Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Can our mind be too strong for our actual self to dissolve it completely?

In a comment on one of my recent articles, We can separate ourself permanently from whatever is not ourself only by attending to ourself alone, a friend called Viswanathan cited an extract from an interview in which David Godman said, “This is a key part of Bhagavan’s teachings: the Self can only destroy the mind when the mind no longer has any tendency to move outwards. While those outward-moving tendencies are still present, even in a latent form, the mind will always be too strong for the Self to dissolve it completely”. Citing the final sentence from this statement an anonymous friend wrote another comment in which he asked: “David Godman, did you say ‘mind stronger than the Self’? I can’t get this. Is ‘the Self’ (our essential self) waiting for the mind to grow weaker so that it can dissolve it completely? How then was the partial dissolution taking place till then? Further, why did not the mind, while strong, dissolve ‘the Self’, if it all boils down to strong dissolving weak?” Since I doubt whether David would have read these questions, in this article I will reply on his behalf, though I may do so in somewhat different terms than he would.

Though the questions asked by our anonymous friend seem quite reasonable, I understand what David was trying to say in that passage, and I think the problem with what he says is the way he says it rather than what I assume he means when he says it, so I will start by trying to clear up a serious conceptual confusion that seems to be underlying this rather puzzling statement of his. That is, there are not actually two separate things, ‘the Self’ and ‘the mind’, but only one thing, namely ourself, just as a rope and the snake that it seems to be are not two separate things but only one. What is called ‘the Self’ is ourself as we actually are, and what is called ‘the mind’ or ‘the ego’ is ourself as we seem to be whenever we are aware of anything other than ourself.

As Bhagavan says in two passages recorded in Day by Day with Bhagavan, ‘The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world’ (11-1-46: 2002 edition, page 106), and ‘The mind, turned outwards, results in thoughts and objects. Turned inwards, it becomes itself the Self’ (8-11-45: 2002 edition, page 37). That is, when we are aware of ourself alone, we are aware of ourself as we really are (which is what the English term ‘the Self’ refers to in this context), but when we are aware not only of ourself but also of anything else, we seem to be this ego or mind.

Therefore we seem to be this mind only when we allow our attention to go outwards — this is, away from ourself even to the slightest extent — so as long as we are aware of anything other than ourself we cannot experience ourself as we actually are. Hence what seemingly prevents us from being aware of ourself as ‘the Self’ (the pure self-awareness that we actually are) is our outward-going tendencies — this is, our inclinations or urges to be aware of anything other than ourself.

However, our mind and its outward-going tendencies are not real and have no actual substance of their own, so how can they be strong enough to prevent us from being aware of ourself as we actually are? The truth is that they never prevent this, because as we actually are we are always aware only of ourself as we actually are. It is only because we seem to be this ego or mind that we seem to be not aware of ourself as we actually are, but we seem to be this ego only in its own view, so since this ego is not real we are never not aware of ourself as we actually are.

However, because we now seem to be this ego, albeit only in the view of ourself as this ego, it seems to be necessary for us to make effort to turn our attention back within, towards ourself alone, but when we try to do so, we find that our strong outward-going tendencies make us resist our own efforts to turn within. Therefore the battle that is now going on is not exactly between ‘the Self’ (ourself as we actually are) and this ego or mind, but rather between our love to be just as we actually are — that is, aware of nothing other than ourself — and our desires to be aware of anything else (which are the ‘outward-moving tendencies’ that David refers to).

So long as our desires to be aware of other things are stronger than our love to be aware of ourself alone, we will not be willing to surrender our ego entirely by allowing it to dissolve completely in the pure self-awareness that we actually are, and until we are willing to surrender ourself, God or guru will not force us to give up this false ego, which we are now clinging to with such strong attachment. Therefore Bhagavan taught us that we must persevere in trying to be attentively aware of ourself as much as possible until our outward-going tendencies are thereby weakened and our love to be aware of ourself alone is correspondingly strengthened to such an extent that the latter becomes stronger than the former, whereupon we will finally be willing and thereby able to let go of everything else and merge effortlessly back into our actual self, the source from which we rose as this ego.

Since this is therefore a battle going on in our own mind between our opposing urges (vāsanās), namely our love to be aware of ourself alone and our desire to be aware of other things, does our actual self (‘the Self’) have no part to play in this? In one sense it has no part to play at all, because it is just as it is, and it never does anything, being eternally immutable and hence motionless (acala). However in another sense it is playing the major and only real role, and it will certainly be victorious in the end, because it is infinite love, and hence since it does not see anything as other than itself, it loves everything as itself. Therefore whatever love we as this ego or mind may now have to be aware of ourself alone is a reflection of the infinite love that we as we actually are have for ourself, so without doing anything but just by loving itself — and thereby loving us as itself — our actual self is steadily but unfailingly feeding us the love that we require to surrender ourself entirely and thereby dissolve back into ourself, like ice melting in water.

This dissolving of ourself in the infinite love that we actually are is what Bhagavan referred to in verse 101 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:
அம்புவி லாலிபோ லன்புரு வுனிலெனை
      யன்பாக் கரைத்தரு ளருணாசலா.

ambuvi lālipō laṉburu vuṉileṉai
      yaṉbāk karaittaru ḷaruṇācalā
.

பதச்சேதம்: அம்புவில் ஆலி போல் அன்பு உரு உனில் எனை அன்பா கரைத்து அருள் அருணாசலா.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ambuvil āli pōl aṉbu-uru uṉil eṉai aṉbā karaittu aruḷ aruṇācalā.

