Friday, 8 April 2016

Self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) entails nothing more than just being persistently and tenaciously self-attentive

In a comment on my previous article, Why is it necessary to make effort to practise self-investigation (ātma-vicāra)?, a friend called Pachaiamman referred to the first section of it, We must practise ātma-vicāra for as long as it takes to destroy all our viṣaya-vāsanās (in which I had cited extracts from the sixth, tenth and eleventh paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?), and asked:
May I give a short description what happens in my poor experience of practising self-investigation in the following passage: The attentiveness with which one investigates what one is has to be accomplished by the ego. The ego is a bundle of thoughts. So attentiveness is also a thought. The attentive thought ‘who am I’ is entrusted to try to extinguish/erase other rising thoughts and simultaneously or after that to investigate to whom they have occurred. It is clear that it is to me. By further investigation ‘who am I’, I do not clearly recognize if the mind subsided or returned to its birthplace, that is myself. Because the same (my) attentiveness has to manage to refuse the spreading/developing of other thoughts (without giving room [place/field] to other thoughts) and rather eliminate them, other thoughts are on my mind well waiting for refusal of their completion. Thus I am far away from grabbing the opportunity that the thought ‘who am I’ itself is destroyed in the end (like the fire-stir-stick). What is wrong in my strategy or where I am on the wrong track?
The following is my reply to this:
  1. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18: the ego is our first thought, the root of our mind
  2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: the ego seems to exist only by attending to other things
  3. Self-attentiveness is a thought only in a metaphorical sense
  4. Self-attentiveness is the only effective means to be free from thoughts
  5. If we cling firmly to self-attentiveness, no thoughts can rise, so there will then be no need to investigate to whom they appear
  6. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 10 and 11: all we need do is to try to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness
  7. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 16: ātma-vicāra is just keeping our attention on ourself
  8. Bhagavad Gītā Sāram verse 27: fixing our attention on ourself, we should not think of anything else whatsoever
1. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18: the ego is our first thought, the root of our mind

Pachaiamman, you say ‘The ego is a bundle of thoughts’, but that is not actually correct, because our ego is just a single thought, our primal thought called ‘I’. The bundle or totality of all thoughts is what is called ‘mind’, and of all these thoughts the root is only our ego, this thought called ‘I’, so what our mind essentially is is only this ego, as Bhagavan explains in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
எண்ணங்க ளேமனம் யாவினு நானெனு
மெண்ணமே மூலமா முந்தீபற
      யானா மனமென லுந்தீபற.

eṇṇaṅga ḷēmaṉam yāviṉu nāṉeṉu
meṇṇamē mūlamā mundīpaṟa
      yāṉā maṉameṉa lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal.

அன்வயம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். மனம் எனல் யான் ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. maṉam eṉal yāṉ ām.

English translation: Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called mind is ‘I’.

Elaborated translation: Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [the ego or root-thought called ‘I’].
In this context it is important to understand that what Bhagavan means by ‘எண்ணம்’ (eṇṇam), ‘thought’ or ‘idea’, is any kind of mental phenomena, and since all sensory perceptions (sights, sounds, tastes, smells and tactile sensations) are mental phenomena, all things that seem to us to be physical phenomena (whether in waking or in dream) are actually just mental phenomena, so according to him all phenomena (that is, everything that we experience other than our own actual self, which is just pure self-awareness) is a thought or idea. Therefore what he implies in this verse is that everything is our mind, and the root of it all is only our ego, this primal thought called ‘I’.

Since attention or attentiveness is a function of our ego, it is in a certain sense a thought, as you say, but it is quite unlike all other thoughts, because it is a fundamental and essential feature of our ego, and because no other thought would be possible unless we (this ego) attended to it at least partially. In fact other thoughts are formed only by the attention that we pay to anything other than ourself, and all those other things are themselves just thoughts, so they are formed and come into existence only as a result of the attention we give to the idea of them. Therefore attention is both the source and the substance of everything other than our own actual self (ātma-svarūpa).

2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: the ego seems to exist only by attending to other things

Our self-negligence (pramāda), which is our failure to be exclusively self-attentive, is what gives rise to our ego, so being self-attentive is the only effective way to make this ego subside. Since it could not rise, stand or nourish itself without attending to things other than itself, the very nature of our ego is to attend to other things, as Bhagavan implies in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

uruppaṯṟi yuṇḍā muruppaṯṟi niṟku
muruppaṯṟi yuṇḍumiha vōṅgu — muruviṭ
ṭuruppaṯṟun tēḍiṉā lōṭṭam piḍikku
muruvaṯṟa pēyahandai yōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும், உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை. ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum, uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai. ōr.

அன்வயம்: உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும். ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum. ōr.

English translation: Grasping form, the formless phantom-ego rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows [spreads, expands, increases, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form, it grasps [another] form. If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight. Investigate [or know thus].
Since our ego is essentially formless, ‘உரு பற்றி’ (uru paṯṟi) or ‘grasping form’ means grasping anything other than itself, and since as a formless entity this ego is something that is just aware, it can grasp other things only by attending to them, so in this context பற்றி (paṯṟi), which means grasping, holding, clinging to, adhering to or attaching oneself to, implies attending to or being aware of, and hence ‘உரு பற்றி’ (uru paṯṟi) implies attending to anything other than ourself. Therefore in this verse Bhagavan clearly implies that by attending to any thought (that is, to anything other than ourself), we are not only giving rise to and sustaining that thought, but are also thereby nourishing and sustaining our ego.

Since our ego is nourished and sustained by attending to anything other than itself, and since it cannot stand by itself without attending to other things, it will subside and be destroyed only by attending to itself, as Bhagavan implies by saying ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), which means ‘If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight’.

3. Self-attentiveness is a thought only in a metaphorical sense

Therefore though Bhagavan sometimes describes self-attentiveness metaphorically as ‘ஆன்மசிந்தனை’ (āṉma-cintaṉai), which is a Tamil form of the Sanskrit term आत्मचिन्तन (ātma-cintana) and which therefore means ‘self-thought’ or ‘thought of oneself’, or as ‘நானார் என்னும் நினைவு’ (nāṉ-ār eṉṉum niṉaivu), which means ‘the thought who am I’, it is fundamentally unlike all other thoughts, because whereas all other thoughts nourish and sustain our ego, this one ‘thought’ alone will destroy it (as I explained in more detail in an earlier article, Thought of oneself will destroy all other thoughts, particularly in the third and fourth sections of it).

All other thoughts are directed or ‘pointing’ towards something other than ourself, so each of them is a form of what Bhagavan called சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu), which literally means ‘pointing awareness’ and which implies transitive (or object-knowing) awareness. Self-attentiveness, on the other hand, is not directed towards anything other than ourself, and since we are not an object but only the awareness by which both subject and object are known, self-attentiveness is not transitive awareness but only intransitive awareness.

That is, though due to the limitations of thought and language we have to conceive and say that self-attentiveness is awareness directed towards ourself, it is not directed in the same way that thoughts are directed towards other things, because in self-attentiveness what is being attended to is only ourself, who are what is attending, so there is absolutely no distinction or distance between what is attending and what is being attended to. Therefore self-attentiveness is not actually attention being directed at ourself but only attention being retained in ourself, as ourself.

Since any other thought is directed or pointed at something other than ourself, it sends our attention away from ourself and thereby nourishes and sustains the rising and seeming existence of ourself as this ego, so we cannot subside back into our actual self, the source from which we have risen as this ego, so long as we are thinking of or attending to anything other than ourself. Therefore in order to subside back into ourself, we must think of or attend to ourself alone. Thus thinking of anything else gives rise to and sustains the illusion that we are this finite ego, whereas attending only to ourself causes this illusory ego to subside and dissolve back into ourself.

Therefore, though self-attentiveness can be described metaphorically as ‘thinking of oneself’, it is not a mental activity but the suspension or dissolution of all mental activity, so it is not a thought or thinking in the usual sense of these words. Since it entails no movement of our attention away from ourself, it is not an action (karma) or activity (vṛtti) but simply a state of just being (summā iruppadu).

4. Self-attentiveness is the only effective means to be free from thoughts

You say that ‘the attentive thought ‘who am I’ is entrusted to try to extinguish/erase other rising thoughts and simultaneously or after that to investigate to whom they have occurred’, but this is a confused and inaccurate way of describing the simple practice and aim of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra). The ‘thought who am I’ means only self-attentiveness, and when practising self-investigation we should not try to do anything other than just being self-attentive, because that alone will destroy our ego together with all its thoughts.

Self-attentiveness is the only effective means by which we can free ourself completely and forever from all thoughts, because if we try to extinguish or erase other thoughts deliberately, we will be attending to them and thereby sustaining them, and if we try to extinguish or erase them by any other means such as prāṇāyāma or any other yōgic practice, we will at best only be able to achieve manōlaya, a state like sleep in which all thoughts including the ego have temporarily subsided, but from which they will sooner or later return unscathed. In order to achieve manōnāśa, which is complete annihilation of our entire mind (the totality of all our thoughts), we need to eradicate its root, which is our ego, and since our ego is a wrong knowledge of ourself (an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), we can destroy it only by being aware of ourself as we actually are. Therefore, since we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are so long as we are aware of anything other than ourself (because what is aware of anything else is only our ego and not our actual self), we can eradicate our ego and all its thoughts only by being attentively aware of ourself alone, in complete isolation from the illusory appearance of anything else.

Since all practices other than self-attentiveness entail attending to something other than ourself, they cannot enable us to achieve manōnāśa, so ātma-vicāra, which is the simple practice of being attentively aware of ourself alone, is the only means by which we can permanently extinguish or erase all thoughts. Therefore when practising ātma-vicāra we should not try to do anything other than just clinging vigilantly and tenaciously to being self-attentive, because if we attend to or think of anything else at all, we will thereby be feeding our ego and making it rise again, whereas if we remain keenly self-attentive it will subside naturally and peacefully back into ourself, the source from which it arose.

5. If we cling firmly to self-attentiveness, no thoughts can rise, so there will then be no need to investigate to whom they appear

If we cling firmly to being self-attentive, there will be no need for us to investigate to whom other thoughts have occurred, because other thoughts can occur only when we allow our attention to slip away from ourself towards anything else. If we do allow our attention to slip away at all, other thoughts will immediately arise, so we should then try to turn our attention back to ourself, who are the one to whom they occur.

Therefore when Bhagavan said in sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘பிற வெண்ணங்க ளெழுந்தா லவற்றைப் பூர்த்தி பண்ணுவதற்கு எத்தனியாமல் அவை யாருக் குண்டாயின என்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டும்’ (piṟa v-eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙundāl avaṯṟai-p pūrtti paṇṇuvadaṟku ettaṉiyāmal avai yārukku uṇḍāyiṉa eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum), which means ‘If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have occurred’, he was just giving us a simple clue how we can immediately turn our attention away from any thought back towards ourself. Whatever thought may arise, it rises only because we are aware of it, so it should remind of ourself, to whom it has occurred. Therefore investigating to whom any thought has occurred is a simple means to turn our attention back to ourself whenever it is distracted by anything else, so it is necessary and helpful only when we are distracted and not when we are already clinging firmly to being self-attentive.

From what you write, particularly in the sentence that ends ‘other thoughts are on my mind well [or perhaps you meant while] waiting for refusal of their completion’, it seems as if you are waiting for thoughts so that you can investigate to whom they occur or refuse to complete them, but if this is what you are doing, you are thereby thinking about thoughts instead of attending only to yourself. Thinking about thoughts or anticipating their appearance would defeat the very purpose of what you should be doing, which is only attending to yourself alone.

6. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 10 and 11: all we need do is to try to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness

Our sole aim while practising ātma-vicāra should be to cling firmly and unswervingly to self-attentiveness and thereby to avoid being distracted by any other thoughts. Therefore we should not concern ourself with any thoughts such as whether or not our mind has subsided or returned to its birthplace. The more keenly and vigilantly we manage to be self-attentive, the more our mind will automatically subside back into ourself, who are the source or birthplace from which it arose, so if you want to remain on the right track, all you need do is to try to cling persistently to being self-attentive, as advised by Bhagavan in the following two sentences of the tenth and eleventh paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:
அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும்.

attaṉai vāsaṉaigaḷum oḍuṅgi, sorūpa-māttiram-āy irukka muḍiyumā v-eṉṉum sandēha niṉaivukkum iḍam koḍāmal, sorūpa-dhyāṉattai viḍā-p-piḍiyāy-p piḍikka vēṇḍum.

Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘Is it possible to dissolve so many vāsanās [propensities or inclinations to think about things other than oneself] and remain only as svarūpa [my own actual self]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness].

ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும்.

oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum.

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone will be sufficient.
7. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 16: ātma-vicāra is just keeping our attention on ourself

Persistently holding fast to self-attentiveness is the beginning, end and entire process of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), as is clearly indicated by Bhagavan in the following sentence of the sixteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
சதாகாலமும் மனத்தை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பதற்குத் தான் ‘ஆத்மவிசார’ மென்று பெயர்.

sadā-kālam-um maṉattai ātmāvil vaittiruppadaṟku-t tāṉ ‘ātma-vicāram’ eṉḏṟu peyar.

The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to keeping the mind always in [or on] ātmā [oneself].
‘சதாகாலமும் மனத்தை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பது’ (sadākālamum maṉattai ātmāvil vaittiruppadu) means ‘keeping the mind always in [or on] oneself’, which implies keeping one’s attention fixed firmly on oneself without allowing it to move away towards anything else, so in this sentence Bhagavan assures us that this is all that ātma-vicāra entails. Therefore there is nothing else we need do.

8. Bhagavad Gītā Sāram verse 27: fixing our attention on ourself, we should not think of anything else whatsoever

All we need do, therefore, is just to patiently persevere in clinging tenaciously to self-attentiveness (svarūpa-dhyāna or svarūpa-smaraṇa) without thinking of or being concerned about anything else whatsoever, as Bhagavan emphatically says in the last two lines of verse 27 of Bhagavad Gītā Sāram (which is a translation of Bhagavad Gītā 6.25):
சித்தத்தை யான்மாவிற் சேர்த்திடுக மற்றெதுவு
மித்தனையு மெண்ணிடா தே.

cittattai yāṉmāviṟ cērttiḍuka maṯṟeduvu
mittaṉaiyu meṇṇiḍā dē
.

பதச்சேதம்: சித்தத்தை ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்திடுக; மற்று எதுவும் இத்தனையும் எண்ணிடாதே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): cittattai āṉmāvil sērttiḍuka; maṯṟu eduvum ittaṉaiyum eṇṇiḍādē.

English translation: Fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.

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Sivanarul said...

Sandhya,

“when i say My I thought is same as yours I meant the substance your thought and my thought is made of is same. Isn't the feeling of your I thought same as mine?”
“If not, we would never be able to communicate.”

Yes the ultimate substance, the ‘I’ thought is made up of (which is God), is the same. Without it (God) we certainly would not be able to communicate.

In God we trust.

Mouna said...

For what is worth, this is the account of how a regular guy realizes that life is a dream, not from the comfort of the couch or typing in front of a monitor but from the actual rawness of life. And I hope it won't happen to you.

Case 1. Two decades ago or so I had a car accident sliding on ice toward the side of a cliff, and ending hitting a tree that fortunately just smashed my car on the passenger side (fortunately I was alone), the roof stayed just a few inches from my face.
The moment I was going down in the car there was no panic, shouting or fear, but a sense of inevitability and detachment. This was my first introduction to the idea that life is a dream, because it was felt that way, although at the time I didn't know about Bhagavan's teachings.

Case 2. Fast forward in time. A few years back my 17 year old daughter had a very serious car accident. Shattered pelvis, punctured brain, and slightly sliced liver. For several days she couldn't be operated because of her liver condition that had to naturally heal. Her life was pending on a thread while we, her family, were hovering around her ER bed looking at a drugged version of a previously very alive girl.
Some people say that that is when "reality kicks in" and all this intellectual talk about life as dream evaporates in smoke in front of the "real fact of suffering" in "one's" life.
For me, this moment, as horrific as it might sound for a parent, was a crossroads in my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching. WITHOUT WILLING IT, and in the heat of that moment, the realization that life (or in this case the waking state) was a dream became a reality. I could FEEL it. I was surprised at the sense of inevitability and peace (like the car crash) I was experiencing that was at odds of what other people was telling me about how much I was supposed to be suffering, etc.
My daughter she is fine now, religious people will say it was a miracle, or was the hand of God that saved her. Non religious say she was lucky, like winning the lottery. Why she was spared a life in a wheelchair or six feet under is not the point and I don't care to know.

Some lessons are learnt the hard way, it was my turn. I had no doubt life is a dream, it's part of my nervous system now. And I also have the firm understanding that the dream as a structure can't be changed (prarabdha maybe?). The confusion arises when we think that something HAS TO CHANGE externally with this understanding. For some it might for some it might not. The love I have for my children didn't diminish with this understanding, on the contrary, now it became integrated to a much richer, purer and unified whole.
This is what "life is a dream" is about for Mouna, that other character in this impersonal and illusory dream called life.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Thanks for sharing your personal two cases. I am very glad that in both cases, it turned out fine in the end, my friend.

Regarding Case 1, it is a well-known fact that in life or death situations, the brain and/or mind creates a sense of inevitability and detachment. Sorry to say, it doesn’t mean life is a dream. You certainly seem to have interpreted it that way. Regarding the sense of detachment, it can be seen even in situations other than life or death. At any personal loss, the mind naturally comes up with detachment, as a way of dealing with the loss and starting the healing process. That does not make it a dream. The mind wants to think it is a dream, so that it can heal.

Regarding Case 2: Again facing the real fact of suffering, does not make life a dream. It certainly focusses all energy available into dealing with the suffering. It makes things to be seen in a proper perspective. It makes one question, what is the point of life? All of these things do not make it a dream.

“This is what "life is a dream" is about for Mouna, that other character in this impersonal and illusory dream called life.”

You are referring to yourself as a second person. Psychologically, your mind has decided this separation is the best way to deal with those 2 incidents and heal.

I fully respect and do not doubt that you see those 2 cases as proof that life is a dream and that it is a part of your nervous system. So please do not take my writings as trying to disprove what you feel. What you feel is what you feel and no one else can take it away or disprove that.

I have experienced (and continue to experience) my own fair share of suffering and I have also learnt the hard way, the exact opposite, that life is ultra-real. I consider those sufferings to have deepened my relationship with God and have been the main catalyst towards acceptance and Surrender towards God.

This is why Bhagavan devised two parallel paths. One path is the one you are taking, with life being a dream encoded in your nervous system. The other path of Bhakthi and Surrender to Ishvara is for people like me, who take the world as ultra-real (as divine play of the Lord) and try our very best to look at suffering as the Lord’s Mara Karunai (non-benevolent grace, but ultimately will be found to be benevolent grace).

We do not care so much about prarabdha (or any karma for that matter). We follow ahimsa to the best of our abilities since it is the right thing to do. We bear suffering as best as we can. When it becomes unbearable, we petition to the Lord for relief, just like Bhagavan petitioned to Arunachala to cure his mom’s typhoid in spite of writing what will happen will happen. For us, Bhagavan is not a dream lion in our dream. He is real. His actions are real. His duality towards Arunachala is real.

Let’s celebrate this diversity of us, with the understanding that it will lead to unity in the end.

Cheers!, my friend. Stay well.

Michael James said...

Sivanarul, regarding this comment and subsequent ones in which you ask in effect what benefit we can gain from believing ēka-jīva-vāda or that our entire life is a dream and how we can apply such teachings in practice, we should not try to understand or apply any such teaching in isolation but should do so in the context of Bhagavan’s entire teachings.

His teachings are centred around and based upon a relatively small set of simple yet extremely profound fundamental principles, which he expressed in a clear and systematic manner in Nāṉ Yār?, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Upadēśa Undiyār, and which he frequently referred to in his other writings and in his answers to numerous questions asked by devotees and visitors. All these fundamental principles together form a single coherent whole, so if we are to understand them clearly and correctly, we need to understand them as a whole and how each one of them is an essential part of that whole and is logically connected to each other one. Instead of understanding them in this way, if we try to understand any of them in isolation and if we choose to believe only some of them and to ignore or reject other ones, our understanding of them will be incomplete, logically incoherent and therefore confused.

When we consider fundamental principles such as ēka-jīva-vāda and the principle that any state in which we experience phenomena is just a dream — a mental projection that is experienced only by our ego and that therefore does not exist independent of it — we need to consider why he taught such principles and how each of them is logically connected to and entailed in the entire core of his teachings. Taken in isolation none of these principles are of much use to us, because we can neither understand nor apply any of them correctly unless we do so in the context of the whole.

Bhagavan has diagnosed that the root cause of all our problems is only our ego, and that the solution to all of them is therefore only the dissolution of this ego, so his teachings focus on the issue of this ego: how it seems to exist, how it perpetuates its seeming existence, what consequences result from its seeming existence, and how to put an end to its seeming existence. For example, in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he explains that this ego is a formless phantom that seems to come into existence, to endure and to flourish only by ‘grasping form’ — that is, by grasping and attaching itself to phenomena (things other than itself) — and that it can therefore destroy itself only by trying to grasp or attend to itself alone, and then in verse 26 he explains that all phenomena are just a projection or expansion of this ego, because they seem to exist only when this ego seems to exist (as in waking and dream) and they do not exist at all when this ego does not exist (as in sleep), so investigating and thereby destroying this ego is the only way to give up or surrender everything.

In these two verses he expresses the very heart of his teachings, and from them we can infer that all phenomena (everything other than our own actual self) are just creations of our ego and therefore no different to all the phenomena we experience in a dream, and that there is therefore only one ego or jīva, namely the one who is aware of this dream of phenomena. Therefore we cannot separate from the core of his teachings either ēka-jīva-vāda (the contention that there is only one ego or jīva) or the principle that all phenomena are just mental projections like all the phenomena we experience in a dream.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Sivanarul:

And why did he teach us these simple fundamental principles? The answer to this question can be understood by reflecting carefully on the meaning of these two verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. That is, since all phenomena come into existence only when we rise as an ego, since we rise, endure and flourish as an ego only by projecting and grasping or being aware of the seeming existence of phenomena, and since this ego seems to exist only when we look at or ‘grasp’ phenomena and therefore disappears or ‘takes flight’ when we look back at it, the only way we can free ourself from both this ego and all phenomena is to look carefully to see whether this ego actually exists. In other words, the sole aim and purpose of all the core principles that he taught us is to make us understand that in order to regain our original and real state of pure self-awareness — the state in which we are aware only of ourself and not of any phenomena — all we need do is to turn back and look very carefully at this illusory ego.

Bhagavan’s teachings are so very simple and clear, but we are unwilling to accept and imbibe this simplicity and clarity because we are not yet willing to let go of our ego and all its illusory awareness of phenomena. However, even though we are not yet willing to surrender ourself entirely, if we at least want to cultivate the willingness to do so, the essential and easy first step is to believe wholeheartedly what our sadguru Sri Ramana has taught us, and we can believe it wholeheartedly only by setting aside all our other beliefs and carefully considering and imbibing all the core principles of his teachings as a single and logically coherent whole.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji,

"Sorry to say, it doesn’t mean life is a dream."

Sorry to say, those neurons firing in that way did it for me. Which come first the neurons firing or the understanding? Or both simultaneously? Or neither?

