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A useful resource?[edit]

As there is so much debate here about the legitimacy of the term "Neo-Advaita," I'd like to offer this academic press book as a resource for exploring these issues.

Homegrown Gurus: From Hinduism in America to American Hinduism
Ann Gleig and Lola Williamson (Editors)
State University of New York Press (November, 2013)

As you can see on the publisher's page - - chapter 7 is "Neo-Advaita in America: Three Representative Teachers" by Philip Charles Lucas. Project MUSE also offers a breakout of the book's Table of Contents, though sadly, the chapter abstracts are quite stingy.

Here's a passage from the tail-end of the editors' Introduction:

By deemphasizing the traditional Hindu elements of their teaching and repackaging them within the therapeutic climate of contemporary America, Lucas shows how three Neo-Advaita gurus— Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji, and Arunachala Ramana— have further radicalized Maharshi’s experiential Advaita. Moreover, he notes that these Neo-Advaita gurus can be located within a distinctively American liberal spiritual lineage, which stretches from the Transcendentalists to the New Age, and which values characteristics such as interior awakening, a privileging of the experiential over the doctrinal dimensions of religion, a mistrust of religious institutions, open-ended spiritual seeking, and an appreciation of the unity of the world’s spiritual traditions.

These Neo-Advaita gurus have been criticized by more traditional Advaita followers, who have lamented the decontextualization of a nondual metaphysics from its cultural matrix and its framing as an essentially universal experiential category. Whereas such voices have rallied against the experiential emphasis by calling for a return to a traditional Hindu institutional context, American guru Andrew Cohen has advocated the development of a new “post-traditional” cultural context that unites the premodern contemplative wisdom of the East with the modern scientific achievements of the West and thereby renders enlightenment relevant for the twenty-first century. Ann Gleig charts Cohen’s career from his early period as a Neo-Advaita teacher to his present manifestation as a leading proponent of “evolutionary enlightenment,” a teaching that places Eastern religious understandings of nonduality in an evolutionary context.

After a short period as a charismatic Neo-Advaita teacher, Cohen had an acrimonious split with H. L. Poonja, his Indian Advaita guru, and dismissed the “instant enlightenment” teachings of Neo-Advaita as both unethical and ineffective. Cohen insisted that enlightenment experiences must be expressed in impeccable behavior and set as the aim of his second teaching— impersonal enlightenment— the perfect expression of the absolute Self on the relative level. In his current teaching of evolutionary enlightenment, Cohen moves from ethics to evolution and posits a spiritual hermeneutic of evolution and an evolutionary interpretation of enlightenment. Framing his teaching as a shift “from Being to Becoming or from Transcending to Transforming,” Cohen reconfigures enlightenment from a world-negating and transcendent state to a unique form of consciousness that furthers the evolution of the cosmos. In doing so, Gleig notes, Cohen has aligned and legitimated his teaching with a Tantric rather than Advaitin understanding of nonduality that affirms the material world as an expression and site of the Absolute.

I have no dog in this fight, as I'm not associated with any of these groups. And yes, I am fully aware of Andrew Cohen's fall from grace over the last several years; I am the furthest thing from a fan! that said, it seems to me that Neo-Advaita is not only a legitimate construct in religious studies, but a highly useful one, distinguishing traditional Indian Advaita Vedanta from various of its American offshoots. I hope this helps to clarify what seems like a lot of confusion on this Talk page. Clocke (talk) 19:27, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Blatant hoax[edit]

Blatant hoax? Google gives 179.000 hits. To give an impression:

As for the sources mentioned in the article:

"In modern and contemporary Advaita (or neo-Advaita)"(p.124)

"...the contemporary Western branchings and departures from classsical Advaita and modern neo-Advaita" (p.198)

"I say "neo-advaita"" (p.805)

"...with the worst of neo-advaita" (p.812)

"...known as the "neo-Advaita", or "Satsang-movement"" (p.17)

'... referred to as the neo-Advaita, or Satsang-movement" (p.123)

Greetings, Joshua Jonathan (talk) 08:35, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

My analysis of your references:
Okay, two scientific sources:

"ManyNeo-Advaitin teachers have published books,such as Eckhart Tolle (b.1948) and hisbest-selling The Power of Now.8 Most have websites whe reviewers can read excerpts from their published works or get streaming audio or video of their satsangs. Some Neo-dvaitin teachers, such as Andrew Cohen( b.1955), A. Ramana(1929–2010), and Gangaji(b.1942), offer private counseling, weekend seminars, longer retreats,and various levels of teacher training. (p.94

Joshua Jonathan (talk) 09:47, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
These sources are better but indirect. The first one uses decontextualized Neo-Advaitin network, we do not know what exactly is being referred to here. Likewise, the second source explains the impact of Ramana Maharshi on Neo–Advaita groups in US, but not the concept itself. From this paper, Neo–Advaita appears to be some kind of a modern spiritual movement in the United States. Is there a reliable source that possibly lists the medieval philosophical influences (Advaita, Zen etc.), teachers and organizations of Neo–Advaita movement so that we can be sure Neo-Advaita is not simply a neologism that authors are using as they see fit? Correct Knowledge«৳alk» 10:07, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I'll try to find out. I see your point about neologism; it seems to me that the term has been intriduced by persons who are critical of these developments. But when does a term stop to be a neologism, and become a "normal" word? Joshua Jonathan (talk) 10:16, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
A James Swartz gives an answer to the question "What is neo-Advaita?" But I don't know if he meets the Wiki-criteria of "reliable". Jerry Katz also tells more about it.
And Timothy Conway gives a nice insight into what's at stake:

