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Back to the Truth: 5000 Years of Advaita Paperback – 15 Feb 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 500 pages
  • Publisher: O Books (15 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905047614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905047611
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.3 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 579,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


His book provides a rich experience for those who enjoy pondering the deepest questions, not only regarding Advaita, but ultimately the Truth beyond all labels. Nirmala (Teacher and author of "Nothing Personal: Seeing Beyond the Illusion of a Separate Self") A wonderful book. Encyclopedic in nature, and destined to become a classic. James Braha (Author of "Living Reality: My Extraordinary Summer with 'Sailor' Bob Adamson") This is definitely one of the most complete and exhaustive books on advaita ever, and is the first book that I have seen that not only deals with advaita but also expands upon the various different types and styles of teachings including contemporary ones, analyses and compares them and helps the seeker in selecting the one that matches his temperament the most. Dr. Nitin Trasi, author of "The Science of Enlightenment" Dennis has poured his love of Truth and humanity into this precise and luminous work. Highly recommended. Isaac Shapiro, Teacher and author of "Outbreak of Peace" A profoundly astute and masterful guide to the field of Self-discovery. An authoritative scholar, Dennis writes with supreme clarity as he skilfully expounds, logically analyzes and insightfully integrates the wisdom of classical and contemporary teachers with the principles of Advaita. Katie Davis, Teacher and author of "Awake Living Joy: The Essence of Spiritual Enlightenment" Dennis Waite is the West's pre-eminent explicator of Advaita Vedanta. In driving home his point that our nature is Awareness, Dennis brings to light many of Advaita's "hidden" teachings, which have never been circulated outside of specialist schools. He also does something I've never seen anywhere in print. He opens a critical dialogue between the ancient and the modern paths, whose exponents don't always agree. Fascinating! Dr. Gregory Goode, PhD (Philosophy), Philosophical Counselor and non-dual teacher. Absolutely brilliant...an ease of writing with a water-tight argument outlining the great universal truths. This book will become a modern classic. A milestone in the history of Advaita. Paula Marvelly, author of "The Teachers of One" and "Women of Wisdom" We must congratulate Dennis Waite on his highly researched study of Advaita which comprehensively states all the different aspects and angularities of this Great Teaching. It will surely prove to be a most helpful guide to the contemporary reader. Alan Jacobs, President of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK and author of "The Principal Upanishads," "The Bhagavad Gita," "The Wisdom of Balsekar" and others. I have played an imaginary game which has a teacher/guru who is composed of various elements of known teachers; let's say Francis' poetic language skills, Tony's natural friendliness and accessibility, Ramesh's Indian credibility (don't know how this would manifest), Ramana's holy gaze, Wayne's laugh, Satyananda's handsome face, etc etc etc... well since this cannot be in the flesh I can console myself with finding it as your book! Monica Alderton Dennis Waite's book "Back To The Truth" is a superb exploration into the vast subject that is Advaita philosophy. As a student of the Sanskrit language he is well qualified to delve more deeply into the background texts, which make up traditional Advaita, than most people who are interested in the subject. This excellent and long awaited book also takes an extensive look at modern teachers and writers on Advaita, and, I would say, is essential reading for anyone at all interested in the subject. It is a clear and refreshing overview of the whole genre that is Advaita - not just one aspect of it - offering the facts, from the historical past right up until today, when non-dualistic teachings abound but often emphasise different aspects of the historical teachings. This is a tool for anyone who genuinely wishes to gain a thorough comprehension of Advaita. Roy Whenary author of "The Texture of Being" A beautiful, articulate and extensive, yet compact anthology of pointers adverting to Truth. This compilation in itself is all that is needed for true understanding. Justus Kramer Schippers, Teacher and author of "Living from Neutrality" This work is a major achievement and should appeal to a wide audience of serious seekers and other students of life. Moller de la Rouviere, author of "Spirituality Without God" "Back To The Truth" is a comprehensive treatise on Advaita for those with an abiding interest in this subject. Dennis Waite is an experienced seeker and author who has the knack of imparting an immediate and satisfying sense of the underlying themes. The text is lucid, the references relevant and wide ranging, and the overall effect expansive and clarifying. This book is recommended to experienced Advaitins, as well as to those whose initial interest has led to a desire for a comprehensive review of the principles underlying this remarkable philosophy. John Lehmann, Principal, School of Advaita, Philosophy Foundation, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA Using a variety of relevant sources, Dennis Waite brilliantly succeeds in challenging the validity of the beliefs we use to protect our non-existent ego from total annihilation. Chuck Hillig, Author of "The Enlightenment Quartet" Dennis Waite in his new book on Advaita has given us a detailed, clear and balanced study of what this ancient wisdom means to us modern seekers, particularly with respect to the differences between the traditional school based on the scriptures and the more direct approach which finds favour with many spiritual seekers today. He has cleared away unnecessary verbiage which surrounds this abstruse subject. Mr Waite deftly and cogently outlines the complex richness of the Advaitic view of the world and our relationship to it with a simplicity that only a person in command of his subject can reveal. The Mountain Path (Journal of Sri Ramanasramam) Dennis Waite's strength as an author and scholar of Advaita really shows. He is thorough and exhaustive in his examination of the Advaita teachings, a sort of Ken Wilber of the Advaita world. His book is excellent for "beginners" and newcomers to Advaita simply because he covers all the bases with scrupulous honesty. But his writing is also excellent for long time seekers and those who have already "gotten it," those who have already had a profound opening and may wish to compare notes and sit back and sip the wine of a fine overview of this most ultimate of spiritual pathways to the Home that we never truly left. Philip T. Mistlberger, Teacher and Author of "A Natural Awakening: Realizing the True Self in Everyday Life" This is the most comprehensive, academic book on the so called "tradition" of non-duality we have seen. The questions, and curiosity within, may assist in turning over every rock. . The material here may be like a mirror-snake that reflects on itself, while eating its own tail - a disappearing act. Brian Lake and Naama Livni, Teachers

