CHENNAI: In philosophical terms, the term Advaita means non-dualism with respect to the Supreme Brahman who is seen as one and without a second. The implication is that, apart from Him there is none, though the universe is characterised with differences manifested in a variety of beings and objects with forms, qualities, names, etc. Knowing the meaning of the term Advaita may be helpful perhaps to expound its nuances but it does not make one a true upholder if one is not able to internalise the import and realise the truth in one’s consciousness, said Sri Ganesa Sarma in a lecture.

Ignorance of the Truth deceives us in many ways. Realised souls are able to recognise the truth behind the apparent reality of the world and the manifestations. They know the worldly dealings to be as unsubstantial as a dream while many of us are like those asleep and dreaming, who believe the dream to be real. The root cause of all problems is not knowing the answer to the question “Who am I?” Seeing the Self as part of the world is ignorance (Avidya) and gives rise to the sense of I and Mine leading to possessiveness which becomes difficult to transcend. But seeing the Self as the essence of the Eternal Brahman releases one from worldly bondage and leads to liberation.

The essential identity of the Self with the Supreme Brahman and consequently a feeling of oneness with Him is enlightenment. It is an irony that we are all part of the universe and in the midst of it and in a sense inseparable from it and yet unable to recognise the true nature of our Self. As long as we are conscious of the Self as an individual, we are unable to feel connected.

When no second object is perceived and the entire universe is seen as a single entity, there is less craving for possessions, etc. It also strips an individual of any hypocrisy and there is alignment in one’s word, thought and deed. Differences cause fear. The ability to consider all as equal to oneself is a Bhava that is difficult to attain; but if one is able to cultivate it, one is ahead in the spiritual path. Constant enquiry to identify the nature of the Self is necessary to perceive that God is in us as our very Self.