"In the Zen tradition there is a saying, "Nothing matters... and everything matters." It is in this context that we say there's a lot at stake in who gets to define Advaita or Nondual Spirituality. Is it going to be the "neo-Advaita" throng of allegedly "enlightened" or even "fully enlightened" teachers (as they usually style themselves) who go around the USA, Europe, India and elsewhere, presuming to teach (usually for a price) the supposed "highest level" of nondual spiritual truth? Or is it going to be the real Advaita sages like Shrî Ramana Mahârshi, Shrî Nisargadatta Mahârâj, Shrî Râmakrishna, Amma Amritânandamayî, Swâmî Gñânânanda, Nârâyana Guru, and much earlier luminaries like Shankara, Jñâneshvar, Nâgârjuna, and other avatârs, adepts, sages and saints—who never charged any fees or "suggested donations" and who generously, virtuously, compassionately and heroically lived and exemplified the Advaita or Advaya, not just talked about it.

It seems to me that something's at stake anyway. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 10:26, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Timothy Conway's interview on a website is probably not a reliable source, but he does hint at what neo–Advaita is. I wonder if you would have better luck with neo–Vedanta ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]). Richard king (second ref) defines the term as being synonymous with neo–Advaita. He also notes the influence of Swami Vivekananda and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan on neo–Vedanta thought and then goes on to describe it in some detail. You can always move this page to Neo–Vedanta and add also known as neo-Advaita in the first sentence of the lead. It's up to you. If you decide to go through with it, make sure you correct the Neo Vedanta redirect as well. Correct Knowledge«৳alk» 10:50, 6 September 2012 (UTC)


Thanks for the response! I'll read your links, thanks. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 12:14, 6 September 2012 (UTC) Unfortunately the links don't open in my browser: "You have reached your limit". I'll do a Google-search myself. Thanks anyway. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 04:51, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

I have put back the delete notification, as the answers here seems to be the same , the article really relates to Indian philosophy and a mere statements by unknown self published source is definitly not a wiki material , it does not have any coverage in any media or any other source

some points to be noted

1) as an Author why are you proclaiming wrong information as truth and refering to a source which does not say that (Balant lie ) e.g 1st sentence of the article : ""Neo-Advaita is a term used by critics to designate a modern, western form of Advaita Vedanta in which the traditional prerequisites of knowledge of the scriptures"" :: ref to (Davis, Leesa S. (2010), Advaita Vedānta and Zen Buddhism: Deconstructive Modes of Spiritual Inquiry, Continuum International Publishing Group) page 48 ! here is the google link for your page , please show me in that page about neo advaitha ? it talks about neo vedantins where is neo advaitha ??

2) you are using names of Ramana Maharishi,Vivekenanda & H. W. L. Poonja who in their lives or in writings have never even remotly used the word neo-advaita . Stating statements by the above authors and then naming it neo-advaitha does not make it reall!!

where is the movement ?? Can you refer me to any new or media articles about it from your strong google search ?

Google does not amount to wiki notablaity please refer to wiki orginal research Shrikanthv (talk) 13:02, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Ad1. Leesa S. Davis, Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism
Ad2. I did not give statements from any of these teachers, but I do think I understand what your problem with the sentence is. I've changed it to: "It has it's origins in the western popularization of the teachings of Ramana Maharishi,{{sfn|Lucas|2011}}. But see Caplan, "Eyes wide open", p.16-17 on Poonja and the origins of the neo-advaita movement.
I've given several links above, which plainly mention a "neo-advaita movement". Read them. Your comment "reference qouted never even cites this word" is misplaced.
The notability seems clear to me. Here are some criticisms: [7] [8] Apparently something's going on. The fact that you have a problem with the notification of this movement, and the discussions it stirs up, does not mean it's not notable.
And don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that "neo-advaita" is the same as Ramana Maharshi's teachings. On the contary. Neo-advaita seems to be a simplification:

Dennis Waite; Neo-advaita, as I think we have already discussed, is the attempt to convey the truth through simple, absolute statements without any supporting rationale or mental preparation, denying the existence of seeker, teacher or of any path that might be followed.[9]

Officially, it’s known as Neo-Advaita, a Westernized version of the ancient Hindu mystical teaching of Advaita Vedanta, but its most common street name is “nonduality.” Vastly more powerful than most postmodern spiritual opiates, Neo-Advaita is also cheap, easy to acquire, and addictive as hell.[10]

I do not think highly of it. Shankara would have had a good condescending laugh.[11]

This also why I noticed that at the Advaita-page nothing is written about preparation and practice. Quite an omission. It would me make it quite clear what's the difference between classical Advaita Vedanta en neo-Advaita.
Ah, and for CorrectKnowledge:
  • Dennis Waite, "Back to the Truth: 5000 Years of Advaita", gives a classification of Vedanta. unfortunately not available at Google Books, but this is what I read at

Thirdly, the author brings to focus the differences in the teachings by different Masters by broadly classifying everything (in terms of its teaching method) either as `traditional', or `direct approach' or `neo-advaita'. The first one goes back to the scriptures and all the commentaries. The third one, `neo-advaita' does not take the different levels of reality advocated by Shankara as of any value, and so the absolute level is the only level for them; there is no seeker, no ignorance, no path, no enlightenment, because Reality is One. The second one, the Direct Approach, is somewhere in between the other two.[]

Best wishes, Joshua Jonathan (talk) 15:25, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Please don't rely on Sentient Publications alone, it is not an academic fact checking publisher and will fail WP:GNG. James Swartz does not cite any other work or scholars in his book. He appears to be on his own with regards to neo–Advaita. An article cannot be a synthesis of diverse dictionary definitions of neo–Advaita by many authors. Neo–Advaita must consistently refer to a specific movement, school of thought etc. which is verifiable by multiple reliable third party sources. Correct Knowledge«৳alk» 15:54, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Remove template[edit]

The template was placed back using this edit-summary: "do not delete this template unless proven otherwise".