By the way, since you reduce everything to brain function, do you want to know what science says about the notion of God as a brain function?
No... you don't want to know, because it will or might completely destabilize your Bhakti.

Be well my friend.
Roger and out.

unswerving seeker said...

Ann Onymous or Anonymous,
that is a good and beneficial and estimable suggestion.
Wondering "how" is more of a hindrance than a help - only waste of time.
Now, all is easy. Therefore there is nothing more to do.
Why only did I let myself be fooled ?
Knowledge is our real nature. Giving up the false self is true knowledge.

Wittgenstein said...

Sivanarul,

You are right in saying that for both eka jiva vadi and aneka jiva vadi the world seems real in the waking state. However, eka jiva vadi adds that his dream world too seems real as long as it lasts and the two states are not substantially different.

Further, eka jiva vada is in perfect accord (as a very reasonable hypothesis) with our experience, except that our self-attention is not perfect enough to capture (test) it. When it is perfect enough, according to Bhagavan, eka jiva vada collapses. This is how eka jiva vada and atma vichara are connected.

Finally, self-attention is possible in all situations where ego activity is present, such as hearing the first word spoken by one’s first child or being paralysed. Whether the possibility is utilized or not depends, as you say, on courage (vairagya). That is why Bhagavan says atma vichara [which is the testing of eka jiva vada] is for a dheeran (தீரன்) [the courageous].

Ann Onymous said...

unswerving seeker, you agree with Bhagavan -

"Be yourself and nothing more!"

Call me Ann.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

“Sorry to say, those neurons firing in that way did it for me. Which come first the neurons firing or the understanding? Or both simultaneously? Or neither?”

My friend, I am very surprised to read the change in your tone. Did you read my entire post? Here is what I said:

“I fully respect and do not doubt that you see those 2 cases as proof that life is a dream and that it is a part of your nervous system. So please do not take my writings as trying to disprove what you feel. What you feel is what you feel and no one else can take it away or disprove that.”

I thought I was very clear that I respected your interpretation and you feel what you feel and I am not trying to take it away or disprove that. Did you read the above? If you did, not sure why your tone changed?

“By the way, since you reduce everything to brain function, do you want to know what science says about the notion of God as a brain function?
No... you don't want to know, because it will or might completely destabilize your Bhakti.”

Where did I reduce everything to brain function? All I said was:
“in life or death situations, the brain and/or mind creates a sense of inevitability and detachment.”

I don’t see how one can jump from the above statement to reducing everything to brain function. It is a well-known fact that both our brain and mind function in top gear in emergency situations. That is all I was saying.

“No... you don't want to know, because it will or might completely destabilize your Bhakti.”

Too late, I am well aware of what scientific materialism says about God being a notion as a brain function, and it has not destabilized my bhakthi even an iota. Please note that science is very different from scientific materialism and science has nothing to say in this matter. I have studied scientific materialism very well and have rejected it (I follow Bernardo Kastrup’s writings and he has a great collection of writings against scientific materialism).

I apologize, if my writings have in any way indicated a diminishment of what your takeaways were out of the 2 cases you wrote. That was never intended, and I tried as best as I can to say it when I wrote it.

I hope, we can get back to our cordial friendship.

Sivanarul said...

Wittgenstein,

“However, eka jiva vadi adds that his dream world too seems real as long as it lasts and the two states are not substantially different.”

Well, an aneka jiva vadi can also hold both the above positions (I hold that the dream world is real when experienced). What stops a belief in multiple egos from holding the above two positions?

“Further, eka jiva vada is in perfect accord (as a very reasonable hypothesis) with our experience”

Not with my experience. As you say, it may be very well due to my immaturity.

“This is how eka jiva vada and atma vichara are connected.”

They may be connected. But there is nothing stopping an eneka jiva vadi from doing Vichara to find the source of his ‘I’. Vichara is not the exclusive right of eka jiva vadi.

“Finally, self-attention is possible in all situations where ego activity is present such as hearing the first word spoken by one’s first child or being paralysed”

I never said that self-attention is not possible in all situations. I only said that, will the people who say the world is a dream, will have the courage to believe it, when they are paralysed.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji,

Never a breach in cordial friendship my friend, will never happen.
I read all your post, yes.
Just difference of points of view.
Not big deal in the long run.
You are a brother, I repeated that many times now, and I meant it.
M

unswerving seeker said...

Ann,
obviously you agree with Bhagavan's remark:
abiding in the heart as 'I am I' is extremely easy...

Ann Onymous said...

unswerving seeker -

'Be yourself' is easy, 'and nothing more' is why we practice.

unswerving seeker said...

Ann,
your practice seem to be the endeavour just refraining from 'more'.
Could you give me the gist of your practice ?

Ann Onymous said...

unswerving seeker -

be knowing / know being

unswerving seeker said...

Ann,
I will be knowing soon in deep sleep.
Good night ! It is bed time now long since.

Sivanarul said...

Michael,

Thank you for your detailed explanation on eka-jiva and Bhagavan’s reason for teaching it and the need to take it as a whole package. Let me respond by taking a few steps back and first looking at the backgrounds of us.

You, from your own writings in comments, in your early childhood, did not find much alignment with religion and its beliefs. You are an intellectual, logician and operate via that. Bhagavan’s Vichara teachings, eka jiva and world is a dream, are all a perfect match made in heaven.

I, on the other hand, have a strong upbringing and identity with the Saivite tradition and Lord Siva plays a central part of my life. To me, heart and emotion play a much bigger role than the intellect. Bhagavan’s teaching of Surrender, to have the ego struck down, is a perfect match for me.

Bhagavan saw that he had 2 major classes of devotee, people who do not care much for Ishvara and people for whom Ishvara is a central role. For the former, he suggested, as per your explanation, and for them, it certainly makes sense to take it as a whole package. For the latter, he taught, Surrender as the path (starting with partial surrender, of course, and slowly working towards full surrender). I know you don’t agree with this demarcation and you think Surrender is just a different name for Vichara. Let’s agree to disagree.

For those on the devotional track, eka-jiva is a non-starter because it obviates the need for Ishvara. The world is a dream is also a non-starter because the world is Ishvara’s creation for the benefit of the Jiva’s spiritual progression.

“His teachings are centred around and based upon a relatively small set of simple yet extremely profound fundamental principles, which he expressed in a clear and systematic manner in Nāṉ Yār?, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Upadēśa Undiyār,”

Those on the devotional track should carefully read Bhagavan’s Aksharamanamalai carefully and learn the science and art of surrender to Ishvara from those teachings.

“Bhagavan has diagnosed that the root cause of all our problems is only our ego, and that the solution to all of them is therefore only the dissolution of this ego, so his teachings focus on the issue of this ego:”

Yes, Bhagavan is one of the best doctor’s in town. For intellectual devotees he prescribed the medicine of the whole package for the dissolution of the ego. For bhakthi devotees he prescribed the medicine of Surrender to Ishvara for the ego to be struck down.

Continued in next comment…

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment…

“Bhagavan’s teachings are so very simple and clear, but we are unwilling to accept and imbibe this simplicity and clarity because we are not yet willing to let go of our ego and all its illusory awareness of phenomena”

Yes, they are very simple and clear and yes we are not yet willing to surrender our self fully to Ishvara and see all phenomena as Ishvara’s creation and lila.

“However, even though we are not yet willing to surrender ourself entirely, if we at least want to cultivate the willingness to do so, the essential and easy first step is to believe wholeheartedly what our sadguru Sri Ramana has taught us”

Absolutely! Those of us in Bhagavan’s parallel path of Surrender must wholeheartedly believe that Ishvara will struck our ego down if we surrender to him. This is what sadguru Ramana taught for people who are religious and on the devotional track.

“and we can believe it wholeheartedly only by setting aside all our other beliefs and carefully considering and imbibing all the core principles of his teachings as a single and logically coherent whole.”

Yes, we on the devotional track. should set aside all our other beliefs (that Vichara is the only path that Bhagavan taught) and doubts (whether Ishvara will strike our ego down) and trust and have faith in Bhagavan’s teaching that the ego will indeed by struck down by Ishvara.

Those who have adopted the whole package, often oscillate between advising people how they need to follow Bhagavan’s teaching as a whole and treating Bhagavan as a lion in your dream. Sometimes Bhagavan is the Sadguru, sometimes he is a lion in your dream (still Sadguru, but a lion Sadguru). This in spite of the advaitic injunction of not applying advaita to one’s guru. Anyway, that’s your problem.

For those of us who have adopted his Surrender teaching, Bhagavan is always real and we try our best to follow his teaching.

Both you and many readers of your blog, do not care much for Ishvara, and hence you look at people following the path of Surrender and think that we are not following Bhagavan’s teaching. That is far from the truth.

Wittgenstein said...

Sivanarul,

In your comment addressed to me on 1 May 2016 at 19:00, you say, “As you say, it may be very well due to my immaturity”. I went back and read my comment addressed to you and found I did not mention anything about your immaturity.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Greg Goode's Awakening Experience
(from www.nondualitymagazine.org/nondualitymagazine.4/nonduality_magazine.4.greggoode.interview.htm and http://nonduality.com/goode.htm#grandcentral)

Years ago, there was lots and lots of vigilance in my life. Before and during spiritual seeking, I wasn't badly suffering or in pain or unhappy with circumstances in life or stuck in dysfunctional patterns. Instead, I felt a deep sense of loneliness, alienation, lack of fulfillment, and a strong yearning from the heart and mind to know "What is it all about? What is the purpose of life? What happens after? What are all these mystical truths that are spoken of? Where is fulfillment to be found?" I was very vigilant about it.

Going back 30+ years, I tried many, many different paths, from Ayn Rand's icy "Rational Selfishness" to the strictness and ecstasy of Born-Again Pentacostal Christianity. Years later, this all settled down to an intense inquiry.

For about 5 years, one question kept itself rooted in front of me. "What is the core of me?" I couldn't help it - I'd ponder this in every spare moment the mind wasn't engaged in something else. It was a sweet and relentless yearning. I really wanted to burrow into the deepest secrets of this. After a few years, the question refined itself. "What or where is this choosing, willing entity that seems to be in evidence?" "Is that the me?" "But where is it?"

The answer came one day while I was reading a book about consciousness [Consciousness Speaks by Ramesh Balsekar]. This was in 1996. The book was very clear about there being no real doer or doership. I had never looked at it just like that. It clicked in just the right way, since I had already discarded every other possibility for what would make me "me." So the house of cards of my identity (anyone's identity) came tumbling down. There was no phenomenal candidate left that could possibly house identity. I understood myself and the world to be appearances or arisings in awareness that is neither personal nor interpersonal. I was standing on the Grand Central subway platform during the evening rush hour, and the answer came. It didn't come as a conceptual statement like "It is ABC." Rather, it came by way of the world and the body imploding into a brilliant light, and the willing, phenomenal self thinning out, disappearing in a blaze of the same light. No separation was experienced; no time or space was experienced, yet I knew myself as the seeing itself. All "willings," "desirings," "thoughts" and other mentations were deeply experienced as spontaneous arisings in awareness, happening around no fixed point or location. And it wasn't personal. Not only the entity "Greg," but all apparent personal entities dissolved.

Out of nowhere, lightness, sweetness, brightness, and a fluidity of the world became qualities of everything, and became one with all experiences. My long-standing question had vanished along with what I had believed was "me." There arose resiliency, joy, and an untouchable happiness.

This experience uncovered the realization that without the conceptual structures that make things seem real, there is no presumption of a separate center. There is no suffering and no basis for suffering. There is no feeling that things should be different than they are. This is a sense of peace far beyond what happens when we get what we dream about.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I wrote a comment dated 1 May 2016 at 09:28 as follows:

'I have been watching Michael's recent three videos in his YouTube page. In the first of these videos he is asked a question about the relationship between Bhagavan and Arunachala, that is, why did he worship the hill as his guru and so on.

