmic. ‘Knowing
the Truth’ is NOT an intellectual grasp of ‘things.’ It is beyond the language of thought,
but it is not thoughtless. It is beyond the mind but it is not mindless. It is beyond
emotions and feelings but it is not beyond experience. It is the Self, but it is NOT selfish.

Laksman: Accepting your view of enlightenment these statements make sense but I think
your definition doesn’t do enlightenment justice.

Laksman (from previous email): “The other problem as I see it, is that behavior is not
always an accurate indicator of enlightenment. . . . . there are many enlightened people
who have non-binding vasanas that may appear to be impurities from the outside but do
not injure others nor do they affect their realization.”

Dev (response to previous email): The second half of this sentence is of course true, and
irrespective of so-called prarabdha karma. That is, an enlightened soul, or in any case a
very evolved soul, may still have ordinary likes and dislikes, etc., which are NOT of the
type that would be injurious to others (or one’s self). To say that these vasanas do not
affect one’s realization, however, cannot be true. Realization is not a static ‘experience’
(as you will surely agree), but it is the State of Being, and That (State of Being) is
Changeless yet Ever-New, which means it is always fresh, beginingless and endless. The
one (living self) that realizes the Self never gets stuck in any image. The realized Soul

16
remains in the state of limitless (ASEEM) Consciousness.

Laksman: We are world’s apart on this one, Dev. Realization is the direct knowledge I
am the Self. The Self is nir-vasana, meaning it is unaffected by the vasanas. The Self is
not an experience. Experience is the Self but the Self is not experience. If I am the Self
then how can experience i.e. vasanas change me? You seem to believe that there is some
embodied being who realizes something and this realization is a kind of experience and
this realization has certain hard and fast behavioral implications. If this is what you call
enlightenment then the vasanas definitely do affect it. But this kind of realization is just
another vasana. It’s a good vasana considering the samsaric alternatives but anything
that can be affected by something else is not real. Identification with the person has to
die for the knowledge ‘I am the Self’ to arise. What you are talking about is what I call
Self realization or experiential enlightenment…which is good compared to the samsaric
state but it is still in Maya because the subject object duality is still taken to be real.

Dev (excerpt from previous email): There is no end to refining our mind.

Laksman: This is true if you are a doer. For the Self there is no refining to do. If I am
the Self I won’t be refining the mind. You might read the story of how the Sixth Patriarch
got to be the Sixth Patriarch. The secret to what I’m saying is in his poem.

Dev (excerpt from previous email): The one who stops refining their perception and
awareness is not self-realized but self-deluded.

Laksman: If you define enlightenment this way, I can’t argue. But I don’t see it this
way. I could give you more reasons but I’ve written a lot and I’m tired. So I will leave
you with one question. ‘Who is going to stop refining and why?’ Rather than write more
on this topic if you want to understand my views of enlightenment perhaps you can read
[more of my writings] on enlightenment, knowledge, and experience on the web. You
might also benefit from reading the Stages of Enlightenment section in the ‘What is
Advaita Vedanta’ pamphlet.

I’ve been fighting this battle for a long time, Dev. You have the experiential view and I
hold the identity view. There is a way to resolve it if you want to but from the dogmatic
way you express yourself I’m not sure you would be open to considering the Vedantic
view. So let’s see how you react to what I’ve said here and take it from there. .

It is difficult to understand what I am saying because of a deeply engrained human


orientation. It is the vasana that holds all positive and negative vasanas together. Your
definition is fine…for you. But if you were to ask for advice..which doesn’t seem likely…I
would suggest that you inquire into the meaning of ‘human’ or ‘person.’ And I would
respectfully suggest that you won’t find anything there. As far as I’m concerned its fine if
you chose to be a human being and define enlightenment the way you do. But I don’t fit
into it. And because I don’t doesn’t mean that I’m playing mind games or don’t know
what I’m saying or am some clever intellectual Vedantist. You are free to think what you
like. I know what I know.

17
Dev (from previous email): Only those in whose minds the ego remains embedded will
continue to live in self-delusion and confusion. The ego cannot be removed from the
mind except through the application of divine wisdom. The seeds of divine wisdom are
found in the Vedas and the various teachings that have emanated from them (and
continue to emanate from them). You have studied many vedic teachings but I feel you
have not given enough attention to the Vedas themselves, otherwise you would not have
some of the views that you seem to espouse.

Laksman: The ‘divine’ wisdom I’m expounding here is the distinction between Self
realization and enlightenment. Please read the ‘Stages of Enlightenment’ section in the
What is Advaita Vedanta pamphlet. I’ve given quite a serious study to the jnana kanda
section of the Vedas which deals with moksha. It is true that I am not an expert on the
karma kanda but since it deals with vedika dharma which I follow already and the
acquisition of artha, kama and dharma it does not interest me.

Dev (from previous email): I will continue to go through the materials on your site,
because I have not come across any other sites that contain as much wisdom as your site
(as far as I can tell up to this point). I am not a ‘surfer-seeker’, nor am I a wannabe guru,
saint, or whatever. I am a simple human being like you with an ‘I’ for the Truth, the
whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.

Laksman: Good. I’ve not found another site that is as good as the ******* site either.
As far as your statement that I’m a simple human being like you is concerned, you should
leave off the ‘like you’ if you want to be more accurate. If you want to think of me in this
way that is just fine with me but it is not correct.

Dev (from previous email): Thank you for sharing your insights with me. I will endeavor
to put what I have learned into practice. OM

Your nameless well-wisher,

Dev

Laksman: It’s my pleasure, Dev.

Om and Prem,

Laksman

Dev’s reply to Laksman’s comments (sent on Nov. 19th):

Dear Divine Self,

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You were very kind to take the time to engage in this dialog with me, and I am certain
both of us will learn from this experience. Laksmanji, I harbor absolutely no ill-will
toward you at all, and my replies to your responses are given only in the spirit of love,
and the love of Truth.

As neither of us really knows the other, it is not unlikely that we could misconstrue one
another’s intentions and words. It is sometimes difficult to detect the tone in which
unspoken words are written, and this too can lead to misunderstanding.

Anything you have written to me, or will write in the future, I do not take personally
(sense I do not relate on the ‘person’ level). This whole thing is a drama.

Keep Shining!

OM

(The italicized texts are Laksman’s most recent replies, followed by Dev replies in bold
text:)

Laksman (from earlier email): “I think what's missing on this website is a definition of
enlightenment. If you have a definition then you can perhaps evaluate the words and
lives of the people who fit into your definition. It seems your definition is someone who
is a vegetarian and who is working on his or herself and who is not successful in the
spiritual world.”

Dev (excerpted reply): ‘Definition of enlightenment’ . . . this is Self-evident, and if it is


not, it is NOT enlightenment.

Laksman: Self evident to whom, Dev? Perhaps you are a jnani and therefore it is self
evident to you but what about a person who might read your web log? If they were
interested in following any one of these gurus I should think they would not know what
enlightenment was. Therefore, it might be of interest for them to have some kind of idea
of what they were seeking and how the guru in question was either capable or incapable
of helping them.

Dev Reply: Yes, my answer was not clear, so I will try again. What I mean to say is
that many people are seeking guidance because they are in a quandary as to “Who
am I,” and once the answer to this question is known, the knower is enlightened.
This is what I meant by ‘self-evident,’ meaning that a true seeker of enlightenment
will know Enlightenment when they find it, because that enlightenment is the
knowledge of their own Self. No doubt there are also many people who think
enlightenment is some kind of attainment that gives them special powers, etc., but
genuine seekers really want to know “Who am I.” The MastersOfDeception blog is
meant for these genuine seekers (both novices and those already on the path) who do

19
not have Self Knowledge and who really want it (enlightenment) for no other
purpose than the Self itself.

I think it is necessary to digress for a moment to give you a little more information
regarding the blog under question. Very little thought went into creating the
MastersOfDeception blog, and as I said, I hesitated to publish it. Laksmanji, this
writer does not think of himself as a spiritual policeman, or one who needs to save
the world and make everyone think like himself. I fully realize everything
happening here (in this World of Prakriti) is just a big drama. In fact, there is
nothing happening at all. Anyhow, for the time-being (for those beings caught up in
the drama of Time), I published the blog with some reservations.

Can this blog do any harm? I think it may help people to take another look at what
they are doing, how they are thinking, and where they might be headed. Better to
err on the side of caution because this life (in its present form) will never come back
to us again. Better for a seeker to think twice before blindly following anyone;
better for followers to think twice in case they may have the ‘wool pulled over their
eyes.’

Originally, the following paragraph was included near the beginning of the blog, but
I removed it thinking it would not really serve the purpose of the blog:

‘Our own personality and ego are the biggest fraud going. Where is it going? It is
going to our head. We are so self-involved, and this is why we do not experience the
Self. Direct experience requires direct practice; but we do not practice self-
awareness, we practice self-involvement. The proof is in our practices, it is not in
our intentions, nor is it in our intellectual understanding.’

I know the blog may come across sounding somewhat self-righteous to some people,
but I did not let that concern me. ‘Righteous indignation’ can be a virtue. Aryama
– Chastiser of the wicked; Sahuntya – Exterminator of wickedness; and many other
such Names of God (qualities or characteristics of the Self), when earnestly sung
with an open heart (expressed with a clear mind) only go to glorify the Self in this
Sport of Life.

From earlier email:

Dev: But anyway, here goes: he or she is enlightened upon whose mind has shown the
Light of Wisdom, the Knowledge of the Self. That Wisdom removes the darkness of
Ignorance from the mind (and by extension, the intellect); hence, the Self stands clear in
that clarified, enlightened mind. Of course, the Self is ever-clear, and ever established in
its own Self, but its presence in the mind (in the context of the living self, Jivatman) is
either awakened (standing clear) or not. Most people (jivas) are sleeping in Ignorance,
which explains why their perception and awareness is distorted and not clear.

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Laksman: You say ‘its presence is either awakened (standing clear) or not” Do you
mean that a person is clear about the presence of the Self in the mind?

Dev reply: The key to understanding the above paragraph is the phrase ‘in the
context of the living self, Jivatman.’ Much of our (you and me) differences of
understanding and expression are rooted in this fundamental concept of Jivatman,
which I will discuss shortly, but for now I will answer the immediate question.

“Do you mean that a person is clear about the presence of the Self in the mind?” NO. A
‘person’ may be clear about the presence of the Self in the mind, but that clarity
(coming as it does from a ‘person’) would only be intellectual and not real, i.e., it
would be an intellectual grasp of Truth and not true understanding or knowing.
Only the Self is real, and only the Self can be clear (or not) about its own presence.

You continue with: “I’m not sure how ‘its presence’ can be ‘awakened or not.’ It is the
view of Vedanta that the Self is neither awake nor asleep. I think the sruti would agree
that the Self is not ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ either.” Regarding the first two sentences:
we can say the Self is neither aware nor asleep, but we can also express this as ‘the
Self is Ever-Awake.’ However, the Jivatman does indeed sleep and wake.
Regarding the last sentence, presumably you are saying that the Self is not
‘presence’ because this would require some separate place in which the Self could be
present; likewise, it could not be ‘absence’ because this presumes some ‘place’
separate from the Self. Again, this is where Jivatman comes into play. The
Jivatman is much misunderstood, almost as much as is the Self. In order to clarify
this matter, I will have to go into some detail here, but you will also find many
strains of this same knowledge on the Aditya Dham website.

What is this Jivatman? The Jivatman is the embodied Self. Yet, we hear (as
explained in the Sruti) that the Self is Pure Consciousness (or as you say, limitless
awareness), and therefore clearly it can never be tainted by the existence (or not) of
the body, mind, ego, and everything associated with these (such as actions,
impressions, tendencies, and thought processes). So, is the Self ever (at any time)
embodied or not? The answer is both yes and no. The Self is embodied as a living
being to play the Sport of Life, to act in this Drama of Creation. But just as someone
puts on a uniform and plays soccer or cricket on the field, but really in essence (as a
human being) has nothing at all to do with either the uniform or the field or even
the game, in the way the Self though embodied as the Jivatman never really
becomes the ego, intellect, mind, senses or body, but ever remains the Self only.

It is important to realize that the Jivatman is an integrated whole and cannot really
be grasped or understood as merely the sum total of its supposed parts. This is
because the Self (ATMAN), being all-pervading and therefore indivisible, can
neither be said to be in a particular part nor separate from it.

21
This Jivatman is not an ego, not a person, not a mind, and not any body. In essence,
this Jivatman is the Self. It is the Jivatman that realizes (or not) the Self. This
realization takes place in the mind when the mind is enlightened. The state of
enlightenment and the state of ignorance are both states of mind. Whose mind? It is
the mind of the Jivatman, the embodied soul.

Again, the Jivatman is not an ego, person, mind, etc., nor is it simply the sum total
of all these: the Jivatman is the Self playing the Drama of Life. Is there something
other than this Self? Yes, there is: first of all it should be clear that besides the Self
there is the Drama of Creation, the Sport of Life, this Lila fashioned of Prakriti.
What is this Prakriti? Prakriti is the primordial substance from which all the props
in this Drama of Life are formed by the power of the Self. This Drama is put
together (fashioned from Prakriti) by the Pranic force of Consciousness (the Self).
In other words, Prana is inherent in the Self; its manifestation as Spirit (PURUSH)
causes the manifestation of Creation (the beginning of the Drama or Game) by
setting Prakriti into motion (infusing it with Energy).

Prakriti exists eternally. It remains unmanifested until infused with PRANA. The
Self also exists eternally. It remains unmanifested (in the context of Creation) until it
manifests its power as Pranic force and joins itself (as Purush) with Prakriti; this
manifestation of Consciousness (the Self) resulting from the joining of Purush with
Prakriti is Cosmic Consciousness (Mahatattva), and that aspect of Cosmic
Consciousness that discerns itself (as associated with Creation, the Drama) is called
the self-consciousness or EGO. The Drama eventually unfolds to the point where all
the various elements of this Creation appear, and during all of this the Jivatman is
fully manifested.

Note that the Self, being all-pervading, pervades Prakriti at all times, both before
and after the manifestation. The infusing or joining of Prakriti with Purush, like
everything that happens later, is also a drama (a play of Maya).

In its subtlest form, the Jivatman exists from the very instant the Self appears as
PURUSH and PURUSH joins with PRAKRITI. The highest state of Being is
attained when even this subtlest state of the Self is dissolved (the Self as the Self
alone exists).

This brings to mind the following mantra from the Rig Veda:

Om Tad Vishno Paraman Padam Sadaaa Pashyanti Suryaa Diviiva


Chakshuuraatatam

Meaning: Those wise sages, having shaped their mind like the nature of the sun,
perceive the Highest State of Being of Vishnu (that is, they directly experience, as no
different from themselves, the All-pervading Supreme Being), just like light spread
out in all directions (i.e., their awareness is not spotty or intermittent like flashes of
lightening in a dark sky, but is just like light spread around everywhere).

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Who experiences this Highest State of Being and Who is this Being? The Self
experiences the Supreme Self Who is the Supreme Being. We are not the Supreme
Being, this is why the ultimate knowledge of the Supreme Being is in our experience
of that Supreme Being. There is no higher knowledge than this experience. We refer
to this experience as the ‘experience of the Highest State of Being’ because really
that is exactly what we are experiencing: a state of closeness to GOD. It is not the
first time we experience that Supreme State (MOKSHA) nor will it be the last. It is
not the first time we have played the Sport of Life and it will not be the last. This
goes on forever, and a most beautiful (blessed) Life it is, because this Life is not only
ours but is also infused with the Energy of the Supreme Being, our own Supreme
Self.

There comes a time in a relationship when two people stop trying to know each
other and just experience their closeness. The relationship of the Self with the
Supreme Self (Atman with Paramatman) is like that too, only we are the ones with
the limited knowledge. I say this knowing you will probably disagree. We can be
different from one another but still be united. This is how it is with the soul and
GOD. However, we cannot really know (experience) GOD if we differ with Him. We
can intellectually know the Truth without being in agreement with it, but we can
NEVER experience the Truth if we are not in agreement with the Truth.

As you can no doubt see, my use of the words ‘knowing’ and ‘experiencing’, or
‘knowledge’ and ‘experience’ are often blended. In my writings I sometimes use the
phrase ‘Knowing is Doing’, which I could just as easily say ‘knowing is
experiencing.’ So, according to my view, we really only know something when we
experience it, otherwise, our ‘knowing’ is really only a ‘knowing about’. There are
some things I only want to know about and would not want to experience. For
example, I know about how cyanide is a deadly poison, but certainly don’t want to
experience it. There are also some things I only know about and experience
indirectly, but that’s good enough for me. For example, I know about how the
Earth is round, and even though I’ve never experienced it by traveling all the way
around it, I am satisfied with the scientific proofs and explanations.

Knowing the Self is another matter altogether: I know the Self; I know I am not the
body, not the mind, not the ego, not the persona. I am the Self. The Self is the Self.
This the Self knows. This the Self experiences, not in the mind but within itself.
Now, the Self has neither interior nor exterior and is not confined to time or place.
From the perspective of the Self there is neither time nor place, and there is no time
or place separate from itself: time and place appear as the Creation, which appears
in the Self, and the Self in the Creation (as Jivatman).

Whether ‘I know’ as Atman or as Jivatman, the Self that must be known is the
Supreme Self. As the Self approaches (by knowledge, by knowing) the Ultimate
Truth (the Supreme Self), the Self realizes (knows that to know itself) it must go
beyond itself; it must stop knowing and start experiencing. When this realization

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matures, the Jivatman is awakened and experiences itself as Atman (the Self); that
is, the dream is over and the dreamer realizes that the dream of being in bondage
was only a dream and not real. The awakened self (enlightened Jiva) experiences
(knows) itself as Atman; or worded differently, the Self (Atman) knows
(experiences) itself as the enlightened Self. In this state of enlightenment or Self-
Realization, the Self (as Pure Consciousness) must realize its own Essence (the
Supreme Self) to attain the highest Consciousness, the Supreme Consciousness, the
Absolute. However, having become established in one’s own being (Self), the Self
reveling in the sweetness of its own Pure Consciousness, may remain in such a state
for a very, very long time (many, many cycles of the Creation), or not.

To attain the Highest State of Being, the same state Lord Krishna refers to as ‘My
state’, or ‘Myself’, or ‘My Abode,’ and which the above mantra calls out with
‘Paramam Padam Sada,’ one must make the ultimate Yajna and offer one’s own
Self into the Self (Supreme Self). There is nothing left to know or experience then
(that is, until the next time, some 311 trillion years hence, according to some).

Continuing now with your reply: “A third doubt that your statement brings up is this:
in my experience there is no ‘person’ to be clear or not clear about anything.” I think
we have addressed this and hopefully clarified that, indeed, there is no ‘person’ to be
clear or not clear about anything because a ‘person’ is really only a mental
formulation and is not (in and of itself) the living Self (Jivatman).

“There are sattvic, rajasic and tamasic states of mind which affect the mind’s perception
but they don’t belong to anyone. Perhaps you will think this is all semantics…and indeed
it might appear that way…but my opinion is that while formulating enlightenment from a
human point of view is understandable in so far as human beings will not seek it unless
they feel there is something in it for them, to speak of it this way can also be misleading.”

Enlightenment is for souls embodied as human beings. As a human being, we have


countless samskaras and associated vasanas from many, many incarnations (in both
animal and human forms). The sattvic, rajasic and tamasic qualities of our actions,
impressions, tendencies and thoughts, affect our perception (the perception of the
embodied soul) and can either help or hinder whether or not we (human beings)
attain enlightenment. Initially, a human being learns to be selective and make
careful choices because they want to avoid pain and suffering in their life.
Eventually, they begin to yearn for Self-knowledge; they want to know who they
are, what they are, and why they are here; in other words, they long for
Enlightenment.

“If someone asked me what enlightenment was I would say there was one Self with
apparent knowledge or ignorance (of itself) and you are that Self, not a person who
knows that he or she is the Self. I would hope that such a statement might stimulate
inquiry and that the inquiry lead to the removal of the ignorance, “I am a person.” As
long as someone hangs on to the human identity they will not know the truth. Yes, in a
non-dual reality everything is the Self and since the Self is Awareness everything in

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Awareness is also Awareness...so everyone is enlightened by default. But this is not the
end of it.”

Dev reply: You have written: “If someone asked me what enlightenment was I would
say there was one Self with apparent knowledge or ignorance (of itself) and you are that
Self, not a person who knows that he or she is the Self.” Then, according to you, the
Self, who we both know is not a person, possesses both apparent knowledge and
apparent ignorance of itself. The question then arises: where does the Self ‘possess’
this ‘apparent’ knowledge and ‘apparent’ ignorance of itself? If you say this
knowledge and ignorance are inherent in the Self, then this would lead us to
conclude that the All-knowing, Never-ignorant Self, whose nature is eternal and
unchangeable, inherently possesses knowledge and ignorance which are not really
real but only apparent. In this case, the Self would always possess apparent
knowledge and apparent ignorance and enlightenment would be out of the question.
I know of no scripture that would substantiate the statement: the All-knowing Self
(and indeed, the Supreme Self, since you make no distinction) possesses apparent
knowledge and ignorance of Itself. It is pretty much universally accepted that GOD
is never ignorant (unlike us), and not even apparently ignorant.

“I would hope that such a statement might stimulate inquiry and that the inquiry lead to
the removal of the ignorance, “I am a person.” Yes, I would hope so too, but I
wouldn’t bet on it. If one starts out with a wrong premise, one is very likely to end
up in a wrong place; in this case, one is likely to end up stuck in the mind and ego.
Why? Because the ‘someone’ who hears this statement will have to believe that the
very Self they seek to know, will, when they finally know it, still possess apparent
ignorance, and that their new found knowledge (resulting from their supposed
enlightenment) is only apparent knowledge. On the other hand, if we reveal to the
seeker the knowledge that the mind, body, etc., are the seeker’s own instruments of
knowledge, which, if wisely employed will enable the seeker to discover (uncover)
their own true Self, the seeker might then inquire: ‘Who am I’ who possess this
mind and body; why do I not know my own self; how did I forget my real nature,
and how can I realize who and what I really am?

Laksman: “As long as someone hangs on to the human identity they will not know the
truth.”

Dev reply: If you mean to say that ‘as long as someone holds on to their ego and
personality they will not know the truth,’ then I whole heartedly agree with you. On
the other hand, it is essential that we keep our human identity so long as we are
human beings, because this human birth is a blessing, which if used (lived) to the
fullest will lead us to enlightenment and the highest state of Consciousness.

Laksman: “If someone sincerely asked me who I was I would not say that I was a person
who attained enlightenment. I would say that I appear to be a person because I have a

25
very convincing person act but that the person I once thought I was, the one that seems to
be there from the outside, is long gone.”

Dev reply: No doubt the person you were is long gone, since that person is changing
every second and is never the same. But is the ‘person’ part of you really gone? No,
you are still a person, but you are so much more than just that. You still have ego,
but you are so much more than that. You are the living Self (Jivatman) and one day
you may become a Jivamukta, or if you attain your liberation after the death of the
body, you might one day become a Videhamukta. But in any case, right now you
are still an embodied soul.

Laksman: “ If someone wanted a more direct statement, keeping in mind the limitation of
words, I would say that I am limitless Awareness, minus apparent knowledge and
apparent ignorance. I would say that I’m not enlightened nor am I unenlightened. I
would say that I am that in which enlightenment and unenlightenment exist. I would not
say that I am not evolved or unevolved.”

Dev reply: This is the Truth, and indirectly you are establishing the existence of
both the Self (the innumerable souls, like me, you, and everyone else) and the
Supreme Self (GOD). The Self (that’s us) are limitless awareness (Consciousness)
that sometimes becomes embodied as the Jivatman and consequently becomes
apparently ignorant of its real nature (this is something that has never and could
never happen to the Supreme Self). When this ignorance is removed from our mind
(not God’s mind, and not just ‘the mind’, but our mind) we manifest that limitless
Awareness, minus apparent knowledge and apparent ignorance. Then indeed, we
are neither enlightened nor unenlightened; we are that (in conjunction with
Prakriti) by which enlightenment and unenlightenment exist, and in that state of
Pure Consciousness it can neither be said that we are evolved or unevolved.

“I suppose that what I’m trying to suggest is that this ‘who is enlightened’ game is not
really helpful, not only because of the abstract nature of the subject but because it really
takes a jnani to know a jnani. This is why I suggested that if you feel the need to judge
someone you use Dharma as a standard. It is easier for a seeker to understand and a
more important viewpoint. What good is enlightenment if a person’s behavior violates
dharma?”

Dev reply: Laksmanji, we are not playing the ‘who is enlightened’ game, but that
question need only be addressed to ourselves. If you are referring to the
MastersOfDeception blog (which I assume you are since this paragraph seems to be
pointed there), the aim of the blog (one aim of the blog) is to reveal that many of
those people whom we generally believe are Enlightened (are true knowers of the
Self) are often not so enlightened after all. No doubt that some are, and others are
good but confused people, some are just plain confused, and others are down right
nasty charlatans. It matters little that ‘it takes a jnani to know a jnani’; but what

26
does matter is that it takes an open-minded human being (one who has dropped
their bias and emotional or mental prejudices) to recognize a fraud.

Dev: Now, one who is REALLY established (that is, one whose mind has really been
cleared of all images and false knowledge) will not only be enlightened, but will also be
enlightening. It is an effortless effort to do so (enlighten) since that Light is self-effulgent
(i.e., is not the reflection of another entity).

Laksman: “I agree with this completely. Does this statement apply to you?”

Dev reply: I am working on it.

Dev: Anyone whose nature is contrary to the nature of the Self cannot be said to be truly
enlightened, regardless how much they may know ABOUT the self. Knowing about and
knowing are quite different from each other. ‘Knowing is Doing’ which means the Self
that has been realized in the mind is actualized in ones behavior.

Laksman: “Yes, but (here’s the famous ‘but’) it may take some time for the enlightenment
to manifest behaviorally owing to prarabdha. Prarabdha does not affect the jnani but it
will affect people with whom the jnani comes in contact. This is why in the old days
gurus recommended that the newly enlightened ‘sit in a cave’ like Ramana Maharishi for
some time depending their prarabdha.”

Dev reply: I can accept this reply based on your definition of ‘enlightenment’ and a
‘jnani.’ However, generally (though not always) I use a stricter definition of both
these terms. According to your definition, I attained enlightened when I was 19
years old.

Laksman:“This is probably why you have a negative evaluation of C. His guru told him
that he did not think it wise to teach so soon after his moksha. But C. didn’t listen. I
knew him very well. I was personally with him from morning till night for almost two
years and saw him often for about twenty years. We were like brothers. And he was an
amazing mahatma but there were traces of rajas and tamas in him…which caused a few
small problems but which did not in any way impede his effectiveness as a guru. And I
can tell you for a fact he was completely beyond money and women. He was an ocean of
compassion and one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. He took care of my room
and board for two years and never asked a thing from me. He was a pukka sanyassi.”

Dev reply: Laksmanji, in the few short moments I spent in the company of Swami
C. (in 1974), I felt deeply his intrinsic goodness and depth of consciousness, and have
never, could never, harbor any ill-will towards him whatsoever. I’ve never
suspected him of any foul play regarding money or women (or anything for that
matter), and always held him in high esteem. What I have written in the blog
pertains mostly to the numerous followers of his whom I feel have missed the mark;
I feel Swamiji too, being a modern Vedantin (what I call a neo-vedantin), even

27
though he was a pure and true sanyasi could not lead people to the Absolute Truth,
though he certainly led many on to the path of virtue and the knowledge of the Self.

Anyway, let’s continue. . . .

Dev: There are many characteristics which reflect the ignorance of the Self (i.e., which
clearly show one is not truly enlightened). Of course, we could just as easily take a
Saguna approach and say that there are many characteristics which reflect the Knowledge
of the Self. As you know, Lord Krishna in his response to one of Arjuna’s questions, has
beautifully told us what these characteristics are. Without referencing the Gita, I can say
with certainty that these qualities include the following:

• That person will not seek ego-recognition or satisfaction


• That person will be devoid of selfish motives
• That person will be devoid of false pride, haughtiness, and snobbishness
• That person will not cause any injury to another being (including animals) for any
selfish reason (i.e., for the purpose of gratifying one’s ego or mind)
• That person will NOT have bad habits which will influence others in a negative, self-
destructive way. They will not use their intellect and ego to justify their ego-centered
tendencies and actions.

This is an extremely abbreviated list, but it is sufficient to establish whether or not the
various people mentioned in the MastersOfDeception blog are enlightened or not.

Laksman: “I disagree. I know quite a few people who fit this definition who are
definitely not enlightened. These kinds of qualities can be unconsciously developed
through lifetimes of evolution. This is a pretty good definition of a saint but if you read
the autobiographies of saints it is quite clear that while many may have indirect
knowledge of the Self most do not have direct knowledge “I am limitless, non-dual
Awareness” which is my definition of enlightenment.”

Dev reply: Okay

“A problem is created when someone sets out to judge enlightenment in people: what is
the means of knowledge? A belief or an opinion is not a means of knowledge. So asking
someone else to believe what you believe is, in my opinion, not helpful spiritually.”

Dev reply: Please read the blog again. My aim is not to judge for the sake of
judging, but for the sake of disinterestedly helping. You yourself have said in one of
your Satsang writings that making judgments is not wrong; it is actually essential.
Certainly one’s judgment should not be based on mere belief or opinion, as these
definitely do NOT constitute knowledge. One’s judgment should be based on one’s
direct experience, the testimony of reliable witnesses, and inference based on a set of
valid clues. I think you would agree with me here, and that we have simply
misunderstood one another.

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“Unless you have lived with someone for a long time and you are a dispassionate person
you cannot really figure out a person’s true motives.”

Dev reply: This is certainly true of someone who’s ordinary and public actions are
widely known to be noble. We cannot know the mind and heart of a very deep
person unless we get very close to them dispassionately. However, a public figure
(living or deceased) whom people are encouraged to trust, and whose advice people
are often encouraged to accept and follow blindly, but who is (or was) engaged in
selfish, degrading, and demeaning activities (whether openly or secretly), should be
exposed for what they are. We hold politicians to such scrutiny, and for good
reasons; similarly, nowadays we have sex offender lists that are openly published on
the Internet to hopefully foreworn the innocent (though I have some reservations
about this). This whole thing is a drama: the good, the bad, and ugly. I think there
is no problem with adding some positive (albeit image-breaking and sometimes
shocking) input in the name of ‘service to humanity.’ For your own information,
the gross charlatans listed on the site (and certainly not everyone listed is or was a
charlatan at all, but are/were very noble souls, including of course Swami C) were
people with whom I had direct contact or whom someone very close to me had
direct contact with, or whose adharmic behavior is widely known (Osho). Others
have been listed (who to my knowledge were NOT charlatans) but have been
included only for the sake of revealing how so many of us blindly follow others and
worship them without realizing that these persons were NOT gods, but people just
like ourselves, who made mistakes, and had work to do on themselves, and may
indeed still be working on themselves even after their death.

“People who are into judging others…no matter how noble the reasons…often have an
axe to grind.”

Dev reply: Laksmanji, I have no axe to grind and no butter to spread.

“For every person who sees guru X as a rakshasa there is someone who sees guru X as a
saint…so who is ‘right?’

Dev reply: If one sees through the lens of one’s ego, one’s perception will certainly
be faulty. As the Sage Patanjali has stated in one of his sutras (to paraphrase): One
who is subjectively involved with himself due to his own distorted mental condition,
sees the real as unreal, the true as false, the painful as pleasurable, the harmful as
helpful, and so on. However, one who practices the ways of Truth readily discerns
the difference between truth and untruth.

“It all depends on your views, which depend on your values. And people generally come
to their values honestly.”

Dev reply: I disagree. You seem to be saying that one’s power of discernment
depends on one’s opinions (views), which in turn are based on one’s values. I

29
assume by ‘values’ you mean principles. In my mind, there is a set of universal
principles (values) which are an inherent part of everyone. I will explain:

By virtue of the omnipresent nature of Consciousness, the qualities of that


Consciousness must necessarily be present in all of us. The qualities of that
Consciousness are referred to (by me) as our Real Nature. Our Real Nature
embodies the principles of Consciousness, and those principles are written in the
conscience of every living being. Thus, essentially we all have the same root values.
These values are expressed as the five Yamas, which form the foundation of Yoga.
These yamas are called universal vows. Why? Because every human being by virtue
of their own conscience must make these vows (promises to one’s own self) and stick
to them, and if they don’t, they will be betraying their own true nature. Regardless
of the tendencies one may have accumulated over one’s innumerable incarnations
(many, many, in non-human forms), when one is embodied as a human being one’s
higher nature compels one to acknowledge this nature (these principles of
consciousness) and abide by it (i.e., be one’s Self). Thus, you could say that we all
‘come to our values’ when we come into this human life, because when we are born
as human beings these intrinsic values (of Consciousness itself) are written (so to
speak) in our conscience.

Laksman: “ Nobody sets out thinking “I’ll delude myself and become a selfish nasty
person.” It happens.”

Dev reply: It ‘happens’ because of our wrong choices. Please refer to my article,
Evolution of the Soul, on the Aditya Dham website.

“This is why I like Christ’s approach. He said, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” It doesn’t
seem to me that you are making a distinction between the sin and the sinner.”

Dev reply: Absolutely correct: “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” This is the only true
approach, this is Dharma. Every true Arya (noble human being) without exception
embraces this precept of Consciousness. There is a world of difference between the
sin and sinner. If I have failed to convey this, that is my error.

“I don’t know about you or about your motives but to take this blog seriously I would
have to believe that Dev is enlightened. You may be or you may not be…but how is a
stranger visiting a web log to tell? A person’s own words are not enough…in so far as
self delusion is one of human’s most salient characteristics.”

Dev reply: Are you saying that in order to believe the information on the site the
reader would have to believe the one who posted it is enlightened? The one who
posted it need only be knowledgeable enough to call a spade a spade, a charlatan a
charlatan, a saint a saint, a seeker a seeker, and a noble human being a noble
human being. The words of the Wise, even a single word, is sometimes enough for a
truth seeker, even a truth seeker who is seriously self-deluded. Those who are not

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truth seekers, even if they be very wise in their own eyes, will remain blinded by
their ego even if the truth were to blaze before them like the light of thousand suns.

“I will eat my words, however, if you start getting emails from people who claimed that
they got burned by gurus on your list and should have paid attention to your warning.”

Dev reply: I guess you’re saying (please correct me if I’m wrong) that after someone
reads the list they will be inclined to ignore it because they will not perceive it was
compiled by their own well-wisher and invisible friend, or by an enlightened being.
Consequently, they will possibly end up receiving a ‘personal’ darshan of Satya Sai
Baba, be molested by him, then later leave in disgust and remorse and send me an
email saying they should have heeded my warning. Well, hopefully that will not be
the case. But after all, this is Samsara, and this Samsara exists in the minds of the
ignorant and in the minds of those who ignore their own conscience. This Samsara
will go on forever.

Laksman: “It seems your definition [of enlightenment] is someone who is a vegetarian
and who is working on his or herself and who is not successful in the spiritual world.”

Dev: Yes, without a doubt, that person will be a vegetarian. The other half of this
sentence ‘who is not successful in the spiritual world’ appears to be a little bit of
sarcasm, or maybe you really do misunderstand me. Let me clarify: an enlightened
person (I don’t like using this phrase) has absolutely NO desire to be successful in
the spiritual circus or marketplace, and will actually AVOID making
‘performances’ and ‘deals,’ and by virtue of this that person IS successful in the so-
called spiritual world, regardless how evolved they are.

Laksman: I agree with the last sentence although not completely because there are no
rules for jnanis.

Dev reply: This is a mistaken notion that ‘there are no rules for jnanis.’ A knower
of Truth is ruled by the truth to be truthful; a jnani is ruled by wisdom to act wisely.
A jnani will act according to Dharma; he or she will not violate the law or rule of
their own Being, their own True Self. In the mind of the Wise, only wisdom rules;
they are not ruled by the tyrant ego, they are not ruled by their whims, moods, or
desires. Certainly, (due to existing vasanas) a jnani may still have many whims,
moods, and desires but he or she will be ruled by their own conscience which is
overshadowed by the characteristics (qualities) of the real Self. It is true, however,
that a jnani is not bound by any external rules, obligations, or the mental images
and projections of others.

Knowing who you are is the big success, not what you do or don’t do with the
knowledge.

Dev reply: Knowing who you are but not being who you are is a shame and a sham;
it is certainly not a success. For example, one who knows the principles of good

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health but doesn’t put those principles into practice is one who is a prisoner of their
mind and ego. In other words, one who knows better but doesn’t do better is one
who is complacent and mentally lazy. One who claims to know the Self but
continues to be pushed around by his or her small self (ego), does not really know
the Self, because the knowledge of the Self sets you free.

“ My view is that if you are enlightened you should keep your mouth shut because to say
that you are enlightened is not evidence of special attainment since enlightenment is the
nature of all beings. In fact it is evidence of a long stay in ignorance…which would be
better left unmentioned. This whole who is enlightened business is a complete non-
starter.”

Dev reply: Human beings act according to their nature. The nature of the mind is
that it is comprised of the sattwic, rajasic, and tamasic forces, characteristics,
impressions, tendencies, memories, etc. The nature of the Self is that It is beyond all
of these. The mind that has been enlightened with the knowledge of the Self becomes
colored with the nature of the Self. This coloring of the mind with the nature of the
Self is a process that takes place over time. When the mind is initially enlightened
with the knowledge of the Self the sattvic element predominates in that mind. In
order that the mind remain enlightened the sattvic element must go on increasing in
order that it does not become overpowered (and hence, darkened) by the rajasic and
tamasic elements. I believe we both know that enlightenment is spoken of the mind
and not the Self. The different degrees of enlightenment (if you will) refer to how
enlightened the mind is. The mind that is totally enlightened is the mind from
which all negative samskaras and vasanas have been eradicated.

Enlightenment certainly does indicate that the mind was previously in the state of
darkness (Ignorance), but so what? There is nothing here to hide. It is completely
irrelevant who is enlightened, unless this ‘who’ refers to ourselves. Realizing we are
not enlightened, or not as enlightened as we could be, we might inquire by searching
more deeply within ourselves and also perhaps seeking help from those who we
trust.

“As far as the vegetarian idea is concerned even plants are living beings. You’re taking
life when you eat them.”

Dev reply: Vegetables, fruits, and grains nourish the lives of human beings without
causing pain and suffering to other sentient beings. Living creatures do not offer
themselves to us for slaughter; invariably they will try to run away, fly away, swim
away, or crawl away. Like us, they too want to be free to live, to play with their
children, and to enjoy life. Apples and other fruits fall from the tree limbs when
ripe, and we eat them without causing any harm whatsoever to the tree. Vegetables
and grains are harvested and their seeds replanted (we cannot replant a cow, dog, or
horse). It is unlikely that the wheat plant or rice plant feel pain when harvested. In
fact, some people believe that all vegetation is a form of living matter, like yeast,

32
viruses, etc., and are NOT the embodiment of the soul, and hence there is no
violence involved in the cultivation and harvesting of fruits, vegetables and grains.

“Just because they have a rudimentary Subtle Body it is OK to eat them? I suppose this
might force you to modify your definition to exclude vegetarians. Maybe you should
claim that enlightened people can only be breatharians. But they what would happen to
their enlightenment if they inhaled a few microbes…which are living beings as well…and
which is happening all the time to everyone?”

Dev reply: In answer to your first question, according to my view they do not have a
Subtle Body because the subtle body refers to the embodiment of Atman. Grass,
herbs, fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., are not the bodies of souls. But nearly everyone
in the spiritual field will agree that animals, birds, and even fish do indeed have
souls (or rather, the Atman is embodied as the Jivatman in these sentient life forms).

Regarding the rest of this paragraph, it is clear that you do not see any harm in
eating animals. If you can look into the eyes of a cow, dog, lamb, horse, or other
animal and kill it with your own hands and eat it, without feeling that you have
violated your own conscience, then there is nothing I can really say to influence you
in this regard. As for inhaling a few microbes (which again, are probably not living
beings but living matter), there is a world of difference between that and killing a
cow; especially when the former is unavoidable but the latter is solely by one’s own
choice and is totally unnecessary.

“And what about Tibetan lamas in the winter with not a vegetable in sight? Their
spirituality is compromised because they eat Yak butter and meat?”

Dev reply: There have been many great Mystics, Saints, and Sages, and many
ordinary people too who live in regions of sparse vegetation, and have never eaten
meat. Besides, the Yaks had to consume a lot of vegetation themselves (being
vegetarians), so surely there must be some vegetation available, and if not, human
beings are nomadic by nature and will migrate to areas where food can be found.
Tibetan lamas who eat meat, like many other Buddhists, are not true followers of
the teachings of Lord Buddha.

“In case you didn’t notice, Dev, life eats life. Nobody can avoid it. Even meat eaters are
vegetarians once removed. The cows eat vegetables and they eat cows. So they are
actually eating vegetables.”

Dev reply: Excuse me for saying (and I really do not mean to hurt your feelings)
but you are really revealing your ignorance here. You are deliberately ignoring
(going against) your Higher Nature, your Real Nature, your Dharma, which is NOT
to cause avoidable pain and suffering to any creature.

Laksman: (from the previous email) “I understand this is a blog but what is going to
convince anyone that your evaluations are anything more than an opinion? It would be

33
better if you had testimonials to buttress your views.”

Dev: Honestly, I have no need to convince anyone of anything. You are no doubt
familiar with the term VASUDEVAKUTUMBAKAM. My only desire is my duty to
warn my family members of dangerous people they may encounter. It was not possible to
list all the good, the bad, and ugly; nor was it necessary to provide evidence which is
widely available (or at the very least, is certainly known to the confidents of those living).
However, many people are in denial because their self-delusion has become their comfort
zone. Most people, however, have simply never come in touch with the undiluted Truth
and so they continue to stumble in the darkness of their ignorance. In every case (listed
above), this one feels moved to cut to the chase and set the record straight (as I
understand it). In case I am wrong, I certainly welcome one and all to correct me.

Laksman: “ OK. I wouldn’t say you were ‘wrong’ but I wouldn’t say you were ‘right’
either. I’m just suspicious of people with a self-defined ‘duty’ to protect the ignorant for
this reason: as long as you try to protect them you keep them ignorant.”

Dev reply: Exposing people to the truth does not keep them ignorant. I have no duty
to protect the ignorant; my duty is to speak the truth and remove ignorance.

“People only learn when they make their own mistakes. Fucking up can make you think.
And thinking is good. If I just blindly do what I’m told because Dev or anyone else tells
me it is for my own good, I will still be an idiot at the end of the day.”

Dev reply: No one should follow anyone blindly because that would be a big
mistake. The problem is that we blindly follow our ego and this is what really gets us
in trouble. In fact, we make trouble for ourselves (and others) when we blindly
follow our ego. People who follow their ego are trouble-makers; the Wise are
trouble-shooters. It is just the nature of the Wise to speak the truth.

“I have been teaching Vedanta for almost forty years and I have found that the best way
to protect people is to teach them how to think for themselves. Often people come to me
who are ‘following’ a very bad guru and I do not try to dissuade them from it. In the first
place almost nobody takes the advice of other people…particularly when they are
attached to their desires…and secondly it is good to suffer from a lack of discrimination.
These lessons really stick. If I tell you not to do something…like God told Eve…there is
always a doubt. And that doubt will send you right into the arms of suffering. If God had
said, ‘Those apples are very healthy; they have the recommended amounts of calcium
and iron” Eve would have never looked twice at them. She would have gone off to the
candy store for some chocolate.”

Dev reply: I would say the best way to teach is by one’s own example. As they say
“A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good example is worth a thousand
pictures.” We are thinking for ourselves only when our mind is not ruled by our
ego. People do not take kindly to good advice because they are caught up in the

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desires of the mind and remain under the compulsion of ego, due to Ignorance.
When a human being makes up their mind that they do not want to suffer anymore,
or contribute to the suffering of others, they become receptive to the knowledge of
the Self. This Knowledge prods them to inquire about the true nature of Reality,
and this inquiry causes them to exercise their power of discernment. The more it is
exercised the better it gets, and eventually they clearly discern the real from the
unreal, the true from the false, and the helpful from the harmful.

Laksman: (from a previous email) “To put a positive spin on your definition you seem to
be saying that an enlightened person is a saint. What's missing is the idea of a jnani,
someone who knows the truth of their own nature but does not develop sattvika vasanas,
in other words someone who is just a regular person 'following his or her nature' as
Krishna says in the Gita.”

Dev: My Invisible Friend, Laksmanji, a Jnani is one who knows their own Real Nature
(Higher Nature) and their lower nature too, AND embraces the Real (nature) and is not
moved (motivated) by the Unreal (lower nature). The ‘Unreal’ means Ignorance. Only
one who is ignorant of the Self will manifest demonic qualities, or will remain as an
ordinary self-involved individual. In other words, one who really knows the Self will
definitely be a Saint (though most likely unknown to the world at large), and one who is
engaged in the process of enlightenment (i.e., is sincerely inquiring into the nature of the
Self) will certainly be a saintly person. Being a saintly person means (to me) that that
person is making a concerted effort to rise above himself (ego-centered self), which can
only be done through the acquisition of divine Wisdom (AtamGyaan, Soul-knowledge).
Ones actions (or more correctly, one’s GunaKaramSubhav: qualities, behavior, and
nature) are proof-positive whether or not one has assimilated this Knowledge. Having
acquired it without assimilating it is really meaningless; just as is ‘knowing the truth but
acting against it’, or knowing the truth but not being truthful, or ‘talking the talk’ but not
‘walking the walk.’

Laksman: “ OK, Dev. I agree but it takes time to assimilate it. At what point does one
pass the Dev enlightenment test? When there are no negative vasanas? When there are
95% sattvika vasanas? All qualities are in Maya and even the divine qualities are only
meaningful because of the demoniac qualities. It seems to me that non-dual vision means
that everything in Maya is equal to everything else in so far as it all serves the Self.”

Dev reply: Why try to justify our ignorance? This Drama exists for the purpose of
removing our ignorance. We are here to discover (uncover) the Truth and not to
cover it up with more ignorance. The Treasure is buried very deeply and one will
have to continue to dig until It is completely uncovered. It is covered by Ignorance
and ego brought about by Maya. Whose Maya? It is our own Maya. We have to
stop deluding ourselves; it won’t just happen on its own. It is a process, and that
process should never stop. It will indeed stop, but only when we are completely
enlightened.

35
“ Speaking as a person I used to be an evil doer and it was the correct path for me
because it lead me to the Self at an early age. If I’d been a nice decent well meaning holy
person always doing the right thing and following the good advice of others I may not
have waked up at all. Virtue is not always helpful. A golden chain can bind you as
completely as an iron one. It’s nice to want to save people from their folly but remember
the Inquisition.”

Dev reply: The path of ignorance is never the right path; the only right path is the
path of Dharma, which means to make our mind and behavior conform to our Real
Nature. No one is perfect, but no one can remain content (forever) in their self-
imposed limitations and ignorance. It is our nature to strive for perfection, to break
free from the bonds of ignorance.

Being holy is not being real, it is just another mental façade fashioned by ego. When
a human being lives a wholesome life, eating wholesome foods, thinking wholesome
thoughts, and keeping the company of wholesome people, one’s life is genuinely
fulfilling, and hence that person is not driven to look for happiness in the wrong
places, i.e., where happiness cannot be found. It definitely cannot be found in
religious dogma or images which are nothing but the byproducts of ego and
ignorance.

Dev: No doubt (as declared by Patanjali) the enlightened state is beyond the quantitative
or qualitative imprints (samskaras). The Self is beyond the sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic
qualities of Prakriti, and always remains such. But we are living souls; we are embodied
in mind and matter. Our essence (the Self) is unchangeable, but our lower nature is
constantly changing. These changes in our lower nature (mind and body) are certainly
not random or uncontrolled. We (as living souls) have the power (inherent in the Self) to
shape our mind (and life) into a beautiful dance, a beautiful expression of our Essence
(Self). It is only by PRACTICE that we ultimately attain the state of effortless effort; then
everything seems to flow effortlessly, like the movement of a skilled dancer, musician, or
artist. It will NEVER just happen by simply knowing ABOUT the Self.