The template says:

You may remove this message if you improve the article or otherwise object to deletion for any reason. Although not required, you are encouraged to explain why you object to the deletion, either in your edit summary or on the talk page. If this template is removed, do not replace it.

I did improve it, gave specific references, and a detailed explanation at the TP which makes clear that the mentioned sources do use the term "neo-Advaita" - some even in their titles! So what about the "If this template is removed, do not replace it." part? Joshua Jonathan (talk) 15:29, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

PROD is only for uncontested deletions, deletions which require discussion go to the AfD. Correct Knowledge«৳alk» 15:56, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I see. So I'll remove the template again. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 16:05, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
PS: I read the Wikipedia:Proposed deletion page:

Proposed deletion (PROD) is a way to suggest an article for uncontroversial deletion. It is a shortcut to the normal deletion review process (AfD), and a fallback for deletion proposals that do not meet the strict criteria for speedy deletion.
PROD must only be used if no opposition is to be expected. The article is marked for seven days; if nobody objects, it is deleted. The first objection kills the PROD. Even after these seven days, a PRODed article can be restored by anybody through an automatized request for undeletion. By the same logic, PROD is one-shot only: It must not be used for articles PRODed before or discussed on AfD.

Joshua Jonathan (talk) 17:34, 6 September 2012 (UTC)


Concerning the notability, the use of term "neo-Advaita" seems to be restricted to western Advaita adepts. But it's most notable proponents are hardly unnoticable:

Walk into any larger bookstore in the western world, and you'll find plenty of books by Eckhart Tolle, Andrew Cohen and other teachers influenced by Ramana Maharshi and Advaita Vedanta. I don't know about the English-speaking world, but in Holland there is even a publisher solely dedicated to (neo) Advaita Vedanta. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 07:34, 7 September 2012 (UTC)


Please continue the discussion at AFD Shrikanthv (talk) 10:00, 7 September 2012 (UTC)


To my surprise I found this page on Self-enquiry. I think it's a good ilustration of what neo-advaita is about. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 09:45, 28 September 2012 (UTC)


  • I've removed the inline reference to the criticism-section; such references are unnecessary. It wasn't in the source either, but that's a technical point.
  • Good Wikipedia-custom asks for discussion on the talk page when an edit is contested, instead of simply placing it back. See WP:BRD I'm missing the discussion here.
  • The way the article is being edited gives me the impression that it's not "neutral", but pushing a point of view contra Poonja (WP:POV). That's not necessary; it gives WP:UNDUE weight to one view on the Neo-Advaita movement, while the article already is very critical.
  • What's the link between User:Iamdevotion and User:Truthisnow? This page wasn't exactly overcrowded with editors, so it's funny that suddenly two new edtors appear, both making the same edits.

Joshua Jonathan (talk) 21:25, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

... and both editors are apparently reading the same sources... Obviously Iamdevotion is very involved in a teacher called Kosi whose teaching differs from Neo-Advaita. I guess that is where the criticism comes from. However, I don't have sources to counterbalance the article. Lova Falk talk 09:35, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
Hi I am new to wiki and just found this page. I edited this page because I was referencing it in my article on Kosi and it kept changing while I was working on it. It turns out that Kosi is not associated with Neo-Advaita. Not sure how to resolve or if any action is needed on my part at this point? Please advise. thanks.. Iamdevotion (talk) 18:58, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
The best thing you can do is to stop pushing and start talking, as you're doing now, with one, and only one, account. The next best thing to do is to explain at Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Iamthelotus why a text, added by you to the Neo-Advaita article diff, and moved downward by me, was reinserted at the previous place diff by User:Truthisnow, who's account was created at the day he made this insertion. The third best thing is to give some more background information on yourself at your userpage, for example what makes you so enthusiastic about Kosi. It's okay to have private opinions, but if those private opinions obscure the needed distance to your topic, then be so clear to acknowledge that. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 19:33, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
And by the way: if you need some help on Kosi, I'd like to give it. But the resulting text will be quite sobered... Joshua Jonathan (talk) 19:34, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

--Iamdevotion (talk) 21:10, 22 November 2012 (UTC)I've been to some of Kosi's satsangs; she is an truly amazing teacher and love her YouTube videos. Very clear on Self-inquiry and Advaita. I did not know about "talking" until today. I am really new at this and wiki is a different world for me. If I remember right, what I was thinking at the time is you should have a different section for that particular topic, but I was not really paying attention to who was editing. I can easily update the other info about me; I just found that page last night. And how do I find Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Iamthelotus? Thanks for the offer to help, but I think I am doing okay. Just not sure about some of the code, but starting to get the hang of it.


