Thursday, 12 March 2020

What can be simpler than just being self-attentive?

A friend wrote to me recently saying that he had been reading about self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) but was unable to understand ‘how can the I enquire into the I itself’, and while expressing his confusion he asked several questions such as: ‘So how do we comprehend SELF? How do we enquire this SELF? And Who enquires SELF? The mind?’ In reply to this I wrote:

Monday, 9 March 2020

Though we appear in two distinct modes, we are just one awareness

When I woke up on Saturday morning, a fresh clarity occurred to me. If I try to put this clarity into words, as I will do in this article, it is what I knew already, but somehow on that morning I saw it with a fresh clarity. In words I cannot actually express this clarity, but I can explain what it is about: that is, what it is that somehow became more clear.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Though we now seem to be ego, if we look at ourself keenly enough we will see that we are actually just pure awareness

A question that troubles some people when they want to understand the practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is whether the ‘self’ or ‘I’ we are to investigate is ego or our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), but as I will try to make clear in this article, investigating ego is itself investigating our real nature, because what seems to be ego is just our real nature, just as what seems to be a snake is just a rope. We are just one self or ‘I’, not two different selves or ‘I’s, but when this one ‘I’ remains just as it is, without any adjuncts, it is pure awareness, which is our real nature, whereas when it seems to be conflated with adjuncts, it is what is called ego.

Friday, 7 February 2020

To curb our rising as ego, all we need do is watch ourself vigilantly

A friend wrote a long email to me recently asking for advice about how we should behave in this world, and in particular about how we should respond to certain challenging situations. This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

There are many interpretations of advaita, but Bhagavan’s teachings are the simplest, clearest and deepest

In a comment on my previous article, To know what we actually are, we need to cease being interested in any person, a friend called Mouna referred to one of my recent videos, 2020-01-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why Bhagavan’s path is a path of unlearning, and wrote:
Michael mentioned in one of his recent videos (I’ll be paraphrasing) that one of the problems of vedantic teachings is that historically, the simple teachings of the Upanishads started to be complicated to understand because all the commentaries, and the commentaries on the commentaries (and the commentaries on the commentaries on the commentaries!) appeared...

Thursday, 23 January 2020

To know what we actually are, we need to cease being interested in any person

A friend wrote to me recently saying he wants to know more about me as a person, including about my family background, such as whether my parents were devotees of Bhagavan and whether all my siblings are also interested in his teachings, and he asked me whether he should try to convince his brothers and sisters to learn about his teachings, because they have other interests and opinions, some of which he disagrees with. This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

What does Bhagavan mean by the term ‘mind’?

In a comment on my previous article, Self-investigation is the only means by which we can surrender ourself entirely and thereby eradicate ego, a friend called Rajat referred to two sentences in the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன’ (maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa), ‘Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought [the primal, basic, original or causal thought]. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise’, and asked, ‘I am unable to understand this. Isn’t the “thought ‘I’” same as the mind, or ego? If yes, then how does the I-thought appear or arise in the mind, because they are the same thing? Should this be understood to mean that the first thing the I-thought sees is itself?’, and in a subsequent comment he referred to this and asked ‘Since “the thought I” is nothing but “our mind”, how to understand Bhagavan’s statement that the thought ‘I’ alone is the first thought that appears in our mind? If I-thought were to arise in the mind, then mind must exist prior to the arising of I thought’.

