Adhyatma Yoga and Advaita Vedanta
Adhyatma Yoga and Advaita Vedanta are Sanksrit terms.
'Yoga' means a method or way (from a root meaning 'to join' - the English word 'yoke' may have the same origin.) Adhyatma means concerning the self (adhi-atma). There are many yogas, or methods, for seeking inner illumination and freedom. Adhyatma Yoga is so-called because it is concerned with discovering the true nature of the Self. This discovery brings enlightenment and ultimate fulfilment, because the true Self is understood to be the reality in all.
Advaita means non-dual (a-dvaita). The is the name of the philosophy that underlies Adhyatma Yoga. Advaita teaches that reality is a perfect whole or absolute oneness ('oneness' is not an entirely adequate word as it implies some limitation, so the philosophers of advaita prefer 'not two'.) The implication is that the universal reality is the reality in all and may be discovered as such, not as a theory but as the substance of one's own being.
That there is one ultimate reality is an entirely reasonable and logical point of view. It resembles in some ways what western philosophers have called the 'noumenal' or the 'absolute'. However, western philosophers were speculating about what reality might be like, while the original teachers of advaita were indicating what they had discovered within themselves. As such Advaita is not so much concerned with speculation and abstractions.
Vedanta means 'of the Vedas', meaning the texts in which knowledge has been recorded. So Advaita Vedanta means the non-dual interpretation of the books of wisdom and knowledge. When the term 'Advaita Vedanta' was first used, 'Vedanta' referred to the Indian Vedas because that is what was known to those who used it at the time. However it extends equally to the texts of all the wisdom traditions and universal knowledge.
This site contains material on the methods of Adhyatma Yoga and the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, as presented by the founder of Shanti Sadan, Hari Prasad Shastri, and the line of Upanishadic teachers to which he belonged.
More on Non-Duality
If you are doing some regular meditation and reflection on the non-dual ideas, you are welcome to contact us with any questions about the teachings, or for further suggestions about your practice.