Laksman: “From the human point of view this is true. But I don’t accept it. As I said I’m
not a human being. So ‘we’ does not apply to me. It may apply to you, however. I am
not living and I am not embodied. This idea is just a humble ‘spiritual’ way keeping
oneself limited.”

Dev reply: Of course you are a human being. You are a beautiful human being, the
creation of the Self. No one does them self or anyone else any good by denying their
own humanness. You are the Self embodied as a human being for a purpose: the
purpose of the Self. The Vedas reveal what that purpose is. Wouldn’t you say it is
ludicrous to think that everything that exists, exists only for the sake of having its
existence denied? This is irrational and unreasonable and contrary to the Self.

“I also do not accept the formulation of enlightenment as a ‘state.’ This confusion


started a long time ago with a misreading of the Mandukya Upanishad which called the

36
Self ‘the forth.’ It does not say ‘the forth state’ but this is how people read it who studied
its discussion of the three states. The Upanishad meant that the Self is the forth factor,
i.e. the invariable Awareness in and beyond the three states.”

Dev reply: According to what you saying (or at least according to what you have
written), you imply that all four are factors and not states (i.e., if the Self is the
fourth factor, what are the first three factors?). In that case, they are factors of
what? In my mind, all four are factors of manifest Reality. There is also a state
beyond the Fourth known as TuryiAdeeta: this is the Absolute Consciousness which
is neither a state nor a factor.

“I understand Patanjali’s definition of enlightenment…chitta vritti niroda. But it is not a


good definition. It is good for anta-karana suddhi, purification of the mind, but that is
all. It turns enlightenment into an event that depends on karma and doership.
Enlightenment is the nature of the Self and the Self cannot be attained through action.”

Dev reply: True enlightenment is the nature of the Self and the Self cannot be
attained through action, but enlightenment is not enlightenment of the Self but of
the mind, and this enlightenment is attained through action, even as ignorance is the
result of action. This is why the purification of the mind through the practice of
Yoga results in enlightenment. ‘We are the problem, we are the solution.’ The Wise
teach us to take responsibility for our mental state (which is the result of our
actions) and take action to change it. This is the practical knowledge of the Self. It
doesn’t mean enlightenment (purification of the mind) is attained by being a
‘goodie-goodie-two shoes’ or making one’s mind conform to one’s egotistical images
of religion, God, or life; it doesn’t mean that at all: it means really removing one’s
ignorance of the Self from the mind, and this involves one’s total being, not merely
one’s intellect.

I am not saying you think enlightenment is an intellectual process; surely you realize
knowing the Self is Self Knowledge. But this Self is NOT the Supreme Self, and
unless one knows this, one will tend to remain where one is. There are people who
attain Self Knowledge and keep their negative vasanas (some very, very nasty
vasanas) and use this Self Knowledge to do whatever the hell they want. They never
know the Supreme Self within the Self, and due to their incomplete knowledge they
lead others astray.

Dev: Too many Vedantists know too much for their own good, because they do not put
what they know (about) into practice: they DO NOT take hold of their own mind and
shape it into something beautiful and useful, but instead they retain their selfish
inclinations and impressions and imagine themselves to be in the world but not of it. The
fact is, many of them are buried up to their necks in this world of unreality, but they hide
in their neo-vedantic egos and personalities, and continue to fool themselves and others.

Laksman: “This is true of many Vedantists but it is equally true of many people

37
following other spiritual paths.”

Dev reply: Of course, this is true of people from all the different religious
persuasions, but here (in our dialog) we are primarily concerned with bringing to
light the true meaning of Vedanta (and Advaita) and the true meaning of
Enlightenment.

Laksman: (from a previous email) “If it were my blog I would present the position that
following Dharma is superior to Self realization. So if you have a person who claims to
be Self realized you can write him off because he doesn't follow dharma. As Dogzen said,
"Next to following dharma enlightenment is the most important thing in the world. But
you have to be careful what you mean by dharma because some activities are dharmic in
certain situations and not in others.”

Dev: Dharma simply means the Nature of the Self, and it is absolutely impossible to
realize the Self without practicing the nature of the Self (Dharma). Unfortunately, you
are definitely playing mind-games, which should be expected of you since that is what all
neo-vedantic people are doing. However, in your case, I think you are an exceptional
person who knows a lot, but is also capable of going beyond what you know, think you
know, and don’t know.

Laksman: I’ll just ignore the insult, Dev, because you don’t know me. I am surprised you
don’t get the idea since it is basically in harmony with your view of enlightenment. In
any case I am not an exceptional person. It may seem that way to you but it doesn’t seem
that way to me…and I should know since I’m me. Since you don’t seem to get the idea
perhaps you would like me to explain it again?

Dev reply: I’m sorry if I came across as harsh. I have absolutely no desire
whatsoever to hurt your feelings, but I have to stand by my statement, namely that
neo-vedanta is not true Vedanta and therefore is a game of the mind and those who
believe in it are playing a mind game and are NOT playing the game of the Self,
which is the Game of Enlightenment. In other words, neo-vedanta does not remove
Ignorance from the mind and result in enlightenment though (because of the shades
of truth present in it) it can certainly give the appearance of enlightenment to the
unenlightened.

Dev: I am not a very well-read man, and have never heard of this person Dogzen, but I
can say without hesitation the person is deluded. He (or she) talks of dharma and
enlightenment as though they are commodities in the marketplace (or the mind), when in
fact they constitute our own Being. One who is established in the Self.. . . or heck, leave
that aside. . . One who is truly established on the Path, . . . . leave that be too. . . . ONE
WHO IS A TRUE HUMAN BEING, one who is honest with himself (or herself), one
who is Real (to the core of their own being) knows what is right and wrong, what is good
and bad, what is real and unreal, what is dharmic and adharmic. ‘Knowing the Truth’ is
NOT an intellectual grasp of ‘things.’ It is beyond the language of thought, but it is not
thoughtless. It is beyond the mind but it is not mindless. It is beyond emotions and

38
feelings but it is not beyond experience. It is the Self, but it is NOT selfish.

Laksman: “Accepting your view of enlightenment these statements make sense but I
think your definition doesn’t do enlightenment justice.”

Dev reply: We do not do ourselves any justice by knowing what is right and doing
what is wrong. We do not do ourselves any justice by intellectualizing the
knowledge of the Self but not practicing the knowledge of the Self. Actually, one
cannot really intellectualize the knowledge of the Self because that knowledge to be
experiential must be put in to practice. The ‘experience’ of the Self is the
enlightenment of the mind. In other words, enlightenment is not the Self because
enlightenment is a state of mind: the state of the mind being freed from Ignorance,
which results in the mind being still, which results in the clear (undistorted)
reflection of the Self in that mind. This is the state of mind called Enlightenment.

Laksman (from earlier email):The other problem as I see it, is that behavior is not always
an accurate indicator of enlightenment. . . . . there are many enlightened people who
have non-binding vasanas that may appear to be impurities from the outside but do not
injure others nor do they affect their realization.”

Dev: The second half of this sentence is of course true, and irrespective of so-called
parabhda karma. That is, an enlightened soul, or in any case a very evolved soul, may still
have ordinary likes and dislikes, etc., which are NOT of the type that would be injurious
to others (or one’s self). To say that these vasanas do not affect one’s realization,
however, cannot be true. Realization is not a static ‘experience’ (as you will surely
agree), but it is the State of Being, and That (State of Being) is Changeless yet Ever-New,
which means it is always fresh, beginingless and endless. The one (living self) that
realizes the Self never gets stuck in any image. The realized Soul remains in the state of
limitless (ASEEM) Consciousness.

Laksman: We are world’s apart on this one, Dev. Realization is the direct knowledge I
am the Self. The Self is nir-vasana, meaning it is unaffected by the vasanas. The Self is
not an experience. Experience is the Self but the Self is not experience. If I am the Self
then how can experience i.e. vasanas change me? You seem to believe that there is some
embodied being who realizes something and this realization is a kind of experience and
this realization has certain hard and fast behavioral implications. If this is what you call
enlightenment then the vasanas definitely do affect it. But this kind of realization is just
another vasana. It’s a good vasana considering the samsaric alternatives but anything
that can be affected by something else is not real. Identification with the person has to
die for the knowledge ‘I am the Self’ to arise. What you are talking about is what I call
Self realization or experiential enlightenment…which is good compared to the samsaric
state but it is still in Maya because the subject object duality is still taken to be real.

Dev reply: Everything you have written in this paragraph is true. Let’s jump to the
middle of the paragraph: “You seem to believe that there is some embodied being who
realizes something and this realization is a kind of experience and this realization has

39
certain hard and fast behavioral implications.” Here, Laksmanji, is the crux of our
difference of understanding. Yes, there is an embodied being who realizes
something, and that embodied being is you, that embodied being is me, that
embodied being is/was Swami C, that embodied being is/was Shankaracharya. The
being who is embodied is the Self. The Being that is never embodied is the Supreme
Self. It is presumptuous on our part to declare that we are the Supreme Self;
something which I don’t think Ramana Maharishi would ever have done. Of course,
when one (the Self) is united with that Supreme Self (and in Reality it is always
united), one does not differ with the Supreme Self (which is one’s own Essence, i.e.,
the Soul of the Soul). By not ‘differing’ I mean to say the Self does not declare itself
as different or even as the same, because as we know, there is nothing to declare
then, nothing to prove, and nothing to disprove.

The reason I am so adamant about this is because this error (of human beings
thinking they themselves are the Supreme Self, or GOD) has resulted in a lot of
disgraceful and disgusting behavior on the part of many so-called spiritualists, or
swamis, gurus, etc. The one who truly knows (the Self as the Supreme Self) does not
say so; this too is the Sruti.

Dev: There is no end to refining our mind.

Laksman: “This is true if you are a doer. For the Self there is no refining to do. If I am
the Self I won’t be refining the mind. You might read the story of how the Sixth Patriarch
got to be the Sixth Patriarch. The secret to what I’m saying is in his poem.”

Dev reply: I am not familiar with the poem . . . but I do know this without any
doubt: actions do not ‘just happen.’ This intelligently designed Creation does
indeed have a Creator. Depending on your perspective, that Creator is either the
Self or the Supreme Self, or both. In any case, one cannot say there is no purpose to
all of this (even if the purpose is only to have fun). This Lila, or Sport, or Drama of
Existence is real (as a lila, sport, or drama), and we (the innumerable souls) are not
meaningless illusions. Even if we accept that we, as the embodied Self, are an
illusion, still there is Truth in this illusion.

The mind is refined by the embodied Self; the mind does not just refine itself. This
doesn’t mean that the Self is a ‘doer’ in the sense that it is generally understood by
the ignorant; which is why the scriptures tell us (the ignorant) the Self is not a doer.
What can one who is ignorant do? The ignorant are moved about by the gunas. The
ignorant do not perceive that it is the “gunas moving among the gunas” as we are
told in the Gita. One who is beyond the gunas will not be moved by either good or
evil, but will continue to do what is good and not what is wrong.

Dev: The one who stops refining their perception and awareness is not self-realized but
self-deluded.

Laksman: “If you define enlightenment this way, I can’t argue. But I don’t see it this

40
way. I could give you more reasons but I’ve written a lot and I’m tired. So I will leave
you with one question. ‘Who is going to stop refining and why?’

Dev reply: As I said somewhere else. . . there is no end to refining our nature. The
expression of the Self is an art (of living), and if the Self is limitless then how could
the expression ever end? It does, however, become an effortless effort.

“Rather than write more on this topic if you want to understand my views of
enlightenment perhaps you can read [my writings] on enlightenment, knowledge, and
experience on the web. You might also benefit from reading the Stages of Enlightenment
section in the ‘What is Advaita Vedanta’ pamphlet.”

Dev reply: I have read these (and other) areas of your website and enjoyed them
very much. If you read some of my articles on the Aditya Dham website (and
blog.adityadham.com) you will also perhaps have a clearer understanding of my
view too, as I believe I do of yours.

“I’ve been fighting this battle for a long time, Dev. You have the experiential view and I
hold the identity view. There is a way to resolve it if you want to but from the dogmatic
way you express yourself I’m not sure you would be open to considering the Vedantic
view. So let’s see how you react to what I’ve said here and take it from there.”

Dev reply: Well Laksmanji, I don’t consider this a battle (of opinions) or a war of
words. We both have done a considerable amount of our own inner (and outer)
research on these matters, and naturally we both have strong convictions (not just
beliefs). Our convictions are based on both direct experience and knowledge. I am
not at all a dogmatic human being. Though I am firm in my conviction of Truth, I
do not perceive the Truth as cast in concrete or carved in granite. I remain open to
the process of learning, realizing that no matter how much I know (or think I
know), I could never say I know it all (even if and when I know there is nothing left
to be known, I will not say so).

You may benefit from a reading of Satyarth Prakash by Maharishi Dayananda


Saraswati. He was truly an exceptional Sannyasi, though much misunderstood by
most people.

“It is difficult to understand what I am saying because of a deeply engrained human


orientation. It is the vasana that holds all positive and negative vasanas together. Your
definition is fine…for you. But if you were to ask for advice..which doesn’t seem likely…I
would suggest that you inquire into the meaning of ‘human’ or ‘person.’ And I would
respectfully suggest that you won’t find anything there.”

Dev reply: Laksmanji, it is not our human orientation that is the problem. The ‘person’
we think ourselves to be is the problem. We did not become human beings because of
our thinking; we became human beings because of an act of God. This human life is a
blessing, it is not a curse; a challenge, YES, but that’s all part of the Lila, the Sport. On

41
the other hand, the ‘person’ we are is just a myth; there is ‘nothing there’ to our
personhood, and we do indeed discover this by inquiring into the nature of the Self.

“ As far as I’m concerned its fine if you chose to be a human being and define
enlightenment the way you do. But I don’t fit into it. And because I don’t doesn’t mean
that I’m playing mind games or don’t know what I’m saying or am some clever
intellectual Vedantist. You are free to think what you like. I know what I know.”

Dev reply: Again, I am sorry if I inadvertently offended you; it is certainly not my


desire to do so (honestly). I have no desire that you should fit into my mental mold,
nor do I believe you have any desire that I should fit into yours. No doubt neither of
us believes he himself is in a mental mold. Well, let me rephrase that: I realize I (the
Self) am embodied as a human being and therefore appear to be limited by the mind
and body. I (the Self) know these limitations are appearances only. I am here to
make my appearance and leave. The Show must go on, but it can and will go on
without me; but for now, I am here to make my appearance, which is exactly what I
am doing. That is, I am making up my mind, shaping it into a Sage. I have not
come here to get something out of Life, nor have I come to deny Life. I am here to
see what I can put into this Life, to manifest my Real Nature, to express the Wisdom
of the Absolute.

Dev: Only those in whose minds the ego remains embedded will continue to live in self-
delusion and confusion. The ego cannot be removed from the mind except through the
application of divine wisdom. The seeds of divine wisdom are found in the Vedas and the
various teachings that have emanated from them (and continue to emanate from them).
You have studied many vedic teachings but I feel you have not given enough attention to
the Vedas themselves, otherwise you would not have some of the views that you seem to
espouse.

Laksman: “ The ‘divine’ wisdom I’m expounding here is the distinction between Self
realization and enlightenment. Please read the ‘Stages of Enlightenment’ section in the
What is Advaita Vedanta pamphlet.”

Dev reply: Okay, I will read that section.

“ I’ve given quite a serious study to the jnana kanda section of the Vedas which deals
with moksha. It is true that I am not an expert on the karma kanda but since it deals with
vedika dharma which I follow already and the acquisition of artha, kama and dharma it
does not interest me.”

Dev reply: You are probably more learned than myself as regards the scriptures.
My knowledge (and I would think much of yours) comes primarily from deep
meditative awareness (and self-inquiry) and the touch (influence) of my preceptor
and other wise souls.

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Dev: I will continue to go through the materials on your site, because I have not come
across any other sites that contain as much wisdom as your site (as far as I can tell up to
this point). I am not a ‘surfer-seeker’, nor am I a wannabe guru, saint, or whatever. I am
a simple human being like you with an ‘I’ for the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but
the Truth.

Laksman: Good. I’ve not found another site that is as good as the ****** site either.

Dev reply: If you thoroughly go through the Aditya Dham site you might discover it
too has a lot to offer.

“ As far as your statement that I’m a simple human being like you is concerned, you
should leave off the ‘like you’ if you want to be more accurate. If you want to think of me
in this way that is just fine with me but it is not correct.”

Dev reply: I see the Supreme Self in you, and the embodied Self, and find no shame
or sham (illusion) in being a human being.

Again, I thank you Laksmanji for sharing your Self with the Self.

Keep Shining!

Om Tat Sat

Your unknown friend and well-wisher,

Jai Maha Dev

Dev follows up with the following email before receiving reply from Laksman on Nov.
22nd:

Jai Bhagwan,

As I continue to go through your articles, I truly appreciate the soundness of your


presentation and the depth of your being. Though we appear to have some fundamental
differences, there is so much that we are 110 percent the same about.

Perhaps one day we will speak directly to one another. That may bring to light many
things.

I look forward to your response from my recent email (as time permits you).

Keep Shining!

Om

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Jai Maha Dev

Laksman’ replies to Dev. . .

Hi Dev,

It turns out that both the computers in the email shop won't allow me to copy your email
and since it is a long email I need to take it home and think about a reply. Don't worry,
they will get it fixed. I like you and will continue to reply to your emails. Most of the
problems are due to semantics but they need to be sorted out if we are going to continue.
If you have one definition of the jivatman and I have another we are not going to see eye
to eye. Of course the best is personal contact. Where do you live and what is your age?
It may be a few days before I can reply to your email. I've just arrived in India and there
are many things to do for the next few days to make life livable.

Om and Prem,

Laksmanji

Following are Laksman’s replies/comments to specific parts of Dev’s previous email of


11/19. This email was received on 11/22.

Hi Dev,

I'm sorry if I'm a bit hard on you in this email. Don't take it too seriously. I know you're a
good guy. It is not intended as a brush off; it's just that we need to get certain things
straight at the beginning of this conversation for it to work properly.

Love,

Laksman

Dev: Yes, my answer was not clear, so I will try again. What I mean to say is that many
people are seeking guidance because they are in a quandary as to “Who am I,” and once
the answer to this question is known, the knower is enlightened. This is what I meant by
‘self-evident,’ meaning that a true seeker of enlightenment will know Enlightenment
when they find it, because that enlightenment is the knowledge of their own Self. No
doubt there are also many people who think enlightenment is some kind of attainment
that gives them special powers, etc., but genuine seekers really want to know “Who am
I.” The MastersofDeception blog is meant for these genuine seekers (both novices and
those already on the path) who do not have Self Knowledge and who really want it
(enlightenment) for no other purpose than the Self itself.

Laksman: If there are such people and these people came to your website they would not

44
really need this information because a true seeker is always completely protected by his
or her bhakti. No one can injure them. It might be useful for well-meaning but
unqualified seekers as a kind of warning but since you asked me I believe that for
maximum impact it needs more from you about you and your motivations. I know I
would certainly be suspicious about such a blog. If someone asked me about a certain
guru I would cite my sources and give reasons for my belief.

-----

Dev: This Jivatman is not an ego, not a person, not a mind, and not any body. In essence,
this Jivatman is the Self.

Laksman: If this is true then what is the meaning of your words that it sleeps and wakes?
In any case when I say that I am not a person I mean that I am the Self or the Jivatman, if
you prefer. According to my understanding/experience (and scripture would back me up
on this) the Self and the Jivatman are identical. However, the difference in words is
accounted for by the superimposition (adyaropa) of individuality (jiva) on the Self. The
Jivatman, me, is not limited like a jiva.

-----

Dev: It is the Jivatman that realizes (or not) the Self. This realization takes place in the
mind when the mind is enlightened. The state of enlightenment and the state of
ignorance are both states of mind. Whose mind? It is the mind of the Jivatman, the
embodied soul.

Laksman: OK. This is pretty clear and I can’t argue with it. However, it is my
understanding/experience that ‘embodiment’ is an upadhi, something projected by
ignorance that is not actually there. It seems to be there, however and therefore people
believe that the Jivatman and the Self, the Paramatman are distinct entities. Shankara’s
statement “Jivo Brahamaiva na parah” indicates the non-duality of the two as does the
Mahavakya, ‘Tat tvam asi” .

…..

Dev: Whether ‘I know’ as Atman or as Jivatman, the Self that must be known is the
Supreme Self. As the Self approaches (by knowledge, by knowing) the Ultimate Truth
(the Supreme Self), the Self realizes (knows that to know itself) it must go beyond itself;
it must stop knowing and start experiencing. When this realization matures, the Jivatman
is awakened and experiences itself as Atman (the Self); that is, the dream is over and the
dreamer realizes that the dream of being in bondage was only a dream and not real. The
awakened self (enlightened Jiva) experiences (knows) itself as Atman; or worded
differently, the Self (Atman) knows (experiences) itself as the enlightened Self. In this
state of enlightenment or Self-Realization, the Self (as Pure Consciousness) must realize
its own Essence (the Supreme Self) to attain the highest Consciousness, the Supreme
Consciousness, the Absolute. However, having become established in one’s own being

45
(Self), the Self reveling in the sweetness of its own Pure Consciousness, may remain in
such a state for a very, very long time (many, many cycles of the Creation), or not.

Laksman: Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me how you know this. Is it your
direct experience? If you have read my articles on knowledge and experience you can
probably guess that I have a problem with this idea. I give you the benefit of the doubt on
the language issue but the statement ‘the Self may remain in such a state for a very, very
long time” doesn’t add up. Discounting the inappropriateness of the word ‘state,’ the
‘state’ you are referring to is already the Self if this is a non dual reality…which the sruti
says it is. Since ‘states’ are not doers, nor is the Self a doer there is actually no one to ‘
remain in’ anything. Finally, what would the purpose be of ‘remaining in this state for a
long time’ since the Self is paramsukka, paramanand by nature? Any benefit It would
derive from remaining in this state it already has. I see this idea as a rather silly fantasy
cooked up by doers with spiritual vasanas who don’t understand that they are the Self.
The way out of this predicament is to seek jnanam in line with scripture since the problem
of seeking is a problem born of ignorance.

Dev: To attain the Highest State of Being, the same state Lord Krishna refers to as ‘My
state’, or ‘Myself’, or ‘My Abode,’ and which the above mantra calls out with ‘Paramam
Padam Sada,’ one must make the ultimate Yajna and offer one’s own Self into the Self
(Supreme Self). There is nothing left to know or experience then (that is, until the next
time, some 311 trillion years hence, according to some).

Laksman: “Na karmana, na prajayaa, dananenaa…” etc. You cannot ‘make’ any
sacrifice, ultimate or not, to attain the Self. Why? Because you already are the Self. You
can only ‘attain’ what you already are by jnanam. An action may get you something that
you don’t have but it will not produce the Self in the form of enlightenment. The ‘tenth
man’ teaching is meant to illustrate this fact. So this ‘offering’ is just the letting go of the
belief that you are anything but the Self or that the Self can be experienced at some later
date.. The statement about ignorance returning after 311 trillion years is so stupid I can
only laugh. Ignorance can return after a split second if the knowledge is not firm.

You have to remember that while the Gita has the status of an Upanishad it is a Pauranic
text and like the Upanishads from which it gets its ideas contains both the language of
experience (yoga) and the language of identity (Vedanta). Unfortunately it does not
explain the contradiction between these two languages and the purpose of each so that
seekers can become confused and imagine that enlightenment is some sort of experience.
The Pauranas personify the Self because it is for people whose intellects are extroverted.
This is why the hero is Arjuna, a rajasic person with an unsophisticated emotional mind.
But the downside of this approach is that an undiscriminating mind can take the whole
story literally. The Gita understands this and tries to get around this by positing a
‘Supreme Person’ but again this is possible to misunderstand. In the fifteenth chapter it
first establishes two ‘selves’ the askshara purusha and the kshara purusha for the
purposes of discrimination. Then it introduces the ‘Supreme Person.’ This Supreme
Person (uttamapurusha) is not a person. Person is a symbol that has a certain affinity
with what it is meant to symbolize but like all symbols it is not meant to be taken literally.

46
The ‘Supreme Person’ is just Chaitanya, Awareness. Why is it ‘supreme?’ Because it is
the Awareness of both change and changelessness which are represented as ‘purushas.’
Both change and changelessness are apparent realities known by virtue of non-dual
Awareness… if you want a straightforward scientific no-bullshit statement of fact.
‘Supreme’ is an unfortunate dualistic word that gives the impression of two or more
selves. In fact there is only one Self. If there is only one Self the appearance of two or
more selves is just that…an appearance. But if you can’t see that then you end up
worshipping the Supreme Person as somebody other than you who can give you what in
your spiritual emptiness you want…or think you want… or you end up striving to
experience this ‘supreme person’ in the form of some sort of ‘high state’ of consciousness
like nirvikalpa samadhi that you believe you can make permanent or you find yourself
hoping for some kind of personal darshan of this supreme being all dressed up in silks
with the great Kasthuba gem on his chest and his thousand arms waving in the breeze
like the tentacles of a sea anemone. The joke here is that you are always experiencing
the Self but because the mind is gross and extroverted and doesn’t know what the Self is
you believe that you are not so you turn yourself into an object and try to ‘get it.’ It’s a
big frustration, actually. And the culprit? Language confusion. This is why traditional
Vedanta places such an importance on a guru with scriptural knowledge. He or she can
elucidate the language problem and save the seeker the inevitable difficulties that come
when you don’t understand the way words work.

-----

Dev: Continuing now with your reply: “A third doubt that your statement brings up is
this: in my experience there is no ‘person’ to be clear or not clear about anything.” I think
we have addressed this and hopefully clarified that, indeed, there is no ‘person’ to be
clear or not clear about anything because a ‘person’ is really only a mental formulation
and is not (in and of itself) the living Self (Jivatman).

Laksman: If there is no person to be clear, then there is no person to attain the ‘highest
state.’ If you say the Self is going to attain something, you have the problem of doership
because the sruti clearly states that the Self is not a doer. It is ‘already accomplished.’ It
is already every state than can be attained so it will not set out to attain anything.
Presenting the Self in this way is helpful for doers with gross intellects who have spiritual
vasanas because it channels their prodigious energy into sadhana which will eventually
sattvasize their minds and make inquiry possible. Unfortunately, when the mind gets
sattvic there are still unhelpful spiritual impressions concerning the nature of the Self
and the way to attain it which need to be examined and discarded in light of non-dual
teachings.

…..

Dev: Enlightenment is for souls embodied as human beings. As a human being, we have
countless samskaras and associated vasanas from many, many incarnations (in both
animal and human forms). The sattvic, rajasic and tamasic qualities of our actions,
impressions, tendencies and thoughts, affect our perception (the perception of the

47
embodied soul) and can either help or hinder whether or not we (human beings) attain
enlightenment. Initially, a human being learns to be selective and make careful choices
because they want to avoid pain and suffering in their life. Eventually, they begin to
yearn for Self-knowledge; they want to know who they are, what they are, and why they
are here; in other words, they long for Enlightenment.

Laksman: I agree. The only question is ‘What is enlightenment?’ And you and I have
very different views on this. I’m certainly not going to accept your view and I’m sure you
will not accept mine so it seems the discussion on this topic is finished.

-----

Dev: You have written: “If someone asked me what enlightenment was I would say there
was one Self with apparent knowledge or ignorance (of itself) and you are that Self, not a
person who knows that he or she is the Self.” Then, according to you, the Self, who we
both know is not a person, possesses both apparent knowledge and apparent ignorance of
itself. The question then arises: where does the Self ‘possess’ this ‘apparent’ knowledge
and ‘apparent’ ignorance of itself? If you say this knowledge and ignorance are inherent
in the Self, then this would lead us to conclude that the All-knowing, Never-ignorant
Self, whose nature is eternal and unchangeable, inherently possesses knowledge and
ignorance which are not really real but only apparent. In this case, the Self would always
possess apparent knowledge and apparent ignorance and enlightenment would be out of
the question. I know of no scripture that would substantiate the statement: the All-
knowing Self (and indeed, the Supreme Self, since you make no distinction) possesses
apparent knowledge and ignorance of Itself. It is pretty much universally accepted that
GOD is never ignorant (unlike us), and not even apparently ignorant.

Laksman: This is good reasoning, Dev. The key word in my statement is apparent.
Apparent means that it seems to exist but it doesn’t actually exist. So this means that the
Self is actually free of knowledge and ignorance… which is what you are arguing. In any
case the point of that statement is that you are the Self and not a person. If you think you
are a person, as you seem to, you are assuming a limited identity. When you feel limited
you strive for freedom from limitation. A limited identity is a problem because how do
you get from a limited identity to a limitless identity? You can’t do it through action
(sadhanas) because no amount of finite actions will ever add up to limitlessness. You can
only see that you made a mistake by thinking of yourself in a limited way and drop the
thought.

-------

Dev: On the other hand, if we reveal to the seeker the knowledge that the mind, body,
etc., are the seeker’s own instruments of knowledge, which, if wisely employed will
enable the seeker to discover (uncover) their own true Self, the seeker might then inquire:
‘Who am I’ who possess this mind and body; why do I not know my own self; how did I
forget my real nature, and how can I realize who and what I really am?

48
Laksman: Yes, that’s fine. But the jury is not out on the question of Who am I? It is well
known. If someone doesn’t know it then a valid means of knowledge is necessary, quite
apart from the ‘seeker’s own instruments’ which will not reveal the truth on their own. If
they were constructed to reveal the truth nobody would have a doubt about who they
were in the first place. The fact is that ‘the seekers own instruments’ are very limited and
turned in the wrong direction. To turn them around you need work, i.e. Yoga. And to
help them understand a valid pramana like Vedanta is needed.

…..

Laksman: (from the previous email) “If someone sincerely asked me who I was I would
not say that I was a person who attained enlightenment. I would say that I appear to be a
person because I have a very convincing person act but that the person I once thought I
was, the one that seems to be there from the outside, is long gone.”

Dev reply: No doubt the person you were is long gone, since that person is changing
every second and is never the same. But is the ‘person’ part of you really gone? No, you
are still a person, but you are so much more than just that. You still have ego, but you are
so much more than that. You are the living Self (Jivatman) and one day you may become
a Jivamukta, or if you attain your liberation after the death of the body, you might one
day become a Videhamukta. But in any case, right now you are still an embodied soul.

Laksman: When I say I am not a person I mean the person is me but I am not the person.
All bodies are in me; I am not in them. All persons are in me. I am not in them. You are
incorrect when you say I will ‘become a Jivanmukta.” I will not ‘become’ anything,
Dev. I am already everything that is. If you want to imagine some kind of future ‘state’
or condition when you will be free that’s fine with me. And if you want to project it on
me, it up to you. But I’m sorry to say this statement does not apply to me.

How can you possibly know what is true for me? You obviously do not accept my words
because they contradict your beliefs. Mind you I don’t care if you accept my words.
Remember, I did not initiate this discussion. I did not ask for your opinion but you
seemed to want to discuss with me so I offered my experience/knowledge in good faith.
For this discussion to continue you would tentatively have to take on my statements of
non-dual identity and investigate within yourself to see whether or not they could be
true…for you. If they are true for you, then they can be true for me because there is no
difference between us. I’m saying that you are the Self, that you are already liberated
and that there is nothing to attain because you are me. If ‘you’ can’t see it and want to
believe in some future liberation it is up to you. But future liberation is meaningless to
me because when you are everything there is nothing you can be free of. Freedom is the
nature of the Self and you are the Self. As long as you see yourself as Dev, a person, you
will strive for liberation. The longer you strive the deeper your separation vasana
becomes.

Can you see the bias you are bringing to this conversation? I will explain my bias later

49
in this letter if it is not clear to you already.

…….

Dev reply: Laksmanji, we are not playing the ‘who is enlightened’ game, but that
question need only be addressed to ourselves. If you are referring to the
MastersofDeception blog (which I assume you are since this paragraph seems to be
pointed there), the aim of the blog (one aim of the blog) is to reveal that many of those
people whom we generally believe are Enlightened (are true knowers of the Self) are
often not so enlightened after all. No doubt that some are, and others are good but
confused people, some are just plain confused, and others are down right nasty
charlatans. It matters little that ‘it takes a jnani to know a jnani’; but what does matter is
that it takes an open-minded human being (one who has dropped their bias and emotional
or mental prejudices) to recognize a fraud.

Laksman: That’s right, Dev, but a mature person would not be taken in by a fraud. And
if a person takes advice from someone on the internet they don’t know well he or she will
probably also be foolish enough to be taken in by a charlatan who might just as well tell
them, “Oh, the Masters of Deception Blog?” That’s Dev. He’s a blogger. Everybody
knows his trip. He’s just a self righteous guru wannabe. Imagines he’s a defender of the
faith but doesn’t offer any hard facts…just regurgitates worn out opinions. It’s all hot
air. Probably his mom or pop abused him when he was young and he hates authority
figures even though he pulls an authority trip with his list and hides behind web
anonymity. He figures people will love him if he looks out after them. It’s a savior
complex masquerading as compassion. Maybe he’s envious because he has no
followers.” Etc. You know the drill. These fake gurus are not as stupid as you think.
They know just how stupid people are. In any case good luck with your blog and I hope
you save many souls.

…..

Dev reply: Please read the blog again. My aim is not to judge for the sake of judging, but
for the sake of disinterestedly helping. You yourself have said in one of your Satsang
writings that making judgments is not wrong; it is actually essential. Certainly one’s
judgment should not be based on mere belief or opinion, as these definitely do NOT
constitute knowledge. One’s judgment should be based on one’s direct experience, the
testimony of reliable witnesses, and inference based on a set of valid clues. I think you
would agree with me here, and that we have simply misunderstood one another.

Laksman: That is correct. It’s going to happen over and over because we have different
orientations.

…..

Dev: We hold politicians to such scrutiny, and for good reasons; similarly, nowadays we
have sex offender lists that are openly published on the Internet to hopefully foreworn the

50
innocent (though I have some reservations about this). This whole thing is a drama: the
good, the bad, and ugly. I think there is no problem with adding some positive (albeit
image-breaking and sometimes shocking) input in name of ‘service to humanity.’ For
your own information, the gross charlatans listed on the site (and certainly not everyone
listed is or was a charlatan at all, but are/were very noble souls, including of course
Swami C.) were people with whom I had direct contact or whom someone very close to
me had direct contact with, or whose adharmic behavior is widely known (Osho). Others
have been listed (who to my knowledge were NOT charlatans) but have been included
only for the sake of revealing how so many of us blindly follow others and worship them
without realizing that these persons were NOT gods, but people just like ourselves, who
made mistakes, and had work to do on themselves, and may indeed still be working on
themselves even after their death.

Laksman: I think the blog would be helped by the inclusion of the ideas we have been
discussing so people could get a better idea of who you are and why you feel it is
necessary to save people from their folly. Incidentally, there already is quite a famous
and well established guru rating website which has a much more reasonable tone than
yours. Masters of Deception is a very provocative title, meant to inspire fear. In my
humble opinion fear sucks… even if it’s good fear.

….

Dev reply: Laksmanji, I have no axe to grind and no butter to spread.

Laksman: I didn’t say you did. I’m saying that the way you formulate things suggests
that maybe you do.

….

Dev reply: I disagree. You seem to be saying that one’s power of discernment depends
on one’s opinions (views), which in turn are based on one’s values. I assume by ‘values’
you mean principles. In my mind, there is a set of universal principles (values) which are
an inherent part of everyone. I will explain: By virtue of the omnipresent nature of
Consciousness, the qualities of that Consciousness must necessarily be present in all of
us. The qualities of that Consciousness are referred to (by me) as our Real Nature. Our
Real Nature embodies the principles of Consciousness, and those principles are written in
the conscience of every living being. Thus, essentially we all have the same root values.
These values are expressed as the five Yamas, which form the foundation of Yoga. These
yamas are called universal vows. Why? Because every human being by virtue of their
own conscience must make these vows (promises to one’s own self) and stick to them,
and if they don’t, they will be betraying their own true nature. Regardless of the
tendencies one may have accumulated over one’s innumerable incarnations (many, many,
in non-human forms), when one is embodied as a human being one’s higher nature
compels one to acknowledge this nature (these principles of consciousness) and abide by
it (i.e., be one’s Self). Thus, you could say that we all ‘come to our values’ when we
come into this human life, because when we are born as human beings these intrinsic

51
values (of Consciousness itself) are written (so to speak) in our conscience.

Laksman: This is well written and I agree. I wasn’t referring to universal values. I was
referring to the values that unselfaware people develop as a result of allowing their
vasanas to interpret their experiences in life.

…..

Dev reply: Are you saying that in order to believe the information on the site the reader
would have to believe the one who posted it is enlightened? The one who posted it need
only be knowledgeable enough to call a spade a spade, a charlatan a charlatan, a saint a
saint, a seeker a seeker, and a noble human being a noble human being. The words of the
Wise, even a single word, is sometimes enough for a truth seeker, even a truth seeker
who is seriously self-deluded. Those who are not truth seekers, even if they be very wise
in their own eyes, will remain blinded by their ego even if the truth were to blaze before
them like the light of thousand suns.

Laksman: The point I’m trying to make is: why should your evaluation of these people be
believed?’ This is why I think it would be good if you explained your self. I’ve spent a
large fraction of my adult life selling all sorts of things…from goods and services to
ideas… and I have found that the most effective way to get one’s idea across is to gain a
person’s confidence. To do that you need to reveal who you are. The take it or leave it
approach creates doubts. I’m having the same difficulty with your words in these emails.
It may be completely a style thing but I need to know more about why you think like you
do. You come across as a take no prisoners type of guy…almost bigoted. I know you
aren’t but it is possible to get that impression from the way you use words. Very often
religious dogmatism and conviction born of truth are indistinguishable. In any case I’m
not attracted to this kind of approach. Just the fact that you have assumed this white
knight in shining armor defender of truth role makes me suspicious. I think, ‘What’s
wrong with this guy? Doesn’t he have anything better to do than criticize others?”

…..

Dev reply: I guess you’re saying (please correct me if I’m wrong) that after someone
reads the list they will be inclined to ignore it because they will not perceive it was
compiled by their own well-wisher and invisible friend, or by an enlightened being.
Consequently, they will possibly end up receiving a ‘personal’ darshan of Satya Sai
Baba, be molested by him, then later leave in disgust and remorse and send me an email
saying they should have heeded my warning. Well, hopefully that will not be the case.
But after all, this is Samsara, and this Samsara exists in the minds of the ignorant and in
the minds of those who ignore their own conscience. This Samsara will go on forever.

Laksman: Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post the blog. In
fact I could add some very juicy tidbits to the rubbish on a number of gurus but it’s not
my style to criticize in a public forum. I have one long criticism of the teachings of a
Neo-Advaita guru on the website but the name is changed and I give him high marks for

52
moksha and for a good character but take him to task for his teaching.

…..

Dev reply: This is a mistaken notion that ‘there are no rules for jnanis.’ A knower of
Truth is ruled by the truth to be truthful; a jnani is ruled by wisdom to act wisely. A jnani
will act according to Dharma; he or she will not violate the law or rule of their own
Being, their own True Self. In the mind of the Wise, only wisdom rules; they are not
ruled by the tyrant ego, they are not ruled by their whims, moods, or desires. Certainly,
(due to existing vasanas) a jnani may still have many whims, moods, and desires but he
or she will be ruled by their own conscience which is overshadowed by the characteristics
(qualities) of the real Self. It is true, however, that a jnani is not bound by any external
rules, obligations, or the mental images and projections of others.

Laksman: I didn’t mean that a true jnani will violate dharma only that no external rules
and no particular lifestyle or behavior applies. In other words a jnani need not be a
saint. He or she may or may not eat a Big Mac without losing wisdom. :+)

…..

Laksman: (from the previous email) Knowing who you are is the big success, not what
you do or don’t do with the knowledge.

Dev reply: Knowing who you are but not being who you are is a shame and a sham; it is
certainly not a success. For example, one who knows the principles of good health but
doesn’t put those principles into practice is one who is a prisoner of their mind and ego.
In other words, one who knows better but doesn’t do better is one who is complacent and
mentally lazy. One who claims to know the Self but continues to be pushed around by
his or her small self (ego), does not really know the Self, because the knowledge of the
Self sets you free.

Laksman: I meant that knowing is being. Knowing is doing. If you really know that you
are whole and complete your actions will reveal who you are. . There is no choice
involved it.

…..

Dev reply: Enlightenment certainly does indicate that the mind was previously in the
state of darkness (Ignorance), but so what? There is nothing here to hide. It is completely
irrelevant who is enlightened, unless this ‘who’ refers to ourselves. Realizing we are not
enlightened, or not as enlightened as we could be, we might inquire by searching more
deeply within ourselves and also perhaps seeking help from those who we trust.

Laksman: I was trying to make the point that if you are evaluating people it is better to
evaluate them solely on the basis of whether or not their behavior was in harmony with

53
dharma. There are endless statements in the sruti that there is no prarabdha for jnanis…
which are intended to debunk the association between behavior and moksha. Yes, there
is a connection seen from one point of view but no there isn’t seen from another.

….

Dev reply: In answer to your first question, according to my view they do not have a
Subtle Body because the subtle body refers to the embodiment of Atman. Grass, herbs,
fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., are not the bodies of souls. But nearly everyone in the
spiritual field will agree that animals, birds, and even fish do indeed have souls (or rather,
the Atman is embodied as the Jivatman in these sentient life forms).

Laksman: My point is where do you draw the line. A rock, a tree, an animal, a human
being. All are the Self. In the apparent reality the Self eats the Self. Perhaps you might
study Gita Chapter 2. I daresay that if you were dying of starvation and a big fat salmon
jumped out of a stream on the bank you would not see it as God offering itself to you.
I’m sure your vegetarian principles would probably cause you to put it back in the water
and starve to death.

Dev (continuing): Regarding the rest of this paragraph, it is clear that you do not see any
harm in eating animals. If you can look into the eyes of a cow, dog, lamb, horse, or other
animal and kill it with your own hands and eat it, without feeling that you have violated
your own conscience, then there is nothing I can really say to influence you in this
regard. As for inhaling a few microbes (which again, are probably not living beings but
living matter), there is a world of difference between that and killing a cow; especially
when the former is unavoidable but the latter is solely by one’s own choice and is totally
unnecessary.

Laksman: There’s harm in everything…if you have a fearful mind.

Laksman: (from the previous email) “And what about Tibetan lamas in the winter with
not a vegetable in sight? Their spirituality is compromised because they eat Yak butter
and meat?”

Dev: There have been many great Mystics, Saints, and Sages, and many ordinary people
too who live in regions of sparse vegetation, and have never eaten meat. Besides, the
Yaks had to consume a lot of vegetation themselves (being vegetarians), so surely there
must be some vegetation available, and if not, human beings are nomadic by nature and
will migrate to areas where food can be found. Tibetan lamas who eat meat, like many
other Buddhists, are not true followers of the teachings of Lord Buddha.

Laksman: For me this conversation is not only about vegetarianism; it is about whether
or not we can communicate successfully. I haven’t enough invested in this vegetarian
idea to quarrel with you about it. You have healthy feel good views about food but they
don’t qualify as spiritual in my opinion. You will perhaps be surprised to know that I’m a

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pure vegetarian but I’m not identified with it. Injury to living beings is only one reason
for it. I can imagine sitting down to a nice turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and not feeling
guilty.

Laksman: (from the previous email) “In case you didn’t notice, Dev, life eats life.
Nobody can avoid it. Even meat eaters are vegetarians once removed. The cows eat
vegetables and they eat cows. So they are actually eating vegetables.”

Dev reply: Excuse me for saying (and I really do not mean to hurt your feelings) but you
are really revealing your ignorance here. You are deliberately ignoring (going against)
your Higher Nature, your Real Nature, your Dharma, which is NOT to cause avoidable
pain and suffering to any creature.

Laksman: You didn’t hurt my feelings in the least, Dev. I don’t have feelings. I’m not a
human being, remember? I found the above paragraph rather amusing. Even if I was a
human being I wouldn’t be offended because I don’t know you…for the present you’re
just an earnest voice from cyberspace that may or not be connected to someone I might
want to know.

…..

Dev reply: Exposing people to the truth does not keep them ignorant. I have no duty to
protect the ignorant; my duty is to speak the truth and remove ignorance.

Laksman: They have to know that it’s the truth first, Dev. Truthful statements are not the
truth. A wicked person or a self deluded person can make truthful statements. One needs
to know who is making the statements first and why…before one is inclined to believe.
Personally, I am not inclined to believe anything about anything. I have senses and a
mind and I can figure out what’s going on without help. I operate from understanding
born of experience. My point is: who is to know that Dev’s version of the truth is The
truth? It could just as easily be an opinion. I’d also be curious to know who gave you
that duty. Did God or your guru tell you to do it? Or is it self assumed?

Perhaps it would be instructive to recall Krishna’s statement in the Gita, “Let not the
wise unsettle the minds of the ignorant.” To me this is one of the Gita’s greatest
statements. It shows that at heart Vedic culture is not a bunch of fanatical self-righteous
moralistic rule following Brahmin karma kandis bound and determined to tell you what
to believe and how to live your life. Krishna says this because people do not change
because they are told what is good for them. They only change when through their own
experience they realize that they are bringing suffering on themselves. If the US
government would just legalize drugs and shut up about how awful they are, drug use
would plummet. People are perverse. They are like children. You tell them to do
something and they will do the opposite. It is best to let people experiment and find out
for themselves. Sure, there are people who are completely incapable of thinking for
themselves and living their own lives and the yamas and niyamas are useful for them in

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so far as it is not helpful to them or to others that they do evil.

…..

Dev reply: Why try to justify our ignorance? This Drama exists for the purpose of
removing our ignorance. We are here to discover (uncover) the Truth and not to cover it
up with more ignorance. The Treasure is buried very deeply and one will have to
continue to dig until It is completely uncovered. It is covered by Ignorance and ego
brought about by Maya. Whose Maya? It is our own Maya. We have to stop deluding
ourselves; it won’t just happen on its own. It is a process, and that process should never
stop. It will indeed stop, but only when we are completely enlightened.

Laksman: It stopped for me. Evidently it didn’t stop for you.

…..

Laksman: (from the previous email) “Speaking as a person I used to be an evil doer and
it was the correct path for me because it lead me to the Self at an early age. If I’d been a
nice decent well meaning holy person always doing the right thing and following the
good advice of others I may not have waked up at all. Virtue is not always helpful. A
golden chain can bind you as completely as an iron one. It’s nice to want to save people
from their folly but remember the Inquisition.”

Dev reply: The path of ignorance is never the right path; the only right path is the path of
Dharma, which means to make our mind and behavior conform to our Real Nature. No
one is perfect, but no one can remain content (forever) in their self-imposed limitations
and ignorance. It is our nature to strive for perfection, to break free from the bonds of
ignorance.

Laksman: The more this conversation goes on the more it seems to me that we are not
suited to continue it. We seem to agree on certain things but I find it very difficult to
communicate with you, Dev. The exchange above is a case in point. You seem incapable
of understanding what I’m saying and if you do then you make a statement that is
completely unsympathetic as if this were some sort of contest to see whose views were the
purest. OK, you have the high road, Dev. I’m not up to your level. Dwaita is better than
advaita. Yoga trumps Vedanta. Veg is better than non-veg. Is that what you want to
hear? My point is that no matter whether you take the high road or the low road all
roads lead to the Self.

