Posed to Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
by Christian Salvesen
Editor Connection Magazine Germany
Maastricht The Netherlands
Note to Editor: the questionnaire addresses Duality and not Non-Duality. Relative questions about advaita always demand a response, which can only ever be dual in nature and thereby relative. This creates a barrier to Advaita.
Q: Which spiritual traditions have had the strongest impact on you?
VS: Spiritual traditions can only have an impact on the mind. The mind is Duality.
Q: Who were/are your teachers?
VS: Teachers, like scriptures make an impact on the mind, thereby propagating Duality.
Q: Can you describe what it was that pulled you the most to them?
VS: What ‘Is’ cannot be described by a mind which can only ever describe that which is impacted in it by scriptures and teachers.
Q: What made you start to give Satsang?
VS: Satsang cannot be given. Satsang is a happening. In a happening there is neither beginning nor ending.
Q: How was it for you teaching for the first time being the center of attention, being seen as an authority?
VS: There is neither Teacher, nor Teaching, nor Taught. Also, since the Seer and the Seen are one the question is meaningless.
Q: Biographical/vita: Date and place of birth?
VS: Mental records show a conditioning regarding a Birth in South India in the late 1940's
Q: Do you live alone, with a partner, within a sangha/commune?
VS: One appears alone, lives alone and disappears alone. The question addresses the social dreams of the mind and not Reality. The irony is that all are alone and yet they question if others are alone.
VS: All is a dramatic play. Professions appear as many roles. In the case of this body the role of a Doctor and Scientist has occupied other minds.
Q: What you like/don't like? (Eating, drinking, sleeping, holidays, sports etc.)
VS: In the absence of accepting and rejecting there is freedom to embrace everything, which happens unconditionally. The mind though, loves labels and prefers to love what it has labelled according to its own measure.
Q: Does music play a major role in your Satsangs? (live? Recordings? favourites?)
VS: Music is direct, immediate, the throbbing of Essence itself. Music can never be a role. Satsang is the absence of all roles.
Q: Is there any event in your experience that could be called the moment of awakening?
VS: What has a beginning must necessarily have an end. Similarly only that which has a beginning and end can be described. Awakening cannot be described neither can any event be credited with the arising of it. Were it so, the event of awakening would be more important than the awakening itself.
Q: If so, when and where did it happen? What happened before it ("Cause")? What about life after Awakening?
VS: All descriptions of awakening are false. Life itself is an awakening; a timeless beauty studded with illusory concepts of beginnings and endings.
Q: Many readers ask: What does enlightenment give me?
VS: In the absence of an answer what value could a question have?
Q: Does it make any difference whether people in Satsang are personally close to you (mother, old school friend) or not?
VS: This question is about Satsang. Satsang though, is never 'about' anything. Satsang is realisation of unity. Satsang has nothing to do with communication, no ' business' with the 'other,' others such as mother, old school friends, etc., are merely mental concepts.
Q: What about "The prophet in his home country"?
VS: This question is irrelevant. In fact, it would be better to ask the Prophet himself
Q: How do you react to old friends who criticize you. Re: you giving Satsang now? Do you sometimes still get hurt by criticism?
VS: This question is entirely hypothetical. If criticism happens then life will respond.
Q: What is your teaching in one sentence?
VS: How wily is the mind ever seeking to reduce the magnificence of Reality to one sentence. If there was a teaching there could be an answer to this question.
Q: What exercise/meditation would you offer to someone who has never been to Satsang but has a longing for truth?
VS: It is best to let people shop around for themselves. The market place is as vast as its source, which is the mind itself. Where there is demand there will always be supply. Reality though, dictates the market prices, which will always get questioned in time.
Q: Any book or CD-releases?
VS: A book, which will de-impact the mind, will become known when it happens.
Spontaneous responses given while at Maastricht, Holland (July,2000).
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2000