This article is written primarily in reply to these two comments, but also in reply both to a later comment in which Rajat asked some other questions related to the nature of the mind, and to another related subject that was discussed in other comments on the same article.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Self-investigation is the only means by which we can surrender ourself entirely and thereby eradicate ego

A mutual friend recently wrote to David Godman and me asking us to confirm his understanding on various points concerning Bhagavan and his teachings, including that silence is his highest teaching, that he gave ‘Realization’ to his mother and Cow Lakshmi, that some other people got ‘enlightenment’ just being in his presence, that he ‘said that people come to him in various maturity levels’, that he ‘did not speak about “Atma-Vichara” unless someone asked [him] the easiest and quickest way for Realization’, but that ‘at the same time he has guided few others towards realization’ (referring to what seems to me to be a dubious claim that he ‘never mentioned about Atma-Vichara to Natesa Iyer’ but ‘mentioned to him to look at “Nothing”’), that ‘Time and again Bhagawan said that HE is not the body, which implies that he is LOVE & Awareness’, that he is therefore ‘available to anyone Here and Now’, that ‘on the “Karma” theory/aspect anyone who is destined to succeed in “Atma-Vichara” will get irrespective of they want it or not’, and that ‘He also have mentioned that the effective way for MUKTI/ liberation is either by practice of Atma-vichara or Self Surrender’.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Why do we need to distinguish ourself as ego from whatever person we seem to be?

A friend recently wrote a comment saying ‘I cannot easily see the importance of stressing the necessity of a clear distinction between ego and person’, and while considering what to reply to him I remembered a reply that I had written to another friend back in April regarding the importance of this distinction, which at the time I had intended to adapt as an article, but in the midst of other work it had somehow slipped down my mental list of priorities. Therefore in the first four sections of this article I will reproduce the reply I wrote in April, and then in the final section I will reply specifically to the recent comment asking about this distinction.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

What we need to investigate is not the act of witnessing but the witness itself

Referring to a passage I wrote in If any state that we take to be waking is actually just a dream, we can infer that there is just one perceiver (ēka-jīva) and that its perception of phenomena is what creates them (dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi) (section 14 in one of my previous articles, Which is a more reasonable and useful explanation: dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda or sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi-vāda?), namely “Therefore ēka-jīva-vāda does not deny that there are many people, nor does it deny that each person seems to be a perceiver. What it denies is that any person is actually a perceiver, because just as a dream is perceived only by the dreamer, namely ego, who is one and the same in every dream, our present state is perceived only by this one ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’, who is what dreams any state in which phenomena seem to exist”, a friend wrote to me:

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Why should we try to be aware of ourself alone?

Referring to two sentences I wrote while explaining the second sentence of verse 5 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam in one of my recent articles, How to merge in Arunachala like a river in the ocean?, namely ‘How can we grind the mind on the stone called mind? By attending to ourself alone’, a friend wrote to me asking what exactly I meant by ‘alone’ here, and though there is only one in enlightenment, how we can be alone while making an effort to turn 180 degrees. In reply to this I wrote:

Thursday, 5 December 2019

How to deal with whatever feelings may arise while we are investigating ourself?

Referring to what I wrote in What did Sadhu Om mean by the ‘ascending process’ and ‘descending process’? (the third section of one of my recent articles, Upadēśa Undiyār verse 16: a practical definition of real awareness), a friend wrote to me:
I think that I understand your explanation on the descending and ascending process but when I try to write something on the subject, I become wordless-thoughtless and, instead of feeling freedom, since there are not walls from every angle which, at first, enabled me to turn towards myself to a great extent, now I’m having the opposite feeling of being immured and paralyzed and don’t know how to proceed from here. Does it make any sense? Why is it so?

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Are there three states, two states or only one state?

Referring to one of my videos, 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 1, a friend wrote an email (which I have lightly edited here for clarity, including adapting the punctuation and adding some explanatory words in square brackets, but without changing the wording or substance):

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Upadēśa Undiyār verse 16: a practical definition of real awareness

In the article I posted a couple of days ago, Is there any difference between being self-attentive and sitting down quietly in meditation?, I ended by quoting and explaining verse 16 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
வெளிவிட யங்களை விட்டு மனந்தன்
னொளியுரு வோர்தலே யுந்தீபற
      வுண்மை யுணர்ச்சியா முந்தீபற.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Is there any difference between being self-attentive and sitting down quietly in meditation?