'Michael gave a very interesting answer to the effect: Who worshipped Arunachala, it was the form of Bhagavan, so it was just one form worshipping another form. Ultimately Bhagavan, Arunachala and ourself as we really are, are one and the same.'

Sivanarul did not agree with Michael's this interpretation that it was only Bhagavan's form that worshipped Arunachala's form. In his comment dated 1 May 2016 at 16:33, he wrote the following (I reproduce parts of it here):

Isn’t form Jada (insentient).? The form’s intelligence is limited to preservation of the form (breathing, heartbeat, digestion etc). How can a form worship anything?
Hasn’t Bhagavan said Arunachala is the Self (Siva) itself? How come it became a form? Bhagavan did not himself have any problems with the dualistic attitude he took to Arunachala. Not sure why Bhagavan’s devotees have an issue with that. . . . Well then Sri Shankara did not understand his own advaitic teaching and outwardly worshipped Ishvara in Kasi and rendered soul stirring songs on him. Also instead of composing the song on himself he composed the song on Lord Siva who is both within and without.

He wrote this from his understanding and faith in dualistic devotion, but from the perspective of Bhagavan's teachings, what Michael said makes perfect sense. If Bhagavan was a jnani, (which he certainly was) nothing could have existed other than himself. He says in v. 31 of Ulladu Narpadu ' . . . He does not know anything other than self (who shines as the one reality); therefore, how to (or who can) conceive what his state is.' Again Bhagavan says in v. 28 of Upadesa Undiyar, 'If we ourself know ourself by scrutinising thus 'what is the real nature of myself?' then we will discover ourself to be beginningless, endless and unbroken sat-cit-ananda (being-conscioiusness-bliss).'

Therefore, Bhagavan did not experience even the slightest of duality. Then who or why was his body seen worshipping the Arunachala hill? It could only be the play of grace, which is just a benevolent form of maya. Although, in his clear non-dual view any sort of mental movement was not possible; whereas, dualistic devotion requires mental movement, so how could he have worshipped Arunachala as something other tan himself. Arunachala and he were/are one and same, and he had made this abundantly clear. Thus, as Michael says in one of his recent videos, when Bhagavan's form was seen praying to Arunachala, it was just one form worshipping another form. Regards.


Sanjay Lohia said...

(In continuation of my previous comment)

Sivanarul writes, 'Isn’t form Jada (insentient).? The form’s intelligence is limited to preservation of the form (breathing, heartbeat, digestion etc). How can a form worship anything?'

Can any form have intelligence? How can any form have any intelligence, when it is insentient or jada. As Bhagavan says in v. 12 of Upadesa Undiyar, 'Mind and breath are two branches which have knowing and doing as their respective functions, but their mulam [root, origin or source] is one.' Our mind and breath originate from our real self, so they are just offshoots of our pure-consciousness. This mind and breath, and our body's form are mutually dependent on each other - that is, our ego and prana gives our body its seeming sentience, and our body gives our ego and breath (prana) their seeming existence.

As Michael has explained elsewhere, basically our prana is just our urge to breathe. Our ego and our urge to breathe arise together from ourself. Our ego can come into existence only by grasping a form of our body, and our body cannot exist without prana; therefore, our prana arises simultaneously with our ego to sustain our body. Our body is just an animated corpse animated by our ego and prana; therefore, this ego and breath does not belong to this body.

Sivanarul also writes, 'Hasn’t Bhagavan said Arunachala is the Self (Siva) itself?' If Arunachala is self, nothing exists outside or other than this self, then, how can Bhagavan exist outside this self to pray or worship Arunachala? We do not have much issue with any form of dualistic devotion, because as long as we experience ourself as a form we cannot avoid dualistic devotion altogether. However, as we are irresistibly drawn to Bhagavan's path of self-investigation, we love to understand his teaching in greater depth and also love to share the same with others, even though we acknowledge that our understanding is not perfect

Why did Sri Shankara worship Ishvara in Kasi, and also composed songs on Lord Shiva? Sri Shankara, as Bhagavan Ramana, was a advaitin, and his experience was of absolute non-duality. Therefore, the supreme power must have used the bodies of Sri Ramana and Sri Shankara to worship Arunachala or Ishvara, as an example to other jivas. Advaitic Experience cannot be an intellectual knowledge, because it is a direct and unchanging experience of - oneness and non-duality. Therefore, as Bhagavan has taught us, all dualities are in the view of our ego. Regards.

Ann Onymous said...

"The world does not exist apart from the body; the body does not exist apart from the mind; the mind does not exist apart from Consciousness; and Consciousness does not exist apart from Self, which is Existence". - Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 99

Sadhu Om: Therefore it can be concluded that everything is Self, and that nothing but Self exists.

The ego says, "MY self, MY awareness, MY mind, MY body, in this world". There is no 'ego' to be found in Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 99.

Sivanarul said...

“Why did Sri Shankara worship Ishvara in Kasi, and also composed songs on Lord Shiva? Sri Shankara, as Bhagavan Ramana, was a advaitin, and his experience was of absolute non-duality. Therefore, the supreme power must have used the bodies of Sri Ramana and Sri Shankara to worship Arunachala or Ishvara, as an example to other jivas.”

What other jivas? I thought Sanjay believed in eka jiva vada. Here he sets the Supreme power as apart from Bhagavan and Sri Shankara. Then in the line above he says the experience of them is of absolute non-duality. In just 2 lines, there seems to want to have it both ways.

First of all, according to teachings, when established in reality, there is no advaitin or siddanthin. So to say Bhagavan was an advaitin and experienced non-duality is an oxymoron. As David Godman writes in his article about Bhagavan and Thayumanavar, Bhagavan leaned on advaitic teachings to explain his experience (for the lack of a better word, you know what I mean) and Thayumanavar leaned on Siddantha to explain the same experience.

“Therefore, Bhagavan did not experience even the slightest of duality. Then who or why was his body seen worshipping the Arunachala hill? It could only be the play of grace, which is just a benevolent form of maya”

Here we go again, introducing a non Bhagavan component to release Bhagavan from any appearance of duality. I think even complete a beginner to spirituality understands he is not the body (intellectually only, of course). So when I write about Bhagavan, it only implies the reality. Is Bhagavan different from his grace or “the grace”? So it’s ok for “the grace” to worship Arunachala but not for Bhagavan?

I know, the answer will be, it is a lion in an elephant’s dream.

I throw the towel and give up. For what it is worth, for the readers of the blog, we could see through all the convoluted logic used here to keep Bhagavan from appearance of any duality at all:

Traditional advaita clearly says that Ishvara is Saguna Brahman and Lord of Maya. It also says that non-duality is reached only via duality being the last step. In other words, Ishvara is the very last illusion (for those who think Ishvara is an illusion) and not the first illusion to go, before reaching non-duality.

As I explained in an earlier post, all of this boils down to , whether one grew up or cares now to have Ishvara in the path. Those who do not care for Ishvara, go through much convoluted logic to explain away everything that touches upon Ishvara.

It is a simple matter of whether one is an atheist practitioner of spirituality or a religious practitioner of spirituality, where both atheism and religion end in the final realization. So our atheist practitioner spiritual brothers want to delegitimize Ishvara. That is what this is all about. That is fine, since it is in accordance to their belief.

Ann Onymous said...

Genesis 2:

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The serpent in the garden is the snake in the rope.

endless happiness said...

Viveka Vairagya,
Greg Goode has had seemigly an awakening experience. His descpription of the "sense of peace far beyond what happens when we get what we dream about" is really marvellous. I hope this experience was not only temporary.
What is his experience now ?
Was his ego killed for ever by this wonderful experience ? Was his ego permanently merged in the self ?

Viveka Vairagya said...

Endless Happiness,

Greg Goode says that even after that experience a trace of duality remained in him, in that he would see the perception of objects arise in him as different from himself. Later, when he read Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon's book Atma Darshan, he had a further realization and duality ended for him. He says this in this Youtube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g1zwdTRxrU

So, if we take him at his word he did have self-realization in the end. You can Google him for more info coz he is very much around and into personal one-on-one teaching.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The main point of my discussion with Sivanarul is whether or not Bhagavan worshipped Arunachala. If we take Bhagavan to be a name, form and a mind, then Bhagavan definitely did worship Arunachala, but was Bhagavan this name, form and mind? No, we have no doubt that he is the ever present, infinite and unchanging reality, and nothing exists or can exist apart from Bhagavan; therefore, the real Bhagavan could never have prayed to Arunachala. When only Bhagavan exists, who was there to pray, to whom and how?

However since Bhagavan was seen praying or worshipping Arunachala, it was only in our ego's view. From another perspective we can say, from our ego's outlook, that it was just one form worshipping another form. When we seemingly rise as this ego, this grace also seeming rises to guide us back to ourself, and such leelas or divine plays - like Bhagavan worshipping Arunachala - also takes place. However though such worship was not an absolute truth but only a relative truth, but it benefitted or continues to benefit many jivas.

Sivaranul writes, 'What other jivas? I thought Sanjay believed in eka jiva vada. Here he sets the Supreme power as apart from Bhagavan and Sri Shankara.'

We may more or less understand intellectually that there is only jiva, and we may also believe that in all probability this is the truth, especially when we read Bhagavan's teachings, or Michael's articles, or do our own manana, but more often than not we forget this teaching because of our outward turned minds. So in our transactional, day to day, dealings we behave as if there are many jivas, and that we are one among them. Until our ego is intact, we cannot avoid this sort of a supposedly dual life.

Sivanarul writes, 'Here he sets the Supreme power as apart from Bhagavan and Sri Shankara.' Yes, there is only supreme power, and Bhagavan and Sri Shankara were/are not different from this power. But sometimes in our conversation we may seemingly separate these two. Even Bhagavan frequently used phrases like, 'It is as per divine plan'; 'Submit to Ishvara'; 'a higher force caught hold of me and made me dance to his tune' and so on. Bhagavan himself seemingly separated himself from this supreme power, and, in our ignorance, we literally do the same at times.

Sivanarul also writes, 'First of all, according to teachings, when established in reality, there is no advaitin or siddanthin. So to say Bhagavan was an advaitin and experienced non-duality is an oxymoron.' Yes, I agree with him that to call him a advaitin is not accurate. Although he experienced advaita and ajata, he was not a person who could be called a advaitin. He is ulladu - what is. Regards.



Viveka Vairagya said...

What Bhagavan Said to Yogi Shuddhananda Bharati
(from http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2011/05/bhagavan-sri-ramana-as-i-knew-him.html)

Then Maharshi spoke out in a calm, mellow, silvery voice: ‘Bharathi, take refuge in silence. You can be here or there or anywhere. Fixed in silence, established in the inner I, you can be as you are. The world will never perturb you if you are well founded upon the tranquility within. You have a sankalpa – to write out your inspirations, to bring out the Bharata shakti [power of India]. It is better to finish off sankalpas here and now and keep a clear sky within. But do it in silence. Gather your thoughts within. Find out the thought centre and discover your Self-equipoise. In storm and turmoil be calm and silent. Watch the events around as a witness. The world is a drama of gold, women, desire and envy. Be a witness, inturned and introspective.’

Viveka Vairagya said...

Gary Weber's Awakening

Check out www.searchwithin.org/download/realization_gary_weber.pdf

nirguna said...

Ann Onymous,
in the peace of the lake
no garden - no snake

birthless and deathless said...

Viveka Vairagya,
how can anybody have 'self-realization in the end' ?
Is not the self always - without beginning and end - realized ?

Ann Onymous said...

"in the peace of the lake
no garden - no snake"

no comment

Sanjay Lohia said...

