Friday, 5 June 2015

Attending to our ego is attending to its source, ourself

A friend recently wrote to me referring to one of my recent articles, The ego is essentially a formless and hence featureless phantom, and asked:
In your most recent post there appears to be two subtly different forms of Self-Inquiry. On the one hand, there is a section in which we are told to turn the attention directly at the ego-I, investigating it. Doing so, it will disappear and be known to be a phantom. On the other hand, in another section, we are told to investigate the source, or “place” from which the ego-I rises in order to annihilate it.

I wrote “appears to be … different” in the above paragraph because they are no doubt essentially the same practice. However, I’m asking if you could clarify these distinctions, particularly with respect to actually “doing” atma-vichara [self-investigation]. Does placing attention to “only ourself” mean directing attention to the ego-sense, the sense of a separate “I”, or to its source, (which can’t be “seen” as it is formless and what we really are, already)?
The following is what I replied to him:

What is the source of an illusory snake? It is only the rope that seems to be that snake. Therefore if we look at what seems to be a snake, what we are actually looking at is the rope, which is its source. Likewise, the source of our ego is only ourself as we really are, because what seems to be this ego is actually nothing other than ourself as we really are. Therefore if we investigate or observe this ego, what we are actually investigating or observing is only ourself, who are its source.

Hence there is absolutely no difference between investigating our ego and investigating its source, because in either case what we are investigating or attending to is only ourself. These are just two alternative ways of describing exactly the same practice, which is just trying to be attentively aware of ourself alone.

Therefore in practice there is not even a subtle difference between investigating our ego and investigating its source. Differences of any kind seem to exist only when our attention is turned away towards anything other than ourself, so since the practice of self-investigation is simply to attend to ourself alone, there cannot be any different forms of this practice. There are different clues that may help us to turn our attention back towards ourself, but once we have turned back there can be no differences, because self-attentiveness is a state that is completely devoid of differences of any kind whatsoever.

In self-investigation there is not even the most fundamental of all differences or distinctions, namely the distinction between subject and object, because in this practice the investigator alone is what is being investigated, or the observer alone is what is being observed, so since the investigator or observer is one and indivisible, how could there be any other difference or distinction in such a state? Investigating, observing or attending to ourself alone is therefore a state of perfect and indivisible oneness, so there can be no difference at all between one kind of self-investigation and another. There is therefore only one way to investigate ourself, and that is to try to be attentively aware of ourself alone.

Whether it is described as investigating our ego or investigating our source, it is still the same simple practice of trying to be vigilantly self-attentive. In either case what we are attending to is exactly the same thing, namely ourself, because our ego is ourself as we now seem to be, whereas our source is ourself as we actually are.

Whether we say that we are looking at the snake or at the rope, what we are looking at is exactly the same thing, because the snake is what the rope seems to be, whereas the rope is what it actually is. Just as we cannot look at the snake without actually looking at the rope, we cannot attend to our ego without actually attending to its source, which is ourself.

Bhagavan described this simple practice of self-investigation in various different ways, such as investigating ourself, investigating our ego, investigating our primal thought called ‘I’, investigating our source, investigating where we rise, investigating from what we rise, investigating the place in which we rise, investigating what we are, investigating who am I, investigating to whom thoughts occur, investigating what this ego is, investigating what it is that now shines as ‘I’, investigating the form of the mind, investigating the light that illumines the mind, meditating on ourself, meditating on what-is-not-other, remembering ourself, thinking of ourself, thinking ‘I, I’, attending to ourself, looking at ourself, observing ourself, holding on to ourself, fixing our attention on ourself, fixing our mind in ourself, abiding in ourself, abiding as ourself, being ourself, being as we are, being silent, surrendering ourself or just being, but all of these are just alternative descriptions of exactly the same practice, because we cannot do any of these things without simply attending to ourself alone.

Therefore no matter in how many different ways he may have described it, we should not imagine that there is even the slightest difference in what he was describing, because what he was describing in so many different ways is the one and only means by which we can experience ourself as we really are and thereby destroy or give up forever the illusion that we are this ego that we now seem to be.

I hope that all I have written above adequately answers your final question, ‘Does placing attention to “only ourself” mean directing attention to the ego-sense, the sense of a separate “I”, or to its source, (which can’t be “seen” as it is formless and what we really are, already)?’ but in case it does not, we ourself are one and indivisible, so whether we consider being self-attentive to be attending to our ego or attending to our real self, which is the source of this ego, it does not make any difference to what we should actually be attending to. Since our ego is nothing other than ourself (in the same sense that an illusory snake is nothing other than a rope), we cannot attend to our ego without attending to ourself, so as long as we understand that what we must try to attend to is only ourself, it does not matter how we may describe it or conceptualise it.

Each of the many ways in which Bhagavan described this practice is just one more clue that he has given us to help us in our attempts to be attentively aware of ourself alone. At one time we may find one particular clue to be most helpful, and at other times we may find other clues to be more helpful, but it really does not matter which clue we follow so long as it results in us being just attentively aware of ourself alone.

113 comments:

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, to the best of my knowledge, your current English translations of all the verses of Ulladu Narpadu does not appear at one single place in your website. If it is there please let me know where these appear? These verse are there in the book Sri Ramanaopadesa Noonmalai, but these translation appear to be quite different than the translations which you now use in your articles and other places.

For example in the book Sri Ramanaopadesa Noonmalai, you have translated verse 29 as follows:

Having discarded the body like a corpse and without uttering 'I' by mouth, scrutinizing with an inward-diving mind, "Where does (the feeling) 'I' rise?", is alone the path of knowledge (jnana-marga). Instead (of inwardly scutinizing the feeling 'I' in this manner), (merely) thinking (or meditating), "I am not this (body composed of five sheaths), I am That (the absolute reality or Brahman)", is (at first in a roundabout way) an aid (to the above path of knowledge or enquiry) (but) is it enquiry (that is, is it the correct practice of Self-enquiry or Atma-vichara, which is the direct oath of Knowledge)?

I believe the same is translated as follows by you now:

Without saying 'I' by mouth, investigating with an inward sinking mind where it rises as 'I' alone is the path of jnana [the means to experience real knowledge]. Instead, thinking '[I am} not this [body or mind]. I am that [brahman]' is [merely] canan aid, [but] is it vicara [self-investigation]?

As you can see your current translation appears to be more crisp and concise. Therefore if you fee fit you can have all your current translation of all the verses of Ulladu Narpadu put up in one place in your website for our easy reference. Its explanations may not be required, since you have been repeatedly explaining these in your articles. Your current translations of the Upadesa Undiyar are already there in the asram publication, Upadesa Saram - the complete version..., therefore I do not feel it is that much required in your website.

Thanking you and pranams.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, there were a few typos in the verse 29 of Ulladu Narpadu which I quoted in my last comment. The corrected verse is as follows:

Without saying 'I' by mouth, investigating with an inward sinking mind where it rises as 'I' alone is the path of jnana [the means to experience real knowledge]. Instead, thinking '[I am] not this [body or mind], I am that [brahman]' is [merely] an aid, [but] is it vicara [self-investigation]?

Thanking you and pranams.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, In your video of 11th April 2015 you spoke something to the effect:

Bhagavan is the silence, and also the expression of that silence.

I was wondering what does 'expression of silence' mean? Was it the physical form of Bhagavan which you were referring to, or was is the teachings of Bhagavan you were referring to, or was it the form of Arunachala you were referring to? Or is it all these things put together?

I think devotees like Sri Muruganar, Sri Sadhu Om and Sri Michael James are also expression of the silence, which is Bhagavan's true form. You may not agree to your name being included here, but this what many of us feel. It would have been difficult to understand Bhagavan's true teachings without explanations and elaborations of his teachings by all of you put together.

Thanking you and pranams.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in answer to your first two comments above, as I mention on the Translations page of my website, it has been my intention for a long time to make fresh translations available there of all the verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, Upadēśa Undiyār and other original writings of Bhagavan, but as you know most of my time is taken up replying to emails and to comments on this blog, so I never seem to have time to complete all the translation work I would like to do.

My intention is not just to give a simple word-for-word meaning and translation of each verse but to include a more detailed explanation of the range of meanings of each word, its grammatical role in the context and the syntactic connections between them, and also to discuss the overall implications of each verse and the connections between the ideas expressed in successive verses, but of late I have been thinking that I need not do all this together in one go but can work towards it gradually, so I am now considering starting by giving a basic translation of each verse and then adding more explanations gradually. If I do this, it would mean that it would require less time for me to finalise the basic translation, which I could then add to more gradually, so this is what I hope to try to do in the near future whenever I can find some time to spare.

As you have noticed, my older translations are a bit clumsy and include too much explanation in brackets, so nowadays I aim to make my translations more concise, and to give any required explanations separately. However, I never consider my translations to be finalised, because I am a perfectionist and therefore always looking for ways to improve them. Moreover, no translation can do full justice to the original or bring out all the shades of meaning or implications, so I sometimes modify my translations to suit the context in which I cite them, because in some contexts a different shade of meaning may be more applicable.

Regarding the two translations of verse 29 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu that you have quoted, apart from the explanations included in brackets, another reason why the older one is longer than the newer one is that it includes the meaning of the relevant extra words that Bhagavan added in the kaliveṇbā version, namely ‘பிணம் போல் தீர்ந்து உடலம்’ (piṇam pōl tīrndu uḍalam), which means ‘leaving the body like a corpse’.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding your latest comment, in which you ask about silence, I think that perhaps silence is the best answer to your question, because silence is not something that we should try to analyse or explain too much.

What did I mean by ‘expression of silence’? It is hard to say exactly, and if I try to explain what I meant I would end up saying something other than what I actually meant. As he really is, Bhagavan is nothing but pure silence, but his manifestation in human form and the teachings that that form gave in words are in some way an expression of the silence that he really is. That is all I meant, but as you say the same can also apply to the physical form of Arunachala.

You are correct in assuming that I do not consider it appropriate to include my name along with Sri Muruganar and Sri Sadhu Om, because I believe that they had each merged completely in Bhagavan, so whatever they said was from a completely different standpoint, whereas I am just an ordinary and very imperfect aspirant who happens to have love for his teachings and was fortunate to study them deeply under the clear guidance of Sadhu Om.

Sivanarul said...

Michael,
Given that “most of my time is taken up replying to emails and to comments on this blog, so I never seem to have time to complete all the translation work I would like to do.” and also your keen interest in the translation work, have you considered taking a sabbatical (say 6 or 12 months) from email and comments and simply aim to focus on the translation (with detailed explanations)? I think there is more than sufficient material on your website to answer most questions, so a sabbatical might be worthwhile to consider. While we will certainly miss your insight during the sabbatical, your explanations in the translation will more than make up for it. Whatever you decide, Thank you for the help you continue to provide.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, thank you for both your comments. Yes, it sounds a good idea when you write:

... but of late I have been thinking that I need not do all this together in one go but can work towards it gradually, so I am now considering starting by giving a basic translation of each verse and then adding more explanations gradually...

Looking forward to these translations appearing in your website.

Thanking you and pranams

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivanarul, this is in reply to your latest comment. I do not agree with you when you write that Michael should take sabbatical (say for 6 to 12 months).

Personal contact and interactions with a guide like Michael is very important in our inner journey. Bhagavan's teachings are already recorded in various forms at various places, but we need constant clarifications. Even Michael had spent 8 years in the company of Sri Sadhu Om, and it is only because of this that he is able to guide us. So please do not give such absurd ideas to Michael.

Without his support through his e-mails and comments many of us will be lost, with no one to turn to for any clarification on the path.

Thanking you.

Sivanarul said...

Sanjay,
I did not write Michael “should” take sabbatical. I only wrote whether he has “considered” taking sabbatical. I agree 100% with you that personal contact and interactions with a guide like Michael is invaluable. So also are the detailed explanations he will be providing in the translation. Since he wrote he is not finding enough time to do both, and he wants to do the translation, I was merely suggesting a way.

I do not consider my idea “absurd”. Absurd means wildly unreasonable or illogical. What I suggested is within reason and logical. We prioritize things at work and home all the time. While personal contact will help a few of us to inch forward, a translation will help a larger number of us.

It is well established that there never will be an “end” to our questions, since the intellect and the ego is never going to be satisfied with any amount of information or answers it finds. In spite of the vast clarifications that Michael has already provided, if we cannot rest within ourselves for 6 months without any further questions, it may be helpful to analyze why we are constantly seeking answers? Do we not have any faith in our internal guru to provide us answers during those 6 months?