A friend wrote to me recently asking, ‘Is there a difference in being self-attentive and sitting down quietly in meditation? Do they both help in dissolving the ego gradually as we continue to practice being self-attentive?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Monday, 18 November 2019

How to merge in Arunachala like a river in the ocean?

In verse 3 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam Bhagavan says:
அகமுகமா ரந்த வமலமதி தன்னா
லகமிதுதா னெங்கெழுமென் றாய்ந்தே — யகவுருவை
நன்கறிந்து முந்நீர் நதிபோலு மோயுமே
யுன்கணரு ணாசலனே யோர்.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Ego seems to exist only when we look elsewhere, away from ourself

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-11-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 34, a friend asked, “At 50:50 you say that asking why the ego has arisen or how it has arisen is like asking how was the son of the barren woman born. Isn’t ‘how the ego arose’ a permissible question, considering that Bhagavan has explained it in Uḷḷadu Narpadu himself, this question of how the ego came into existence? Can a good understanding of how the ego came into existence also help us in our attempts to destroy it with vichara?”, in reply to which I wrote:

Friday, 25 October 2019

Can we as ego ever experience pure awareness?

In a comment on my previous article, Is it possible for us to attend to ourself, the subject, rather than to any object?, a friend called Asun referred to one of my videos, 2018-03-19 Conscious TV interview with Michael James: The Real Behind All Appearances, and wrote:
In an interview when you were asked “When you talk to me now, is there feeling of pure awareness?” you responded that “it is always there in the background” (because of many years of practice) even though you don’t experience it in its purity. Then you added that “the distinction between pure awareness and the awareness that we call mind or ego, the awareness of things, that distinction becomes clearer and clearer.”

Monday, 7 October 2019

Is it possible for us to attend to ourself, the subject, rather than to any object?

A friend wrote to me recently:
Can you tell from your experience if practicing Self investigation is something that is started in a “wrong” manner and evolves into the correct practice over the years?

I think I have the correct intellectual understanding of how to perform Self investigation but in practice I get trapped again and again: I try to be aware of myself alone but as I cannot be objectified my attention is always landing on subtle objects. It takes a while to realize this, then I try to redirect my attention to myself again which results in dwelling on another subtle object and so on. I feel that directing my attention happens only in the realm of the mind and I seem to be unable to investigate into the one who is directing his attention/ attend to myself because I am not skilled enough to attend to anything other than objects. Has this search with my attention landing on objects to go on until I gain the skill to transcend it and attend to myself?

And isn’t the attitude of “Now I will try to direct my attention to myself” in itself wrong because the I in this sentence can only attend to objects? Don’t I have to investigate instead into from where this intention arose? Because that I am unable to do right now.
This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Is any external help required for us to succeed in the practice of self-investigation?

In a comment on my previous article, The role of grace in all that ego creates, a friend called Asun wrote: ‘I’ve been watching these days David Godman’s youtube channel. He, as well as yourself, enjoys talking about Ramana’s teachings and telling tales about him, the ashram and devotees. They are beautiful tales illustrated with very good documentaries. His understanding and interpretation of the teachings is very similar to your understanding and explanations yet, regarding to the practice he claims that there are some results only at first and that from then on it is as if one got stuck so that the only way to really reach somewhere is to sit in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in. Is this your experience too, Michael? Or do you completely disagree with him?’

Monday, 5 August 2019

The role of grace in all that ego creates

In a comment on one of my recent articles, Is there any such thing as ‘biological awareness’?, an anonymous friend suggested that it is not correct to say that ego has projected or created anything, because though the world appears when ego emerges, it ‘appears by the power of higher power and is also the higher power’, and ‘The higher power enables everything and manifests as everything’. Therefore this article is written in reply to that comment.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Why does ego rise again from manōlaya and not from manōnāśa?