Viveka Vairagya, thank you for sharing with us the extract, mentioning what Bhagavan said to Yogi Shuddhananda Bharati. He advises Shuddhananda as follows:

In storm and turmoil be calm and silent. Watch the events around as a witness. The world is a drama of gold, women, desire and envy. Be a witness, inturned and introspective.

Golden words! Yes, we all are surrounded by this drama of gold, women, desire and envy, and this is making us slaves to these things. The only way out of 'this drama' is by constantly investigating, who is surrounded by these things? It is me. Who am I?

One point we need to understand here: Bhagavan twice uses the term 'witness, so should we witness our thoughts and this drama of gold, women, etc.? No, this was not what he wanted to say. We should look at the last line: 'Be a witness, inturned and introspective.'; therefore, it is very clear that he wants us to remain 'inturned and introspective', and not actually witness things other ourself.

We should try to witness the witness, and the second 'witness' means our ego. Regards.

mind-polisher said...

Sivanarul and Sanjay Lohia,
your discussion about Bhagavan's worship of Arunachala reminds me of the battle of Brahma and Vishnu.
If you instead to the ego's view keep attuned to the sruti, the one reality alone, your inner awareness will remain undisturbed.
Kind regards.

divine beggar said...

Sanjay,
who is the first witness ?

Viveka Vairagya said...

Birthless and Deathless,

You write "how can anybody have 'self-realization in the end' ? Is not the self always - without beginning and end - realized ?"

You are right of course. That is the problem of using language to talk about nonduality. A better choice of words would have been "He found his ego to be non-existent in the end."

Viveka Vairagya said...

Francis Lucille's Awakening

Check out http://advaitachannel.francislucille.com/en/a-spiritual-awakening/

Viveka Vairagya said...

"I Am Consciousness" Prakriya

Check out www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/atmananda/atmananda3.htm

Sanjay Lohia said...

divine beggar, I had written in one of my recent comments: We should try to witness the witness, and the second 'witness' means our ego.

You asked, 'Sanjay, who is the first witness?' What I meant here was, we should attend to the one (our ego) who is the witness (again our ego) to everything, or we should look at the one (our ego) who is the witness (again our ego) to all phenomena, and so on. In more clear terms, I was taking about our practice of self-attentiveness or self-investigation.

Yes it could be confusing when we say, 'We should try to witness the witness, and the second 'witness' means our ego.', but I had written this in a particular context, and I thought it appropriate to word it this way. Regards.

Sanjay Lohia said...

mind-polisher, you wrote: 'Sivanarul and Sanjay Lohia, your discussion about Bhagavan's worship of Arunachala reminds me of the battle of Brahma and Vishnu.'

My wife and I had a good laugh over this comment! Thank you! Regards.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, you had written in one of your recent comments: 'What is a person? It is a set of phenomena centred around a particular body, and it has both physical and mental features. Though its physical and mental features change over time, however extreme those changes may be we identify it as the same person because it is the same body that displays those changing features. It starts its life as a baby, and it may end it as an old man or woman, but throughout its life and in spite of all its changes it is the same person.'

The physical features should be features like fat, tall, dark-skinned, bald, sick, healthy, old age and so on. I hope you will agree with this list of features.

Will it be appropriate to use the phrase 'mental phenomena centred within a physical body', instead of 'mental phenomena centred around a particular body'? Why I write this is because our mind and all its features seem to be within our body, although this may not be the absolute truth.

Secondly what does mental features consists of? Does it include features such as anger, jealousy, greed, lust, attachments . . . , or does it also include features such as intellect (sharp/dull), memory, will-power . . . ? Although I think the term 'mental phenomena' comprises all of these put together, but still I had a bit of doubt. Thanking you and pranams.

Thanking you and pranams.

divine beggar said...

Sanjay,
regarding witness:
can one be possessed of two selves ?
I do not assume a cascade of witnesses in stages.

mind-polisher said...

Sanjay,
laughing is known to be healthy, particularly in duet.
Look after yourself !
Please give your wife my kind regards.

birthless and deathless said...

Viveka Vairagya,
it is nice to hear about the awakening of many contemporaries.
But between you and me I have confidence only in Bhagavan, Arunachala and me.

Sanjay Lohia said...

divine beggar, Michael has written the following in his article Ulladu Narpadu - an explanatory paraphrase:

In verse 33 he [Bhagavan] clarifies the nature of true self-knowledge, which is absolutely non-dual and non-objective, teaching us that saying either ‘I do not know myself’ or ‘I have known myself’ is a ground for ridicule, because we are not two selves, one of which could be an object known by the other, since being one is the true experience of each one of us.

Therefore, the answer to your question, 'regarding witness: can one be possessed of two selves? I do not assume a cascade of witnesses in stages.' is as follows: No, there cannot be two selves in us, one to witness the other. Bhagavan makes this clear in verse no. 33 of Ulladu Narpadu. Thus, there is only one witness, and that is our ego. Bhagavan implies the same in verse no. 26 of Ulladu Narpadu:

If [our] ego comes into existence [as in the waking and dream states], everything comes into existence. If [our] ego does not exist [as in sleep], everything does not exist. [Hence our] ego indeed is everything [this entire appearance of duality or relativity]. Therefore, know that examining 'what is this [ego]?' indeed is relinquishing everything.

Again Bhagavan makes it is clear that only our ego projects everything, and it the same ego that witnesses its own projection.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Birthless and Deathless,

I, too, share your sentiments in that Bhagavan holds a very special place in my heart. Nevertheless, there may be a thing or two that we can learn from these "self-realized" contemporaries, whether they be "as self-realized" as Bhagavan or not. These contemporaries also serve to remind us that self-realization is not all that inaccessible and rare.

Bob - P said...

{it is nice to hear about the awakening of many contemporaries.
But between you and me I have confidence only in Bhagavan, Arunachala and me.}

I find the above is true for me as well.
When I found or rather Bhagavan found me my travels were over with regards seeking out teachers / gurus, Bhagavan and his teaching is all I need now.
My inital journey is over (finding my teacher) My second and final journey is practising what Bhagavan teaches with the help of Michael.
In appreciation
Bob

divine beggar said...

Sanjay,
well said but why question did not really elicit any information. It was only put rhetorically.

birthless and deathless said...

Viveka Vairagya,
"...remind us that self-realization is not all that inaccessible and rare."
We know from books: Atman alone exists and is real.
Merging in the self is wisdom.
My own, purely instinctive, feeling would be to say that sages like Bhagavan we don't have in large numbers.
Therefore my interest in somebodies/everybodies "realization" and his messages on youtube-videos or books is not exactly overwhelming. I do not take a risk of the danger of get misled by so-called "self-realized" contemporaries or "non-dual" masters. Moreover I do not feel any need of additional information.
To keep the mind free from delusion my attention is completely taken up.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Goran Backlund's Awakening

Check out www.uncoveringlife.com/awakening-story

most auspicious said...

Viveka Vairagya,
I do not why but I cannot hide my profound mistrust of "awakening-stories".
What may be the help, benefit, boon or blessing of checking out such awakening-stories of other fellow men/women ? Why do you not first "uncover" your own life and write your own awakening-story ? Do we not already suffer greatly from our extroverted intellect ? Is not the begin of enquiring inwardly 'Who am I ?' by far a more effective means to abide in the self ?

Viveka Vairagya said...

Most Auspicious,

These awakening stories are useful (at least to me) in that they make me curious to find out more about the person's teachings. For instance, knowing about Greg Goode's awakening story, I gravitated to his book The Direct Path and have drawn very useful insights from reading it, insights that are useful for the spiritual journey. There was also a spin-off benefit in that reading about Greg Goode led me to Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, who was an influence on Goode, and discovering Atmananda was useful in that I find his teachings to be very valuable. If, however, you are of the opinion that you do not need to read anything other than Bhagavan's own books, or more profoundly, you do not need to read anything but only practice self-enquiry, then by all means ignore these awakening stories. Of course, if you do end up reading these awakening stories, use your own intellectual judgement as to which of them resonates with you to explore further, as I did with Goode.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Robert Adams on Ramana Maharshi
(from http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2008/06/robert-adams-again.html)

I have been to many teachers, many saints, many sages. I was with Nisargadatta, Ananda Mayi Ma, Papa Ramdas, Neem Karoli Baba and many others, but never did I meet anyone who exuded such compassion, such love, such bliss as Ramana Maharshi. There were about thirty people in the room. He looked at me and asked me if I’d eaten breakfast. I said, ‘No’. He spoke some Tamil to the attendant and the attendant came back with two giant leaves, one with fruit and one with some porridge with pepper. After I had consumed the food, I just lay down on the floor. I was very tired.

It was time for his usual walk. He had arthritis in the legs and could hardly walk at that time. After his attendants had helped him to get up, he walked out the door. When he was outside he said something to his attendants, and his attendants motioned for me to come. He guided me to a little shack that I was going to use while I stayed there. He came inside with me, and I bet you think we spoke about profound subjects. On the contrary, he was a natural man. He was the Self of the universe. He asked me how my trip was, where I was from, what made me come here. Then he said I should rest, so I lay down on the cot and he left.

I was awakened about 5 o’clock. It was Ramana again. He came by himself and he brought me food. Can you imagine that? We spoke briefly; I ate and I slept. The next morning I went into the hall. After the morning chanting there was breakfast, and everybody sat around just watching Ramana as he went through his routine. He would go through the mail and read it out loud, talk to some of his devotees. I just observed everything. His composure never changed. Never did I see such compassion, such love.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Robert Adams' Awakening

Check out http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2008/06/robert-adams-on-self-enquiry.html

perennial spring said...

Viveka Vairagya,
do not ignore:
The sage of Arunachala, Bhagavan, is beyond compare.
Bhagavan Sri Ramana was a spiritual meteor of the brightest lustre.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Perennial Spring,

I heartily agree that Bhagavan is beyond compare, the rarest of the rare.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, I have replied to the comment in which you asked for further clarification regarding my statement that a person is ‘a set of phenomena centred around a particular body, and it has both physical and mental features’ in a new article: The person we seem to be is a form composed of five sheaths.

Sanjay Lohia said...

On this blog, we have had a detailed discussion on the topic: whether or not Bhagavan worshipped Arunachala, if yes, in what way, if not, then why was he seen worshipping the hill when he was in his body. Michael has spoken on this theme. I have located the exact conversation that a participant had with Michael on 23-4-2016, at an event organised by RMF, London. The relevant portion appears after 35 minutes of a video taken at the event, and can be viewed at Michael's YouTube channel. The transcript typed below is almost verbatim:

Participant: Bhagavan also was attached to Arunachala. How? [she was carrying on with the flow of the discussion]

Michael: Which Bhagavan?

Participant: Ramana.

Michael: Because we see Bhagavan as a form, his form was attached to the form of Arunachala, but Bhagan said, 'I am not this form'. Arunachala is Bhagavan; Bhagavan is 'I'. So long as we allow our mind to go outwards, we see duality, and so feel we have love for Bhagavan; we have love for Arunachala, but we cannot know what Bhagavan is except by turning our mind within.

Arunachala taught Bhagavan: turn within and see yourself daily with the inner 'eye'; Bhagavan said that to us. When we have love for the form of Bhagavan, it is always partial, because we have love for Bhagavan and we have for ourself; consequently, our love is divided between the two. If we want to have full 100% love for Bhagavan, we must experience him as ourself - then there will be no division between our love for ourself and our love for Bhagavan. They will be one and the same.

Participant: There won't be any forms!

Michael: There won't be any forms! Bhagavan says in verse four of Ulladu Narpadu: If oneself is a form, the world and God will be likewise, if oneself is not a form, who can see their form and how?

Sivanarul said...

Bhagavad Gita:

6.47: Of all yogis, those whose minds are always absorbed in me, and who engage in devotion to me with great faith, them I consider to be the highest of all.

12.2: The Blessed Lord said: Those who fix their minds on me and always engage in my devotion with steadfast faith, I consider them to be the best yogis.