Your reply also seems to assume that just because I gave an idea, Michael will immediately be forced to act upon it. Michael is certainly capable of taking input from various sources and deciding for himself, what he wants to do. Whatever he decides, I take it will be as per the instruction that Bhagavan gives him as his internal guru.

Bob - P said...

I found this latest article very helpful especially the below {section]. It reinforces again that the false being conciouness and the real being conciouness are one and the same and not two separte things. Like you say below the snake is the rope.

Thank you very much Michael for explaing this.

In appreciation
Bob

[whether we consider being self-attentive to be attending to our ego or attending to our real self, which is the source of this ego, it does not make any difference to what we should actually be attending to. Since our ego is nothing other than ourself (in the same sense that an illusory snake is nothing other than a rope), we cannot attend to our ego without attending to ourself, so as long and we understand that what we must try to attend to is only ourself, it does not matter how we may describe it or conceptualise it.]

Steve said...

For anyone with a serious desire to practice atma-vicara, all the guidance needed can be found in Michael's short article above. For most of us, however, our reluctance to accept that guidance is much stronger than our desire to experience ourself as we really are. Most of us are quite content to remain lost.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivanarul, this is in reply to your comment addressed to me. I think I would like to reword my following sentence in my last comment addressed to you: So please do not give such absurd ideas to Michael.

Please read (or modify) this as: So please do not give such ideas to Michael, which he may try considering as an option. My inadequacy in English language makes me sometimes use words which may not be entirely appropriate.

Yes, your suggestion to Michael was within logic and reason, but somehow at this moment I cannot even think of letting go of his constant support through his loving replies to my unending and 'absurd' questions.

As you say if have absolute faith in our inner guru, we do not need any outside supports, but since this faith is very feeble in most of our cases we need a guide like Michael to increase our this faith. It is only our inner guru who is guiding us in all circumstances, because that is the only guru (which is our own atma-svarupa)which actually exists.

As Bhagavan says in the seventh paragraph of Nan Yar?:

That which actually exists is only atma-svarupa [our own essential self].

Thanking you.

Michael James said...

Sivanarul, thank you for your kind suggestion that I should perhaps consider taking a sabbatical from replying to emails and comments into order to concentrate on translation work for a while. Though I often think that I should make more effort to prioritise my work so that I can make progress with translation work, in practice it is very difficult for me to do so, because when I receive questions by email or in comments I feel obliged to try to reply as soon as possible, because I know that if I do not manage to do so promptly they will join the large backlog of unanswered questions that I hope to be able to reply to whenever I can find sufficient time. For example, at present I have more than fifty emails dating back to as long ago as early March that I have not yet had time to reply to, and there are also many comments in the past few months that I have not had time to reply to (such as this one that I managed to reply to only after being asked again today).

Regarding the ensuing exchange of views between Sanjay and you on your suggestion, I sympathise with his point of view, and I also feel that if I were to shut myself off for a few months to concentrate on translation work, that may not be as useful or as productive as continuing to answer emails and comments and to produce more articles in the process, as I am doing now, because when I do this I feel I am having conversations or dialogues with fellow travellers on this path, and the questions you all ask and things that you say prompt me to think more deeply and thereby write more fruitfully than I would if I were just working on my own.

I believe that what I am now doing ultimately benefits me as much as if not more than anyone else, because by having these conversations with fellow travellers I am not only sharing what I have learnt about Bhagavan’s teachings through my close association with Sadhu Om but I continue to learn in the process, since the questions I am asked and the emails and comments that I read prompt me to consider his teachings from many fresh angles that I may not have considered on my own, so I am learning more about his teachings as I go along with you all on this journey.

Moreover, in an important sense my translation work is not being neglected but nourished while I am engaging in these conversations, because I am often quoting and applying his words in a myriad of subtly different contexts, which helps me to refine my understanding of them and thereby to improve my ability to translate them creatively and in a way that perhaps brings out more successfully the inner spirit of what he expressed through his words.

We must also bear in mind his words in his note to his mother, ‘அவரவர் பிராரப்தப் பிரகாரம் அதற்கானவன் ஆங்காங்கிருந் தாட்டுவிப்பன்’ (avar avar prārabdha-p prakāram adaṯkāṉavaṉ āṅgāṅgu irundu āṭṭuvippaṉ), ‘According to their-their prārabdha [the destiny of each of them], he-who-is-for-that [God] being there-there [in the heart of each of them] will make [them] act [or dance]’. Whatever work he wants us to do he will make us do, and that is surely what is best for us, so as long as he continues to make me act or dance in this way, that is surely what is best for the time being. I only pray that he will thereby eventually teach me to just be silent, because as he ended that note, ‘மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று’ (mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu), ‘being silent is good’.

Sivanarul said...

Michael,
I already knew that you will not take a Sabbatical, before seeing your reply, based on following your blog for several years. You share the same sense of obligation that Bhagavan shared with devotees. Even during the months when Bhagavan’s body was in extreme pain ravaged by cancer and even on the last day, Bhagavan insisted that no devotee be turned away from having darshan of him. It is that compassion that defines Bhagavan as Bhagavan and it is that same compassion that defines you as you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, thank you for your reply to Sivanarul dated 7 June 2015 15:41. I also thank you for sympathising with my point of view, but I want to especially thank you for your heart touching reply - it shows a loving concern of a mother towards their infants. At least this is how I feel from my perspective.

I believe dialogues and conversations between the guru and his or her disciples, or between fellow travellers as you describe our dialogues, is very important. Many devotees of Bhagavan feel and I share this view that Bhagavan's most important work in his text Nan Yar? (the essay version), and it is based on a dialogue between the guru (Bhagavan Ramana) and his sincere devotee Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai. Again the most important Hindu spiritual text according to many is Bhagavad Gita. Again this was based on a dialogue between the guru (Bhagavan Krishna) and his worthy disciple Arjuna. Therefore the importance of this dialogue is absolutely clear, but definitely it should not be at the expense of our practice.

As you quote Bhagavan in the very end of your this comment, 'being silent is good'. Yes, this should be our aim, but often it is not possible in practice, therefore our sravana and manana should support this practice of being silent, and this dialogues between us is a powerful form of sravana and manana, which should lead to more deeper nidhidhyasana.

Thanking you and pranams.

Bob - P said...

Dear Michael
I think if you ever change your mind and do decide to have a break from answering emails and comments your friends will not only understand but will be filled with gratitude for all you have done up until that break.

We are all so blessed to have you to help us understand Bhagavan's teachings.

However if you did have a break your website along with your book and this wonderful blog are filled with enough priceless information to help any vistor who is trying to understand what Bhagavan taught.

I have only recently found your blog, website and book and am so thankful I have.

In appreciation as always Michael
Bob

Michael James said...

Sivanarul, thank you for your kind words, but please don’t compare me with Bhagavan. I am in no way comparable to him. His infinite compassion for all of us did not arise out of any ‘sense of obligation’ but simply out of his absolutely non-dual and otherless love (அன்னியமில் அன்பு) for everything as himself (as he expressed beautifully in verse 5 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam), because in his experience he alone exists, so nothing is other than him.

My experience is quite the opposite, because I am still attached to myself as this ego, and hence I experience the illusory distinction between ‘myself’ and ‘others’. Therefore any compassion I may seem to have is very imperfect and does arise out of a sense of obligation, because I am struggling against the outward-going force of my ego in order to try to turn back within, and hence I feel akin to anyone else who seems to be struggling in the same way to follow the simple, clear and direct path that he has shown us out of his infinite love and compassion for all of us.

ravigauthama said...

Dear Michael,
Finally you have clarified what the practice of SELF INVESTIGATION entails, in the light of
different clues given by sri Bhagawan.
Thank You very much.

Respectfully yours,
Sundararaman

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, I was just listening to Micheal's video of his interactions at RMF UK, dated 10th May 2014. In this at one place he says something to the effect:

The purpose of the guru is to set us on this path of self-investigation. it is because true happiness and complete satisfaction can only be experienced within ourself, whereas we are looking for these at wrong places - that is, in the outside world. Therefore we can never find absolute happiness in the objects or events of this world.

I was reflecting on this. I share it here. The guru's purpose and his role in our lives is clear, but the important point is whether or not we are in sync with this purpose. In other words, whether or not we are making the necessary efforts to experience ourself alone to the exclusion of everything else. It is only this combined effort between the guru and ourself which can produce results - the only worthwhile result being atma-jnana.

Therefore, in my view, this constant first person attention is the only worthwhile pursuit we can undertake, most other action which we undertake may be taking us in opposite direction of this goal. Only our sravana and manana of guru's teachings support this effort of ours.

Please excuse me for putting up so many comments on this blog but somehow I cannot help sharing this, and I find it to be a very useful way of reflecting on Bhagavan's teachings.

Thanking you.

Bob M said...

Fellow Travelers;

I found Michael's website about a year ago, and I have to say it is the best thing to have happened to me in me entire life.

I never go one day without finding myself at his website/blog...more often than not I visit several times a day.

Since I am retired I have the time to do so, but still find myself slacking off. But I will not allow the ego to control my life.

I am a very quiet person and have very little to say, as I enjoy silence, however I wanted to drop this line and say to one and
all of you....thank you, thank you and thank you.

I learn so much from from reading Michael's articles and I also learn much from reading the comments of each article.

All of you may not realize how you are helping me by commenting on these articles.

Many times I wanted to email Michael about a question I have but I never do. I have found that every question/concern I have is answered somewhere in Michael's articles, and often simply be reading the comments.

Although I do not know where any of you live or who you are I feel a special relationship with all of you.

I want to end by thanking Michael for all he done for me, though he does not realize how he has changed my life.

Of course I know its Bhagavan my guru who led me here and is responsible for the dramatic change in my life.

My love to one and all.

Bob

Mouna said...

Dear Bob,

Myself (as well many of us also have I'm sure, including Michael) I was really touched by your post to all this sangha/blog, your words sound full of meaning and sincere love.

It is another shade of the devotion we all share to the ultimate Self.

Thank you,
Yours in Bhagavan

Sivanarul said...

Bob,
A BIG Amen to what Mouna wrote. Your replies have always been very gracious and really touching, even when I disagreed. Your simplicity and sincerity is heart warming.

Bob - P said...

Hi Bob
Loved your comment.
I agree with you Bob and have found the same to be true.
I have started to go through all Micheal's blog articles and the comments posted about them. I have also watched his videos and taken notes. I have found this coupled with re reading his book that almost all my questions have been asked and answered before by someone else!!

And in all fairness other people have worded the question much better than I could anyway.

There is the odd one but I am sure as I keep exploring they too will get answered.

I agree this blog is wonderful and everyone are so kind, friendly and welcoming.

All the best to you Bob.

Bob

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob, Thank you for your comment dated 9 June 2015 17:16, in you have written:

Although I do not know where any of you live or who you are I feel a special relationship with all of you.

Yes, we are related by our common love towards Bhagavan's teachings; we are related by our common love for atma-vichara; we are related by our common love towards the name, form and life of Bhagavan; and we are related by our common love towards Michael and his articles, e-mails, comments, his translations of Bhagavan's and Sadhu Om's works, his videos etc.

Most important we love each other (though we may seem to be fighting at a superficial level - through our own set of ideas on this blog), because we are basically one self (eka-atma).

A loving thank you.....

Bob - P said...

Dear Sivanarul
I think you were refering to our friend Bob - M like Mouna and Sanjay were but just in case you were refering to me Bob - P. I would like to thank you very much Sivanarul for your kind words and may I say I find your comments along with everyone elses to be absolutely invaluable and such a huge help as I am new to Bhagavan and his teaching.

If you were refering to Bob - M and not Me Bob -P- than I have just made a complete fool of myself but nothing new there then (lol)!! Plus I don't mind looking stupid among friends.

All the best
Bob - P

Sivanarul said...

Bob-P,
I was referring to you. So you were not making a fool of yourself. I didn't realize there were multiple Bobs. The "one" appears as many :-)

Bob - P said...