In a comment on my previous article, Is there any such thing as ‘biological awareness’?, a friend called Abhilash wrote: ‘Could you clarify this confusion on deep sleep. We understand that in deep sleep ego is subdued, given this is the case when we wake up, how the memory that I slept well and did not know anything is obtained. If only awareness and ignorance were present during deep-sleep who reports this experience of absence back to ego in the waking state. As awareness transcends time/space/causality how can we say “awareness” possesses memory? Kindly clarify’.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Is there any such thing as ‘biological awareness’?

A friend recently wrote to me: ‘People seem to have a hard time grasping Bhagavan’s teachings. Would it not be easier just to tell them thoughts are an illusion, so pure biological awareness is the true self, especially because biologically changes will happen in the brain that will solidify this learner behavior over time, and once they reach this state, the ugly term of biological awareness will get burned along with the ego in the pyre?’ The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to this:

Friday, 28 June 2019

How can there be any experience without something that is experiencing it?

In four comments on one of my recent articles, In what sense and to what extent do we remember what we were aware of in sleep?, a friend called Lewis asked several questions about awareness, experience, ego and appearance that can be adequately answered only by carefully considering some of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, so in this article I will try to answer his questions in the clear light of those principles.

Monday, 24 June 2019

How can we be sure that we can wake up from this dream of our present life?

Yesterday in a comment on one of my videos, 2019-01-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 14, a friend called Saroj wrote:
Thank you for this video, Michael. We can think of the dream state only with respect to (what seems to be) the waking state. So when Bhagavan says that waking state also is only a dream, how to understand this statement? Since we know the dream state only with respect to this waking state, if the waking state too is a dream, then there is no longer any standard left against which to place dream and thus to make sense of it. Typing this question, it seems like the standard must be the state of deep sleep. So basically, there is no state that can be called the waking state? Only dream and sleep? Also, it seems like no rational person will deny that this world is quite possibly only a dream or mental imagination. But how can we be sure that we can ‘wake’ up from this dream, and how? Bhagavan has taught that this is possible, should we take this on faith? And try to experience it ourselves through our practice? I ask because previously, I have followed several different people, some whose teachings were very superficial although at that time I may have felt otherwise, but with Bhagavan’s teachings I feel sure that I don’t have to search any further, I don’t have to dig any more wells, as Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said in an analogy. But this feeling is not sufficiently empowered by a clarity of understanding Bhagavan’s teachings or doing deep self-investigation, but largely just a feeling in my heart, if [I] may put it like that. So I am still very immature and lacking in both bhakti and vairagya.
The following is my reply to this:

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

In what sense and to what extent do we remember what we were aware of in sleep?

In a comment on one of my recent articles, How to practise self-enquiry (ātma-vicāra)?, a friend called Rajat Sancheti wrote:
If I give it some thought, and try to recall last night’s dream, it becomes quite clear that in dream I am aware of myself without being aware of this body. But if I try to see the same thing (that I am aware of myself without being aware of this body) regarding dreamless sleep, it is not very clear. Why is it that the memory of having existed in dream is much clearer than the memory of having existed in dreamless sleep? Or is it that in the case of dream, what is clearer to me is only the memory of having existed as some body, and not the memory of simply existing?

Thursday, 30 May 2019

How can we refine and sharpen our power of attention so that we can discern what we actually are?

In a comment on my previous article, How to practise self-enquiry (ātma-vicāra)?, a friend called Rajat Sancheti wrote:
Desires, fears, etc belong to the ego or to the person? The person is insentient and cannot desire or fear anything, so they must belong to ego, I suppose. But then why do these desires and fears have such a personal nature? For example, the desire for money, lust, status, etc, they are only the body’s desires. Is it that when ego identifies this body as ‘I’, it takes this body’s desires and fears to be its own? Or are desires and fears only the ego’s desires and fears?

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

How to practise self-enquiry (ātma-vicāra)?