English translation: Arunachala, like ice in water, lovingly melt me as love in you, the form of love.
Just as it is the nature of water to melt ice in itself, so it is the nature of Arunachala, our own actual self, to melt us in itself, and just as even the largest and hardest piece of ice cannot forever resist being melted in the warm waters of the ocean, so our ego cannot forever resist being melted back into Arunachala, the infinite ocean of love from which it originated. The colder and harder our ego happens to be, the longer it will take for us to melt, but gradually we will be warmed and softened until eventually we will dissolve entirely, as we must inevitably do sooner or later, as Bhagavan assures us in verse 8 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam:
கடலெழு மெழிலியாற் பொழிதரு நீர்தான்
      கடனிலை யடைவரை தடைசெயி னில்லா
துடலுயி ருனிலெழு முனையுறு வரையி
      லுறுபல வழிகளி லுழலினு நில்லா
திடவெளி யலையினு நிலையிலை புள்ளுக்
      கிடநில மலதிலை வருவழி செல்லக்
கடனுயிர் வருவழி சென்றிட வின்பக்
      கடலுனை மருவிடு மருணபூ தரனே.

kaḍaleṙu meṙiliyāṯ poṙidaru nīrdāṉ
      kaḍaṉilai yaḍaivarai taḍaiceyi ṉillā
duḍaluyi ruṉileṙu muṉaiyuṟu varaiyi
      luṟupala vaṙigaḷi luṙaliṉu nillā
diḍaveḷi yalaiyiṉu nilaiyilai puḷḷuk
      kiḍanila maladilai varuvaṙi sellak
kaḍaṉuyir varuvaṙi seṉḏṟiḍa viṉpak
      kaḍaluṉai maruviḍu maruṇabhū dharaṉē
.

பதச்சேதம்: கடல் எழும் எழிலியால் பொழிதரும் நீர்தான் கடல் நிலை அடைவரை தடை செயின் நில்லாது. உடல் உயிர் உனில் எழும் உனை உறு வரையில் உறு பல வழிகளில் உழலினும் நில்லாது. இட வெளி அலையினும் நிலை இலை புள்ளுக்கு; இடம் நிலம் அலது இலை; வரு வழி செல்ல கடன். உயிர் வரு வழி சென்றிட இன்பக் கடல் உனை மருவிடும், அருண பூதரனே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): kaḍal eṙum eṙiliyāl poṙidarum nīr-tāṉ kaḍal-nilai aḍaivarai taḍai-seyiṉ nillādu. uḍal-uyir uṉil eṙum uṉai uṟu-varaiyil uṟu pala vaṙigaḷil uṙaliṉum nillādu. iḍa veḷi alaiyiṉum nilai ilai puḷḷukku; iḍam nilam aladu ilai; varu vaṙi sella kaḍaṉ. uyir varu vaṙi seṉḏṟiḍa iṉba-k-kaḍal uṉai maruviḍum, aruṇa-bhūdharaṉē.

அன்வயம்: கடல் எழும் எழிலியால் பொழிதரும் நீர்தான் கடல் நிலை அடைவரை தடை செயின் நில்லாது. உனில் எழும் உடல் உயிர் உனை உறு வரையில் உறு பல வழிகளில் உழலினும் நில்லாது. இட வெளி அலையினும் புள்ளுக்கு நிலை இலை; நிலம் அலது இடம் இலை; வரு வழி செல்ல கடன். அருண பூதரனே, உயிர் வரு வழி சென்றிட இன்பக் கடல் உனை மருவிடும்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): kaḍal eṙum eṙiliyāl poṙidarum nīr-tāṉ kaḍal-nilai aḍaivarai taḍai-seyiṉ nillādu. uṉil eṙum uḍal-uyir uṉai uṟu-varaiyil uṟu pala vaṙigaḷil uṙaliṉum nillādu. iḍa veḷi alaiyiṉum puḷḷukku nilai ilai; nilam aladu iḍam ilai; aruṇa-bhūdharaṉē, varu vaṙi sella kaḍaṉ. uyir varu vaṙi seṉḏṟiḍa iṉba-k-kaḍal uṉai maruviḍum.

English translation: Water showered by clouds, which rise from the ocean, will not stop even if obstructed until it reaches its ocean-abode. [Likewise] the embodied soul, which rises from you, will not stop even though it wanders along many paths that it encounters until it reaches you. Though it wanders in the vast sky, for a bird there is no place of rest [there]; except the earth, there is no place [for it to rest]; what it must do is to go the way it came. [Likewise] Aruna-mountain, when the soul goes back the way it came, it will merge in you, the ocean of happiness.
To return to Arunachala, the source from which we originated, what we need is ‘வரு வழி சென்றிட’ (varu vaṙi seṉḏṟiḍa), ‘to go back the way we came’, and since the way we came was by rising up from ourself as this ego, going back the way we came means subsiding back into ourself. But how can we do so? Since we rose as this ego only by ‘grasping form’, which means by being aware of anything other than ourself, in order to subside back into ourself we must cease grasping anything other than ourself, which we can effectively do only by trying to be aware of ourself alone.

The reason we continue grasping things other than ourself is that we still have desire to be whatever finite entity we currently seem to be, because we cannot survive as such without being aware of other things, so in order for us to go back the way we came, our love to be as we actually are must be greater than our desire to be whatever we seem to be. The infallible means by which we can cultivate such love is by persistently trying to be aware of ourself alone, thereby steadily weakening all our viṣaya-vāsanās — our urges, inclinations or tendencies to go outwards to experience anything other than ourself.

We start to go back along this வரு வழி (varu vaṙi), the path or way we came, only because the seed of love to return to our source has somehow been planted in our heart, and by making effort to follow this path we are nurturing this seed and allowing it to grow within us. But from where did this seed originate? From the same source from which we originated, because our source is our own infinite self, which is what is called Arunachala, and it is not only our source but also our true substance — what we actually are — so since its nature is infinite love, the seed of such love is always present within us, even though we have till now been neglecting it. However, like a seed that has been lying in frozen soil for thousands of years and that sprouts as soon as the soil begins to thaw, this seed of love for what we actually are sprouts as soon as our heart begins to thaw, as it inevitably does due to the working of grace (aruḷ), which is the same infinite love that we as we actually are always have for ourself.

