Aparokshanbhuti extracts
100. Now, for the attainment of the aforesaid (knowledge), I shall expound the fifteen steps by the help of which one should practice profound meditation at all times.
By Adi Sankaracharya, Translated by Swami Vimuktananda
Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta

1. I bow down to Him – to Sri Hari (the destroyer of ignorance), the Supreme Bliss, the First Teacher, Ishwara, the All-pervading One and the Cause of all Lokas (the universe).

2. Herein is expounded (the means of attaining to) Aparokshanubhuti (Self-Realization) for the acquisition of final liberation. Only the pure in heart should constantly and with all effort meditate upon the truth herein taught.

Drk Drishya Viveka - extracts
All our perception pertains to the non-Self. The immutable Seer is indeed the Self. All the countless scriptures proclaim only discrimination between Self and non-Self.
Drik Drisya Viveka
Ramana Maharshi - his introduction to Sankaracharya's Drk Drishya Viveka

ramana_maharshi.jpg"Brahman is only one and non-dual" declare the Srutis. Since Brahman is the sole reality, according to advaita, how is it that Brahman is not apparent to us, whereas prapancha (world, i.e. non-Brahman) is so vivid? Thus questions the advanced sadhaka. 

In one's own Self, which is not other than Brahman, there is a mysterious power known as avidya (ignorance) which is beginningless and not separate from the Self. Its characteristics are veiling, and presentation of diversity. Just as the pictures in the cinema, though not visible either in sunlight or in darkness, become visible in a spot of light in the midst of darkness, so in the darkness of ignorance there appears the reflected light of the Self, illusory and scattered taking the form of thought. This is the primal thought known as the ego, jiva or krta (doer), having the mind as the medium of its perceptions. 

Vivekacudamani - Ramana Maharshi's Translation
It is indeed very difficult to obtain a human body. Even though one does, it is very difficult to become a brahmin. Even if one becomes one, it is still more difficult to walk in the path of vaidika dharma in which the Vedas are chanted. Still more difficult is it to become a perfect scholar, and more difficult again to undertake enquiry into the Self and the non-Self. Yet more difficult than all this is to obtain wisdom born of experience of the Self. Liberation in the form of abidance as the Self, born of that wisdom, is not to be attained except as a result of righteous actions performed throughout countless crores of births. However, even though all the above qualifications may not be obtained, liberation is assured through the grace of the Lord if only three conditions are obtained: that is a human birth, intense desire for liberation, and association with sages.
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