A friend recently wrote to me, ‘Please forgive me, as I suppose this question has been asked thousands of times, but can you describe in basic everyday language how YOU practice self-enquiry? Perhaps you have addressed this somewhere else. If so, please be kind enough to direct me to the source’, and in reply I wrote:

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The ultimate truth is ajāta, but because we seem to have risen as ego and consequently perceive a world, Bhagavan, Gaudapada and Sankara teach us primarily from the perspective of vivarta vāda

In several comments on one of my recent articles, Whatever jñāna we believe we see in anyone else is false, there was a discussion about ajāta vāda, so in this article I will reply to some ideas that a friend called Venkat expressed in the course of that discussion, and in particular I will highlight the distinction between ajāta vāda (the contention that nothing has ever arisen, appeared or come into existence) and vivarta vāda (the contention that whatever has arisen, appeared or come into existence is just an illusion or false appearance), because in some of his comments he seemed to confuse the former with the latter, of which it is actually a denial.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Can there be any viable substitute for patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender?

As I wrote in the introduction to my previous but one article, Is it possible to have a ‘direct but temporary experience of the self’ or to watch the disappearance of the I-thought?, in which I adapted a reply that I had written to a friend who had asked about a portion from 13.31 to 18.04 of a video that David Godman made about ‘Papaji’ (H W L Poonja), there was another issue raised in that portion that I did not specifically discuss in that article but that I said I would discuss in a later one. That issue is the idea that Poonja could somehow give people an experience that bypassed the need for ‘a rather intense, vigilant practice that took place over a long period of time’, which David acknowledged (at 13.53) was what Bhagavan used to recommend, so this is the issue that I will discuss in this article.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Whatever jñāna we believe we see in anyone else is false

In the introduction to my previous article, Is it possible to have a ‘direct but temporary experience of the self’ or to watch the disappearance of the I-thought?, I had written that in my next article I would discuss the idea that Poonja could somehow give people an experience that bypassed the need for ‘a rather intense, vigilant practice that took place over a long period of time’, but I have not yet finished writing that article, and in the meanwhile I have written this article in response to one of the comments on my previous article, so I am posting this one now and and will post the other one later.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Is it possible to have a ‘direct but temporary experience of the self’ or to watch the disappearance of the I-thought?

Last year a friend wrote to me saying that it seems distortions and misinterpretations of Bhagavan’s teachings are inevitable, and that nowadays the internet is sadly inundated with misinformation and confused ideas about them, and concluding, ‘I suppose this is the nature of mind’, to which I replied:
Yes, the mind is māyā, so its nature is to distort and confuse, making what is simple seem complicated, what is clear seem clouded, what is plain seem obscure, what is obvious into something mysterious and what is subtle into something gross. The only way for us to overcome this natural tendency of the mind is to persistently turn within to see what we actually are, which is not this mind but just the clear light of pure and infinite self-awareness.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

What is the relationship between the ‘I-thought’ and awareness?

Recently a friend wrote asking me to ‘clarify the relationship between the I-Thought and Awareness’, and after I replied to him he wrote asking some further questions on the same subject, so this article is adapted from the two replies I wrote to him.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Thoughts and dreams appear only in the self-ignorant view of ourself as ego, not in the clear view of ourself as we actually are

A few months ago a friend wrote to me asking about a passage attributed to Annamalai Swami, but which I later found was a misquoted version of a passage from the book Annamalai Swami: Final Talks (perhaps because it had been translated from English into some other language and then back into English again), so I first replied regarding the wording of the misquoted version, and after finding the original passage I wrote another reply more appropriate to that wording. This article is adapted from these two replies.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

What is the correct meaning of ‘Be in the now’?