It’s not clear what you want from me. 99% of the many people who write in have a
simple spiritual question to which I reply to in detail. Sometimes I never hear from them
again, sometimes a satsang develops that goes on for years and turns into a lasting
friendship. In your case you wanted an opinion on your blog. I have tried to oblige you.
But we have exchanged enough words for me to figure out that you don’t seem to want
satsang or if you do your idea of satsang is somewhat different from mine; an inquiring
tone seems to be absent on your part. You seem to have an agenda that is unclear to me.

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Do you want me to know how enlightened you are? If so, why do you care? I’m nobody.
Do you want to save me from my ignorant views? It’s a waste of time. I’m already
saved. I was saved before they invented the idea of salvation.

…..

Dev reply: Of course you are a human being. You are a beautiful human being, the
creation of the Self. No one does them self or anyone else any good by denying their
own humanness. You are the Self embodied as a human being for a purpose: the purpose
of the Self. The Vedas reveal what that purpose is. Wouldn’t you say it is ludicrous to
think that everything that exists, exists only for the sake of having its existence denied?
This is irrational and unreasonable and contrary to the Self.

Laksman: Here’s another example of your arrogance. I say I’m not a human being and
you say, “Of course you’re a human being.” Mine is a truthful statement…if you
understand something. I made that statement to see what you know. It was meant to
make you think, “What does he mean by that?” You didn’t. It immediately created a
reaction because it was not in harmony with your beliefs. So you put me in a box. “He’s
a human being. End of story.”

I’m not sure what is so wonderful about being a human. Maybe you read that rubbish in
Shankar or the Buddhist texts about the ’precious human birth.’ Or let’s put it this way,
it’s no more wonderful to be a human being than to be anything else. In fact you might
make a case that human beings are more of a problem for the creation than anything
else. If you want to see me as a human being that’s fine with me but we will definitely be
unable to get very far together spiritually if you do. In fact this discussion is hitting a
snag already because of your attachment to this view. Arjuna didn’t understand what
Krishna was saying at first at all but he was able to suspend disbelief long enough to get
the message. In this case it seems that my non-dual statements are running up against
your beliefs…and stopping there.

In any case I’ve seen enough. It’s time for full disclosure. I will now explain
Laksmanji’s agenda… if you haven’t figured it out already. .

You may be attracted to me but you have no idea who is on the other end of this email,
Dev. I’m not really who you think. Yes, you read my autobiography and some of the
website and you formed certain opinions but that website is just like a big juicy worm on
a hook. It catches fish. But I am not the person portrayed there. Let’s put it this way.
I’m a spiritual salesman and I’m selling non-duality. It’s a very costly product. The
price is an open trusting nature and a willingness to consider new ideas. Would you like
to buy? In case you want to play the Laksmanji satsang game you need to have a
practical serious question…about your sadhana…and I will give you a straightforward
reply to the best of my ability. This conversation seems to be going in the direction of a
long winded debate on abstruse topics that do not touch my heart.

I’ve made that statement about not being a human being hundreds of times. Sometimes

57
people don’t get it but they usually understand that there is something behind it and that
it might be interesting to know what… probably because I don’t come across as a fool.
Understanding non-duality takes a certain degree of subtle thinking and is aided by some
transpersonal experiences. My statements are true but the meaning is not immediately
available to literal minded people. Some contemplation is required. When I was younger
and not such an experienced communicator people would often raise their eyebrows
when I made such statements and change the subject because they thought I was nuts…
rather like the people who crucified Christ must have felt when he said, “I and my Father
are One.” I suppose you might have told Christ that if he was a good little spiritual
robot and kept working on his anger issues and tendency to violence (remember the whip
in the temple episode) he might one day get into the supreme state for a very long time…
after of course first checking to see if he was a vegetarian. Probably he wasn’t since he
is said to have fed the multitudes loaves (good stuff) and fishes (bad stuff). You’re
probably a kind person and would let him strive for liberation if he promised to give up
meat, however. :+)

I admit that non-dual thinking is quite strange if you are literal minded. Recall the
difficulty Arjuna had accepting Krishna’s statement about past lives. Krishna is speaking
from the non-dual level and Arjuna, like Dev, is thinking he’s a person. I’m speaking
from the non-dual level. These days I’m generally smart enough to know how much non-
duality a person can handle before they hit the delete button so it is rarely an issue. Most
people I meet have been in the spiritual world a long time…done all the yogas, sadhanas,
gurus, etc…and hardly anyone except the fundamentalist types like the Vaishnav bhaktas
(were you once a Hari Krishna?) who hate non-duality seem to have a problem with this
statement.

Like the statement, “Nothing ever happened’ or “It is the smallest of the small, the
biggest of the big” my statement makes perfect sense… if you have non-dual vision or
even a few out of body experiences under your belt. I’ve carefully peppered non-dual
statements into my emails to see your reaction and it seems to me that you have taken
them as ego statements. An unfortunate pattern seems to be developing in our
conversation. As the Beatles song says, “I say yes, you say no. I say goodbye. You say
hello.”

In any case to tell a stranger point blank that his or her self statement is not
true…whether or not it is true by your lights…is certainly a tactless and clumsy way to
communicate. Perhaps you’re a bit naïve. In any case it shows a greater concern for
protecting your own views than a willingness to understand mine. It makes me wonder
why non-duality is such a threat to you.

Perhaps you didn’t notice, but at the top of [my] home page it says, “Dedicated to the
dissemination of non-dual wisdom.” I admit that it is rather like the fine print in legal
contracts and for that you can fault me…but it would be a bit déclassé to put a big
blinking warning on the front page, “Keep Out! Dangerous Toxic Site for Dualists and
Evolutionists. Read further at your peril!”

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We’ll go on a bit more if you wish but you’re not asking the right questions to keep me
interested. In fact you aren’t asking spiritual questions at all, Dev. You’re telling me
something or trying to show off your knowledge, I think… although I’m sure you don’t
see it this way. Maybe you’re looking for a soul mate.

You had a question about the blog which I answered in a straightforward manner. But
the blog question wasn’t a satsang and it doesn’t feel like what has followed is a proper
satsang either. I’ve made certain statements to try and nudge the conversation in a non-
dual direction but you do not seem to want to go there. That’s fine with me but you need
to know that non-duality is my passion. If you want to communicate with me we need to
speak the same language. I have a wide circle of people with whom to satsang and the
site is generating enough interest to keep me busy for the rest of this lifetime and beyond.
There is quite an interest in non-duality these days.

I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings…being a human being perhaps you have them…
although you did say above that you wouldn’t take things personally. It is certainly not
my intention to insult you or to nip this conversation…which you seem to be enjoying…in
the bud but I would be remiss in my duty to myself if I didn’t express myself truthfully. I
put my heart and soul into these emails. I think there must be about a thousand pages of
satsangs on the website…and that is not all of them. I get nothing for my trouble except
the satisfaction of helping people appreciate what Vedanta can do for them. And it looks
like I’ve gone about as far as I can with you because you seem to be quite attached to
your views.

There is never an argument with non-duality, Dev. It is something that one is meant to
appreciate. I’m not invested in it. I love it and I’m a good teacher but I’m old and pretty
wise and I don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole any more. So unless you are
interested in considering the non-dual way of seeing it is probably better for us to call it
quits. I’m familiar with all the yogic views, the evolutionary views, the whole big messy
spiritual soup. At some time during my sadhana I believed almost every weird
supposedly spiritual idea that I read or heard on my path. But I had a great guru who
shined the light on my ignorance and one day after a lot of reflection my sadhana ended.
I didn’t stop it. It stopped automatically…because I understood who I am. And who I am
is not who you think I am.

As I said, Dev, the website is a big juicy worm wrapped around the fishhook of non-
duality. Some fish factories process the dwanda fish and others process the advaita fish.
If an advaiti fisherman catches a dwanda fish he puts it back in the ocean of samsara
where it can enjoy itself. It seems Laksmanji caught a dvanda fish. Is that right? Should
I toss it back? Or would you like me to chop off your dualistic head like Shiva did to
Ganesh and send you to the advaita cannery? It’s up to you. I bet you’d look good with
only one tusk.

I’m not going to go on commenting on this email. Let’s see what your reply is and then
we can see whether or not it would be profitable for us to continue.

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Om and Prem

Laksman

On Sun, 26 Nov 2006 Dev wrote :

Jai Bhagwan, Laksmanji

Divine soul, I have responded to your previous email (actually, this is in response to your
email sent on 11/22, but you also sent a similar one on 11/25, which appears to be a
duplicate, so I will not respond to that one).

Regarding the attached file, I will repeat what you said of your previous email: 'don't take
it too seriously.' If my tone seems sometimes harsh, kindly overlook it realizing (as you
surely do) that fire cannot burn the Self, nor water drown It, nor swords cut It.

If our dialog should end here. . . . well, we know, we have only been talking (writing) to
ourSelf. OM TAT SAT

Following is Dev’s response to Laksman’s email of 11/22. . .

Dear Laksmanji,

Well my friend, perhaps our dialog is coming to an end. Based on your reaction to
my previous replies, it seems you do not wish to continue, and perhaps you will not
even get through this entire email. Although, I don’t really see any reason why
wouldn’t go through everything I have written: it can only challenge you to evolve
or reinforce what you already know.

Regardless what you read (or read into) what I have written, I could never possibly
have any ill will toward you, whether silent or verbalized. You are Atman, I am
Atman, everyone is Atman. In essence you are my own Self and I am your own Self,
so how could we be angry or annoyed or impatient with one another?

I used to hold the neo-vedantic view that Advaita meant everyone is GOD. When it
was suggested that Advaita means something other than this, and that though I am
indeed eternal, having no beginning or end, that the primordial (matter-like)
substance that is the essence of this world which is created and dissolved endlessly,
is also eternal, having no beginning or end, and that within and yet beyond myself
(Soul) and all of this (the world, the body, mind, intellect, ego, etc.) eternally exists
as ever-manifest the All-pervading, Formless, Indivisible, One-Without-A-Second,
SatChitAnanda, Supreme Being, I too was incredulous. However, being of the
mind never to get stuck in any image, and vigilant of the subtle nature of ego and

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determined to know without a shred of doubt the Truth, the whole Truth, and
nothing but the Truth, I gave it my consideration.

You are thoroughly convinced of the efficacy of the teachings you have received and
those teachings have no doubt served you well. You have revised, over and over
again, what you have learned by applying your own innate knowledge coupled with
your direct experience. You have firm conviction in what you say and you speak
with authority. However, you do have (according to my understanding) a hidden
agenda that is hidden even from yourself. You cannot change the way you think
because you think you are beyond thinking. You cannot go higher because you are
beyond evolving. You cannot go beyond your limits because you are already
limitless. You cannot raise your consciousness because you are the Supreme
Consciousness. You cannot learn because you already know everything.

The neo-vedantic interpretation of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gita, and other
works comprising the Shruti and Smriti texts has to be done away with (the neo-
vedantic interpretation, that is) and one must begin afresh. Consciousness is not
stagnant but dynamic and ever-new (PRANAV, OM ), and likewise, everything we
learn and experience in this ever-new world is also ever-new. The Wise never get
stuck in any image. The neo-vedantic notions of Advaita enable people to excuse
themselves and everyone else for all their stupid, selfish, violent thoughts and
actions. True Vedanta reveals that GOD is One Without A Second; it only says that
there is no other GOD but GOD; it does not say that you, I, and everyone else (who
are also all eternal) do not exist. Each of us too is One Without A Second because
each of us is eternal and therefore so is our uniqueness eternal. There is absolutely
no conflict with Advaita; the conflict only arises when we try to set ourselves up as
GOD.

If you are really open-minded you will read Satyarth Prakash and Maharishi
Dayananda’s Introduction to the Commentary on the Rig Veda. Whatever you have
heard of him, or whatever impression of him you may have formed as a result of the
words and actions of unenlightened followers, you will have to dismiss in order to
truly consider the accuracy or not of his knowledge. Like us, he too was a human
being and therefore fallible, but by and large his knowledge was very accurate and I
dare say he far exceeds either you or I in both shastric acumen and experience.

I know you feel I come across as arrogant and dogmatic in these emails, but you
should at least consider that you may be looking into a mirror. You seem to forget
that I am just an imperfect human being, so I have no problem with recognizing my
own imperfections. On the other hand, if you think you are GOD, as you certainly
assert, you will find it very difficult to acknowledge your own shortcomings; and
even if you acknowledge them it is unlikely you will see any need to change them
sense they (the shortcomings) cannot affect GOD. I am not being sarcastic, I am
simply telling it as it is, which is the way you have spoken (written) it to be.

Anyway, here are my replies to your most recent comments/replies.

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-----
Dev (from previous dialog): Yes, my answer was not clear, so I will try again. What I
mean to say is that many people are seeking guidance because they are in a quandary as
to “Who am I,” and once the answer to this question is known, the knower is enlightened.
This is what I meant by ‘self-evident,’ meaning that a true seeker of enlightenment will
know Enlightenment when they find it, because that enlightenment is the knowledge of
their own Self. No doubt there are also many people who think enlightenment is some
kind of attainment that gives them special powers, etc., but genuine seekers really want to
know “Who am I.” The MastersofDeception blog is meant for these genuine seekers
(both novices and those already on the path) who do not have Self Knowledge and who
really want it (enlightenment) for no other purpose than the Self itself.

Laksman: If there are such people and these people came to your website they would not
really need this information because a true seeker is always completely protected by his
or her bhakti.

Dev reply: In my experience, people are protected by their awareness and wisdom
coupled with love. Bhakti is incomplete and blind without wisdom; bhakti without
eyes cannot save anyone, not even itself (i.e., even one’s devotion will dry up without
wisdom). I have seen the bhakti of a sadhak wither and die because that sadhak did
not develop their power of discernment with wisdom. Likewise, I’ve seen many a
sadhak’s wisdom fail them miserably when that wisdom lacked the embrace of
divine love. You have said “No one can injure them.” Certainly, but this is really
true of everyone. We only injure ourselves, and we do this when we follow our ego
and ignore good advice. People set themselves up for a fall but don’t realize it. We
are victimized by our own ignorance, and if someone exposes that ignorance
perhaps we will realize our folly and change for the better. The one who shares the
wisdom of consciousness has no ulterior motive whatsoever.

-----

Dev (from previous dialog): This Jivatman is not an ego, not a person, not a mind, and
not any body. In essence, this Jivatman is the Self.

[Bold text below is Dev’s interspersed reply/comment]

Laksman: If this is true then what is the meaning of your words that it sleeps and
wakes? In a game of football, a player goes on the field, plays the game and either
wins or loses. The wining and losing are only meaningful in the context of the
game. Similarly, sleeping and waking are only meaningful in the context of the
sport of Creation (existence, life, etc.). In any case when I say that I am not a person I
mean that I am the Self or the Jivatman, if you prefer. According to my
understanding/experience (and scripture would back me up on this) the Self and the
Jivatman are identical. However, the difference in words is accounted for by the
superimposition (adyaropa) of individuality (jiva) on the Self. The Jivatman, me, is not
limited like a jiva. Individuality is a superimposition on the Self, but this Self is NOT

62
the Supreme Self. Anyway, in reality the Self cannot be superimposed upon. The
superimposition (of individuality) is upon the mind. Individuality (ego), like the
mind, is an evolute of Prakriti. It is an expression (manifestation in Prakriti) of the
uniqueness of the Self. Ego is (eventually) superimposed upon the mind as a natural
consequence of our interacting with the world of matter without the knowledge of
the Self (i.e., without Wisdom).

You insist on the identity of the Self and Supreme Self and think that Advaita and
Vedanta support this assertion. Your thinking is based on the neo-vedantic
teachings that form the basis of your understanding, which is why you
misunderstand the true meaning of Advaita.

It is self-evident that you are not the Supreme Self, yet you have trained your mind
and intellect to imagine you are so. This too is adyaropa, but you do not perceive it.

Additional Dev comments: Whatever happens in the dream, really happens in the
dream but never really happens. Certainly the Self and Jivatman are identical, even
as the player on the field wearing the uniform is not really any different after he
steps off the field and removes the uniform. However, while playing the game, AND
HE DOES INDEED PLAY THE GAME, he does assume the role (identity) of a
player without ever losing his real identity. While playing on the field, he plays with
gusto, and puts his whole self into the game. The game doesn’t have any real
meaning or purpose; but that doesn’t stop him from playing on the field. When the
game is over it doesn’t mean he will never play again. Certainly he will play again,
because there is no reason not to, just as there is no reason he had to in the first
place.

-----

Dev (from previous dialog): It is the Jivatman that realizes (or not) the Self. This
realization takes place in the mind when the mind is enlightened. The state of
enlightenment and the state of ignorance are both states of mind. Whose mind? It is the
mind of the Jivatman, the embodied soul.

Laksman: OK. This is pretty clear and I can’t argue with it. However, it is my
understanding/experience that ‘embodiment’ is an upadhi, something projected by
ignorance that is not actually there. It seems to be there, however and therefore people
believe that the Jivatman and the Self, the Paramatman are distinct entities. Shankara’s
statement “Jivo Brahamaiva na parah” indicates the non-duality of the two as does the
Mahavakya, ‘Tat tvam asi” .

Dev reply: The Self as an embodied self, or Jivatman, is no less real than the Self
without an embodiment. The Jivatman is NOT the embodiment, no more so than
the actor is the costume or the player the uniform. Even the embodiment itself (ego,
mind, body, etc.) is also real, though temporary, because its essence is Prakriti
which is eternal.

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According to your view (the neo-Vedantic view), “the ‘embodiment’ is an upadhi,
something projected by ignorance. . .” So, ignorance projects the embodiment, but
whose ignorance is it, or how did come about? If you say Ignorance arises from the
eternally Wise (non-ignorant) Self, then your understanding is flawed and
unacceptable even to the ignorant. On the other hand, if you accept that that there is
absolutely no element of ignorance in the Self, and that the embodiment is therefore
not projected from the Self, then from where does it originate? Ignorance originates
from the union of Purush and Prakriti, which in turn results in the projection (the
Creation). Prakriti is the eternal substance of this eternally cyclic creation. You are
not this Creation, though this creation is you in the sense that you are the creator;
just as an artist is not the art, but the art is the artist, but only in the sense that the
art is the expression of the artist, because the artist is not the paint, the brush, or the
canvas (and neither are rocks, water, air, etc., Consciousness, though they are
certainly pervaded by consciousness.)
…..

Dev (from previous dialog): Whether ‘I know’ as Atman or as Jivatman, the Self that
must be known is the Supreme Self. As the Self approaches (by knowledge, by knowing)
the Ultimate Truth (the Supreme Self), the Self realizes (knows that to know itself) it
must go beyond itself; it must stop knowing and start experiencing. When this realization
matures, the Jivatman is awakened and experiences itself as Atman (the Self); that is, the
dream is over and the dreamer realizes that the dream of being in bondage was only a
dream and not real. The awakened self (enlightened Jiva) experiences (knows) itself as
Atman; or worded differently, the Self (Atman) knows (experiences) itself as the
enlightened Self. In this state of enlightenment or Self-Realization, the Self (as Pure
Consciousness) must realize its own Essence (the Supreme Self) to attain the highest
Consciousness, the Supreme Consciousness, the Absolute. However, having become
established in one’s own being (Self), the Self reveling in the sweetness of its own Pure
Consciousness, may remain in such a state for a very, very long time (many, many cycles
of the Creation), or not.

Laksman: Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me how you know this. Is it your
direct experience? Dev reply: Yes, most certainly it is. If you have read my articles on
knowledge and experience you can probably guess that I have a problem with this idea. I
give you the benefit of the doubt on the language issue but the statement ‘the Self may
remain in such a state for a very, very long time” doesn’t add up. Discounting the
inappropriateness of the word ‘state,’ the ‘state’ you are referring to is already the Self if
this is a non dual reality…which the sruti says it is. Since ‘states’ are not doers, nor is
the Self a doer there is actually no one to ‘ remain in’ anything. Finally, what would the
purpose be of ‘remaining in this state for a long time’ since the Self is paramsukka,
paramananda by nature? Any benefit It would derive from remaining in this state it
already has. I see this idea as a rather silly fantasy cooked up by doers with spiritual
vasanas who don’t understand that they are the Self. The way out of this predicament is
to seek jnanam in line with scripture since the problem of seeking is a problem born of
ignorance.

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Dev reply: The fundamental disconnect between your understanding and mine is
this: we have two completely different grasps of Advaita. You have understood
Vedanta and Advaita based on the knowledge propounded by your lineage of
teachers, which could possibly be traced all the way back to Shankaracharya. No
doubt you have not merely accepted their knowledge blindly but have spent many
years in deep reflection and self-inquiry, and have arrived at a firm conviction in
the efficacy of that knowledge.

Laksmanji, my wisdom comes from direct experience of Sruti and is backed up by


tradition, having for its authority the wisdom of the saints and sages since times
immemorial.

The Vedic tradition was practically lost after the Mahabharat war 5000 years ago.
This is certainly evidenced by the deplorable conditions that prevailed subsequent to
that time. In the last 4000 years many various religions and philosophies have
sprung up and seen their heyday, but the perennial Wisdom itself (embodied by the
Vedas) has never changed. Shankarcharya expounded his particular interpretation
of Vedanta in order to refute the Jains and Buddhists (particularly Jainism) which
had become entrenched in the Indian society of his day. You could research these
matters for yourself if you are so inclined, but honestly I am not. It matters little to
me what Shankacharya’s intentions were or what has become of his teachings. I am
not a man of letters. I am a learned man only in the sense that I have learned the
lessons of my life’s experiences and continue to do so.

Based on my experience, self study (self-inquiry) and the knowledge I have gleaned
from the Vedas and teachings of Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati, there are three
eternal noumenon: (1) the Supreme Self, GOD, who is One Without a Second; (2)
the innumerable Souls; and (3) Prakriti. The Supreme Self is SatChitAnand, that is,
the Supreme Self is eternally existent, eternally Conscious, and eternally Blissful.
The Soul is eternally existent and eternally conscious. Prakriti is eternally existent.
Prakriti is pervaded by both the Supreme Self and the innumerable souls. The
innumerable souls are pervaded by the Supreme Soul, Paramatman.

The Supreme Self is indeed Paramananda (Supreme Bliss) by its very own nature;
we (the innumerable souls) are blissful on account of our proximity to the Supreme
Self. The ‘proximity’ or closeness is already established by virtue of the relationship
of the Pervader to the Pervaded, however this ‘closeness’ is manifest or unmanifest
based on the soul’s relationship with Prakriti. The ‘relationship’ is the Drama, the
Sport, the Lila. In other words, the soul is blissful (or not) depending on whether or
not it has attained enlightenment, which means simply that it has purified the mind
with wisdom to such an extent that it perceives (through the medium of the mind) its
own reflection or nature as Pure Consciousness. This ‘knowing’ one’s Self by the
Self through the mind is the lower Samadhi. When the Self knows the Self by the
Self alone (without the mind) this is the higher Samadhi. Both of these are ‘states’
or conditions because one depends on the presence of the mind and the other its
absence. One whose Samadhi is firm is enlightened, but this is not the end of it.

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Beyond this is Kaivalya, wherein the Self is isolated from all states of Prakriti.
Isolated from all phases of Prakriti and completely free of Ignorance, the Self is
united with the Supreme Self, its own Essence, and this union or YOGA is the direct
experience of Supreme Bliss, and this state is called MOKSHA. As you say,
something that is a ‘state’ or ‘experience’ is subject to change. So, is MOKSHA
subject to change? Certainly it is, why not? It is the nature of the Self to embody
itself and play the Drama of Life. Of course, when one is Liberated, one is totally
free to be embodied or not, and is under absolutely no compulsion whatsoever either
way. [Instead of just rejecting this idea, please carefully consider it. There is no
harm in it. There is nothing to lose but your own ego; and if you don’t have an ego
then there really is nothing to lose. Believe it or not, I say this with all humility.]

You contend that the Self is always blissful, but this is contrary to everyone’s
experience. On the other hand, when you realize that your own Essence (the Self of
the Self, the Soul of your Soul) is indeed ever blissful, then you truly know that Bliss,
which means your knowledge is experiential, otherwise it is only intellectual. You
can say what you want (for example, that you are GOD), but it does not make it so
except in your own imagination or intellect. GOD (the Supreme Self) is NEVER
annoyed or agitated, never subject to pain and pleasure, birth and death, ignorance
and enlightenment. But I am, and so are you, and so is everyone else. Why fight
your own real nature and pretend to be GOD? It is only one’s own ignorance that
causes one to misunderstand. Ignorance is removed with the Wisdom of
Consciousness.

Neo-vedantists ignore the significance of this Lila and try to brush it away by saying
it is all Maya. This Maya is nothing but the inherent power (artistic power, if you
will) of the Self (both the Supreme Self and the innumerable souls). Krishna refers
to it has his Yogmaya, and it is through this power that the illusion of the union of
the Self (in the form of Purush) with Prakriti is established. Being eternally
pervaded by Atman, the two (Purush and Prakriti) are inseparable, so the uniting of
the two can only be of the nature of an illusion, and the premise that this ‘union’ is
real is nothing but Ignorance (Avidya).

“I see this idea as a rather silly fantasy cooked up by doers with spiritual vasanas who
don’t understand that they are the Self. The way out of this predicament is to seek
jnanam in line with scripture since the problem of seeking is a problem born of
ignorance.”

Well, sir, it is understandable that you would see it this way based on your
interpretation of the scriptures. But leaving the scriptures out of it, the fact is that
we are having this written conversation, because we are human beings, and no
matter how much we know or think we know, we will never know everything. This
is why the Self continues to make inquiry, i.e., continues to seek to expand its
understanding (seek jnanam). When our understanding is truly complete and full,
we will be truly liberated souls. We can never be free merely by ignoring our
shackles (in this case, the rusty chains of orthodoxy in the form of neo-vedanta).

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Dev (from previous dialog): To attain the Highest State of Being, the same state Lord
Krishna refers to as ‘My state’, or ‘Myself’, or ‘My Abode,’ and which the above mantra
calls out with ‘Paramam Padam Sada,’ one must make the ultimate Yajna and offer one’s
own Self into the Self (Supreme Self). There is nothing left to know or experience then
(that is, until the next time, some 311 trillion years hence, according to some).

Laksman: “Na karmana, na prajayaa, dananenaa…” etc. You cannot ‘make’ any
sacrifice, ultimate or not, to attain the Self. Why? Because you already are the Self. You
can only ‘attain’ what you already are by jnanam.

Dev reply: Yes, but the Self that YOU are is NOT the Supreme Self. You are not
GOD, you never were, and you never will be. Why do you have a need to be GOD?
This need is created only because it is necessary in order to validate the neo-vedantic
interpretation of Advaita. Once you understand Advaita in its true sense, you will
also easily grasp the meaning of ‘action in inaction and inaction in action.’

An action may get you something that you don’t have but it will not produce the Self in
the form of enlightenment.

The state of Ignorance was produced by the union of Purush and Prakriti. That
which produces the union is known as Yogmaya because this union is an illusory
union. The producing of the union is an action yet it is not an action: it is not an
action because the union is never really produced since Purush and Prakriti are
inseparable (i.e., Atman ever pervades Prakriti). The union of Purush and Prakriti
is the commencement of Avidya, from which the entire Creation is produced. This
illusory union is finally dissolved when the Self sacrifices its own Self into the Self
(Supreme Self) by means of the Highest Knowledge (Brahma Vidya). Then the final
state of Enlightenment (the removal of Ignorance) is attained (produced).

The ‘tenth man’ teaching is meant to illustrate this fact. So this ‘offering’ is just the
letting go of the belief that you are anything but the Self or that the Self can be
experienced at some later date. The statement about ignorance returning after 311
trillion years is so stupid I can only laugh. Ignorance can return after a split second if
the knowledge is not firm.

So, you say it “is just the letting go of the belief that you are anything but the Self…” Is
this ‘letting go’ not an action? Who is ‘letting go?’ The Supreme Self (GOD) lets go
of nothing because the Supreme Self is never ignorant, not even seemingly ignorant.
It is only you and I who are apparently ignorant, and this appearance is created by
Yogmaya. Whose Yogmaya? It is our own Yogmaya. Each and every one of us has
stepped on to the field, put on our uniforms, and is playing this Game by our own
free choice. It is not the choice of the Supreme Self, and neither is it the command of
the Supreme Self that we should do so, it is totally our own free choice as immortal
beings. Naturally (prakritically), once we start playing the Game we do get caught
up in it, and our actions produce reactions due to our ignorance, and we remain

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stuck in this karmic cycle until our ignorance is removed with the Wisdom of
Consciousness.

Regarding the ‘311 trillion years’ thing, as I said, that is ‘according to some.’
Though I may not subscribe to the time frame, you can see from my writings that I
have absolutely no problem with calling Moksha a ‘state,’ and it is clear to me that
the liberated Self can certainly playing the Game of Life again if and whenever it
chooses to do so.

You have to remember that while the Gita has the status of an Upanishad it is a Pauranic
text and like the Upanishads from which it gets its ideas contains both the language of
experience (yoga) and the language of identity (Vedanta). Unfortunately it does not
explain the contradiction between these two languages and the purpose of each so that
seekers can become confused and imagine that enlightenment is some sort of experience.
The Pauranas personify the Self because it is for people whose intellects are extroverted.
This is why the hero is Arjuna, a rajasic person with an unsophisticated emotional mind.
But the downside of this approach is that an undiscriminating mind can take the whole
story literally. The Gita understands this and tries to get around this by positing a
‘Supreme Person’ but again this is possible to misunderstand. In the fifteenth chapter it
first establishes two ‘selves’ the askshara purusha and the kshara purusha for the
purposes of discrimination. Then it introduces the ‘Supreme Person.’ This Supreme
Person (uttamapurusha) is not a person. Person is a symbol that has a certain affinity
with what it is meant to symbolize but like all symbols it is not meant to be taken literally.
The ‘Supreme Person’ is just Chaitanya, Awareness. Why is it ‘supreme?’ Because it is
the Awareness of both change and changelessness which are represented as ‘purushas.’
Both change and changelessness are apparent realities known by virtue of non-dual
Awareness… if you want a straightforward scientific no-bullshit statement of fact.
‘Supreme’ is an unfortunate dualistic word that gives the impression of two or more
selves. In fact there is only one Self. If there is only one Self the appearance of two or
more selves is just that…an appearance. But if you can’t see that then you end up
worshipping the Supreme Person as somebody other than you who can give you what in
your spiritual emptiness you want…or think you want… or you end up striving to
experience this ‘supreme person’ in the form of some sort of ‘high state’ of consciousness
like nirvikalpa samadhi that you believe you can make permanent or you find yourself
hoping for some kind of personal darshan of this supreme being all dressed up in silks
with the great Kasthuba gem on his chest and his thousand arms waving in the breeze
like the tentacles of a sea anemone. The joke here is that you are always experiencing
the Self but because the mind is gross and extroverted and doesn’t know what the Self is
you believe that you are not so you turn yourself into an object and try to ‘get it.’ It’s a
big frustration, actually. And the culprit? Language confusion. This is why traditional
Vedanta places such an importance on a guru with scriptural knowledge. He or she can
elucidate the language problem and save the seeker the inevitable difficulties that come
when you don’t understand the way words work.

Dev reply: The Gita’s discussion of the Akshara, Kshara, and Uttama purushas
clearly establishes the threefold nature of Reality: Prakriti, Atman, and
Paramatman: Nature, the Self, and the Supreme Self. You can give it any

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interpretation you like. Frankly, I much prefer your interpretation to that of the
Vaishnavists and other Sanatanists.
-----

Dev (from previous dialog): Continuing now with your reply: “A third doubt that your
statement brings up is this: in my experience there is no ‘person’ to be clear or not clear
about anything.” I think we have addressed this and hopefully clarified that, indeed, there
is no ‘person’ to be clear or not clear about anything because a ‘person’ is really only a
mental formulation and is not (in and of itself) the living Self (Jivatman).

Laksman: If there is no person to be clear, then there is no person to attain the ‘highest
state.’ If you say the Self is going to attain something, you have the problem of doership
because the sruti clearly states that the Self is not a doer. It is ‘already accomplished.’ It
is already every state than can be attained so it will not set out to attain anything.
Presenting the Self in this way is helpful for doers with gross intellects who have spiritual
vasanas because it channels their prodigious energy into sadhana which will eventually
sattvasize their minds and make inquiry possible. Unfortunately, when the mind gets
sattvic there are still unhelpful spiritual impressions concerning the nature of the Self
and the way to attain it which need to be examined and discarded in light of non-dual
teachings.

Dev reply: A ‘person’ is a fictional character created in the mind via the agency of
ego. It is not the ‘person’ that needs to be clear, rather the ‘person’ needs to be
cleared out of the mind altogether; meaning, one need to completely abandon this
idea that one is a ‘person.’ ‘Abandoning the idea’ means dropping one’s
attachment to it. In other words, one has to drop one’s attachment to one’s own
self.

The living Self (Jivatman) removes the ego from the mind, resulting in
Enlightenment. Now, the Jivatman stands clear (of ego, mind, body, etc.), but this is
not the final state of Kaivalya. However, this Enlightenment (as well as Kaivalya)
are NOT sattvic states of mind. The ‘sattvasization’ of the mind is certainly
necessary for the accomplished (adept) achievement of Savikalpa Samadhi, but the
seedless Samadhi (Nirbija Samadhi, the final stage in Nirvikalpa Samadhi) is only
brought about when the mind is purified of all desires, including the desire to be
desireless.

In the state of Kaivalya (Moksha), both Nature (Prakriti) and the Jiva return to
their primordial states (which are unmanifest Prakriti and Purush, respectively).
Still, an extremely fine veil of Ignorance remains until the Self (as Purush,
technically the subtlest state of Jivatman) disappears and all that remains is the Self
absorbed in the Self (Supreme Self), and this is called the Highest State. It is a
‘state’ because the Self can choose again to manifest as Purush and ‘unite’ with
Prakriti during the process of Creation. Regardless whether or not the Liberated
Soul chooses to ‘act’ again in the Drama of Creation, the Drama of Life (Creation)
will go on (“the show must go on”). This Show has always been going on since
Eternity and will continue for Eternity, with intermissions marked by

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MahaPralaya. Just because someone attains Liberation doesn’t mean everyone else
simultaneously attains it. Definitely not. Each and every one of us is an immortal
Soul, whole, complete, and indivisible, uncreated and indestructible. There is
nothing that can change that. We can neither become more or less than that.
However, we can certainly hide behind the veil of Ignorance and attend this
fantastic masquerade party of Existence if we so choose to.

…..

Dev (from previous dialog): Enlightenment is for souls embodied as human beings. As a
human being, we have countless samskaras and associated vasanas from many, many
incarnations (in both animal and human forms). The sattvic, rajasic and tamasic qualities
of our actions, impressions, tendencies and thoughts, affect our perception (the perception
of the embodied soul) and can either help or hinder whether or not we (human beings)
attain enlightenment. Initially, a human being learns to be selective and make careful
choices because they want to avoid pain and suffering in their life. Eventually, they begin
to yearn for Self-knowledge; they want to know who they are, what they are, and why
they are here; in other words, they long for Enlightenment.

Laksman: I agree. The only question is ‘What is enlightenment?’ And you and I have
very different views on this. I’m certainly not going to accept your view and I’m sure you
will not accept mine so it seems the discussion on this topic is finished.

Dev reply: My view is experiential. It should be obvious (self-evident) to each of us


that we are NOT All-powerful (omnipotent), All-knowing (omniscient), and
Everywhere Present (omnipresent). What is not so obvious (and requires wisdom to
know) is that our consciousness pervades the entire Universe (and beyond) because
as Atman we completely pervade Prakriti.

The existence of the Supreme Self is initially evident by way of inference only. For
example, we perceive this vast, intelligently designed Universe and naturally infer
there must have been a Designer behind the design, a Supreme Being possessing the
Intelligence and power to create this vast Universe (none of us is that intelligent or
powerful). It requires both wisdom and devotion (really they are inseparable) to
actually know (realize) that our essence (the essence of Atman) is the Supreme Self
(Paramatman), and that our Essence pervades everything (Prakriti) and every one
(every Soul).

Each of us is unique, eternal, uncreated, immortal. Even though we share the same
cosmic body (the Universe) and same subtle body (Prakriti), and same Soul
(Supreme Self), we remain distinct from one another. Realizing this makes us
responsible for our own actions in this world (Creation), and also makes us realize
that no one can really change anyone (nor is there any desire to do so: that is, there
is no desire of Atman to do so, though that desire may certainly arise in the ego-
driven mind).
-----

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Dev (from previous dialog): You have written: “If someone asked me what
enlightenment was I would say there was one Self with apparent knowledge or ignorance
(of itself) and you are that Self, not a person who knows that he or she is the Self.” Then,
according to you, the Self, who we both know is not a person, possesses both apparent
knowledge and apparent ignorance of itself. The question then arises: where does the
Self ‘possess’ this ‘apparent’ knowledge and ‘apparent’ ignorance of itself? If you say
this knowledge and ignorance are inherent in the Self, then this would lead us to conclude
that the All-knowing, Never-ignorant Self, whose nature is eternal and unchangeable,
inherently possesses knowledge and ignorance which are not really real but only
apparent. In this case, the Self would always possess apparent knowledge and apparent
ignorance and enlightenment would be out of the question. I know of no scripture that
would substantiate the statement: the All-knowing Self (and indeed, the Supreme Self,
since you make no distinction) possesses apparent knowledge and ignorance of Itself. It
is pretty much universally accepted that GOD is never ignorant (unlike us), and not even
apparently ignorant.

Laksman: This is good reasoning, Dev. The key word in my statement is apparent.
Apparent means that it seems to exist but it doesn’t actually exist. So this means that the
Self is actually free of knowledge and ignorance… which is what you are arguing. In any
case the point of that statement is that you are the Self and not a person. If you think you
are a person, as you seem to, you are assuming a limited identity. When you feel limited
you strive for freedom from limitation. A limited identity is a problem because how do
you get from a limited identity to a limitless identity? You can’t do it through action
(sadhanas) because no amount of finite actions will ever add up to limitlessness. You can
only see that you made a mistake by thinking of yourself in a limited way and drop the
thought.

Dev reply: It should be clear to you now that I have no problem with assuming an
identity, just as I have no problem assuming a role to play in a drama, or putting on
a uniform and playing the game according to the rules. My true identity is never
lost, therefore it is never really gained either, but in the context of this Life (the
Game) I assume an identity as a human being and attain enlightenment. Ultimately,
I become liberated in the state of Moksha. This does not mean that the unreal
becomes real, because that would be impossible, just as it is impossible for the Real
to become unreal, or the immortal mortal, or the indivisible divisible.

How does one get from a limited identity to a limitless identity? It is a process. That
process is sometimes called ‘spiritual growth,’ it has also been called sadhana. Part
(but not all, and NOT the final part) of sadhana is realizing that you made a mistake
by thinking of yourself in a limited way, and taking the action (in the form of self-
study, devotion, etc.) to drop the thought. [The italicized words are your own.]

-------

Dev (from previous dialog): On the other hand, if we reveal to the seeker the knowledge
that the mind, body, etc., are the seeker’s own instruments of knowledge, which, if wisely

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employed will enable the seeker to discover (uncover) their own true Self, the seeker
might then inquire: ‘Who am I’ who possess this mind and body; why do I not know my
own self; how did I forget my real nature, and how can I realize who and what I really
am?

Laksman: Yes, that’s fine. But the jury is not out on the question of Who am I? It is well
known. If someone doesn’t know it then a valid means of knowledge is necessary, quite
apart from the ‘seeker’s own instruments’ which will not reveal the truth on their own. If
they were constructed to reveal the truth nobody would have a doubt about who they
were in the first place. The fact is that ‘the seekers own instruments’ are very limited and
turned in the wrong direction. To turn them around you need work, i.e. Yoga. And to
help them understand a valid pramana like Vedanta is needed.

Dev reply: ‘The jury is not out?’ I think this is backwards because the jury is
certainly out, i.e., people have NOT made up their mind as to the answer to the
question ‘Who am I. ’ (Perhaps this was a typo on your part?) People DO NOT
know the Self due to their ignorance which is reinforced by their actions. The
‘seeker’s own instruments’ are certainly incapable of revealing the truth on their
own, as you have rightly stated. I agree with this paragraph but would add that
Pramana too is a mental activity (as described by Patanjali), that is, it is one of the
modifications of the mind. When one’s Pramana is truly Vedantic, it leads
ultimately to mental balance and the total equilibrium of the GUNAS, thus resulting
in the direct experience of the Self. When this direct experience (in the form of
Samadhi) is repeated again and again, it eventually becomes the nature of the mind
to be so naturally still that the reflection of the Self in that mind is extremely clear
and focused. That mind becomes fit for liberation; which means the mind (in this
case, the Antarkarana Chatushtaya) becomes a fit instrument of the Jiva to realize
(by means of divine Wisdom) the true nature of (1) itself, (2) the Self, and (3)
ultimately the Essence of the Self, the Supreme Self.

Laksman: (from the previous email) “If someone sincerely asked me who I was I would
not say that I was a person who attained enlightenment. I would say that I appear to be a
person because I have a very convincing person act but that the person I once thought I
was, the one that seems to be there from the outside, is long gone.”

Dev reply (from previous dialog): No doubt the person you were is long gone, since that
person is changing every second and is never the same. But is the ‘person’ part of you
really gone? No, you are still a person, but you are so much more than just that. You
still have ego, but you are so much more than that. You are the living Self (Jivatman)
and one day you may become a Jivamukta, or if you attain your liberation after the death
of the body, you might one day become a Videhamukta. But in any case, right now you
are still an embodied soul.

Laksman: When I say I am not a person I mean the person is me but I am not the person.
All bodies are in me; I am not in them. All persons are in me. I am not in them. You are
incorrect when you say I will ‘become a Jivanmukta.” I will not ‘become’ anything,

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Dev. I am already everything that is. If you want to imagine some kind of future ‘state’
or condition when you will be free that’s fine with me. And if you want to project it on
me, it up to you. But I’m sorry to say this statement does not apply to me.

Dev reply: Okay Laksmanji, understanding this paragraph in light of the


knowledge that the ATMAN (our own Self) is all-pervading, meaning it completely
pervades PRAKRITI, and therefore everything evolved from Prakriti can be said to
be pervaded by ATMAN. However, for this to work one must realize that the
material universe (which includes the subtle substances like the mind, intellect, ego,
etc.) is not the Self, nor is it projected from the Self, but is projected by the Self
through the medium of the eternal, indestructible PRAKRTI. If you embrace the
neo-vedantic view of Advaita and assert that only the Self exists then you cannot
accept this, hence, you will have to assert that Prakriti is unreal and that the
Supreme Self (sense you don’t accept the existence of any other Self) is the author of
Ignorance; in other words, according to this view Ignorance must emanate from the
Supreme Being who is eternally All-knowing. The neo-vedantic view is irrational
and unacceptable, and just not true.

How can you possibly know what is true for me? You obviously do not accept my words
because they contradict your beliefs. Mind you I don’t care if you accept my words.

Dev reply: Now it would seem you are reacting and going on the defensive. I can
know what is true for you if I know what is true for me, if the essence of you and me
is the same, which it is. I do not accept your words (some of the things you say)
because they are not in consonance with divine Wisdom or even simple logic. They
do not contradict my beliefs because we are not talking about ‘belief systems’ here.
I love it when something I hear contradicts my beliefs, because that spurs me to look
deeper. On the other hand, my convictions are based on the principles of
Consciousness, and those principles are the basis of my character. If I have true
integrity (which I do), I will hold firm to my principles and gladly let go of my
images.

Remember, I did not initiate this discussion. I did not ask for your opinion but you
seemed to want to discuss with me so I offered my experience/knowledge in good faith.

Dev reply: Yes, I did initiate this discussion by asking you for your opinion about
the MastersofDeception blog. You might be interested in knowing how this came
about. Just after creating the blog I did a google search on Ramana Maharishi and
somehow ended up reading [an article relating to him which you had written].
Reading that article, I was very impressed by your candor and the depth of your
understanding. I knew full well that you were of a neo-vedantic mindset, however,
you struck me as one who was a free-thinker, original, honest, and not easily swayed
by either praise or censure. Thus, I genuinely sought your opinion regarding the
blog because I felt your opinion would be unbiased.

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Our discussion has evolved into a dialog about other things not strictly having to do
with the blog, and I have welcomed this dialog though neither you nor I sought it. It
is what it is, and it has been useful if for no other reason than the Wisdom it has
revealed.

For this discussion to continue you would tentatively have to take on my statements of
non-dual identity and investigate within yourself to see whether or not they could be
true…for you. If they are true for you, then they can be true for me because there is no
difference between us.

Dev reply: You seem to be saying that I have to accept your statements on non-dual
identity otherwise we are too different from one another for the dialog to continue.
This is certainly a dogmatic approach. I have considered the neo-vedantic
statements on non-dual identity and investigated them for many years before
coming to the firm conclusion that they are not the whole truth. If you are really an
open-minded man, you will at least consider what I have written. However, I am an
extremely uneducated man possessing very little shastric knowledge by which I
could substantiate every thing I have said. Therefore, I have suggested that you
read Satyarth Prakash and the Introduction to the Commentary on the Rig Veda by
Maharishi Dayananda, which provide many proofs based on Tradition.

I’m saying that you are the Self, that you are already liberated and that there is nothing
to attain because you are me. If ‘you’ can’t see it and want to believe in some future
liberation it is up to you. But future liberation is meaningless to me because when you
are everything there is nothing you can be free of. Freedom is the nature of the Self and
you are the Self. As long as you see yourself as Dev, a person, you will strive for
liberation. The longer you strive the deeper your separation vasana becomes.

Dev reply: What you call the ‘separation vasana’ certainly exists in every seeker.
However, the ‘separation vasana’ is no where near as much of a problem as the
‘neo-vedantic vansana.’ The neo-vedantic vansana doesn’t let one fully manifest the
freedom of the Self because one thinks one is free before one is actually free. It is
like stepping on to the field to play a game and announcing you have won the game,
and then you walk of the field. It would be better if you at least play the game to
win after announcing you have won. This I can accept.

Can you see the bias you are bringing to this conversation? I will explain my bias later
in this letter if it is not clear to you already.

Dev reply: Ask ten of your Satsangis to read our dialog and give us their unbiased
opinions. You may be surprised to find a number of them reconsidering your views.
…….

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Laksmanji, we are not playing the ‘who is enlightened’
game, but that question need only be addressed to ourselves. If you are referring to the
MastersofDeception blog (which I assume you are since this paragraph seems to be

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pointed there), the aim of the blog (one aim of the blog) is to reveal that many of those
people whom we generally believe are Enlightened (are true knowers of the Self) are
often not so enlightened after all. No doubt that some are, and others are good but
confused people, some are just plain confused, and others are down right nasty
charlatans. It matters little that ‘it takes a jnani to know a jnani’; but what does matter is
that it takes an open-minded human being (one who has dropped their bias and emotional
or mental prejudices) to recognize a fraud.

Laksman: That’s right, Dev, but a mature person would not be taken in by a fraud. And
if a person takes advice from someone on the internet they don’t know well he or she will
probably also be foolish enough to be taken in by a charlatan who might just as well tell
them, “Oh, the Masters of Deception Blog?” That’s Dev. He’s a blogger. Everybody
knows his trip. He’s just a self righteous guru wannabe. Imagines he’s a defender of the
faith but doesn’t offer any hard facts…just regurgitates worn out opinions. It’s all hot
air. Probably his mom or pop abused him when he was young and he hates authority
figures even though he pulls an authority trip with his list and hides behind web
anonymity. He figures people will love him if he looks out after them. It’s a savior
complex masquerading as compassion. Maybe he’s envious because he has no
followers.” Etc. You know the drill. These fake gurus are not as stupid as you think.
They know just how stupid people are. In any case good luck with your blog and I hope
you save many souls.

Dev reply: This paragraph, like the previous one, seems to be a bit of ranting
(something unbecoming of the Self), or maybe you are just be really funny, because
it certainly is hilarious.