I've changed the header of the "Criticism"-section back to "Criticism"; "Advaita Vedanta perspective" implies that all of the critics speak from an orthodox Advaita vedanta perspective. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 20:07, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

The Neo-Advaita trap[edit]

To my opinion, this section is too long, and uses to much 'insiders' terminology. I've tried before to sober this section, which was reverted by Truthisnow without an explanation, despite repeated appeals to do so. I will sober this section again, and really would appreciate some reaction on this before Truthisnow or Iamdevotion reverts it again. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 20:10, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

I've done some reading and Google-search, with illuminating findings:

  • The term "Neo Advaita trap" is not properly explained or introduced. It can be found in [12]. Also, [13] uses the word "trap", but not "Neo Advaita trap". Apparently this is what is being meant with the term "Neo Advaita trap": "Traditional Advaita says that the ego is an illusion. The ‘Satsang Prophets’ emphasize this as THE starting point, completely omitting that this realization may only occur at the end of years of self-inquiry and work on oneself (and not necessarily with any certainty). Once this premise is understood and the self-cheating is engaged, one obtains a constant very pleasant feeling of superiority and invulnerability. This is what they regard as being the ultimate accomplishment and they believe that it is the same as that lived and taught by Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj and even Shankara, although in reality it’s nothing but the Neo-Advaita version of nihilism. (If this is what you’re looking for Parsons, Tolle, Balsekar and their cohorts are a good choice for teachers.)"[14]
  • "'comfortable mental zone" - not in the source
  • "A perfect metaphor for this phenomenon is the idea of putting a fox in charge of a hen house or a thief in charge of a bank" - not in the source
  • "a psycho-therapeutic model of inquiry" - not in the source
  • "an inexplicable energetic transference of the Self or unlimited consciousness" - not in the source
  • "This complete annihilation of the sense of 'I' or phantom ego is the essence of true liberation" - this is a misconception, and exactly what Jacobs warns against: "The main Neo-Advaita fallacy ignores the fact that there is an occlusion or veiling formed by vasanas, samskaras, bodily sheats and vrittis, and there is a granthi or knot forming identification between Self and mind, which has to be severed [...] The Maharshi's remedy to this whole trap is persistent effective Self-enquiry, and/or complete unconditional surrender of the 'phantom ego' to Self or God, until the granthi is severed, the vasanas are rendered harmless like a burned out rope".p.84-85 "Misconceptions". That's something quite different.

As it is now, this section is WP:OR. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 20:57, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

I've replaced it by a properly referenced section. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 21:19, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Yes, no meaningful connection has been made in the article between Neo-Advaita and self-enquiry, as taught by Shri Ramana. The page misleads that Shri Ramana authored so-called Neo Advaita. The page also wrongly refers to Mr. David Frawleys's work in Mountain Path. To me, the partiality of the page is not above question. I request any devotee of Shri Ramana to record their views. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:46, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

No meaningful connection has been made in the article between Neo-Advaita and self-enquiry[edit]

This article fails to show any meaningful connection between the practice of self-enquiry and Neo-Advaita -- yet there are references to self-enquiry in the article. I tried to find the Lucas article that is used as a reference in the article and could only read the first page online which does not shed any light on this connection. I noted that Lucas founded the journal in which this article appeared. Is this self-publishing? I request that the editor who references Lucas (and presumably has access to Lucas' article) quote the sections that establish a meaningful link between self-enquiry and Neo-Advaita. I am unaware of any Neo-Advaitin who recommends the on-going practice of self-enquiry. If the only relationship between Neo-Advaita and self-enquiry is that Neo-Advaitins do not practice self-enquiry, then I suggest we eliminate references to self-enquiry in the article. The way the article currently reads, one gets the impression that Neo-Advaitins practice self-enquiry without any accompanying spiritual disciplines -- but this is a serious misrepresentation of Neo-Advaita, the basic premise of which is that spiritual practices are unnecessary; Neo-Advaita certainly does not advocate an intense discipline like self-enquiry. The article refers to Ramana Maharshi's "portable practice." While it may well be true that this practice could be done anywhere in the world, what does this have to do with Neo-Advaita, which does not advocate this practice, however "portable" it might be? Likewise, the section called The Ramana Effect leaves the reader with the impression that Neo-Advaita is somehow based on the teaching of Ramana Maharshi (a culture-free distillation, perhaps), but this is simply not so and nothing in this section shows otherwise. Simply using a term like "the Ramana Effect" falls far short of showing a connection. I suggest we trim the article down to an explanation of Neo-Advaita that does not contradict the basic definition of Neo-Advaita. If a longer article is desired, the deleted sections could be replaced with more detail about what Neo-Advaita actually entails and what the underlying belief system is. Iddli (talk) 05:57, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Comment by Joshua Jonathan: It should be clear that the so-called "Neo-Advaita movement" is severely critisized for it's lack of practice. You're not the first one to be bothered by these developments. Regarding your concerns:

  • It's a pity that scientific journals are not publicly accessible. They are being paid ultimately by tax-payers, so it's a shame that most tax-payers don't have access to the. It also would be a great gain for Wikipedia, by the way, if everyone had access to scientific journals.
  • The journal is published by the University of California Press.
  • Self-enquiry: Lucas 2011 p.96:

I would argue that the Maharshi’s influence is at least partly attributable to both the portability of his spiritual method and to the universality and plasticity of his teaching. His basic method, called “self-inquiry,” consists of an introversion of the mind grounded in the question, “Who amI?” Seekers attempt to follow this inquiry with single-pointed focus until they experience the deeper root of the “I-thought,” which purports to dissolve the conventional ego-self in cosmic awareness of Brahman, the One Absolute Reality. As one Ramana devotee explained, “The fruit of self-inquiry is the realization that the Self is all, and that there is nothing else.”18 The method requires no paraphernalia and no esoteric practices, although practices of breath control(pranayama) and the repetition of mantras (japa) are permitted if found to be efficacious. Although the Maharshi was inscribed in a Vedantic culture/tradition, he did not require seekers to adopt it in order to practice self-inquiry. He also did not demand commitment to an institution or ideology, but only to the practice itself. As we will see, Neo-Advaitin teachers in North America use variations on this basic practice, and present it without its traditional Advaitic framing.