(lol)!! Yes you are right The "One" appears as many .. Multiple Bobs !!! we are everywhere and nowhere !!
Regardless thank you very much Sivanarul you are so kind.. and thanks again to Bob - M - for his recent touching comment.
Bob - P -

Bob M said...

my apologies for the mixup...I knew there was a Bob P and foolishly used Bob M when I could have easily came up with something else...which I will do from here on out (after this post anyway)

I have only posted one other time, some weeks back and if I do post again it may some time as I'm not comfortable doing this. I much prefer to read and meditate on self I (when the ego is not giving me fits, which it does often) but you can count on me reading and rereading articles and comments very often.
Though you may not see a post by me I'm still here...I'm not going anywhere else.

I'm hooked on Bhagavan and can't get enough.


Best Regards

Bob M (something different nextime)

Bob - P said...

It's nice to know you are there Bob - M - regardless if you post a comment or not.
Take care wherever you maybe.
All the very best with your practise.
Bob - P -

Mouna said...

Suggestion: M-Bob would sound very groovy! (just joking!, it feels relax to have a buddhi-break in the general discussion from time to time!) ;-)

Yours in Bhagavan,
Mouna

Sivanarul said...

How about Arunachala Bob or Bhagavan Bob?

Mouna said...

I really like that SIvanarul! But hopefully Bob-M will not start to feel the "peers-pressure"!!!
M.

Mouna said...

I really like that SIvanarul! But hopefully Bob-M will not start to feel the "peers-pressure"!!!
M.

Palani said...

Thanks Michael for the post.

I guess many a times a confusion that arises in self enquiry is about the word "attending".

Attending to our ego
Pay attention to ourself
Pay attention to Iam

It gives a sense that there is "something" that is attending to. Our mind tries to attend to ego, tries to pay attention to ourself, to something called Iam without knowing that it the one that is the attending that we need to attend.

I guess in one of earlier blogs, Michael had also suggested that self enquiry is not one I "attending" to another I but it is being vigilantly self conscious, a state of being with our selves, it is not looking for ego or looking at ego, but being that.

Sivanarul said...

To what Mouna wrote: "it feels relax to have a buddhi-break in the general discussion from time to time!) ;-)"

Wonder whether the Self felt the same way. It said to itself, "I have been all serious with myself enjoying my own bliss. I need a break. Let me appear as many without actually appearing and relax for a while.".

While I wrote the above as a joke, that is also one of the theories out there (Lila of Ishvara or divine play).

gargoyle said...

fellow travelers....

could someone direct me to an article where I can find understanding of verse 298 of
Guru Vachaka Kovai by Sri Muruganar. In particular the word 'siddhis' is difficult for me to understand. I read the comment written by Sri Sadhu Om regarding this verse, which helps some but sometimes I'm dense and just don't get it.

When this happens I usually just skip the verse and find later when I come back I get understanding.

It seems anytime I come across 'siddhis' I kind of get lost.

I have my own definition of occult powers and I used to believe in this but have tried to convince myself this is only the mind that creates such a thing and such a belief.

Thanking in advance all who care to help the struggling jiva.

PS: I formally used Bob M as my name.

Best Regards

Sivanarul said...

Gargoyle,
Based on what I can remember, there are 8 major siddhis and 8 minor siddhis. One of the major siddhis include one jiva leaving it’s own living body and entering a dead body. Sri Shankara (considered one of the major proponents of advaita) is said to have done exactly that. When in a debate with Mandana Mishra’s wife, the debate topic went into intricacies of Sex. Sri Shankara being a Sanyasi had no experience in it. Hence he asked for a break in the debate. It is said he entered the dead body of a Raja and through that body got experience in Sex and resumed the debate.

Siddhis in the traditional spiritual literature are considered real and not mind created, but sadhakas are advised against pursuing it, because it can serve as a distraction to liberation. In Yoga sutras, Sri Patanjali provides detailed examples of Siddhis but cautions yogi’s not to pursue them.

gargoyle said...

Sivanarul...thank you for your time and assistance, much appreciated

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, the word-for-word English translation of Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam with commentary by Sri Sadhu Om and yourself is there in David Godman's website, but it is not there in your website. Should it not be there in your website also? I was reading this recently, and found that these verses (if understood correctly)are a perfect synthesis of the path of bhakti and jnana and should be very useful, if it is included in your website also.

I found the following portion especially interesting in your this commentary:

But if one tries to see everything as God before realizing the true nature of self by surrendering the mind to him, all one’s efforts will be a mere act of imagination by the mind. Without knowing God as he really is, how to see everything as his form? If you want to see this pen as a tiger, by an act of imagination you may do so: this end is its head, this end is its tail, here is its mouth, there are its eyes, and so on. Because you have seen a tiger, you can imagine like this. But if you have never seen a tiger and if you have no idea what a tiger is, you cannot even imagine this pen as a tiger. If you say, “I see this pen as a tiger: here are its wings, there are its wheels”, and so on, is it not clear that you have never seen a tiger? Equally meaningless and laughable are the claims of those people who have not realized self but who say, “I see everything as God; I see this stone as God; I see that table as God; I see God in every object and in every person; I see God in the beggars and poor people; I love all people as myself”.

Therefore there is no other way to see the tiger, except by surrendering to the tiger so that he can swallow us. Likewise, Bhagavan has repeatedly explained us that there is no way to see God as he really is, except by turning our attention towards ourself alone, because he exists in and as ourself, as our very heart.

Bhakti to the name and form of our sadguru (who is non other than God in human form) is very much approved and recommended by Bhagavan and all his sincere devotees. But Bagavan has also emphasised at many places that the paths of bhakti and atma-vichara are not two different paths, but one essence.

Bob - P said...

Dear Gargoyle / Bob - M - !

I must stress I am a fellow traveller and the below is my view / interpretation of Bahgavan's teaching plus I have not long been exposed to it.

I have a plethora of questions too !!

So if you or anyone else points out an inaccuracy / error in my thinking it is most welcome as it will help me deepen my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching!!

I am not sure who said it whether it was Bhagavan , Sadhu Om or Michael but I remember hearing the advice that it is important to not get distracted regardless of what happens during our supposed journey to realise what we truly are.

So if during our practise we find powers coming to use like the one for example my friend Sivanarual mentioned or countless others like seeing future past and manipulating the dream worlds etc etc / becoming godly ... we must be diligent and earnestly focus on who is experiencing those powers. So self investigation continues to the very end and we don't get off the train at a stop before our one way destination to dissolve into our self or sacrifice our self so to speak.

I imagine if you start to experience wonderful things, heaven and angels / out of body travel / wonderful worlds / beings etc etc no matter how beautiful or tempting they or the powers become .....

We are still experiencing / perceiving them as the experiencer / perceiver (ie)

We are still trapped in DUALISM

Therefore we are not experiencing our selves as we really are (ie) NON DUAL "I" supreme / absolute / god / knowing only itself as being - consciousness - bliss.

Powers may or may not come if they don't great less temptation on our journey to oblivion however if they do arise we must be strong and focus our attention on the expeiencer / egoic / false "I" not on the experienced / perceived and keep with our practise until the very end = dissolve into our self which is all that there has ever been.

I sincerely hope the above has helped you in some way. I must confess your question has made me think deeply and that is not a good thing !! (lol)!!!

Regardless thank you.

All the best

Bob -P -

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob - P, in your last comment you have written:

Powers may or may not come if they don't great less temptation on our journey to oblivion however if they do arise we must be strong and focus our attention on the expeiencer / egoic / false "I" not on the experienced / perceived and keep with our practise until the very end = dissolve into our self which is all that there has ever been.

In regards to powers or special experiences on our path, I received a WhatsApp message today from one my friends. He wrote and I quote:

A remember my grandfather quoting this of Sri Ramakrishna on ones journey in spirituality "A sadhaka is one who has taken the elevator, at each level the door of the elevator may open and show some wonders of that floor, however your job is to stay in the elevator until the top is reached".

I think Sri Ramaksishna was master of such metaphorical stories, but he what he says appears very true. Any power or experience which we may encounter on our way to atma-jnana should be totally rejected, and the best way to reject or bypass these is by investigating 'to whom does this power or experience occur'. In other words, revert to vigilant self-attentiveness as and when these siddhis seem to tempt us.

Sivanarul said...

Under the authority of Narada Bhakthi sutras, it has been established that Bhakthi is superior to Jnana, Karma and Raja yoga and Sanjay has also accepted that (just kidding!, just kidding! on both superior and Sanjay accepting it).

Moving on to another potentially useful topic. One of Bhagavan’s teaching is to consider the world as a dream for Sadhana purposes (whether you believe it is a dream or not). In an earlier discussion, Michael had replied something to the tune of, it needs to be an inner attitude and not much externally (a very loose translation).

But for Sadhana purposes, I don’t find it much useful if it is only an inner attitude. There has to some practical applications. There can be no general answer that suits everyone. So my question is, if you implement this teaching on a practical basis, how do “you” implement it? Do you not watch TV? (since TV is essentially a drama within a dream). Do you not go on vacations? (what is the point of a vacation in a dream?)

One has to work, pay the bills and take care of basic needs and that cannot be considered a dream (hunger will wake you up). But there are things where one can implement the teaching (like watching TV or vacations or anything else you can think you). If you implement it in scenarios like that, it would be good to know.

Thanks.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, Michael had written in one of his recent comments:

Like Sri Muruganar, Sri Sadhu Om's heart melting devotion to the name and form of his sadguru, Bhagavan Ramana, did not in any way detract from his equally heart-melting devotion to his teachings, the essence of which is the path of atma-vichara, because what he prays for in so many ways in his verses is only to be established firmly by Bhagavan's grace in the egoless goal of atma-vichara.

He had also written somewhere else:

Although the supreme reality can manifest itself in any number of divine forms, the highest of all those manifestations is the name and form of the sadguru.

We can see from Bhagavan's life that he considered prayer and surrender to one's sadguru to be an very important aspects of a sadhaka's life. His heart melting devotion to his sadguru can be seen not only from the verses of Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam, but also from his love for the hill Arunachala. He did not leave the company of the hill even for a moment during his 54 years stay at Tiruvannamalai.

Thus he showed by example our sadguru's importance in our spiritual life. Of course without trying to follow his teachings to the best of our ability we have not really surrendered to the guru, because the only purpose of his manifestation on his earth was to guide us back to our true home. So it is clear that the importance of the role of our sadguru is far greater than the importance of the role of God in our lives, though they are actually non-different.

Therefore it is said, and I believe Bhagavan used to also quote this, that we should never try advaita with our guru, whereas with everybody else we can have this feeling with advaita.

Sundar said...

This is what I think about Adavita in sadhana and karma yoga

a) Considering the world as a dream: I don't think there is any point in telling ourselves intellectually that this world is a dream. Any such assertion is just a thought like saying, "I don't have fear", but when the right circumstances arise, this assertion will be washed away in a second and our mind will be back telling us that this is indeed real. Couple of interesting quotes in this context are

"Even if we think the most unthinkable thing, it is still Maya" -- Swami Vivekananda

Sri Ramakrishna said: "When the mind exists, how can you consider the world, jiva and god to be fictitious? Only when the mind doesn't exist, they are fictitious. But when mind exists, does it make sense in uttering with your mouth that the body is false? When you possess Self Knowledge, you don’t consider the body's death to be your death. You are deceiving yourself when you consider them to be false even when the mind exists. How can you stand when you are groundless? Don’t become a hypocrite. How long will you deceive yourself? When you are not stabilized in Truth, don’t consider yourselves to be stabilized in Truth and thereby deceive yourself. Rather make an effort to realize Truth."

In our daily activities strictly Advaita does not mean all are one. Rmakarishna gives another superb e.g. He says you cannot go and embrace a tiger saying he is also brahman. Do pranams to the Tiger from afar and keep away from him. But neither hate the tiger nor love the domestic dog. One's attitude should be the same regardless of an enemy or a friend. Annamalai Swami says that just because one is realized does not mean one will walk through a street which stinks with sewage all over the place. But if he is forced to it will not affect him.

And in most of our cases as sadhakas, we can only say that we will try to be that way and most often we will fail.

b) Karma Yoga: Even though Karma Yoga is generally preached, I think one who is not realized can never be a karma yogi simply because to be a karma yogi, one should not have a sense of doership and for that there should be no ego and only a Jnani can be that. Infact both Ramana and Ramakrishna have said that only Jnanis can be good karma yogis. In most cases, atleast in my own experience, when one thinks that one is detached without our knowledge we will be subtly attached to something else.