12.3 – 12.4: But those who worship the formless aspect of the Absolute Truth—the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifest, the all-pervading, the unthinkable, the unchanging, the eternal, and the immoveable—by restraining their senses and being even-minded everywhere, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all beings, also attain me.

12.5: For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifest, the path of realization is full of tribulations. Worship of the unmanifest is exceedingly difficult for embodied beings.

12.6 – 12.7: But those who dedicate all their actions to me, regarding me as the Supreme goal, worshiping me and meditating on me with exclusive devotion, O Partha, I swiftly deliver them from the ocean of birth and death, for their consciousness is united with me.

12.8: Fix your mind on me alone and surrender your intellect to me. There upon, you will always live in me. Of this, there is no doubt.

12.9: If you are unable to fix your mind steadily on me, O Arjuna, then practice remembering me with devotion while constantly restraining the mind from worldly affairs.

18.65: Always think of me, be devoted to me, worship me, and offer obeisance to me. Doing so, you will certainly come to me. This is my pledge to you, for you are very dear to me.

Sivanarul said...

“mind-polisher said...
Sivanarul and Sanjay Lohia,
your discussion about Bhagavan's worship of Arunachala reminds me of the battle of Brahma and Vishnu.
If you instead to the ego's view keep attuned to the sruti, the one reality alone, your inner awareness will remain undisturbed.”

Very well said, mind-polisher. But when even the god’s, couldn’t keep attuned to the one reality, how can mortals do that, that easily :-)

mind-polisher said...

Sivanarul,
you seem to have not a correct picture of yourself:
is not your real nature illimitable spirit, the Supreme Shiva, and as such immortal ?

Sivanarul said...

mind-polisher,

“you seem to have not a correct picture of yourself:
is not your real nature illimitable spirit, the Supreme Shiva, and as such immortal ?”

I don't put the cart before the horse. The real nature is now deeply hidden. Appar’s thevaram below explains the process of unravelling it:

விறகிற் றீயினன் பாலிற் படுநெய்போல்
மறைய நின்றுளன் மாமணிச் சோதியான்
உறவு கோல்நட் டுணர்வு கயிற்றினான்
முறுக வாங்கிக் கடையமுன் னிற்குமே.

Like the fire in wood and ghee in milk,
The supreme reality Siva is currently being hidden within you.
Create a relationship with him first. Then using your heart and emotion
churn using the rope of Bhakthi, he will then reveal himself.

In the here and the now, it is simply the ego talking. Aham Brahmasmi is another thought among millions of other thoughts.

mind-polisher said...

Sivanarul,
may the glance of grace dispell the darkness of ignorance.
May everyone inclusive the mortal gods live in joy - free of tribulations - and flower in self-knowledge.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivanarul in his comment dated 6 May, 2016 (at 00:25) quotes about ten verses from the Bhagavad Gita. In most of these verses, Sri Krishna urges his devotees: 'engage in devotion to me with great faith'; 'fix your mind on me'; 'I [will] swiftly deliver you from the ocean of birth and death'; 'always think of me' and so forth.

What Sri Krishna could have meant when he said - 'me' and 'I'? Was he trying to encourage his devotees to surrender to his name and form? This may be an valid interpretation, especially at the early stages of our sadhana. If done purely out of love for God, this saguna-upasana will reduce our desires for this world and increase our love for God.

However what exactly did Sri Krishna meant when he said - 'me' and 'I' and so on? When he used pronouns such as 'me' and 'I', he was merely referring to his actual 'form', and his true form is only sat-chit-ananda absolute, for nothing exists or can exist apart from this one reality. In Sri Krishna's own view, he had no body, but others did see him as a form and a mind.

Sivanarul also quotes verse 12.5 of Bhagavad Gita: For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifest, the path of realization is full of tribulations. Worship of the unmanifest is exceedingly difficult for embodied being.

I am not sure what Sri Krishna meant in this verse. May be he was indicating towards the traditional practice of jnana-marga, which entails repeating words such as 'neti-neti', and simultaneously affirming one's true nature, like constantly repeating 'I-am-not-this-body', 'I-am-brahman' and so forth. Bhagavan was not very fond of this traditional approach, because he knew that this practice destroy our ego.

Now we have to see, whether or not our practice of atma-vichara difficult. Muruganar repeatedly states in Anma-Viddai or Atma-Vidya_Kirtanam: 'Ah [what a wonder], atma-vidya is extremely easy, ah, [so] extremely easy'. Bhagavan emphasises in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār that atma-vichara is also the direct path for everyone:

When [we] scrutinise the form of [our] mind without forgetfulness [interruption caused either by sleep or by thinking other thoughts], [we will discover that] there is no such thing as ‘mind’ [separate from or other than our fundamental consciousness ‘I am’]. For everyone, this is the direct path [the direct means to experience true self-knowledge].

Therefore, atma-vichara is the direct, simple and sure means to reach our destination, for every other path is a circuitous means and therefore time-taking.

careful observer said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you write:"Bhagavan was not very fond of this traditional approach, because he knew that this practice destroy our ego."
It is not clear to me what you meant saying thereby. Could you please explain more meticulously which practise is destroying our ego ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

careful observer, first of all, I had missed out typing some crucial words, and it should have been:

Bhagavan was not very fond of this traditional approach, because he knew that this practice will not destroy our ego.

I was talking about the traditional jnana-marga, in which one persistently repeats neti-neti and also simultaneously affirms one true nature (repeating it like a mantra). According to Bhagavan, this practice cannot annihilate our ego, though it can give us some intellectual clarity about our oneness with brahman or God.

You ask: 'Could you please explain more meticulously which practise is destroying our ego?' According to Bhagavan only one practice can destroy our ego, and that is the practice of atma-vichara or self-attentiveness. Bhagavan has stated this absolutely clearly in many places, especially in his direct works like Nan Yar, Upadesa Undiyar and Ulladu Narpadu. For example in verse 27 of Ulladu Narpadu he says:

The state in which this ‘I’ (the ego), which rises as if the first, does not rise, is the state in which 'we are That'. Unless one scrutinizes the source (the real Self) from which ‘I’ rises, how to attain the destruction of the (individual) self (the state of egolessness), in which ‘I’ does not rise? (And) unless one attains (that non-rising of ‘I’), say, how to abide in one’s own (real) state (the natural state of Self), in which one is That?

He is more emphatic in verse 22 of Ulladu Narpadu, where he says:

Except by turning the mind inwards (towards the feeling ‘I am’) and (thereby) sinking (it) in the Lord, who shines within that mind (as its substratum) giving light (the light of consciousness) to the mind, which sees everything (other than itself), how is it possible to know (or to meditate upon) the Lord by the mind? Consider thus.

Note [by Sri Sadhu Om]: In this verse Sri Bhagavan clearly reveals the truth that the only means by which one can know God, who is the real Self and who shines within the mind as the pure consciousness ‘I am’, is to merge the mind in Him by turning it inwards through the enquiry ‘Who am I?’.

Bhagavan once more emphasises in paragraph eight of Nan Yar:

For the mind to subside [permanently], except vicāraṇā [self-investigation] there are no other adequate means. If made to subside by other means, the mind will remain as if subsided, [but] will emerge again.

'careful observer', you should carefully persistent in 'observing yourself' alone, and this is the practice of self-attentiveness. Your pseudonym, 'careful observer', itself describes the practice of self-attentiveness.

careful observer said...

Sanjay Lohia,
well said. So let us see in the heart the lotus-feet of God.
May the consciousness of the one real self arise (for us), through the extinction of our mental taints. Thanks a lot for reminding me of trying persistently being self-attentive. As you say for the subsidence of (the) mind no other means are more effective and adequate than self-enquiry. You also easily acknowledged and clearly understood the meaning of my pseudonym.

Sanjay Lohia said...

On this blog, we have been discussing about the relationship between Bhagavan and Arunachala. If we understand the true nature of Bhagavan, Arunachala and ourself, this will help us to understand the relationship between these three entities. I share below some of Bhagavan's quotes from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi (Ninth Edition), in order to expand on this topic:

WHAT IS BHAGAVAN?

Talk 363, 20 February 1937, Page329
The spiritual men are not bodies; thy are not aware of their bodies. They are only spirit, limitless and formless.

Talk 382, 5 April 1937, Page349
But from the jnani's point of view there is only the Self which manifests in such variety. there is no body or Karma apart from the self, so that the actions do not affect him.

Talk 382, 5 April 1937, Page 350
He [the jnani] remains actionless only. He is not aware of the body as being apart from Self.

Talk 432, 26 December, Page 399
Similarly, you take the jnani to be the visible body whereon the actions superimposed by you. That makes you put questions. . . . The doubts are in you, . . . The jnani is not the body. He is the Self of all.

WHAT IS ARUNACHALA?

Talk 273, 23 October, 1936, Page 230
Again Arunachala is within and not without. The Self is Arunachala.

Talk 275, 5 November, Page 230
The Hill is said to be wisdom in visible form.

WHAT ARE WE?

Talk 217, 29 January 1936, Page 181
We are always beyond the body or the mind. If however you feel the body as the Self, then it is of course an impediment.

Talk 276, 5 November 1936, Page 232-233
She: The birth of a person, his being and death are real to us.
B: Because you have wrongly identified your own self with the body, you think of the other in terms of body. Neither you are nor the other is the body.

Talk 340, 23 January 1937, Page 308
There is always consciousness and nothing but consciousness. What you are now considering to be body-consciousness is due to superimposition.

Therefore, Bhagavan, Aunachala and we, as we really are, are absolutely identical. There is no difference between these three. What exists is only pure-awareness, in which any name and form just do not exist.

smrti said...

Sanjay Lohia,
may I again ask you to avoid treating the name ARUNACHALA carelessly by omitting any letter:Aunachala. Be aware of what you write (Talk 273, 23 October 1936): The self is Arunachala. What do these letters A R U N A C H A L A spell ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Smriti, I apologise one again for misspelling the word ARUNACHALA (I am not sure why I misspell the same word so often). Michael has also said in one of his recent videos: Bhagavan is Arunachala; Arunachala is 'I'; therefore, we should be careful and see that 'Arunachala' is not misspelt.

Since I am not a native English speaker, I take more than normal time to formulate and type my sentences, and my attention is thereby distracted from spellings and other details. However, this cannot be a valid excuse for my carelessness.

I thank you pointing out my error.

prajnana said...

Sanjay,
"... to understand the relationship between these three entities [Bhagavan, Arunachala and ourself] ".
Finally you conclude: "Therefore, Bhagavan, A(r)unachala and we, as we really are, are absolutely identical. There is no difference between these three".
As the logical consequence from your final statement of existing only one identity you drew the obvious conclusion and revoked your above first statement that there would be three entities with any relationship.
But what shall we do now with the hereby revealed identity ?

smrti said...

Sanjay Lohia,
yes, of course your excuse is readily accepted. I too am not a native English speaker.
Therefore I know from own experience how much time is needed to formulate and type to some extent correctly. So let us take refuge under the protection of grace.

Sanjay Lohia said...

prajnana, most us now consider Bhagavan, Arunachala and ourself as three different entities, even though we are repeatedly reminded by Bhagavan that these three are one and the same. As long as we experience ourself as this ego (a form), we will also mistake Bhagavan and Arunachala to be forms, thus we will experience three different entities.

Let us read Verse 4 of Ulladu Narpadu, in which Bhagavan says:

If oneself is a form composed of flesh, the world and God will be likewise (that is, they will also be forms); if oneself is not a form, who can see their forms, and how?

Sri Sadhu Om: However, Sri Bhagavan Himself used to explain these words to mean “Can the sight be otherwise than the eye?”, which is a meaning having a far deeper import. Since the nature of what is seen cannot be different from the nature of the seer, and since the ego or mind can come into existence only by identifying the name and form of a body as ‘I’, it can see only names and forms and can never see Self, the nameless and formless reality. Only when one gives up identifying the body as ‘I’, can one see or realize Self.