You are not a charlatan but people who don’t know you are taking your advice over
the Internet. Just because they are taking your advice over the Internet, does this
mean they would be foolish enough to be taken in by a charlatan?
…..

Dev (from previous dialog): Please read the blog again. My aim is not to judge for the
sake of judging, but for the sake of disinterestedly helping. You yourself have said in one
of your Satsang writings that making judgments is not wrong; it is actually essential.
Certainly one’s judgment should not be based on mere belief or opinion, as these
definitely do NOT constitute knowledge. One’s judgment should be based on one’s
direct experience, the testimony of reliable witnesses, and inference based on a set of
valid clues. I think you would agree with me here, and that we have simply
misunderstood one another.

Laksman: That is correct. It’s going to happen over and over because we have different
orientations.

Dev reply: I do not believe I misunderstand you at all, but I know for certain you
misunderstand me because you have not fully understood the Self. However, since I
know the Self is limitless, I realize there can be no limit to my knowing; in other
words, what I know now is certainly NOT the end of all knowledge, therefore I

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might not (and in all probability, do not) know you and may in fact misunderstand
you.
…..

Dev (from previous dialog): We hold politicians to such scrutiny, and for good reasons;
similarly, nowadays we have sex offender lists that are openly published on the Internet
to hopefully foreworn the innocent (though I have some reservations about this). This
whole thing is a drama: the good, the bad, and ugly. I think there is no problem with
adding some positive (albeit image-breaking and sometimes shocking) input in name of
‘service to humanity.’ For your own information, the gross charlatans listed on the site
(and certainly not everyone listed is or was a charlatan at all, but are/were very noble
souls, including of course Swami C) were people with whom I had direct contact or
whom someone very close to me had direct contact with, or whose adharmic behavior is
widely known (Osho). Others have been listed (who to my knowledge were NOT
charlatans) but have been included only for the sake of revealing how so many of us
blindly follow others and worship them without realizing that these persons were NOT
gods, but people just like ourselves, who made mistakes, and had work to do on
themselves, and may indeed still be working on themselves even after their death.

Laksman: I think the blog would be helped by the inclusion of the ideas we have been
discussing so people could get a better idea of who you are and why you feel it is
necessary to save people from their folly. Incidentally, there already is quite a famous
and well established guru rating website which has a much more reasonable tone than
yours. Masters of Deception is a very provocative title, meant to inspire fear. In my
humble opinion fear sucks… even if it’s good fear.

Dev reply: The tone of the MasterofDeception blog is certainly strong and firm
because the subject matter is serious. Both the title and contents of the blog are
meant to engender caution not fear. The established guru rating website you
mention, if you are referring to the Sarlo site, is not very reliable, considering the
webmaster’s master is OSHO.

….

Dev reply (from earlier dialog): Laksmanji, I have no axe to grind and no butter to
spread.

Laksman: I didn’t say you did. I’m saying that the way you formulate things suggests
that maybe you do.

Dev reply: I will reflect on this and reform my thoughts and expressions if it seems
fitting that I should. Thank you.
….

Dev reply (from earlier dialog): I disagree. You seem to be saying that one’s power of
discernment depends on one’s opinions (views), which in turn are based on one’s values.
I assume by ‘values’ you mean principles. In my mind, there is a set of universal

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principles (values) which are an inherent part of everyone. I will explain: By virtue of the
omnipresent nature of Consciousness, the qualities of that Consciousness must
necessarily be present in all of us. The qualities of that Consciousness are referred to (by
me) as our Real Nature. Our Real Nature embodies the principles of Consciousness, and
those principles are written in the conscience of every living being. Thus, essentially we
all have the same root values. These values are expressed as the five Yamas, which form
the foundation of Yoga. These yamas are called universal vows. Why? Because every
human being by virtue of their own conscience must make these vows (promises to one’s
own self) and stick to them, and if they don’t, they will be betraying their own true
nature. Regardless of the tendencies one may have accumulated over one’s innumerable
incarnations (many, many, in non-human forms), when one is embodied as a human
being one’s higher nature compels one to acknowledge this nature (these principles of
consciousness) and abide by it (i.e., be one’s Self). Thus, you could say that we all ‘come
to our values’ when we come into this human life, because when we are born as human
beings these intrinsic values (of Consciousness itself) are written (so to speak) in our
conscience.

Laksman: This is well written and I agree. I wasn’t referring to universal values. I was
referring to the values that unselfaware people develop as a result of allowing their
vasanas to interpret their experiences in life.

Dev reply: Perhaps we have a different understanding of the term ‘vasana.’ I use
this term to mean ‘tendency’ or ‘inclination’, ‘urge’, and ‘desire.’ A vasana is
always associated with a samskara (impression in the mind stuff). It is all part of
the Karmic Cycle of action (karma), impression (samskara), tendency (vasana),
thought pattern (vritti), and then again action (karma). Our life’s experiences are
created by our actions which result in impressions in the mind. Automatically a
tendency (vasana) is created in the mind as a result of the impression (unless the
action is done without ego, in which case the action will be non-binding, meaning it
will not create a chain reaction of impression-tendency-thought-reaction (i.e., so
called ‘Karma’).

The vasanas (tendencies, inclinations) prompt one to think (understand,


misunderstand, imagine, dream, and remember). One’s values are formed from
one’s thinking. You have correctly stated that one’s values are developed or formed
from one’s interpretation of one’s experiences in life. I also agree with you that
someone who lacks Self Knowledge (what I call the Wisdom of Consciousness), will
allow their vasanas (tendencies, inclinations, and desires) to ‘make up their mind’
and form their values. I call this the ‘deformed mind’, and to reshape it so that
one’s values are in alignment with the principles of Consciousness (the nature of the
Self, i.e., one’s True Nature), wisdom (Self-knowledge) is absolutely essential.

…..

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Are you saying that in order to believe the information
on the site the reader would have to believe the one who posted it is enlightened? The one
who posted it need only be knowledgeable enough to call a spade a spade, a charlatan a

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charlatan, a saint a saint, a seeker a seeker, and a noble human being a noble human
being. The words of the Wise, even a single word, is sometimes enough for a truth
seeker, even a truth seeker who is seriously self-deluded. Those who are not truth
seekers, even if they be very wise in their own eyes, will remain blinded by their ego
even if the truth were to blaze before them like the light of thousand suns.

Laksman: The point I’m trying to make is: why should your evaluation of these people be
believed?’ This is why I think it would be good if you explained your self. I’ve spent a
large fraction of my adult life selling all sorts of things…from goods and services to
ideas… and I have found that the most effective way to get one’s idea across is to gain a
person’s confidence. To do that you need to reveal who you are. The take it or leave it
approach creates doubts. I’m having the same difficulty with your words in these emails.
It may be completely a style thing but I need to know more about why you think like you
do. You come across as a take no prisoners type of guy…almost bigoted. I know you
aren’t but it is possible to get that impression from the way you use words. Very often
religious dogmatism and conviction born of truth are indistinguishable. In any case I’m
not attracted to this kind of approach. Just the fact that you have assumed this white
knight in shining armor defender of truth role makes me suspicious. I think, ‘What’s
wrong with this guy? Doesn’t he have anything better to do than criticize others?”

Dev reply: Laksmanji, I take the approach that I am speaking to my own Self.
Maybe this doesn’t work for you, but from what I can tell by going through your
writings you actually seem to have a very similar speaking/writing manner. In any
case, based on your critique, I am reevaluating the blog. Thank you.
…..

Dev reply (from earlier dialog): I guess you’re saying (please correct me if I’m wrong)
that after someone reads the list they will be inclined to ignore it because they will not
perceive it was compiled by their own well-wisher and invisible friend, or by an
enlightened being. Consequently, they will possibly end up receiving a ‘personal’
darshan of Satya Sai Baba, be molested by him, then later leave in disgust and remorse
and send me an email saying they should have heeded my warning. Well, hopefully that
will not be the case. But after all, this is Samsara, and this Samsara exists in the minds of
the ignorant and in the minds of those who ignore their own conscience. This Samsara
will go on forever.

Laksman: Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post the blog. In
fact I could add some very juicy tidbits to the rubbish on a number of gurus but it’s not
my style to criticize in a public forum. I have one long criticism of the teachings of a
Neo-Advaita guru on the website but the name is changed and I give him high marks for
moksha and for a good character but take him to task for his teaching.

Dev reply: I value your opinion (which is why I asked you for it in the first place),
and I have decided to remove the blog (at least for now).
…..

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Dev reply (from previous dialog): This is a mistaken notion that ‘there are no rules for
jnanis.’ A knower of Truth is ruled by the truth to be truthful; a jnani is ruled by wisdom
to act wisely. A jnani will act according to Dharma; he or she will not violate the law or
rule of their own Being, their own True Self. In the mind of the Wise, only wisdom rules;
they are not ruled by the tyrant ego, they are not ruled by their whims, moods, or desires.
Certainly, (due to existing vasanas) a jnani may still have many whims, moods, and
desires but he or she will be ruled by their own conscience which is overshadowed by the
characteristics (qualities) of the real Self. It is true, however, that a jnani is not bound by
any external rules, obligations, or the mental images and projections of others.

Laksman: I didn’t mean that a true jnani will violate dharma only that no external rules
and no particular lifestyle or behavior applies. In other words a jnani need not be a
saint. He or she may or may not eat a Big Mac without losing wisdom. :+)

Dev reply: A jnani may or may not eat meat in a life or death situation, but will
definitely NOT eat meat just because he or she doesn’t want to go out of their way to
avoid it. A Wise man or woman (a jnani) will always act with power of
discernment; if they do not, then they have already lost the Wisdom and are no
longer Wise, i.e., no longer a Jnani.
…..

Laksman: (from the previous email) Knowing who you are is the big success, not what
you do or don’t do with the knowledge.

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Knowing who you are but not being who you are is a
shame and a sham; it is certainly not a success. For example, one who knows the
principles of good health but doesn’t put those principles into practice is one who is a
prisoner of their mind and ego. In other words, one who knows better but doesn’t do
better is one who is complacent and mentally lazy. One who claims to know the Self but
continues to be pushed around by his or her small self (ego), does not really know the
Self, because the knowledge of the Self sets you free.

Laksman: I meant that knowing is being. Knowing is doing. If you really know that you
are whole and complete your actions will reveal who you are. . There is no choice
involved it.

Dev reply: This small paragraph tells me everything I need to know about you,
which is also the only reason we have been carrying this dialog on for this long.
Regardless of any difference we have in understanding, this one paragraph says we
have the same Self.
…..

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Enlightenment certainly does indicate that the mind
was previously in the state of darkness (Ignorance), but so what? There is nothing here to
hide. It is completely irrelevant who is enlightened, unless this ‘who’ refers to ourselves.
Realizing we are not enlightened, or not as enlightened as we could be, we might inquire
by searching more deeply within ourselves and also perhaps seeking help from those who

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we trust.

Laksman: I was trying to make the point that if you are evaluating people it is better to
evaluate them solely on the basis of whether or not their behavior was in harmony with
dharma. There are endless statements in the sruti that there is no prarabdha for jnanis…
which are intended to debunk the association between behavior and moksha. Yes, there
is a connection seen from one point of view but no there isn’t seen from another.

Dev reply: Yes, I agree, Dharma is the best barometer by which to evaluate gurus,
teachers, swamis, etc. I had hoped to bring out in the blog the characteristics of the
reader’s own real nature (Dharma), albeit both directly and in contradistinction,
but your analysis tells me I have failed to do. Thus, as I’ve already said, I have shut
down the blog for now.
….

Dev reply (from previous dialog): In answer to your first question, according to my view
they do not have a Subtle Body because the subtle body refers to the embodiment of
Atman. Grass, herbs, fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., are not the bodies of souls. But
nearly everyone in the spiritual field will agree that animals, birds, and even fish do
indeed have souls (or rather, the Atman is embodied as the Jivatman in these sentient life
forms).

Laksman: My point is where do you draw the line. A rock, a tree, an animal, a human
being. All are the Self. In the apparent reality the Self eats the Self. Perhaps you might
study Gita Chapter 2. I daresay that if you were dying of starvation and a big fat salmon
jumped out of a stream on the bank you would not see it as God offering itself to you.
I’m sure your vegetarian principles would probably cause you to put it back in the water
and starve to death.

Dev reply: Your point should not require a reply, but anyway: “where do you draw
the line. A rock, a tree, an animal, a human being. All are the Self.” This is like saying
“sex is sex, so what does it matter. Where do you draw the line: sex with one’s wife,
sex with another woman, sex with a man, sex with a little girl, sex with a boy, sex
with a lamb, sex with a chicken. . .” Come on now! We do not need to argue this
point. Sure everything is the Self, but in this Game of Life you can not cheat and
win. Fair is fair. Foul is foul. Violence is violence.

Your analogy of the salmon jumping out of the stream is not a very good one, since
it would be very unlikely that there was not sufficient vegetation to keep me alive
without eating the salmon; hence, I would most definitely put it back in the water
but NOT starve to death. It I were truly in a life or death situation and the only way
to stay alive was to eat a piece of meat, I may or may not eat it. Who knows, maybe I
would choose to meditate to death. I guess the jury is out on that one.
-------

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Regarding the rest of this paragraph, it is clear that you

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do not see any harm in eating animals. If you can look into the eyes of a cow, dog, lamb,
horse, or other animal and kill it with your own hands and eat it, without feeling that you
have violated your own conscience, then there is nothing I can really say to influence you
in this regard. As for inhaling a few microbes (which again, are probably not living
beings but living matter), there is a world of difference between that and killing a cow;
especially when the former is unavoidable but the latter is solely by one’s own choice and
is totally unnecessary.

Laksman: There’s harm in everything…if you have a fearful mind.

Dev reply: Fear is the product of violence. One who violates their real nature will
be fearful of the consequences. The Self is all-compassionate and all-merciful, but
Nature is very unforgiving. As a human being, the embodied self knows this
(intuitively) and therefore fears doing what is wrong. It would be foolish to think
that actions do not have consequences. We are free to do whatever we want, but we
are not free from the consequences of what we do. One who says “I am not the doer,
and actions do not affect me,” and then proceeds to do wrong actions or seek
appreciation and recognition for his good actions, is simply deluded and is not a
Knower of the Self.

--------

Laksman: (from the previous email) “And what about Tibetan lamas in the winter with
not a vegetable in sight? Their spirituality is compromised because they eat Yak butter
and meat?”

Dev reply (from previous dialog): There have been many great Mystics, Saints, and
Sages, and many ordinary people too who live in regions of sparse vegetation, and
have never eaten meat. Besides, the Yaks had to consume a lot of vegetation
themselves (being vegetarians), so surely there must be some vegetation available,
and if not, human beings are nomadic by nature and will migrate to areas where
food can be found. Tibetan lamas who eat meat, like many other Buddhists, are not
true followers of the teachings of Lord Buddha.

Laksman: For me this conversation is not only about vegetarianism; it is about whether
or not we can communicate successfully. I haven’t enough invested in this vegetarian
idea to quarrel with you about it. You have healthy feel good views about food but they
don’t qualify as spiritual in my opinion. You will perhaps be surprised to know that I’m a
pure vegetarian but I’m not identified with it. Injury to living beings is only one reason
for it. I can imagine sitting down to a nice turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and not feeling
guilty.

Dev reply: Why are you getting defensive? I did not know we were quarreling about
vegetarianism. This discussion about vegetarianism has arisen because a number of
statements made in the blog unequivocally indicate one who is not a vegetarian is
going against their true nature (Dharma), and could not therefore reliably guide one
to realize one’s real nature.

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-----

Laksman: (from the previous email) “In case you didn’t notice, Dev, life eats life.
Nobody can avoid it. Even meat eaters are vegetarians once removed. The cows eat
vegetables and they eat cows. So they are actually eating vegetables.”

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Excuse me for saying (and I really do not mean to
hurt your feelings) but you are really revealing your ignorance here. You are
deliberately ignoring (going against) your Higher Nature, your Real Nature, your
Dharma, which is NOT to cause avoidable pain and suffering to any creature.

Laksman: You didn’t hurt my feelings in the least, Dev. I don’t have feelings. I’m not a
human being, remember? I found the above paragraph rather amusing. Even if I was a
human being I wouldn’t be offended because I don’t know you…for the present you’re
just an earnest voice from cyberspace that may or not be connected to someone I might
want to know.

Dev reply: No comment.

-----

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Exposing people to the truth does not keep them
ignorant. I have no duty to protect the ignorant; my duty is to speak the truth and remove
ignorance.

Laksman: They have to know that it’s the truth first, Dev. Truthful statements are not the
truth. A wicked person or a self deluded person can make truthful statements. One needs
to know who is making the statements first and why…before one is inclined to believe.
Personally, I am not inclined to believe anything about anything. I have senses and a
mind and I can figure out what’s going on without help. I operate from understanding
born of experience. My point is: who is to know that Dev’s version of the truth is The
truth? It could just as easily be an opinion. I’d also be curious to know who gave you
that duty. Did God or your guru tell you to do it? Or is it self assumed?

Dev reply: I agree with you, that truthful statements are not the truth. Only
truthful teachers can teach (reveal) the truth. However, there is power in words,
even if it is only information. Though information cannot teach, it does inform, and
for many people that is all they will ever get. Very few people are actually ever
taught by a Satguru, so they will rely on the information available to them and
understand it as best they can, drawing upon their own experiences and innate
knowledge.

Just like you, “I am not inclined to believe anything about anything. I have senses
and a mind and I can figure out what’s going on without help. I operate from
understanding born of experience.”

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Laksman: Perhaps it would be instructive to recall Krishna’s statement in the Gita, “Let
not the wise unsettle the minds of the ignorant.” To me this is one of the Gita’s greatest
statements. It shows that at heart Vedic culture is not a bunch of fanatical self-righteous
moralistic rule following Brahmin karma kandis bound and determined to tell you what
to believe and how to live your life. Krishna says this because people do not change
because they are told what is good for them. They only change when through their own
experience they realize that they are bringing suffering on themselves. If the US
government would just legalize drugs and shut up about how awful they are, drug use
would plummet. People are perverse. They are like children. You tell them to do
something and they will do the opposite. It is best to let people experiment and find out
for themselves. Sure, there are people who are completely incapable of thinking for
themselves and living their own lives and the yamas and niyamas are useful for them in
so far as it is not helpful to them or to others that they do evil.

Dev reply: Yeah, you’re right. This is my understanding and experience too.
…..

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Why try to justify our ignorance? This Drama exists
for the purpose of removing our ignorance. We are here to discover (uncover) the Truth
and not to cover it up with more ignorance. The Treasure is buried very deeply and one
will have to continue to dig until It is completely uncovered. It is covered by Ignorance
and ego brought about by Maya. Whose Maya? It is our own Maya. We have to stop
deluding ourselves; it won’t just happen on its own. It is a process, and that process
should never stop. It will indeed stop, but only when we are completely enlightened.

Laksman: It stopped for me. Evidently it didn’t stop for you.

Dev reply: Wonderful. By the grace of the Self we will meet one day.
…..

Laksman: (from the previous email) “Speaking as a person I used to be an evil doer and
it was the correct path for me because it lead me to the Self at an early age. If I’d been a
nice decent well meaning holy person always doing the right thing and following the
good advice of others I may not have waked up at all. Virtue is not always helpful. A
golden chain can bind you as completely as an iron one. It’s nice to want to save people
from their folly but remember the Inquisition.”

Dev reply (from previous dialog): The path of ignorance is never the right path; the only
right path is the path of Dharma, which means to make our mind and behavior conform to
our Real Nature. No one is perfect, but no one can remain content (forever) in their self-
imposed limitations and ignorance. It is our nature to strive for perfection, to break free
from the bonds of ignorance.

Laksman: The more this conversation goes on the more it seems to me that we are not
suited to continue it. We seem to agree on certain things but I find it very difficult to
communicate with you, Dev. The exchange above is a case in point. You seem incapable
of understanding what I’m saying and if you do then you make a statement that is

83
completely unsympathetic as if this were some sort of contest to see whose views were the
purest. OK, you have the high road, Dev. I’m not up to your level. Dwaita is better than
advaita. Yoga trumps Vedanta. Veg is better than non-veg. Is that what you want to
hear? My point is that no matter whether you take the high road or the low road all
roads lead to the Self.

Dev reply: Laksmanji, I am not unsympathetic and looking down on you from some
moral high ground. Sorry if this is how I am coming across. You are making
statements and I am simply replying with ‘no axe to grind and no butter to spread.’

It’s not clear what you want from me. 99% of the many people who write in have a
simple spiritual question to which I reply to in detail. Sometimes I never hear from them
again, sometimes a satsang develops that goes on for years and turns into a lasting
friendship. In your case you wanted an opinion on your blog. I have tried to oblige you.
But we have exchanged enough words for me to figure out that you don’t seem to want
satsang or if you do your idea of satsang is somewhat different from mine; an inquiring
tone seems to be absent on your part. You seem to have an agenda that is unclear to me.
Do you want me to know how enlightened you are? If so, why do you care? I’m nobody.
Do you want to save me from my ignorant views? It’s a waste of time. I’m already
saved. I was saved before they invented the idea of salvation.

Dev reply: Well Laksmanji, I do call this Satsang, and I am enjoying it. Anyway,
you have given me your opinion on the blog, and I want to thank you for that.
Based on that, I have closed the site for now, as I mentioned earlier.

I haven’t any agenda whatsoever in carrying on this dialog. To be honest, I really


don’t know why we’ve been carrying on like this. I can only think the Self must
have some purpose that I am not presently aware of. So be it.
…..

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Of course you are a human being. You are a beautiful
human being, the creation of the Self. No one does them self or anyone else any good by
denying their own humanness. You are the Self embodied as a human being for a
purpose: the purpose of the Self. The Vedas reveal what that purpose is. Wouldn’t you
say it is ludicrous to think that everything that exists, exists only for the sake of having its
existence denied? This is irrational and unreasonable and contrary to the Self.

Laksman: Here’s another example of your arrogance. I say I’m not a human being and
you say, “Of course you’re a human being.” Mine is a truthful statement…if you
understand something. I made that statement to see what you know. It was meant to
make you think, “What does he mean by that?” You didn’t. It immediately created a
reaction because it was not in harmony with your beliefs. So you put me in a box. “He’s
a human being. End of story.”

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Dev reply: I have to tell you that you are completely misreading me here. When I
said you are a beautiful human being I am only making a very positive statement,
and speaking (writing) from my heart (Self). Laksmanji, I am not reacting to you, I
am responding. I did not put you in a box, but yes, I do think you have put yourself
in one (i.e., the neo-vedantic box). But that is your problem, not mine. No doubt
you think I am in my box and that you are box-free. Well, I will say that I am sure I
still have some images because I know I can still go deeper. You are apparently
satisfied with having gone as far as you have gone.

I’m not sure what is so wonderful about being a human. Maybe you read that rubbish in
Shankar or the Buddhist texts about the ’precious human birth.’ Or let’s put it this way,
it’s no more wonderful to be a human being than to be anything else. In fact you might
make a case that human beings are more of a problem for the creation than anything
else. If you want to see me as a human being that’s fine with me but we will definitely be
unable to get very far together spiritually if you do. In fact this discussion is hitting a
snag already because of your attachment to this view. Arjuna didn’t understand what
Krishna was saying at first at all but he was able to suspend disbelief long enough to get
the message. In this case it seems that my non-dual statements are running up against
your beliefs…and stopping there.

Dev reply: We have assigned completely different connotations to the term human
being. I think you see it as a negative because you equate it with ‘person’. I do not
think of myself as a person at all. I am not a person. I never was a person. I will
never be a person. I do not worship or adore persons at all. Not even one little bit.
A person to me is a mythical being. Arjuna was caught up in his personality, his
personhood, and only when the hood was removed did he realize what Krishna was
saying.

Obviously you and I are not so advanced or we would not misunderstand each
other. On the other hand, this misunderstanding may have led us to a greater
understanding, in which case, this misunderstanding may prove useful too, and is
perhaps the ‘doing’ of our own enlightened selves.

Laksman: In any case I’ve seen enough. It’s time for full disclosure. I will now explain
Laksmanji’s agenda… if you haven’t figured it out already. .

Dev reply: This should be fun. . .

You may be attracted to me but you have no idea who is on the other end of this email,
Dev. I’m not really who you think. Yes, you read my autobiography and some of the
website and you formed certain opinions but that website is just like a big juicy worm on
a hook. It catches fish. But I am not the person portrayed there. Let’s put it this way.
I’m a spiritual salesman and I’m selling non-duality. It’s a very costly product. The
price is an open trusting nature and a willingness to consider new ideas. Would you like
to buy? In case you want to play the Laksmanji satsang game you need to have a
practical serious question…about your sadhana…and I will give you a straightforward
reply to the best of my ability. This conversation seems to be going in the direction of a

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long winded debate on abstruse topics that do not touch my heart.

Dev reply: No, I’m not attracted to you, or anyone for that matter. Surely, you are
NOT who I think you are, because who you really ARE can never be thought in my
mind, your mind, or any mind. Yes, I read your autobiography and know it doesn’t
even represent a one billionth part, not even a one googlth part of YOU. I guess we
could say it doesn’t even represent YOU at all sense you cannot be represented by
other than YOU, who is Indivisible and therefore having no PARTS. Laksman
Maharaj may be a spiritual salesman, but Laksman Maharaj is a MYTH. Yes, you
are selling non-duality and it is indeed a costly product, because the one who buys it
will not get what they bargained for: they will not realize the Ultimate Truth
(though they should certainly get something useful out of it). There are no questions
I have for you that I cannot answer on my own, so that’s why this dialog is really not
much more than a dialectical exercise.

I’ve made that statement about not being a human being hundreds of times. Sometimes
people don’t get it but they usually understand that there is something behind it and that
it might be interesting to know what… probably because I don’t come across as a fool.

Dev reply: No, you are certainly no fool, but neither are you GOD.

Understanding non-duality takes a certain degree of subtle thinking and is aided by some
transpersonal experiences. My statements are true but the meaning is not immediately
available to literal minded people. Some contemplation is required.

Dev reply: Please contemplate some of the things I have written here and on my
website if you wish. They are difficult for a Vedantist to consider objectively.
Though you will no doubt say the same of me as pertains to Vedanta, you should
know that I have given MUCH consideration to it (Vedanta), and also, since I have
no standing reputation, profession, or following to protect or safeguard, there is no
measurable benefit for me holding on to my view and excluding others. I am not
saying you are not open-minded, but you do have a little more vested interest here
than I (if only because you are a public figure).

When I was younger and not such an experienced communicator people would often
raise their eyebrows when I made such statements and change the subject because they
thought I was nuts… rather like the people who crucified Christ must have felt when he
said, “I and my Father are One.”

Dev reply: Believe me, there is nothing you could say that would make me raise my
eyebrows. I have seen it all and heard it all. The only reason this dialog is continuing
is because I respect you for your earnestness, forthrightness, and non-feigned
humility. This doesn’t mean I think you are perfect and have nothing to work on.
(Do you think you are perfect and have nothing to work on?)

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I suppose you might have told Christ that if he was a good little spiritual robot and kept
working on his anger issues and tendency to violence (remember the whip in the temple
episode) he might one day get into the supreme state for a very long time… after of
course first checking to see if he was a vegetarian. Probably he wasn’t since he is said to
have fed the multitudes loaves (good stuff) and fishes (bad stuff). You’re probably a kind
person and would let him strive for liberation if he promised to give up meat, however.
:+)

Dev reply: You are really very funny sometimes. First of all, Christ definitely had
issues to work on, I have no doubt of this. As for the ‘whip in the temple episode’
this was always one of my favorite parts of the New Testament. I have referred to
this incident a number of times in the Satsangs I have given over the years to
illustrate that Jesus, being an enlightened man, was not an image-ridden phony
pacifist who pacified people by giving them a religious image pacifier to suck on. I
think he was probably a no-nonsense kind of a guy who, due to his youthful fervor
of genuine compassion, really wanted to enlighten the ignorant, but (like many
similarly minded souls before him) he got a little too far ahead of himself and
unnecessarily put himself in harm’s way. In any case, I certainly do not believe he
had attained the Supreme State (maybe because he was eating fish and drinking
wine:+)).

I admit that non-dual thinking is quite strange if you are literal minded. Recall the
difficulty Arjuna had accepting Krishna’s statement about past lives. Krishna is speaking
from the non-dual level and Arjuna, like Dev, is thinking he’s a person. I’m speaking
from the non-dual level. These days I’m generally smart enough to know how much non-
duality a person can handle before they hit the delete button so it is rarely an issue. Most
people I meet have been in the spiritual world a long time…done all the yogas, sadhanas,
gurus, etc…and hardly anyone except the fundamentalist types like the Vaishnav bhaktas
(were you once a Hari Krishna?) who hate non-duality seem to have a problem with this
statement.

Dev reply: You are really humoring me Laksmanji, honestly. For your knowledge,
my mind is literally clear because the neo-vedantic litter has long since been
removed. Arjuna didn’t have much difficulty accepting any of Krishna ’s
statements, seeing as though their entire dialog represents only one small chapter in
the Mahabharat. But a neo-vedantist who has mistaken himself for the Supreme
Being may find it extremely difficult to reach Krishna ’s abode (state), because to do
so they will have to stop thinking they can reach the Destination without first taking
the journey! Krishna is the perfect example of one who is totally established in the
Supreme Self. Because he was/is totally established in the Supreme Self (which
means no longer differing with that Supreme Self) I suppose one could say Krishna
is the Supreme Self. But this does not mean only Krishna is the Supreme Self. It
also doesn’t mean Krishna is only the Supreme Self, i.e., Krishna also ever remains a
soul just like all the rest of us.

I do not hate non-duality, I love it! I do NOT embrace duality, I embrace non-

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duality (Advaita); only my understanding is different than yours. I am definitely
not, nor have I ever been a Hari Krishna. I have never belonged to any sect nor am
I the promoter or adherent of any manmade sampradaya.

Like the statement, “Nothing ever happened’ or “It is the smallest of the small, the
biggest of the big” my statement makes perfect sense… if you have non-dual vision or
even a few out of body experiences under your belt.

Dev reply: Well, by now you will have read my email containing a little tad of my
sadhanic biodata and you will have perhaps realized that your statements are not at
all unfamiliar to me.

I’ve carefully peppered non-dual statements into my emails to see your reaction and it
seems to me that you have taken them as ego statements. An unfortunate pattern seems to
be developing in our conversation. As the Beatles song says, “I say yes, you say no. I
say goodbye. You say hello.”

Dev reply: My friend, my responses to your statements have not been reactions. I
am sharing my insights and knowledge with you, just as you are sharing yours with
me, and all in the spirit of the Universal Self. Do I take some of your statements as
ego statements? Well, I will say this: when you say “I am God,” I fully understand
the non-dual statement you are making and realize you certainly would not make
this statement as an expression of megalomania. But does this mean I think you are
completely free of ego? No it does not. You may very well be, but I guess we will
have to wait until we meet to find that out. As you say, it takes a Jnani to know a
Jnani.

Realistically, if and when we ever meet, I am sure we will both see each other’s ego,
and hopefully we will also both see our own too. Even if we are enlightened souls,
we still have a ways to go. The Supreme Being, the Essence, of which Krishna refers
to by both his words and his own being, even great sages are not the knowers of,
what to say of you and I. A saintly person, a saint, a swami or jnani, a Rishi,
Rajarishi, Maharishi, BrahmaRishi, Deva, and then the Highest State in which souls
like Shri Krishna and others are established, all of these are indicative of different
levels of Consciousness. Few of us are truly established in that Supreme
Consciousness, which is why we need to keep chipping away (removing our
ignorance) until we become totally egoless.

In any case to tell a stranger point blank that his or her self statement is not
true…whether or not it is true by your lights…is certainly a tactless and clumsy way to
communicate. Perhaps you’re a bit naïve. In any case it shows a greater concern for
protecting your own views than a willingness to understand mine. It makes me wonder
why non-duality is such a threat to you.

Dev reply: You do not understand me, nor perhaps do I understand you. We are
trying to communicate our perception of perfection by means of imperfect words.

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Perhaps you didn’t notice, but at the top of [my] home page it says, “Dedicated to the
dissemination of non-dual wisdom.” I admit that it is rather like the fine print in legal
contracts and for that you can fault me…but it would be a bit déclassé to put a big
blinking warning on the front page, “Keep Out! Dangerous Toxic Site for Dualists and
Evolutionists. Read further at your peril!”

Dev reply: You are very amusing my friend. . . you might also have noticed on the
bottom of the opening page of my site (adityadham.com) the admonition: Keep
Shining!

You are doing noble work. I hope you have a long and prosperous life. In 1986 my
family started publishing a newsletter titled ‘The Light of Wisdom,’ some articles of
which are published on the Aditya Dham website. Following is the mission
statement of the newsletter, and now that of the website too, which you can see is
rather similar to yours:

“The purpose of this journal is to disseminate inspiring thoughts which help to


distinguish between what is True and what is False. There is no intention
whatsoever to hurt the feelings and sentiments of anyone. On the contrary, the
purpose of this journal is to encourage all human beings to embrace the Truth and
reject that which causes pain and suffering (i.e., Ignorance).”

We’ll go on a bit more if you wish but you’re not asking the right questions to keep me
interested. In fact you aren’t asking spiritual questions at all, Dev. You’re telling me
something or trying to show off your knowledge, I think… although I’m sure you don’t
see it this way. Maybe you’re looking for a soul mate.

Dev reply: I am sharing my understanding with you in kind for your kindness in
sharing your opinion regarding the MastersofDeception blog. That is all.

You had a question about the blog which I answered in a straightforward manner.

Dev reply: Yes, you did, and I thank you again for that.

But the blog question wasn’t a satsang and it doesn’t feel like what has followed is a
proper satsang either. I’ve made certain statements to try and nudge the conversation in
a non-dual direction but you do not seem to want to go there. That’s fine with me but you
need to know that non-duality is my passion. If you want to communicate with me we
need to speak the same language. I have a wide circle of people with whom to satsang
and the site is generating enough interest to keep me busy for the rest of this lifetime and
beyond. There is quite an interest in non-duality these days.

Dev reply: Go for it. . . all the power to you my friend.

I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings…being a human being perhaps you have them…

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although you did say above that you wouldn’t take things personally. It is certainly not
my intention to insult you or to nip this conversation…which you seem to be enjoying…in
the bud but I would be remiss in my duty to myself if I didn’t express myself truthfully. I
put my heart and soul into these emails. I think there must be about a thousand pages of
satsangs on the website…and that is not all of them. I get nothing for my trouble except
the satisfaction of helping people appreciate what Vedanta can do for them. And it looks
like I’ve gone about as far as I can with you because you seem to be quite attached to
your views.

Dev reply: Well Laksmanji, I think you must be quite clear in your mind by now
that I am not surfing the waves of cyberspace for an answer to the question “Who
am I?”, because I already found the answer to this question long ago.

I know you put your heart and souls into these emails (and all your writings), and
hopefully you realize I do too. But even if you don’t realize it, it is not important to
me. I have no desire to change your way of thinking whatsoever, I am simply
speaking the Truth as I perceive it, because it is my nature to speak the Truth, that’s
all.

There is never an argument with non-duality, Dev. It is something that one is meant to
appreciate. I’m not invested in it. I love it and I’m a good teacher but I’m old and pretty
wise and I don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole any more. So unless you are
interested in considering the non-dual way of seeing it is probably better for us to call it
quits. I’m familiar with all the yogic views, the evolutionary views, the whole big messy
spiritual soup. At some time during my sadhana I believed almost every weird
supposedly spiritual idea that I read or heard on my path. But I had a great guru who
shined the light on my ignorance and one day after a lot of reflection my sadhana ended.
I didn’t stop it. It stopped automatically…because I understood who I am. And who I am
is not who you think I am.

Dev reply: I have considered what you call “the non-dual way of seeing,” and found
it does give the vision to perceive the whole Truth. I do appreciate your sincerity
and earnestness and erudite understanding of Vedanta, and especially the clarity
and freshness of your exposition. You are no doubt a good teacher and certainly a
wise man, far wiser I would say than most (perhaps all) of the so-called Swamis and
Gurus who are wheeling and dealing in the spiritual marketplace. However, with
humility I can say your knowledge is not perfect or complete. Neither is mine: the
difference is that I realize this, whereas you apparently do not realize it due to the
limiting nature of your own knowledge.

As I said, Dev, the website is a big juicy worm wrapped around the fishhook of non-
duality. Some fish factories process the dwanda fish and others process the advaita fish.
If an advaiti fisherman catches a dwanda fish he puts it back in the ocean of samsara
where it can enjoy itself. It seems Laksmanji caught a dvanda fish. Is that right? Should
I toss it back? Or would you like me to chop off your dualistic head like Shiva did to
Ganesh and send you to the advaita cannery? It’s up to you. I bet you’d look good with
only one tusk.

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Dev reply: These allusions to ‘fish’ remind me of a term from Yog Vashisth,
‘Drishta Jaal,’ meaning a fish net of images. Everyone is caught up in their own
stinking fish net of images. People have gotten so used to the smell that they no
longer have a natural aversion for it. Similarly, it is very easy to get caught up in
our own mental imaginary (much like a cannery) and never take our boat across the
sea of samsara and reach the shores of Eternity. Perhaps you have crossed the sea
of samsara, Laksmanji, and your mind is firmly grounded on Vedanta and non-
duality. But this is not the end of it. Eternity goes on forever and ever. When even
the Vedas become of no use (as we approach the Supreme Self) then what to say of
Vedanta or any thing else.

Well, I have found this dialog useful, and hopefully you have also. By the grace of
God we may one day meet face to face. I would like that. OM

In Wisdom, Service, and Devotion,

Jai Maha Dev

Laksman’s reply on Nov. 27th:

[Laksman sent his reply to Dev’s previous email (of the 26th) a couple of days later.
In the meantime, several other emails, including this one, were exchanged. To see
Laksman’s reply to Dev’s email of the 26th, go to the final section of this dialog
which incorporates both Laksman’s replies and Dev’s responses, followed by an
excerpt from Satyarth Prakash containing a hypothetical debate between a True
Vedantist and a Neo-Vedantist.]

Hi Dev,

Thank you for your well written, temperate and interesting reply. I'm at an email shop
and don't have time to reply directly to all the statements but I will read your letter more
carefully and think about it. In any case, let's theoretically accept your idea that there is
'more' that 'I' am imperfect in my knowledge and that I have yet to 'experience' the
Supreme State. And let's say that I'm a deluded Neo-Advaiti with an agenda that is not
known to me. (Incidentally, I have written several long articles attacking Neo-Advaita
and was just asked by the editor of a [well-known publication] to write an article on Neo-
Advaita and you can be sure since it is a very conservative publication that they do not
expect me to go easy on Neo-Advaita so I have a bit of a reputation as a rather severe
critic of Neo-Advaita and definitely do not see what I'm saying or my attitude as in any
way Neo-Advaitic. This must mean that we have rather different views of Neo-Advaita.
Perhaps your statement is due to my non-evolutionary views? If this is true it seems that
perhaps you have been sent to guide me on to 'the supreme state.' Will you please tell me
what I have to do? Perhaps you can outline the steps I need to take as now you have
whetted my appetite for a bliss that seems to far excel the complete happiness and
contentment I constantly experience. If you are unable to do this perhaps you can direct

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me to someone who can? Being a practical person (I need to be a person to do this don't
I? This is going to take a lot of work too as it was such a long time ago that I believed
that I was a limited human being...incidentally being the Self has worked out quite nicely
and I'm quite attached to the bliss of Self realization) I'm sure you will appreciate the fact
that I need something more than the mere idea that there is something more. I believe
that my success in business was due to the fact that I didn't buy into all the amazing
schemes that were presented to me to make even more money but just kept practically
plugging away every day collecting the cash.

Also the idea of accepting your statements on faith is not appealing since it seems that
you also are not 'in' this supreme state. How am I to know that your statements are
anything more than beliefs? As I said earlier I have no beliefs. I operate only on the basis
of experience born understanding. Perhaps if you were able by your yogic power or
some other way to give me a glimpse of this 'state' it would increase my appetite for it. Or
maybe you can recommend a guru who would be willing to visit me and show me first
hand?

The problem with the whole idea from my point of view is that I feel very wonderful all
the time...I'm even quite enamored of the occasional little irritations that the world sends
my way...and my life is so full and rich with great bhaktas and jnanis that I can't in my
delusion imagine anything better. My bank account is full and I have perfect health and a
woman who loves me unconditionally...so even in a worldly sense life is just grand. Do I
have to walk away from all this for the possibility of the 'supreme state?' Is there any
guarantee that I will 'get' it? What is the time frame involved? Will it last? I'm sorry that
in my ignorance I have to ask all these silly practical questions...but there you are; that's
just the way I am. I'm rather like Indra who fell off his cloud and landed in a pig pen and
when he regained consciousness he believed he was a pig and happily lived a pigs life.
The Gods were disgusted by this and told him that he was Indra, king of the Gods but he
said, "You're wrong. I'm just a pig."

I've found that the only thing that makes me move or change is dissatisfaction and I can't
find the slightest dissatisfaction...sadly your words don't do the trick... so I implore you to
please help me develop some desire for this state. Since you are so certain about it
perhaps you are just being humble when you say that you have not attained it so if you
were to come and see me I might be able to get a glimpse of it and then set out on the
apparently long journey to experience it.

OK. Enough (light) sarcasm. The ball is in your court. Hit it back. Hard!

Love,

Laksmanji

Dev’s replies to Laksman’s previous email, sent the same day (11/27):

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Laksman:

Hi Dev,

Thank you for your well written, temperate and interesting reply. . . This must mean that
we have rather different views of Neo-Advaita.

Dev reply: Yes, we do have different view of neo-advaita. I have read yours and
pretty much concur. Have you read mine?

Perhaps your statement is due to my non-evolutionary views?

Dev reply: If you read my article, Evolution of the Soul (and other articles), on the
Aditya Dham website, my evolutionary views are espoused there. Do you find any
substance in these views, and if not, why not?

If this is true it seems that perhaps you have been sent to guide me on to 'the supreme
state.' Will you please tell me what I have to do? Perhaps you can outline the steps I
need to take as now you have whetted my appetite for a bliss that seems to far excel the
complete happiness and contentment I constantly experience. If you are unable to do this
perhaps you can direct me to someone who can?

Dev reply: Well, there is nothing to do really. Nothing at all. It is really simply a
matter of not doing, which means it is a matter of getting our own small self out of
the way. The ego (Upadhi, if you will) is extremely subtle, and in the end, it is the
only screen separating the Self from the Supreme Self. Having purified the mind to
such an extent that one is naturally happy and content, it seems that few are
inclined to proceed any further. But of course, as in any art, those truly exceptional
artists realize there is no limit to the extent of artistic expression, especially if one
realizes that what one seeks to express is limitless. When the artist is the living Self,
and the art the expression of one's own Eternity, one eventually becomes the art and
no longer relies on the outer expression, and no longer has a use for going places,
seeing things, remembering stuff, or keeping little jars of paint (mental pocket holes
of colorful cultural, philosophical, and religious trappings). One remains fluid like
the water and free like the wind, having nothing to prove or disprove, nothing to
know or not know, and nothing to do or not do. And yet, one remains extremely
focused (mentally alert) and vigilant and ever-ready to learn more (to expand
further, to go deeper), because one lives in the imageless Consciousness that is one's
own Self.

We are the imageless Self. We cannot be imagined in the mind. We are formless; we
are neither formed of flesh and bones (as a human being) nor are formed of words
and ideas (as a neo-vedantist or other intellectualist). We are the Self. So, what is all
of this? Is this also the Self? Yes, it is. It is the Self in self-evolution. Yet, there is
THAT which never evolves or devolves, and THAT is the Supreme. We cannot play
games with our life and then say it was all the Supreme. We cannot make mistakes
and say it was all the Supreme having a dream.

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The neo-vedantist say the Self is One Without a Second. Okay, good, this is true, but
is the Self not also limitless? You will agree the Self is Limitless, which means its
qualities are also limitless. Hence, this quality of being One Without a Second must
go on limitlessly. You are one without a second, I am one without a second, and
every one is one without a second. If you say the quality of being one without a
second is limited to only one, then the quality of 'one-without-a-secondness' is
limited, which means the limitless Self now possesses a limited quality, and this
statement is certainly irrational.

I have only used this argument above to reveal that neo-vedanta is incomplete, I
have not used it to reveal the truth, because the truth is that the soul, though one
without a second, is NOT the Supreme Self which is One Without a Second.

The Supreme Self is both Saguna and Nirguna, meaning simply that there are
qualities which it possesses and other qualities of which it is devoid of. The Supreme
Self (or simply, the Self, because the Supreme Self is the Self of the Self;
PARAMATMAN), is All-Wise and Never-Ignorant; the Self is All-Good and Never-
Evil; the Self is Ever-Conscious and Never-Unconscious.

We are NOT the Supreme Self (though in ESSENCE we ARE, since the Supreme
Self is the Self of our Self). We NEVER stop being the Self and the Supreme Self
NEVER stops being the Self of our Self. Paramatman is NOT a temporary
characteristic of the eternal Supreme Being (Who possesses absolutely NO
temporary characteristics). Likewise, we were never created. We have always
existed as the Self whose Self is the Supreme Self. That's why this drama of
Creation has been going on forever and will continue forever. It is LIKE a dream
but it is NOT a dream. It is Real. We are Real. The Supreme Self is Real.

Being a practical person (I need to be a person to do this don't I? This is going to take a
lot of work too as it was such a long time ago that I believed that I was a limited human
being...(incidentally being the Self has worked out quite nicely and I'm quite attached to
the bliss of Self realization) I'm sure you will appreciate the fact that I need something
more than the mere idea that there is something more.

Dev reply: It is strange that the neo-vedantist needs nothing more than an idea that
"I am the Self" to be the Self. The Game is not that easy my friend. We (the
innumerable souls) would not have any fun playing this Game if it was not a
challenge. You have been on this journey for trillions of years, so having been
introduced to Vedanta a few decades ago is not really such a long time ago in the
context of Eternity. Vedanta has enabled your mind to clearly perceive that you (the
perceiver) is NOT a person, place, or thing. This was probably the intention of
Shankaracharya, since so many ignorant Jainees (and others) during his time were
enmeshed in ignorance and worshipping persons, places, and things in place of the
Truth. He was able to help people turn inward to the Self and his teachings have
certainly been invaluable in this respect. With a firm footing in Self-knowledge, one
is ready to continue their inward journey, but many opt for the relatively blissful

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experience of knowing the Self (at least some nature of the Self). After all, this
knowing that one is not a person, place, or thing is a very freeing experience; all the
more so when it becomes one's very being (i.e., not just an experience). But this is
not all. There is more. If it were not so, then why have Rishis become Rajarishis, a
Rajarishis Maharishis, and Maharishis Brahmarishis? How and why is it that Lord
Krishna is accepted as being beyond even all of these? Are you, my friend,
established in the Highest State of Being expressed by Shri Krishna? How can you
ever KNOW that Supreme Being (and no, I am not talking about Krishna) if you do
not recognize that what you know now is only a 'state' of knowing, and is not the
Supreme?

I believe that my success in business was due to the fact that I didn't buy into all the
amazing schemes that were presented to me to make even more money but just kept
practically plugging away every day collecting the cash.

Also the idea of accepting your statements on faith is not appealing since it seems that
you also are not 'in' this supreme state. How am I to know that your statements are
anything more than beliefs?

Dev reply: It is not at all a matter of faith or belief, it is all a matter of self-inquiry,
Self-knowledge, and understanding born of direct experience.

As I said earlier I have no beliefs. I operate only on the basis of experience born
understanding. Perhaps if you were able by your yogic power or some other way to give
me a glimpse of this 'state' it would increase my appetite for it. Or maybe you can
recommend a guru who would be willing to visit me and show me first hand?