Finally I love this quote of Swami Rama Tirtha, "Do not enslave yourself to Krishna, Buddha or Christ. The prophets came to liberate you and not to enslave you."

Each one of us is different, so we should adapt what all the saints say to our specific case and do intense sadhana, which is the only way to purify ourselves. Without a Guru we have no way but to trust our own inner guidance. All we say here obviously are just opinions. Ramakrishna said that.., Ramana said that.., Michael said that.. and so on with no disrespect to anyone. I say this only because any advice is specific to a person so there is only so much we can use for our specific nature.

Only intense sadhana is the solution and that sadhana is very specific to an individual. When someone asked Swami Vivekananda why Hindus have so many gods, his answer was the number of gods were not enough that every one needs one god. What he meant was since everyone is unique, each one creates a concept of god unique to his nature and that is how it will be.

Grace will take care of everything. As Ramana said, I think, "Introversion is grace, effort is grace and realization is grace"

Sivanarul said...


Thanks Sundar, I am assuming you replied to my question. Thanks much for the well put and lucid reply. I am with you on all that you wrote. You more or less are in my wavelength, so it is going to be hard to disagree on anything with you :-) (Not that we need to disagree). That is why I wrote we still have to work, pay the bills and fulfill basic needs. Not going before a tiger, I assume, is part of a basic need (for survival).

There are lot of discussions both in here and other advaita circles, that the world must be treated like a dream (there was an article by Michael regarding that). So I was just trying to find out whether any of the sadhakas who are following advaita to the best of their abilities, have implemented that in any practical scenario. Not watching TV is one such example. It is not needed for survival and not a basic need and if one is trying to follow advaita, how does one continue to take things real (as TV) when trying to follow the teaching that it is a dream?

who? said...

Advaita is the experience in which it is clearly known and experienced that all forms of duality are non-existent, and that self alone exists. Therefore, since action can be done only in the state of duality , in which the mind and body seem to exist , it is impossible to put advaita into action.

Moreover , the one who's trying to implement advaita into 'practical scenarios' is himself a part of the world. The teaching 'the world is a dream' implies that we , the individual who perceives the world , are a part of the world-appearance.

Thus , the practical application of this teaching is to turn our attention away from all that is perceived , and towards the perceiver.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivanarul, if our every experience is dream, then our Mahabharata was also part of this dream (I think we can joke on this topic now, since it is past).

Sunder, thank you for this detailed comment on the topic of advaita. I particularly liked this part:

Sri Ramakrishna said: "When the mind exists, how can you consider the world, jiva and god to be fictitious? Only when the mind doesn't exist, they are fictitious. But when mind exists, does it make sense in uttering with your mouth that the body is false? When you possess Self Knowledge, you don’t consider the body's death to be your death. You are deceiving yourself when you consider them to be false even when the mind exists. How can you stand when you are groundless? Don’t become a hypocrite. How long will you deceive yourself? When you are not stabilized in Truth, don’t consider yourselves to be stabilized in Truth and thereby deceive yourself. Rather make an effort to realize Truth."

In our daily activities strictly Advaita does not mean all are one. Rmakarishna gives another superb e.g. He says you cannot go and embrace a tiger saying he is also brahman. Do pranams to the Tiger from afar and keep away from him. But neither hate the tiger nor love the domestic dog.

Sri Ramakrishna is speaking just like Sri Ramana on this topic. I think atma-jnanis experience alike, though they may express things differently at times. I think both Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Ramana can be called advaitin-bhaktas.

I agree with 'Who?'s' recent comment on the topic of advaita.

Sundar said...

Sivanarul, Here is a conversation with Bhagavan Ramana on this topic. This emphasizes the same point. In my own minimal experience, what I have seen is slowly (sometimes its excruciatingly slow :-)) sadhana, whatever that is for each one, transforms one from inside and that is the most effective one, in terms of removing hate, having equanimity and calm in tough situations etc. What I mean by this is when we normally tell ourselves to be calm, with out mind, it is done with conscious effort, but sadhana like meditation, japa etc makes in natural. One naturally doesn't get irritated with situations that used to be irritants before, but the process is a slow one so patience is needed and we have to ignore our own, moments of madness" episodes, so to speak :-)

/**
Question: Sri Bhagavan has written in Supplement to Reality in Forty Verses, the verse 38 which says that one should not show advaita [non-duality] in one's activities. Why so? All are One. Why differentiate?

Ramana: Would you like to sit on the seat I am sitting on?

Question: I don't mind sitting there. But if I came and sat there, the manager of the ashram and the other people here would hit me and chase me away.

Ramana: Yes, nobody would allow you to sit here. If you saw someone molesting a woman would you let him go, thinking, "All is One?" There is a scriptural story about this. Some people once gathered together to test whether it is true, as said in the Bhagavad Gita, that a jnani [enlightened sage] sees everything as One. They took a brahmin, an untouchable, a cow, an elephant and a dog to the court of King Janaka, who was a jnani. When all had arrived, King Janaka sent the brahmin to the place for brahmins, the cow to its shed, the elephant to the place allotted to elephants, the dog to its kennel and the untouchable person to the place where the other untouchables lived. He then ordered his servants to take care of his guests and feed them all appropriate food.

The people asked, "Why did you separate them individually? Is not everything one and the same for you?"

"Yes, all are One," replied Janaka, "but self-satisfaction varies according to the nature of the individual. Will a man eat the straw eaten by the cow? Will the cow enjoy the food that a man eats? One should only give what satisfies each individual person or animal."

Although the same man may play the role of all the characters in a play, his acts will be determined by the role that he is playing at each moment. In the role of a king he will sit on the throne and rule. If the same person takes on the role of a servant, he will carry the sandals of his master while he plays these roles. The jnani never forgets that he himself has played all these roles in the past.

Question: God is Omnipresent. Why should He become an avatara [incarnate in a physical body] age after age? Couldn't He perform His function just by being present everywhere?

Ramana: By the order of God [Ishwara], authorised beings along with their devotees, are sent to take birth on earth. These beings become avataras in order to give their grace to those who have done meritorious acts without any desire for reward. They also come to punish sinners. When they have accomplished the mission for which they came, they go back to their own earlier positions. Though different bodies come to the pure God Souls [avatara purushas] their experience of the unity of the Self never changes. A man, after being born, undergoes the various stages of life – childhood, youth, manhood and old age – but in all these stages the thought that he is the same person who was born remains unchanged. Likewise, the avatara purushas knowingly remain as the one Self even though they go through many births. For them it is rather like seeing ten different dreams in one night.

All these questions will not occur when you know your Self. Without knowing the Truth about oneself, it is a waste of time trying to understand the differing teachings of other people.
***/

R Viswanathan said...

In one of the discourses by Sri Nochur Venkataraman (on Atma Thirtham: Life and Teachings of Acharya Sankara), reference is made to Jeevan Mukthanandha Lahari. I learn that Acharya himself described how a jeevan muktha will appear to be behaving during the time his/her physical body is living on this earth. The following link gives the Sanskrit slokas as well as translation for each sloka in English.

https://www.narayanashramatapovanam.org/eBooks/jeevan-muktananda-lahari.pdf

For obtaining clarity to many questions raised here, I feel that this composition might be beneficial.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, Michael writes on his commentary on Sri Arunachala Pancharatnam as follows:

If our attention is focused keenly on self, the light of self-knowledge (the bright light of Arunachala) will dawn, the background darkness of ignorance or maya will vanish, and thus the whole picture of this world, soul and God will be swallowed up and disappear. The same idea is expressed by Sri Bhagavan in verse 114 of GVK.

Therefore until this world picture, ourself as an individual and a separate God exists in our defective and deluded view, we are still in bondage caused by our ego or mind, therefore we should continue our vigilant, persistent and continuous efforts at self-attentiveness. The more we focus our attention on the light of self-knowledge, the more this world, this ego and a separate God will start to recede in the background and eventually vanish like a dream.

Therefore till we are experiencing duality in any form, our self-investigation should continue.

Sundar said...

Unless one realizes the self we will have to face all our vasanas and there is no way we will have equanimity. We should not try to act realized before we are. I can talk all sorts of Advaita here but if one of my near and dear passes away, you can i'll not be able to take it.

The following incident is related to Sri Abhinava Vidya tirtha swami, the former sankaracharya of Sringeri who was said to be self realized. This also shows that we have to put up an act in a lot of situations for our daily life but should not keep the anger inside.
/**
The Acharya’s instructions also were unique and the method adopted was particularly suited to the disciple. A young devotee (in his twenties) was working in a management concern. He often had to take his assistants (some of them being old enough to be his father) to task. He felt that he was being rude and was disgusted with himself. He met the Acharya at Sringeri. When they were together the same afternoon, the Acharya suddenly got up and proceeded at a great speed, beckoning the devotee to follow
him. They quickly reached the Sharada Devi temple where a new gopuram was being built.
Some workers were found to be idling, instead of attending to their tasks. The Acharya climbed the scaffolding with great agility and proceeded to reprimand them in no uncertain terms. He then climbed down rapidly and walked back towards the bridge. His face bore a delightful smile directed towards the devotee. The devotee was amazed that the Acharya was seemingly angry a moment back but was so peaceful immediately afterwards. The devotee learnt a permanent lesson in the manner of handling official duties without a word having been exchanged.
***/

Advice below by Ramakrishna from "The gospel of Sri Ramakrishna"
/**
M. (humbly):"How ought we to live in the world?"
MASTER: "Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Live with all - with wife and children, father and mother - and serve them. Treat them as if they were very dear to you, but know in your heart of hearts that they do not belong to you.
"A maidservant in the house of a rich man performs all the household duties, but her thoughts are fixed on her own home in her native village. She brings up her Master's children as if they were her own. She even speaks of them as 'my Rāma' or 'my Hari'. But in her own mind she knows very well that they do not belong to her at all.
"The tortoise moves about in the water. But can you guess where her thoughts are? There on the bank, where her eggs are lying. Do all your duties in the world, but keep your mind on God.
"If you enter the world without first cultivating love for God, you will be entangled more and more. You will be overwhelmed with its danger, its grief, its sorrows. And the more you think of worldly things, the more you will be attached to them.
"First rub your hands with oil and then break open the jack-fruit; otherwise they will be smeared with its sticky milk. First secure the oil of divine love, and then set your hands to the duties of the world.
"But one must go into solitude to attain this divine love. To get butter from milk you must let it set into curd in a secluded spot; if it is too much disturbed, milk won't turn into curd. Next, you must put aside all other duties, sit in a quiet spot, and churn the curd. Only then do you get butter.
"Further, by meditating on God in solitude the mind acquires knowledge, dispassion, and devotion. But the very same mind goes downward if it dwells in the world. In the world there is only one thought: 'woman and gold'.
"The world is water and the mind milk. If you pour milk into water they become one; you cannot find the pure milk any more. But turn the milk into curd and churn it into butter. Then, when that butter is placed in water, it will float. So, practise spiritual discipline in solitude and obtain the butter of knowledge and love. Even if you keep that butter in the water of the world the two will not mix. The butter will float.
***/

Bob - P said...

Sanjay thanks for your great elevator metaphor !!!

Speaking from my own perspective as long as I percieve myself to be living in dualism and experience things other than myself I should act accordingly. I should treat all other sentient beings as I would like to be treated and be filled will compassion and empathy.

All I (Bob) can do is to trust Bhagavan that it is all an illusion / dream. I should trust him and turn within and investigate to whom all this appears. However I am still Bob who appears to be interacting with other things ..... that is my experience from my limited finite egoic perspective.

I think Bhagavan's teaching is very powerful as it makes you lose interest from attending to the world and things other than yourself who is the false "I" the creator of the world and other things.

It helps / encourages you to switch your attention from the outside to the inside from the percieved to the perciever.

In aopreciation
Bob - P -

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, there is a metaphorical story, I believe which was often told to his devotees by Bhagavan and which Sri Sadhu Om used to repeat quite often, and which is also often cited by Michael. The story goes something like this:

There is a popular belief that elephants are very afraid of lions, because they often appear in elephants' dream, and the sock and fright of such a dream wakes up the elephant from his sleep as they believe that the lion will pounce upon him and thereby kill him. This is a metaphor, where the lion represents the sadguru and the elephant represents our ego. Meaning when the sadguru enters our lives, and we become drawn to his teachings, our end (that means the ego's end) is near. Though the lion is an imagination of the elephant, the waking it brings about in the elephant is real. Likewise, the name and form of our sadguru is our imagination, but the waking (to true self-knowledge) which the sadguru will bring about is real.

