What is Advaita or Nonduality?
Advaita: “A” = negation, “dva” = two, “ita”=-ness,
translates as: not-two-ness or nonduality
Vedanta: The end or the essence of the vedas
Advaita Vedanta has been a spiritual-philosophical undertaking of Indian sages, who tried to boil down the essence of the vedas. In the 8.th century AD the sage Adi Shankara lived and thaught according to this tradition and became the proponent of the movement later simply called Advaita. In modern terms we speak of Non-Duality or the Direct Path.
“Direct” simply means to show the spiritual seeker his true nature in the most direct way. Our true nature is one with all beings and expresses itself through boundless love and freedom. Nonduality is no method, it has no established teaching system. At the same time, it is the essence of all spiritual efforts to find liberation.
Advaita and other spiritual teachings
There are many proponents of nonduality, who would say, leave all other teachings behind and focus only on what is most important: finding your true nature. While in certain cases, this might be the right advice, in others it might not. In my experience people are served best, if advice is tailored to their present situation. The different spiritual systems can be very helpful to understand, where we are on our spiritual path. So in our soul we are prepared to take the next step towards liberation.
That is why I prefer to work with various spiritual teachings, like the psychology of the chakras, the archetypes of the Tarot or the Indian and Tibetan teachings about Karma.
It was Adi Shankara himself, who wrote the first poem about the seven chakras. This clearly shows, that Advaita has never excluded any other spiritual teachings or religious paths, on the contrary, it makes use of these different approaches, without clinging onto them. Because all these teachings point to the same direction: The discovery of our true nature, which expresses itself through boundless love and freedom.