Our ego wrongly considers Bhagavan, Arunachala and ourself as three entities, but we gradually begin to understand (at least intellectually) that these three are one and the same. It is only when we experience ourself as we really are will all the differences vanish, and we will be established in absolute oneness (advaita).


vibhuti said...

Sanjay,
you write in reply to prajnana:
"...since the ego or mind can come into existence only by identifying the name and form of a body as 'I', it can see...".
In this context some questions arise:
Seen from the view of the act of identifying the body as 'I' by the ego, the body must have been first existent - waiting for being grasped by the ego.
How then did the body come into existence if not having been prepared/created by the projecting power of the ego ? What was first, the body (fetus) or the ego ? Or did both they take their seeming birth simultaneously ?

Sivanarul said...

“Therefore, atma-vichara is the direct, simple and sure means to reach our destination, for every other path is a circuitous means and therefore time-taking.”

Yeah we devotees, like unsure means. If it is sure, there would be no thrill. Circuitious is better because a straight line is boring after a little bit of travel.

With respect to time-taking, what’s the hurry? Let’s say a devotee has already taken 10 to the power of 20 births. What’s another 100,000 births? We are talking of 0.0000000000001% more time. Samsara isn’t that bad, is it?

Also who knows, we may get there earlier than the Vichari who thinks it is a competition and a sport.

Oh also, forgot that there is no psychological time. Clock time exists for practical purposes. So the point of fast and slow has no basis in reality, unless it is for a practical thing like appointments.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Vibhuti, it was Sri Sadhu Om who had said, ' . . . since the ego or mind can come into existence only by identifying the name and form of a body as ‘I’, it can see . . .'. You have wrongly attributed this to me.

Verse 25 Ulladu Narpadu: What a wonder! (This) ghostly ego, which is devoid of form (that is, which has no form of its own), comes into existence by grasping a form (that is, by identifying the form of a body as ‘I’); it endures by grasping a form (that is, by continuing to cling to that body as ‘I’); it waxes more by grasping and feeding upon forms (that is, by attending to second and third person objects, which it cognizes through the five senses); having left a form, it grasps a form (that is, having given up one body, it grasps another body as ‘I’); (but) if one searches (for it by enquiring ‘Who am I, this formless ego?’), it will take to flight (being found to be nonexistent)! Know thus.

Verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu: If the ego, which is the embryo comes into existence, everything (the world, God, bondage and liberation, knowledge and ignorance, and so on) will come into existence. If the ego does not exist, everything will not exist. (Hence) the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that scrutinizing ‘What is this (ego)?’ is alone giving up (or renouncing) everything!

What do you infer from these two verse? The answer to your questions are hidden in these two verses? However, I will try to answer your specific questions later in the day (I am going out now).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Vibhuti, you have asked, 'Seen from the view of the act of identifying the body as 'I' by the ego, the body must have been first existent - waiting for being grasped by the ego. . . . What was first, the body (fetus) or the ego ? Or did both they take their seeming birth simultaneously?'

As we can infer from verses 25 and 26 of Ulladu Narpadu, the ego comes into seeming existence only by projecting or grasping a form (body) as itself; therefore, there was no body waiting there (somewhere) for it to grasp before it came into existence.

What came first, the body or the ego? Although this ego and our body simultaneously come into seeming existence, this ego which precedes our body. Our ego first comes into existence, and, then, exactly at the same moment it projects and grasps a body. How can our body come into existence, if the ego is not there to project and grasp it?

As Michael has been repeatedly pointing out to us, verses 25 and 26 of Ulladu Narpadu are the very cornerstone or foundation of Bhagavan's teachings. I believe: we should read these again and again and reflect on its meaning to understand the very basics of his teachings.

vibhuti said...

Sanjay,
thanks for your reflection on the subject.

Michael James said...

Vibhuti, regarding the questions you ask in your comment, as Sanjay explained, the rising of the ego, its projecting a body and its grasping that body as itself all occur simultaneously, but the root cause of this simultaneous set of events is our rising as this ego. This is why it is called yugapat sṛṣṭi, which means ‘simultaneous creation’, and dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi, which means ‘seeing-creating’ and which implies ‘creating by seeing’ (as I explained in another recent reply regarding the process of thinking, which entails forming and simultaneously being aware of thoughts or mental phenomena).

Consider how a dream is created. Our dream body does not pre-exist the rising of our ego and its grasping of that body. Projecting that body and grasping it as ourself are a single seamless process, which happens at the very moment that our ego arises or switches from one dream to another. Therefore since Bhagavan has taught us that there is no substantive difference between what we mistake to be waking and any other dream, the simultaneous projecting and grasping that happens in dream happens in exactly the same way in our present state or in any other state that seems to be waking.

As Bhagavan implies in verses 25 and 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, without the ego no phenomena exist, and as soon as the ego rises it projects and experiences phenomena, the first of which is whatever body it currently experiences as itself.

Viveka Vairagya said...

"Reality, which is imperceptible to the senses, appears as this world when looked at through the senses."---Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon

vibhuti said...

Michael,
thank you for giving further information on the simultaneous creation/projecting of the ego.

all is within me said...

Viveka Vairagya,
can we therefore conclude that the world is nothing other than reality ?
But is not the onlooker/observer with his senses (also) part of the world and herewith part of the reality ?
Reality has no need to be perceptible to the senses.
Obviously the reality is not content with its own quality of imperceptibility to the senses. But the reality tolerates its own appearance along with the seeming existence of onlookers.
However, any view of onlookers is nothing of importance. The crucial factor is therefore to attach more significance to the question who we actually are. To enquire with acute vigilance "Who am I ?" gets the mind introverted and finally kept in subsidence.

Viveka Vairagya said...

all is within me,

Yes, the world, and hence the onlooker/observer, is nothing other than reality if seen as not separate from the Self, just like wave and the ocean both contain only water, though the wave appears in the ocean as a seemingly separate entity.

But, as you point out in the end, self-enquiry is what we should be doing, instead of getting caught in metaphysical concepts and theories/views.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Viveka Vairagya, you write, 'self-enquiry is what we should be doing, instead of getting caught in metaphysical concepts and theories/views'. You are correct to some extent, but there is an another angle to it: Yes, if possible, we should practise self-investigation all the time, without any interruption as long as the ego survives or until the ego dies, but is it possible for most of us? I do not think so.

Therefore, what is the second best option we have? Whenever we are not able to practise self-investigation, we should do sravana and manana of our sadguru's teachings, because his teachings not only purify our minds but also motivate us to practise atma-vichara as much as possible.

Of course, our sravana and manana should not be at the cost of our nidhidhyasana (self-investigation); however, proper, deep and effective dhidhyasana, in most cases, is not possible without sustained sravana and manana of sadguru's teachings.

Yes, as you imply, we should ignore the 'metaphysical concepts and theories/views' of others, if these contradict our sadguru's concepts and theories. We cannot follow two gurus or, to be more precise, we should not follow two gurus. If we are convinced that Bhagavan Ramana is our sadguru, we should only follow his teachings. Can there be a more direct path than his path of atma-vichara? Most of us do not think so!

vrtti-jnana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
how to practice proper, deep and effective 'dhidhyasana' ? Is it perhaps a special kind of self-investigation or is it only a typo (meaning nidhidhyasana) ?

Sri Chakra Meru said...

Sanjay,
could you please describe your practice of self-investigation ?
How can we practise it all the time, without any interruption ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

vritti-jnana, as per Wikipedia what nidhidhyasana means in traditional jnana-marga is as follows:

In Advaita Vedanta and Jnana Yoga Nididhyasana (Sanskrit: निदिध्यासन) is profound and repeated meditation on the mahavakyas, great Upanishadic statements such as "That art Thou", to realize the identity of Atman and Brahman. It is the fourth step in the training of a sisya (disciple), consisting of preparatory practives, listening to the teachings as contained in the sruti, reflection on the teachings, and nididhyasana.

Therefore, the word nidhidhyasana was certainly not a typo, and in Bhagavan's path this self-investigation can also described as nidhidhyasana. In advaita-vedanta and other ancient practices this term means profound and repeated meditation on the mahavakyas, but in Bhagavan's path nidhidhyasana means only atma-vichara.

Therefore, nidhidhyasana does not mean any special kind of self-investigation, but is just the practice of self-investigation. Often the following terms are used together: sravana (reading of sadguru's teachings), manana (reflecting on these teachings) and nidhidhyasana (our practice of being attentively self-aware).


Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Chakra Meru, you ask, 'could you please describe your practice of self-investigation?' The correct question should have been, 'could you please describe the practice of self-investigation?' Why I say this is because there is only one correct practice of self-investigation, and that is to remain attentively self-aware. Therefore, the method of atma-vichara cannot differ from person to person.

However, many of us practise atma-vichara in a wrong way. Many try to mentally repeat questions such as, 'who has these thoughts?; 'who am I?' and so on; however, this was not Bhagavan's recommendation. Likewise, while practising self-investigation, many of us try to focus our attention on the right side of our chest, but this again was contrary to Bhagavan's advice.

That being the case, there can be many wrong or faulty ways to practice self-investigation, but there is only one right way: and the right one is to vigilantly attend to ourself alone.

vrtti-jnana said...

Sanjay,
thanks for explaining the term 'nidhidhyasana'.
But you did not read my question carefully. So writing "dhidhyasana" instaead of 'nidhidhyasana' was only erroneously omitting the two initial letters "ni", therefore a slip of the pen/spelling mistake/typing error/typo.

Sri Chakra Meru said...

Sanjay,
thank you for your reply pointing out some wrong ways of atma-vicara.
But - as I wrote in my question - I am interested in hearing about how you perform your own practice.

pearl diver said...

Michael,
attending only to myself alone entails also to steer my attention through the dense forest of powerful vasana-influenced thoughts which do not ask my permission to appear. Sometimes the feeling of powerlessness arises. That leads to the result that my self-investigation did not get anywhere. To cling firmly and tenaciously to self-investigation seem to remain a wishful dream.
Not thinking of anything else whatsoever and hereby fixing my attention on myself therefore I clearly miss.
But I do not give up hope on being victorious. I am hoping against hope that Arunachala will weep away all obstacles.

Michael James said...

Pearl Diver, it may seem to us that thoughts appear without asking our permission to do so, but in fact no thought can appear without our consent, because they are projected and experienced by us only because we allow our attention to be diverted away from ourself. If we did not attend to them, they could not appear, and we attend to them only because we want to do so, or are at least willing to do so.

Though every thought is a sprouting of our viṣaya-vāsanās (our propensities, inclinations, impulses or likings to be aware of things other than ourself), just as every plant is the sprouting of a seed, these vāsanās do not exist independent of our ego, because they are its own inclinations or desires. Because we like to think (that is, to project and be aware of things other than ourself), our liking manifests as thoughts (which is a term that Bhagavan uses to refer to all kinds of mental phenomena, which means everything other than our own actual self).

Whatever vāsanās we now have are what we have cultivated in the past, and we continue to nourish and sustain them by allowing them to sprout as thoughts. Therefore, since we have cultivated and nurtured them, we are responsible for them, and it is up to us to choose whether to continue sustaining them (by attending to anything other than ourself) or to destroy them (by attending only to ourself).

To destroy them therefore requires great love on our part to be aware of ourself alone. If our love to be so is still relatively weak, as it is in my case and probably in the case of most of us, we will have to struggle to cling firmly to being self-attentive, and as you say, ‘Sometimes the feeling of powerlessness arises’. We feel powerless because our desire to attend to other things is greater than our love to attend only to ourself, but Bhagavan has addressed this issue in the tenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:

அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும்.

attaṉai vāsaṉaigaḷum oḍuṅgi, sorūpa-māttiram-āy irukka muḍiyumā v-eṉṉum sandēha niṉaivukkum iḍam koḍāmal, sorūpa-dhyāṉattai viḍā-p-piḍiyāy-p piḍikka vēṇḍum.