Therefore no matter how strong our mind and its out-going tendencies may seem to be, they are fighting a losing battle, because the ‘enemy’ they are unwittingly fighting against is the supreme power of infinite love, which can never be defeated, no matter how many deceitful tricks our mind may play on itself. The very moment that we first rose as this ego or mind, we were doomed to ultimate defeat, so the sooner we reconcile ourself to this fact the better, because knowing that our ultimate defeat is assured should make us more willing to surrender ourself here and now. Why and for how long are we to continue fighting this losing battle with ourself? Why should we not just give up now itself and rest in peace for ever after?

Bhagavan cannot fail to conquer us, because he conquers us only by his infinite love for us, and there is no power greater than that. However he conquers us in the gentlest possible fashion, not by opposing us in any way but by attracting us and thereby bringing us round to fight willingly and lovingly on his side of the battle by gradually letting go of our attachments to anything other than our own fundamental self-awareness. In his conquest, therefore, he never uses compulsion or coercion of any kind, and he never has any need to do so, because he works from within us, patiently feeding us with his own love and thereby making us love what he wants to give us, which is the pure, eternal, infinite and indivisible self-awareness that we actually are.

Therefore the battle that is going on within each one of us between the love that he is cultivating in our heart for pure self-awareness (which is what is called sat-vāsanā or svātma-bhakti) and our opposing desires to be aware of other things (which are what are called viṣaya-vāsanās or out-going tendencies) is being fought primarily by his grace, which is his all-consuming love for us, and hence he calls it ‘அருள் போராட்டம்’ (aruḷ-pōrāṭṭam), the ‘warfare of grace’, in verse 74 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:
போக்கும் வரவுமில் பொதுவெளி யினிலருட்
      போராட் டங்காட் டருணாசலா.

pōkkum varavumil poduveḷi yiṉilaruṭ
      pōrāṭ ṭaṅkāṭ ṭaruṇācalā
.

பதச்சேதம்: போக்கும் வரவும் இல் பொது வெளியினில் அருள் போராட்டம் காட்டு அருணாசலா.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): pōkkum varavum il podu veḷiyiṉil aruḷ-pōrāṭṭam kāṭṭu aruṇācalā.

English translation: Arunachala, show [me] the warfare of grace in the common space devoid of going and coming.
To see the end of this war of grace, all we need do is surrender ourself by letting go of everything to which we have till now been attaching ourself — or in other words, by giving no room in our heart to the rising of any awareness of anything other than ourself. If we feel unable to do so, that is only because we have not yet cooperated willingly enough in his work of cultivating love for pure self-awareness in our heart, so we just need to persevere in watering the sprouting seed of that love with our attention. The more we cooperate with him in this work of his grace by persistently trying to be self-attentive, the sooner the required overwhelming love will blossom in our heart, enabling us to finally surrender ourself entirely to him.

Therefore when David said, ‘While those outward-moving tendencies are still present, even in a latent form, the mind will always be too strong for the Self to dissolve it completely’, I assume that what he was trying to say was that as long as our inclinations to attend to anything other than ourself are still too strong, our mind will not be willing enough to yield itself entirely to being dissolved in the all-consuming light of pure self-awareness.

234 comments:

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Stephen Ho said...



Lakshmana Sarma quotes Bhagavan Sri Ramana :

“Never give way to anxiety, thinking ‘When shall I attain this State?’ It is beyond space and time, and therefore is neither far nor near.”

“Pervading everything by Its own nature, the Self is ever free. How can It be bound by Maya? So do not give way to despair.”

“The notion ‘I am an unstable soul’ has arisen by letting go one’s immovable Nature. The sadhaka should cast off this notion and rest in the Supreme Silence.”

“This is the device for overcoming the capricious nature of the mind. Look upon all that is perceived and on the perceiver as the real Self.”

From Chapter 9 of “MAHA YOGA” ( a.k.a.“The Upanishadic Lore In The Light Of The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana) by Lakshmana Sarma (a.k.a “Who”)

I guess another way to look at it is that in the rope and snake / ocean and waves / gold and jewellery analogies, the Jnani sees only the rope, the gold and the ocean respectively, and the non-Jnani / mind mistakes them to be the snake/waves/jewellery.



Michael James said...

Stephen, yes, what you say in the final paragraph of your comment is correct (and it is an appropriate answer to the question of whether or not the jñāni sees the world or any forms, about which there has recently been a lively discussion going on in the comments on some of my other articles). Bhagavan sometimes used to say that the ātma-jñāni sees the world but sees it only as himself, the one infinite and therefore formless self-awareness. What he meant by saying this can best be understood in terms of analogies such as the rope and snake.

What actually exists is only the rope, but it is mistaken to be a snake, so the snake does not actually exist but only seems to exist. Likewise what actually exists is only infinite awareness, which is what we really are, but as this ego we mistake our indivisible self to be this ego and as a vast world of forms or phenomena, so this ego and world do not actually exist but only seem to exist.

We mistake the jñāni to be a person in this world, but what the jñāni actually is is not a finite person but our own infinite self. As Bhagavan used to say, the jñāni is only jñāna. Therefore since jñāna is pure self-awareness, which is our real self, it is formless, and hence the jñāni sees nothing but formless awareness.

Therefore when Bhagavan says that the jñāni sees the world but sees it only as his own infinite self, that is like saying that he sees the snake but sees it only as the rope. What does seeing the snake as the rope actually mean? Since there is actually no snake but only a rope, seeing the ‘snake’ as the rope means seeing only the rope. Likewise, since there is actually no ego or world but only oneself, seeing the ‘world’ as oneself means seeing only oneself.

The reason why he says that the jñāni sees the world but only as himself is that we see ourself as this world, so he is pointing out to us that what we see as this world is what the jñāni sees as himself. He does not mean that the jñāni sees the world as we do, but that what he sees is only himself, because nothing else actually exists or even seems to exist in his clear view.

Stephen Ho said...

Michael James, thank you very much.

nana neri said...