  • Ramana effect: you may be of the opinion that Neo-Advaita is not based on Ramana Maharshi, or a "corruption" of his teachings, but this is the analysis of lucas. I've added two quotes, by James Swartz and Timothy Conway, who reject the connection between Ramana Maharshi and Neo-Advaita. By the way, I think this rejection makes it even more critical to understand why the Neo-Advaita movement takes Ramana Maharshi as it's legitimation. Lucas does give an explanation for this with his "Ramana effect".
  • The article is based on good sources; trimming down is not necessary. See also WP:NPOV.

Greetings, Joshua Jonathan (talk) 10:35, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

response by iddli: Thanks for your reply above. I still think something is missing from the article. I appreciate your typing in the quote above by Lucas and I do understand that we need to use legitimate sources. Lucas is basically saying that Ramana Maharshi's method of self-enquiry could be practiced all on its own, free of other practices and beliefs. It is also true that Ramana Maharshi welcomed people from any country or religious background and never asked them to give up the religion they were already practicing. None of this is in dispute by anyone. Theoretically, Neo-Advaitin teachers could teach self-enquiry in their gatherings ... but the point is, what they teach is that all spiritual practices (including self-enquiry) are unnecessary. The logic as it stands now in the article goes like this: Ramana's teaching could be imported to other places .... Neo-Advaita teachers teach in other places ... therefore, Neo-Advaitin's teachings are based on Ramana's teachings. This argument just does not hold up! Is there anywhere in Lucas' article where he actually names Neo-Advaitin teachers who teach and advocate self-enquiry as Ramana Maharshi taught it? I understand that Lucas, as a published author, can be quoted ... but who are these Neo-Advaitins he claims are teaching a "transported self-enquiry"? I would argue that if such people exist, they are not Neo-Advaitins at all because this would violate the central belief of Neo-Advaita which is that spiritual practices (including self-enquiry) reinforce the ego.

As for why Neo-Advaitins like to be photographed beside photos of Ramana Maharshi and claim him as their lineage guru (though many of these people are unfamiliar with his teachings and are perhaps unaware that he had no lineage), I think this is worth exploring. A possible explanation is that the photos of a highly respected teacher add an air of legitimacy to their enterprises. It is worth noting that many Neo-Advaitins were devotees of Rajneesh (though never devotees of Ramana Maharshi) yet they do not tend claim lineage or pose beside photos of Rajneesh who was found guilty of a host of crimes and might be bad for business. Thus, their true lineage is downplayed and a cleaner one transposed. What seems to be most portable of all is photographs of Ramana Maharshi ;-)Iddli (talk) 18:51, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Reply by Joshua Jonathan: That's a good observation, about photographs as portable tokens. Did you know that in Chinese Chán receiving a portrait of your teacher was a sign of Dharma-transmission? I'll look up the Lucas-article for what he says about Neo-Advaita teachers. By the way, there is not an unambigious "definition" of "Neo-Advaita", so it depends on the author what is defined as "Neo-Advaita practice". But you may be right about this "effortlessness"; it would be good to add soem information on this. Regarding the sources: these have been scrutinized before. When this article was created, there was quite some opposition; see above. It means that additional information should come from good sources. Funny thing is, the opposition was from Advaita-onthusiasts. No "neo-Advaitin" did oppose this article yet, though I put the Advaita-template on the page of Andrew Cohen, which was swiftly removed, with the argument that Cohen's teaching has been broadened, and so is not "Neo-Advaita". :) I don't know if Lucas says that Ramana's teachings are exactly followed by Neo-Advaitins; at least they are inspired by him, and used as a legitimation. here's another section of the article:

Given this background, it is somewhat puzzling to observe the many contemporary teachers and organizations throughout theworld that trace their lineage to Ramana Maharshi. InNorth America alone, at least seventy-seven different teachers and organizations acknowledge or claim the influence of the Maharshi, or of prominent followers such as H.W.L.Poonja (a.k.a.Papaji, 1913–1997).7 Many of these teachers fall into the category of Neo-Advaita, a term not always complimentary from a traditional Advaita perspective. What most of these teachers have in common is an independence from established or traditional religious institutions or hierarchies. They are free agents, as it were, although a few have taken steps to create their own organizations, institutes, or teaching networks. Many Neo-Advaitin teachers have published books, such as Eckhart Tolle (b.1948) and his best-selling The Power of Now.8 Most have websites where viewers can read excerpts from their published works or get streaming audio or video of their satsangs. Some Neo-Advaitin teachers, such as AndrewCohen (b.1955), A. Ramana (1929–2010), and Gangaji (b.1942), offer private counseling, weekendseminars, longer retreats, and various levels of teacher training.9 The extent to which North American Neo-Advaitin teachers use the Maharshi “brand” varies. In some teaching centers—for example, that of Nome (b.1955) in Santa Cruz, California—large pictures of the Maharshi hang on walls and shrines honor him. Many Neo-Advaitin websites feature a picture of the Maharshi or a link to Sri Ramanashram’s Indian website.10 On others there is an explicit statement that a particular teacher is in the “lineage” of Ramana Maharshi. Still others make only the claim to be in the Advaita tradition and some mention of the Maharshi’s books or teachings.(Lucas p.94)

Regarding self-inquiry:

His basic method, called “self-inquiry,” consists of an introversion of the mind grounded in the question, “Who amI?” [...] As we will see, Neo-Advaitin teachers in North America use variations on this basic practice, and present it without its traditional Advaitic framing. (Lucas p.96)

Greetings, Joshua Jonathan (talk) 08:11, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


According to WP:LEAD,

The lead serves as an introduction to the article and a summary of its most important aspects.