English translation: Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘Is it possible to dissolve so many vāsanās and remain only as svarūpa [my own actual self]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness].

That is, the only way to succeed is to persevere in trying. It does not matter how many times we fail, so long as we persist in trying. What is required is love (bhakti), and our love can be measured only by the extent to which we persevere in trying. So long as we persevere, we will certainly succeed eventually, so just because we fail so many times we should not conclude that ‘my self-investigation did not get anywhere’, as you wrote, because so long as we continue trying our self-investigation is proceeding just as it should.

Bhagavan and Arunachala are always playing their part, shining within our heart and thereby drawing our mind inwards, so we just have to play our own small part by yielding ourself to their inward-drawing influence, which we can do only by persistently trying to be self-attentive.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sorry, Vrtti-jnana, I had mistyped nidhidhyasana in my comment, and you were just trying to draw my attention to my mistake; and I thought you are trying to know more about the term nidhidhyasana. As you say, I did not read your question carefully.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Chakra Meru, you ask, 'I am interested in hearing about how you perform your own practice'. If my inference is not mistaken, you want to know how much time I spend everyday practising self-investigation.

I try being attentively self-aware, as long as I can, every morning and evening (at slightly flexible timings). However, this fixed timings may not suit everyone; therefore, we each have to decide what works best for us. Many of the devotees try and practise through out day, that is, whenever they are not preoccupied with their outward responsibilities. However for some, like me, this sort of practice spread over the day is an add-on to my fixed-routine.

One more point, the duration and intensity of our practice will keep changing everyday depending upon our mental moods, that is, whenever our minds are calm and composed we will tend to practise more and with greater intensity, but whenever our minds are agitated or disturbed we will tend to practise less. Bhagavan had said something to the following effect: Whenever sattva (mental calmness) comes take advantage of it, and whenever tamas (mental dullness) comes don't regret it. Meaning we should wait for the sattva to return and then resume our practice again.


vrtti-jnana said...

Sanjay,
no matter. Keep attuned to the tranquil clarity, the one reality which is pure bliss.

Sri Chakra Meru said...

Sanjay,
thank you for your response regarding the time needed/taken up by your practice.
If my question is not too straight, would you be willing to report briefly also about the specific concomitant circumstances of your attention to your self-awareness ? Is your practice of self-attention easy for you or do you have any trouble with it ?

Shivabhumi said...

Michael,
I seem to have similar problems like the commentator called pearl-diver.
I do not reach any tranquil clarity in my dhyana – meditation or self-investigation. The fire of my sensual desires is overpoweringly blazing up as soon as I think of to start trying to be self-attentive. For years I do not achieve a really deep meditation. Due that frequent/constant failure and disappointment therefore my attempts to turn the mind inwards happen more and more seldom. I only can hope for better times. If the worst comes to the worst some time or other I have to start again at the time of the new beginning.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Chakra Meru, you ask, 'would you be willing to report briefly also about the specific concomitant circumstances of your attention to your self-awareness'. I think what you want to know from me is, what aids or circumstances have helped me in my practice of being attentively self-aware.

The most potent aid has been sravana and manana of Bhagavan's teachings, because without understanding its unique efficacy, we will not practise it whole-heartedly. Moreover my extensive correspondence with Michael has also helped me tremendously, (including remaining in touch with his website has been of great help). Earlier, I used to go frequently to Tirunvannamalai, and being in Arunachala's presence must have purified my mind, at least to some extent, and a purified mind is of great help in atma-vichara. In addition, I have been visiting the local Ramana Shrine (less frequently recently), and it has helped in my practice because my inwardness is more deep there.

However, actually no external aids are required to practise self-attentiveness, because if we look for aids we are directing our attention outwards - towards these aids. Only spiritual novices looks for aids (and I admit I am one); therefore, all our aids beyond a certain point are distractions.

You ask, 'Is your practice of self-attention easy for you or do you have any trouble with it?' It has been easy and difficult, both at the same time. While practising atma-vichara we just have to remain as ourself, and remaining as ourself cannot be very difficult. However, it has also been difficult because I have been fighting against my inexhaustible pile of vishaya-vasanas, and these have been the greatest obstacle to my experiencing myself as I really am.

Sri Chakra Meru said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for describing your most potent aids. Obviously you did stop now to go to Tiru(n)vannamalai. The mentioned local Ramana Shrine is presumably situated in Tamil Nadu within 30 miles from mind-purifying Arunachala Hill. Sanjay, would you tell me the name of the district ? Your persistent practice could possibly knock over the greatest obstacles, your pile of vishaya-vasanas. Now you seem to remain easily as yourself.
I am pleased about your success of self-attentiveness.
Kind regards

Michael James said...

Shivabhumi, tranquil clarity is what we actually are, even now, so it is not something to be reached but something to be uncovered, so to speak. What is now seemingly covering it and obscuring it from our view is our awareness of anything other than ourself, so we can uncover it only by being self-attentive.

However, since we seem to be this ego only so long as we are ‘grasping form’ (as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), which means being aware of anything other than ourself, we cannot survive as this ego if we succeed in being exclusively self-attentive, so when we try to be self-attentive we face tremendous resistance — resistance arising from our desire to survive as this ego and thereby to continue experiencing things other than ourself. Therefore until we are willing to surrender ourself entirely, we will have to continue striving hard to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness and thereby to resist our strong urges (vāsanās) to attend to anything else, and hence we should not expect to experience the tranquil clarity that we actually are until we finally surrender our ego by merging forever into the innermost depth of ourself.

Until then we should not give up our efforts to be self-attentive, no matter how feeble and futile they may seem to be. As Bhagavan used to say, no one can succeed in this path without perseverance, so we just have to keep on trying until we succeed — and succeed we certainly will if we are patiently perseverant. The fact that each one of us can certainly succeed if we persevere is an assurance that Bhagavan gave us in the final four sentences of the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:

முத்துக்குளிப்போர் தம்மிடையிற் கல்லைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு மூழ்கிக் கடலடியிற் கிடைக்கும் முத்தை எப்படி எடுக்கிறார்களோ, அப்படியே ஒவ்வொருவனும் வைராக்கியத்துடன் தன்னுள் ளாழ்ந்து மூழ்கி ஆத்மமுத்தை யடையலாம். ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும். கோட்டைக்குள் எதிரிக ளுள்ளவரையில் அதிலிருந்து வெளியே வந்துகொண்டே யிருப்பார்கள். வர வர அவர்களையெல்லாம் வெட்டிக்கொண்டே யிருந்தால் கோட்டை கைவசப்படும்.

muttu-k-kuḷippōr tam-m-iḍaiyil kallai-k kaṭṭi-k-koṇḍu mūṙki-k kaḍal-aḍiyil kiḍaikkum muttai eppaḍi eḍukkiṟārgaḷō, appaḍiyē o-vv-oruvaṉum vairāggiyattuḍaṉ taṉṉuḷ ḷ-āṙndu mūṙki ātma-muttai y-aḍaiyalām. oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum. kōṭṭaikkuḷ edirigaḷ uḷḷa-varaiyil adilirundu veḷiyē vandu-koṇḍē y-iruppārgaḷ. vara vara avargaḷai-y-ellām veṭṭi-k-koṇḍē y-irundāl kōṭṭai kaivaśa-p-paḍum.

English translation: Just as pearl-divers, tying stones to their waists and submerging, pick up pearls that lie at the bottom of the ocean, so each one, submerging [beneath the surface activity of one’s mind] and sinking [deep] within oneself with vairāgya [freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than oneself], can attain the pearl of oneself. If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone will be sufficient. So long as enemies are within the fort, they will continue coming out from it. If one continues cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] be captured.

Therefore we should not give up on our efforts, and we should not expect things to get any easier until the final moment when our ego is eventually dissolved forever in the infinite clarity of pure self-awareness. Our aim is not to ‘achieve a really deep meditation’ or temporary periods of ‘tranquil clarity’ but is only to be aware of ourself as we actually are and thereby to destroy this ego (the one who now wants to experience a really deep meditation and tranquil clarity, but who is in fact the obstacle to any such experience).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Chakra Meru, no, I do not stay in Tamil Nadu; I stay in Karnataka. I thank you for your good wishes; I reciprocate the same.

pearl diver said...

Michael,
many thanks for your encouraging reply.
As you say thoughts cannot appear without our consent. Whatever vasanas we now have are what we have cultivated in the past. In my case it seems I did not find complete sexual satisfaction/fulfillment in the past. Of course we have had sown the seeds of our vasanas and nourished them, therefore we are responsible for them. Therefore it makes no sense to lodge a complaint about our thoughts. Faced with the choice between to continue sustaining them or to destroy them…it’s agonizing to have to choose.
Our willingness to allow our attention to be diverted away from ourself is causally related to our weakness of powers of concentration or inability of the mind to comprehensive composure. Lacking will power is here the crucial factor. The required great love on our part to be aware of ourself alone is seemingly still weak. So things are not too good with me. But I do not intend to go insane.
In my experience regrettably my power to subdue the sprout(ing)s of our ego’s visaya-vasanas is not exactly great. Conversely the sensual particularly sexual vasanas/desires refuse to comply with a demand for disappear at the touch of a button. Rather sometimes as a constant strain they capture the whole town of my consciousness and park themselves on me. At that moments there is not at all any liking to be aware of them. Their presence sometimes is overpowering and strangles me. Despite of the bad starting position and all ego-created adversities I have to struggle to cling firmly to being self-attentive and to cling tenaciously to svarupa-dhyana.
May I put the following questions although your answer also to them will be as you finally say that in order to yield ourself to the inward-drawing influence of Bhagavan and Arunachala we have to persistently try to be self-attentive ?
1.) How to get the power to switch off the self created tyranny of the tyrant ?
2.) How to resist urging thoughts pressing for appearing and making themselves the centre of attention ?
3.) How can we refuse their emergence/arrival/advent/presence/manifestation/appearance ?
4.) How can we withdraw our observance from thoughts ?
5.) How can we ignore our thoughts ?
6.) How can we avoid our allowing the vasanas to sprout as thoughts ?
7.) How can we refuse our wanting to attend to them ?
8.) How can we avoid to become aware of them or to notice of their appearance ?
9.) How can we nip them in the bud ?
10.) How can I sweep away my unsufficient maturity ?
11.) How can I deny the flesh ?
It would be best to kill the tyrant itself.

Sri Chakra Meru said...

Sanjay, greetings to Bangalore.

Shivabhumi said...

Michael,
thank you for your thorough response.
I cannot remember that I did invite the 'awareness of anything other than ourself' to cover and obscure my tranquil clarity. Because of the mentioned difficulties I am not able to uncover it by being self-attentive.
As you say I am facing tremendous resistance arising from my desire to survive as this ego. My love to continue experiencing things other than myself seems to be overwhelming. As the devil shrinks from holy water my ego does not make preparations to merge forever into the innermost depth of myself. Since I cannot buy the required perseverance to cling fast to uninterrupted svarupa-smarana in the supermarket – where can I hang up my things ?
Owing to lack of powerful soldiers/strength/energies or creative powers I cannot recapture my fort of tranquil clarity by force of arms.
However, not to give up on my efforts to dissolve the ego inpure self-awareness is my declared decision and purpose.
Can you please work out in detail why the ego who now wants to experience a really deep meditation and tranquil clarity is in fact the obstacle to any such experience ? Is not tranquil clarity what we actually are and as such a means to destroy this ego ? Why should the wish to experience that clarity be an obstacle in my way ?

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