The World Yoga Festival is an opportunity to amass the greatest collection of Advaita (non-duality) teachers ever assembled together in the West. But, what exactly is Advaita and what does it have to do with yoga?
We often make funny remarks such as 'oneness', or 'union with the Divine'. What do these words or statements mean? Does anyone know or does it just give a warm glow when we say them in mantras or concentrate on them in meditation. Simply stated, Non-Dual teaching states that you, the world and universal consciousness (some call awareness, nature or divine) have the same underlying reality and that coming to understand this fully is what is known as enlightenment. What does it have to do with yoga? In a word, everything! When you can still your body, you can attempt to still your mind. Once your mind is still and the thoughts of the outside world are under control, then you have the space for knowledge to enter. Enlightenment is the eradication of ignorance of who we truly are. It does not require going somewhere or becoming something let alone having something. Ignorance, which has no beginning, can only be dissipated by knowledge that has no end. The ultimate goal of yoga is therefore to realise the ultimate union – there is only one. But if we are one, how come you and I seem different? Why can't I think your thoughts or dream your dreams? Why is a tree not me? It doesn't make any sense. The ancients understood how difficult it was to introduce let alone study such a subject and designed a set of methodologies to explain, step by step, the nature of the world and our position within it. These methodologies have been documented and handed down for thousands of years from Guru to student. One of the world greatest such Gurus was Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati and he has left a legacy of hundreds of students to carry on the task of teaching others. At the festival, six of his students will, in their turn, become our teachers. The tradition continues. Truth will always remain the truth and remain to be discovered by the dedicated few. The real question you have to ask yourself is, am I ready?
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