Teaching and writing about self inquiry through Advaita (Jnana Yoga) to attain Self-Realization
Hello ! I am the writer of this blog. My name is Anurag Jain (born 1975), and I am married to Shikha. We have a daughter named Harshal. I live in Jamshedpur, India, along with my wife Shikha. She takes care of NEEV Herbal Handmade Soaps – A Social Enterprise started in 2007, along with pursuing her own spiritual journey. I take care of the NEEV Centre for Self Inquiry which, in it’s present form, is this website in which I am writing and teaching self inquiry through the traditional Indian school of Advaita Vedanta. We also have a campus for this centre in Hurlung Village, Jamshedpur, which we are in the process of developing. I run two Facebook Groups to teach Self Inquiry. Details of them can be found here
We started NEEV Trust, a social work organization in 2006; the Centre for Self Inquiry came into existence only in 2017, after about a decade of work done in the areas of social work and education through NEEV Trust and my self inquiry. Our aim throughout these years was to create a transformation in the world. However, through all my experiences and reflections I found that the cause of all suffering is not in the outside but in our self. I realized that no amount of changes in the systems and structures of the outer world can end suffering at the root level. So in 2017, I closed down all my educational and social activities to focus on self inquiry and help others in the same journey, through NEEV Centre for Self Inquiry. Neev Herbal Handmade Soaps continues to be run by Shikha.
My journey of Self inquiry
Self inquiry is about understanding the nature of suffering within oneself, and the ending of it, without resorting to any belief. It seeks to understand what is world, mind, body, thought, action, experience and death. While most people do not find the need for this, some people do: at some point in their life. Depending upon the intensity of this need, self inquiry becomes the, one and only, important thing in the world.
Sooner or later, the amount of time one devotes to it becomes substantial. Moreover, as self inquiry keeps exposing the falsities in which the mind is embroiled in, one sees the utter futility of all organizations and institutions to solve anything psychologically. In my case, when I was 20 years old, my head went into the tiger’s mouth of self inquiry. I worked for about 22 years to create a decent saving while pursuing my self inquiry. Because of this I was able to take early retirement at the age of 42; and in 2017 I decided to devote all my time and energy to further self inquiry through this website and NEEV Centre for Self Inquiry.
I had been very interested in the teachings of J Krishnamurti for the last 25 years, because he has gone deeply into the questions of everyday life and suffering without resorting to any belief or authority. I also read very widely in other fields of religion, philosophy, psychology, science, economics, sociology, history, literature and politics to gain an understanding of myself and the world. All this eventually brought me to Advaita Vedanta – a Non-Dual school of Self inquiry and Self Realization. The technical term used by Advaita Vedanta for Self Inquiry is called Jnana Yoga.
I had my Self Realization of true Self/Witness/Awareness through Advaita in 2012. I have written about it in my article “Self inquiry and insight into one’s true nature in Advaita“. I am indebted to Advaita teacher James Swartz, whose writings on the internet helped me get Self Knowledge, eventually ending my journey of seeking. Prior to this, I had read the basics of Advaita Vedanta for merely a month. All my previous work with J Krishnamurti’s teachings had helped me negate most of the falsity. The last nudge required by Advaita was – Tat Tvam Asi : Thou Are That. It meant, I had to stop seeking truth as an object and understand the subject: my true Self/Witness/Awareness as the ultimate non-dual truth.
However, it took some time (7 years) to clear mostly philosophical doubts relating to Self/Awareness/Witness which arose from my readings of different schools, both within Advaita and outside Advaita, that speak of Truth in different and contradictory ways. I was immensely helped in all this by my friend and philosopher, Greg Goode, who patiently had dialogue with me through all my mind boggling questions, changes and reversals.
Finally in 2020, I stabilized in Self Realization, completely beyond all doubts. In the words of Bhagavad Gita, I entered the state of sthitha prajna or Steady Wisdom. My mind, body and the universe appear and disappear as phenomena to the eternal Witness/Self.
My path of self inquiry, is the traditional path of Gaudapada as mentioned in his Mandukya Karika and later elaborated by his grand disciple Shankaracharya. It is called asparsh yoga or contactless yoga or Jnana Yoga.
This path is a path for liberation, requiring a highly philosophical bent of mind. Those interested in learning self inquiry through this website should definitely go through my page “Stages of Self Inquiry” before they begin exploring the site.
Those interested in learning Advaita can contact me through the form provided in the ‘Learn Advaita‘ page in this website.
Audio Interview: My Personal Journey to Advaita, Advaita Teachings & Difference Between Advaita & Other Paths
This free-wheeling interview discusses
- What is Self Inquiry? Reasons for me to start my Self Inquiry?
- Challenges I faced in my personal life while doing Self Inquiry.
- The reason that drew me to teachings of J Krishnamurti and why I later shifted to Advaita
- What is Advaita and Jnana Yoga or Yoga of Knowledge? What is the source of Jnana/Knowledge?
- Why knowledge and experience is the final truth and what are the use of spiritual experiences in the path of Shankara/Gaudapada Advaita?
- The various other paths I took up and the reason for me to follow them and leave them.
- The subtle difference between Shankara/Gaudapada Advaita and Yoga and how many teachers mix the teachings of the two.
- The difference between Advaita and Buddhism
- Difference between Advaita and Direct Path (Greg Goode)
- The difference between Advaita and teachings of Aurobindo
A Short Note on My Path of Jnana Yoga
In traditional Advaita, if one is a householder, a seeker first enters into the path of Karma Yoga, and after attaining sufficient mental purity, he becomes qualified to enter the path of liberation called Jnana Yoga. If a seeker directly wishes to enter Jnana Yoga, he/she has to renounce the world and take sannyasa. Technically it is called vividisha sannyasa.
However, my path has been unique because neither did I renounce the world, nor did I enter Karma Yoga. Instead, I entered Jnana Yoga through the unique teachings of J Krishnamurti. In my mind, this is a phenomenal and novel contribution of J Krishnamurti to the world of spirituality. I left his teachings at the penultimate stage to enter Advaita. Why I did so, is a topic for a very advanced practitioner of Jnana Yoga (and a topic for one of my future articles). Suffice is to say here that a seeker can realize the potential of his teachings to enter Jnana Yoga of Advaita directly, while being a householder and, without entering the traditional teachings of Karma Yoga, which rely on the concept of God. (Later the concept of God is negated in Jnana Yoga of Advaita). With Krishnamurti, one can enter deconstructive Jnana Yoga, right from the word go !
Having said this, there are many points of divergence and contention, along with innumerable similarities, between Jnana Yoga of Advaita and Krishnamurti’s teachings. So it is unwise to conflate both the teachings and assume that they are saying one and the same thing. The biggest difference is that Krishnamurti was a dualist, while Advaita is a non-dual teaching and the highest truth.
Thus I use Krishnamurti’s teachings for the first two phases of my self inquiry, i.e Psychological Inquiries and Meditative Inquiries and I teach Advaitic Inquiry in the final stage. Though one can start reading about Advaita from the second stage itself