The lead must conform to verifiability and other policies. The verifiability policy advises that material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, and quotations, should be supported by an inline citation. Because the lead will usually repeat information that is in the body, editors should balance the desire to avoid redundant citations in the lead with the desire to aid readers in locating sources for challengeable material.

Basically, giving such a long text is not an intro to the article, but a section on itself, with criticism. And then it also needs references, and it should be WP:NPOV.

Joshua Jonathan (talk) 06:18, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Coining the term "Neo-Advaita"[edit]

Dennis Waite states:

NDM: When and how did you first become aware of "neo advaita" and can you please tell me what your immediate impression was?

Dennis Waite: I think my first exposure to those teachings (which I did not come to know as ‘neo-advaita’ until much later) was through the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK around 1999 – 2000.
NDM: Do you know who first coined the term "neo advaita”?
Dennis Waite: I don’t know who first coined the term. I know that Greg Goode has attributed it to me but I don’t think this is strictly accurate. Probably someone else casually used it in an email and I then started referring to it regularly through my website and then later took it for granted in my books. Certainly it is an obvious term, when the proponents claim to be speaking of non-duality but reject the traditional teaching, so I don’t think any kudos should be attached to its inventor![15]

That's quite different from what was stated in the Neo-Advaita article. Please use sources accurate. Joshua Jonathan (talk) 06:23, 21 December 2012 (UTC)


I've removed the following sentence:

It is used to refer to the (non-) teaching which states that there is no person, no seeker, no teacher, no path etc. and, in particular, no 'levels' of reality.

It's not information, but a referral to a qualification. Properly used, the sentence should say two things:

  1. Critics regard Neo-Advaita to be a non-teaching;
  2. Critics regard Ne-Advaita to be superficial, simplifying Advaita Vedanta to "there is no person, no seeker, no teacher, no path etc. and, in particular, no 'levels' of reality".

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:20, 10 April 2013 (UTC)


While I agree that there are many plausible criticisms of Neo-advaita it seems to that a bunch of indignant Advaita Vedantists went to town on this article with a mandate to run it down. I suggest that the article be presented in a neutral tone, with the many departures from classical Advaita delineated and the criticism be left to a separate section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Supernaut76 (talkcontribs) 02:58, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Finally, a countervoice. Any idea how much critism there has been on creating this article ("Neo-Advaita does not exist"), followed by the other side ("Neo-Advaitins are frauds")? Have you got specific examples of misplaced criticism in mind? Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:14, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree. This is currently an extemely biased article.1Z (talk) 18:19, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
can you imagine wikipedia allowing catholics to trashtalk protestants on the protestant page, or sunnis on the shiite page? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:30, 10 February 2015 (UTC)


Mr. David Frawley, who has been quoted from his Mountain Path paper never says what this Wiki page says.

David Frawley says:

However, a recent trend has been to remove Advaita from Vedanta, as if it were a different or independent path, and not bring in the greater tradition of Vedanta. Though neo-Advaita usually bases itself on modern Advaita Vedantins like Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta, it usually leaves the Vedanta out of the term and neglects the teachings of other great modern Vedantins from Vivekananda to Dayananda, though their works are easily available in English and quite relevant to any Advaitic practice.

The Wiki page says:

Neo-Advaita, also called the Satsang-movement[1] and Nondualism,[web 1] is New Religious Movement deriving authority from the teachings of the 20th century sage Ramana Maharshi,[web 2]

The intent and meanings in the above two are not in sync. The writer of the Wiki page seems to be intentionally showing as if Shri Ramana Maharshi taught Neo-Vedanta. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:29, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Misleading page[edit]

This Wiki page seems to be intentionally misleading. It should either be removed or should be properly edited by David Frawley himself, whose authority, the author of this Wiki page has drawn upon. If that is not possible, then the page must deleted or Shri Ramana's reference should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

David Frawley is a devotee of Shri Ramana Maharshi and has written many times in Ramanasramam's publication "The Mountain Path". One such paper is :

[url=]Misconceptions about Advaita – American Institute of Vedic Studies[/url]

He talks of the danger of trivialising the teachings of Shri Ramana. I quote a passage from the paper:

"However, a recent trend has been to remove Advaita from Vedanta, as if it were a different or independent path, and not bring in the greater tradition of Vedanta. [B]Though neo-Advaita usually bases itself on modern Advaita Vedantins like Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta, it usually leaves the Vedanta out of the term and neglects the teachings of other great modern Vedantins from Vivekananda to Dayananda, though their works are easily available in English and quite relevant to any Advaitic practice."

But, recently, a Wiki page has sprung up, sustained by efforts of one Mr. Joshua Jonathan that says the following, while drawing support from Frawley's article of the Mountain Path referred above.

"Neo-Advaita, also called the Satsang-movement[1] and Nondualism,[web 1] is New Religious Movement [B]deriving authority from the teachings of the 20th century sage Ramana Maharshi[/B],[web 2]"

The Wiki page is at: [url=]Neo-Advaita - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url].

