“The Undying Self”
by Vedic scholar and author, David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)
The Primacy of the Self
Our true Self, being, and nature is a state of pure awareness beyond our individualized body and mind, and also beyond all limitations of time, place, person, and action in the outer world. Though seeming difficult to grasp it ever abides at the core awareness in our own hearts that embraces all existence as its own.
This true Self is largely unknown to us because of our attachment to our outer existence in the physical world. Yet we all have a sense of it in the beauty, joy, wonder, and truth that flows through special moments in life, and in the intuition of the eternal and the infinite that belongs to each one of us.
One of the greatest mysteries of life is that although all creatures are naturally born and die in the cycle of time, no one wants to die. We all have a longing for, if not a vision of our own immortality. But this immortality lies in our own inner awareness, not in our outer identity. To discover this requires a radical shift in how we perceive both ourselves and the world in which we live.
Vedantic knowledge was the true revelation that Swami Vivekananda brought to the West in 1893, from which the modern global Yoga movement began. Yoga was an offshoot
of this greater Vedantic knowledge. Yoga-Vedanta was the theme of such early global gurus as Vivekananda. Vedantic knowledge is, simply speaking, the knowledge of our immortal Self that is common to all. In the broader sense it is the knowledge that the Self pervades the entire universe and whatever may be beyond it as well. Such practical Vedanta is the need of all humanity.
Vedic knowledge is the broader system of integral knowledge of Self and universe of which Vedanta is the summit. It reflects the pattern of knowledge in the Cosmic Mind in various mantric texts of great vibratory power and depth, which are called the Vedas. As such, Vedic knowledge can teach us all the secrets of nature relative to the nature of the worlds, their energies and ruling powers, types of creatures, how to live our lives, and how to work with the subtle energies of time and space.
Anthony Duart Maclean
The author of the current book has presented the Vedantic knowledge in a fresh and direct manner that reflects the living experience of a seasoned sadhak who has an inner contact with the great gurus. It is no mere academic Vedanta that he presents, or a reformulation of the words of others. Through his insight he can draw the reader into the experience of the true Self of all in a simple and immediate way.
Duart has also shown how Vedanta represents the deepest philosophy of humanity, reflected in various degrees and manners through great thinkers throughout the world over the centuries, including in Europe. His book provides an excellent bridge between classical Vedanta and modern western thought.
The author’s language is — one must recognize — dense and concentrated, much as is the profound subject and something like the sutra or axiomatic approach of Vedic literature. His book requires a careful contemplation of every word and cannot simply be perused or quickly read. Each sentence indicates consciousness transforming knowledge that is crucial to our ultimate well-being.
In addition the author has drawn us through the Vedantic knowledge into a profound examination of Yoga and Vedic knowledge as well. On such a Vedantic background the true essence of these teachings is revealed.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, perhaps the most recognized modern exponent of Vedantic knowledge, taught a simple and direct path of “Self-being.” I would not say simply a way to “Self-realization” because the Self is always realized. Rather Ramana show us how to find our own Self-being that is beyond all dilemmas and dualities of the mind.
Yet we must also remember that, however simply put into language, our inner Self is the supreme mystery, the ultimate Unknown, that is beyond all terms and ideas. Our true Self, as the deepest core of our being, is that which is most secret and most sacred. It requires surrendering the mind and letting go of the known, turning our awareness deep within in order to truly abide in it.
Today, particularly in the West, Ramana’s profound teaching is sometimes reduced by modern followers almost into a kind of pop psychology of instant enlightenment for all. Yet Ramana’s path was one of deep search within ourselves, which requires the most consummate concentration in order to accomplish. Duart’s teaching reflects that sheer profundity of Ramana’s true path.
To discover that Self one must go beyond not only the ego of this birth but all attachment to embodied existence and to all the great karmic cycles of life. This is the supreme quest of all our souls. As such, Ramana is one of the great world gurus for this time and for centuries to come.
Classical Yoga in essence is our return from the mind, and its related ego and body-consciousness, to the Self, the Atman or Purusha that is the Self-aware Universe and Self-being of all. The author directs us to the highest Yoga of Self-knowledge, though he also shows the place of all aspects of Yoga as a potentially helpful part of that deeper search. Those today who find value in any aspect of Yoga should look into this higher Yoga of Self-awareness that he reveals.
Vedic culture or Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal way of Truth, reflects a cultural pursuit of Self-realization as the true purpose of human life, which means also embracing the entire universe within ourselves. Vedic culture leads us to Yoga and Vedanta but also provides a basis for these in a life that honors all aspects of the Divine presence in the universe, from every aspect of nature to the forces and faculties of our own soul. Recognizing the restoring of such a Vedic culture is perhaps the most important project for all humanity today.
Duart Maclean has produced a most remarkable compendium of insights that weave together the highest spiritual truths and most relevant factors of human life. The book is not just one book but several and contains more insights in a few pages than many books do in their entirety.
We ask the reader to take time with this important book, to approach it as part of their own inner search that lasts a lifetime. The book is aimed at a serious student of the higher truth, who will certainly value its many treasures. One should live with, meditate with, and be one with this book. It will unfold a greater inner power and insight for all who attempt this.
Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)