Dev reply: First of all, it is only by your own yogic power derived from practical
application that you will have an insight in to the Truth, which I think you probably
already have, which is why you still have an appetite to know more. Secondly, the
thirsty go to the well, the well does not go to the thirsty. Anyway, the well is within
you and you already know this. You just have to continue drawing out the wisdom.

The problem with the whole idea from my point of view is that I feel very wonderful all
the time...I'm even quite enamored of the occasional little irritations that the world sends
my way...and my life is so full and rich with great bhaktas and jnanis that I can't in my
delusion imagine anything better.

Dev reply: You are certainly a blessed human being, or if you prefer, a blessed soul.
You are more than just blessed, you are extremely blessed. It is not an accident
though. You have gotten where you are by dint of your own practices. You made
the effort to go beyond your self and have realized the Self. After perhaps many,
many incarnations you have unearthed the Treasure, and you are ecstatic and
wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. Perhaps the time will come when you will
want to know where that Treasure came from; and will you ever play the Game of
'Treasure Hunt' once again?

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My bank account is full and I have perfect health and a woman who loves me
unconditionally...so even in a worldly sense life is just grand.

Dev reply: Lucky you (I'm just kidding). I have the unconditional love of the
Supreme Self, that is all I can say for certain. I have been in business for more than
20 years and gone through one bankruptcy, and still do not have a full bank
account. . . oh well. I have been with the same faithful wife (to whom I too have been
faithful) for 26 years, and have 3 grown children. I love them all unconditionally
because I love them as the Self. I see each of them as an immortal being,
temporarily outfitted in the human form and acting together (for the time being) on
this stage of life, acting out the roles of husband, wife, sons, daughter, etc. This
interaction is fulfilling and enlightening only because of the fullness of
Consciousness prevailing in my mind as a result of the application of Wisdom. In
the words of the Wise: Good Luck is Good Effort. With this in mind, I continue to
make an effort to improve my interactions with my family members and sparkle my
life in wisdom, service, and devotion. [Sorry for the wordy digression, but I thought
you might like some insights into the 'personal' life of this writer.]

Do I have to walk away from all this for the possibility of the 'supreme state?'

Dev reply: Absolutely not. We only have to do away with our own ego. That's all.
When we really become completely egoless we will know the fullness of
Consciousness, we will know the Supreme Self, because we will finally meet the
Supreme Self face to face (so to speak).

Is there any guarantee that I will 'get' it? What is the time frame involved? Will it last?

Dev reply: Well, given the extent of Eternity, and the natural aptitude of the Self to
keep plugging away at it, I would say that the mathematical probability is as good as
saying, "yes, you are guaranteed to win the Game" (albeit, eventually, which in
terms of our limited conception of time, could take a gooleth to the gooleth power of
Creations, which might as well be never to the 'person' who asks the question). The
time frame involved is meaningless, as you know, since reaching the Supreme Self
means reaching Timelessness Itself. However, from a practical standpoint, since you
are really only playing the Game with yourself, you can decide to stop playing
whenever you like. For the same reason (which is no reason) you can choose to play
this game all over again at any time you wish; hence, your experience of the
Supreme State will last as long as you like. Of course, you, the Self, are ALWAYS
connected to That Supreme Self in the eternal relationship of the Pervader to the
Pervaded. We remain the same Self regardless whether or not we know it. In other
words, ATMAN never ceases being ATMAN, just as PARAMATMAN never ceases
being PARAMATMAN.

If one holds the view that Jivatman emanates from Atman, goes through many
incarnations and perhaps many, many cycles of Creation, and eventually attains

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Moksha, and is NEVER born again, this view is also correct. For example, just as in
each cycle of Creation the earth and other planets are created anew and we cannot
say this Earth planet is the SAME earth planet that previously existed, in the same
way we can say the Jivatman is liberated forever and never comes back again.

I'm sorry that in my ignorance I have to ask all these silly practical questions...but there
you are; that's just the way I am. I'm rather like Indra who fell off his cloud and landed
in a pig pen and when he regained consciousness he believed he was a pig and happily
lived a pigs life. The Gods were disgusted by this and told him that he was Indra, king of
the Gods but he said, "You're wrong. I'm just a pig."

Dev reply: Well, this is nice analogy, but I like the following Mantra from the Rig
Veda even better.

OM TVAM SOMAASI SATPATISTVAM RAAJOTA VRTRAHAA.


TVAM BHADRO ASI KRATUH.

You, the Real Self, are Self-satisfied, not seeking anything outside your Self. You (the
Real Self) are the true master (of this Game of Life), you (the Real You) are the ruler
of your own mind and the Annihilator of Darkness (Vritrahaa). Your very nature is to
do good and spread the prosperity of Divine Wisdom through all your actions in this
world.

I've found that the only thing that makes me move or change is dissatisfaction and I can't
find the slightest dissatisfaction...sadly your words don't do the trick... so I implore you to
please help me develop some desire for this state.

Dev reply: Well, Laksmanji, having become established in the Real Self (your own
Self), if you have completely annihilated every trace of Ignorance, and are
absolutely certain that there is no chance whatsoever that you might be ignoring the
obstructing presence of some very faint shade of ego, then you are in deed truly
blessed (graced) with that unimaginable power of the Supreme Being.

However, keeping in view that this Life is indeed a Game of Maya, we know the
element of chance is always there (until the Game is over). It seems to me, though I
cannot see you, or hear you, or get inside of your mind (which I would have no
purpose or right to do anyway), that you are still playing the Game and are not
ready to stop playing just yet.

Is there no chance that you might not have reached your full potential? If the
answer to this question is no, then naturally you would have no desire to explore the
matter further.

Since you are so certain about it perhaps you are just being humble when you say that
you have not attained it so if you were to come and see me I might be able to get a

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glimpse of it and then set out on the apparently long journey to experience it.

Dev reply: Well, I am most certainly certain about It, and I most certainly have not
attained It. Seeing each other we might get a glimpse of how far we have come and
how far we have to go. How much that matters depends on how far we have gone.
In any case, we are surely beginingless beings on an endless journey that we have
taken many a time without ever leaving Home.

Time is Consciousness. Consciousness is Ever-New yet Changeless. The Ever-


newness perceived through the medium of Prakriti appears as time. Atman is the
perceiver and the perception. The means of perception is Prakriti. Beyond both is
the Supreme Self. OM

OK. Enough (light) sarcasm. The ball is in your court. Hit it back. Hard!

Love,

Laksmanji

Dev reply: You are the Shining Light! Keep shining, my friend.

Dev

Laksman’s reply to the previous email, sent on 11/29:

Dev (in reply to earlier email): Yes, we do have different view of neo-advaita. I have read
yours and pretty much concur. Have you read mine?

Laksman (from previous email): Perhaps your statement is due to my non-evolutionary


views?

Dev reply: If you read my article, Evolution of the Soul (and other articles), on the Aditya
Dham website, my evolutionary views are espoused there. Do you find any substance in
these views, and if not, why not?

Laksman: You see, Dev, we are looking at reality from very different perspectives. I
understand your perspective because I once saw things in the way you do. It will not be
possible for you to understand my perspective because it has not happened to you. The
only way you can make sense of my words is to believe that I am a deluded person. There
is substance to these views if you take the world and the jivas to be real. It is
understandable if you do because this is how it seems to the senses. Because it seems this
way there is huge body of spiritual literature, called Yoga, that has evolved. The only
way it can understand the Self and the realization of the Self is in terms of its basic
assumptions. So it says that a jiva can attain enlightenment through evolutionary, read
yogic, means. It posits a doer and a state to be attained…to keep it simple.
The reality, however, is quite different. In reality there is no doer and nothing to be

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attained. When you actually inquire into the doer you cannot find anything substantial.
You only find an idea. Reality is non-dual. This is the meaning of advaita. If it is non-
dual then the Self, moksha, is already accomplished i.e. it is your nature. You cannot do
anything except inquire or have it revealed to you by a proper guru to ‘gain’ your
nature. Or, if you are lucky you may have an experience or experiences in meditation or
through other means like shaktipat…or entirely unsolicited…that give you direct insight
into the nature of reality. When and if that happens you become open to the message of
the Upanishads. The fundamental message of the Upanishads is that this is a non-dual
reality, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Non-duality means that you are
everything that is. Yes, the jiva and all jivas are you but at the same time you have much
greater limitless identity as Chaitanya, Awareness. You see that you can do absolutely
nothing to gain this….you cannot evolve toward it…because it is an accomplished fact.
All you can do is appreciate it. And it destroys your notion of yourself as a
doer/enjoyer/evolver. This happened to me and this is why I speak as I do. I can
understand why you can’t understand and why you insist on seeing me as a human
being. But when you speak to me as a human being you are not speaking to me. You
are talking to an idea. You are projecting a ‘Laksman’ on Awareness, me. I did that at
one time but my own false projection has been completely destroyed.

So our problem is that you are talking with the Self but you think you are talking to
someone else. The people that come to me innocently are ready to see reality from the
non-dual perspective. They have usually done all the yogas and had all the samadhis and
are purified souls. But they still feel limited. It got them ready but it left them at the
doorstep to the Self. So I help them through the door.

I could not teach you because you have not realized the limitation of your approach and
from tremendous effort you have put into your sadhana…with the evolutionary idea first
and foremost…you are very attached to the way you see things. There is nothing wrong
with it at all. You live a good life, you follow dharma, you are as good as free. But you
are not free of the doer, the evolver. It has become an identity. In a way its good
compared to the typical samaric identities. It’s ‘spiritual.’ But in another way it isn’t
good because it is not the highest truth about you. So somehow, sometime, a crack will
open up in your consciousness and you will get a glimpse into the non-dual nature of
yourself and then you will be able to hear the message of the Upanishads.

Laksman: (from the previous email) If this is true it seems that perhaps you have been
sent to guide me on to 'the supreme state.' Will you please tell me what I have to do?
Perhaps you can outline the steps I need to take as now you have whetted my appetite for
a bliss that seems to far excel the complete happiness and contentment I constantly
experience. If you are unable to do this perhaps you can direct me to someone who can?

Dev reply: Well, there is nothing to do really. Nothing at all. It is really simply a matter
of not doing, which means it is a matter of getting our own small self out of the way. The
ego (Upadhi, if you will) is extremely subtle, and in the end, it is the only screen
separating the Self from the Supreme Self. Having purified the mind to such an extent
that one is naturally happy and content, it seems that few are inclined to proceed any

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further. But of course, as in any art, those truly exceptional artists realize there is no limit
to the extent of artistic expression, especially if one realizes that what one seeks to
express is limitless. When the artist is the living Self, and the art the expression of one's
own Eternity, one eventually becomes the art and no longer relies on the outer
expression, and no longer has a use for going places, seeing things, remembering stuff, or
keeping little jars of paint (mental pocket holes of colorful cultural, philosophical, and
religious trappings). One remains fluid like the water and free like the wind, having
nothing to prove or disprove, nothing to know or not know, and nothing to do or not do.
And yet, one remains extremely focused (mentally alert) and vigilant and ever-ready to
learn more (to expand further, to go deeper), because one lives in the imageless
Consciousness that is one's own Self.

Laksman: From my perspective there is only one problem with this statement. You say
‘one lives in the imageless self.’ Can you see that this means that you and the Self are
seen as two different things? I don’t live ‘in’ the imageless Self. I am the imageless Self.
Or if you want a slightly less accurate statement, I ‘live’ as the imageless Self, not that
the Self lives or dies.

Dev: We are the imageless Self. We cannot be imagined in the mind. We are formless;
we are neither formed of flesh and bones (as a human being) nor are formed of words and
ideas (as a neo-vedantist or other intellectualist). We are the Self. So, what is all of this?
Is this also the Self? Yes, it is. It is the Self in self-evolution. Yet, there is THAT which
never evolves or devolves, and THAT is the Supreme.

Laksman: That is what I am. I have nothing to do with the part of me that evolves except
observe it. It evolves on its own. You have identified me as a tiny fly speck of mortality
called the soul.

Dev: We cannot play games with our life and then say it was all the Supreme. We cannot
make mistakes and say it was all the Supreme having a dream.

The neo-vedantist say the Self is One Without a Second. Okay, good, this is true, but is
the Self not also limitless? You will agree the Self is Limitless, which means its qualities
are also limitless. Hence, this quality of being One Without a Second must go on
limitlessly. You are one without a second, I am one without a second, and every one is
one without a second. If you say the quality of being one without a second is limited to
only one, then the quality of 'one-without-a-secondness' is limited, which means the
limitless Self now possesses a limited quality, and this statement is certainly irrational.

I have only used this argument above to reveal that neo-vedanta is incomplete, I have not
used it to reveal the truth, because the truth is that the soul, though one without a second,
is NOT the Supreme Self which is One Without a Second.

The Supreme Self is both Saguna and Nirguna, meaning simply that there are qualities
which it possesses and other qualities of which it is devoid of. The Supreme Self (or
simply, the Self, because the Supreme Self is the Self of the Self; PARAMATMAN), is

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All-Wise and Never-Ignorant; the Self is All-Good and Never-Evil; the Self is Ever-
Conscious and Never-Unconscious.

We are NOT the Supreme Self (though in ESSENCE we ARE, since the Supreme Self is
the Self of our Self). We NEVER stop being the Self and the Supreme Self NEVER stops
being the Self of our Self. Paramatman is NOT a temporary characteristic of the eternal
Supreme Being (Who possesses absolutely NO temporary characteristics). Likewise, we
were never created. We have always existed as the Self whose Self is the Supreme Self.
That's why this drama of Creation has been going on forever and will continue forever. It
is LIKE a dream but it is NOT a dream. It is Real. We are Real. The Supreme Self is
Real.

Laksman: Fine, Dev. So who is the ‘we?’ Why not just say ‘I’ and be done with it? I
don’t think you will be able to do that because you still see ‘It’ as an object. You don’t
want to own it.

Laksman: (from a previous email) Being a practical person (I need to be a person to do


this don't I? This is going to take a lot of work too as it was such a long time ago that I
believed that I was a limited human being...incidentally being the Self has worked out
quite nicely and I'm quite attached to the bliss of Self realization) I'm sure you will
appreciate the fact that I need something more than the mere idea that there is something
more.

Dev reply: It is strange that the neo-vedantist needs nothing more than an idea that "I am
the Self" to be the Self. The Game is not that easy my friend. We (the innumerable souls)
would not have any fun playing this Game if it was not a challenge. You have been on
this journey for trillions of years, so having been introduced to Vedanta a few decades
ago is not really such a long time ago in the context of Eternity. Vedanta has enabled
your mind to clearly perceive that you (the perceiver) is NOT a person, place, or thing.
This was probably the intention of Shankaracharya, since so many ignorant Jainees (and
others) during his time were enmeshed in ignorance and worshipping persons, places, and
things in place of the Truth. He was able to help people turn inward to the Self and his
teachings have certainly been invaluable in this respect. With a firm footing in Self-
knowledge, one is ready to continue their inward journey, but many opt for the relatively
blissful experience of knowing the Self (at least some nature of the Self). After all, this
knowing that one is not a person, place, or thing is a very freeing experience; all the more
so when it becomes one's very being (i.e., not just an experience). But this is not all.
There is more. If it were not so, then why have Rishis become Rajarishis, a Rajarishis
Maharishis, and Maharishis Brahmarishis? How and why is it that Lord Krishna is
accepted as being beyond even all of these? Are you, my friend, established in the
Highest State of Being expressed by Shri Krishna? How can you ever KNOW that
Supreme Being (and no, I am not talking about Krishna) if you do not recognize that
what you know now is only a 'state' of knowing, and is not the Supreme?

Laksman: I won’t reply to this because you are not talking to me. You are talking about
an idea, Neo-Vedanta. I could take apart all your reasoning and logic but it is pointless.

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Some day what I say will all make sense. This enlightenment business is actually very
very simple. It is so simple that you are missing it with this huge system of ideas.

Laksman: (from the previous email) I believe that my success in business was due to the
fact that I didn't buy into all the amazing schemes that were presented to me to make even
more money but just kept practically plugging away every day collecting the cash.

Also the idea of accepting your statements on faith is not appealing since it seems that
you also are not 'in' this supreme state. How am I to know that your statements are
anything more than beliefs?

Dev reply: It is not at all a matter of faith or belief, it is all a matter of self-inquiry, Self-
knowledge, and understanding born of direct experience.

Laksman: The purpose of Self inquiry is to remove the ignorance one has about one’s
Self. When the ignorance is removed it is clearly known that there is only one Self. When
you look at it through the filter of Maya the one Self appears as two or many.

Laksman: (from the previous email) As I said earlier I have no beliefs. I operate only on
the basis of experience born understanding. Perhaps if you were able by your yogic
power or some other way to give me a glimpse of this 'state' it would increase my appetite
for it. Or maybe you can recommend a guru who would be willing to visit me and show
me first hand?

Dev reply: First of all, it is only by your own yogic power derived from practical
application that you will have an insight in to the Truth, which I think you probably
already have, which is why you still have an appetite to know more. Secondly, the thirsty
go to the well, the well does not go to the thirsty. Anyway, the well is within you and
you already know this. You just have to continue drawing out the wisdom.

Laksman: I’m [leading] you on with these questions, Dev. Notice I said, at the
beginning “let’s theoretically accept…” It was just a way of drawing you out. I do not
have an appetite to know more about anything concerning the Self or the world. I’ve
never seen such an eager guru as you. And your last statement is not true. I am the
wisdom. You can ‘continue to draw out’ all you like but please don’t project this desire
on me. As pointed out at the end, my whole email was gentle sarcasm.

Laksman: (from the previous email) The problem with the whole idea from my point of
view is that I feel very wonderful all the time...I'm even quite enamored of the occasional
little irritations that the world sends my way...and my life is so full and rich with great
bhaktas and jnanis that I can't in my delusion imagine anything better.

Dev reply: You are certainly a blessed human being, or if you prefer, a blessed soul. You
are more than just blessed, you are extremely blessed. It is not an accident though. You
have gotten where you are by dint of your own practices. You made the effort to go
beyond your self and have realized the Self. After perhaps many, many incarnations you

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have unearthed the Treasure, and you are ecstatic and wealthy beyond your wildest
dreams. Perhaps the time will come when you will want to know where that Treasure
came from; and will you ever play the Game of 'Treasure Hunt' once again?

Laksman: You’re incredibly obtuse, Dev. I am the Treasure. The treasure hunt ended in
1971.

Laksman: (from the previous email) Do I have to walk away from all this for the
possibility of the 'supreme state?'

Dev reply: Absolutely not. We only have to do away with our own ego. That's all. When
we really become completely egoless we will know the fullness of Consciousness, we
will know the Supreme Self, because we will finally meet the Supreme Self face to face
(so to speak).

Laksman: I addressed the ego idea in the email I just sent.

Laksman: (from the previous email) Is there any guarantee that I will 'get' it? What is the
time frame involved? Will it last?

Dev reply: Well, given the extent of Eternity, and the natural aptitude of the Self to keep
plugging away at it, I would say that the mathematical probability is as good as saying,
"yes, you are guaranteed to win the Game" (albeit, eventually, which in terms of our
limited conception of time, could take a gooleth to the gooleth power of Creations, which
might as well be never to the 'person' who asks the question). The time frame involved is
meaningless, as you know, since reaching the Supreme Self means reaching Timelessness
Itself. However, from a practical standpoint, since you are really only playing the Game
with yourself, you can decide to stop playing whenever you like. For the same reason
(which is no reason) you can choose to play this game all over again at any time you
wish; hence, your experience of the Supreme State will last as long as you like. Of
course, you, the Self, are ALWAYS connected to That Supreme Self in the eternal
relationship of the Pervader to the Pervaded. We remain the same Self regardless whether
or not we know it. In other words, ATMAN never ceases being ATMAN, just as
PARAMATMAN never ceases being PARAMATMAN.

If one holds the view that Jivatman emanates from Atman, goes through many
incarnations and perhaps many, many cycles of Creation, and eventually attains Moksha,
and is NEVER born again, this view is also correct. For example, just as in each cycle of
Creation the earth and other planets are created anew and we cannot say this Earth planet
is the SAME earth planet that previously existed, in the same way we can say the
Jivatman is liberated forever and never comes back again.

Laksman: Again, this was just a joke, Dev. I’m surprised considering what I’ve said so
far that you didn’t pick up on it. I meant that when you promise somebody something
that is going to happen in the future you are really taking them for a ride. This whole
spiritual riddle can be sorted out in the present.

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Laksman: (from the previous email) I've found that the only thing that makes me move
or change is dissatisfaction and I can't find the slightest dissatisfaction...sadly your words
don't do the trick... so I implore you to please help me develop some desire for this state.

Dev reply: Well, Laksmanji, having become established in the Real Self (your own Self),
if you have completely annihilated every trace of Ignorance, and are absolutely certain
that there is no chance whatsoever that you might be ignoring the obstructing presence of
some very faint shade of ego, then you are in deed truly blessed (graced) with that
unimaginable power of the Supreme Being.

Laksman: This is how it is, Dev. It’s probably almost this way with you but I think there
is some lack of confidence in your words because you won’t say ‘I’ when you speak of the
Self. You talk about it…which is indirect knowledge…but you don’t speak as It..which is
direct knowledge. And you think that something will be different in the future. Anyway
it’s none of my business.

Dev: However, keeping in view that this Life is indeed a Game of Maya, we know the
element of chance is always there (until the Game is over). It seems to me, though I
cannot see you, or hear you, or get inside of your mind (which I would have no purpose
or right to do anyway), that you are still playing the Game and are not ready to stop
playing just yet.

Laksman: Is there an element of chance that you will wake up tomorrow morning and
forget that you are Dev? I doubt it. There is no element of chance involved for me
because I am not in Maya. Maya is in me.

Dev: Is there no chance that you might not have reached your full potential? If the
answer to this question is no, then naturally you would have no desire to explore the
matter further.

Laksman: There is no full potential or partial potential for me, Dev. There is only
actual. You might consider how so much of your thinking is future oriented. For me
there is no time. It stopped in 1971 and never started again. Everything is present and
actual…eternally.

Laksman: (from the previous email) Since you are so certain about it perhaps you are
just being humble when you say that you have not attained it so if you were to come and
see me I might be able to get a glimpse of it and then set out on the apparently long
journey to experience it.

Dev reply: Well, I am most certainly certain about It, and I most certainly have not
attained It. Seeing each other we might get a glimpse of how far we have come and how
far we have to go. How much that matters depends on how far we have gone. In any
case, we are surely beginingless beings on an endless journey that we have taken many a
time without ever leaving Home.

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Laksman: I don’t need to see anybody to see how far I have to go. It is not possible for
me to ‘go’ anywhere. I am already where I would go. I think we have really come to the
end of this conversation, Dev. I can’t be what you think I am so my words have no
impact on you. It’s fine. I didn’t solicit this conversation as you know. So I wish you
well on your journey.

Om and Prem,

Laksman

Dev’s responses to Laksman’s previous email, sent on Nov. 29th:

Laksman: You see, Dev, we are looking at reality from very different perspectives. I
understand your perspective because I once saw things in the way you do. It will not be
possible for you to understand my perspective because it has not happened to you. The
only way you can make sense of my words is to believe that I am a deluded person. There
is substance to these views if you take the world and the jivas to be real. It is
understandable if you do because this is how it seems to the senses. Because it seems this
way there is huge body of spiritual literature, called Yoga, that has evolved. The only
way it can understand the Self and the realization of the Self is in terms of its basic
assumptions. So it says that a jiva can attain enlightenment through evolutionary, read
yogic, means. It posits a doer and a state to be attained…to keep it simple. The reality,
however, is quite different. In reality there is no doer and nothing to be attained. When
you actually inquire into the doer you cannot find anything substantial. You only find an
idea. Reality is non-dual. This is the meaning of advaita. If it is non-dual then the Self,
moksha, is already accomplished i.e. it is your nature. You cannot do anything except
inquire or have it revealed to you by a proper guru to ‘gain’ your nature. Or, if you are
lucky you may have an experience or experiences in meditation or through other means
like shaktipat…or entirely unsolicited…that give you direct insight into the nature of
reality. When and if that happens you become open to the message of the Upanishads.
The fundamental message of the Upanishads is that this is a non-dual reality,
appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Non-duality means that you are everything
that is. Yes, the jiva and all jivas are you but at the same time you have much greater
limitless identity as Chaitanya, Awareness. You see that you can do absolutely nothing to
gain this….you cannot evolve toward it…because it is an accomplished fact. All you can
do is appreciate it. And it destroys your notion of yourself as a doer/enjoyer/evolver.
This happened to me and this is why I speak as I do. I can understand why you can’t
understand and why you insist on seeing me as a human being. But when you speak to
me as a human being you are not speaking to me. You are talking to an idea. You are
projecting a ‘Laksman’ on Awareness, me. I did that at one time but my own false
projection has been completely destroyed.

So our problem is that you are talking with the Self but you think you are talking to
someone else. The people that come to me innocently are ready to see reality from the

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non-dual perspective. They have usually done all the yogas and had all the samadhis and
are purified souls. But they still feel limited. It got them ready but it left them at the
doorstep to the Self. So I help them through the door.

I could not teach you because you have not realized the limitation of your approach and
from tremendous effort you have put into your sadhana…with the evolutionary idea first
and foremost…you are very attached to the way you see things. There is nothing wrong
with it at all. You live a good life, you follow dharma, you are as good as free. But you
are not free of the doer, the evolver. It has become an identity. In a way its good
compared to the typical samaric identities. It’s ‘spiritual.’ But in another way it isn’t
good because it is not the highest truth about you. So somehow, sometime, a crack will
open up in your consciousness and you will get a glimpse into the non-dual nature of
yourself and then you will be able to hear the message of the Upanishads.

Dev response: Truth (Reality) does not change with one's perspective of it; one's
perspective only changes how one sees (understands) the Truth (Reality). Reality is
non-dual which simply means there are not two realities, there are not two Truths.
The problem with neo-vedanta is that it misconstrues this fundamental truth and
applies it to the perceiver only. Thus, in the view (understanding) of the neo-
vedantist, there is only the consciousness of the perceiver. This is extrapolated to
include everything, including both the act and object of perception. In other words,
everything is consciousness. To substantiate this, one must assert that the world as
we ordinarily see it is unreal. The problem with this is that it is completely irrational
and contrary to everyone's experience. Of course, a neo-vedantist has no problem
with this, because for them this life is all about solving the existential puzzle. But
really, 'solving the existential puzzle' is only meaningful for the neo-vedantist who
posits it.

Let us consider for a moment this notion that everything is Consciousness, or that
Consciousness is all that there is, or that there is only Unlimited Consciousness.
First of all, such a statement is not substantiated anywhere in the Vedas. But leaving
that aside, it not substantiated by any one's experience either. You say it is not a
matter of experience but a matter of knowledge, but the bottom line is that it is a
matter of consciousness. Your consciousness is NOT unlimited, and no one's
consciousness is unlimited (except the Supreme Consciousness, if one so believes).
You cannot demonstrate that your consciousness is unlimited, nor can you prove it
logically or even by means of sophistry.

I too (and many others) have had many experiences similar to those you have
described in your autobiography. The difference between you and me is that you
understand your experiences in the framework of neo-vedanta, which has led you to
believe that your own consciousness is unlimited.

Laksman: (from the previous email) If this is true it seems that perhaps you have been
sent to guide me on to 'the supreme state.' Will you please tell me what I have to do?
Perhaps you can outline the steps I need to take as now you have whetted my appetite for

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a bliss that seems to far excel the complete happiness and contentment I constantly
experience. If you are unable to do this perhaps you can direct me to someone who can?

Dev reply (to earlier email): Well, there is nothing to do really. Nothing at all. It is really
simply a matter of not doing, which means it is a matter of getting our own small self out
of the way. The ego (Upadhi, if you will) is extremely subtle, and in the end, it is the only
screen separating the Self from the Supreme Self. Having purified the mind to such an
extent that one is naturally happy and content, it seems that few are inclined to proceed
any further. But of course, as in any art, those truly exceptional artists realize there is no
limit to the extent of artistic expression, especially if one realizes that what one seeks to
express is limitless. When the artist is the living Self, and the art the expression of one's
own Eternity, one eventually becomes the art and no longer relies on the outer
expression, and no longer has a use for going places, seeing things, remembering stuff, or
keeping little jars of paint (mental pocket holes of colorful cultural, philosophical, and
religious trappings). One remains fluid like the water and free like the wind, having
nothing to prove or disprove, nothing to know or not know, and nothing to do or not do.
And yet, one remains extremely focused (mentally alert) and vigilant and ever-ready to
learn more (to expand further, to go deeper), because one lives in the imageless
Consciousness that is one's own Self.

Laksman: From my perspective there is only one problem with this statement. You say
‘one lives in the imageless self.’ Can you see that this means that you and the Self are
seen as two different things? I don’t live ‘in’ the imageless Self. I am the imageless Self.
Or if you want a slightly less accurate statement, I ‘live’ as the imageless Self, not that
the Self lives or dies.

Dev response: Yes, I am the imageless Self too, but that doesn't mean we are the
same self or that we are the Supreme Self.

Dev: We are the imageless Self. We cannot be imagined in the mind. We are formless;
we are neither formed of flesh and bones (as a human being) nor are formed of words and
ideas (as a neo-vedantist or other intellectualist). We are the Self. So, what is all of this?
Is this also the Self? Yes, it is. It is the Self in self-evolution. Yet, there is THAT which
never evolves or devolves, and THAT is the Supreme.

Laksman: That is what I am. I have nothing to do with the part of me that evolves except
observe it. It evolves on its own. You have identified me as a tiny fly speck of mortality
called the soul.

Dev response: I have identified you as an immortal Soul, whose characteristics are
all eternal and unchangeable, and one of those characteristics is your nature to
become embodied from time to time to play the Drama of existence.

Dev: We cannot play games with our life and then say it was all the Supreme. We cannot
make mistakes and say it was all the Supreme having a dream.

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The neo-vedantist say the Self is One Without a Second. Okay, good, this is true, but is
the Self not also limitless? You will agree the Self is Limitless, which means its qualities
are also limitless. Hence, this quality of being One Without a Second must go on
limitlessly. You are one without a second, I am one without a second, and every one is
one without a second. If you say the quality of being one without a second is limited to
only one, then the quality of 'one-without-a-secondness' is limited, which means the
limitless Self now possesses a limited quality, and this statement is certainly irrational.

I have only used this argument above to reveal that neo-vedanta is incomplete, I have not
used it to reveal the truth, because the truth is that the soul, though one without a second,
is NOT the Supreme Self which is One Without a Second.

The Supreme Self is both Saguna and Nirguna, meaning simply that there are qualities
which it possesses and other qualities of which it is devoid of. The Supreme Self (or
simply, the Self, because the Supreme Self is the Self of the Self; PARAMATMAN), is
All-Wise and Never-Ignorant; the Self is All-Good and Never-Evil; the Self is Ever-
Conscious and Never-Unconscious.

We are NOT the Supreme Self (though in ESSENCE we ARE, since the Supreme Self is
the Self of our Self). We NEVER stop being the Self and the Supreme Self NEVER stops
being the Self of our Self. Paramatman is NOT a temporary characteristic of the eternal
Supreme Being (Who possesses absolutely NO temporary characteristics). Likewise, we
were never created. We have always existed as the Self whose Self is the Supreme Self.
That's why this drama of Creation has been going on forever and will continue forever. It
is LIKE a dream but it is NOT a dream. It is Real. We are Real. The Supreme Self is
Real.

Laksman: Fine, Dev. So who is the ‘we?’ Why not just say ‘I’ and be done with it? I
don’t think you will be able to do that because you still see ‘It’ as an object. You don’t
want to own it.

Dev response: My children are my children but they are not objects and I do not
own them, nor am I, being their father, an object that they own. Though we are
separate, we are inseparable. Likewise is the eternal (beginingless and endless)
relationship of Atman and Paramatman. There are so many mantras in the Vedas
that substantiate this.

Laksman: (from a previous email) Being a practical person (I need to be a person to do


this don't I? This is going to take a lot of work too as it was such a long time ago that I
believed that I was a limited human being...incidentally being the Self has worked out
quite nicely and I'm quite attached to the bliss of Self realization) I'm sure you will
appreciate the fact that I need something more than the mere idea that there is something
more.

Dev reply: It is strange that the neo-vedantist needs nothing more than an idea that "I am
the Self" to be the Self. The Game is not that easy my friend. We (the innumerable souls)

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would not have any fun playing this Game if it was not a challenge. You have been on
this journey for trillions of years, so having been introduced to Vedanta a few decades
ago is not really such a long time ago in the context of Eternity. Vedanta has enabled
your mind to clearly perceive that you (the perceiver) is NOT a person, place, or thing.
This was probably the intention of Shankaracharya, since so many ignorant Jainees (and
others) during his time were enmeshed in ignorance and worshipping persons, places, and
things in place of the Truth. He was able to help people turn inward to the Self and his
teachings have certainly been invaluable in this respect. With a firm footing in Self-
knowledge, one is ready to continue their inward journey, but many opt for the relatively
blissful experience of knowing the Self (at least some nature of the Self). After all, this
knowing that one is not a person, place, or thing is a very freeing experience; all the more
so when it becomes one's very being (i.e., not just an experience). But this is not all.
There is more. If it were not so, then why have Rishis become Rajarishis, a Rajarishis
Maharishis, and Maharishis Brahmarishis? How and why is it that Lord Krishna is
accepted as being beyond even all of these? Are you, my friend, established in the
Highest State of Being expressed by Shri Krishna? How can you ever KNOW that
Supreme Being (and no, I am not talking about Krishna) if you do not recognize that
what you know now is only a 'state' of knowing, and is not the Supreme?

Laksman: I won’t reply to this because you are not talking to me. You are talking about
an idea, Neo-Vedanta. I could take apart all your reasoning and logic but it is pointless.
Some day what I say will all make sense. This enlightenment business is actually very
very simple. It is so simple that you are missing it with this huge system of ideas.

Dev response: My friend, you are in the enlightenment business, and for any
business to work there needs to be a product or service offered by one and received
or purchased by another. Neo-vedanta is a very nifty tool for helping people feel
good about themselves in a very non-material way, i.e., by objectifying everything
and seeing everything as unlimited consciousness. It may work for a while, but
eventually, like any product (in this case, a product of the Mind), it will fail.

Laksman: (from the previous email) I believe that my success in business was due to the
fact that I didn't buy into all the amazing schemes that were presented to me to make even
more money but just kept practically plugging away every day collecting the cash.

Also the idea of accepting your statements on faith is not appealing since it seems that
you also are not 'in' this supreme state. How am I to know that your statements are
anything more than beliefs?

Dev reply: It is not at all a matter of faith or belief, it is all a matter of self-inquiry, Self-
knowledge, and understanding born of direct experience.

Laksman: The purpose of Self inquiry is to remove the ignorance one has about one’s
Self. When the ignorance is removed it is clearly known that there is only one Self. When
you look at it through the filter of Maya the one Self appears as two or many.

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Dev response: When one's ignorance is removed, one realizes the nature of one's
own Self and is no longer caught up in self-delusion imagining that one is a person.
When we see ourselves as projections of this world we imagine ourselves to be many
people (a husband, a father, a son, a writer, a teacher, etc.), but when our ignorance
is removed we see clearly that we are the indivisible, invisible, immortal Self.
Through the practice of Yoga we realize our Essence, the Soul of our Self, which is
the Supreme Self.

Laksman: (from previous email) As I said earlier I have no beliefs. I operate only on the
basis of experience born understanding. Perhaps if you were able by your yogic power or
some other way to give me a glimpse of this 'state' it would increase my appetite for it. Or
maybe you can recommend a guru who would be willing to visit me and show me first
hand?

Dev reply: First of all, it is only by your own yogic power derived from practical
application that you will have an insight in to the Truth, which I think you probably
already have, which is why you still have an appetite to know more. Secondly, the thirsty
go to the well, the well does not go to the thirsty. Anyway, the well is within you and
you already know this. You just have to continue drawing out the wisdom.

Laksman: I’m [leading] you on with these questions, Dev. Notice I said, at the
beginning “let’s theoretically accept…” It was just a way of drawing you out. I do not
have an appetite to know more about anything concerning the Self or the world. I’ve
never seen such an eager guru as you. And your last statement is not true. I am the
wisdom. You can ‘continue to draw out’ all you like but please don’t project this desire
on me. As pointed out at the end, my whole email was gentle sarcasm.

Dev response: Laksmanji, I have certainly realized all along your gentle sarcasm in
this present email, and I replied more or less in kind, using it as a vehicle for the
exposition of Wisdom. Laksmanji, the Wisdom is as limitless as the Unlimited
Consciousness of which it is an expression.

Laksman: (from the previous email) The problem with the whole idea from my point of
view is that I feel very wonderful all the time...I'm even quite enamored of the occasional
little irritations that the world sends my way...and my life is so full and rich with great
bhaktas and jnanis that I can't in my delusion imagine anything better.

Dev reply: You are certainly a blessed human being, or if you prefer, a blessed soul. You
are more than just blessed, you are extremely blessed. It is not an accident though. You
have gotten where you are by dint of your own practices. You made the effort to go
beyond your self and have realized the Self. After perhaps many, many incarnations you
have unearthed the Treasure, and you are ecstatic and wealthy beyond your wildest
dreams. Perhaps the time will come when you will want to know where that Treasure
came from; and will you ever play the Game of 'Treasure Hunt' once again?

Laksman: You’re incredibly obtuse, Dev. I am the Treasure. The treasure hunt ended in

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1971.

Dev response: You think I am obtuse because your own ego (though imperceptible
to you) is very obtuse and does not let you see the Treasure (MOKSHA) has yet to
be found.

Laksman: (from the previous email) Is there any guarantee that I will 'get' it? What is the
time frame involved? Will it last?

Dev reply: Well, given the extent of Eternity, and the natural aptitude of the Self to keep
plugging away at it, I would say that the mathematical probability is as good as saying,
"yes, you are guaranteed to win the Game" (albeit, eventually, which in terms of our
limited conception of time, could take a gooleth to the gooleth power of Creations, which
might as well be never to the 'person' who asks the question). The time frame involved is
meaningless, as you know, since reaching the Supreme Self means reaching Timelessness
Itself. However, from a practical standpoint, since you are really only playing the Game
with yourself, you can decide to stop playing whenever you like. For the same reason
(which is no reason) you can choose to play this game all over again at any time you
wish; hence, your experience of the Supreme State will last as long as you like. Of
course, you, the Self, are ALWAYS connected to That Supreme Self in the eternal
relationship of the Pervader to the Pervaded. We remain the same Self regardless whether
or not we know it. In other words, ATMAN never ceases being ATMAN, just as
PARAMATMAN never ceases being PARAMATMAN.

If one holds the view that Jivatman emanates from Atman, goes through many
incarnations and perhaps many, many cycles of Creation, and eventually attains Moksha,
and is NEVER born again, this view is also correct. For example, just as in each cycle of
Creation the earth and other planets are created anew and we cannot say this Earth planet
is the SAME earth planet that previously existed, in the same way we can say the
Jivatman is liberated forever and never comes back again.

Laksman: Again, this was just a joke, Dev. I’m surprised considering what I’ve said so
far that you didn’t pick up on it. I meant that when you promise somebody something
that is going to happen in the future you are really taking them for a ride. This whole
spiritual riddle can be sorted out in the present.

Dev response: This whole thing is a drama, Laksmanji. The Past, the Present, the
Future, they are certainly relevant to the drama. There are many riddles to be
sorted out in the drama, and whether they are sorted out now or later it will not put
an end to the drama. The drama of life is not an existential riddle. The drama of life
is a journey to Eternity and that journey is as fantastic as the Destination. No need
to rush it.

Laksman: (from the previous email) I've found that the only thing that makes me move

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or change is dissatisfaction and I can't find the slightest dissatisfaction...sadly your words
don't do the trick... so I implore you to please help me develop some desire for this state.

Dev reply: Well, Laksmanji, having become established in the Real Self (your own Self),
if you have completely annihilated every trace of Ignorance, and are absolutely certain
that there is no chance whatsoever that you might be ignoring the obstructing presence of
some very faint shade of ego, then you are in deed truly blessed (graced) with that
unimaginable power of the Supreme Being.

Laksman: This is how it is, Dev. It’s probably almost this way with you but I think there
is some lack of confidence in your words because you won’t say ‘I’ when you speak of the
Self. You talk about it…which is indirect knowledge…but you don’t speak as It..which is
direct knowledge. And you think that something will be different in the future. Anyway
it’s none of my business.

Dev response: Laksmanji, this Self that is Consciousness is not the Supreme
Consciousness. You are affirming that you are the Supreme Consciousness. The
confirmation of this is known only to the Self. The Supreme Consciousness is Self-
evident, and that evidence is made manifest when one is egoless.

Dev: However, keeping in view that this Life is indeed a Game of Maya, we know the
element of chance is always there (until the Game is over). It seems to me, though I
cannot see you, or hear you, or get inside of your mind (which I would have no purpose
or right to do anyway), that you are still playing the Game and are not ready to stop
playing just yet.

Laksman: Is there an element of chance that you will wake up tomorrow morning and
forget that you are Dev? I doubt it. There is no element of chance involved for me
because I am not in Maya. Maya is in me.

Dev response: I have woken up many times and forgotten I was Dev, because this
Dev identity too is only a fiction. Because we are the Self, our consciousness is not
interrupted by the death and birth of the body, or the formation of a personality.
The Self remains ever conscious. This is not the same as the consciousness which
Krishna spoke of when he told Arjuna that he knew all his births from the very
beginning. In other words, when one (the Self) is really established in the Supreme
Self, one knows all and one's knowledge is not subject to increase or decrease.

Dev: Is there no chance that you might not have reached your full potential? If the
answer to this question is no, then naturally you would have no desire to explore the
matter further.

Laksman: There is no full potential or partial potential for me, Dev. There is only
actual. You might consider how so much of your thinking is future oriented. For me
there is no time. It stopped in 1971 and never started again. Everything is present and
actual…eternally.

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Dev response: Based on other things you have said, this is not very believable
(though I know that doesn't matter to you). In any case, you are certainly an
extremely rare Jivatman, though you will surely deny it.

Laksman: (from the previous email) Since you are so certain about it perhaps you are
just being humble when you say that you have not attained it so if you were to come and
see me I might be able to get a glimpse of it and then set out on the apparently long
journey to experience it.

Dev reply: Well, I am most certainly certain about It, and I most certainly have not
attained It. Seeing each other we might get a glimpse of how far we have come and how
far we have to go. How much that matters depends on how far we have gone. In any
case, we are surely beginingless beings on an endless journey that we have taken many a
time without ever leaving Home.

Laksman: I don’t need to see anybody to see how far I have to go. It is not possible for
me to ‘go’ anywhere. I am already where I would go. I think we have really come to the
end of this conversation, Dev. I can’t be what you think I am so my words have no
impact on you. It’s fine. I didn’t solicit this conversation as you know. So I wish you
well on your journey.

Om and Prem,

Laksman

Dev response: I sincerely thank you for your kindness and generosity of spirit. In
my mind you are a noble soul. Keep Shining.

OM

Laksman’s reply on Nov. 30th:

Laksman: You too are a noble soul, Dev. It was fun satsanging with you. As far as
shining goes it would be impossible not to shine...I am self-effulgent eternally. May the
Supreme Self bless you in everything.

Love,

Laksman

Dev’s reply to Laksman on Nov. 30th.

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Note that this email includes Dev’s responses to Laksman’s recently received email of the
28th, which was his reply to Dev’s email of the 26th responding to Laksman’s email of
Nov. 22nd.

Namaskar (I bow to That Ever-Shining Self)

Dear Laksmanji,

You are indeed eternally effulgent divine Light.


I have enjoyed our dialog and want to leave you with only one thought, and that is this:
We are the Self and nothing else matters.

Since I had already responded to most of your previous email (before the most recent
one) I am sending it here in this present email for your entertainment.

I guess this completes our dialog, though I remain open for future discussions at your
leisure. I would prefer that we speak in person, because that would surely be more cost-
effective (time-wise, understanding-wise).

Keep Shining (as always)

In Divine Wisdom & Love,

Dev

Following is Laksman’s reply to Dev’s earlier email of 11/26 (in response to Laksman’s
email of 11/22). The dialog incorporates both Laksman’s reply and Dev’s response, and
is followed by an excerpt from Satyarth Prakash.

Hi Dev,

You're probably not going to enjoy this very much but I did my best to make it reasonable
literate and entertaining.

Love,

Laksman

Dev response:
Namaste Laksmanji,

Since you have been so entertaining as to continue this dialog, I shall respond in
kind.

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Dev (from previous dialog): Well my friend, perhaps our dialog is coming to an end.
Based on your reaction to my previous replies, it seems you do not wish to continue, and
perhaps you will not even get through this entire email. Although, I don’t really see any
reason why wouldn’t go through everything I have written: it can only challenge you to
evolve or reinforce what you already know.

Laksman: Why, when you already know I am not interested in evolving do you keep on
suggesting that it would do me good? If I need help I’ll let you know, OK? I told you my
sadhana stopped a long time ago. On whatever level you see me I’m not going to
change. The body and mind change on their own, it has nothing to do with me. There
are no challenges left for me, no mountains to climb. If you don’t like my idea or don’t
understand it, that is fine with me. I’m happy to hear your opinion…once. I’m rather
quick to understand; I picked up your idea right from the beginning. So why do you feel
the need to keep telling me? This “I’m more spiritual than you’ game comes up
throughout this and other emails. I’ll point this out as I patiently go through this letter.
Hopefully you will think about this and if you want to play the ‘holier than thou’ game
will you please seek a more willing victim? Please, Dev, show some respect; I do not
want to hear it.

Dev response: I respect you as Atman, what more do you want? Do you want me
to respect you as Paramatman? You are totally on the defensive in this email, which
can only mean you somehow feel threatened. You are not the victim and I the
victor. My only victory is over my own ego and ignorance. It is MY ego and
ignorance; it is NOT the ego and ignorance of the Supreme Self. Until you realize
that both the Soul and the Supreme Soul are eternal, each having their own eternal,
unchangeable nature, and that both eternally pervade the eternal non-conscious
substance called PRAKRITI, you will never feel perfectly at ease with your self and
everyone else, because you will not be REAL. If you are REAL then you will admit
your own fallibility and stop insisting that you are Unlimited Consciousness. You
are completely incapable of substantiating that you are Unlimited Consciousness,
because you cannot be other than what you are. You will never be any more or less
than that, and that is an eternal, self-contained, immortal, conscious being, in whom
resides the Supreme Self, and in Whom you reside, in the eternal, indestructible,
unchangeable relationship of the Pervader and the Pervaded.
………..

Dev: Regardless what you read (or read into) what I have written, I could never possibly
have any ill will toward you, whether silent or verbalized. You are Atman, I am Atman,
everyone is Atman. In essence you are my own Self and I am your own Self, so how
could we be angry or annoyed or impatient with one another?

Laksman: I don’t think you have ill will for me at all, Dev. I just fail to understand why
you think that I want to hear your criticisms. If you present you views in a dispassionate
non-judgmental way I’m more than happy to discuss. But it has to be a civilized
discussion. If you say I need to be ‘challenged’ (note the aggressive dualistic nature of

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this word) so I can evolve, the subtext, in case it is lost on you, is: there is something
wrong with me as I am. For your words to be useful I would have to tell you that I felt
there was something wrong with me and then I would humbly seek your advice. But I
didn’t do that. Please reconsider Krishna’s wise words, “Let not the wise unsettle the
minds of the ignorant.”

