TO SPREAD THE SIGNIFICANCE AND MESSAGE OF ADVAITA VEDANTA
Each one of us is a product of life’s experiences, past and present. Circumstances of our birth and childhood mould our persona as adults and continue to influence our relationships and interactions with others.
Born in Burma to a religious Hindu family, Gian Kumar’s life began as a paradox. He went on to study in a boarding school which observed strict Christian practices. Diametrically opposite were the Hindu traditions and customs which became the norm once he was home for the holidays. Being a thinker, the inherent confusion and dogmas underlying religion drove him further away from his former beliefs towards spirituality. He is grateful for this journey filled with opportunities to learn about ‘who am I, what is my purpose in life and is God an illusion;’ and hopes to impart as much of his experiential learning to his readers through his books. The earlier confusion and chaos underlying religion (which he found dogmatic) gradually propelled him towards spirituality. This proved to be a revelation and provided him with inner peace and tranquillity.
He pondered what to do – whether to go towards religion or continue as he was, submerged in the various intoxicants of life. In spite of running a successful business and enjoying all the comforts with his family, he yet kept asking himself, why is it that I want more and more? Why am I not content? What is the reason for my insecurity and doubts about the shallowness of my existence?
How does one go about gaining a stable mind and body? Who was I really? Where did I come from?
Why should I believe in God? Do we really need Him?
Question after question kept pouring into his mind, driven by his lifestyle and his own uncertainties about life. Despite friends and family, he was lonely; despite wealth and property, there was emptiness within. Having been an independent and strong-willed person throughout his life, he ventured on his quest alone, without seeking help – to search for, know and understand the completeness which had eluded him for so long. Slowly, step-by-step, he started to climb up the tree of life, awakening to the truth, through
Self-discovery. It was not what religion had been preaching or what science declared. He had to discover the power of the spirit, the real self, which he was so ignorant about. His quest was to find his own truth so that he could understand and experience what the seers, preachers and gurus preached. But did their truth resonate with his own intellect, intentions and intuition, so that he too, could experience truth and not merely listen to what others called Truth?
We know how much effort and research is required to acquire the knowledge which reveals the truth about life. The subject is both paradoxical and complex. Gian Kumar’s research and various studies took him to the Vedas wherein he found their thoughts and philosophy comforting, as he himself had a scientific bent of mind. This led him to search for answers to intriguing questions about the meaning and purpose of our life, and the discovery of the Self. After many years of in-depth study, he realized his knowledge, though still incomplete, could now be shared with the world.
He was now in his forties and ready to pen down his thoughts in Spiritual books and articles.
Gian Kumar’s books look at spirituality from a scientific and rational point of view. That is exactly what the Vedas tell us. Vedanta philosophy starts with an understanding of the self, this universe and God. We are living in a world full of suffering, and how do we transcend this suffering? Experiences occurred during the course of living come from an emotional state of the mind. Hindu philosophy, however, says that though from an emotional state, yet there is scientific reasoning behind these experiences. So, there is a scientific and logical connection. Spiritual self-realization comes about with reasoning, with true reality, which is changeless.
The reality that is temporary and unique to each and every one of us is apparent, what seems to be real, is not. Reality is changeless and exists as it is, the way it is; like the sky and the ocean. Vedanta does accept this transitory part of matter as reflective reality since it is superimposed on the substratum of what is actual. The transient reality keeps changing to another and is called pratibhasika. Even that is an intrinsic part of its substratum in the form of ultimate reality. This supreme reality is higher, paramarthika reality. As long as one is in the body, one transacts between these realities. The world exists, but it is not the absolute reality. Vedanta shows us how to discriminate between these realities and how to transcend to the supreme, absolute reality which is unchanging and limitless. Gian Kumar’s thoughts on the subject are similar and well depicted in his books.