Today a friend added to this story. He added that after seeing the lion in his dream, the elephant never goes back to sleep again, because he fears that if he sleeps again the lion will appear again and try to kill him.

Therefore once we are drawn to the name and form of our sadguru, and try to practise his teachings as sincerely as possible, we have somehow landed ourself in the lion's mouth (though it is often called 'the tiger's mouth'), and we cannot escape our ego's annihilation, but we can delay this annihilation because of our liking to think or experience all the second and third person objects. But on the absolute level when we see the real lion, or the real formless nature of our sadguru in the core of our heart, we can never revert back to the sleep of self-forgetfulness again. Thus once we become a jnani, we can never revert back to becoming a ajnani again. Maya or mind once destroyed, will remain destroyed for ever. This is what Michael has been explaining in his various articles and other places.



John Barleycorn said...

Michael,
on the occasion of a holiday-discussion which I had with my 32 years old son who is still cultivating a more materialistic world-view he wanted to hear what would be the result of "spiritual inspiration".
One of his next questions was: Which effect has the "highest state of consciousness" to the world and mankind/humanity ?
Please could you write a short appropriate explanation for him ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, about a few months back Michael had written the following comment in response to a question:

Prarabdha is one of the three karmas, so it influences only our actions and what we experience whenever we allow our mind to go outwards away from ourself, and hence it cannot either cause or obstruct our effort to be self-attentive, because self-attentiveness is not an action (karma), but our natural state of just being.

I share my reflections on this. Many claim (and by 'many' I do not mean our friends participating in this blog) that if they are destined to practise self-attentiveness, somehow Bhagavan will make them practise it. Therefore why should they bother try practising it? We forget what Michael has said above that 'self-attentiveness is not an action (karma), but our natural state of just being'.

Our love and effort to practise self-attentiveness is part of our free-will, and has got nothing to do with our destiny or fate. In fact it is the only free-will which we can successfully implement. Of course we may also try acting against our prarabdha or try to do things which are not in our prarabdha, but these efforts will prove to be futile and will just create agamaya karmas for us.

As Bhagavan ended his first upadesa to his mother, 'Therefore being silent is good'. I think what Bhagavan meant here was that being always in a state of self-attentiveness is the only wise thing to do amidst all our mental and physical circumstances.

Fata Morgana said...

Michael,
In my opinion the saying in the paragraph next to last : „Since our ego is nothing other than ourself(…)" implies - inspite of the amplifying enlargement put in brackets [„in the same sense…"] - that the ego is ident with ourself.
That kind of formulation I consider as highly liable to be misunderstood if not untenable.
Why should we then experience as we really are, if the ego is nothing other than ourself ?
Would you please think it over and perhaps find a more adequate choice of word ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I was reflecting on the topic of our viveka. I share it with you and with other friends. It will be nice to hear your comment on the views expressed here:

As our clarity of self-awareness increases, our quality of viveka will also become more and more authentic. As our intensity or magnitude of self-awareness within increases by our practice of vigilant self-attentiveness, we will have more and more light of self-awareness at our disposable, and this increase in the inner clarity will make all our decisions, judgements etc in all matters more and more in tune with truth, justice, love for all etc.

As you have written in one of your comments, the deepest and most essential form of viveka is drg-drsya-viveka, which is the ability to distinguish the experiences (the drs or drg, which literally means the eye or what sees) from what is experienced (the drsya, which literally means what is seen).

Bhagavan's viveka was 100% authentic, because his mind, speech and body were working with an absolutely clear light of pure self-awareness. This is why, as you had said somewhere, whatever Bhagavan said or recommended is gospel truth for us, because his judgements in all matters - whether worldly or spiritual - was directly inspired by his absolutely clear light of viveka. Therefore we cannot doubt his judgement or his advice on any matter, especially when he has said that the practice of atma-vichara in our only or final mukti-dwara (door to liberation).

Fata Morgana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
Please excuse my mode of expression.
Your comments sometimes seem to make you a real gossip. Do you not want instead of your waffling to try to keep self-attentiveness ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fata Morgana, thank you for your well intentioned advise to me to write less and to devote more time and energy on self-attentiveness, but sometimes these writings can become a powerful form of manana, especially if it is directed towards oneself, or rather towards motivating oneself to practise increasingly more and more self-attentiveness. It may not be possible to 'do' vichara all the time, therefore the next best thing to do is to read and reflect on Bhagavan's teachings, and writing on this blog can be a powerful firm of our manana, if it is done in the right spirit.

This is what Michael and Sri Sadhu Om have taught us by their example. Michael says that his entire writings are primarily a manana for his own benefit, and this helps him to stay focus on the need for practice of vichara. In fact our earnest manana or reflection will automatically spill on and make us 'do' at least some practice. But these writings should not be a ego boosting exercise, and we have to vigilantly guard against the apparent and possible danger in this regard.

See, you wanted me to write less, and again I have written a big comment. This is called the play of vasana and habit. Anyway thank you once again for your last comment.

Fata Morgana said...

Michael,
the term "our ego" makes me confused in the sense that I always further ask:
To whom belongs this ego ?
Does it at all belong to someone ?
I think we cannot say that the not actually existing ego does belong to our source which is ourself as we really are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, this is in continuation of my earlier comment addressed to Fata Morgana today, in which he or she had advised me to devote more time to my practice of self-attentiveness, and to reduce my comments on this blog.

Bhagavan says in the fifth paragraph of Nan Yar?, 'Even if [we] remain thinking 'I, I', it will take and [us] and leave [us] in that place [our true, pure self-awareness]. Sravana and manana of our sadguru's teachings are in a way thinking of 'I, I'. Michael had also written at one place that either we should be trying to practise vigilant self-investigation, or should at least be trying to remind ourself that this is the only worthwhile pursuit we should be 'doing'. In other words, the sravana and manana of Bhagavan's words should not be taken lightly. I think Sri Sadhu Om had also said at one place that we should think and think about our sadguru's teachings, until we can think no more, and thus surrender totally to sadguru's loving presence within our heart.

We should limit attending to things of this dream world. As Bhagavan says in the nineteenth paragraph of Nan Yar?, 'It is not proper [for us] to let [our] mind [dwell] much on worldly matters'. After all, our prarabdha karmas, as decided by our sadguru, are taking care our of our worldly affairs, and whatever is happening is in our best spiritual interests, even though we may not recognise this when these happenings are taking place.

Therefore we should limit our time and effort we put on our day-to-day worldly affairs, but we should not limit our sravana and manana of our sadguru's teachings, and if someone derives benefit by doing manana of our sadguru's teachings on this blog, I think it should help all of us by constantly directing our minds to his teachings. Of course we should not stop at mere sravana and manana but try to practise svarupa-smarana as much or as frequently as possible.

Sorry, Fata Morgana, your advice to me to write less on this blog is prompting me to write more and more. What to do, some of us love our guru's teachings so much that we just cannot help writing or thinking about this. Sri Michael James has become our role model in this regards. I think the two persons who have written the maximum on Bhagavan's teachings are Sri Muruganar and Sri Michael James.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fata Morgana, yes, 'our ego' may seem to be a confusing term, because according to Bhagavan there is only one ego which seemingly exists, and that ego is 'you' from your perspective or 'me' from my perspective. This theory of Bhagavan is known by the name of eka-jiva-vada. So strictly speaking there cannot be any 'our ego', but in conversation or writings we sometimes use such a term, and this should be acceptable because we seem to be many egos.

To who belongs the ego? The ego belongs to only itself, because it is only in its own view or experience that it seemingly exists. Does it belong to someone? No, this 'someone' is the ego, an individual with a body and mind and all its attendant adjuncts.

Yes, in the view of the source or ourself as we really are, this ego does not even seem to exist. We have learnt all this from Michael.

R Viswanathan said...

"the term "our ego" makes me confused in the sense that I always further ask:
To whom belongs this ego ? Does it at all belong to someone ? I think we cannot say that the not actually existing ego does belong to our source which is ourself as we really are."

Not withstanding the fact that Sri Michael James wrote such a big and excellent article on various aspects related to ego (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-ego-is-essentially-formless-and.html), this passage from Sri Arthur Osborne (The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words; page 10) appealed to me as equally beneficial in a crisp form, especially the first sentence:

"The individual being which identifies its existence with that of the life in the physical body as 'I' is called the ego. The Self, which is pure Consciousness, has no ego-sense about it. Neither can the physical body, which is inert in itself, have this ego-sense. Between the two, that is between the Self or pure Consciousness and the inert physical body, there arises mysteriously the ego-sense or 'I' notion, the hybrid which is neither of them, and this flourishes as an individual being. This ego or individual being is at the root of all that is futile and undesirable in life. therefore, it is to be destroyed by any possible means; then That which is alone remains resplendent, This is Liberation or Enlightenment or Self-Realization."

Fata Morgana said...

Sanjay Lohia and R Viswanathan,
Thank you for your replies.
Thank you R Viswantan for your references.
Regarding the term "our ego":
The problem is : Using the possessive pronoun (strictly speaking the possesive adjective) "our" shows and implies ownership of the formless, featureless,insubstantial phantom-ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Fata Morgana, we do seemingly own this formless, featureless, insubstantial phantom ego, by identifying a body and mind with ourself, or by identifying a body and mind with this essential formless ego. So whether we use the words 'our ego' or use just the words 'the self' makes no difference to our deluded experience that we are this ego, this body and mind called 'Sanjay' or 'Fata Morgana'.

The only way to disown this phantom ego is by focusing our attention more and more on ourself, thereby making our ego dissolve in the absoluter clarity of self-awareness. Until then we should not bother much about the terms we use to describe this ego. Just by our saying 'the ego' instead of 'our ego', this ego will not dissolve or disappear.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, in the video dated 8th February 2015 (19:00 min), Michael was asked the question, 'Are there any stages in self-enquiry'? I found his reply to this question useful. I reproduce it below (though it may be his exact words).

Michael replied: Since self is one, it is akhanda, it is undivided, so there can be no stages in it. It is just that we have to go deeper and deeper and deeper. We say deeper and deeper because we are using the language of duality. We cannot express these ideas in words, as words are suitable to explain duality, not for explaining non-duality. So we cannot convey this adequately in words.

When we say deeper and deeper, it does not mean that there are deeper and deeper stages. It should not be understood literally, it means dissolve more and more. So there are no stages in the only one reality. And even now there is never a time when we are not experiencing ourself. The problem is now we are experiencing ourself and also what seem to be other things. If we keep our attention more and more on that which we really are, other things will drop off.

When people asked Bhagavan how to realise self, Bhagavan replied that self is already realised. The problem is that you have realised these unreal things and consider them as real. Now we need to unrealise all that is unreal, and what is real alone will remain.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fellow travellers, there is a lot of thought and effort being directed by sadhakas in various different spiritual disciplines to control or subdue thoughts by various means, but have they really succeeded in doing so? If not, why not? Perhaps most of us are applying wrong means to control or subdue thoughts, that is, we use artificial means like watching out breath, watching out thoughts, trying to give up desires etc, which are all artificial and temporary means to subdue the mind or ego to a certain extent. Some of these means can make us achieve manolaya, but our goal is manonasa and not manolaya.

But how to destroy or give up all our thoughts and desires permanently? The only means to do so, according to Bhagavan, is by vigilant, persistent practice of self-investigation. Michael says in the video dated 8th February 2014 (22.30 min):

Bhagavan says in Atma-Vidya-Kirtanam, the thought 'I am this body' is the thread which holds all the thoughts together. What is the essence of that thought 'I am the body'? It is 'I am'. So 'I am' is actually holding everything together, so that is the dharma. 'Dharma' means which holds everything together. It comes from the root word 'dhr'. So 'I am' is the only real dharma, the real svadharma.

Therefore if we want to destroy all our thoughts, we have to cut the thread of this thought 'I am this body' by holding on to our real dharma 'I am'. Once we cut this, or in other words when our ego is destroyed, we can neither produce any thoughts nor can we experience any thoughts henceforth, and Bhagavan has repeatedly clarified that in the absence of our thoughts there can be no experience of this world (at least in our view).