Michael,
you say in your recent comment in reply to Stephen Ho,
"Therefore when Bhagavan says that the jnani sees the world but sees it only as his own infinite self, that is like saying that he sees the snake but sees it only as the rope."
To stay at the given analogy, regarding 'seeing a snake only as the rope' that statement may possibly be formulated not completely correct :
How can a jnani see at all a snake where is only from the outset to the end a rope ?
In other words: How can in the view of a jnani a snake ever be seen/perceived instead of the actually/really existing rope. I refer with it just the (involved) sense perception concerned (with this perception) which precedes chronologically the following interpretation.
Is it not said that only an ajnani can see/have the wrong view of a seeming snake where is really a rope ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I enjoyed reading this article of yours, and in my view, it is one of your most insightful and helpful articles in recent months. As you say, we are sure to win the 'warfare of grace' within us, because Bhagavan is on our side. You write in this article:

Bhagavan cannot fail to conquer us, because he conquers us only by his infinite love for us, and there is no power greater than that. [...] Therefore the battle that is going on within each one of us between the love that he is cultivating in our heart for pure self-awareness [...] and our opposing desires to be aware of other things [...] is being fought primarily by his grace, which is his all-consuming love for us, and hence he calls it [...] (aruḷ-pōrāṭṭam), the ‘warfare of grace'.

I would like to share my manana on this article, by just reformulating whatever you say in this article:

We (as we really are) love ourself, and this self-love is our very nature. Since our true nature is infinite; therefore, our love for ourself is also infinite. This infinite love that we have for ourself is the power of grace, and this power is supreme.

However, we rise as an ego,(which is an reflection of our infinite love) by 'grasping form', and thereby get estranged from our real nature. This ego grasps a body and mind for its survival and imagines these to be itself. Consequently, it becomes seemingly alienated from the infinite love, by only loving itself and other finite things

However, the ego gets only temporary and fleeting happiness by its worldly pursuits. In the meanwhile the pull of grace is constantly operating within the ego, but it tries to ignore it; however, after prolonged disappointments with its objective pursuits it eventually tries to turn within. This is where our ego becomes an ally of grace.

We begin to be self-attentive as much and as frequently as possible, and because of such practice our objective-desires starts to decrease, and our love for ourself as we really are starts to increase. Finally, our ego completely surrenders itself to the power of grace, never to rise again. However, it was only grace which had compelled it to surrender; therefore, the victory should belong only to grace.

Wherever you think fit, please correct my above manana.

With regards


Michael James said...

Sanjay, your reformulation does not require any significant correction, but rather than saying that our ego is a reflection of our infinite love it would perhaps be clearer and more accurate to say that its desires are a reflection of our infinite love for ourself. However, just as infinite love is the very nature of ourself as we actually are, desire is the very nature of ourself as this ego, so we can never separate desire from the ego or the ego from desire.

As Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, the ego rises, stands and flourishes by ‘உருப்பற்றி’ (uru-p-paṯṟi), which means grasping, seizing, catching, holding, embracing, clinging to, adhering to or attaching itself to form, so பற்று (paṯṟu), attachment or clinging, is the very nature of this ego, and the driving force of attachment is desire. As this ego we therefore cannot avoid clinging to something, so rather than clinging to anything else we should cling only to ‘the feet of the Lord’, which is what is always shining within us as ‘I’.

This clinging to ‘I’ without attachment to anything else is what Bhagavan refers to in the first line of in verse 9 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padikam: ‘பரம நின் பாதம் பற்று அற பற்றும் பர அறி வறியரில் பரமன்’ (parama niṉ pādam paṯṟu aṟa paṯṟum para aṟi vaṟiyaril paramaṉ), which means ‘Supreme, [I am] supreme among those who are destitute of the supreme wisdom to cling without attachment to your feet’.

Michael James said...

Nana Neri, you are correct in understanding that the jñāni never sees any ‘snake’ (i.e. world), because in the view of jñāna what exists is only the ‘rope’ (i.e. itself, jñāna or pure self-awareness). However we mistake this ‘rope’ to be a ‘snake’, and in our view Bhagavan seems to be another person seeing the same snake, so when anyone assumed that he sees this snake because they see him as a person responding to sensory stimuli and answering whatever questions were put to him, he confirmed that he sees this ‘snake’, but explained that he does not see it as a snake but only as a rope.

In other words what we see as this world is also seen by Bhagavan, but whereas we see it as a vast array of forms or phenomena, he sees it only as himself, which is just pure formless awareness. That is, what actually exists is only pure awareness, so there is nothing to see other than that, but we see it as this ego and world, whereas Bhagavan sees it only as it is. Therefore what Bhagavan sees is exactly the same as what we see, but he does not see it as we see it, because in his view it is only pure awareness, which is indivisible and hence completely devoid of forms, whereas in our view it seems to be divided up as the myriad forms that constitute this dream-world.

You point out that we see this world only by mean of sensory perception, but the body and sense organs through which we seem to see this world are themselves a part of this world, which is the ‘snake’ in our analogy. Therefore since Bhagavan sees that this snake is only a rope, the body and sense organs through which he sees it as a rope are themself just the same rope, namely himself. In other words, in his view, which is just pure self-awareness (jñāna), this ‘world’ is just pure self-awareness and the ‘body’ and ‘eye’ though which he sees it are likewise just pure self-awareness, because nothing other than pure self-awareness actually exists.

This is what he meant when he said in verse 62 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai (which another friend called Mouna referred to while discussing this subject in a comment on another recent article, What is the logic for believing that happiness is what we actually are?):

துன்னுபுல னாமுலகத் தோற்றத்தைச் சிற்பரமாந்
தன்மயமா யாவன் றரிசித்தான் — அன்னோன்
அனைய சொரூபத்தை யைம்பொறியா லுந்தேர்ந்
தனுபவிக் கின்றா னறி.

tuṉṉupula ṉāmulakat tōṯṟattaic ciṯparamān
taṉmayamā yāvaṉ ḏṟariśittāṉ — aṉṉōṉ
aṉaiya sorūpattai yaimboṟiyā lundērn
daṉubhavik kiṉḏṟā ṉaṟi
.