Dev response: Again, this email comes across as unnecessarily defensive. First of all,
constructive criticism is very good, and something you yourself do quite often (at
least in your writings). Secondly, what is 'uncivilized' about this discussion?
Thirdly, I never said you needed to be challenged (though it seems you feel you are
being challenged, and therefore perhaps need to be); I only said that what I have
written 'can only challenge you to evolve or reinforce what you already know.' This
is certainly true too of everything you have written in this email. Next, neither you
nor I need to 'humbly ask' the other for advice in order to benefit from this
exchange of thoughts over the Internet. We are not sitting face to face having this
discussion, so it is quite natural that we would both be communicating through an
internet identity, i.e., through 'email protocol', and there is no way we can really get
the vibration of each other (there is no way for the eyes to sparkle, the smile to grace
the face, or the hearty laughter to fill the room). And finally, your quotation from
the Gita is certainly inappropriate in our case since neither you nor I are ignorant.
Whether or not we have a self-image to protect is another matter. Myself, I love to
break my self-image (i.e., I know undoubtedly there are still traces of ego in my
being, which I am happy to remove).

In any case if I’m the Atman as you say, how can there be any evolution for me?

Dev response: The True Self, ATMAN, is certainly changeless and therefore never
evolves or devolves. However, as you know, this is not the case with the Jivatman. I
hold that we are both Jivatmans, first of all, just by virtue of the fact we are
embodied beings having this discussion. If we were Jivamuktas, which you could be,
we could still have this discussion but even a Jivamukta is not the Highest. Krishna
was not a Jivamukta, because a 'liberated soul' necessitates one's previous state of
bondage. Krishna is Atman. ATMAN is never subjected to bondage, but the
Jivatman is. As you might say, ATMAN is not Jivatman, Jivatman is ATMAN.
When the Jivatman is dissolved in the Yajna of Wisdom, the ever-effulgent ATMAN
is all there is. Within this ATMAN is the Supreme Self. This was the 'state' of
Krishna (I believe). I use the word 'state' for lack of another word, though in truth it
is not a state because ATMAN is ever ATMAN.

Again, I don’t think you have ill will, Dev. You’re a well intentioned guy…a bit to good
and serious for my taste…but you have picked the wrong person to be superior with. I
know you don’t see it that way but that’s the way it comes across. I’m sorry to be so
blunt. This evolution trip is just a big ego game and it bores me to tears.

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Dev response: Again, Laksmanji, I am not playing the 'holier than thou' trip with
you. As a matter of fact, the word 'holy' is a big turn off for me, and I think those
people who refer to themselves or others as 'His Holiness' are damn fools. They are
damned because their ego is still in the way but they don't see it.

………..

Dev: I used to hold the neo-vedantic view that Advaita meant everyone is GOD. When it
was suggested that Advaita means something other than this, and that though I am indeed
eternal, having no beginning or end, that the primordial (matter-like) substance that is the
essence of this world which is created and dissolved endlessly, is also eternal, having no
beginning or end, and that within and yet beyond myself (Soul) and all of this (the world,
the body, mind, intellect, ego, etc.) eternally exists as ever-manifest the All-pervading,
Formless, Indivisible, One-Without-A-Second, SatChitAnanda, Supreme Being, I too
was incredulous. However, being of the mind never to get stuck in any image, and
vigilant of the subtle nature of ego and determined to know without a shred of doubt the
Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, I gave it my consideration.

Laksman: I didn’t say I was God. I said I was the Self. God is just a symbol of the Self
for people who see themselves as created beings. They need to explain their origin and
the origin of the creation so they call it God. They need something to focus their minds in
worship so they call the Self God. It’s a good idea but it’s just an idea. In non-dual
reality there is no ‘creation’ and therefore no need for an explanation. Both ‘creature’
and ‘creator’ are projections of limited minds. There is only me, limitless non-dual
Awareness.

Dev response: Well, here we have, plain and simple, the Mahavyaka of all neo-
vedantists: In non-dual reality there is no ‘creation’ and therefore no need for an
explanation. Both ‘creature’ and ‘creator’ are projections of limited minds. There is
only me, limitless non-dual Awareness. This is not non-dual reality, but rather, non-
dual unreality. You state there is no creation and therefore no need for an
explanation for the creation, and then you explain that both ‘creature’ (in other
words, Creation) and ‘creator’ are projections of limited minds. This begs the
question, “are the limited minds from which the creator and creation are projected,
part of the creation or not?” Obviously, they are part of the creation, so your
statement is completely irrational and has no substance. You then assert “There is
only me, limitless non-dual Awareness.” So, limitless, non-dual Awareness is the
projector of limited duality? Is limitless, non-dual Awareness the projector of
unawareness? Limitless, non-dual Awareness is the Absolute Self (call it God,
Allah, or King James, or whatever label the mind assigns to It). The Absolute is not
the author of little me, and little me is not limitless non-dual Awareness. Little me is
a fiction projected in the mind, projected from ego and ignorance. The root of
ignorance lies in the union of the conscious spirit and the unconscious matter
(Purush and Prakriti). It is Ignorance because there can be no union of that which is

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inseparable. The two are inseparable by virtue of one being the pervader of the
other, and both being eternal (uncreated and indestructible).

I like your explanation that God is just an idea or a symbol of the Self. The thing is,
it is a symbol of the Supreme Self and not the symbol of you or me or anyone else.

-------

Dev: You are thoroughly convinced of the efficacy of the teachings you have received
and those teachings have no doubt served you well. You have revised, over and over
again, what you have learned by applying your own innate knowledge coupled with your
direct experience. You have firm conviction in what you say and you speak with
authority. However, you do have (according to my understanding) a hidden agenda that is
hidden even from yourself. You cannot change the way you think because you think you
are beyond thinking. You cannot go higher because you are beyond evolving. You
cannot go beyond your limits because you are already limitless. You cannot raise your
consciousness because you are the Supreme Consciousness. You cannot learn because
you already know everything.

Laksman: No, I don’t know everything. That’s God’s job. I supply God with the
Awareness that makes it possible for It to know everything. I’m not bothered with
relative knowledge and silly ideas like omniscience. I know who I am.

Dev response: So, according to you, God is just a symbol of the Self who is you. You
do not know everything, but you supply God with Awareness that makes it possible
for God to know everything, even though you who are limitless Awareness doesn’t
know everything. Please consider the ridiculousness of this.

Furthermore, you say that you “are not bothered with relative knowledge and silly
ideas like omniscience,” presumably because your knowledge, which is Self-
Knowledge is absolute and superior to omniscience. However, what you call Self-
knowledge really is relative knowledge only and NOT absolute knowledge. Vedanta
does NOT constitute the omniscient knowledge of the Supreme Being Whose
Knowledge is Unsurpassable. It is, however, Brahma Vidya, which is the knowledge
of the Self (knowledge of the Absolute).

I know of no authority of any religious or sectarian persuasion who does not hold
Omniscience as an indisputable characteristic of the Supreme Being (Unlimited
Awareness, God, Allah, or whatever you wish to label it). You dismiss omniscience
as a ‘silly idea’ because you know you do not possess it nor is it possible to ever
possess it. The self that you call the Self, which is the Self that you know you are, is
obviously not the Supreme Self.

In any case let’s play your game. Since I’m so ignorant what is agenda that is hidden
from me? It is one thing to try and sew doubt in a person and it is another to offer that

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person something useful and positive. This whole argument revolves around the meaning
of the word ‘I.’ You say I am incomplete and therefore need to change. I say I’m
complete and therefore do not need to change. So how is this going to be resolved? You
won’t accept my view. You have yet to convince me that your view is superior.

Dev response: The agenda is the agenda of the subtle ego, which we follow almost
unconsciously. It is there (here), but due to Ignorance we do not rise above it. This
ego I am referring to is extremely subtle and obscures the vision of even great
Rishis, what to say of ordinary people like you and I. ‘Rising above’ it means
recognizing it but not giving it any recognition. The problem with neo-vedanta is
that it does not recognize it because it mistakes the Self for the Supreme Self, and
accomplishes this by misinterpreting Advaita. Vedanta becomes an end in itself,
thus ending any further progress. One can use Vedanta to get to the point where one
realizes (understands) that one is not this, not that, but then asserts that there is
nothing more than this. End of story. End of game. But the story is not finished.
The game is not over.

……….

Dev: The neo-vedantic interpretation of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gita, and other
works comprising the Shruti and Smriti texts has to be done away with (the neo-vedantic
interpretation, that is) and one must begin afresh. Consciousness is not stagnant but
dynamic and ever-new (PRANAV, OM), and likewise, everything we learn and
experience in this ever-new world is also ever-new. The Wise never get stuck in any
image. The neo-vedantic notions of Advaita enable people to excuse themselves and
everyone else for all their stupid, selfish, violent thoughts and actions. True Vedanta
reveals that GOD is One Without A Second; it only says that there is no other GOD but
GOD; it does not say that you, I, and everyone else (who are also all eternal) do not
exist. Each of us too is One Without A Second because each of us is eternal and
therefore so is our uniqueness eternal. There is absolutely no conflict with Advaita; the
conflict only arises when we try to set ourselves up as GOD.

Laksman: Your statement about the nature of ‘consciousness’ is true for that small part
of Consciousness that reveals itself in Maya, the creation. The sruti is clear that Maya,
changing consciousness, is only a tiny fraction of the Self, pure Consciousness. It is not
true for pure Consciousness. I am pure Consciousness.

Dev response: Consciousness is indivisible and has no parts (as I know you will
agree). Where does the Sruti say that Maya is ‘changing consciousness,’ or that
there are tiny fractions of the Indivisible Self?

You will, of course, dismiss this as Neo-Advaitic delusion. So what more can we say? It
seems you really want me to be something that I am not. It is very puzzling to me why. I
know you will say, ‘No, I want you to stop being what you are not and be what you truly
are.” There is no end to it. Don’t you have anything better to do than to ‘challenge’

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people? How about a bit of social service work? The slums are full of unfortunate
human beings who really could use some help.

Dev response: Again, there is no ‘holier than thou’ trip going on here. We are
simply sharing our understanding with each other. I am sharing it to increase my
own understanding, which I know can certainly be increased. You seem to be
wanting to fight this process because you think you are already perfect. (I know you
don’t really think like that, but this is the way it comes across to one who is not a
neo-vedantist, i.e., to one who does not accept the premise that the Self and Supreme
Self are identical.)

Over the years people have organized events that featured many so-called enlightened
beings. The idea was that an amazing satang would develop that would knock the
spiritual socks off the attendees. And you know what happened. They always ended up
being big fights. Each and every guru thought he or she had the inside track and the
others were deluded. Goes to show, doesn’t it? You think I’m a fool and I think you’re a
fool. How enlightened is that?

Dev response: I know, I have attended a few and they are certainly just a charade
for parading one’s ego. Some people would say that the real work is at the grass
roots level. I would say the real work is the work we do without any thought of our
small self ego.
………..

Dev: If you are really open-minded you will read Satyarth Prakash and Maharishi
Dayananda’s Introduction to the Commentary on the Rig Veda. Whatever you have heard
of him, or whatever impression of him you may have formed as a result of the words and
actions of unenlightened followers, you will have to dismiss in order to truly consider the
accuracy or not of his knowledge. Like us, he too was a human being and therefore
fallible, but by and large his knowledge was very accurate and I dare say he far exceeds
either you or I in both shastric acumen and experience.

Laksman: I never heard of him or read anything by him. He may exceed me in shastric
acumen and experience but this does not impress me as I am not a pundit nor do I envy
anybody’s experience. What arguments will he make that you can’t make? Does he
claim understanding that somehow surpasses and invalidates the wisdom of the
Upanishads?

Dev response: What I am saying is an echo of the Upanishads and is supported by


the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Vedanta Shastras. See for yourself. . . I have
copied the section pertaining to Neo-Vedanta from Satyarth Prakash, written
almost 150 years ago, and placed it at the end of this email.

………..

Dev: I know you feel I come across as arrogant and dogmatic in these emails, but you

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should at least consider that you may be looking into a mirror. You seem to forget that I
am just an imperfect human being, so I have no problem with recognizing my own
imperfections. On the other hand, if you think you are GOD, as you certainly assert, you
will find it very difficult to acknowledge your own shortcomings; and even if you
acknowledge them it is unlikely you will see any need to change them sense they (the
shortcomings) cannot affect GOD. I am not being sarcastic, I am simply telling it as it is,
which is the way you have spoken (written) it to be.

Laksman: I dealt with the God issue above. Undoubtedly you will not accept it. It will
just be another example of my Neo-Advaitic arrogance and self delusion for you.

Dev response: You have dealt with the God issue by asserting it is just an idea or
symbol of the Self. You assert (elsewhere) that the Self is not God but God is the
Self. This too is a misnomer resulting from the misinterpretation of Advaita.

Dev: Anyway, here are my replies to your most recent comments/replies.

-----

Dev (from previous dialog): Yes, my answer was not clear, so I will try again. What I
mean to say is that many people are seeking guidance because they are in a quandary as
to “Who am I,” and once the answer to this question is known, the knower is enlightened.
This is what I meant by ‘self-evident,’ meaning that a true seeker of enlightenment will
know Enlightenment when they find it, because that enlightenment is the knowledge of
their own Self. No doubt there are also many people who think enlightenment is some
kind of attainment that gives them special powers, etc., but genuine seekers really want to
know “Who am I.” The MastersofDeception blog is meant for these genuine seekers
(both novices and those already on the path) who do not have Self Knowledge and who
really want it (enlightenment) for no other purpose than the Self itself.

Laksman: If there are such people and these people came to your website they would not
really need this information because a true seeker is always completely protected by his
or her bhakti.

Dev reply: In my experience, people are protected by their awareness and wisdom
coupled with love. Bhakti is incomplete and blind without wisdom; bhakti without eyes
cannot save anyone, not even itself (i.e., even one’s devotion will dry up without
wisdom). I have seen the bhakti of a sadhak wither and die because that sadhak did not
develop their power of discernment with wisdom. Likewise, I’ve seen many a sadhak’s
wisdom fail them miserably when that wisdom lacked the embrace of divine love. You
have said “No one can injure them.” Certainly, but this is really true of everyone. We
only injure ourselves, and we do this when we follow our ego and ignore good advice.
People set themselves up for a fall but don’t realize it. We are victimized by our own
ignorance, and if someone exposes that ignorance perhaps we will realize our folly and
change for the better. The one who shares the wisdom of consciousness has no ulterior
motive whatsoever.

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Laksman: Perhaps you would like to tell me in a specific way how I could ‘get better’
and offer me some reasonable sadhana that would help accomplish my ‘transformation.’
If I thought I needed to improve myself I certainly wouldn’t accept the advice of any Tom,
Dick or Harry. If a complete stranger writes you from cyberspace and says you are
deluded and need to change will you just swallow it without so much as a by your leave?
Come on, Dev, I wasn’t born yesterday.

Dev response: As the Vedas say, “Let the Truth come from all corners,” so why
should it not also come from cyberspace?

The specific way we can all ‘get better’ is to learn better and then do better. If there
is nothing more to learn or do then I guess there will be no getting better either. Life
is not stagnant and neither is Consciousness; it is ever-new, which is why OM
(Pranav) is accepted as the highest name or symbol of Supreme Consciousness. Our
consciousness must keep expanding ad infinitum, because that is our nature while
embodied as living beings. Are you going to deny that you are a living being? Only
living beings can help other living beings, and the best way to help is to keep
expanding our awareness and never get stuck in a box or image. I am not in the
least bit interested in propagating religion, philosophy, or anything. I am expanding
my consciousness as a living being and inspiring those who come in my contact.
That’s all.

-----

Dev (from previous dialog): This Jivatman is not an ego, not a person, not a mind, and
not any body. In essence, this Jivatman is the Self.
[Quoted text below is Dev’s interspersed reply/comment to which Laksman is replying]

Laksman: If this is true then what is the meaning of your words that it sleeps and wakes?

dev: “In a game of football, a player goes on the field, plays the game and either wins or
loses. The wining and losing are only meaningful in the context of the game. Similarly,
sleeping and waking are only meaningful in the context of the sport of Creation
(existence, life, etc.).”

Laksman: That’s right but the Jivatman is not ‘in’ the creation. The creation is ‘in’ the
Jivatman, meaning within the scope of Awareness.

Dev response: The Self completely pervades the Creation (the manifestation of the
union of Purush and Prakriti). Thus, all of us pervade Prakriti. We are eternal and
Prakriti is eternal. The Supreme Self pervades all of us and Prakriti. Thus, there
are three eternal noumena: Paramatman, Atman, Prakriti. As a neo-vedantist you
will find this impossible to accept, and why should you accept it? YOU
ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT ACCEPT IT, unless it can be substantiated by your
own experience and the Sruti.

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…..

Laksman: (from the previous email) In any case when I say that I am not a person I mean
that I am the Self or the Jivatman, if you prefer. According to my
understanding/experience (and scripture would back me up on this) the Self and the
Jivatman are identical. However, the difference in words is accounted for by the
superimposition (adyaropa) of individuality (jiva) on the Self. The Jivatman, me, is not
limited like a jiva.

Dev: Individuality is a superimposition on the Self, but this Self is NOT the Supreme
Self. Anyway, in reality the Self cannot be superimposed upon. The superimposition (of
individuality) is upon the mind. Individuality (ego), like the mind, is an evolute of
Prakriti. It is an expression (manifestation in Prakriti) of the uniqueness of the Self. Ego
is (eventually) superimposed upon the mind as a natural consequence of our interacting
with the world of matter without the knowledge of the Self (i.e., without Wisdom).

You insist on the identity of the Self and Supreme Self and think that Advaita and
Vedanta support this assertion. Your thinking is based on the neo-vedantic teachings that
form the basis of your understanding, which is why you misunderstand the true meaning
of Advaita.

Laksman: This is not so, Dev. This is based on direct experience and confirmed by many
statements in the Upanishads. I realized who I was twenty years before there was even
the word Neo-Advaita. I’m not a student of Vedanta. Vedanta is not a belief system. It is
a pramana, a means of Self knowledge. It delivers the knowledge/experience and then
disappears leaving one as one is and has always been…the Self. The true meaning of
advaita is non-duality. It is a simple Sanskrit word that only means ‘not two.’ It means
there is not a God and a creation. It means there is not an ego and a Self. It means there
is not a Self and Supreme Self. It means there is not-two. Your whole argument is based
on dwaita, Dev. It’s true for you…if that is how you see it. There is a good book recently
published by Dennis Waite entitled ‘The Book of One.’ It gives a fair and intelligent
presentation of non-duality.

Dev response: Your explanation of Advaita is not correct. Kindly have a look at the
excerpt placed at the end of this dialog. This is only a small sampling from Satyarth
Prakash.
……….

Dev: It is self-evident that you are not the Supreme Self, yet you have trained your mind
and intellect to imagine you are so. This too is adyaropa, but you do not perceive it.

Laksman: Self evident to who, Dev? If I were a little more stupid I might be inclined to
allow your subtle attack to shake me. What’s holding me back from taking the dust of
your holy feet and confessing the error of my ways is that you have not provided any
proof of your claims or any practical way that I can see if what you say is true. It seems
to me that just believing something completely is enough for you…and indeed it is nearly

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as good as direct experience/knowledge for some people…but it isn’t good enough for
me.

I’ve found that the best way to communicate is to show people directly what you are
trying to communicate. I reveal the Self to people by my use of Vedanta pramana and
people’s lives change in the same way that my guru revealed the Self to me and my life
transformed. I never say anyone has false views and then offer some ‘pie in the sky’
idea. I just show them who they are and the changes happen automatically. The truth
will set you free, no action is required. My life is full of very happy people, Dev. I’m
very happy. You really need someone who is dissatisfied with his or herself to guru.
There are a lot of very desperate lonely people out there without much experience who
are willing to believe just about anything.

I’ve added a short document at the end of this email from a man I met in India two years
ago that may give you some insight into the question of how to communicate
enlightenment. Enlightened or not your means of communication are not skillful. I may
be the biggest fool in the world but you can’t just bust into my life and tell me that I’m
deluded and that you know best. You can see what it gets you.

Dev response: The wisdom that I am espousing is not some ‘pie in the sky’ idea, but
is in fact ancient knowledge that has been distorted in the last several millennia.
Regarding your reference to the ‘truth will set you free’, please see my article of the
same title on my website for my view of this statement.

Also, may I remind you that we are carrying on a dialog over the Internet and not in
private. The things I am saying and the way I am saying them would unlikely
happen in a different setting. I am not a guru nor do I aspire to be one. I have read
the document at the end of your email (also, you had previously sent me this in
another email). I thank you for sharing this with me. Laksmanji, you are a very
good communicator, there is no doubt about this. I have read through many of the
articles on your website and found them to be very enlightening. I have no hesitation
in saying that you are a noble soul doing very noble work. I know too that you (as
the body/mind/ego complex) are merely and instrument of the Self, and do not really
see yourself as doing anything at all. However, I would be in remiss of my duty as an
Arya (a noble human being) if I were to simply placate your ego and go along with
this idea that you are Unlimited Consciousness and that you therefore have no
further work to do on yourself. Please note, however, that this exchange of words
taking place (in fulfillment of my so-called duty) is just happening by chance. It is
not my practice or habit to do so publicly (or even privately in general). I am not the
bearer of any torch (just as I am not the wielder of any axe).
………….

Additional Dev comments: Whatever happens in the dream, really happens in the dream
but never really happens. Certainly the Self and Jivatman are identical, even as the player
on the field wearing the uniform is not really any different after he steps off the field and
removes the uniform. However, while playing the game, AND HE DOES INDEED

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PLAY THE GAME, he does assume the role (identity) of a player without ever losing his
real identity. While playing on the field, he plays with gusto, and puts his whole self into
the game. The game doesn’t have any real meaning or purpose; but that doesn’t stop him
from playing on the field. When the game is over it doesn’t mean he will never play
again. Certainly he will play again, because there is no reason not to, just as there is no
reason he had to in the first place.

Laksman: So you can’t see that I’m just playing the game? Why is not the game that I
have chosen to play acceptable to you? Why do you want me to play your ‘supreme
state’game, your ‘evolution’ game? I’m saying I’ll play your game if you can show me
the goal in the here and now and how to reach it. In other words, Dev, ‘where’s the
beef?’

Dev response: Oh, you are most certainly playing the Game, and you are a very
skillful player. The goal is Supreme Consciousness. To know It (to attain It) we need
to become absolutely egoless, and simultaneously realize that it is impossible to
become absolutely egoless. I think you realize this, but there is still a disconnect.
………

Dev (from previous dialog): It is the Jivatman that realizes (or not) the Self. This
realization takes place in the mind when the mind is enlightened. The state of
enlightenment and the state of ignorance are both states of mind. Whose mind? It is the
mind of the Jivatman, the embodied soul.

Laksman: OK. This is pretty clear and I can’t argue with it. However, it is my
understanding/experience that ‘embodiment’ is an upadhi, something projected by
ignorance that is not actually there. It seems to be there, however and therefore people
believe that the Jivatman and the Self, the Paramatman are distinct entities. Shankara’s
statement “Jivo Brahamaiva na parah” indicates the non-duality of the two as does the
Mahavakya, ‘Tat tvam asi” .

Dev reply: The Self as an embodied self, or Jivatman, is no less real than the Self
without an embodiment. The Jivatman is NOT the embodiment, no more so than the
actor is the costume or the player the uniform. Even the embodiment itself (ego, mind,
body, etc.) is also real, though temporary, because its essence is Prakriti which is eternal.

Dev: According to your view (the neo-Vedantic view), “the ‘embodiment’ is an upadhi,
something projected by ignorance. . .”

Laksman: You’d better study up on your Vedanta, Dev. The upadhi idea is at least a
thousand years old, probably earlier. Modern Vedanta, Neo-Vedanta and Neo-Advaita
are recent ‘perversions’ of the pure Vedanta teachings. I only subscribe to statements
that are in harmony with common sense and reason, sruti, and my own experience.

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Dev response: There are a number of excerpts from the Vedanta Shastras at the end
of the email. Due to interpolations in the Smriti texts, as well as misinterpretations
of the Shruti texts, the true Vedanta and the meaning of Advaita have been
distorted.
…………

Dev: So, ignorance projects the embodiment, but whose ignorance is it, or how did come
about? If you say Ignorance arises from the eternally Wise (non-ignorant) Self, then your
understanding is flawed and unacceptable even to the ignorant. On the other hand, if you
accept that that there is absolutely no element of ignorance in the Self, and that the
embodiment is therefore not projected from the Self, then from where does it originate?
Ignorance originates from the union of Purush and Prakriti, which in turn results in the
projection (the Creation). Prakriti is the eternal substance of this eternally cyclic
creation. You are not this Creation, though this creation is you in the sense that you are
the creator; just as an artist is not the art, but the art is the artist, but only in the sense that
the art is the expression of the artist, because the artist is not the paint, the brush, or the
canvas (and neither are rocks, water, air, etc., Consciousness, though they are certainly
pervaded by consciousness.)

Laksman: Well, where ignorance comes from is not really to the point. In fact it has no
beginning. I merely said that if (this is the operative word in my statement) ignorance
exists and if (please note) this is a non-dual reality ignorance would have to come from
the Self. In fact the Self is limitless and if it couldn’t be ignorant it would be limited by its
inability to be (apparently) ignorant.

Dev response: Oh my God. . . I can hardly believe you would make such a
*#@&*&#& statement: "the Self is limitless and if it couldn’t be ignorant it would be
limited by its inability to be (apparently) ignorant." You are proving the
ridiculousness of neo-vedanta. Based on this, one (such as Baba Slave John) can
make the statement, "the Self is limitless and if it couldn't be perverted it would be
limited by its inability to be (apparently) perverted." Oh, but of course you (just
like all the other neo-vedantists) will be saved from their folly by use of the word
'apparently.' This is nothing but sophistry, plain and simple. Apparently child
molesters, rapists, and other cruel and vicious people are really just the Self
pretending to be something other than the Self. It is all just a nightmare, or some
illusion created by Maya. Well, since this Maya is the illusive power of the Self, I
guess this must all be some kind of black magic? That may be, but such things can
never be attributed to the Supreme Self, Who is Immaculate, Never Ignorant (not
even 'apparently'), and is Perfect Goodness (SHIVA), Perfect Bliss (SHAMBU), and
Perfect Well-Being (SHANKAR) and is the Bestower of all these perfections upon
the Soul.

Also, going back to the beginning of your paragraph, "where ignorance comes from
is not really to the point. In fact it has no beginning." Well, whatever has no

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beginning also has no end, so in that case your ignorance could have no end. Oh but
you use the all important 'IF' word, which I guess means you don't really believe
Ignorance ever really exists. Here is your mistake, because Ignorance does exists
(temporarily) as a result of the union of Purush and Prakriti and the manifestation
of the Creation. Ignorance exists cyclically, just as the Creation does. The error
with neo-vedanta is that it does not accept that the substance out of which this
Creation is created is REAL; but it is, and that real (eternal) substance is Prakriti.
Thus, Ignorance resolves back to the union of Purush and Prakriti and NOT back to
the Supreme Self (or even to the Self). The Supreme Self and the Self remain
untouched by Ignorance, but the Self is embodied in the Creation (through the
union of Purush and Prakriti) and appears as Jivatman (as you will surely agree,
there is no such thing as Paramjivatman). The Jivatman is not perfect; it is fallible.
The Jivatman is not all-knowing and will inevitably make mistakes (choices leading
to entanglements).
…..

Dev (from previous dialog): Whether ‘I know’ as Atman or as Jivatman, the Self that
must be known is the Supreme Self. As the Self approaches (by knowledge, by knowing)
the Ultimate Truth (the Supreme Self), the Self realizes (knows that to know itself) it
must go beyond itself; it must stop knowing and start experiencing. When this realization
matures, the Jivatman is awakened and experiences itself as Atman (the Self); that is, the
dream is over and the dreamer realizes that the dream of being in bondage was only a
dream and not real. The awakened self (enlightened Jiva) experiences (knows) itself as
Atman; or worded differently, the Self (Atman) knows (experiences) itself as the
enlightened Self. In this state of enlightenment or Self-Realization, the Self (as Pure
Consciousness) must realize its own Essence (the Supreme Self) to attain the highest
Consciousness, the Supreme Consciousness, the Absolute. However, having become
established in one’s own being (Self), the Self reveling in the sweetness of its own Pure
Consciousness, may remain in such a state for a very, very long time (many, many cycles
of the Creation), or not.

Laksman: Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me how you know this. Is it your
direct experience?

Dev reply: Yes, most certainly it is.

Laksman: It just goes to show that experience doesn’t necessarily result in true
knowledge.

Dev response: That’s true. But true knowledge doesn’t necessarily result in true
experience either. One may experience true love but have no true knowledge of it.
Likewise, one may have knowledge of True Love but never experience it.

Of course, though, you meant something else by your statement. Therefore, my


reply is that direct experience and true knowledge are synonymous, and if they are
not, then one neither has direct experience or true knowledge.

127
------------
Laksman (continuing from before): If you have read my articles on knowledge and
experience you can probably guess that I have a problem with this idea. I give you the
benefit of the doubt on the language issue but the statement ‘the Self may remain in such
a state for a very, very long time” doesn’t add up. Discounting the inappropriateness of
the word ‘state,’ the ‘state’ you are referring to is already the Self if this is a non dual
reality…which the sruti says it is. Since ‘states’ are not doers, nor is the Self a doer there
is actually no one to ‘ remain in’ anything. Finally, what would the purpose be of
‘remaining in this state for a long time’ since the Self is paramsukka, paramananda by
nature? Any benefit It would derive from remaining in this state it already has. I see this
idea as a rather silly fantasy cooked up by doers with spiritual vasanas who don’t
understand that they are the Self. The way out of this predicament is to seek jnanam in
line with scripture since the problem of seeking is a problem born of ignorance.

Dev reply: The fundamental disconnect between your understanding and mine is this: we
have two completely different grasps of Advaita. You have understood Vedanta and
Advaita based on the knowledge propounded by your lineage of teachers, which could
possibly be traced all the way back to Shankaracharya. No doubt you have not merely
accepted their knowledge blindly but have spent many years in deep reflection and self-
inquiry, and have arrived at a firm conviction in the efficacy of that knowledge.

Laksmanji, my wisdom comes from direct experience of Sruti and is backed up by


tradition, having for its authority the wisdom of the saints and sages since times
immemorial.

The Vedic tradition was practically lost after the Mahabharat war 5000 years ago. This is
certainly evidenced by the deplorable conditions that prevailed subsequent to that time.
In the last 4000 years many various religions and philosophies have sprung up and seen
their heyday, but the perennial Wisdom itself (embodied by the Vedas) has never
changed. Shankarcharya expounded his particular interpretation of Vedanta in order to
refute the Jains and Buddhists (particularly Jainism) which had become entrenched in the
Indian society of his day. You could research these matters for yourself if you are so
inclined, but honestly I am not. It matters little to me what Shankacharya’s intentions
were or what has become of his teachings. I am not a man of letters. I am a learned man
only in the sense that I have learned the lessons of my life’s experiences and continue to
do so.

Laksman: The problem here is that you seem to see Vedanta as a belief system or a
philosophy or a school of thought. It is a pramana, a means of Self knowledge for which
no beliefs are required. It is a throwaway. This is how Shankara and Ramanauja and
countless masters used it. It was only pundits and intellectuals that made it into the
various Vedanta schools. It doesn’t matter what teachings are used as long as they
remove a person’s ignorance about jiva, jagat or Ishwara. I use Yoga teachings too as
an integral part of my teaching because on the level of the mind they are very useful.

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Dev response: The problem with Vedanta as you (and others use it) is that it DOES
NOT remove a person’s ignorance about jiva, jagat or Ishwara. Instead, it tries to
substantiate that the three are ONE and only ONE, whereas in fact they are distinct
but inseparable (and therefore ONE). Refer to the excerpt about Neo-vedanta at the
end of this email.
……

Dev: Based on my experience, self study (self-inquiry) and the knowledge I have gleaned
from the Vedas and teachings of Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati, there are three eternal
noumena: (1) the Supreme Self, GOD, who is One Without a Second; (2) the
innumerable Souls; and (3) Prakriti. The Supreme Self is SatChitAnand, that is, the
Supreme Self is eternally existent, eternally Conscious, and eternally Blissful. The Soul is
eternally existent and eternally conscious. Prakriti is eternally existent. Prakriti is
pervaded by both the Supreme Self and the innumerable souls. The innumerable souls are
pervaded by the Supreme Soul, Paramatman.

The Supreme Self is indeed Paramanand (Supreme Bliss) by its very own nature; we (the
innumerable souls) are blissful on account of our proximity to the Supreme Self. The
‘proximity’ or closeness is already established by virtue of the relationship of the
Pervader to the Pervaded, however this ‘closeness’ is manifest or unmanifest based on the
soul’s relationship with Prakriti. The ‘relationship’ is the Drama, the Sport, the Lila. In
other words, the soul is blissful (or not) depending on whether or not it has attained
enlightenment, which means simply that it has purified the mind with wisdom to such an
extent that it perceives (through the medium of the mind) its own reflection or nature as
Pure Consciousness. This ‘knowing’ one’s Self by the Self through the mind is the lower
Samadhi. When the Self knows the Self by the Self alone (without the mind) this is the
higher Samadhi. Both of these are ‘states’ or conditions because one depends on the
presence of the mind and the other its absence. One whose Samadhi is firm is
enlightened, but this is not the end of it. Beyond this is Kaivalya, wherein the Self is
isolated from all states of Prakriti. Isolated from all phases of Prakriti and completely free
of Ignorance, the Self is united with the Supreme Self, its own Essence, and this union or
YOGA is the direct experience of Supreme Bliss, and this state is called MOKSHA. As
you say, something that is a ‘state’ or ‘experience’ is subject to change. So, is MOKSHA
subject to change? Certainly it is, why not? It is the nature of the Self to embody itself
and play the Drama of Life. Of course, when one is Liberated, one is totally free to be
embodied or not, and is under absolutely no compulsion whatsoever either way. [Instead
of just rejecting this idea, please carefully consider it. There is no harm in it. There is
nothing to lose but your own ego; and if you don’t have an ego then there really is
nothing to lose. Believe it or not, I say this with all humility.]

You contend that the Self is always blissful, but this is contrary to everyone’s experience.
On the other hand, when you realize that your own Essence (the Self of the Self, the Soul
of your Soul) is indeed ever blissful, then you truly know that Bliss, which means your
knowledge is experiential, otherwise it is only intellectual. You can say what you want
(for example, that you are GOD), but it does not make it so except in your own
imagination or intellect. GOD (the Supreme Self) is NEVER annoyed or agitated, never

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subject to pain and pleasure, birth and death, ignorance and enlightenment. But I am, and
so are you, and so is everyone else. Why fight your own real nature and pretend to be
GOD? It is only one’s own ignorance that causes one to misunderstand. Ignorance is
removed with the Wisdom of Consciousness.

Laksman: There is no way we can resolve this discussion, Dev. With every paragraph a
new argument develops. I’m happy to let you revel in your ignorance. Are you happy to
let me revel in mine?

Dev response: I am happy to perceive ignorance for what is, and realize that it has
both a beginning and an end. You are apparently happy to assert that apparent
ignorance has no beginning or end because this apparent ignorance is your own
apparent creation, and the fact that you can be apparently ignorant and apparently
remove it with apparent knowledge is apparently supposed to prove that you are
Unlimited Consciousness; and this is apparently supposed to make apparent sense
which it DEFINITELY does NOT.

Laksman (continuing): Do you notice the attacks you’re making? Your knowledge is
‘experiential’ mine is ‘intellectual.” And another, “My guru and lineage is superior to
yours.” What are you getting out of this, Dev? Does it make you happy to think that you
have the ‘right’ views and I have heretical views? What is the payoff? Do you just like
to argue? If you really believe that I’m so deluded why not look for an easier convert?
And let’s say I capitulate? Then what? Will you feel very proud that you humbled the
great Vedanta master with the big non-dual website? You have to give me more than
opinions, Dev. I’m not a fool.

Dev response: Again, Laksmanji, this really sounds like one gasping for breath. I
am not putting any squeeze on you. I am speaking the Truth and there is no payoff
for good work (action) other than good work itself. I do not believe you are deluded
and even if I did I certainly would feel no compulsion to enlighten you. We are
simply having a lively dialog here, exchanging our views. This is something neither
of us planned or expected, it has simply evolved into what it is, an unprovoked
debate on Truth. If it is not for our own benefit, then perhaps it will be for the
benefit of others.
………

Dev: Neo-vedantists ignore the significance of this Lila and try to brush it away by
saying it is all Maya. This Maya is nothing but the inherent power (artistic power, if you
will) of the Self (both the Supreme Self and the innumerable souls). Krishna refers to it
as his Yogmaya, and it is through this power that the illusion of the union of the Self (in
the form of Purush) with Prakriti is established. Being eternally pervaded by Atman, the
two (Purush and Prakriti) are inseparable, so the uniting of the two can only be of the
nature of an illusion, and the premise that this ‘union’ is real is nothing but Ignorance
(Avidya).

Laksman: I agree. But I’m not a Neo-Vedantist. I’m not any kind of ‘ist’ or do I believe

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in any kind of ‘ism,’ non-dualism included. You tarred me with the wrong brush.

Dev response: Well, if you read the excerpt on Neo-vedanta at the end of this
document you will see that you certainly are a neo-vedantist according to the
writer’s definition.

………..

Laksman: (from the previous email) “I see this idea as a rather silly fantasy cooked up by
doers with spiritual vasanas who don’t understand that they are the Self. The way out of
this predicament is to seek jnanam in line with scripture since the problem of seeking is a
problem born of ignorance.”

Dev: Well, sir, it is understandable that you would see it this way based on your
interpretation of the scriptures. But leaving the scriptures out of it, the fact is that we are
having this written conversation, because we are human beings, and no matter how much
we know or think we know, we will never know everything. This is why the Self
continues to make inquiry, i.e., continues to seek to expand its understanding (seek
jnanam). When our understanding is truly complete and full, we will be truly liberated
souls. We can never be free merely by ignoring our shackles (in this case, the rusty chains
of orthodoxy in the form of neo-vedanta).

Laksman: I’m not engaging in the conversation to expand my Self understanding. I just
like people and am curious how they think and why…more or less as a pastime…so I
thought I would dig around in your brain a bit and see what I could see. From this
paragraph I can see why you have a hard time accepting that I am free, whole and
complete and seeking nothing. What is the reason for this…because you aren’t? Let me
ask you this: how will you know when you are free if freedom is your nature and you
can’t appreciate it here and now?

Dev response: I am free. I am complete. I am full. This ‘completeness’ is boundless.


This fullness has no circumference or dimension. Consciousness is not
circumscribed by time or place. Understanding this is not the same as realizing this.
Realizing this is the same as experiencing this. This realization, this experience, is.

I love (my wife, my son, my daughter, my guru, all). I don’t have to explain it. I
know. I experience. It is. I don’t have to know or experience this. I am this. There is
nothing to figure out. There is nothing to expect. This love is.

Is there more than this? There is, there is no end to this.

I am that what knows this. I am this that knows that. What is this and what is that?

That is the Supreme and this is the Self.

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When the Self is the Self Alone the Supreme Self is Known, or so it seems. Really,
the Supreme Self is never known because the Supreme Self is Limitless All-Blissful
Consciousness, and the knowing of That can never reach a limit because That is
Limitless.

The Self is the knower of the Self. Knowing one’s Self one realizes the Supreme Self
when one chooses the Supreme.
-------------

Dev (from previous dialog): To attain the Highest State of Being, the same state Lord
Krishna refers to as ‘My state’, or ‘Myself’, or ‘My Abode,’ and which the above mantra
calls out with ‘Paramam Padam Sada,’ one must make the ultimate Yajna and offer one’s
own Self into the Self (Supreme Self). There is nothing left to know or experience then
(that is, until the next time, some 311 trillion years hence, according to some).

Laksman: “Na karmana, na prajayaa, dananenaa…” etc. You cannot ‘make’ any
sacrifice, ultimate or not, to attain the Self. Why? Because you already are the Self.
You can only ‘attain’ what you already are by jnanam.

Dev reply: Yes, but the Self that YOU are is NOT the Supreme Self. You are not GOD,
you never were, and you never will be. Why do you have a need to be GOD? This need
is created only because it is necessary in order to validate the neo-vedantic interpretation
of Advaita. Once you understand Advaita in its true sense, you will also easily grasp the
meaning of ‘action in inaction and inaction in action.’

Laksman: There is no need to be the Self (I explained the God idea above) because I am
the Self. I wouldn’t want to be God even it were possible.

………

Laksman: (from previous email) An action may get you something that you don’t have
but it will not produce the Self in the form of enlightenment.

Dev: The state of Ignorance was produced by the union of Purush and Prakriti. That
which produces the union is known as Yogmaya because this union is an illusory union.
The producing of the union is an action yet it is not an action: it is not an action because
the union is never really produced since Purush and Prakriti are inseparable (i.e., Atman
ever pervades Prakriti). The union of Purush and Prakriti is the commencement of
Avidya, from which the entire Creation is produced. This illusory union is finally
dissolved when the Self sacrifices its own Self into the Self (Supreme Self) by means of
the Highest Knowledge (Brahma Vidya). Then the final state of Enlightenment (the
removal of Ignorance) is attained (produced).

Laksman (continuing): The ‘tenth man’ teaching is meant to illustrate this fact. So this
‘offering’ is just the letting go of the belief that you are anything but the Self or that the

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Self can be experienced at some later date. The statement about ignorance returning after
311 trillion years is so stupid I can only laugh. Ignorance can return after a split second if
the knowledge is not firm.

Dev: So, you say it “is just the letting go of the belief that you are anything but the
Self…” Is this ‘letting go’ not an action? Who is ‘letting go?’ The Supreme Self (GOD)
lets go of nothing because the Supreme Self is never ignorant, not even seemingly
ignorant. It is only you and I who are apparently ignorant, and this appearance is created
by Yogmaya. Whose Yogmaya? It is our own Yogmaya. Each and every one of us has
stepped on to the field, put on our uniforms, and is playing this Game by our own free
choice. It is not the choice of the Supreme Self, and neither is it the command of the
Supreme Self that we should do so, it is totally our own free choice as immortal beings.
Naturally (prakritically), once we start playing the Game we do get caught up in it, and
our actions produce reactions due to our ignorance, and we remain stuck in this karmic
cycle until our ignorance is removed with the Wisdom of Consciousness.

Laksman: You want to split hairs? OK. Letting go is an action. You seem to be all in
favour of action so why don’t you let go of your Yogamaya instead of wasting your time
tying to convince me to let go of mine? You don’t seem to understand the appeal of
delusion, Dev.

……………….

Dev: Regarding the ‘311 trillion years’ thing, as I said, that is ‘according to some.’
Though I may not subscribe to the time frame, you can see from my writings that I have
absolutely no problem with calling Moksha a ‘state,’ and it is clear to me that the
liberated Self can certainly play the Game of Life again if and whenever it chooses to do
so.

Laksman: You have to remember that while the Gita has the status of an Upanishad it is a
Pauranic text and like the Upanishads from which it gets its ideas contains both the
language of experience (yoga) and the language of identity (Vedanta). Unfortunately it
does not explain the contradiction between these two languages and the purpose of each
so that seekers can become confused and imagine that enlightenment is some sort of
experience.

The Pauranas personify the Self because it is for people whose intellects are extroverted.
This is why the hero is Arjuna, a rajasic person with an unsophisticated emotional mind.
But the downside of this approach is that an undiscriminating mind can take the whole
story literally. The Gita understands this and tries to get around this by positing a
‘Supreme Person’ but again this is possible to misunderstand. In the fifteenth chapter it
first establishes two ‘selves’ the askshara purusha and the kshara purusha for the
purposes of discrimination. Then it introduces the ‘Supreme Person.’ This Supreme
Person (uttamapurusha) is not a person. Person is a symbol that has a certain affinity
with what it is meant to symbolize but like all symbols it is not meant to be taken
literally. The ‘Supreme Person’ is just Chaitanya, Awareness. Why is it ‘supreme?’

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Because it is the Awareness of both change and changelessness which are represented as
‘purushas.’ Both change and changelessness are apparent realities known by virtue of
non-dual Awareness… if you want a straightforward scientific no-bullshit statement of
fact. ‘Supreme’ is an unfortunate dualistic word that gives the impression of two or more
selves. In fact there is only one Self. If there is only one Self the appearance of two or
more selves is just that…an appearance. But if you can’t see that then you end up
worshipping the Supreme Person as somebody other than you who can give you what in
your spiritual emptiness you want…or think you want… or you end up striving to
experience this ‘supreme person’ in the form of some sort of ‘high state’ of consciousness
like nirvikalpa samadhi that you believe you can make permanent or you find yourself
hoping for some kind of personal darshan of this supreme being all dressed up in silks
with the great Kasthuba gem on his chest and his thousand arms waving in the breeze like
the tentacles of a sea anemone. The joke here is that you are always experiencing the
Self but because the mind is gross and extroverted and doesn’t know what the Self is you
believe that you are not so you turn yourself into an object and try to ‘get it.’ It’s a big
frustration, actually. And the culprit? Language confusion. This is why traditional
Vedanta places such an importance on a guru with scriptural knowledge. He or she can
elucidate the language problem and save the seeker the inevitable difficulties that come
when you don’t understand the way words work.

Dev reply: The Gita’s discussion of the Akshara, Kshara, and Uttama purushas clearly
establishes the threefold nature of Reality: Prakriti, Atman, and Paramatman: Nature, the
Self, and the Supreme Self. You can give it any interpretation you like. Frankly, I much
prefer your interpretation to that of the Vaishnavists and other Sanatanists.

Laksman: My point is that these three ‘selves’ are only one Self appearing as three.

-----

Dev (from previous dialog): Continuing now with your reply: “A third doubt that your
statement brings up is this: in my experience there is no ‘person’ to be clear or not clear
about anything.” I think we have addressed this and hopefully clarified that, indeed, there
is no ‘person’ to be clear or not clear about anything because a ‘person’ is really only a
mental formulation and is not (in and of itself) the living Self (Jivatman).

Laksman: If there is no person to be clear, then there is no person to attain the ‘highest
state.’ If you say the Self is going to attain something, you have the problem of doership
because the sruti clearly states that the Self is not a doer. It is ‘already accomplished.’ It
is already every state than can be attained so it will not set out to attain anything.
Presenting the Self in this way is helpful for doers with gross intellects who have spiritual
vasanas because it channels their prodigious energy into sadhana which will eventually
sattvasize their minds and make inquiry possible. Unfortunately, when the mind gets
sattvic there are still unhelpful spiritual impressions concerning the nature of the Self and
the way to attain it which need to be examined and discarded in light of non-dual

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teachings.

Dev reply: A ‘person’ is a fictional character created in the mind via the agency of ego.
It is not the ‘person’ that needs to be clear, rather the ‘person’ needs to be cleared out of
the mind altogether; meaning, one need to completely abandon this idea that one is a
‘person.’ ‘Abandoning the idea’ means dropping one’s attachment to it. In other words,
one has to drop one’s attachment to one’s own self.

Laksman: So the ‘person’ that you say I am is in your mind, right? On one hand you say
I’m Atma and on the other I’m a person. Which is it? If I’m real I can’t be two things. I
can appear to be two things…but that is all. Your teachings are a little confusing. Tell
me what I should believe.

Dev response: My point is that we (the human race) spend so much time in our
personality that we never realize our real nature, which is not the nature of a
‘person’ but the nature of the Self (Atman). The idea that we are a ‘person’ is (an
idea) in the mind. We are attached to this idea by means of our ego (false
identification). It’s okay to have a personality; the only problem is our attachment
to ourselves as ‘persons.’ This attachment to this idea is weakened when the mind is
inundated with wisdom (the knowledge of the Self). Through the practical
application of this wisdom the attachment (the false identification, ego) is broken,
i.e., removed from the mind.
……….

Dev: The living Self (Jivatman) removes the ego from the mind, resulting in
Enlightenment. Now, the Jivatman stands clear (of ego, mind, body, etc.), but this is not
the final state of Kaivalya. However, this Enlightenment (as well as Kaivalya) are NOT
sattvic states of mind. The ‘sattvasization’ of the mind is certainly necessary for the
accomplished (adept) achievement of Savikalpa Samadhi, but the seedless Samadhi
(Nirbija Samadhi, the final stage in Nirvikalpa Samadhi) is only brought about when the
mind is purified of all desires, including the desire to be desireless.

