Vedanta Questions & Answers

Vedanta Q & A Clips

  • How to know or experience the Self/Consciousness/Atman/Brahman?
    • How to know the Self when It cannot be objectified? Is inference sufficient?
    • Is Awareness experienced as an object?
    • Everything we do is prompted by thoughts, which are the functions of the mind. So how does one experience Consciousness in its purity without the mind?
    • How is Consciousness experienced? How do we know/grasp it? What exactly is Consciousness, Atman, Awareness, Pure Consciousness, Brahman, etc.?
    • Our minds are limited by time, space and causation. Brahman is beyond these three. With this in mind, at what level (or in what way) can we conceptualize Brahman?
  • What is the Witness Consciousness (Sakshi Chaitanya)?
    • Who is the Witness of the mind?
    • Is it my mind or the Witness Consciousness?
    • What is the difference between the ego and the Witness? Is Consciousness a creation of the brain?
    • If Consciousness is the Witness, who or what is making the choices that we are seeing around us or even within us?
  • What exactly is Consciousness and how does It function?
    • What is the difference between mind (citta) and Consciousness?
    • Is Consciousness separate from the brain?
    • What is the nature of "I"? What exactly does it refer to?
    • Is Pure Consciousness aware of change, suffering, etc., and if so, how is it that It does not change, and/or suffer?
    • If Consciousness Itself is beyond feelings/emotions (happiness, sadness, etc.), then how can Bliss be the nature of Consciousness?
  • Are non-living material things also Brahman/Consciousness?
    • Is Consciousness present in non-living things? Are they also Brahman?
    • We can say that the substratum of human awareness is Pure Consciousness. How can we extend it to include the whole material universe, and posit that Pure Consciousness is its substratum?
    • What is the difference between 'Jiva' (sentient beings) and 'Jada' (insentient things)? If both are manifestation of Brahman/Consciousness, then what makes one thing sentient and the other insentient?
  • What is Maya?
    • How does the One appear as many?
    • Brahman alone is real and the world is an appearance. What causes the world to appear?
    • How can the formless Brahman produce a universe of forms?
    • How can Maya be both real and unreal? How to reconcile the ultimate reality with Maya?
    • Does the presence of Maya imply duality?
    • Are we One or many? Where does ignorance lie?
    • How is the universe related to the Absolute? Is the universe real?
    • How did we get separated from Turiya/Brahman and how did this confusion start?
    • If Consciousness illumines Maya, then why does it need the support of Maya to realize itself?
  • Who or what is in bondage and gets liberation?
    • Who gets liberated?
    • To whom does enlightenment happen if we are already Brahman?
    • Nature of human bondage
    • Who is deluded by Maya?
    • If I am Brahman/Atman, who is under delusion, who is the doer, who suffers?
  • Who or what is God as per Advaita Vedanta (Nonduality)?
    • Is Brahman the cause of the universe? Does Advaita Vedanta recognize an Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God?
    • In Bhakti traditions, God is understood to have love and compassion. What is the relation of God of Advaita with the God of Bhakti traditions?
  • How to manifest the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta (Nonduality) in daily life?
    • How to manifest the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta?
    • The knowledge of the eternal Witness gives enormous peace, but how to live life in the light of this knowledge? How is it relevant in the struggle of life?
    • Balancing Self with samsara
    • If we have family, friends, and relationships can we also reach Enlightenment/Self-Realization? Can we have both?
    • How can I apply Vedanta to family life?
    • After getting a breakthrough insight into what I really am, how do I approach the demands of the world?
    • How can I help others?
  • Which spiritual path should I follow?
    • Which spiritual path should I follow?
    • How can I determine the spiritual practices in accordance to my temperamental tendencies?
    • Among the two paths of spirituality namely Bhakti (Devotion) and Jnana (Knowledge), which one is the right path?
    • Upanishads say that Self-Realization is the way to transcend sorrow. Is the path of surrender or Bhakti also a valid path?
  • How to calm/control the mind and overcome distractions during meditation?
    • Overcoming disturbances during meditation
    • Dealing with sleepiness during meditation
    • How does one make the mind one-pointed?
    • How can we focus our minds (esp. in environments filled with distractions)?
    • During meditation I'm faced with external disturbances, such as ticking of clock, chirping of bird, etc., and the internal & external get mixed up. What is the way out?
  • How to tackle impurities of the mind?
    • Overcoming lust and desire
    • How to provide sufficiently strong arguments to mind, to counter distractions, provocations such as greed, lust, etc., in order to attain perfect chastity in thought, word & deed?
    • Can desires be destroyed?
  • If the world is Brahman/God, why is there evil and suffering?
    • Where does evil come from?
    • If the whole world is Brahman, then it suggests that evil is also Brahman. So how to distinguish between good and evil? If God exists then why is evil more than good in the world?
    • If God exists, why is there suffering?
    • Why does the play of Consciousness/God give so many negative experiences (sorrow, suffering, pain, fear, frustration, failure, boredom, etc.)?
  • Is there a free will?
    • A discussion on free will
    • We have the sense that we have free will, but it is not clear whether we actually possess it or not. The opposite of free will is determinism. So which is it?
    • Do I have any say in changing my character’s role in the world that is nothing but God’s Leela (Divine Play)?
  • Law of karma
    • Law of karma in Advaita Vedanta
    • Karma in the relative and the Absolute
    • Can karma affect the Enlightened/Self-Realized being?
    • Does liberation depend upon karma?
    • What is the nature of the thread that connects the samskaras of a jiva even after death? If we are all Witness Consciousness or God, how does the law of karma affect us? Why do you think karma does not adequately explain evil and suffering?
    • Why, when and how did karma start?
    • If same Brahman is residing in everyone, how is my karma my own? Why don't I share somebody else's karma or vice versa?
    • Why do bad things happen to good people?
    • What makes karma good or bad?
  • Death, transmigration and afterlife
    • Understanding and contemplating death
    • Tell us more about death and destruction of universe
    • What carries from life to life?
    • How do desires transmigrate after death?
    • How to overcome sadness, grief, and painful memories?
    • If Consciousness is everywhere, why does a body lose It upon death?