பதச்சேதம்: துன்னு புலன் ஆம் உலக தோற்றத்தை சித் பரம் ஆம் தன்மயமா யாவன் தரிசித்தான், அன்னோன் அனைய சொரூபத்தை ஐம் பொறியாலும் தேர்ந்து அனுபவிக்கின்றான் அறி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): tuṉṉu pulaṉ ām ulaha tōṯṟattai cit-param ām taṉmayamā yāvaṉ dariśittāṉ, aṉṉōṉ aṉaiya sorūpattai aim-poṟiyālum tērndu aṉubhavikkiṉḏṟāṉ aṟi.

English translation: Whoever sees the world-appearance, which is aggregated sensory impressions, to be tanmaya [constituted of tat, that or brahman], which is cit-para [supreme awareness], know that they cognise and experience that same svarūpa [their own form or actual self] even by the five senses.

Since everything consists only of awareness, the perceptual phenomena that constitute the world and the senses through which they seem to be perceived are all nothing but awareness, so the jñāni sees only awareness and sees it only through awareness.

Therefore what ‘seeing the snake as a rope’ (or seeing the world as brahman) actually means is not seeing any snake at all but only seeing the rope (or not seeing any world at all but only seeing brahman).

nana neri said...

Michael,
many thanks for your comment and calling to mind again that everything consists only of awareness. But awareness of what ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michal wrote in the comment addressed to Stephen on 8 June 2016 at 18:33 as follows:

Bhagavan sometimes used to say that the ātma-jñāni sees the world but sees it only as himself, the one infinite and therefore formless self-awareness. What he meant by saying this can best be understood in terms of analogies such as the rope and snake.

For some time now we have been discussing whether or not the atma-jnani sees this world (comprising of name and forms). It has been repeatedly emphasised by Michael and some of us that the jnani does not see any names and forms, because he is formless, and therefore how can formlessness see any form? In other words he sees only the 'rope', because in his view the 'snake' does not exist or has never existed.

I can think of one more analogy in this regard. Suppose if we are watching a film being projected on a white screen, what will we see? We will see only the moving pictures on this screen, but will completely overlook the screen, because we will be totally engrossed in the movie. What were we watching when we were looking at the moving pictures? We were actually watching only the real and permanent screen, and the pictures on it were just some fleeting, unreal appearances.

Suppose if the jnani watches a film, what will he see? He will see only the white screen without any pictures on it. But suppose if we ask him whether was he also seeing the film like most of us, what will he reply? He is likely to say, yes, he is also seeing the movie, but not as a movie but as the screen. Thereby implying that he watching the film, but only the screen. How can the reality see or experience unreality? Here reality is the jnani (who is nothing but jnana and unreality means this world picture.

I had sometime back watched a laser show, in which laser beams were projected on thin air (above the ground) and it thereby formed an animated film (depicting the story of mermaids etc). This film had no background screen of any sort, but was being projected on a virtual screen. Suppose if the jnani were to watch this laser film, what will he see? He will see nothing, because there is no real element (or screen) in this laser show, and therefore he will not claim that it was real.

But when he supposedly watches a film projected on a white screen, he sees only the white screen (white screen represents the immutable reality). This white screen is the jnani or jnana, and the seeming world pictures are being projected on this screen of jnana, but jnana is not aware of any film. It sees and experiences only itself.

Michael James said...

Nana Neri, not awareness of anything, just awareness — pure awareness (that is, awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself).

As I explained in several of my recent articles, such as in What is the logic for believing that happiness is what we actually are? (particularly in sections 4 to 9), being aware of anything other than ourself is transitive awareness, which is what Bhagavan called சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu) in Tamil, whereas being simply aware is intransitive awareness. In order to be aware of anything we need to be aware, but in order to be aware we do not need to be aware of anything, so the fundamental form of awareness is only intransitive awareness.

Since we are always aware, whether we are also aware of other things (as we are in waking and dream) or not aware of anything else (as we are in sleep), our real nature is only intransitive awareness, and since transitive awareness is just a transitory mode of awareness that appears in waking and dream and disappears in sleep, it is not real but just an illusion that seems to exist only so long as we seem to be this ego, whose nature to be aware of things other than itself.

In verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says: ‘ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய். நானா ஆம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம்’ (ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey. nāṉā ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām), which means ‘Oneself, who is awareness, alone is real. Awareness that is many is ignorance’. When he says that we are awareness (jñāna) and that that alone is real, he means that we are intransitive awareness, because that is the only permanent and hence real form of awareness, and when he refers to ‘நானா ஆம் ஞானம்’ (nāṉā ām ñāṉam), which literally means ‘awareness that is many’ or ‘awareness that is manifold’ and which therefore implies awareness of multiple phenomena, he means transitive awareness, which he says is not real awareness (jñāna) but only ignorance (ajñāna).

Therefore being aware of anything is ignorance, whereas just being aware (without being aware of anything other than ourself) is real awareness, which is what is called ātma-jñāna (self-awareness), because whether or not we are aware of anything else, we are always aware of ourself, since being aware entails being aware that we are aware, and being awareness that we are aware entails being aware of ourself — aware that I am. Therefore only pure self-awareness is real, and awareness of anything else is unreal.

nana neri said...

Michael,
thank you for repeating your explanation about the two different forms of awareness.
Being simply aware is the fundamental form of awareness: intransitive awareness.
Permanent awareness - Real awareness - Self-awareness(atma-jnana) are the decisive terms. This way the wind blows.

Steve D said...

Since this seems to be a popular topic I'll quote what Lakshmana Swamy has said on the issue from David Godman's "No Mind, I am the Self." For those of you who may be unaware, Laksmana Swamy was a devotee of Bhagavan who realized the Self in Bhagavan's presence back in 1949.

"The mind must die, there is no other way to realize the Self. Some people say that complete equanimity of mind in Self realization, but this is not true. This is only a stage one passes through on the way to Self realization. Other people say that seeing the Self or God everywhere is Self realization, but this is not true either. To see the Self everywhere, there must be an "I" who sees, and while that "I" exists, the mind will also exist. The jnani does not see anything because the seeing entity in him has died. In the Self, there is no seeing, only being. When the mind still exists one can reach a stage where one can see the whole world as a manifestation of the Self, but when the mind dies, there is no one who sees and no world to be seen.