About the Author

Dennis Waite has been a student of Advaita for over 20 years and maintains one of the most visited websites on the subject. He is a member of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation and a moderator for the Advaitin e mail group. He lives in Bournemouth, England. He has previously published The Spiritual Seeker's Essential Guide to Sanskrit (Black & White) and The Book of One (O Books).

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Format: Paperback
This book is an erudite, comprehensive, but at the same time very readable survey of the main issues of Vedanta philosophy. The author draws on many sources, both ancient and modern, to present his overview, and there are extended quotations from classical and contemporary texts. As far as I know, this is the first book to compare and contrast ancient and modern teachings, which makes it particularly valuable at the present time.

I would not recommend this book to anyone completely new to Vedanta -- the author has written a shorter, more simple book introducing the subject, entitled 'How to Meet Yourself' -- but for the student who already has some knowledge of the philosophy and wishes to learn more, 'Back to the Truth' is really indispensable.
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Format: Paperback
This is a monumental effort to expound with profound lucidity the core teachings of advaita, based on Vedanta and Upanishads of the Vedas, the Science of Self-Knowledge. It dispels many of the myths propagated by Neo-Vedanta and Neo -Advaita satsang culture. It does away with erroneous beliefs and proceeds in a logical fashion to instill in the minds of the aspirant that what is ultimately required to remove ignorance is not to go on seeking an experience of Enlightenment but to arrive at an understanding of the nature of Reality and the nature of one's own being , i.e, knowledge of the SELF.
Right at the outset Vedanta proclaims that each individual is in essence that SELF, the limitless, indestructible, whole and complete Awareness/Consciousness and that there is only that Non-Dual Reality in existence. In other words we are told that we are experiencing the Non-Dual SELF all the time and we are what we are seeking. However because of our identification with the Body-Mind-Ego, we have come to believe ourselves to be limited beings and experience separateness in duality. Effort is therefore required to slowly peel away these false beliefs and tendencies. Ramana Maharshi had the death experience during which he realised his true nature, and to ensure that his understanding would survive that experience and that his mind would permanently establish in the SELF, he spent the next 20yrs in a cave making that effort. Neo-advaita culture would obviously dismiss this for making effort does not come easy due to our tamasic(inertia) tendencies.
This book will reveal that Vedanta is a means of Knowledge of the SELF and not any experience of it, and like other bodies of knowledge in the objective world e.g Physics there are levels of acceptance of reality and the process of sublation.
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Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita is an all you wanted to know book about Advaita but where too afraid to ask. This beautifully produced book reminds me of one of those airport brochures they used to hand out at airports, but 500 pages long.

