Each person knows the sublime peace which can transcend every day life.

This touch of bliss is often linked to beautiful places or happy occasions but it is always available. When we have this recognition we are experiencing the non-duality that is the true way of seeing. This is expressed in the philosophy of Advaita. The word Advaita means simply ‘not two’. It is the philosophy which acknowledges the uninhibited flow of Consciousness from the true Self that we are to a whole view of what appears to manifest, without hardening that view into specific names and forms. When we see the sun rise we temporarily suspend all division in favour of the natural beauty that knows no qualification and transcends everything else. We attribute the feeling of well being to the sunrise but it is in fact a result of the recognition of wholeness.

Adi Sankara knew this truth. It is his formulation of this teaching which is the basis of the philosophy taught today. During his life, thought to be about 700 AD, he set up seats around India which became the custodians of this knowledge. Those holding these seats are known as Shankaracharya after his name. A recent holder of the title Shankaracharya of the North of India, His Holiness Shantand Saraswati, was contacted by Dr Francis Roles, founder of the Study Society, in the1960’s. Conversations with His Holiness, over a period of 20 years, form the basis of the teaching in the Study Society, which continues the non-dual tradition.

This wider awareness is available, not just on special occasions, but constantly. This philosophy forms the basis of all religions which seek to come to an appreciation of the perfection which deep down we all know but which is covered over in attachments to everyday life. The realisation of this truth cuts through the imagined separateness of the person. The beauty of the sunrise or the unity engendered by fine music leave no room for separateness. This occurs when the Consciousness, that we all are, is uninhibited and undivided. The ongoing recognition of this truth is the most profound realisation possible.

Norman Alderton