The page was recommended for deletion by an Indian but is preserved by efforts of Mr. Jonathan.

The question is: Has Mr. Frawley said that the Neo Advaita movement (or whatever) was taught by Shri Ramana Maharshi? Or is it an interpolation or a slip of a language of Mr. Joshua Jonathan?

Atanu — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:35, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Did you bother to read further than the first sentence? I think you should read the sentence again: it does not say that it is authorized by Ramana Maharshi, but says it derives its authority from Ramana's teachings. You should also read the preceding sentences:
"It is a controversial movement,[web 3][5] which makes little use of the "traditional language or cultural frames of Advaita Vedanta".[6] It has been severely criticized[7] for its lack of preparatory training in the form of knowledge of the scriptures[8] and "renunciation as necessary preparation for the path of jnana-yoga".[8][9]
Critics doubt whether the Neo-Advaitins are prepared for the insight into non-duality[note 1] and regard enlightenment-experiences induced by Neo-Advaita as superficial."
Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:34, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

The entire page reads like one person's critique of a poorly-defined (and therefore subject to manipulation) "movement," with citations largely representing the equivalent of hearsay. Quoting someone else's opinion from other websites doesn't constitute evidence of anything other than the views of the person quoted. The page fails to define the very thing that it goes to great lengths to critique. It seems to me that a wikipedia page that doesn't answer the user's questions about the thing she is looking up, but only criticizes it via comparisons with what it is (allegedly) not, is one that does a disservice to the mission of Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oceanlab (talkcontribs) 20:33, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

The page is sort of a compromise of Devotees of Ramana Maharshi, and people who are very critical of the so-called "neo-Advaita" movement. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 20:39, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

There's no way this is a compromise, almost every heading is critical, and more or less saying how superior traditional Advaita is, come on moderators do something!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:26, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

A new religious movement?[edit]

Modern Advaita is described here as a new religion. I am familiar with it, yet have not seen it described as a religious movement before, as is done so here very authoritatively. Are we certain that there are reliable sources that state this in such certain terms?

The organizations within which Advaita teachers work are nonprofit but not declared or established as religious.

Do Advaita teachers agree with this adjectival phrase? If they do not, are we permitted to use it without some form of qualification, just because some outside observer thought to use it?

None of the content of Advaitin teachings seems religious to me in any way. In the rare times they mention God, for example, it is in terms of our own infinite and unchanging consciousness, not in terms of a deity who influences or influenced human life from afar or who created the world. There is also no notion of an intercessor between us and God, such as Jesus or Mohammed. There is no confession, Eucharist, snake handling, or other known religious practice involved in Advaita. There are no churches, temples, or declared religious books in Advaita. Yet it is described here as a new religious movement. Is this really an accurate description? I would suggest that this is an ignorant overgeneralization at best and probably just an error, and should be removed or replaced. David Spector (talk) 13:45, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

New religious movement: "A new religious movement (NRM) is a religious community or spiritual group of modern origins, which has a peripheral place within its nation's dominant religious culture." Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:04, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Ambiguity of the term Neo-Advaita[edit]

This article uses the phrase "neo-Advaita" to describe the entire modern Satsang movement, as a description to distinguish it from the original Advaita/Vedanta movement founded in historic times by Adi Shankara (the first Shankara).

But within this Satsang movement, the entire family of modern teachings is called simply "Advaita", and the term "neo-Advaita" is used only of an extreme fringe of teachers who take a dogmatic and sometimes argumentative stance that nothing exists and nothing needs to be done. According to these teachers, we are already enlightened or self-realized, only we may have forgotten it or not be very aware of it.

I'm not sure what to recommend, as some authors use the term neo-Advaita to mean the entire modern Satsang movement (which doesn't always involve satsangs, just direct pointing to seamless awarness), while other authors use the term neo-Advita to refer specifically to teachers who state that we should give up seeking and not practice any mental techniques in a futile attempt to obtain self-realization outside of the mechanism of grace. David Spector (talk) 13:57, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Hi David. If you can find sources, the distinction can be added. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:10, 21 July 2014 (UTC)


Bias against neo-Advaita[edit]

This article was tagged, but why? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:27, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

I tagged it because we received an e-mail at WP:OTRS claiming that the article was very one-sided.--ukexpat (talk) 20:28, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Its the most biased article I've seen in a long time.1Z (talk) 18:48, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Ah, Peter again, with his Perennialism. Funny thing is, it's regarded "biased" from both sides: too much pro-neo-Advaita, and too much anti-neo-Advaita. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:19, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Typical is also that people comment, but don't explain what they think is wrong with the article. @Ukexpat: Have you got some details? What was the one-sidedness, according to the mailer? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:22, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah, Jonathan again, with his constructivism.
There is some criticism of NA in every section, not just the criticism section. Criticism is dealt with in a section headed "criticism", not "debate" or "controversy", althouygh there is a two sided debate. No mention is made of defenders of NA, such as Tony Parsons. Some sections seemingly exist only in order to make tacit criticisms..for instance why mention "devotion" if not to make the point that Ramana was devotional, NA is not, so, hey presto, NA is not a genuine rendition of Ramanas teachings?
100% criticism+0%defence=bias.
And who on earth thinks it is too pro NA? 1Z (talk) 14:25, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree, this article is ridiculously anti-NA, even a 2-year old can see that. An old story of establishment traditionalists protecting their turf and years of academic intellectualization. Well maybe you could open your minds and accept there are many paths? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:24, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Ramana Maharshi devotees despise the neo-Advaitins; if it was up to them, this article would be one long condemnation of neo-Advaitins. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:23, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
So? It is up to whoever has the time and inclination to edit, and it is incumbent on all editors to be as neutral as they can be. You seem to be taking it for granted that everything is a battle between biased editors. 1Z (talk) 13:11, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── We're eight months further; no attempt has been made to change or improve the article; I'm going to remove the tag. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:58, 12 September 2015 (UTC)