A friend recently wrote to me asking whether Bhagavan’s teachings can be compared to those of Zen masters such as ‘Be in the now’, ‘Mindfulness’ and so on, which he said seem to have ‘similar meaning and understanding, because when we’re in the now and here we don’t have thoughts flowing and hence remain in the self’, and he added that he thinks Bhagavan addressed this in verse 15 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

In a dream there is only one dreamer, and if the one dreamer wakes up the entire dream will come to an end

A friend recently wrote to me:
I understand that there is one ego, which creates the illusion of many people and a world. If one person in this illusion, i.e. you or I, becomes realized, how is that going to destroy the ego as a whole? When Ramana became realized, this didn’t stop the world appearing for me. I know Ramana when asked about others said there are no others and if all is a dream of course he is correct, but others myself including continue to dream we exist despite Ramana becoming enlightened. Is realization a gradual breaking down of the ego individual by individual?

My second question: What is Shakti? I have looked it up and it seems to say it is energy which creates and that it is part of who we naturally are. This seems contradictory to how I now see realization as being. I now see realization as a kind of nothingness, not dissimilar to deep sleep. Can you remind me is this correct? Is shakti the same as ego and the cause of illusion?
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to her:

Thursday, 31 January 2019

To understand consciousness can we rely upon the observations and theories of neuroscience?

Recently a friend wrote to me saying that he was caring for his mother, who was in the final stages of dying because of a brain tumour, and that for a year he had been watching the effect it had on her: ‘I followed every moment of her conscious disappearance and with all her reports about that till three days ago when she fell into a terminal coma, just breathing. [...] Layer by layer I observed her fading away: abstract reasoning, language, sight, taste, calculation, self-perception, memory, emotions, equilibrium, movement, then faces recognition, space time comprehension, till the sleeping mode during the day, sudden change of mood, personality, then fear, sorrow, and now coma, tomorrow death’.

He also wrote about the connection between the changes that had been taking place in his mother’s perception, behaviour, understanding, character, response to stimuli and so on and the parts of her brain that were progressively affected by cancer cells, and what neuroscience says about such things, including the idea that ‘consciousness is only an emergent property of the brain’. He wrote that therefore ‘I have to surrender to the hard fact of the causal relation between brain and consciousness’, and asked what Bhagavan’s teachings have to say about such matters. The first section of this article is adapted from my reply to this, and the second section is adapted from my reply to what he wrote in response to my first reply.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

What is deluded is not our real nature but only ego

In my previous article, How to be self-attentive even while we are engaged in other activities?, I adapted a reply that I had written to a friend. In another email the same friend asked ‘How did the ego come about?’ and wrote:
Am I correct to say the following? At the beginning, there was only true self. Then, somehow or other, it deluded itself and believed it to be the ego — which is the root of everything. Then, the ego got reborn over and over. What we are trying to do now is to turn what seems to be the ego within and in so doing, the ego dissolves, revealing true self that it always has been — and thus, ending all our sufferings.

My question is: If our true self is always only aware of itself, how did it delude itself at the very beginning? The “I thought” arises only if one looks outside, correct? So, if our true self is only aware of itself, how does it delude itself to begin with?

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

How to be self-attentive even while we are engaged in other activities?

A friend recently wrote to me asking how one can practise self-attentiveness while doing other things, so this article is adapted from the reply that I wrote to her.

The Tamil and Sanskrit terms that Bhagavan used to describe the practice mean or imply not only self-attentiveness but also self-investigation. In any investigation the primary tool is observation, but in self-investigation it is the only tool, so self-investigation and self-attentiveness mean the same and are therefore interchangeable terms. We investigate ourself by observing or attending to ourself.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Which is a more reasonable and useful explanation: dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda or sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi-vāda?