Therefore this practice of self-attentiveness is the only effective means to destroy our thoughts, desires, attachments, fears, hopes, expectations etc, because all these emotions depend on our ego and when our ego or mind is no more there how can any of these emotions survive?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends and fellow travellers, I am sorry for posting so many comments on this blog. It may be seeming like a mad talk, but somehow I cannot help sharing all this. I find this to be very powerful form of manana. Please forgive me. Michael says in his video dated 8th February 2014 (33:10 min):

Every time we turn our attention towards 'I' we are opening our heart to Bhagavan, every time we turn our attention towards anything other than 'I' we are closing our heart to Bhagavan, so if we want Bhagavan to enter and occupy our whole life we must try more and more to attend to 'I' . There is no other way.

Michael became emotional while speaking: so if we want Bhagavan to enter and occupy our whole life we must try more and more to attend to 'I'. There is no other way.

Fata Morgana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
if you are so hell-bent on writing "more and more", it seems the best way to satisfy your irresistible urge to post comments at all costs is to open your own blog.
(Visit Blogger on www.blogger.com)
All the best, make the best of it !

Sanjay Lohia said...

Thank you Fata Morgana for giving me the necessary information for opening my own blog, but at present I feel no need for it.

Bob - P said...

Write a lot, write not a lot.
all is good (lol)!!!!!

Thank you for all the comments above it is most helpful to read.

Sanjay how on earth do you manage to write so much and so well?
Plus with minimum typo's !!!

I find when I read my own posts after I have checked them before I submit I always find errors as there is no spell / grammar check?

It seems to just flow out of you with minimal effort!!!

In appreciation.

P.s - I bet there's a mistak somewhere in here .

R Viswanathan said...

"Regarding the term "our ego":
The problem is : Using the possessive pronoun (strictly speaking the possesive adjective) "our" shows and implies ownership of the formless, featureless,insubstantial phantom-ego."

I infer that Bhagavan also used a similar term, as this sentence attributed to Bhagavan by Sri Arthur Osborne (same reference which I gave before; page 2) shows:

"It is those who are learned that are saved rather than those whose ego has not yet subsided in spite of their learning."

Of course, Bhagavan himself later (in page 14) asserts that there is no ego for the question how did the ego arise? Arthur Osborne notes that this is a question that gives rise to endless philosophising, but Bhagavan, holding rigorously to the truth of non-duality, refused to admit its existence.

Coincidentally, there was the following comment on June 16 by Hatschepsut for another article of Sri Michael James. It appears (to me) as though it addresses the question to whom does the ego belong. I copy paste that comment below:

"In utter astonishment I read about the essential nature, behaviour and effect of our ego, although it is said that it does not actually exist.
Bhagavan indicates that we we can free ourself from it, although it is said that it does not actually exist.
Rather I rely on his teaching that the formless phantom-ego does not actually exist. Rather I try to remain as pure self-awareness – without grasping form.
Therefore I refrain from investigate who or what actually is it that can free ourself from it.
Therefore I try to be aware of myself. I refrain from asking to whom the ego belongs."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob-P, I thank you for your kind words, but please do not encourage me more as I am already writing too much on this blog, and if I get more motivated I might start writing much more (joke...)!

If you observe carefully, whatever I write is mainly just whatever Michael has been trying to explain us through his various writings. I quote him often and also use his expressions - that is, use the words, phrases and clauses that he often uses. Of course, I do not claim that I have completely understood Bhagavan's teachings, nor do I claim that I am faithfully representing whatever Michael is trying to teach us, but I am at least trying to do this.

I do notice many typos after I have typed my comments and my English is far from perfect, but these do not matter much. As long as we have love for Bhagavan's teachings and also love practising his path of self-investigation to the best of our ability, shortcomings like these should not bother us much. Our love to practise his path shows that Bhagavan has entered our lives, and our (this ego's) days are numbered. We are in the jaws of a tiger and we cannot escape, but delay our annihilation by refusing to surrender to him here and now. This is what is implied by Bhagavan in the twelfth paragraph of Nan Yar?: twelfth paragraph

Bob - P said...


R Viswanathan
Yes why the ego rises is indeed a mystery, I appreciate fully that Bhagavan says that it never does and doesn't actualy exist but from my own false perspective it does as I am proof of it (lol)!!. I think it was said somewhere that it is due to a a mysterious power within our true non dual being counciousness.

I don't think I will ever know till I successfully manage to turn 180 degress and invetsigate it to the extent that it subsides then all will be answered .... Or rather there will be no more questions ... We must keep trying.

In appreciation.

Sanjay
I appreciate your comments very much along with everyone elses as it keeps reinforcing Bhagavan's teaching.

Michael has said on a few ocassions that he is saying the same thing over and over agin but using diferent words / anaolgies as Bhagavan's teachning is in essence so simple.

The inroduction alone in Michael' book says it all and so very clearly !!!!! But the rest of the book / this blog / Along with all his articles are so important as they keep reinforcing the teaching over and over again.

I am guilty of trying to understand too much, analize etc etc ... Bhagavan has passed me the solution so elegantly simplified from the ancient texts ... Plus now Michael has explained it all for us so clearly especially for ignorant western minds like mine.

I am filled with gratitude and hope.

In appreciation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends, I agree with Bob-P when he writes:

Michael has said on a few ocassions that he is saying the same thing over and over agin but using diferent words / anaolgies as Bhagavan's teachning is in essence so simple.

Yes, Bob, Michael has been repeatedly explaining us that Bhagavan has very much simplified the complex and bulky teachings of our sastras to a great extent, and has just stressed on its essential parts. In fact the path of atma-vichara is the essence of advaita, and the teachings of advaita is the essence of our entire spirituality. Therefore if we are practising Bhagavan's path of vichara, we are bypassing the need for all the other complex sadhanas like karma-yoga, bhakti-yoga, pranayama etc. As Bhagavan says in Nan Yar?, if we practise self-investigation till we attain the absolute clarity of self-awareness, that alone will do or be sufficient for us to reach our goal.

Bob - P - said...

Talking from my own perspective.

Bhagavan has give me a treasure map with a big "X" and Michael James has passed me a spade and driven me to the location with his writings and translation of the map.

All I need to do now ...... is dig it up.

However my mind seems preoccupied researching the spade !!
Where is this spade made?
What kind of wood is it made of?
Is this map to scale?
What kind of paper is this?

.. etc etc.

All I need to do is be quiet and dig .....

How blessed I am.

In appreciation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends, I was just listening to Michael's video of 8th February 2015 (01:00 min). In this portion he clearly explains us as to why Bhagavan has insisted that vichara is the only path to freedom. I reproduce Michael's words (it may not be verbatim):

Bhagavan in so many ways has insisted that vichara is the only path which can enable us to experience ourself as we really are. How can you experience something without attending to it? So without attending to 'I' how can we really know what we really are? I mean it is simple logic that we cannot experience what we really are without vichara. Simple logic!

If someone comes and says that there is some other way, it is like saying that I want to read the book but do not want to look at the words that are written in it. The two are incompatible. In order to read the book you have to look at the words, so also in order to experience ourself as we really are, we have look at ourself. Vichara means only that - just looking at ourself, attending to oneself.

So whatever other path we may follow, sooner or later we have to come back to the path of vichara, and that alone will enable us to experience ourself as we really are.

Fata Morgana said...

R Viswanathan,
regarding the use of the possessive adjective "our" in the term "our ego":
With your given cross-reference to Arthur Osborne's book (The Teaching of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words) obviously you are implying that only book learning is not of any great use. Surely that is correct.
But your quotation "It is those who are learned that are saved rather ..." does not contain any meaning. Maybe you did abstain from quoting attentively.
Generally we cannot assume that trying to (mentally)understand Bhagavan's teaching would exclude the required subsidence of the ego into its source.
From what Hatschepsut has commented we can infer that she was in some quieter state while commenting.

Fata Morgana said...

Bob-P,
yes we all are blessed.
We only need to dig up and out, but the dig itself must be done by us ourselves.

R Viswanathan said...

You are right Fata Morgana. I missed a 'not' which I should not have - while I was typing the quote. I stand corrected now:

"It is those who are not learned that are saved rather than those whose ego has not yet subsided in spite of their learning."

I quote the remaining portion of that paragraph below:

"The unlearned are saved from the relentless grip of the devil of self-infatuation; they are saved from the malady of a myriad whirling thoughts and words; they are saved from running after wealth. It is from more than one evil that they are saved."

The following paragraph from the same book, again attributed to Bhagavan, appears very apt to situations whenever no satisfactory answer seems forthcoming for one's question:

"Can anything appear apart from that which is eternal and perfect? This kind of dispute is endless. Do not engage in it. Instead turn away your mind inward and put an end to all this. There is no finality in disputations."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends, Michael was speaking about maya in his video dated 8th February 2014. He says in this video:

Maya means 'ya-ma'. 'Ya' is the feminine form of 'which', because maya is generally depicted as a goddess or whatever, and 'ma' means 'which is not'. 'Ma' is a very emphatic negative. So maya means 'she which is not' or 'she who is not.

I give my reflections on this term 'maya' below:

1. Our ego is the most basic form of maya, and everything else is just an expansion of this basis maya, our ego. Whenever we are experiencing any duality we are experiencing the effects of maya.

2. Mind and maya are interchangeable terms. Therefore Bhagavan often used to call mind as mana-maya.

3. Maya consists of all the adjuncts (like our body and mind) that we superimpose on our real self, therefore the more we attend to ourself alone, all this maya-adjuncts will start dissolving, and eventually all our unreal adjuncts will dissolve. What will remain then is only oneself, as we really are.

4. Somebody asked Bhagavan to the effect, 'O! Bhagavan, this prakriti (another name for maya) is so powerful, how to subdue it'? Bhagavan replied, 'Look at purusha (another name for our real self), then what can this prakriti do'? In other words, Bhagavan suggested to this person to attend to his self in order to defeat the seemingly great power of maya.

Michael James said...

Gargoyle (Bob M), regarding your comment asking about the word siddhis used in verse 298 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai, the basic meaning of siddhi is achievement, accomplishment or attainment, so in verse 35 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says that the only true siddhi is knowing and being the real substance, which is ourself, and that all other siddhis are just siddhis acquired in dream. What he means in this context by ‘all other siddhis’ is supernatural powers, because such powers are generally called siddhis.

Therefore you are correct in saying that such powers are created only by the mind, like everything else that we experience in a dream. And since according to Bhagavan this state that we now mistake to be waking is actually just another dream, whatever powers we may seem to gain in this state are no more real than any powers we may seem to have in a dream. Therefore such powers seem to be siddhis or real achievements only in the view of worldly minded people who admire them, whereas any real spiritual aspirant will understand that they are just trivial illusions and hence not worth a second thought.

gargoyle said...

Michael
I appreciate your reply and help in my understanding siddhis. My former (if this can be used ) life was one of supernatural goings on and it started with me at a young age and stayed with me for over 50 years.

It’s something I had to deal with on a round the clock 24/7 basis and it kept driving me toward suicide to escape it. I often picked up my handgun and put it to my head in an attempt to escape this horrible life but for some reason I could never pull the trigger.

So I escaped to narcotics and alcohol to help but it only made it worse.
One day, about a year and a half ago, around November 2013 I found a PDF of a book on the Internet and ended up reading this book many times over. I knew immediately I had found what I had not realized I was looking for. I realize I had nothing to do with finding this but was led to it.

Enough of my former life…when I say my life turned 180 degrees I am not referring to turning within to bring the ego to an end but I am working on that on a daily basis.

I underwent a lot of torment, physical pain and sleepless nights by finding the absolute truth, and because of the torment and pain I was receiving I knew I had found something that I would not let go of.

Now a year and half later my life has improved so dramatically I refer to my life before November 2013 as my former life.

I still have some minor issues but when I do I turn inward and my problems disappear. And if I even think of letting up or slacking off on my daily spiritual practice my problems begin to manifest. This is my reminder to increase my spiritual practice instead of slacking off on my spiritual practice.

I know you don’t want to take any credit Michael but I can honestly say you saved my life.

Your book Happiness and the Art of Being turned my life around 180 degrees….from constant thought of suicide and deep depression to an extraordinarily happy person.

I very much appreciate your website and blog and since I’m retired I am here several times a day looking for answers, reading and rereding and I always find the answers I’m looking for.

Best Regards
Bob M

Bob - P said...

