Two is a crowd
Author: Robert Wolfe
Publisher: Zen Publications
By Satish Purohit
The title of the book being reviewed struck me. It brought a Sri Ramakrishna story to mind. A student of nonduality allowed a rampaging elephant to trample him despite the mahout’s warning to give way. He explained to the guru that he did so because he did not differentiate between Brahman in the elephant and Brahman manifesting through him. The guru said he should have listened to the Brahman manifesting in the mahout.
Shankara taught the ‘living’ of the philosophy as an intellectual understanding of the truth of nonduality to the seeker presently in the common state of duality or multiplicity or vyavharika. In the vyavharika level, worship, the difference between guru and disciple, devotee and God, icon and worshipper, exist, and even while this drama is unfolding, at the ultimate level, none of this is really true.
So, as the default existential state is nondual, there is, in the final estimation, nowhere to go, nobody to learn from, and nothing to be achieved by religious or ritual practices. So, the state that is called ‘enlightenment’ is actually the state we are in, right now.
Having grasped this, and not having changed a bit by knowing this, it is daunting to plod through 358 pages that say just this in different ways.
The author quotes Ramesh Balsekar who spoke of the virtue of repetition when it comes to learning something of value. However, reading experience becomes easier due to the length of the individual pieces. The short meditations on the nondual experience are as short as half a page and the lengthier ones rarely exceed two pages. Each one can, therefore, be read separately and over an extended period of time. The shortness of the pieces helps, as the subject calls for several revisits.
Not a book to be read in a hurry.
Satish Purohit is a writer, editor, and author-coach based in Mumbai
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