Is the Advaitic Advice To “Just Be” Part of the Self-Realization Teaching?

Question

Dear Sir, is advaita teaching or what they call as "just be" in conflict with kriya teachings that are practiced for self-realization? 🙏

—Bharat, india

Answer

Dear Bharat,
It depends to which advaita teacher you go. If he says what you mention, “just be”, yes, there is a great discrepancy with the Kriya teachings. Such teachers (I have heard them) teach that even practicing techniques is maya (illusion), saying that you need to do nothing, to simply detach from everything and “just be”. Yogananda teaches the very opposite. He tells us that the spiritual path is a battle, and you have to fight it.

Self-Realization doesn’t come by “just be and observe all”. We are all full of karmas, ego, tendencies, koshas (layers), habits, body-identification, all of which cloud our consciousness. Getting out of it requires a strong continuous determined effort.

The path to Self-Realization can be described as an upward climb. If you “just be”, all life long you remain at the bottom of the mountain, and there you affirm “I am one with Brahman”. But your vision will still remain small. If on the other hand you fight the spiritual battle victoriously, practicing meditation and working on yourself, you finally reach the top of the hill, and from there you can truly exclaim “aham Brahm asmi” (I am one with Brahman), not as a philosophical affirmation, but as a true realization.

All the best on your upward climb, jayadev