In a series of two comments on one of my recent articles, Everything depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of ourself as ego, a friend called ‘Unknown’ referred to the twelfth section of it, Ego projects and simultaneously perceives itself as all forms or phenomena, and quoted the following two paragraphs from it:
The philosophy of advaita is interpreted by people in various ways according to the purity of their minds, so there are many people who consider themselves to be advaitins yet who do not accept dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda [the contention (vāda) that perception (dṛṣṭi) is causally antecedent to creation (sṛṣṭi), or in other words that we create phenomena only by perceiving them, just as we do in dream], because for them it seems to be too radical an interpretation of advaita, so they interpret the ancient texts of advaita according to sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi-vāda, the contention that creation is causally antecedent to perception, and that the world therefore exists prior to and independent of our perception of it. Those who interpret advaita in this way do not accept ēka-jīva-vāda, the contention that there is only one jīva, ego or perceiver (which is one of the basic implications of dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda), and since they believe that phenomena exist independent of ego’s perception of them, they do not accept that ego alone is what projects all phenomena, and hence they interpret ancient texts to mean that what projects everything is not ego or mind but only brahman (or brahman as īśvara, God, rather than brahman as ego).

Saturday, 29 December 2018

We should ignore all thoughts or mental activity and attend only to ourself, the fundamental awareness ‘I am’

In the third section of my previous article, Why is self-investigation the only means to eradicate ego but not the only means to achieve citta-śuddhi?, I wrote:
If we mistake a rope to be a dangerous snake, we cannot kill that snake by beating it but only by looking at it very carefully, because if we look at it carefully enough we will see that it is only a harmless rope and was therefore never the snake that it seemed to be. Likewise, since we now mistake ourself to be ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’, we cannot kill this ego by any means other than by looking at it very carefully, because if we look at it carefully enough we will see that it is only pure and infinite awareness and was therefore never the body-mixed and hence limited awareness that it seemed to be.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Why is self-investigation the only means to eradicate ego but not the only means to achieve citta-śuddhi?

In a recent comment on my previous article I wrote:
Today a friend wrote to me:
I noticed today in GVK verse 622, Bhagavan is recorded as saying: “When rightly considered, nothing will be more wonderful and laughable than one’s toiling very much through some sadhana to attain Self in the same manner as one toils to attain other objects, even though one really ever remains as the non-dual Self.”

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Everything depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of ourself as ego

In the comments on one of my recent articles, Like everything else, karma is created solely by ego’s misuse of its will (cittam), so what needs to be rectified is its will, there was a discussion about the nature of ego and whether or not it is antecedent to the appearance of all phenomena, so this article is written in an attempt to clarify what Bhagavan taught us in this regard.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

When Bhagavan says that we must look within, what does he mean by ‘within’?

Last month a friend wrote me an email in which he asked me to clarify certain aspects of Bhagavan’s teachings, including what he means by ‘within’ when he says that we must look within, and whether the source of the individual self can be within that same individual self, so this article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Like everything else, karma is created solely by ego’s misuse of its will (cittam), so what needs to be rectified is its will

In the comments on my previous three articles there was an ongoing discussion about the role of free will and the law of karma in general, and various friends have expressed differing views about this matter, so this article was originally intended to be a reply to some of those views but it has developed into a broad and detailed discussion about the key role of our will and the paramount need for us to rectify or purify it.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

The ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things

In a comment on one of my recent articles, The ego does not actually exist, but it seems to exist, and only so long as it seems to exist do all other things seem to exist, a friend called Salazar wrote, ‘Did anybody on this blog wonder who is perceiving the thoughts which come into awareness? That what is aware of thoughts cannot be the creator of these thoughts, because a thought is an object apart from that “observer”’. This article is written in reply to this comment and another one written by him.

Monday, 30 April 2018

The ego seems to exist only because we have not looked at it carefully enough to see that there is no such thing

For a few days last week I was in a place where I did not have any internet connection except on my phone, but on and off during that time I had a conversation via WhatsApp with a friend called Frank about Bhagavan’s teachings, philosophy, ego and other related matters. The first fifteen sections of this article are compiled from edited extracts of our conversation, and the final section is a reply that I subsequently wrote to him by email (as also are the five paragraphs in earlier sections that I have enclosed in square brackets).