3.3) Condescending view on other paths and practices
Since, for pseudo-Advaita, no effort is needed to realize the Self, they naturally look down on all other forms of spiritual practice, devotion, and meditation. This is in opposition to the views of Shankara and Ramana Maharshi, who accepted the validity and helpfulness of these other spiritual practices.
The aloof pseudo-advaitin condemns any forms of engaged spirituality (politically aware-active spirituality) as “mâyâ” (illusion) or “buying into samsâra” (the cycle of cause-effect, death-rebirth).
For the pseudo-advaitin, matters of justice and injustice (e.g., economic justice, environmental justice, gender justice, racial justice, political justice, etc.) have no meaning and are simply absurd, not worth bothering about. Of course, this makes a mockery of everything the Buddha and other sages taught about morality, virtue, ethics, and a just society.
Some contemporary teachers consider all talk about service, morality and study of the teachings as “kindergarten spirituality”, simply activities of the mind. There is an aversion towards the study of traditional spiritual literature (even though that was an essential ingredient in Advaita) and an even greater aversion towards devotion.
We end up with a bodiless and heartless spirituality.
Many neo-Advaitins emphasize such advanced teachings. They may tell even beginning students to give up all other practices and discourage them from doing mantras, pranayama or other yoga techniques. (…) Most people can benefit from at least some support practices, particularly beginners, even if their main focus is Self-inquiry. Note the Ramana Gita VII. 12-14 in this regard. (…)
Advaitic aspirants may not be attracted to all such Yoga practices and need not be, but they should not therefore regard them as of no value or discourage others from doing them. Until the mind is fully ripe or sattvic, such practices have their value, though we should use them as a means to Self-inquiry, not in exclusion of it.
Advaita without Yoga, like Advaita without Vedanta often leaves the student without the proper tools to aid them along their sometimes long and difficult path.
Suggestions for a more effective spiritual path:
- Sattvic is good. Consider that anything that helps the development of a sattvic mind is beneficial. A sattvic mind is: calm, pure, equanimous, clear, detached, expansive, virtuous, has will power and energy. The more our mind is thus matured, the more pervasive are the effects of the nondual Truth contemplated upon.
- Support practices. Devotion, formal meditation practice, self-reflection, and study of traditional texts can help the nondual student go a long way, and should not be overlooked. You don’t need to force yourself to do a practice that doesn’t make sense to you, of course. But be open to use these tools as supports and ripening factors on your journey. It will benefit your internal discover and also your interactions with people.