True Nonduality And Neo-Advaita—Moving Beyond A Cognitive Realization

3.6) Some guiding questions

I haven’t mentioned any particular names of neo-Advaita teachers, but I believe I gave you the tools to tell the difference between traditional Advaita and New Age Advaita. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself, to help you discern.

Does the teacher…

  1. Imply that no spiritual practice is required, apart from attending satsang and listening to him?
  2. Say or imply that virtues, self-control, and ethics are “just illusions”, and thus also justify his own misbehavior?
  3. Look down on other forms of spiritual practice, such as meditation and devotion?
  4. Say or imply that he is enlightened, or that there is no further awakening for him?
  5. Function only in an impersonal, dry, nihilistic way, and is unable to connect at a more human and compassionate level?
  6. Charge disproportionally for the satsangs or other products?
  7. Seem to be more interested in other benefits of being a teacher, rather than just the growth and awakening of students?
  8. Never mention, recommend, or read from traditional Advaita texts?
  9. Get irritated, uneasy, evasive, or in any way affected, when asked about his personal life or when pointed out flaws?
  10. Expect you to “give up the search”, or “declare yourself awakened”?

The more “yes” you give, the clearer it is that you are facing neo-Advaita.

These are not absolute criteria, but interesting questions to ask yourself.

Not all modern teachers of Advaita are neo-Advaita; as mentioned, there are many shades of neo. Hopefully, these questions and remarks will help you discern which forms of teaching are more helpful/authentic than others.

neo advaita
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