Following on from the earlier post here are some comments I made elsewhere on the subject of advaita and Christianity and how they cannot be seen as two aspects of one truth. Either one or the other is true, they cannot both be correct, and, in fact, it is advaita that is the false doctrine. It may contain certain insights, and it is undoubtedly very tempting for intellectuals, but ultimately it is a false trail.
You cannot square Christianity with advaita Vedanta and keep the integrity of both. That is, square Christianity with advaita as it really is not as it is in the romantic interpretations of Christians who want to mix it with their Christianity and keep the best of both worlds. The problem is you just can’t do that with advaita since it absorbs and relegates to the relative plane anything you try to reconcile to it. Your Christianity will become just a provisional thing to be transcended when you are wiser. Fundamentally it’s part of the world of maya.
The fact is that advaita denies the reality of the individual soul and of God in any real and personal sense. You can’t escape that. There are various mental contortions by advaitins who seek to have their cake and eat it, usually something along the neither real nor unreal line, but, when all is said and done, advaita is exclusively monistic and does not allow any true existence to creation or anything in it. Hence, to be intellectually consistent, you cannot follow advaita and believe that God is love. Love requires duality. It requires a personal God and for humans to have real individuality. Even if there is union underlying it, as of course there is, if love is to be real then duality has also to be real. And if love is not completely real then it's not real at all.
That’s why Ramanuja rejected Sankara’s one-sided and highly selective interpretation of the Upanishads. Reality is far subtler and more wonderful than the simplistic version of it propounded by Sankara who seems, hagiography aside, to have been primarily an intellectual motivated by the attempt to defend the Vedas against Buddhism. He therefore incorporated bits of Buddhism into his system, the better to fight it. I really don’t think that people like Swami Abhishiktananda*, and the Traditionalists who followed Frithjof Schuon, understood what advaita is actually saying. Seduced by the apparent profundity of its non-negotiable doctrine of oneness they sought to blend it into views they already had, not appreciating that if you took it on its own terms it just demolished these, rejecting anything else as a halfway house to be left behind once true knowledge dawned. The Trinity cannot be reconciled to advaita. In fact, it is precisely what saves us from the illusion of advaita or any kind of monism.
Some people say that advaitins are just describing reality from the point of view of their experience of it and this is as legitimate as anybody else's description since we are trying to describe something that is beyond description. It's not that simple. Advaitins, following Sankara, do think that what they are describing is the ultimate. It's not an experience of it or an approach to it. It is it. They would say any experience is still part of duality and they would also say that Christianity is part of duality and therefore still rooted in ignorance. So from the point of view of advaita Christianity, or any approach to God in which there is any kind of distinction between Man and God or any chance of a real relationship between them, would always be inferior to it. I'm sure there is a state in which everything is experienced as one with no division and no centre anywhere. But I think this entry into the undifferentiated ground of being is a lesser state than the union in love with God as described by some Christian mystics, though there may be certain similarities. But the differences are crucial. And the main one is that in the highest Christian state individuality is preserved. That is not the case in advaita which thinks itself the highest realisation but is, in my opinion, a lesser understanding because it doesn't see that unity and multiplicity are both true. Christians would say that God created the world and saw that it was good. Advaitins don't really believe in God, creation or even goodness. That’s a pretty fundamental difference and that's why for me advaita is not that different to atheism.The only God it allows is one who is still part of the world of make believe.
I can see why people might think you can reconcile advaita and Christianity because there is oneness at the bottom of them both but it is a very different sort of oneness in that the oneness of advaita allows for no differentiation at all in ultimate reality while Christianity, because of the Trinity, does. This incidentally is much more in line with our intuitions and experience of how reality actually is and while that is not conclusive nor should it be rejected without good reason.
If advaita were true then this world would be pointless. One of its weaknesses is that it has no explanation for the world so basically dismisses it. It also restricts the absolute to a static, impersonal, inactive, relationless consciousness devoid of potentiality and agency which raises the question how does anything ever arise from that? I think it is illogical too which contradicts its main claim to intellectual superiority. The reason I say this is because it restricts reality to the absolute alone instead of seeing that reality is the absolute and the relative interacting together. Becoming without being is impossible but being without becoming is nothing. So while there is a hierarchical relationship between them the relative is an essential part of the absolute, without which it could not be known. And this is why I say that non-duality, if taken literally and at its own estimation, strips the world of beauty, goodness and love.
I have felt the need to make these points because many people nowadays mistakenly think that non-duality is a more advanced spiritual understanding than theistic religion, specifically Christianity. In fact, the opposite is the case. A monism in which there is no differentiation at all, in which everything is reduced to the impersonal One, is actually a much more intellectually limited concept. Your individuality is real. Without it you could know nothing. You would be nothing. Yes, you must transcend exclusive identification with it. No, you do not reject it or come to know it as unreal. Your true being is in God but that can only be refracted through your individual being and in that process there is love.
Beware if you want to reconcile advaita (or any kind of non-duality) with Christianity as it eats up everything it comes into contact with. You will be left with advaita but no Christianity not to mention no self, no love, no beauty, no goodness. Advaita takes the ground mystical state as the whole of reality instead of seeing it as part of reality which can't just be reduced to its fundamental tone. You might say that it takes the via negativa as the whole instead of seeing that without the living God of the via positiva that is incomplete and truly, eternally, void. Reality comprises both as does Christianity.
* A Christian monk who tried to blend Christianity with non-dualistic Hinduism