Dear Gargoyle / Bob - M-
It was obvious you weren't meant to pull the trigger and that you were destined to find Michael's book and this blog instead .. I think Bhagavan was meant to manifest in your life as your inner guru to guide you to look within and discover what you really are.

I am so thankful too like you for Bhagavan and Michael coming into my life as I am sure all our other friends are, we are all in the same boat on the same journey.

It is such a blessing isn't it.
Keep well Bob and best of luck with you practise.
In appreciation
Bob - P -

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Bob-M and Bob-P, like both of you, I also believe that it is only Bhagavan's love for all of us, and his all encompassing grace which has brought Michael into our lives. I cannot put it in words how much I have gained from my association with Michael. As they say, he is our 'friend, philosopher and guide' - a pure channel of Bhagavan to convey his teachings to us in its purest and clearest form.

What Bob-M writes is true for probably most of us. He has written:

And if I even think of letting up or slacking off on my daily spiritual practice my problems begin to manifest. This is my reminder to increase my spiritual practice instead of slacking off on my spiritual practice.

Yes, our practice of atma-vichara is an antidote to all our problems, including the base or root of all problems - our ego. Bhagavan often gives us problems and troubles to increase our faith in him. Who will remember Bhagavan and practise self-investigation if we are not surrounded by our problems? An easy, problem free life may not be good for us spiritually. So thank God that we are surrounded by all these bodily and worldly troubles. These motive us to look for its solution.

The only solution to all our problems is to investigate the ego that has these seeming problems. Eventually we will find that this trouble-maker, our ego, never actually existed, therefore all our problems were just our imaginations.

Fata Morgana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
regarding your last comment:
"The only solution to all our problems is to investigate the ego that has these seeming problems. Eventually we will find that this trouble-maker, our ego, never actually existed, therefore all our problems were just our imaginations."

It is easy to pronounce "the only solution...[...]."
It is also easy to cast enthusiastically a quick glance at our glorious future.
Not so easy is evidently to carry out conscientiously the referred self-investigation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Fata Morgana, I agree. It is relatively easy to understand that the solution to all our problems is destruction of this ego, but not so easy to implement it because of all our desires, attachments, fears etc, but all these desires, attachments, fears etc belong to the ego. So to understand that its annihilation is our only goal, or solution to all our problems is a necessary step, and this intellectual conviction should motivate us to whole-heartedly practise self-investigation. There seems to be no other way. However if we are not able to sincerely practise, the only other solution is prayer to Bhagavan or Arunachala. This is what Michael says in one of his recent Comments. I quote him:

However, due to our strong outward-going desires, we are often not able to hold on to self-attentiveness (the feet of Arunachala), so at such times our only recourse is to pray to him to give us ever-increasing love for his feet, as Bhagavan sings at the end of the next verse of Śrī Aruṇācala Navamaṇimālai: ‘உன்றன் கழல் இணையில் காதல் பெருக்கே தருவாயே’ (uṉḏṟaṉ kaṙal iṇaiyil kādal perukkē taruvāyē), which means, ‘give only increasing love for your two feet’.

This is why until we experience ourself as this mind and body, 'Sanjay' or 'Fata Morgana', we have to use both these weapons - which are, our practice of self-attentiveness and our to prayer to Bhagavan 'to give us ever-increasing love for his feet'. His feet in its true sense is only his loving presence within each of us as pure-consciousness. However according to our mental makeup and various moods, we can also pray to the name and form of Bhagavan or Arunachala.

Michael James said...

Fata, regarding your first comment above, in which you say that my statement ‘Since our ego is nothing other than ourself (in the same sense that an illusory snake is nothing other than a rope)’ implies that the ego is identical with ourself, that is what I meant to imply, because it is identical in substance, though not in appearance, just as the illusory snake is identical to the rope in substance, though not in appearance.

In this connection please read the third section of my latest article, Our ego is distinct from brahman only in appearance, not in substance, and consider what Bhagavan says in verses 24 and 25 of Upadēśa Undiyār, which I discuss there.

Regarding you question, ‘Why should we then experience [ourself] as we really are, if the ego is nothing other than ourself?’, the answer is that though our ego is nothing other than ourself as we really are, it seems to be something else, and so long as it thus seems to be anything other than what we really are, it creates endless problems and difficulties for us.

Our ego is just an illusory experience of ourself, but so long as it seems real it is a problem. We cannot get rid of an illusion merely by telling ourself it is just an illusion, but only by experiencing what is real. That is, as this ego we are an illusion, so we need to investigate ourself in order to experience ourself as we really are.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding your comment about vivēka, yes, vivēka is born of clarity, and the original source of all clarity is the silent light of self-awareness, which is always shining in our own heart (and which is the real form or nature of our guru, Bhagavan Ramana), so the most effective way to cultivate and nurture vivēka is to attend more and more to our own simple self-awareness, ‘I am’.

By concentrating all our interest, love and attention on our own self-awareness, we are opening the door of our heart, so to speak, and allowing that light to suffuse it, whereas by allowing our interest, love or attention to be diverted away towards anything else, we are closing the door of our heart and excluding the clarity that is Bhagavan.

Michael James said...

John, in answer to your comment asking for an appropriate explanation to give to your son, it is not possible to give any answer or explanation that would satisfy all people, because each person has their own individual beliefs, concerns, desires and aspirations, so not everyone is ready yet for the type of explanations that Bhagavan has given us. Even Bhagavan himself did not give any advice, explanation or teaching to anyone unless he was specifically asked any question by them, and the answers he gave were whatever was most appropriate for each particular person who asked.

When your son asked what effect the ‘highest state of consciousness’ has on the world or humanity, he seems to be more concerned with the world as it seems to be than with what it actually is. If the world is real as such, perhaps the ‘highest state of consciousness’ has no effect on it at all, because the world as it appears to be is physical, whereas the ‘highest state of consciousness’ is non-physical, so the two may belong to two entirely separate realms of existence.

At present we do not have any experience of the ‘highest state of consciousness’, whatever that may be, but we are at a point where we are beginning to investigate what it is that is conscious, namely ourself, and when we begin this investigation we have to confront all sort of questions, such as whether this world is real as such, or whether it is just a dream created by our own mind. Until we experience ourself as we really are, we cannot know the correct answer to any such questions, but we do at least recognise that these are all matters that are open to serious doubt and that cannot solved until we know what we ourself are.

Therefore rather than attempting to answer your son’s questions, perhaps you should ask him questions, such as how can he be sure that this world is real and not just a dream. Sometimes the most effective doorway into the spiritual path is not through faith in any established beliefs but through radical scepticism, because sooner or later on the spiritual path we have to face the most radical doubt of all: Who am I? Am I what I now seem to be, or something else entirely?

When we begin to doubt what we ourself are, we have to doubt everything else along with it, because only if we could be sure that we are actually what we now seem to be could we be sure that anything else is actually what it now seems to be. Therefore we have to welcome and embrace all doubts, and to recognise that the only way to solve any doubt reliably is the solve the fundamental doubt: who or what am I?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for your clarification on the topic of viveka. As you say:

By concentrating all our interest, love and attention on our own self-awareness, we are opening the door of our heart, so to speak, and allowing that light to suffuse it, whereas by allowing our interest, love or attention to be diverted away towards anything else, we are closing the door of our heart and excluding the clarity that is Bhagavan.

Thanking you and pranams.

Michael James said...

Sivanarul, regarding your comment asking about how we can implement or practically apply Bhagavan’s teaching that the world is just a dream:

First you begin by saying, ‘One of Bhagavan’s teaching is to consider the world as a dream for Sadhana purposes (whether you believe it is a dream or not)’, but what he means in this context by saying ‘consider’ is not just imagine but actually believe, or at least believe tentatively. Generally we all tend to believe that this world is real and not just a dream, but we do not actually have sufficient evidence or reason to justify this belief, and while dreaming we tend to believe exactly the same about the world that we are then experiencing.

As Bhagavan says in the eighteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘ஜாக்ரத்தில் நடக்கும் விவகாரங்க ளெல்லாம் எவ்வளவு உண்மையாகத் தோன்றுகின்றனவோ அவ்வளவு உண்மையாகவே சொப்பனத்தில் நடக்கும் விவகாரங்களும் அக்காலத்திற் றோன்றுகின்றன’ (jāgrattil naḍakkum vivahāraṅgaḷ ellām evvaḷavu uṇmaiyāhat tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉavō avvaḷavu uṇmaiyāhavē soppaṉattil naḍakkum vivahāraṅgaḷum akkālattil tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa), which means ‘To what extent all the vyavahāras [doings, activities, affairs or occurrences] that happen in waking seem [at this present moment] to be real, to that extent even the vyavahāras that happen in dream seem at that time to be real’. Therefore it is the nature of our mind to trick us into believing that whatever we are currently experiencing is real.

The reason it tricks us in this way is that whether we are dreaming or in a state that seems to be waking, we experience a body as ourself, so since we are real that body also seems to be real, and since that body is part of whatever world we are then experiencing, that world also seems to be real. In other words, by mistaking a body to be ourself, we are superimposing our own reality on that body, and via that body on the world of which it is a part. Therefore we cannot but experience as real whatever world we are currently experiencing.

When we consider our experience in waking and dream in this way, it is clear that we do not have any adequate reason to suppose that this world is actually real and not just a dream. Therefore we have good reason to doubt whether it is real, and hence it should not be too difficult for us to believe at least tentatively that it is just a dream. Therefore when Bhagavan said at the end of the seventeenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘பிரபஞ்சத்தை ஒரு சொப்பனத்தைப்போ லெண்ணிக்கொள்ள வேண்டும்’ (pirapañcattai oru soppaṉattai-p-pōl eṇṇi-k-koḷḷa vēṇḍum), which means ‘It is necessary to consider the world like a dream’, he meant that we should believe it to be unreal, just like we now believe any world we experience in any other dream to be unreal.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Sivanarul:

Regarding your question about how we can apply this teaching in practice, we cannot apply it correctly by any bodily actions, because all such actions are part of whatever dream we are currently experiencing. Therefore whether our present state is a dream or real, we have to outwardly act in it as if it were real. Hence we can apply this teaching only by changing our inward attitude towards the world.

So long as we think we need to interact with this world, our mind is going outwards so we need to interact with it as if it were real, but if we consider it to be a dream, we should understand that we do not need to be interacting with it at all times, so whenever possible we should try to turn our attention back within ourself, unmindful of the world that seems to exist outside. Therefore Bhagavan taught us that we should consider this world to be a dream as an aid to help us to turn within and to develop vairāgya (freedom from desire to be constantly going outwards).

The more we are able to consider this world as a dream, the less we will be concerned about our outward life in it, and the easier it will therefore be for us to turn back within at every possible opportunity. Of course vairāgya generally does not arise in us fully as soon as we learn from Bhagavan that this world is just a dream, but the idea that it is a dream does help us to be more inward (that is, more self-attentive), and the more we practise being inward the more our vairāgya will develop and grow strong.

Fata Morgana said...

Thank you Michael,
after reading the advised third section of your latest article "Our ego is distinct from brahman only in appearance, not in substance" I do now agree fully.
In the face of the fact that the ego is in its essence or substance nothing other than brahman - as you explain - my put question, if it is reasonable to experience ourself as we really are ..., has disappeared into thin air.

John Barleycorn said...

Thank you, Michael James, for your constructive reply destined for my son.
He did not ask definitely about "the highest state of consciousness" rather more generally about the meaning and effect of self-realisation of a single person on our entire humanity or world.

R Viswanathan said...

"He did not ask definitely about "the highest state of consciousness" rather more generally about the meaning and effect of self-realisation of a single person on our entire humanity or world."

