Can You Understand Vedanta?

  1. Vedanta is not really a philosophy. It is a state (level) of consciousness. In the state of Vedanta, one spontaneously sees through the veil of illusion. It is as if everything is lightly etched on the face of Oneness. It is not an attitude or philosophy. It is a physiological level of human evolution. If we’re not careful, studying Vedanta becomes an attempt to put Unboundedness in the boundaries of a box.
  2. Humans evolve through the elevation of their level of consciousness.
  3. Deep inside, everybody is one with the source of everything, the essence of all knowledge. This is why so many think they are enlightened when they first learn about Vedanta. The knowledge resonates with that deep inner knowing. Whether or not it is fully integrated with all levels of their being, is quite another matter. Enlightenment means integration.
  4. Trying to live a limited understanding of Vedanta as a behavior or philosophical overlay in daily life is epidemic, yet tragic. It is attempting to conform to a distorted notion. Enlightenment is not even about conformity. It’s about becoming integrated with the level of life that transcends conformity. Functioning harmoniously with the world of conformity is quite different from losing your Self to those conformities.
  5. People often think enlightenment looks a certain way, but it does not. Just as every snowflake is unique, every individual is unique.
  6. There are ever-increasing levels of understanding, but they all parallel. When someone understands Vedanta on a superficial level, it parallels deeper understandings. However, they think they get it. Echoes of Truth, perceived as Truth, hold Truth at bay. This is called the I-get-it Syndrome.
  7. There are an unlimited number of awakenings along the way. People have an awakening, think they are enlightened, think they ‘get it,’ and go out and teach. Tragic… well intended, but it leads people astray.
  8. People conform to superficial notions of enlightenment and decide they are enlightened. For example, it’s easy to hold hands and sway and get enchanted with the notion that we are all one. But ultimately, Oneness is something much deeper.
  9. Every level of understanding dictates a different world view. Once a particular level of understanding is identified with, people decide they ‘get it.’ This precludes them from going deeper. In the Vedic tradition, there is the notion of “Neti, Neti, Neti”: not that, not that, not that. Of course, people hear that notion and decide they ‘get it.” They decide their level of understanding is as deep as it goes.
  10. Non-attachment is not on the surface. It is deep inside. In the state of non-attachment (freedom from desire), we still can prefer salted caramel ice-cream over vanilla. The full range of emotions is still lived. Lord Rama fell to the ground and sobbed when his wife, Sita, was kidnapped. Yet he was living in the state of non-attachment.
  11. Some people think they can behave in a Vedantic manner. Behavior is superficial. Living Vedanta does not show on the surface. It is deeper than that.
  12. Doing the Vedanta cha-cha is a very common syndrome. People think they get Vedanta, enlightenment. But they are only clinging to echoes of Truth.
  13. It is not about intellectual understanding. It is a state of physiology.
  14. Every level of understanding is a self-sustaining, circular, impervious world of self-justification. People get stuck in a particular level of understanding. If you talk to them, they ‘get’ everything you say. If you say to them, “Enlightenment is deeper,” they say, “Right.”
  15. Attaining enlightenment is a highly elusive process, referred to as “traversing the razors edge” or “passing through the eye of the needle.”
  16. We live in Kali Yuga (the age of ignorance): Ignore-ance. Ignoring what lies deeper. Most ‘teachers’ read a few books, meditate a bit, decide they get it, and go out and teach.
  17. People sometimes say with pride something like: “I have been meditating for 30 years.” I respond by saying, “If you must measure, evolution is not measured in years, it is measured in lifetimes.”
  18. It is not comfortable to be in a room full of people identified with (indoctrinated into) a shared level of understanding/indoctrination. You will be judged if you do not conform.
  19. People call their ‘teacher’ someone who is more indoctrinated into (better at) their indoctrination than they are.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


  1. Each of these points is exquisite on its own. I was particularly struck by #16,18,19 as I am contemplating moving into more teaching of the Ayurvedic postpartum recovery work. So grateful when I am in the presence of our teacher that helps me move past levels of indoctrination.

  2. “Vedanta” is a combination of two words: “Veda” which means “knowledge” and “anta” which means “the end of” or “the goal of.” “Vedanta, then, is the search for Self-knowledge as well as the search for God”.

    Is this correct? I want to make sure I understand the meaning of the word when I read this blog. Thanks!

  3. Yes, Crystal,
    That is correct. Of course ‘knowledge’ in this sense is not just intellectual understanding, but rather a state of being, a state of physiology, a level of consciousness.