If you have a mind, the sky and the stars will exist and you will be able to see them. When the mind dies, there will be no earth, no sky, no stars and no world. The world of objects, names and forms is only the mind, and when the mind dies, the world dies with it. Only the Self then remains.

Seeing everything as the Self gives the impression that the Self is equally distributed everywhere. This is also an idea in the mind. When the mind finally dies you realize that there is no distribution and no everywhere.

Mouna said...

Sanjay,
"Suppose if the jnani watches a film, what will he see? He will see only the white screen without any pictures on it."

I assume you were metaphorically speaking, because the analogy would be correct only if we consider "the jnani/jnana" to be the screen. The screen only knows it existence and nothing else, not even that there is "a screen". Your analogy is only valid if we consider the one looking at the screen as a white screen without seeing the film as someone in the waking state speaking about his experience in deep sleep.
The jnani doesn't see any screen, neither white nor in color with moving shapes and sounds, and although Bhagavan said that all that, screen-light-moving pictures-seer is He (the self), it was intended, to my guess, to explain to the vivarta vada oriented person, that all is self and nothing else, including the ego/maya.

When we step into ajata, there is no (and has never been) jnani, screen, names/forms, different states, etc... there is only silence. And that is as far as our mind can go and explain, without stepping into nonsense.

I believe we are saying the same thing, I just wanted to point out a small observation about the analogy employed.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank for correcting my thoughts in your comment dated 9 June 2016 at 13:20. As you say: 'its [ego's] desires are a reflection of our infinite love for ourself. However, just as infinite love is the very nature of ourself as we actually are, desire is the very nature of ourself as this ego, so we can never separate desire from the ego or the ego from desire'.

Could we put is this way: Our ego is a reflection our real self, i.e. anadi nanta akhanda sat-chit-ananda. However if we want to analyse it further, probably we can say that sat aspect of sat-chit-ananda is reflected as our objective world (this body and world); chit aspect is reflected as our limited consciousness (our mind) and the ananda aspect is reflected as our desires.

Does my above analysis makes sense, if not, please point out the error.

Regards.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, sat-cit-ānanda is akhaṇḍa (undivided), so we cannot divide any of its three aspects from either or both of the other two. Sat is both cit and ānanda; cit is both sat and ānanda; and ānanda is both sat and cit.

Since the ego experiences the world as something other than itself, if we were to suggest, as you do, that sat is reflected as the world and cit is reflected as the ego or mind, we would thereby be implying that sat can be separated from cit, albeit in a reflection, but that is not the case. Moreover, in what way is the world a reflection of sat any more than the ego is? The world is no more real or existent than the ego, because the seeming existence of the world is just a reflection of the seeming existence of the ego.

Since we are sat-cit-ānanda and the ego is a distorted reflection of ourself, the ego is a distorted reflection of sat-cit-ānanda as a single whole, but since in the distorted view of the ego, sat, cit and ānanda seem to be three distinct things (because some things seem to exist but not be aware, and other things seem to be aware but not happy), it can be said that these three seemingly distinct aspects are reflected in the ego as its three basic powers: kriyā-śakti, jñāna-śakti and icchā-śakti respectively. That is our being (sat) is reflected as doing (kriyā), our awareness (cit) is reflected as knowing (jñāna), and our love or happiness (ānanda) is reflected as desire or liking (icchā).

However though as this ego we have the power to do, to know and to like, these three are inseparably intertwined, because whatever we do is motivated by our likings, and we like whatever we know or believe will make us happy, so though these three powers are a distorted reflection of the single sat-cit-ānanda, even as three seemingly distinct reflections they are nevertheless inseparable.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, yes, I was metaphorically speaking when I used the analogy of screen, film etc. Screen here represents our true nature, and the film represents our worldly-objective existence. A you imply, this screen is the state of the jnani; and jnani is nothing but jnana. The jnani does not see the screen as an object apart from himself, because he is himself this screen; therefore, he experiences this screen as himself.

Analogies can never be perfect, as they are mere pointers to some facts. Even the snake and rope analogy, which is frequently used, has its shortcomings:

We say we should carefully investigate the snake (our ego), and eventually this snake will disappear and only the rope (our actual self) will remain. Actually the snake (our ego) has to be investigated by this very snake (our ego), but we say we should investigate the snake, as if 'we' and 'the snake' are different from each other.

So, can we say (while using the analogy), 'the snake should investigate the snake?' No, because if we say so it might appear as if the reptile-snake has to literally investigate itself, and therefore this investigation is the sadhana for this snake and not for us.

Therefore, to convey our intended meaning we have to often use dualistic terms, even though these terms may point towards non-duality. In fact, only our state of self-abidance is beyond all duality, whereas all our thoughts and words imply duality, and the analogies we use are no exception. They are mere words conveying some abstract idea.

Bob - P said...

Steve D

Thank you for your comment about "Laksmana Swamy".
This makes perfect sense.
When we experience our self as we really are we experience non duality and experience nothing but our self.
No ego, no mind, no body, no person, no world just our self alone.
As long as we experience duality in any sense of the word regardless of how heavenly or divine it may appear to be, we are still experiencing duality and not experiencing our self as we really are the non dual self aware happy being.

In appreciation
Bob

Wittgenstein said...

This article by Michael is quite different.

There are no verses from Ulladu Narpadu, Upadesa Undiyar and Nan Yar? (the triple texts). Of course, whatever he wanted to convey could have been conveyed quoting from these texts. Normally an atma vichari is considered to be an ‘analytical philosopher’ or ‘logician’ interested only in arguments and without any spiritual feelings. Also it is thought that the triple texts are for such logicians while Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai is for those with spiritual feelings and who connect with God. Therefore, it is either Ulladu Narpadu or Aksharamanamalai. Very neat divide. Unfortunately such artificial division does not exist.