I find the following conversation between Mr. Evans-Wentz (E.W) and Bhagavan (B) very pertinent to the comment given above. This is taken from the book of Arthur Osborne (The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His own Words) pages 89-90:

B: Realization of the Self is the greatest help that can be rendered to humanity. Therefore, saints are said to be helpful even though they remain in the forests. But it should not be forgotten that solitude is not to be found in forests only. It can be had even in town in the thick of worldly occupation.
E.W.: Isn't necessary that saints should mix with people and be helpful to them?
B: The Self alone is the Reality; the world and the rest of it are not. The Realized Being does not see the world as different from himself.
E.W.: Then does that mean that a man's Realization leads to the uplift of mankind without their being aware of it?
B: Yes; the help is imperceptible but it is still there. A Realized Man helps the whole of mankind, although without their knowledge.
E.W.: Wouldn't it be better if he mixed with others?
B: There are no others to mix with. The Self is the one and only Reality.
E.W.: If there were a hundred Self-realized men, wouldn't it be to the greatest benefit of the world?
B: When you say 'Self' you refer to the unlimited, but when you add 'men' to it, you limit the meaning. There is only one infinite Self.
E.W.: In Europe people do not understand that a man can be helpful in solitude. They imagine that only men who work in the world can be useful. When will this confusion cease? Will the Europeans mind continue wading in the morass or will it realize the Truth?
B: Never mind about Europe or America. Where are they but in the mind? Realize your Self and then all is realized. If you see a number of men in a dream and then wake up and recall your dream, do you try to find out whether the persons of your dream-creation are also awake? A self-realized being cannot help benefitting the world. His very existence is the highest good.

John Barleycorn said...

Thank you R Viswanathan for your advice to Arthur Osborne's book.

Sivanarul said...

Regarding John son’s question of “meaning and effect of self-realisation of a single person on our entire humanity or world.".

More than likely your son probably wants to know what the effect would be on materialistic aspects of the world (hunger, poverty, human rights, climate change etc.). The one effect I can think of is the self-realization of a person (like Bhagavan) would illustrate how one can live irrespective of whatever the external circumstance may be. This can be helpful to people who cannot change their circumstances but can then change how they look at their circumstance.

It is said that Mahatma Gandhi was prevented by Rajaji in seeing Bhagavan. When Gandhiji went past the ashram, Rajaji made sure that the vehicle did not stop at the ashram, to prevent a meeting between Bhagavan and Gandhiji. It is said that Rajaji feared that Gandhiji being a very advanced soul, might renounce everything and quit fighting for India’s Independence, if he meet with Bhagavan. So in terms of doing the actual work, self-realization may actually be seen as a hindrance (although it is hard to say how a Jnani’s power might influence things indirectly).

Let’s take cancer as an example. From the angle of finding a cure for cancer, a self-realized person will not be affecting a cure (in a way we can understand, at least). That would require the work of leading scientists and lots of research. The help, a Jnani like Bhagavan provides to all cancer patients is in demonstrating by example how one can be indifferent to it (probably not to Bhagavan’s extent but to some percent of it).

From a practical standpoint, the world needs both materialistic discoveries and spiritual discoveries. Materialistic discoveries try to eliminate physical pain. Spiritual discoveries try to eliminate mental suffering.

John Barleycorn said...

Thanks Sivanarul for your comment.
I think material matters succeed very well if spiritually well prepared.

Sivanarul said...

John,

Very true. More and more, spirituality is being incorporated into mainstream materialism. Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation were previously exclusively in the spiritual domain and all of those have been incorporated into materialism. Many material discoveries have come as an insight when the scientist's mind had gone to a state similar to a meditative state.

Sivanarul said...

Michael,

Thanks much for your reply regarding Bhagavan's teaching of considering the world to be a dream. From a practical standpoint, it amounts to external and internal renunciation of all non-essential things. What is non-essential, is going to be up to the individual. While Bhagavan did not directly talk about external renunciation much (by that I don't mean taking Sanyasa, but giving up on unnecessary things), it looks like he has indirectly imparted it by the teaching of considering world as a dream.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, you have written in a comment addressed to me:

By concentrating all our interest, love and attention on our own self-awareness, we are opening the door of our heart, so to speak, and allowing the light of self-awareness to suffuse it, whereas by allowing our interest, love or attention to be diverted away towards anything else, we are closing the door of our heart and excluding the clarity that is Bhagavan.

What exactly do you mean by 'heart' here? Does it mean our ego or mind in this context?

Thanking you and pranams.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivanarul, you have written in one of your recent comments:

Let’s take cancer as an example. From the angle of finding a cure for cancer, a self-realized person will not be affecting a cure (in a way we can understand, at least). That would require the work of leading scientists and lots of research. The help, a Jnani like Bhagavan provides to all cancer patients is in demonstrating by example how one can be indifferent to it (probably not to Bhagavan’s extent but to some percent of it).

Unfortunately even the leasing scientists have hardly any cure for cancer. Yes, our intense sadhana will make us indifferent to even such a disease (to the extent we subside ourself in Bhagavan). However Bhagavan has said at many places that our ego or this 'I am this body' idea is our root disease, and until this is there, we will inevitably be afflicted by one or another physical or mental disease.

Therefore, we need to dissolve our ego in the absolute clarity of self-awareness (another name for Bhagavan). Only this is a sure solution to remain disease free.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends, I received a massage on WhatsApp yesterday. I would like to share it with this group. I found it interesting:

22 Reasons To believe ancient Bharat [India] is Based on Science

1. Vriksh[Tree]: People are advised to worship neem and banyan tree in the morning. Inhaling the air near these trees is good for health.
2. Yoga: If you are trying for stress management, there can't be anything other than Hindu yoga aasan pranayama.
3. Pratishthan[Temple worship]: Hindu temples are built scientifically. The place where an idol is placed is called 'moolasthanam'. This 'moolasthanam' is where earth's magnetic waves are found to be maximum, thus benefitting the worshipper.
4. Tulsi: Every household has a tulsi plant. Tulsi or basil leaves when consumed keeps our immune system strong to help prevent the H1N1 disease.
5. Mantra: The rhythm of Vedic mantras, an ancient practice, when pronounced and heard are believed to cure so many disorders of the body like BP.
6. Tilak: Hindus keep the holy ash in their forehead after a bath, this removes excess water from your head.
7. Kumkum: Women keep kumkum bindi on their forehead that protects from being hypnotised.
8. Hast Gras: Eating with hands might be looked down upon in the west but it connects the body, mind and soul, when it comes to food.
9. Pattal: Hindu custom requires one to eat on a leaf plate. This is the most eco-friendly way as it does not require any chemical soap to clean it and it can be discarded without harming the environment. (banana; palash)
10. Karnachhedan: Piercing of baby's ears is actually part of acupuncture. The point where the ear is pierced is curing asthama.

(to be continued in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

(my previous comment continues)

11. Haldi: Sprinkling turmeric mixed water around the house before prayers and after. Its known that turmeric has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
12. Gobar: The old practice of pasting cow dung on walls and outside their house prevents disease/viruses as this cow dung is antibiotic and rich in minerals.
13. Gomutra: Hindus consider drinking cow urine to cure illnesses. Apparently, it does balance bile, mucous and airs and a remover of heart diseases and effect of poison.
14. Shiksha: The age-old punishment of doing sit-ups while holding the ears actually makes the mind sharper and is helpful for those with austism, asperger's syndrome, learning difficulties and behavioural problems.
15. Diya: Lighting 'diyas' or oil or ghee lamps in temples and house fills the surroundings with positivity and recharges your senses.
16. Janeu: Janeu, or the string on a Brahmin's body is also a part of acupressure. Janeu keeps the wearer safe from several diseases.
17. Toran: Decorating the main door with 'toran' - a string of mango leaves; neem leaves; ashoka leaves actually purifies the atmosphere.
18. Charan-sparsh: Touching your elders feet keeps your backbone in good shape [and perhaps our ego subdued].
19. Chitaagni: Cremation or burning the dead, is one of the cleanest form of disposing off the dead body.
20. Om: Chanting of mantra 'Om' leads to significant reduction in heart rate which leads to a deep form of relaxation with increased alertness.
21. Shankh: The 'shankh dhwani' creates the sound waves by which many harmful germs, insects are destroyed. The mosquito breeding is also affected by shankh blowing and decreases the spread of malaria.

I just thought this to be worth sharing, though I do not know much about these practices and do not necessarily subscribe to these views.

Bob - P said...

Thank you Sanjay For posting this.
In appreciation
Bob

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in answer to the comment in which you refer to one of the replies I wrote yesterday and ask ‘What exactly do you mean by ‘heart’ here? Does it mean our ego or mind in this context?’:

Heart simply means ourself, so if we experience ourself as this ego or mind, it seems to mean our ego or mind.

In the context of Bhagavan’s teachings, the term ‘ego’ has a precise and well-defined meaning, and the meaning of ‘mind’ is almost as precise (because it means either the ego or the ego plus all its other thoughts), but the meaning of the term ‘heart’ cannot be tied down so precisely because its connotation varies according to the context in which it is used. Generally Bhagavan used it to refer only to ourself, but whereas in most contexts he used it precisely to mean what we really are (our real self), in some contexts he used it less precisely to mean the central or most intimate part of ourself as an individual. For example, one Tamil word that he often used is உள்ளம் (uḷḷam), the general meaning of which is ‘heart’ (because it is derived from உள் (uḷ), which is both a verb meaning to be and a noun meaning inside or interior), but which in some contexts refers to ourself as we really are and in other contexts refers to ourself as this mind.

Bhagavan also often used the Sanskrit word हृदय (hṛdaya) or its Tamil variant இதயம் (idayam), which means much the same as உள்ளம் (uḷḷam), because it signifies what is interior or most central and essential, and is used in a variety of contexts to mean heart, mind, soul, core, chest, love, affection or the seat of feeling and emotion. In this respect हृदय (hṛdaya) is similar in meaning to the English word ‘heart’, which likewise has a variety of meanings according to the context in which it is used. However, like உள்ளம் (uḷḷam), Bhagavan generally used हृदय (hṛdaya) or இதயம் (idayam) to mean ourself as we really are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this detailed explanation of the meaning, or the various shades of meaning of the term 'heart' or 'hrdya'. As Bhagavan's teachings is centred on the need to meditate on our heart or on ourself as we really are, this clarification is useful. In the very first verse of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai, Bhagavan talks of the need to meditate on or in the heart:

O Arunachala, You root out the ego of those who think 'Arunachala' in the heart.

Thanking you and pranams.

Michael James said...

John, in answer to your second comment, in which you refer to questions about ‘the meaning and effect of self-realisation of a single person on our entire humanity or world’, Bhagavan answered such questions in various different ways according to the understanding and needs of whoever was asking him such questions. Sometimes he would say that the mere existence of someone who experienced themself as they really are is beneficial for the whole world, but at other times he would say that when you are dreaming your primary concern should be to wake up, and you need not worry about what will happen to all the other people in your dream if you wake up. On other occasions he would explain that just like any world we see in a dream, this entire world-appearance is built only on the flimsy basis of our ego, in whose view alone it seems to exist, so when we experience ourself as we really are, not only our ego but also this entire universe will cease to exist.

For example, as Devaraja Mudaliar recorded in Day by Day with Bhagavan (22-11-45 Afternoon: 2002 edition, page 49), Bhagavan once said: ‘The spark of jnana [self-knowledge] will easily consume all creation as if it were a mountain-heap of cotton. All the crores [tens of millions] of worlds being built upon the weak (or no) foundation of the ego, they all topple down when the atomic bomb of jnana comes down upon them’.

R Viswanathan said...

"Materialistic discoveries try to eliminate physical pain. Spiritual discoveries try to eliminate mental suffering."

'Try to eliminate' is a very appropriate usage for materialistic discoveries since what works for some do not work for others; also what works for someone at some time does not work for the same person at some other time. In the case of spiritual discoveries (or discovery- whether plural is applicable here?), I would think that it would eliminate all kinds of sufferings for every individual, provided one applies it whole heartedly and ceaselessly.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in the first verse of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai, which you cite in your latest comment, Bhagavan uses the word அகம் (aham) twice, but in two different senses, because it is both a pure Tamil word that means inside, heart, mind, chest, house or home, and a word of Sanskrit origin that means ‘I’. He uses it first in its intensified form அகமே (ahamē), which in this context means ‘in the heart [or mind]’ or ‘by the heart [or mind]’, and second in its accusative form அகத்தை (ahattai), which in this context means ‘I’, the ego.

Sivanarul said...

Spiritual discoveries were used in the context of multiple spiritual practices like Meditation, Mindfulness, YogaAsanas, Vichara etc. They eliminate suffering “fully” only when the final state prescribed by them is reached, which based on historical evidence is rarely done in one lifetime. So from a realistic standpoint, they can be said to “reduce” suffering at the Sadhaka stage.

John Barleycorn said...

Thank you again, Michael.
For the present your replies should include enough feed for my son.
First I will pass on the replies and then I will watch his reaction and answer.