I have replaced the tag. Since no attempt has been made to improve the article, it is just as biased as before.
And why haven't you addressed the issue, Jonathan? I see you have had time to work on the page. Is there some help you need? 1Z (talk) 13:02, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Silly... If you'd just bothered to read this talkpage, you would have noticed that there are also editors who've got opinions diametrically oposed to yours. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:30, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm not seeing that. Examples? What I'm seeing is some people who say there is no such thing as NA. 1Z (talk) 15:38, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
NB: note, from Wikipedia:NPOV dispute#Adding a tag to a page:
"If you believe that material or a particular viewpoint is missing, then you should try to give examples of published, independent, reliable sources that contain this missing material or point of view. In the absence of an ongoing discussion on the article's talk page, any editor may remove this tag at any time."
I've just started reading the link you've provided. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:40, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
I am extremely disappointed that it took you eight months to do anything with the Parsons material, that you removed the POV tag, for the first time, without bothering to do anything with the Parsons material, and that you removed the POV tag a second time despite being requested not to, that you removed the tag a second time despite the fact that there is clearly an ongoing dispute, and that you removed the the tag a second time despite the many other POV issues I have mentioned as still remaining on the page. You should wait for some kind of consensus on the talk page before attempting that kind of action.1Z (talk) 15:58, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Tony Parsons[edit]

So, I've added the response by Tony Parsons; I'll check-out this list before removing the neutrality-tag again. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 15:01, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Most of the writings in that list are not in support of neo-Advaita... If you could also find a defense from Andrew Cohen, Poonja, or Gangaji, that would be nice. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 15:19, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
I can try, but I am still puzzled about what is preventing you. 1Z (talk) 15:38, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
If 90% of the commentary on neo advaita is anti, then an article that makes it about to be 100%, by means of omission, is still biased. NPOV does not mean 50:50 on all topics. There is also a bad problem with phraseology, eg NA is repeatedly said to be "controversial" and "criticised" rather than "controversial amongst some" and "criticised by so-and-so". And there is also a structural problem, in that some sections, such as the "neo advaita trap" are have been added, apparently, solely to provide an excuse for further criticisms. Please do not remove the tag again until a proper round of commentary and editing. there is a reason for the WP:3RR. 1Z (talk) 15:38, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm not your employe. You've got a problem with the article, but you expect me to do the work. That's not how Wikipedia works. If you think there's a POV missing here, which si voiced by accessible sources, then give those sources; in that case I'm quite willing to add those to the article. But if you've only got criticism, but are not able to provide counter-voices, then you've got nothing constructive to add here, and are only hindering the editing. I'm not going to search for something that's not there; you say there is, so you provide the information. Let me remind you of the policy that I already quoted, from Wikipedia:NPOV dispute#Adding a tag to a page:
"If you believe that material or a particular viewpoint is missing, then you should try to give examples of published, independent, reliable sources that contain this missing material or point of view. In the absence of an ongoing discussion on the article's talk page, any editor may remove this tag at any time."
So far, you've only provided Tony Parsons. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:26, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

copyright violation - "the real problem was the authenticity of the subject itself!!"[edit]

Its unbelievalble to the extent of copyright violation seen in this article, from the beginning onwards there was POV pushing by the creator i do not know why the PROD deletion tags were removed [16] [17] seems like after removal of tags the article was created of forking out other articles and copyrighted materials , however I feel the subject in itself has never been independently researched or qouted except for the creator of this page .

And gross misuse of names like David Godman, Roshen Dalal & Ramana maharishi where in their lives they have never mentioned the term of neo advaita .

from here [18] we can note that insead of fixing neutrality the creator goes on to blame and brand editors of being against west or against new approach old tradition , where as the real problem was the authenticity of the subject itself !! Shrikanthv (talk) 08:43, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

What a nice illustration of the totally oposed views on this topic. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:52, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
again without specifics you are lablelling thanks! Shrikanthv (talk) 09:29, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Maybe both of you should read this article by David Frawley. It's relevant for both sides: Frawley acknowledges the existence of "neo-Advaita", and he criticizes it. Here's a quote from the article:
"However, a recent trend has been to remove Advaita from Vedanta, as if it were a different or independent path, and not bring in the greater tradition of Vedanta. Though neo-Advaita usually bases itself on modern Advaita Vedantins like Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta, it usually leaves the Vedanta out of the term and neglects the teachings of other great modern Vedantins from Vivekananda to Dayananda, though their works are easily available in English and quite relevant to any Advaitic practice."
And another article to read is Lucas, Phillip Charles (2011), "When a Movement Is Not a Movement. Ramana Maharshi and Neo-Advaita in North America", Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. Vol. 15, No. 2 (November 2011) (pp. 93-114) . It was published in a scientific journal.
And you could also have a look at (neo-advaita -wikipedia) of course.
So, yes, neo-Advaita does exist; the term is being used; and it is being criticized.
Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:12, 3 March 2015 (UTC)


@Kautilya3: thanks; I was just about to remove it, for the same reason. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:46, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Hi Joshua, I have fixed the harvard citations. One citation missing: Osborne 195x. Cheers, - Kautilya3 (talk) 08:16, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

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