Laksman: Is what’s bothering you about my presentation of Vedanta the idea that Yoga
is for purification of the mind and not for moksha? Do you feel that the great tradition of
Yoga is receiving a slight and you want to defend it? Sometimes yogis do get
moksha…when they give up the doer and make an inquiry.

Dev response: No one can sincerely practice Yoga without practicing Swadhaya
(Self-study, i.e., self-inquiry), and also giving up one’s ego, which means dropping
this idea that ‘I’ am the doer (Aham-I, Kara-do, i.e., ahamkara, ‘I the doer’).
…………

Dev: In the state of Kaivalya (Moksha), both Nature (Prakriti) and the Jiva return to their
primordial states (which are unmanifest Prakriti and Purush, respectively). Still, an
extremely fine veil of Ignorance remains until the Self (as Purush, technically the subtlest
state of Jivatman) disappears and all that remains is the Self absorbed in the Self

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(Supreme Self), and this is called the Highest State. It is a ‘state’ because the Self can
choose again to manifest as Purush and ‘unite’ with Prakriti during the process of
Creation. Regardless whether or not the Liberated Soul chooses to ‘act’ again in the
Drama of Creation, the Drama of Life (Creation) will go on (“the show must go on”).
This Show has always been going on since Eternity and will continue for Eternity, with
intermissions marked by Mahapralya. Just because someone attains Liberation doesn’t
mean everyone else simultaneously attains it. Definitely not. Each and every one of us is
an immortal Soul, whole, complete, and indivisible, uncreated and indestructible. There is
nothing that can change that. We can neither become more or less than that. However, we
can certainly hide behind the veil of Ignorance and attend this fantastic masquerade party
of Existence if we so choose to.

Laksman: I’m very familiar with these views, Dev. The problem as far as a discussion
goes is that we would have to agree on the meaning of each of these ideas so we could
actually have a proper discussion. And this is not going to happen. You’re convinced
that you’re right and I’m wrong.

Dev reply: Laksmanji, I am convinced that there is a common body of knowledge (the
Vedas) by which one’s experiences can be evaluated and the correctness (or not) of one’s
views can be established.

The problem with this kind of rightness is that it is not self-satisfying. It always needs to
justify itself by inflicting itself on others. You want to convince me of this for some
personal reason even though I did not solicit your opinion.

Dev response: For some reason you think I am trying to force something on you,
which is just not the case. Of course I am forthright in my presentation, even as you
are. Neither of us is wishy-washy, and neither of us is a wannabe guru or self-styled
savior of the human race. We are both equally convinced of our position regarding
the matters under discussion, and personally, I think this makes for a worthwhile
test of the depth of our own understanding.

I made a mistake. I went against one of my rules…which was not to offer opinions to
strangers. You took advantage of my good will so you could let me know that you are
more enlightened than I am. You buttered me up with a lot of nice praise and then when
you felt you had my attention you started in with your “I know more and better than
you” program.

Dev response: Brother, I did not take advantage of your good will; on the contrary,
it was only your ‘good will’ (meaning I perceived you as a real human being and not
a phony), that prompted me to initiate this dialog for the purpose of receiving your
valued opinion regarding the blog. That is all. Whatever has followed has been a
natural outcome of that, and for no selfish reasons whatsoever.

If I’d stuck with my rules this would not have happened. It’s OK. I’ll make the best of it.
But I use that site to help sincere people who want to know who they are. It is not

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intended for great cyber cop jnanis like you. I wouldn’t try to teach you anything if you
asked…you’re a good honest man but you are pig headed.

Dev response: No, my friend, I am not pig headed, maybe elephant headed.

There are a lot of people who can benefit from my understanding, no matter how deluded
you think I am. There are five people who are undertaking the expense and trouble of a
trip to India to come and discuss the Self and their sadhana this winter season, plus many
people who are already here who come to visit me so it is better to spend my time
working with them than butting heads with you.

If you really want to open up I’d be happy to know how in your mind this discussion with
me could resolve itself to your complete satisfaction. Do you want me to break down and
weep and grasp the hem of your holy garment and ask for forgiveness for my errant
beliefs? Should I post a sign on the website to go to your site because that’s where the
really true teachings are hiding? What will it take to make you happy? Criticizing people
is a very nasty habit. I know, you think I’m just being defensive and you can’t understand
it. Perhaps it seems normal to you to hold the high ground and rain down the truth on
others but I tell you Dev, people who put themselves up make very tempting targets.

Dev response: Regretfully you misread me. If we ever meet directly, any perceived
misunderstandings will soon vanish.
--------

Dev (from previous dialog): Enlightenment is for souls embodied as human beings. As a
human being, we have countless samskaras and associated vasanas from many, many
incarnations (in both animal and human forms). The sattvic, rajasic and tamasic qualities
of our actions, impressions, tendencies and thoughts, affect our perception (the perception
of the embodied soul) and can either help or hinder whether or not we (human beings)
attain enlightenment. Initially, a human being learns to be selective and make careful
choices because they want to avoid pain and suffering in their life. Eventually, they begin
to yearn for Self-knowledge; they want to know who they are, what they are, and why
they are here; in other words, they long for Enlightenment.

Laksman: I agree. The only question is ‘What is enlightenment?’ And you and I have
very different views on this. I’m certainly not going to accept your view and I’m sure
you will not accept mine so it seems the discussion on this topic is finished.

Dev reply: My view is experiential. It should be obvious (self-evident) to each of us that


we are NOT All-powerful (omnipotent), All-knowing (omniscient), and Everywhere
Present (omnipresent). What is not so obvious (and requires wisdom to know) is that our
consciousness pervades the entire Universe (and beyond) because as Atman we
completely pervade Prakriti.

Laksman: This whole argument depends on the meaning of the word God. You don’t
seem to be familiar with the view I expressed above that God is a concept. Actually I’m

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sure we are much closer on many of these doctrinal points than it appears but I haven’t
the inclination to go through your whole presentation and try to resolve the
contradictions, not that you asked. Again, I didn’t say I was God. I said I was the Self.
It’s a big difference. God is the Self but the Self is not God.

As far as enlightenment is concerned, the relative meaning of experience and knowledge


and enlightenment are all carefully unfolded in many of my satsangs. From the way you
made this statement I can see that you do not understand my views.

Dev response: I understand your views very well, I do not however agree with all of
them.
…………

Dev: The existence of the Supreme Self is initially evident by way of inference only. For
example, we perceive this vast, intelligently designed Universe and naturally infer there
must have been a Designer behind the design, a Supreme Being possessing the
Intelligence and power to create this vast Universe (none of us is that intelligent or
powerful). It requires both wisdom and devotion (really they are inseparable) to actually
know (realize) that our essence (the essence of Atman) is the Supreme Self
(Paramatman), and that our Essence pervades everything (Prakriti) and every one (every
Soul).

Laksman: I understand Ishwara sristi and jiva sristi. This is a reasonable presentation of
the teachings.

………….

Dev: Each of us is unique, eternal, uncreated, immortal. Even though we share the same
cosmic body (the Universe) and same subtle body (Prakriti), and same Soul (Supreme
Self), we remain distinct from one another. Realizing this makes us responsible for our
own actions in this world (Creation), and also makes us realize that no one can really
change anyone (nor is there any desire to do so: that is, there is no desire of Atman to do
so, though that desire may certainly arise in the ego-driven mind).

Laksman: Then what is this desire in to change me or to get me to want to change me?
You say you’re Atman. But it won’t be the Atman who wants me to change or you to
evolve…so it must be some desire in your ego-driven mind. You say I’m uncreated. How
is something that is uncreated going to change? Think about it.

Dev response: I am saying that if anyone has the desire to change someone else, that
desire is certainly born of ego and not the Self. The Self as Jivatman desires to know
the Self and realize its Essence (the Supreme Self). The Self itself is uncreated but
creates itself (expresses itself) in the form of Jivatman. It is the Jivatman that
evolves, not the Self. However, keep in mind that the Jivatman is not unreal or
imaginary, nor more so than the player on the field or the actor on the stage are
unreal or imaginary. Only the identity is not the real identity but is an assumed one.

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In other words, just because someone (ATMAN) puts on a uniform a goes on to the
field to play football doesn’t mean that someone (Jivatman) is not real. Even the
uniform is real and so is the field (for example, PRAKRITI is real).
-----

Dev (from previous dialog): You have written: “If someone asked me what
enlightenment was I would say there was one Self with apparent knowledge or ignorance
(of itself) and you are that Self, not a person who knows that he or she is the Self.” Then,
according to you, the Self, who we both know is not a person, possesses both apparent
knowledge and apparent ignorance of itself. The question then arises: where does the
Self ‘possess’ this ‘apparent’ knowledge and ‘apparent’ ignorance of itself? If you say
this knowledge and ignorance are inherent in the Self, then this would lead us to conclude
that the All-knowing, Never-ignorant Self, whose nature is eternal and unchangeable,
inherently possesses knowledge and ignorance which are not really real but only
apparent. In this case, the Self would always possess apparent knowledge and apparent
ignorance and enlightenment would be out of the question. I know of no scripture that
would substantiate the statement: the All-knowing Self (and indeed, the Supreme Self,
since you make no distinction) possesses apparent knowledge and ignorance of Itself. It
is pretty much universally accepted that GOD is never ignorant (unlike us), and not even
apparently ignorant.

Laksman: This is good reasoning, Dev. The key word in my statement is apparent.
Apparent means that it seems to exist but it doesn’t actually exist. So this means that the
Self is actually free of knowledge and ignorance… which is what you are arguing. In any
case the point of that statement is that you are the Self and not a person. If you think you
are a person, as you seem to, you are assuming a limited identity. When you feel limited
you strive for freedom from limitation. A limited identity is a problem because how do
you get from a limited identity to a limitless identity? You can’t do it through action
(sadhanas) because no amount of finite actions will ever add up to limitlessness. You can
only see that you made a mistake by thinking of yourself in a limited way and drop the
thought.

Dev reply: It should be clear to you now that I have no problem with assuming an
identity, just as I have no problem assuming a role to play in a drama, or putting on a
uniform and playing the game according to the rules. My true identity is never lost,
therefore it is never really gained either, but in the context of this Life (the Game) I
assume an identity as a human being and attain enlightenment. Ultimately, I become
liberated in the state of Moksha. This does not mean that the unreal becomes real,
because that would be impossible, just as it is impossible for the Real to become unreal,
or the immortal mortal, or the indivisible divisible.

Laksman: Good luck with the moksha business. I say you are already liberated but you
seem to have no confidence in it. I suspect this is why you prefer to put it off to a later
date. This shows that moksha is just a belief for you. Moksha is the nature of the Self,
not some experience that you will attain one day. If you are the Self as you say, see if it

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isn’t true that you are free…here and now.

Dev response: Yes, Moksha is the nature of the Self. Moksha (Liberation) only
exists in relation to bondage. Thus, clearly both Liberation and Bondage are the
nature of the Self, meaning that it is the nature of the Self to manifest as Jivatman
and ultimately attain Moksha. You cannot win the Game without playing it; the Self
cannot know Liberation without freeing itself (as Jivatman, the player on the Field)
from bondage.
……….

Laksman: (from the previous email) How does one get from a limited identity to a
limitless identity?

Dev: It is a process. That process is sometimes called ‘spiritual growth,’ it has also been
called sadhana. Part (but not all, and NOT the final part) of sadhana is realizing that you
made a mistake by thinking of yourself in a limited way, and taking the action (in the
form of self-study, devotion, etc.) to drop the thought. [The italicized words are your
own.]

Laksman: It may seem like a process but you don’t get from a limited identity to a
limitless identity for the same reason that it is impossible for the real to become unreal,
the mortal immortal, etc. At some time during the ‘process’ you either realize that you
are limitless by nature or you don’t. If you don’t, you keep the view that there is more
and that you need to keep evolving. This means that you see yourself as finite and
limited. What is finite will never become infinite.

Dev response: I agree with everything in this paragraph. Our disagreement is in


this: for whom does it seem like a process, and who is it at some time during the
‘process’ either realizes that one is limitless by nature or doesn’t realize it? That one,
my friend, is the Self, that one is you and I and everyone else. That one is not the
Supreme Self Who is One Without a Second.

-------

Dev (from previous dialog): On the other hand, if we reveal to the seeker the knowledge
that the mind, body, etc., are the seeker’s own instruments of knowledge, which, if wisely
employed will enable the seeker to discover (uncover) their own true Self, the seeker
might then inquire: ‘Who am I’ who possess this mind and body; why do I not know my
own self; how did I forget my real nature, and how can I realize who and what I really
am?

Laksman: Yes, that’s fine. But the jury is not out on the question of Who am I? It is
well known. If someone doesn’t know it then a valid means of knowledge is necessary,
quite apart from the ‘seeker’s own instruments’ which will not reveal the truth on their
own. If they were constructed to reveal the truth nobody would have a doubt about who
they were in the first place. The fact is that ‘the seekers own instruments’ are very

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limited and turned in the wrong direction. To turn them around you need work, i.e.
Yoga. And to help them understand a valid pramana like Vedanta is needed.

Dev reply: ‘The jury is not out?’ I think this is backwards because the jury is certainly
out, i.e., people have NOT made up their mind as to the answer to the question ‘Who am
I.’ (Perhaps this was a typo on your part?) People DO NOT know the Self due to their
ignorance which is reinforced by their actions. The ‘seeker’s own instruments’ are
certainly incapable of revealing the truth on their own, as you have rightly stated. I agree
with this paragraph but would add that Pramana too is a mental activity (as described by
Patanjali), that is, it is one of the modifications of the mind. When one’s Pramana is truly
Vedantic, it leads ultimately to mental balance and the total equilibrium of the GUNAS,
thus resulting in the direct experience of the Self. When this direct experience (in the
form of Samadhi) is repeated again and again, it eventually becomes the nature of the
mind to be so naturally still that the reflection of the Self in that mind is extremely clear
and focused. That mind becomes fit for liberation; which means the mind (in this case,
the Antarkarana Chatushtaya) becomes a fit instrument of the Jiva to realize (by means of
divine Wisdom) the true nature of (1) itself, (2) the Self, and (3) ultimately the Essence
of the Self, the Supreme Self.

Laksman: Any fool who has read the sruti or has had a few non-dual epiphanies knows
the answer, Dev. True, the average samsari doesn’t know.

------------

Laksman: (from the previous email) If someone sincerely asked me who I was I would
not say that I was a person who attained enlightenment. I would say that I appear to be a
person because I have a very convincing person act but that the person I once thought I
was, the one that seems to be there from the outside, is long gone.

Dev reply (from previous dialog): No doubt the person you were is long gone, since that
person is changing every second and is never the same. But is the ‘person’ part of you
really gone? No, you are still a person, but you are so much more than just that. You
still have ego, but you are so much more than that. You are the living Self (Jivatman)
and one day you may become a Jivamukta, or if you attain your liberation after the death
of the body, you might one day become a Videhamukta. But in any case, right now you
are still an embodied soul.

Laksman: When I say I am not a person I mean the person is me but I am not the person.
All bodies are in me; I am not in them. All persons are in me. I am not in them. You are
incorrect when you say I will ‘become a Jivanmukta.” I will not ‘become’ anything,
Dev. I am already everything that is. If you want to imagine some kind of future ‘state’
or condition when you will be free that’s fine with me. And if you want to project it on
me, it up to you. But I’m sorry to say this statement does not apply to me.

Dev reply: Okay Laksmanji, understanding this paragraph in light of the knowledge that
the ATMAN (our own Self) is all-pervading, meaning it completely pervades

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PRAKRITI, and therefore everything evolved from Prakriti can be said to be pervaded by
ATMAN. However, for this to work one must realize that the material universe (which
includes the subtle substances like the mind, intellect, ego, etc.) is not the Self, nor is it
projected from the Self, but is projected by the Self through the medium of the eternal,
indestructible PRAKRTI. If you embrace the neo-vedantic view of Advaita and assert
that only the Self exists then you cannot accept this, hence, you will have to assert that
Prakriti is unreal and that the Supreme Self (sense you don’t accept the existence of any
other Self) is the author of Ignorance; in other words, according to this view Ignorance
must emanate from the Supreme Being who is eternally All-knowing. The neo-vedantic
view is irrational and unacceptable, and just not true.

Laksman: Prakriti’s unreal if you know the Self. Or it is known as the Self in action, in
form. If you are a jiva in Maya prakriti is quite real for you. There are two problems
with this discussion. One is that we are using very different terminology and two you
seem to insist that I be an incomplete limited being who is not free for it to take
place…even though I do not see it that way. This allows you to guru me. But I had my
guru and he did his job very well, thank you. It is not a job that needs to be done again
no matter what you think.

By now it must be so obvious to you that I’m a lost cause. I’m so deluded that I’m never
going to assimilate the truth according to Dev. Wouldn’t you be better off looking for a
more willing victim?

Dev response: Prakriti is eternal, beginingless, endless. If one really knows the Self
one knows this, and this is surely substantiated by the Sruti.
-----------

Laksman: (from the previous email) How can you possibly know what is true for me?
You obviously do not accept my words because they contradict your beliefs. Mind you I
don’t care if you accept my words.

Dev reply: Now it would seem you are reacting and going on the defensive. I can know
what is true for you if I know what is true for me, if the essence of you and me is the
same, which it is. I do not accept your words (some of the things you say) because they
are not in consonance with divine Wisdom or even simple logic. They do not contradict
my beliefs because we are not talking about ‘belief systems’ here. I love it when
something I hear contradicts my beliefs, because that spurs me to look deeper. On the
other hand, my convictions are based on the principles of Consciousness, and those
principles are the basis of my character. If I have true integrity (which I do), I will hold
firm to my principles and gladly let go of my images.

Laksman: I admit that I’m not trying to learn anything from you, Dev. I’m trying to
learn about you, however. You’re a rare and peculiar specimen in my world, a strange
exotic duality bird that just flew in the window. I can honestly say I haven’t seen one
quite like you for a long time.

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And I don’t think you are trying to learn anything from me either. I think you want to
teach me something. Even the idea that I’m defensive is an attempt to teach me. I’m not
defensive (your word ‘seem’ is correct) but even if I was what’s wrong with defensive?
It’s not ‘spiritual’ enough for you? This seems to me to be another one of your put-
downs.

Dev response: This Atman has no desire whatsoever to ‘put down’ anyone. My life is
all about raising consciousness. You may be defensive or not, it is not my concern.
Neither am I ‘defending the truth’ which surely needs no defending. I am learning
from you, and your mistakes, even as I am learning from my own.
……………

Laksman: (from the previous email) Remember, I did not initiate this discussion. I did
not ask for your opinion but you seemed to want to discuss with me so I offered my
experience/knowledge in good faith.

Dev reply: Yes, I did initiate this discussion by asking you for your opinion about the
MastersofDeception blog. You might be interested in knowing how this came about. Just
after creating the blog I did a google search on . . . Our discussion has evolved into a
dialog about other things not strictly having to do with the blog, and I have welcomed
this dialog though neither you nor I sought it. It is what it is, and it has been useful if for
no other reason than the Wisdom it has revealed.

Laksman: I’m glad it has revealed some wisdom for you. For me the revelations are yet
to come.

………..

Laksman: (from the previous email) For this discussion to continue you would
tentatively have to take on my statements of non-dual identity and investigate within
yourself to see whether or not they could be true…for you. If they are true for you, then
they can be true for me because there is no difference between us.

Dev reply: You seem to be saying that I have to accept your statements on non-dual
identity otherwise we are too different from one another for the dialog to continue. This
is certainly a dogmatic approach.

Laksman: Not one of the ideas that I’ve put forth are ‘mine.’ They are common
knowledge if you read the sruti. I’m saying that if you investigate advaita, non-duality,
and you can see that it is a true statement about reality then it is true for you. And if it is
true for you, then it could be true for me. I don’t need it to be true for you for it to be true
for me. It just seems from the way you speak that it isn’t true for you because you
promote the ideas of videha mukti, a ‘supreme’ self and evolution. There wasn’t anything
defensive about it because there is never an argument with non-duality. It is something to
be appreciated. The emotion you’re picking up is quite calculated, Dev.

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Dev response: As I told you, I have investigated Advaita and have absolutely no
doubt of the truth in it; it’s just that our understanding of Advaita is very different
from each other. My ideas are not just made up in my mind but are also supported
by the Shastras. Of course, as you know, the Smriti texts are open to interpretation
(and, unfortunately, interpolation), and even the Sruti (Vedas) are certainly
interpreted differently by different people.

Our dialog is not all about simply disagreeing with each other, nor should we agree
with one another just for the sake of agreeing. Ultimately, this dialog should help
establish in this minds of those engaged in it, as well those who may read it (should
it ever be published in part or full), both the salient and obvious truths.

……………

Dev: I have considered the neo-vedantic statements on non-dual identity and investigated
them for many years before coming to the firm conclusion that they are not the whole
truth. If you are really an open-minded man, you will at least consider what I have
written. However, I am an extremely uneducated man possessing very little shastric
knowledge by which I could substantiate every thing I have said. Therefore, I have
suggested that you read Satyarth Prakash and the Introduction to the Commentary on the
Rig Veda by Maharishi Dayananda, which provide many proofs based on Tradition.

Laksman: So what is the ‘whole truth’ according to Dev?

Dev response: When I say the neo-vedantic statements on non-duality are not the
whole truth I am referring to the premise that Prakriti and the Soul are unreal and
only the Supreme Self is Real. Neo-vedanta then proceeds to support this assertion
with various passages from the Shastras. Please see the excerpt at the end of this
dialog for an example of what I am referring to.
…………

Laksman: (from the previous email) I’m saying that you are the Self, that you are already
liberated and that there is nothing to attain because you are me. If ‘you’ can’t see it and
want to believe in some future liberation it is up to you. But future liberation is
meaningless to me because when you are everything there is nothing you can be free of.
Freedom is the nature of the Self and you are the Self. As long as you see yourself as
Dev, a person, you will strive for liberation. The longer you strive the deeper your
separation vasana becomes.

Dev reply: What you call the ‘separation vasana’ certainly exists in every seeker.
However, the ‘separation vasana’ is no where near as much of a problem as the ‘neo-
vedantic vansana.’ The neo-vedantic vansana doesn’t let one fully manifest the freedom
of the Self because one thinks one is free before one is actually free. It is like stepping on
to the field to play a game and announcing you have won the game, and then you walk of
the field. It would be better if you at least play the game to win after announcing you

144
have won. This I can accept.

Laksman: Now, I get it. Your quarrel is with Neo-Advaita and you see me as a Neo-
Advaita guy. This is so funny I can’t stand it. I positively detest Neo-Advaita. I guess we
have very different ideas of what those words mean.

Dev response: It is understandable that you would find this incredulous; all the
more so because you are NOT just some text book, scholarly, vedantic bookworm
dressed in orange robes, but are rather a maverick of sorts who is a free thinker and
not in the least bit seeking accolades from Vedantic academics or spiritual
wannabes.
……….

Laksman: (from the previous email) Can you see the bias you are bringing to this
conversation? I will explain my bias later in this letter if it is not clear to you already.

Dev reply: Ask ten of your Satsangis to read our dialog and give us their unbiased
opinions. You may be surprised to find a number of them reconsidering your views.

Laksman: Sure, but so what? On any subject public opinion is usually nearly equally
divided. I don’t care what people think about my views. I don’t care what I think about
my views. I don’t care what you think about my views. Views are views, what do they
have to do with anything? For me the purpose of communicating is to share love. I’m
sorry that my sharing seems like tough love but this is your karma for trying to one up me
spiritually. I know exactly where the delete button is, Dev. I’m going through this
because you are a good guy and maybe, since you say you are open, to letting you know
that You are not invited to teach me anything. And if you were invited to teach me the
way you go about enlightening people is not effective with me.

Dev response: So you think I am trying to ‘one up’ you spiritually. That is really
hilarious. In your world there can be no ‘one up’ because there is only the One, so
you have nothing to worry about (not that you are worrying). Really we are only
sharing love, and if that is what we are really sharing (which it is) then there truly is
only ONE. We both know (I think) that love, the Supreme Love, the only love there
really is, is not a view or opinion, and no view or opinion can change That. Whether
that Love is expressed gently or with toughness, the message is always the same. I
will learn from you regardless what you say or how you say it, and I will not wait for
an invitation to do so, and neither will I give one. And don’t worry, I’m not the kind
of holy guest to show up uninvited, so I will not, and am not, barging in on your
mental space. We are mutually engaged in this dialog by our own free choice.
…………..

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Laksmanji, we are not playing the ‘who is enlightened’
game, but that question need only be addressed to ourselves. If you are referring to the
MastersofDeception blog (which I assume you are since this paragraph seems to be

145
pointed there), the aim of the blog (one aim of the blog) is to reveal that many of those
people whom we generally believe are Enlightened (are true knowers of the Self) are
often not so enlightened after all. No doubt that some are, and others are good but
confused people, some are just plain confused, and others are down right nasty
charlatans. It matters little that ‘it takes a jnani to know a jnani’; but what does matter is
that it takes an open-minded human being (one who has dropped their bias and emotional
or mental prejudices) to recognize a fraud.

Laksman: That’s right, Dev, but a mature person would not be taken in by a fraud. And
if a person takes advice from someone on the internet they don’t know well he or she will
probably also be foolish enough to be taken in by a charlatan who might just as well tell
them, “Oh, the Masters of Deception Blog?” That’s Dev. He’s a blogger. Everybody
knows his trip. He’s just a self righteous guru wannabe. Imagines he’s a defender of the
faith but doesn’t offer any hard facts…just regurgitates worn out opinions. It’s all hot
air. Probably his mom or pop abused him when he was young and he hates authority
figures even though he pulls an authority trip with his list and hides behind web
anonymity. He figures people will love him if he looks out after them. It’s a savior
complex masquerading as compassion. Maybe he’s envious because he has no
followers.” Etc. You know the drill. These fake gurus are not as stupid as you think.
They know just how stupid people are. In any case good luck with your blog and I hope
you save many souls.

Dev reply: This paragraph, like the previous one, seems to be a bit of ranting (something
unbecoming of the Self), or maybe you are just be really funny, because it certainly is
hilarious.

Laksman: I’m famous for my sense of humor, Dev. It’s just a silly dramatization. You’re
pretty funny yourself. Your idea that something could be ‘unbecoming’ for the Self is a
real hoot. What I meant was that people are damn cynical and they are not going to just
swallow up the unsupported opinions of a person on the web that has an obvious
agenda. To catch a fox like me, Dev, you need a very clever trap. I’ve a good nose for
guru wannabes and I steer clear of them. If you spent a few weeks with a humble attitude
and asked very nicely phrased questions and carefully noted my responses and went over
them with diligence and found out all the weak points and apparent contradictions and
then very politely expressed reservation with terms like ‘All due respect, Laksmanji,
but…” I’d be quite inclined to dialog with you but this frontal attack…while it is
‘honest’…is not working because you’re not sincere. You want to guru me. You’ve been
real quick to answer certain questions that suit you but I have yet to hear from you about
why you feel inclined to enlighten me.

Dev response: There is no frontal attack going on here, nor is there the least bit
desire to guru anyone, nor do I feel inclined to enlighten you. With ‘all due respect,
Laksmanji,’ I wonder what drives you do feel this way. I give you the benefit of the
doubt because this is a dialog between two complete strangers over the Internet.
…….

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Dev: You are not a charlatan but people who don’t know you are taking your advice over
the Internet. Just because they are taking your advice over the Internet, does this mean
they would be foolish enough to be taken in by a charlatan?

Laksman: Nice to have the Dev Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I almost never
give advice unless it is solicited, Dev. And in practice almost no one ever follows my
advice. In answer to your question, no, because the people that write me are almost
always discriminating dispassionate people with bhakti for the truth which they seem to
feel coming through the site. I can’t remember when someone asked advice. People
have questions and I try to give them answers in light of the teachings of Vedanta. To be
quite honest I almost didn’t respond to your request…because it was soliciting an
opinion. Opinions and beliefs are a dime a dozen, Dev. We’re not getting anywhere
from my point of view because I’m taking a lot of what you say as opinion or belief and
you’re taking what I’m saying as opinion or belief. In this case we are both equally
‘right.’ There will be no resolution.

The whole thing is a kind of amusement for me. I can see I’m not going to get anywhere
with you and it is quite fine. I have a little break between things…I’ve just finished doing
some satsangs in Europe and am in India getting over my jet lag and setting up my
apartments for the season and I’ve a bit of time to kill and this will keep me off the streets
until a real satsang starts. I don’t want to sign off, however, until you get so angry you
denounce me as a false prophet and put me on top of the MastersofDeception blog. This
is why I’m goading you mercilessly. It will make an entertaining addition to the satsang
section of my website once it’s done. Don’t worry, I’ll turn you into a woman and
conceal your identity in every possible way. :+) We might as well let others enjoy this
stupid bickering even if it’s less than satisfying from our respective points of view.
…..

Dev (from previous dialog): Please read the blog again. My aim is not to judge for the
sake of judging, but for the sake of disinterestedly helping. You yourself have said in one
of your Satsang writings that making judgments is not wrong; it is actually essential.
Certainly one’s judgment should not be based on mere belief or opinion, as these
definitely do NOT constitute knowledge. One’s judgment should be based on one’s
direct experience, the testimony of reliable witnesses, and inference based on a set of
valid clues. I think you would agree with me here, and that we have simply
misunderstood one another.

Laksman: That is correct. It’s going to happen over and over because we have different
orientations.

Dev reply: I do not believe I misunderstand you at all, but I know for certain you
misunderstand me because you have not fully understood the Self.

Laksman: You mean I have not understood the Self according to Dev’s understanding of
the Self. Thank God.

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Just who are you, Dev, that you can pass judgment so easily on someone without ever
having the pleasure of their company? What do you get out of such statements? You
must be incredibly naïve. If you are saying this for me, then the way you are saying it is
designed to completely fail; it is so unskillful. If you believe this then show me how I am
deluded, Dev. It is just big talk on your part.

Dev response: Well, I cannot defend this statement, and should not have made it. It
was an error in judgment to make it (true or not), given the reply (your reply) to
which I was responding.

You swallowed a lot of fancy teachings and when you hear something that seems to
contradict how you understood them you become the big self appointed dharma warrior
and attack. You have no positive helpful way to reveal what you mean so all you can say
is that I’m deluded. Talk is very cheap, Dev. This makes me think that you are saying it
for yourself, to make yourself feel good. I won’t get into the accepted psychology behind
this kind of statements but if you’re into learning something I’ll give you some unsolicited
advice: look at the reason why you feel inclined to make such statements to a stranger.
Generally, the first rule they teach in the good guru schools is that you need to establish
a rapport with a person before you can give them bad news. They have to love and
respect you and feel that you have their best interests at heart. Then you have to hold
their hand through the whole disillusionment process and lead them to the better way…in
this case THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO DEV! Why would I listen to someone who
butters me up with some compliments and then proceeds to tell me I’m deluded?

Dev response: Okay, okay Laksmanji, . . . no need to beat your stupid little shishya
to death. I did not swallow any fancy teachings and I’m certainly no dharma
warrior; I am self-regulated, and the same Self resides in everyone as their own
inner controller (Antaryami), so there is no need for any duplicate effort on my part
(which would simply be a wasted effort anyway).

Let’s say that you are right, Dev. I’ve been peddling my deluded version of the Self for
nigh on forty years. It has brought me great happiness and a large circle of friends and
admirers. It has greased the wheels of life very nicely. I have a storybook life and am the
envy of many people. Now one day this guy comes out of cyberspace and tells me that I
don’t know what I’m talking about. I believe him. I’m a fraud. I’ve got to go back and
unenlighten all those happy people whose lives have become good as a result of my
teaching. So I go and make them all miserable and they hate me for giving them the false
knowledge. I am ruined. I have no place to stay. The money supply runs out. I have a
nervous breakdown. So I call up my guru, Dev, and ask for help. My guru, the Great
Devananda, is a big help, an Ocean of Mercy. What should I do, guruji? My guru says,
“Keep shining, Laksmanji. One day if you keep evolving you’ll get the highest state;
you’ll be free” “Gee thanks, guruji,” I say, but what about here and now? Perhaps
you’ll look after me out of your great compassion? I’m a broken disillusioned man,
completely destroyed by your wise words.” “Heh, Heh” says my guru with a shit eating
grin, “I ‘m still on the path myself. I’m not there yet. I’m not free either. I’m still
learning and growing. Didn’t I tell you that? But never mind. Believe me you can make

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it. You’ll get the supreme Self, the permanent pamamatma state, one day. Have faith,
Laksmanji. Here’s a couple of bucks for lunch.” “Golly gee, guruji, you are a great guy,
but I like burritos and they cost four bucks.”

Dev response: This has got to be the funniest part of this whole dialog. Laksmanji,
you have not been pedaling anything and no one has been taken for a ride who
wasn’t looking for one. Have you taken them to the Highest pinnacle of
Consciousness? No, I don’t think so, but they are still enjoying a great view from
where they are, and it sure beats getting stuck in some sleazy whorehouse of an
ashram licking the ass of a shit ass guru who probably never learned how to wash it
(if he’s from the West) or forgot how to (if he’s from the East). So, you have
probably saved many people from many charlatans. Whether you’ve really saved
them from themselves I don’t know. Well, we know that we (the human race) are
our own worst enemy and our own best friend, and ultimately we only save
ourselves from our selves.
……………….

Dev: However, since I know the Self is limitless, I realize there can be no limit to my
knowing; in other words, what I know now is certainly NOT the end of all knowledge,
therefore I might not (and in all probability, do not) know you and may in fact
misunderstand you.

Laksman: Loving relationships are based on trust and love, Dev. You don’t get good
relationships with people by telling them what is wrong with them. You show them what
is good about themselves and they love you. If you don’t take the care to establish a
loving relationship with someone they will not consider your views. The internet is good
for making contact but then you have to carefully water the relationship. It takes a lot of
patience. You can’t wait to deliver the bad news.

Dev response: Honestly Laksmanji, I have never formed a single friendship over
the Internet: never. This is the first and probably the last time I will engage in such
a dialog over the Internet. Any communication of any substance can only take place
through direct one-to-one, real, live, in the flesh, eye-to-eye, soul-to-soul interaction.
…..

Laksman (from earlier email): I think the blog would be helped by the inclusion of the
ideas we have been discussing so people could get a better idea of who you are and why
you feel it is necessary to save people from their folly. Incidentally, there already is quite
a famous and well established guru rating website which has a much more reasonable
tone than yours. Masters of Deception is a very provocative title, meant to inspire fear.
In my humble opinion fear sucks… even if it’s good fear.

Dev reply: The tone of the MasterofDeception blog is certainly strong and firm because
the subject matter is serious. Both the title and contents of the blog are meant to

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engender caution not fear. The established guru rating website you mention, if you are
referring to the Sarlo site, is not very reliable, considering the webmaster’s master is
OSHO.

Laksman: I agree. But I didn’t think yours was very reliable either and you’re not an
Osho bhakta.

…..

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Are you saying that in order to believe the information
on the site the reader would have to believe the one who posted it is enlightened? The one
who posted it need only be knowledgeable enough to call a spade a spade, a charlatan a
charlatan, a saint a saint, a seeker a seeker, and a noble human being a noble human
being. The words of the Wise, even a single word, is sometimes enough for a truth
seeker, even a truth seeker who is seriously self-deluded. Those who are not truth
seekers, even if they be very wise in their own eyes, will remain blinded by their ego
even if the truth were to blaze before them like the light of thousand suns.

Laksman: The point I’m trying to make is: why should your evaluation of these people
be believed?’ This is why I think it would be good if you explained your self. I’ve spent
a large fraction of my adult life selling all sorts of things…from goods and services to
ideas… and I have found that the most effective way to get one’s idea across is to gain a
person’s confidence. To do that you need to reveal who you are. The take it or leave it
approach creates doubts. I’m having the same difficulty with your words in these emails.
It may be completely a style thing but I need to know more about why you think like you
do. You come across as a take no prisoners type of guy…almost bigoted. I know you
aren’t but it is possible to get that impression from the way you use words. Very often
religious dogmatism and conviction born of truth are indistinguishable. In any case I’m
not attracted to this kind of approach. Just the fact that you have assumed this white
knight in shining armor defender of truth role makes me suspicious. I think, ‘What’s
wrong with this guy? Doesn’t he have anything better to do than criticize others?”

Dev reply: Laksmanji, I take the approach that I am speaking to my own Self. Maybe
this doesn’t work for you, but from what I can tell by going through your writings you
actually seem to have a very similar speaking/writing manner. In any case, based on your
critique, I am reevaluating the blog. Thank you.

Laksman: It’s my pleasure. As far as speaking to your own Self is concerned we have a
slight problem: we seem to have different ideas of what the Self is. If you want me to be a
person and you want me to be deluded I’ll humor you give you the replies of a deluded
person. That’s what you get anyway because the ‘Laksman’ in your mind is a deluded
person and it interprets the words in this email according to its idea and you accept it. If
you’re looking for delusion you will find it everywhere. If you’re looking for the truth
you will see it shining everywhere…even in the words of fools like me.

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Dev response: Why in the world would I want to think of you as a deluded person?
‘Laksman’ in my mind is ‘The One who takes all on the path of progress,’ meaning
the inner Self that draws the mind inward to search for the Treasure of Supreme
Consciousness. You are that Laksman, I am that Laksman, all are Laksman.
…..

Dev reply (from earlier dialog): I guess you’re saying (please correct me if I’m wrong)
that after someone reads the list they will be inclined to ignore it because they will not
perceive it was compiled by their own well-wisher and invisible friend, or by an
enlightened being. Consequently, they will possibly end up receiving a ‘personal’
darshan of Satya Sai Baba, be molested by him, then later leave in disgust and remorse
and send me an email saying they should have heeded my warning. Well, hopefully that
will not be the case. But after all, this is Samsara, and this Samsara exists in the minds of
the ignorant and in the minds of those who ignore their own conscience. This Samsara
will go on forever.

Laksman: Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post the blog. In
fact I could add some very juicy tidbits to the rubbish on a number of gurus but it’s not
my style to criticize in a public forum. I have one long criticism of the teachings of a
Neo-Advaita guru on the website but the name is changed and I give him high marks for
moksha and for a good character but take him to task for his teaching.

Dev reply: I value your opinion (which is why I asked you for it in the first place), and I
have decided to remove the blog (at least for now).
…..

Dev reply (from previous dialog): This is a mistaken notion that ‘there are no rules for
jnanis.’ A knower of Truth is ruled by the truth to be truthful; a jnani is ruled by wisdom
to act wisely. A jnani will act according to Dharma; he or she will not violate the law or
rule of their own Being, their own True Self. In the mind of the Wise, only wisdom rules;
they are not ruled by the tyrant ego, they are not ruled by their whims, moods, or desires.
Certainly, (due to existing vasanas) a jnani may still have many whims, moods, and
desires but he or she will be ruled by their own conscience which is overshadowed by the
characteristics (qualities) of the real Self. It is true, however, that a jnani is not bound by
any external rules, obligations, or the mental images and projections of others.

Laksman: I didn’t mean that a true jnani will violate dharma only that no external rules
and no particular lifestyle or behavior applies. In other words a jnani need not be a saint.
He or she may or may not eat a Big Mac without losing wisdom. :+)

Dev reply: A jnani may or may not eat meat in a life or death situation, but will
definitely NOT eat meat just because he or she doesn’t want to go out of their way to
avoid it. A Wise man or woman (a jnani) will always act with power of discernment; if
they do not, then they have already lost the Wisdom and are no longer Wise, i.e., no
longer a Jnani.

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Laksman: OK.
…..

Laksman: (from the previous email) Knowing who you are is the big success, not what
you do or don’t do with the knowledge.

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Knowing who you are but not being who you are is a
shame and a sham; it is certainly not a success. For example, one who knows the
principles of good health but doesn’t put those principles into practice is one who is a
prisoner of their mind and ego. In other words, one who knows better but doesn’t do
better is one who is complacent and mentally lazy. One who claims to know the Self but
continues to be pushed around by his or her small self (ego), does not really know the
Self, because the knowledge of the Self sets you free.

Laksman: I meant that knowing is being. Knowing is doing. If you really know that you
are whole and complete your actions will reveal who you are.. There is no choice
involved it.

Dev reply: This small paragraph tells me everything I need to know about you, which is
also the only reason we have been carrying this dialog on for this long. Regardless of any
difference we have in understanding, this one paragraph says we have the same Self.

Laksman: Well, I’m happy about that. It would be hard for it not to be true because
there is only one Self.
…..

Laksman (from earlier email): My point is where do you draw the line. A rock, a tree, an
animal, a human being. All are the Self. In the apparent reality the Self eats the Self.
Perhaps you might study Gita Chapter 2. . . .

Dev reply: Your point should not require a reply, but anyway: “where do you draw the
line. A rock, a tree, an animal, a human being. All are the Self.” This is like saying “sex
is sex, so what does it matter. Where do you draw the line: sex with one’s wife, sex with
another woman, sex with . . .” Come on now! We do not need to argue this point. Sure
everything is the Self, but in this Game of Life you can not cheat and win. Fair is fair.
Foul is foul. Violence is violence.

Laksman: There’s my good old take no prisoners Guru Devji! Calls ‘em like he sees
‘em. He’s a real man, knows what’s right and knows what’s wrong like John Wayne. I
wish I could be as certain as you about all this Mayic stuff, Dev. I’m only certain about
one thing: who I am. For all the rest I’ll refer people to you.

Dev: Your analogy of the salmon jumping out of the stream is not a very good one, since
it would be very unlikely that there was not sufficient vegetation to keep me alive without

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eating the salmon; hence, I would most definitely put it back in the water but NOT starve
to death. It I were truly in a life or death situation and the only way to stay alive was to
eat a piece of meat, I may or may not eat it. Who knows, maybe I would choose to
meditate to death. I guess the jury is out on that one.

Laksman: It was just a bit of humorous writing, Dev. I know you would gobble the
vegetation. I believe in you. You’re a serious vegetarian guy. They say pinecones are
particularly delicious.

-------

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Regarding the rest of this paragraph, it is clear that you
do not see any harm in eating animals. If you can look into the eyes of a cow, dog, lamb,
horse, or other animal and kill it with your own hands and eat it, without feeling that you
have violated your own conscience, then there is nothing I can really say to influence you
in this regard. As for inhaling a few microbes (which again, are probably not living
beings but living matter), there is a world of difference between that and killing a cow;
especially when the former is unavoidable but the latter is solely by one’s own choice and
is totally unnecessary.

Laksman: There’s harm in everything…if you have a fearful mind.

Dev reply: Fear is the product of violence. One who violates their real nature will be
fearful of the consequences. The Self is all-compassionate and all-merciful, but Nature is
very unforgiving. As a human being, the embodied self knows this (intuitively) and
therefore fears doing what is wrong. It would be foolish to think that actions do not have
consequences. We are free to do whatever we want, but we are not free from the
consequences of what we do. One who says “I am not the doer, and actions do not affect
me,” and then proceeds to do wrong actions or seek appreciation and recognition for his
good actions, is simply deluded and is not a Knower of the Self.

Laksman: Can’t argue with this.

--------

Laksman: (from the previous email) “And what about Tibetan lamas in the winter with
not a vegetable in sight? Their spirituality is compromised because they eat Yak butter
and meat?”

Dev reply (from previous dialog): There have been many great Mystics, Saints, and
Sages, and many ordinary people too who live in regions of sparse vegetation, and have
never eaten meat. Besides, the Yaks had to consume a lot of vegetation themselves
(being vegetarians), so surely there must be some vegetation available, and if not, human
beings are nomadic by nature and will migrate to areas where food can be found. Tibetan
lamas who eat meat, like many other Buddhists, are not true followers of the teachings of
Lord Buddha.

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Laksman: For me this conversation is not only about vegetarianism; it is about whether or
not we can communicate successfully. I haven’t enough invested in this vegetarian idea
to quarrel with you about it. You have healthy feel good views about food but they don’t
qualify as spiritual in my opinion. You will perhaps be surprised to know that I’m a pure
vegetarian but I’m not identified with it. Injury to living beings is only one reason for it.
I can imagine sitting down to a nice turkey dinner on Thanksgiving and not feeling
guilty.

Dev reply: Why are you getting defensive? I did not know we were quarreling about
vegetarianism. This discussion about vegetarianism has arisen because a number of
statements made in the blog unequivocally indicate one who is not a vegetarian is going
against their true nature (Dharma), and could not therefore reliably guide one to realize
one’s real nature.

Laksman: Its funny you see it as defensive. I guess when you have the tendency to attack
you are sensitive to people’s defenses. The truth comes in many ways, Dev. The Self uses
whatever vehicle it needs to awaken people; its not as fussy as you. I wonder what it’s
like to be so good and so right.

Dev response: The truth comes in many ways, even by way of contradistinction, but
truth itself is not contrary to the Truth.
…….

Laksman: (from the previous email) “In case you didn’t notice, Dev, life eats life.
Nobody can avoid it. Even meat eaters are vegetarians once removed. The cows eat
vegetables and they eat cows. So they are actually eating vegetables.”

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Excuse me for saying (and I really do not mean to hurt
your feelings) but you are really revealing your ignorance here. You are deliberately
ignoring (going against) your Higher Nature, your Real Nature, your Dharma, which is
NOT to cause avoidable pain and suffering to any creature.

Laksman: You didn’t hurt my feelings in the least, Dev. I don’t have feelings. I’m not a
human being, remember? I found the above paragraph rather amusing. Even if I was a
human being I wouldn’t be offended because I don’t know you…for the present you’re
just an earnest voice from cyberspace that may or not be connected to someone I might
want to know.

Dev reply: No comment.

-----

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Exposing people to the truth does not keep them
ignorant. I have no duty to protect the ignorant; my duty is to speak the truth and remove
ignorance.

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Laksman: They have to know that it’s the truth first, Dev. Truthful statements are not the
truth. A wicked person or a self deluded person can make truthful statements. One needs
to know who is making the statements first and why…before one is inclined to believe.
Personally, I am not inclined to believe anything about anything. I have senses and a
mind and I can figure out what’s going on without help. I operate from understanding
born of experience. My point is: who is to know that Dev’s version of the truth is The
truth? It could just as easily be an opinion. I’d also be curious to know who gave you
that duty. Did God or your guru tell you to do it? Or is it self assumed?

Dev reply: I agree with you, that truthful statements are not the truth. Only truthful
teachers can teach (reveal) the truth. However, there is power in words, even if it is only
information. Though information cannot teach, it does inform, and for many people that
is all they will ever get. Very few people are actually ever taught by a Satguru, so they
will rely on the information available to them and understand it as best they can, drawing
upon their own experiences and innate knowledge.

Just like you, “I am not inclined to believe anything about anything. I have senses and a
mind and I can figure out what’s going on without help. I operate from understanding
born of experience.”

Laksman: So how can you be so sure that I’m deluded? Wouldn’t you have to
experience me first? I think you’re inclined to believe that you are pretty damn
enlightened…so enlightened in fact that you want the world to know…for its own good, of
course. If you stood in front of me this kind of conversation would not happen.

Dev response: You don’t seem to get it. I am admittedly unenlightened (in the sense
that I know I am not the Supreme Self, which means I know I am not egoless and I
know this precludes me from fully realizing the Supreme Self). However, I am
enlightened enough to know a similarly unenlightened one. Of course, generally I
would need to meet the other face to face, but that is not always the case since much
can be deduced by other means as well. In your case, I would say you are certainly
enlightened by today’s standards and I would say you are probably more
enlightened than 90% of the so-called Swami’s and Guru’s in the spiritual market
place.
………

Dev reply (from previous dialog): Of course you are a human being. You are a beautiful
human being, the creation of the Self. No one does them self or anyone else any good by
denying their own humanness. You are the Self embodied as a human being for a
purpose: the purpose of the Self. The Vedas reveal what that purpose is. Wouldn’t you
say it is ludicrous to think that everything that exists, exists only for the sake of having its
existence denied? This is irrational and unreasonable and contrary to the Self.