With atma vichara, self-awareness and other-awareness are seen to be quite distinct and we discover the “seed of such love [infinite love] is always present within us, even though we have till now been neglecting it”. Consequently, “our heart begins to thaw, as it inevitably does due to the working of grace (aruḷ)”. Is not atma vichara an attempt to allow the working of grace to operate without hindrance from the little ego? Therefore, it is Ulladu Narpadu and Aksharamanamalai in fact.

The article gradually builds tempo and Michael, the atma vichari, says, just before the climax battle scene (அருள் போராட்டம்), “Bhagavan cannot fail to conquer us, because he conquers us only by his infinite love for us, and there is no power greater than that. However he conquers us in the gentlest possible fashion, not by opposing us in any way but by attracting us and thereby bringing us round to fight willingly and lovingly on his side of the battle by gradually letting go of our attachments to anything other than our own fundamental self-awareness. In his conquest, therefore, he never uses compulsion or coercion of any kind, and he never has any need to do so, because he works from within us, patiently feeding us with his own love and thereby making us love what he wants to give us, which is the pure, eternal, infinite and indivisible self-awareness that we actually are”.

Very beautiful words! Having read this, can anyone pretend to be a cold hearted ‘logician’ and not shed tears? Can anyone be so heartless?

Bob - P said...

I agree Wittgenstein whole heartedly.
Thank you for this wonderful article Michael I thought I had already thanked you but realised I had not.
In appreciation as always.
Bob

Stephen Ho said...

Michael,

When I found Bhagavan Sri Ramana's sacred teachings last year, I felt that I had finally come to a conclusion in my "truth-seeking" and I could not go further. This is still true a year later.

You have done a splendid job in explaining Bhagavan Sri Ramana's teachings on this blog and in all your commentaries on the writings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana, Sri Murugunar and Sri Sadhu Om. Your book "Happiness and the Art of Being" is truly a masterpiece !!! In it you have considered all possible arguments that my stubborn mind (and all stubborn minds in fact ) could invent to stop me in the Quest, and you have refuted them all magnificently. It is really thorough and in plain English too.

I foresee myself reading it again repeatedly down the years because my very stubborn mind will surface repeatedly with new tricks to survive the Quest.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you. What you write is more or less clear. However, your following argument needs some clarification: 'it can be said that these three [sat-cit-ānanda] seemingly distinct aspects are reflected in the ego as its three basic powers: kriyā-śakti, jñāna-śakti and icchā-śakti respectively. That is our being (sat) is reflected as doing (kriyā), our awareness (cit) is reflected as knowing (jñāna), and our love or happiness (ānanda) is reflected as desire or liking (icchā)'.

It is understandable when you explain: 'our awareness (cit) is reflected as knowing (jñāna), and our love or happiness (ānanda) is reflected as desire or liking (icchā)', but in what way is our being (sat) reflected as doing (kriya)? I am not able to understand this aspect. Therefore, a small explanation in this regard would be helpful.

With regards.

ananda akhanda said...

Stephen Ho,
yes this ego always wants to come to the surface and fights only to stay alive against its deadly enemy, the Quest.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Wittgenstein, though I did not analyse this article that much, as you have done, but I also felt that this was Michael's one of the best articles of late. In fact, I had written in a recent comment on this article:

Sir, I enjoyed reading this article of yours, and in my view, it is one of your most insightful and helpful articles in recent months. As you say, we are sure to win the 'warfare of grace' within us, because Bhagavan is on our side.

Therefore, like Bob-P, I also endorse your views on this article.

Sivanarul said...

Nice words of wisdom on the need for patience while walking the path and also to enjoy the journey as well.

From Sri Bodhinatha Swami, Guru Maha Sannidhanam of Kauai Aadheenam:

"You can't walk up a mountain straight unless you're a really strong person. You've got to take a winding path up, and we're born somewhere on this path. Say we're half-way. This is a simple example. We're half way up this path. It takes many lives to get all the way to the top. So, what do we want to do? We're not trying to race to the top. We're trying to move forward as much as our karma and dharma permit. We want to move forward and we want to be content in simply moving forward. Even when we move three steps forward.

"But, we want to be content that we move forward. We don't want to be frustrated that we didn't get to the top. That's not understood. Some people frustrate themselves in trying to make too much progress, then they become discontent in the present instead of just accepting everything that is is where you should be.

"We're trying to move forward on the path toward moksha with the consciousness that it usually takes many lives. And we want to be content in that moving forward. We need to be content with however long it'll take us to make it. And as Gurudeva says, 'enjoy the journey.'"

http://www.himalayanacademy.com/blog/taka/2016/06/09/be-content-while-moving-forward/

Stephen Ho said...



Taken from the "40 Verses on Reality" by Bhagavan Sri Ramana :

1. From our perception of the world there follows acceptance of a unique First Principle possessing various powers. Pictures of name and form, the person who sees, the screen on which he sees, and the light by which he sees: he himself is all of these.

16. Apart, from us where is time and where is space? If we are bodies, we are involved in time and space, but are we? We are one and identical now, then, and forever, here, and everywhere. Therefore we, timeless, and spaceless Being, alone are.

17. To those who have not realized the Self, as well as to those who have, the word 'I' refers to the body, but with this difference, that for those who have not realized, the 'I' is confined to the body whereas for those who have realized the Self within the body the 'I' shines as the limitless Self.

18. To those who have not realized (the Self) as well as to those who have the world is real. But to those who have not realized, Truth is adapted to the measure of the world, whereas to those that have, Truth shines as the Formless Perfection, and as the Substratum of the world. This is all the difference between them

36. Only if the thought 'I am the body' occurs will the meditation 'I am not this, I am That', help one to abide as That. Why should we for ever be thinking, 'I am That'? Is it necessary for man to go on thinking 'I am a man'? Are we not always That?

37. The contention, 'Dualism during practice, non-dualism on Attainment', is also false. While one is anxiously searching, as well as when one has found one's Self, who else is one but the tenth man?

38. As long as a man is the doer, he also reaps the fruit of his deeds, but, as soon as he realizes the Self through enquiry as to who is the doer his sense of being the doer falls away and the triple karma is ended. This is the state of eternal Liberation.

