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This Has Nothing to Do with Religion

Duncan Riach
3 min readDec 8, 2018

Advaita is a Sanskrit word that literally means “non-secondness.” Advaita is also apparently the name of a religion. According to Google, it is “a Vedantic doctrine that identifies the individual self (atman) with the ground of reality (brahman).”

I have recently been writing about what-is-and-is-not, which is this [looks around]. A (very) few people have referred to what I have been writing as “neo-advaita.” I want to make absolutely clear that what I am writing about has nothing to do with Advaita. I know very little about Advaita, but even the first few words of the Google dictionary definition shows that Advaita-the-religion has absolutely no relationship to what I have been writing about.

The first thing the dictionary definition mentions is “the individual self,” in the context of it being somehow real. Well, there you go: there is no individual self. The individual self is a complete illusion. There is only this, what-is-and-is-not. There is no self at all, anywhere, ever (except as a concept). Where could it possibly be hiding?

I have a suspicion about what Advaita is, but no way of knowing for sure. It seems to me that Advaita may have formed around a communication related to what-is-and-is-not. It’s possible that the communication was misunderstood to reify the illusion of self, and framed to give hope to the self, hope that it really exists and that it has a future. The hope is that the little self can realize itself as the big self. The hope is that atman can realize itself as being identical to brahman.

While “non-secondness,” or one without second, seem to be relatively skillful labeling attempts for this message, this message is completely unrelated to Advaita-the-religion. There is absolutely no hope whatsoever for the individual self. In fact, the prognosis is beyond hopeless. It’s not that the individual self might die or end, it’s that there never was an individual self. There is no individual self associated with any human body, and there never was.

There is only this, and it’s not an “I,” or a “self,” or “awareness” or “consciousness.” It’s simply what-is-and-is-not. That’s all it is. It’s also blindingly obvious. This only seems to not be recognized because the illusory self seems to be denying what-is-and-is-not.

Duncan Riach

Top Writer. Self-Revealing. Mental Health. Success. Fulfillment. Flow. MS Engineering/Technology. PhD Psychology.