In India, they call upadesa the teaching, the instruction of the Guru. You cannot learn what the Guru is showing, but you can be taught about what He is dealing with. The practice of upadesa is sadhana, which is the practice that the Guru gives to you. You have heard me saying many times that there is no practice, because it is something that becomes mechanical. It is like learning - it becomes mechanical, merely verbal. Some have learned these words, they can write and talk about it, but do not have the practice. The practice, when it is not an experience, is a mechanical thing, it is like something learned, it is not real. It is like that thing you do because you have learned and practiced, it is not natural.
In spirituality, you live the practice because you learn it, but it is not natural. When you are taught, because you get the upadesa from the Guru and put into practice, such practice is experiential, but you receive it as a teaching, not as a learning.
It may seem synonymous, but here they cannot be placed as synonyms. I received from my Guru the upadesa and put the teaching of Silence into practice. This teaching, which came from Silence, it gave me the tips about what I needed to loose, in practice.
So, I had to cut loose the self-image, the choices, the determination of doing or not doing, the decision; I had to loose my will, surrender my will to a willingness greater than mine, greater than that "me". I had to surrender this will to God’s Will, Divine Will. Thus, either I heard the mind itself or I heard the Guru's teaching. If you take on this teaching, that’s upadesa, that’s sadhana.
You can dismiss the learning of these words. In fact, if you do not do so, you will learn these words and they will be used for you such as to meow or to bark. Learn Advaita is equal learning to meow or to bark. What is it you gonna do with that? The practice of the teaching given by the Guru, this upadesa, it brings the experience of Self-realization, and that Self-realization is Advaita, that is non-duality, non-separateness.
So, what do I deal with you every day? Advaita. I deal about Advaita, but I am not teaching Advaita, because my teaching is upadesa. I cannot teach Advaita. Advaita is non-duality, how can I teach this? You can follow my teaching and, in practice, discover what Advaita is. That would be a direct experience of yours, but repeating words of "advaita" is not Advaita.
What do I have not been telling you? What haven’t I been sharing with you, shown to you, in this teaching?
You do not reach Advaita, the non-duality, in a direct way; It is always in an indirect way. Advaita is the Natural State of non-dualism, non-separateness. You do not reach it verbally, theoretically, there is no teaching that can give you that.
It is like trying to give you the Presence, the Self, Consciousness. You cannot reach This; then, we must have a different approach, discarding what it is not This, what is not Advaita. Duality is not Advaita.
The separation between you and the other, created by thought, based on that image of "I am one and you are other", that is dualism. You discard that and, then, you realize the Advaita, your state of non-dualism. So, my work is all indirect, it is for you to discard the duality in there, the sense of separation, looking and seeing where it appears.
I cannot give you the sense of non-separation, the absence of the sense of separation - not verbally at least - but I can show you what This is not. This is not, for example, this behavior based on images, this ugly thing the ego does.
This is dualism, duality. It is all me and God, me and the other, me and the world, me and the Guru, me and the fellow of Sangha, me, the Sangha, the Guru and God.
There is me, the Sangha, there is the Guru and there is God... and there is the world, my husband, my wife, my daughter, my son who died, who I do not want to forget, cannot forget ...
That is not what Advaita is, that is pure dualism, ego, sense of separateness. Such illusion I can investigate with you, and once you see it, you discard it, and when you discard it, the end of duality becomes clear.
So, the teaching, the upadesa, has this purpose. This teaching is experiential and It awakens! It is in this sense that the Guru does not come to teach, He comes for awakening, because the Guru is not a teacher. You awakens for the non-dual reality of your Natural State; then, the Sage, the spiritual knowledge, awakes!
Jnana, the knowledge in itself, is what we would call the spiritual knowledge; It is the pure knowledge. Pure knowledge is Consciousness, is Presence, Perception, it is the non-dual state of Being, which is Wisdom, which is Jnana, pure understanding, Silence of non-duality, non-separateness, absence of the "I", absence of the world, absence of God. That is meditation!
Some might get completely crazy, mad, while listening to this. That is Satsang! When I say Satsang, I mean Meditation, and Meditation is Consciousness, Consciousness is Presence, Presence is Self, Self is the Natural State, which is pure perception, which is God. They get mad when listening to this, but that is it. Satsang is you in your Natural State: Samadhi, Consciousness, Presence, Self, Truth, Freedom, non-dualism.
This cannot be learned, but you can live It in your Natural State; this is you in your Natural State. What happen when the fire approaches an object, or an object approaches the fire? What prevails? What remains? Will the fire be changed? Will it be extinguished? Will it lose heat, luminosity?
But, what will happen to the object? The object will turn into fire! That's the answer! The object is not extinguished, it turns into fire! It changes shape, but it is in the fire, it is now fire.
You cannot separate the object from the fire, because there is no object separated from the fire, but you cannot deny the existence of the object.
In nature it is like that, nothing is lost. The fire is this Consciousness. What is the ego in the Consciousness? Can you take that object and separate it from the fire? Will it be useful for something? No! Will the ego be useful for something? Is the object, separated from the fire, real? Is the ego, separated from the Consciousness, real?
Then what is it real? Consciousness. What is real? The fire. Your Natural State is Consciousness and in It there is no ego. You cannot separate the ego from your Natural State, as you cannot separate the object from the fire. What prevails, what remains, what keeps unchanged is, always, your Real Nature.
Who over there get still offended, upset, hurt, sorrowed, sad, worried, annoyed, afraid? Who there is real? What is your name? What is your history? When you were born? What is the name of your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents? Which country you were born? What is the government system of your country?
That is the history - a history being told with a name, with a nationality, since the birth to the death. You know what you are not. You know that you are not that name, are not that history, are not parents, that you do not have any friends. A friend becomes your enemy. Thus, you already know that this is not (the non-duality), and; therefore, you will no longer have crisis of insomnia, of “annoyance”.
You have got to live that, and living it is upadesa, is the teaching of the Guru. The Guru is teaching you to live It, but if you do not live it, you do not do the homework; If you do not do the homework, it is because you do not want anything with the Teacher and his classes. You have to assume now being a student, to assume going into this practice you get as teaching, as upadesa. You may know, but if you do not work it, you do not truly know.
* Excerpt of an in-person meeting in the city of Fortaleza/Brazil, in June of 2016.