This isn't a put down. The book is a masterpiece but, like those airport brochures, there is no criticism. This is a pure brochure then. It's like 2500 years of European philosophy, and science, never happened. Plato was never born and so all of his footnotes have vanished, like in the film, Back to the Future, and we are now in a parallel universe where Adi Shankara led to the Internet.

This isn't a problem because what is in these pages is a pointer to the truth.

You can tell that Dennis Waite has put his heart into this book and it has paid off. Here we have an escape from a meaningless merry-go-round of seeking. So those who doubt the existence of something other than shopping and death, better take a look at this book. Dennis Waite is the real deal.

Let the masses can have shopping and death. They will never understand. They need personal immortality, hence Islam and Christianity. The masters pay no heed to the grim reaper.

According to Dennis Waite, the real deal is Advaita and this is more than masturbation of the intellect. It is a pointer to the truth.

Indeed, truth before the big bang and truth before particles deserves to be pointed and so Back to the Truth: 5000 Years of Advaita is a breathtakingly bold undertaking. All people on the path will benefit from this fathomless gift to the seeker.

What impresses me about this book is the generosity of Mr Waite. All the people involved in the subject are in here.
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Format: Paperback
The most refreshing thing about Dennis Waite's books is the fact that he makes no claims for himself as to whether he is `self realised' or not during his forays into the great nondual teachings. (Indeed, it has always been a mystery to me that as soon as anyone `gets it', they can't wait to tell everyone that this is the case.) So here, for the first time to my knowledge, is someone who has spent a great deal of time researching and documenting the Advaita tradition from both ancient and modern sources, without the obligatory first chapter on how he `became one with the universe'. Essential reading for serious students of the mystical path.
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Format: Paperback
What a book! Dennis Waite is a treasure. His website has long been a hub for Internet Advaita. (Google him, or start out on Amazon's Dennis Waite page; he's everywhere.) His excellent Book of One (which, interestingly enough, Amazon kindly informs me that I bought almost exactly seven years ago from the date this review is being written--back in August of 2004--is a touchstone of modern Advaita. Rather sadly, the many fine teachers within the broad field of Nonduality can write much faster than I can read, so I haven't yet read Dennis', 'Enlightenment: the Path through the Jungle', but you can bet I will. I see it's been reviewed positively by brighter lights than this one.

So THAT'S who Dennis Waite is, but what about this book?

Here's the longer review, which isn't very long:

Well, it's just an amazing work. It's BIG--as one might expect a $50 paperback to be. (Thank you for the nice discount, Amazon.) It's good scholarship, as one would expect from the scientifically-trained Mr. Waite. But it is the magical combination of Mr. Waite's own deep spiritual understanding, compounded with a tremendous intellectual and intuitive grasp and presentation of the traditional scriptures, specifically the Upanishads, that grants us this quite surprising and welcome element: this book, all by itself, is capable of stimulating Self-realization. I'd put money on it.

It's not a walk through the park to read this book. Beyond the intellectual challenge, there's a fair amount of Romanized Sankrit to deal with. I concede, however, that there really is no easier, more effective alternative to Sanskrit for exploring the traditional, and still very valid, Indian view of Nonduality. But these difficulties leave me making another wager.
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