Laksman: Here’s another example of your arrogance. I say I’m not a human being and
you say, “Of course you’re a human being.” Mine is a truthful statement…if you

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understand something. I made that statement to see what you know. It was meant to
make you think, “What does he mean by that?” You didn’t. It immediately created a
reaction because it was not in harmony with your beliefs. So you put me in a box. “He’s
a human being. End of story.”

Dev reply: I have to tell you that you are completely misreading me here. When I said
you are a beautiful human being I am only making a very positive statement, and
speaking (writing) from my heart (Self). Laksmanji, I am not reacting to you, I am
responding. I did not put you in a box, but yes, I do think you have put yourself in one
(i.e., the neo-vedantic box). But that is your problem, not mine. No doubt you think I am
in my box and that you are box-free. Well, I will say that I am sure I still have some
images because I know I can still go deeper. You are apparently satisfied with having
gone as far as you have gone.

Laksman: Here we have it again, Dev. You say it is my problem. But it is not my
problem because you see me in a Neo-Advaita box. What makes these statements of
yours so ridiculous is that nothing in the reality of my life confirms it. I’m honest enough
to know if something is out of kilter. But nothing is. My life is full of smiling faces and
happy people. It is sliding along as if on greased wheels. Every day is a joy to be alive.
I’m having a great time. I could introduce you to dozens of fine honest people who would
be happy to testify to my effect on their lives. I have standing invitations to visit all over
the world. So this guy from cyberspace tells me I’m fucked up and I’m supposed to take
it on board? Why not wait till things head south to tell me that I’m a mess? I’d be much
more inclined to listen. To be successful in this guru business you have to be very clever
and patient, Dev. Your bull in the china shop approach is totally unsophisticated. In the
first place you need to pick and choose your disciples. I’m a very bad choice. I’m old
and very smart and I’m so lost in my delusion that you’ll never crack this thick skull.
With guys like me it is best you pray that after their death they get a better birth.
What you don’t seem to get, Dev, is that moksha means the end of one’s seeking. I have
nothing to get from this life. I’m here to give what I have to those who want it. If you
want to think for your own reasons that I stopped short of the final goal that’s up to you.

Dev response: You’re going a little overboard here with this reaction. If you react to
someone complimenting you that you are good human being, then I would say you
definitely have a problem. I would definitely NOT say you are fucked-up or a mess.
I have no goal or desire to teach you (or anyone) anything. Like you, I am not here
to get something out of life, but only to give. Actually, I’m just breathing, that’s all
(or so I appear to be).
-------

Laksman (from previous dialog): I’m not sure what is so wonderful about being a
human. Maybe you read that rubbish in Shankar or the Buddhist texts about the ’precious
human birth.’ Or let’s put it this way, it’s no more wonderful to be a human being than to
be anything else. In fact you might make a case that human beings are more of a problem
for the creation than anything else. If you want to see me as a human being that’s fine

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with me but we will definitely be unable to get very far together spiritually if you do. In
fact this discussion is hitting a snag already because of your attachment to this view.
Arjuna didn’t understand what Krishna was saying at first at all but he was able to
suspend disbelief long enough to get the message. In this case it seems that my non-dual
statements are running up against your beliefs…and stopping there.

Dev reply: We have assigned completely different connotations to the term human being.
I think you see it as a negative because you equate it with ‘person’. I do not think of
myself as a person at all. I am not a person. I never was a person. I will never be a
person. I do not worship or adore persons at all. Not even one little bit. A person to me
is a mythical being. Arjuna was caught up in his personality, his personhood, and only
when the hood was removed did he realize what Krishna was saying.

Obviously you and I are not so advanced or we would not misunderstand each other. On
the other hand, this misunderstanding may have led us to a greater understanding, in
which case, this misunderstanding may prove useful too, and is perhaps the ‘doing’ of our
own enlightened selves.

Laksman: I say pack it in on the ‘advanced’ notion. I don’t believe in such silly
distinctions. We don’t understand each other because our idea structures are not in
harmony. The way you use words is not the way I use them. Your fundamental view is
dualistic and doer oriented. Mine is non-dual. I don’t see a doer anywhere. This is why
the evolution idea doesn’t wash.
……………..

Laksman: In any case I’ve seen enough. It’s time for full disclosure. I will now explain
Laksmanji’s agenda… if you haven’t figured it out already. .

Dev reply: This should be fun. . .

Laksman (continuing): You may be attracted to me but you have no idea who is on the
other end of this email, Dev. I’m not really who you think. Yes, you read my
autobiography and some of the website and you formed certain opinions but that website
is just like a big juicy worm on a hook. It catches fish. But I am not the person portrayed
there. Let’s put it this way. I’m a spiritual salesman and I’m selling non-duality. It’s a
very costly product. The price is an open trusting nature and a willingness to consider
new ideas. Would you like to buy? In case you want to play the Laksmanji satsang game
you need to have a practical serious question…about your sadhana…and I will give you a
straightforward reply to the best of my ability. This conversation seems to be going in
the direction of a long winded debate on abstruse topics that do not touch my heart.

Dev reply: No, I’m not attracted to you, or anyone for that matter. Surely, you are NOT
who I think you are, because who you really ARE can never be thought in my mind, your
mind, or any mind. Yes, I read your autobiography and know it doesn’t even represent a
one billionth part, not even a one googlth part of YOU. I guess we could say it doesn’t
even represent YOU at all sense you cannot be represented by other than YOU, who is

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Indivisible and therefore having no PARTS. Laksman Maharaj may be a spiritual
salesman, but Laksman Maharaj is a MYTH. Yes, you are selling non-duality and it is
indeed a costly product, because the one who buys it will not get what they bargained for:
they will not realize the Ultimate Truth (though they should certainly get something
useful out of it). There are no questions I have for you that I cannot answer on my own,
so that’s why this dialog is really not much more than a dialectical exercise.

Laksman: Something useful is fine. And a dialectical exercise is fine. It more or less
corresponds to my idea that this is a bit of amusement.

Laksman (continuing) I’ve made that statement about not being a human being hundreds
of times. Sometimes people don’t get it but they usually understand that there is
something behind it and that it might be interesting to know what… probably because I
don’t come across as a fool.

Dev reply: No, you are certainly no fool, but neither are you GOD.

Laksman: I covered this misunderstanding above.

………..

Laksman: (from the previous email) Understanding non-duality takes a certain degree of
subtle thinking and is aided by some transpersonal experiences. My statements are true
but the meaning is not immediately available to literal minded people. Some
contemplation is required.

Dev reply: Please contemplate some of the things I have written here and on my website
if you wish. They are difficult for a Vedantist to consider objectively. Though you will no
doubt say the same of me as pertains to Vedanta, you should know that I have given
MUCH consideration to it (Vedanta), and also, since I have no standing reputation,
profession, or following to protect or safeguard, there is no measurable benefit for me
holding on to my view and excluding others. I am not saying you are not open-minded,
but you do have a little more vested interest here than I (if only because you are a public
figure).

Laksman: As I said above I’m not any kind of ‘ist.’ Vedanta is a disposable means of
knowledge, nothing more. It is like a flashlight. You turn it on and when you see what
you need to see you turn it off. I am not identified with it in any way. You think I’m some
sort of guru figure? I’m virtually unknown, Dev. Eighty five percent of my time is spent
in completely ordinary situations with completely normal ordinary people. I much prefer
them to the spiritual types who have all sorts of neuroses and grandiose ideas. The
website and the teachings are simply a little bit of service work, giving back a small
fraction of what my guru gave me. You have to be with a person and see their life before
you can set out to make statements about them.

Dev response: We may be much more alike than what you perhaps realize.

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…………

Laksman (continuing) When I was younger and not such an experienced communicator
people would often raise their eyebrows when I made such statements and change the
subject because they thought I was nuts… rather like the people who crucified Christ
must have felt when he said, “I and my Father are One.”

Dev reply: Believe me, there is nothing you could say that would make me raise my
eyebrows. I have seen it all and heard it all. The only reason this dialog is continuing is
because I respect you for your earnestness, forthrightness, and non-feigned humility. This
doesn’t mean I think you are perfect and have nothing to work on. (Do you think you are
perfect and have nothing to work on?)

Laksman: Depends on who the ‘you’ is.

………….

Laksman (continuing): I suppose you might have told Christ that if he was a good little
spiritual robot and kept working on his anger issues and tendency to violence (remember
the whip in the temple episode) he might one day get into the supreme state for a very
long time… after of course first checking to see if he was a vegetarian. Probably he
wasn’t since he is said to have fed the multitudes loaves (good stuff) and fishes (bad
stuff). You’re probably a kind person and would let him strive for liberation if he
promised to give up meat, however. :+)

Dev reply: You are really very funny sometimes. First of all, Christ definitely had issues
to work on, I have no doubt of this. As for the ‘whip in the temple episode’ this was
always one of my favorite parts of the New Testament. I have referred to this incident a
number of times in the Satsangs I have given over the years to illustrate that Jesus, being
an enlightened man, was not an image-ridden phony pacifist who pacified people by
giving them a religious image pacifier to suck on. I think he was probably a no-nonsense
kind of a guy who, due to his youthful fervor of genuine compassion, really wanted to
enlighten the ignorant, but (like many similarly minded souls before him) he got a little
too far ahead of himself and unnecessarily put himself in harm’s way. In any case, I
certainly do not believe he had attained the Supreme State (maybe because he was eating
fish and drinking wine:+)).

Laksman (continuing): I admit that non-dual thinking is quite strange if you are literal
minded. Recall the difficulty Arjuna had accepting Krishna’s statement about past lives.
Krishna is speaking from the non-dual level and Arjuna, like Dev, is thinking he’s a
person. I’m speaking from the non-dual level. These days I’m generally smart enough to
know how much non-duality a person can handle before they hit the delete button so it is
rarely an issue. Most people I meet have been in the spiritual world a long time…done
all the yogas, sadhanas, gurus, etc…and hardly anyone except the fundamentalist types
like the Vaishnav bhaktas (were you once a Hari Krishna?) who hate non-duality seem to
have a problem with this statement.

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Dev reply: You are really humoring me Laksmanji, honestly. For your knowledge, my
mind is literally clear because the neo-vedantic litter has long since been removed.
Arjuna didn’t have much difficulty accepting any of Krishna’s statements, seeing as
though their entire dialog represents only one small chapter in the Mahabharat. But a neo-
vedantist who has mistaken himself for the Supreme Being may find it extremely difficult
to reach Krishna’s abode (state), because to do so they will have to stop thinking they can
reach the Destination without first taking the journey! Krishna is the perfect example of
one who is totally established in the Supreme Self. Because he was/is totally established
in the Supreme Self (which means no longer differing with that Supreme Self) I suppose
one could say Krishna is the Supreme Self. But this does not mean only Krishna is the
Supreme Self. It also doesn’t mean Krishna is only the Supreme Self, i.e., Krishna also
ever remains a soul just like all the rest of us.

Laksman: Humoring you seems a proper response. Down deep you must think I’m a
moron. Or you’re just so convinced of your views that you can’t imagine why they aren’t
as clear to me as they are to you. This is a common human trait. They think because
they see it a certain way everyone should see it that way.

Dev response: Both down deep and on the surface I see you as Atman. Likewise, I
see myself as Atman.

Om Yas Tu Sarvani Bhutani Atmaneyvanupashyati.


Sarva Bhuteshu Catmanam Tato Na Vijugupsate. Isha Up. 6

One who perceives all beings in consciousness, and Consciousness in all beings, does
not hate anyone.

My view is that there was nothing to be established ‘in’ because Krishna is the supreme
Self. To say he is established in something means that he is not what he is established in.
The use of experiential language indicates dualistic views. Krishna is just a name for
you, the Self. It means that you are non-dual love. The word means ‘that which
attracts.’ What is more attractive than love?

Dev response: I understand that Krishna is a name for the Self and that the Gita is
an exposition of the nature of the Self and how that Self is attained. However,
Krishna was also a real Soul just like you and I. He did not stop being a real Soul by
virtue of manifesting the Supreme Soul. If we are to believe that everyone has the
potential to realize that same Ultimate Self, we must posit the Self that does the
realizing. In fact, there is no positing the Self that we are, because that is what we
are. The question is, is there something beyond our Self? Yes there is, our Essence,
the Self of our Self: the Supreme Self. How do I know this? It is self-evident that I
am not All-knowing, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent, and my observation tells me
that the creation of this vast, intelligently designed Universe, could only be the
creation of an Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent Supreme Being (Supreme
Consciousness). My nature compels me to realize that Supreme Consciousness. I am

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not inclined to simply accept the notion that this Self (my Self) is all that there is, as
this certainly strikes me as very egotistical and the very antithesis of LOVE.
………….

Dev: (from the previous email) I do not hate non-duality, I love it! I do NOT embrace
duality, I embrace non-duality (Advaita); only my understanding is different than yours.
I am definitely not, nor have I ever been a Hari Krishna. I have never belonged to any
sect nor am I the promoter or adherent of any manmade sampradaya.

Laksman: So are you going to stop trying to bring me around to your understanding? I
like the way I see it and if it is delusion from your point of view it’s too bad…you’ll have
to live with it. And if you are still inclined to guru someone head back to the internet and
dig up another so-called enlightened being.

Dev response: We are born alone, we go to the bathroom alone, and we die alone.
We will also be liberated alone. I do not live with your delusion, only with my own.
I am the problem, I am the solution; you are the problem, you are the solution.
……………….

Laksman: (from the previous email) Like the statement, “Nothing ever happened’ or “It is
the smallest of the small, the biggest of the big” my statement makes perfect sense… if
you have non-dual vision or even a few out of body experiences under your belt.

Dev reply: Well, by now you will have read my email containing a little tad of my
sadhanic biodata and you will have perhaps realized that your statements are not at all
unfamiliar to me.

Laksman (continuing): I’ve carefully peppered non-dual statements into my emails to see
your reaction and it seems to me that you have taken them as ego statements. An
unfortunate pattern seems to be developing in our conversation. As the Beatles song
says, “I say yes, you say no. I say goodbye. You say hello.”

Dev reply: My friend, my responses to your statements have not been reactions. I am
sharing my insights and knowledge with you, just as you are sharing yours with me, and
all in the spirit of the Universal Self. Do I take some of your statements as ego
statements? Well, I will say this: when you say “I am God,” I fully understand the non-
dual statement you are making and realize you certainly would not make this statement as
an expression of megalomania. But does this mean I think you are completely free of
ego? No it does not. You may very well be, but I guess we will have to wait until we
meet to find that out. As you say, it takes a Jnani to know a Jnani.

Laksman: I’m not free of it and I’m not not free of it. It has nothing to do with me.
Enlightenment is not egolessness, Dev. If I am the Self and there are jivas to illumine I
illumine their egos. You can’t even produce one ego for me to see, Dev. Because ego is
just a concept of limitation. You can work all you want to be free of your ego but it

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would just be your ego working to be free of itself. How clever is that? And once you are
free of the ego how will you get free of the ego that got rid of the ego? Ego is only a
problem for egos. There is no ego from the Self’s point of view, only apparent knowledge
and apparent ignorance.

Dev response: This all gets back to the fact that a neo-vedantist does not accept that
the world is real (that Prakriti is eternal), even though it is everyone’s personal
experience that the world is indeed real. It is real because Prakriti is real. The world
is temporary (cyclic) but real, which is why all of us have to really deal with this on
real terms, with real knowledge and real experience. The highest knowledge
(knowing) and the greatest experience comes only when one becomes absolutely
egoless, and this too requires real knowledge and real work (experience).
…………..

Dev: Realistically, if and when we ever meet, I am sure we will both see each other’s
ego, and hopefully we will also both see our own too. Even if we are enlightened souls,
we still have a ways to go.

Laksman: You don’t let up, do you, Dev? Speak for yourself. Why do you persist in
telling me that I have ‘a ways to go?’ Do you think I didn’t hear you the first time? Was
not my response clear? You’re saying this because it means something to you.
Generally, if you want a communication to be successful you do not antagonize and
patronize the person with whom you are communicating. I can’t remember how many
words back I told you I didn’t buy your evolution idea. I’m not going to buy it if you tell
me one million times. I think it’s a dumb idea. It’s great for do gooders and gurus who
want to collect followers but for anyone with a lick of common sense it is so very stupid.
It is a complete fantasy. I do not want to grow or to change or to transform or to evolve
or to be better in any way. I’m just fine as I am…warts and all. Now, if that’s delusion
so be it.

Dev response: Well, it’s delusion alright. Go for it. You own it.

And finally, I am not an enlightened soul. To repeat: I am not enlightened nor am I


unenlightened. Perhaps you’ve been dealing with intellectually challenged people, Dev.
I am not intellectually challenged. I have all my wits about me. I usually get the idea the
first time. I understand what you’re saying. I don’t happen to agree with some of it and
I’m not going to sign on just because you are saying it. So just give it a rest. Think of
something more interesting to tell me. How long is your nose?

Dev response: According to my wife my nose is quite long.


……………..

Dev: The Supreme Being, the Essence, of which Krishna refers to by both his words and
his own being, even great sages are not the knowers of, what to say of you and I. A
saintly person, a saint, a swami or jnani, a Rishi, Rajarishi, Maharishi, BrahmaRishi,

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Deva, and then the Highest State in which souls like Shri Krishna and others are
established, all of these are indicative of different levels of Consciousness. Few of us are
truly established in that Supreme Consciousness, which is why we need to keep chipping
away (removing our ignorance) until we become totally egoless.

Laksman: You’re already totally egoless…if you’re the Self as you claim. You can chip
away all you like but it will not get you total egolessness. You’ll just end up with a big
chipping ego. “Hi, I’m Dev. I’m completely egoless. I chipped it all away. It was hard
work but I did it. Ain’t I great?” Better wait till you realize who you are and see the joke
in all this sadhana.

Dev response: I am the Self but I am not the Supreme Self. When all traces of ego
are erased, the Supreme Self is all there is. This ‘isness’ or the Supreme Self is Love,
and this Love is the inseparable union of the Self and the Supreme Self. There is
nothing to announce, nothing to renounce, and nothing to denounce when one is
truly egoless.
……..

Laksman (continuing): In any case to tell a stranger point blank that his or her self
statement is not true…whether or not it is true by your lights…is certainly a tactless and
clumsy way to communicate. Perhaps you’re a bit naïve. In any case it shows a greater
concern for protecting your own views than a willingness to understand mine. It makes
me wonder why non-duality is such a threat to you.

Dev reply: You do not understand me, nor perhaps do I understand you. We are trying to
communicate our perception of perfection by means of imperfect words.

Laksman: There is nothing wrong with words. There is something wrong with the
attitude with which we are communicating. You think you’re enlightened and you found
my website and you decided that you wanted me to know that you’re more enlightened
than me. And it’s not proving to be easy. It’s a big ego trip masquerading as a satsang.

Dev response: This is not an ego trip; we are on a trip to Eternity and our paths
have crossed; not for better or worse, but for better and better and the Best (the
Supreme).

--------

Laksman (continuing): I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings…being a human being
perhaps you have them… although you did say above that you wouldn’t take things
personally. It is certainly not my intention to insult you or to nip this
conversation…which you seem to be enjoying…in the bud but I would be remiss in my
duty to myself if I didn’t express myself truthfully. I put my heart and soul into these
emails. I think there must be about a thousand pages of satsangs on the website…and that
is not all of them. I get nothing for my trouble except the satisfaction of helping people
appreciate what Vedanta can do for them. And it looks like I’ve gone about as far as I

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can with you because you seem to be quite attached to your views.

Dev reply: Well Laksmanji, I think you must be quite clear in your mind by now that I
am not surfing the waves of cyberspace for an answer to the question “Who am I?”,
because I already found the answer to this question long ago.

I know you put your heart and souls into these emails (and all your writings), and
hopefully you realize I do too. But even if you don’t realize it, it is not important to me. I
have no desire to change your way of thinking whatsoever, I am simply speaking the
Truth as I perceive it, because it is my nature to speak the Truth, that’s all.

Laksman: OK. Good. Then I have a problem: you don’t seem to realize the distinction
between the Truth as you perceive it and the Truth as it is.

Dev response: The Truth is what it is, only our ego and ignorance can obscure our
vision of it.

I know that you are not surfing the internet to find out who you are; only a fool would do
that. You’re out there to let the world know that you’re enlightened.

Dev response: We have already established that I am not enlightened.

Maybe you’re the cyber cop for the spiritual world…you’ll let all the world know who’s a
fraud and who isn’t. Were you hired for this position by the Congress of Saints and
Sages? They always give the job to the most enlightened person they can find. I’m sorry
I’m making your job so difficult but I don’t like the dualistic jail that you want to put me
in.

Dev response: There is no one that can do the work that each of us must do
ourselves. We all have our homework to do. If we don’t do it we won’t necessarily go
to jail but neither will we realize our full potential.
………….

Laksman: (from the previous email) There is never an argument with non-duality, Dev.
It is something that one is meant to appreciate. I’m not invested in it. I love it and I’m a
good teacher but I’m old and pretty wise and I don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole
any more. So unless you are interested in considering the non-dual way of seeing it is
probably better for us to call it quits. I’m familiar with all the yogic views, the
evolutionary views, the whole big messy spiritual soup. At some time during my
sadhana I believed almost every weird supposedly spiritual idea that I read or heard on
my path. But I had a great guru who shined the light on my ignorance and one day after a
lot of reflection my sadhana ended. I didn’t stop it. It stopped automatically…because I
understood who I am. And who I am is not who you think I am.

Dev reply: I have considered what you call “the non-dual way of seeing,” and found it

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does give the vision to perceive the whole Truth.

Laksman: My view is that the ‘whole truth’ is the non-dual vision. But I invite you to
expound the whole truth according to Dev if you are so inclined. I’m sure they’ll throw
out the Vedas when it is made known to the public.

Dev response: To my knowledge, it is completely in consonance with the Vedas, and


anything that I say that is not in agreement with the Vedas should be ignored. The
Sruti is the ultimate authority, along with our direct experience (which can only be
understood in light of the Vedas).
………….

Dev: I do appreciate your sincerity and earnestness and erudite understanding of


Vedanta, and especially the clarity and freshness of your exposition. You are no doubt a
good teacher and certainly a wise man, far wiser I would say than most (perhaps all) of
the so-called Swamis and Gurus who are wheeling and dealing in the spiritual
marketplace. However, with humility I can say your knowledge is not perfect or
complete. Neither is mine: the difference is that I realize this, whereas you apparently do
not realize it due to the limiting nature of your own knowledge.

Laksman: Did it again, Dev. One-upped the Laksmanji. Another big score for you. I
wouldn’t expect less from the great guru Devananda. Why do you trifle with such an
unworthy fool as me?

Your arrogance is nicely concealed in a bouquet of sincerity, humility and earnest


righteousness. This is what I suspected when I read the blog. It seems you really feel
that you are more spiritual than anyone out there. Sincerity and humility and
egolessness are not things to which one should aspire, Dev. You can find very sincere
demons everywhere. Any fool can be humble. As for egolessness we have already been
through that one.

Dev response: Sincerity, humility and earnestness are the hallmarks of the Wise,
and have nothing whatsoever to do with arrogance. There is no greater power than
the power of humility. True egolessness (which is impossible without Divine
Wisdom) is the essence of all spirituality, love, and Truth.
………..

Laksman: (from the previous email) As I said, Dev, the website is a big juicy worm
wrapped around the fishhook of non-duality. Some fish factories process the dwanda fish
and others process the advaita fish. If an advaiti fisherman catches a dwanda fish he puts
it back in the ocean of samsara where it can enjoy itself. It seems Laksmanji caught a
dvanda fish. Is that right? Should I toss it back? Or would you like me to chop off your
dualistic head like Shiva did to Ganesh and send you to the advaita cannery? It’s up to
you. I bet you’d look good with only one tusk.

Dev reply: These allusions to ‘fish’ remind me of a term from Yog Vashisth, ‘Drishta

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Jaal,’ meaning a fish net of images. Everyone is caught up in their own stinking fish net
of images. People have gotten so used to the smell that they no longer have a natural
aversion for it. Similarly, it is very easy to get caught up in our own mental imaginary
(much like a cannery) and never take our boat across the sea of samsara and reach the
shores of Eternity. Perhaps you have crossed the sea of samsara, Laksmanji, and your
mind is firmly grounded on Vedanta and non-duality. But this is not the end of it.
Eternity goes on forever and ever. When even the Vedas become of no use (as we
approach the Supreme Self) then what to say of Vedanta or any thing else.

Laksman: This sounds like the end of it so I will make one more valiant attempt to set the
record straight before I slink off into my corner to lick my wounds, having been finally
bested in dharma combat by none other than my own true Self in the form of some
amazingly spiritual internet guy named Cybercop Dev. Here is my last dying gasp:
Eternity doesn’t go anywhere. It is everywhere. Where will it go? I’ll check my email
tomorrow to see how wrong I am.

Dev response: The record of Eternity is this Drama of Creation, which goes on
forever and ever (with intermissions of course). We can move forward into Eternity
or we can stay where we are and imagine we have it all figured out. Sooner or later
we will turn the page and realize there is still another chapter, and another chapter,
and another chapter. . .
When the Self chooses the Supreme Self, the drama is over. . . until the next time.

Dev: Well, I have found this dialog useful, and hopefully you have also. By the grace of
God we may one day meet face to face. I would like that. OM

Laksman: It’s not particularly useful for me but it was fun. It came at a good time. It
didn’t tax my jet lagged brain and provided some light comedy. It might be of interest to
others so I will put it on the web one day and see what kind of feedback comes of it.

Dev response:

Om Tat Sat

Dev

Following is an excerpt from Satyarth Prakash, written by Maharishi Dayananda


Saraswati over 150 years ago.

Beliefs of the Neo-Vedantists.


The beliefs of the Neo-Vedantists are discussed below in the form of questions and
answers:-

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Q. - The world is unreal like things seen in a dream, or like a piece of rope mistaken
for a snake, or like a sea-shell seen glittering in the sunshine for a piece of silver or
like a mirage for water, or like a town of angels or like a juggler's trick. (Brahmaa)
God alone is real.

A. ~ What do you call real?

Q. - What does not exist and yet appears to do so.

A. ~ How can a thing appear to exist when it does not exist at all?

Q. - By adhyaropa.

A. ~ What do you mean by adhyaropa?

Q. -Adhyaropa or adhyasa consists in believing a thing to be different from what it


really is; the refutation of a wrong belief is called apavaada; by the help of these two
this phenomenal world can be taken to exist in Brahmaa Who is Himself
Unchangeable.

A. ~ You have fallen into this mistake by believing a piece of rope to be real while a
snake to be unreal. Is not a snake also real?

If you say that it does not exist in a piece of rope we ask, "Does it not exist in some
other place or does its idea not exist in our consciousness?" If it does, a snake then
is not unreal. In the same way, other illustrations, such as that of a mollusk-shell
mistaken for a piece of silver, can be shown to be wrong. Similarly, things seen in
dreams also exist somewhere in the world. Their ideas exist in our consciousness,
hence it cannot be said of them that they exist by adhayaropa (i.e., by erroneously
attributing the properties of one thing to another).

Q. - If this be true, how can one see a thing in a dream that was never seen or heard
to exist in the wakeful state, such as a man' s head is cut off and he himself weeps,
or a stream of water flows uphill?

A. ~ Even this argument does not support your contention, because impression of a
thing cannot exist in one's mind unless he has seen or heard of it, and there can be
no remembrance without mental impressions, and without remembrance there can
be no direct consciousness of a thing. When a person hears from another that such
and a such person's head was cut off on a field of battle and his father or brother or
some other relation was seen to weep, or when a person sees water from a fountain
jetting up, all these things make impressions on his mind. When he is no longer in
his wakeful state and dreams in his sleep of what he had seen or heard, since he
sees all these things in himself, it can be understood how he comes to imagine that
his own head is cut off and he himself weeps or that a stream of water flows
upwards. This is again not like imagining a thing to exist which does not exist at all,
it is more like sketching in which a sketcher embodies his idea of what he had seen
or heard on paper, or like painting in which a painter by forming a metal picture of
his subject paints it on canvas.

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It is true though that sometimes such things are seen in dreams as are still
remembered, for instance, one sees one's teacher (in a dream), while on other
occasions one recalls things in a dream that had been seen or heard long time ago
and had therefore completely passed out of one's memory; in such cases one forgets
whether one sees, or hears the same as one has seen or heard before in the wakeful
state. But things cannot be remembered so methodically in dreams as in a wakeful
state.

Again a person born blind can never dream of colors, hence your definition of the
words Adhyaropa or Adhyasaa is wrong. And what the Neo-Vedaantists called
Vivartavada is also untrue. The term Vivartavada means that a person erroneously
considers the universe to be real, while it is only illusory (Brahma alone being a real
entity), just as one mistakes a piece of rope for a snake.

Q. - There can be no knowledge of an Adhyasa - a thing that is supported - without


the knowledge of its Adhishthan - that which supports it, - for in the above instance
had there been no rope, the idea of a snake being there would never have entered
one's mind. As there is no snake in a piece of rope, nor there ever was, not shall it
ever be, in dim light a man may mistake a piece of rope for a snake and tremble
with fear, but when he sees it with the light of a good lamp, his mistake is at once
corrected and he ceases to fear, in like manner a man erroneously conceives that
this world exist in Brahma this illusion of the existence of the world comes to an end,
and he finds that it is all Brahma.

A. ~ Who erroneously experiences this illusion of the world in Brahma?

Q. - The human soul.

A. ~ Whence did the human soul originate?

Q. - Out of ignorance.

A. ~ What is the origin of ignorance and where does it reside?

Q. - Ignorance is without a beginning and resides in Brahma.

A. ~ Was there ignorance of self or of something else in Brahma and who was it that
became ignorant?

Q. - Chidabhasa

A. ~ What is the nature of this Chidabhasa?

Q. - It is Brahmaa. Brahmaa becomes ignorant of Brahmaa, in other words, He


forgets His own nature.

A.~ What is the cause of this forgetfulness?

Q. - Nescience.

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A. ~ Is nescience an attribute of an Omnipresent, Omniscient Being or of one who
possesses finite knowledge.

Q. - Of the latter.

A. ~ Do you then believe in the existence of a second conscious entity besides the
Infinite, Omniscient, Conscious Being? And where did the being possessed of finite
knowledge, you just spoke of, come from? Of course it would be alright if you were
to believe in the existence of another beginingless, finite, conscious entity besides
Brahma, but you do not, hence the objection.

Again were Brahma to become ignorant of Self, this ignorance would spread
throughout the whole Braham just a pain in one part of a man's body makes all other
parts (of his body) helpless, so would Brahma, if afflicted with ignorance or pain in
one part, feel Himself ignorant or afflicted with pain throughout His whole self.

Q. - It is all an attribute of Upadhi.

A. ~ Is Upadhi possessed of consciousness or not? Is it real or otherwise?

Q. - It is indescribable, in other words, it cannot be said of it that it possesses


consciousness or is without it, is real or apparent.

A. ~ This is quite absurd for on the one hand you say that it is nescience, and on the
other you hold that it can neither be said to be possessed of consciousness, nor
devoid of it, neither real nor unreal. It can be compared to a piece of gold
adulterated with copper which can neither be said to be gold nor copper, but a
mixture of both.

Q. - Just as the ether of the pot, the ether of a house, and the ether of a cloud
appear to be distinct from the universal ether by virtue of being enclosed by the pot,
the house and the cloud, while in reality they are all identical with the universal
ether, in like manner Brahma appears to the ignorant different in different persons
and things by virtue of the intervention of maya, nescience, and antahkaran (the
internal organ of thought) and also by being spoken of collectively and individually,
while in reality He is one and the same in all. It is said in the Katha Upanishad, "Just
as ether pervades objects of the various sizes and shapes, such as big and small,
long, broad and round, and assumes the different forms of those objects, so does
God pervades different antahkarans an assumes their forms, but as a matter of fact
He is distinct from them."

A. ~ Even this assertion of yours is wrong. Just as you believe the pot, the house
and the cloud, in the examples cited by you, to be distinct from ether, in like manner
why do you not believe the material world - both in its casual and present visible
forms - and the soul to be distinct from the Supreme Spirit, and the latter distinct
from the former (i.e., the matter and the soul)?

Q. - "Just as heat pervades all objects and thereby appears to assume various forms,
so does the Supreme Spirit by pervading the soul and matter appear to the ignorant
as one possessed of form, but in reality He is neither matter nor the soul." Again,
when a thousand trays full of water are placed in the sun, a thousand different

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reflections of the sun are seen, but in reality the sun is one, and does not perish,
move or spread when the trays get broken or their water moves or spreads, in the
same manner Brahma is reflected in the antahkaran - this reflection is called
chidabhasa or the image of God.

The soul exists as a distinct entity only so long as the antahkaran lasts, but the
moment the antahkaran, having attained perfect knowledge ceases to exist, the soul
attains the nature of Brahma, i.e. becomes God. But as long as the soul is ignorant
of its true nature which is Divine, and thinks that it is the Chidabhasa that enjoys,
feels pleasure or pain, commits sinful or virtuous deeds or is subject to birth and
death, it cannot get freedom from the bondage of this world.

A. ~ This illustration of yours is of no good. The sun has a form so do the trays and
the water therein, possessed forms. Again, the sun is separate from the trays and
the water therein and vice versa. These two facts alone make it possible for the sun
to be reflected. Had all these been formless or had they not been separate from each
other, there would have been no reflection of the sun. God is Formless and being
Omnipresent like ether nothing can be separate from Him., nor can they (i.e., God
and the Universe) be one and the same, as the relation of one that pervades and one
that is pervaded by exists between God and the world, in other words, when the
pervader and the pervaded seen from the anwaya and Vyatirekabhava* point of
view, they are united together and yet are always distinct from each other.

* Anwaya in Logic means a "statement of the constant and invariable concomitance of the Hetu (middle term)
and the Sadhya (major term) of an Indian syllogism…..Anwaya, in fact, corresponds to the universal A
proposition of European logic 'All A is B'. Vyatirekabhava means an assertion of the concomitance of the absence
of Sadhya and the absence of Hetu, and corresponds to the converted A proposition 'All not -B is not -a'…..A
cause or Hetu is said to be connected with its effect by Anwaya Vyatirekaryapati when both the affirmative an
negative relations between the thing to be proved and the cause that proves can be equally asserted; such a
Hetu alone makes the argument perfectly sound and incapable of refutation. This process of arriving at the
Vyapati or universal proposition corresponds to the methods of Agreement and Difference in Mills' Logic." - Tr.

For, if they be one, the relation of the pervader and the pervaded cannot exist but it
is clearly said in the Brihdarayaka Upanishad that this relation does exist between
God and the world. Again there can be no reflection of God because it is impossible
for a formless object to be reflected (in a transparent medium). As to your belief
regarding Brahmaa that He becomes the soul through the intervention of
Antahkaran, it is like a child's prattle, for the Antahkaran is mutable, movable and
separate, whilst Brahma is immutable and entire. Should you not believe Brahmaa
and the soul to be different from each other, how would you answer the following
objection:

The Antahkaran being movable, the part of Brahmaa which it would occupy would
become devoid of consciousness, whilst the part where it shifts from would become
possessed of knowledge, just as an umbrella cuts off the sunshine wherever it is
carried, ceases to intercept it where it has been shifted from, in like manner will the
Antahkaran by acting as an intercepting medium make Brahmaa at one moment
ignorant and bound, and at the next wise and free. From the effect of the presence
of an intervening medium like the Antahkaran, and Brahmaa being indivisible the
whole of Brahmaa will become ignorant, which can never be true as He is ex-

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hypothesis, All-knowledge. Again, whatever Brahmaa, through the medium of a
certain Antahkaran, has been, say, at Mathura, the same cannot be re-called in Kashi
(Benares) by Brahmaa, since He does not possess the same Antahkaran, as what
has been seen by one cannot be remembered by another. The chidabhas that sees a
thing a Mathura is not the same that lives a Benares, and the Brahmaa that
illuminates the chidabhas of Mathura is not the same that lives at Benares. If the
very Brahmaa be the soul and not distinct from it, the soul ought to be Omniscient.

If the reflection of Brahmaa be distinct, none should be able to recall what he has
seen or heard in the past. If you say that one can remember because Brahmaa is
one and the same, we answer that pain or ignorance in one part (of Brahmaa)
should affect the whole of Brahmaa. Thus by such illustration you have represented
the Eternal, Holy, All-wise, Ever-free, Indivisible Brahmaa as non-eternal, unholy,
ignorant, and subject to bondage, and division.

Q. - Even a formless object can be reflected, just as ether (sky) is reflected in a


mirror or a in water and looks blue or dull gray, in like manner Brahmaa casts His
reflection in all Antahkaran.

A. ~ No one can see ether with his eyes as it is altogether formless, how can a thing
be reflected in a looking-glass or in water when it cannot even be seen. Only a thing
that possesses some form can look blue or deep gray, but never a formless one.

Q. - What is then that looks bluish on high and is reflected in a mirror?

A. ~ It is the particles of dust and water (that have gone up from the earth) and of
Agni*. If there were not aqueous vapor above, where could the rain come from?
Hence what looks like a tent (and over-spreads us) in reality a spherically-shaped
mass of aqueous vapor. Just as fog, when looked at from a distance, appears thick
and tent-like but gets thinner on approaching nearer, so does the watery vapor go
up in the sky.

Q. - Are the then the illustrations elating to a coil of rope and a snake and to things
seen in dreams and the like, which have been adduced above by us, beside the
point?

* That state of matter whose properties are light and heat, etc. See Chapter 3 for further information on this
subject.- Tr.

A. ~ No, it is your understanding that is to blame, and this has already been pointed
out. Pray tell us who it is that first falls a prey to ignorance?

Q. - Brahma.

A. ~ Is Brahma Omniscient or possessed of finite knowledge?

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Q. - He is neither Omniscient nor is He possessed of finite knowledge, because
Omniscience and its reverse can be predicated of him alone whose (psychic vision) is
barred by a limiting medium (Upaadhi).

A. ~ Who is it that becomes subject to the influence of Upaadhi?

Q. - Brahmaa

A. ~ Then it is proved that Brahmaa can be both Omniscient and its reverse. Why did
you then take exception to this statement? If you contend that upaadhi is something
that has not reality in existence, with whom then did this false conception originate?

Q. - Is the soul identical with Brahmaa or not?

A. ~ It is different from Brahmaa, for if it were the same as Brahmaa, no false


conceptions could originate. He, whose conception can be wrong, can never be All-
truth.

Q. - We recognize no distinction between right and wrong, and all human utterance
is devoid of actuality.

A. ~ If all that you believe and say is false, how can you afford safe guidance?

Q. -We don't care whether we afford safe guidance or not. Conceptions of right and
wrong originate entirely with us (and have objective reality). It is the soul that is the
witness and seat thereof.

A. ~ If conceptions of right and wrong are purely subjective phenomena, you would
be a thief and an honest man at one and the same time and, therefore, a very
unsafe guide. For he alone is a trustworthy guide whose conceptions are correct, who
speaks what is right and acts up to his convictions in accordance with what is right,
and not one who is otherwise. Your statement being self-contradictory you cannot be
right.

Q. - Do you believe in the existence of the beginingless Maya that resides in the and
envelopes Brahmaa?

A. ~ No, we do not, because you interpret Maya as something which is not and yet
appears to be. Only he whose mental vision is blurred will subscribe to this belief. It
is impossible that a thing, which does not exist at all, should appear to exist, even as
it is impossible to photograph the son of a barren woman. Besides your view is
opposed to the teachings of the Upanishads as is proved by the following passage of
the Chhandogya Upanishad, "(Do thou,) O dear son, (bear in mind) that the world
had verily a material cause."

Q. - Would you refute the teachings of even scholars like Vasishtha, Shankar and
Nischaldas who were possesses of greater learning than you are? To me it appears
that Vasishtha, Shankar, and Nischaldas could speak with greater authority.

A. ~ Are you yourself a well-read man or not?

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Q. - Yes, I have read a little.

A. ~ Alright then, try if you can establish the truth of the doctrine promulgated by
Vasishtha, Shakara and Nischaldas, we will refute your arguments. He whose
position is proved to be right, will be regarded the greater authority. If the position
held by you in common with those teachers had been impregnable, you would have
succeeded in confuting us in debate by producing the arguments advanced by them,
and in that case your position would have been accepted as right.

It is very likely that Shankaracharya had taken up this position with the view to
refute more successfully the beliefs of the Jainis, for many a selfish scholar in
response to the requirements of expediency preaches doctrines opposed to the
dictates of his conscience. But if he really held beliefs like the identity of God with
the soul, and the unreality of the external universe, his position was altogether
wrong.

Let us now examine the claims of Nischaldas to scholarship. He says in his book,
called Vrittiprabhakar, that the oneness of God and the soul can be inferred from the
fact of both of them being possessed of consciousness. An argument like this can be
adduced only by men possessed of a poor intellect, because things possessing similar
attributes are not necessarily identical, as points of dissimilarity may differentiate
them just as the statement that Prithivi (solids) and Jala (liquids) being dead and
inert, are identical, cannot be valid, in the same manner the contention of Nischaldas
stated above is illogical because finitude and fallibility differentiate the soul from God
and omniscience and infallibility differentiate God from the soul; it is, therefore, clear
that God and the soul are two distinct entities.

Now solidity and gankha (the property of exciting olfactory impulses) are attributes
of Prithivi (solids) which distinguish if from Jala (liquids) which possesses rasa (the
property of exciting gustatory impulses) and fluidity, therefore solids and liquids are
not identical. In like manner, God and the soul on account of possessing dissimilar
attributes, never were, nor are, nor shall ever be one. This will suffice to show the
extent of Nischaldas's learning. As regards Yoga vashishtha, its author was a Neo-
Vedaantist. It could not have been written by Balmika, Vashishtha or Laksman
Chandra, for all of them were followers of the Vedic religion and could not therefore
have written a book opposed to its teachings, nor could they have preached anti-
Vedic doctrines.

Q. - Vyasa is the author of Shariraka Sutraas which also inculcate the identity of God
with the soul. For example he says,

1. "The soul manifests itself after attaining its true nature which is Divine,
because the word (Swa) self, stands for it its Divine Nature." VEDAANT
SHASTRA 4:4,1.
2. "Jaimini holds that the soul is one with God, because there are passages in
the Upanishads which declare that the soul can attain to a state of
sinlessness." VEDAANT 4:4, 7.
3. "The great teacher Audulomi believes that the soul retains the attribute of
consciousness alone in the state of salvation (hence is identical with
Brahmaa) as there are passages in the Brihidaranyaka which declare that the
soul is of the same nature as God." VEDANT 4:4, 6.

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4. "Vyasa holds that God and the soul are not different, because the passages
like the above occur in the Upanishads." VEDANT 4: 5.
5. "When a seer (yogi) attains superhuman powers and regains his Divinity, he
is not longer subject to the authority of a higher power, i.e., by virtue of his
Divinity he attains final beatitude and remains in the state of emancipation as
his own master as well as the supreme Governor of the universe." VEDANT 4:
4, 9.

Now how would you explain these passages?

A. ~ You have wrongly translated these aphorisms. The following is their correct
translation:-

1. "So long as the soul is not cleansed of all its impurities, and does not regain
its pristine purity, it cannot acquire superhuman* powers and attain eternal
bliss through communication with the Divine Spirit that pervades the soul."
2. "In like manner the great sage Jaimini holds that so long as the soul does not
attain superhuman psychic powers and free itself from the bondage of sin, it
cannot attain and enjoy eternal bliss."
3. "The great Teacher Audulomi believes that when the soul is freed from all
faults and imperfections, such as ignorance, attains purity and retains the
attribute of consciousness alone, it establishes direct relationship with the All-
pervading Deity."
4. "The great sage Vyasa holds that when a man attains a beatified state in this
life by virtue of direct communion with God and acquisition of superhuman
psychic powers and absolute knowledge, he recovers his original pure self and
enjoys extreme bliss."
5. "When a yogi has reached a stage at which all his volitional activity is directed
towards righteousness alone, he attains to a state of constant communion
with God and obtains the bliss of salvation. Then he is free and is his own
master quite unlike what we see in this world of ours, wherein one man is
placed above another."

Had the interpolation of the above aphorisms been different from what is given here,
the following aphorisms would not be found in the same book.

(i) “The soul which is distinct from God could not be the author of the universe, for
being possessed of finite energy and knowledge it has not the power to build up the
Cosmos. Hence the soul is distinct from God. VEDANT SHAASTRA 1:1, 16.

(ii)"The soul and God are distinct from each other, as it has been declared by the
Upanishads that they are different. Had it not been so, it would not be true that the
soul attains bliss through communion with God Who is All-bliss and that God is the
object of realization, whilst the soul seeks realization." The soul and God are,
therefore, not identical. VEDANT 1:1, 17

* I have to use this word for want of a better word. Here the term superhuman is used to express those powers
that are not attainable by man except through the practice of the highest form of Yoga. - Tr.

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(iii)"It having been declared by the Upanishads that God is distinguished from the
soul and the primordial matter on account of His possessing the attributes of
Resplendence, Holiness, All-glory, absence of incarnate existence, Omnipresence,
and of His being Unborn and Deathless, without the necessity of respiration, bodily
existence and mind, the subtler than the soul which again is subtler than primordial
matter. On account of the Character and attributes stated above, God is distinct from
both the soul and the matter." VEDANT 1,2, 22.

(iv)"The Upanishads inculcate the union of the Omnipresent God with the soul, and
of the soul with the Divine spirit. God and the soul are therefore distinct from each
other as union can be predicted only of two distinct entities." VEDANT 1:1,19.

"God has been declared Omnipresent in the Upanishad and because He pervades the
soul, the soul which is pervaded is distinct from God that pervades it. This relation
can be true only of two distinct entities. Just as God is distinct from the soul, in like
manner is He different from learned men, otherwise called Devas, because the latter
enjoy the use of the senses, and manas, the earth and other material objects, space,
the atmosphere and luminaries like the sun." VEDANT 1:1,20.

(vii)"As God and the soul are two distinct entities, the Upanishads declare that in the
recesses of the human heart there lie hidden two spirits - divine and the human."
VEDANT 1:1, 11

(vii)"The soul circumscribed by a material body cannot be identical with God as the
nature, attributes and characteristics of God cannot be predicated of it." VEDANT
1:1,3.

(ix) "God is distinct from the soul as He pervades the senses, the manas, the earth
and other material objects, and the soul. This fact of God being Omnipresent is
clearly stated in all the Upanishads." VEDANT 1:2, 18.

(x) "The soul encased in a bodily tenement is not God, for they are essentially
different from each other in nature." VEDANT 1:2, 20.

Thus even the Shariraka Sutras* teach that God and the soul are distinct from each
other in their very nature. In the same manner, it can be proved that there can be
no Upakaram (i.e., the issuing of the Universe from Brahmaa) and Upsanhara (i.e.,
the merging of the Universe into God at the time of Dissolution) as held by the Neo-
Vedantis.

When they recognize no other entity excepting God, it must be He alone then that is
subject to creation and dissolution, but the Vedas and other authoritative scriptures
declare him otherwise. This belief of theirs is, therefore sacrilegious, for it is
impossible that God Who is Unchangeable, Infinite, Holy, Eternal, Infallible, should
become subject to change, creation and ignorance.

Even at the time of dissolution God, prakriti (primordial matter), and the soul
continue to exist separately. Therefore the Neo-Vedantic theories of Creation and
Dissolution are also false. There are good many other beliefs of theirs that are
opposed to the teachings of the Shaastraas and do not stand the test of reason and
experience.

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