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Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita Paperback – January 12, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Mantra Books (January 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905047614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905047611
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #842,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Visvanatha Krishnamurthy on March 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
A marathon 600-page compendium, in English, of the entire philosophical field of spiritual knowledge known as `Advaita' (Non-duality) -- that is `Back to the Truth' by Dennis Waite. It is in fact more than a compendium; it is a masterly thesis presented by Waite from scratch all the way up to the dizzy heights of whatever peak you have heard about in Vedanta. It is a classic, unique in several respects.

Its first, and greatest, uniqueness is its strategy of presentation. The author strides like a colossus on the shoulders of all the giants of this ancient philosophy that was originally formally streamlined from the teaching of the Upanishads, by towering authorities like Gaudapada and Shankara, then supplemented and strengthened by a whole lineage of Masters over the centuries down to the times of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, now propagated worldwide in the twentieth century by Seers of the stature of Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Atmananda Krishna Menon, and the like and expounded resoundingly by Swami Sivananda, Swami Ranganathananda (and others of the Ramakrishna Mutt), Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Dayananda and scores of others through lectures as well as writings almost up to the present time. We hear the words of these originators and expositors all throughout the book. Further, the book testifies to the power of the electronic media of modern times most dramatically in the fact that, in addition to this time-tested foundation on which the author stands high on a pedestal, there are elaborate quotations of diverse writings (with most proper acknowledgments, of course) on the web by various modern authors on anything even remotely connected with advaita.
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This book is a comprehensive compilation explaining clearly for a western audience the practical teachings of Advaita, these teachings have stood the test of time and rightly so.

For those that would like a bit more guidance than "you are that", this IS the book. FULL STOP with this one, submerge yourself in it, change the way you see the world and your self.

This book will make sense of the various teachings you may have already encountered, put them in perspective, clear confusion and correct misdirection. This book explains the direct path and how it works.

Knowledge is everything and here you will find the knowledge that provides clear pointers back to the truth of that which you truly are.

Non-duality, Advaita and Zen are all at home here and the material is supported by a massive amount of quotes from modern and traditional sages and teachers.

This is an excellent read, a substantial resource and I am sure will remain amongst my favourites.
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In the book Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita, Dennis Waite's magnum opus, the definitive study of Advaita Vedanta (from "A" to "V") has been penned. While providing the most scholarly work to date on the subject matter of Nonduality, the author's style assures an ease of readability that will make the content in this comprehensive volume readily assessible to beginners. At the same time, when Waite shares his unique and masterful take on the Teachings, he offers new elucidations of ancient understandings that will also make the book appealing to advanced seekers and to Advaitin teachers as well.
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Format: Paperback
Back to the Truth is an extensive overview of Advaita, a teaching whose source is the Upanishads. Advaita is the philosophy and teaching that reality is "not two." Dennis Waite quotes nearly 150 teachers of Advaita, about half of whom are living, and 378 sources are cited as references.

The author's purpose is twofold: (1) to compile within a single volume the most complete and up-to-date treatment of Advaita. He succeeds at that. It is clear that Waite is a voracious reader of nondual subjects. Dennis told me, or I read somewhere, that he reads with a pencil and makes notes in the books he reads. That is the only way Back to the Truth could have been compiled. It had to be written by a student and a scholar who knows "everything" written on Advaita, including emails posted especially to the Advaitin email list, and who is a gatherer and an organizer of themes.

And (2) to bring about a shift in the attentional direction of the reader. The latter is the primary aim of the book. That only makes sense. If a sage has any purpose at all, it is to get you to awaken. That is Waite's primary purpose. It's not a chosen purpose; it's the way it is. Dennis provides a number of hooks to hang your hat on.

What does it mean to hang your hat? When you've hung your hat, you've turned your attention around toward truth. Lots of hooks in this book. Even the curved neck of the swan on the cover looks like an inverted hook. Yes, these hooks should be inverted since they are associated with the turning around of attention.

Hooks in this book come in the forms of teachers of Advaita, a variety of themes (e.g., karma, death, desire, happiness, spiritual practices, enlightenment, nature of reality, methods of teaching, science, grace, creation.
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