Advaita as a Path
The fundamental unity of all things
Advaita, a system of philosophical thought and spiritual practice, is based on ancient texts of the Indian tradition like the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. It remains a living teaching today, offering a comprehensive view of the fundamental unity of all things.
The main tenets of Advaita are:
- The ultimate underlying principle of all existence—often termed the Absolute—is conscious, infinite and the ever-present reality.
- The creation, in all its forms, is an expression of this spiritual unity.
- The innermost self of every being is identical with this Absolute.
- A major purpose of human life is to directly experience this unity of the individual self and the Absolute, even while remaining engaged in the activities of life.
In addition to these principles, Advaita contains a wealth of practices and meditations that lead directly to deep experience and transformation. As you explore life guided by the principles of Advaita, you discover peace and happiness that can be shared with others.
Advaita is an open and accessible system of thought and practice. It can be pursued by anyone from any background who is interested in self-discovery. To help you pursue your interests in this philosophy more fully, we have provided lists of resources you might find useful.
Looking to India for Guidance
An important principle of the Advaita tradition is that, after the early stages of practice and study, a qualified teacher can be very helpful. We at the Advaita Meditation Center were guided for many years by His Holiness, Shri Shantananda Saraswati. Shantananda was the leader of Jyotir Math, the tradition’s seat in northern India, before retiring in 1980. Following his retirement, he continued to support our organization and other Western groups until His death in 1997.
Since 2005, we have been graced by our relationship with His Holiness, Shri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal, the Shankaracharya of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham in southern India. This center is the first and foremost of the four Peethams, institutes established by the renowned 8th century philosopher-saint Shri Adi Shankara, the principal exponent of Advaita. Shri Bharati Tirtha is the 36th in an unbroken lineage of student-teacher relationships that lead directly back to Shankara.
A Focus on Meditation
Meditation leads to the experience of deep unity and is a key aspect of Advaita practice. We offer training in meditation, contemplation, and reflective exercises, and initiation into mantra meditation as authorized by Shri Bharati Tirtha. Members of our community who have been meditating for many years provide ongoing support to new meditators, as well as to those experienced in meditation practice.
Ultimately, what matters most is the sense of community and the experience of unity discovered through Advaita. This is what we offer the Greater Boston community: decades of experience with Advaita in the context of group study, meditation and retreats.