39. Only so long as one considers oneself bound, do thoughts of bondage and Liberation continue. When one enquires who is bound the Self is realized, eternally attained, and eternally free. When thought of bondage comes to an end, can thought of Liberation survive?



Stephen Ho said...

My most recent post (the preceding post) was for Ananda Akhanda and Sivanarul.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have had a long debate (and in all likelihood it is expected to continue) around the question: Can paths other than atma-vichara destroy our ego, or it is only self-investigation that can destroy it? As part my manana, I reproduce below an extract from Michael’s video dated 23-04-2016 (1:45 onwards). In this extract, Michael once again tries to impress upon us that only atma-vichara can destroy our ego; and without its destruction we cannot experience ourself as really are.

Michael: We find every excuse we can to turn outwards; even our Gods are excuses to turn outwards. Even the divine presence of Bhagavan, where all thoughts will subside, is another excuse to turn outwards.

Devotee: [...] Ramana Maharshi said on many occasions that these teachings are meant for those who are spiritually advanced; it is not for everybody. [...] People have followed the path of devotion and attained ‘self-realisation’, without self-enquiry. Self-enquiry is one method; not the only method.

Michael: According to Bhagavan, it is the only method. Ultimately all other methods lead to this. And about bhakti, Bhagavan himself has said in Upadesa Undiyar (verse 8): rather than anya-bhava (meditating or conceiving God as something other than oneself); ananya-bjava (the attitude or meditation that God is nothing other than oneself) is the best of all. Ananya-bhava means self-attentiveness.

How is it possible to know God who shines within the mind, except by turning the mind within and drowning it in the Lord? (Ulladu Narpadu- verse 22)

The state in which ‘I’ does not rise is the state in which we are that. But if we do not seek the source of the rising of this ‘I’, how to attain the state where we are that? (Ulladu Narpadu – verse 27)

Every other path entails an ego - that is, there must be an ego to do any sadhana. Bhagavan says in Maharshi’s Gospel that any other sadhana is like a thief posing as a policeman, pretending to catch the thief. Is he ever going to catch the thief, never, because he himself is the thief? Any sadhana you do assumes that the ego exists, and you try to get rid of this non-existent ego.

Therefore the only effective way to destroy the ego is to turn within and look at it. [We will find that it is] nowhere to be seen. [...] Bhakti and other paths are ways of leading the people to this path, but ultimately the only way to destroy the ego – that is, simply seeing that it never existed - is to look at it.

[Transcript ends]


Bob - P said...

Thank you Sanjay for posting the transcript.

I have watched Michael's latest 3 videos and they were as always extremely helpful.
Michael says Bhagavan taught that self investigation is the only way to destroy the ego and all other paths must at some point lead to it even if it is just for a split second. So self investigation is the last doorway so to speak we must travel through to dissolve the ego and experience our self as we really are .

I obviously don't know if this is true but I believe it to be true or I should say I trust Bhagavan and his teaching and Michael's understanding of it.

The only way I will know is to do it whole heartedly and see for myself. But I will never know because if I succeed Bob will be gone so to speak.

My personal belief is at some point we have to trust and surrender to one guru.
My guru like yours and many other people's is Bhagavan.
Of course we are free to constantly move from one guru to another and take what we want from each but we are constantly seeking and moving around. We are diluting our focus of attention.

I personally found Nisargadatta and Douglas Harding extremely helpful guides on the way to Bhagavan along with many others.

We can accumulate vast knowledge, constantly read and be able to quote from many different teachers or religions. But is this helpful to us? I don't honestly know. Maybe it is part of the journey to find Bhagavan, accept his teaching and concentrate our focus on it?

Michael is a perfect example of being devoted to one guru (Bhagavan).
His example is a very powerful one to me.

So I agree with you and Michael and I only practise self investigation.
I just have to trust and do what Bhagavan says.

Thank you again Sanjay for thsi helpful post.

Bob

Stephen Ho said...



Michael James sums it up beautifully here :

In our present experience, the only thing that is real is our own self-consciousness, 'I am'. If we did not exist, we could not know our own existence, nor could we imagine the existence of anything else.

The one real basis of all our knowledge and all our experience is our own consciousness. When we say 'I know' or 'I experience', we imply 'I am conscious'. However, though we sometimes appear to be conscious of things other than ourself, our consciousness of those other things appears and disappears. Being impermanent, it is only relatively real.

The only thing of which we are permanently conscious is ourself — our own being, 'I am'. Even when we are conscious of nothing else, as in sleep, we continue to be conscious of our own being, because our being is inherently self-conscious. In other words, we are self-consciousness, and hence we always experience ourself as 'I am'.

Since our consciousness of other things appears only when our mind is active, it is merely an imagination. But since we are the consciousness that experiences both that imagination and the absence of it in sleep, we are the real consciousness that underlies the imaginary consciousness of otherness.

Since the only form of consciousness that we experience permanently is our own self-consciousness, we can definitely conclude that it is the true and essential form of consciousness. In other words, since we are the fundamental self-consciousness that underlies the appearance of all other forms of consciousness, we alone are the true and essential form of consciousness.

We can also conclude that we are the absolute reality, because we are the fundamental non-dual self-consciousness 'I am', which is essentially unqualified and unconditioned, being free from all limits and any form of dependence upon any other thing. Whatever else may appear or disappear, and whatever change or other action may seem to happen, our essential self-consciousness always remains unchanged and unaffected. Therefore, whereas all other things are relative, our true self-consciousness is absolute.

We are absolute being, absolute consciousness and absolute happiness. Therefore if we wish to free ourself from all unhappiness and all forms of limitation, we must know ourself as we really are. That is, we must actually experience ourself as the absolute non-dual self-consciousness that we really are, and that we now understand ourself to be.

In order to know ourself thus, we must concentrate our entire attention upon our essential self-consciousness 'I am'. This concentration of our attention upon ourself is the practice of atma-vichara — self-investigation, self-examination, self-scrutiny or self-enquiry — which Sri Ramana taught as the only means by which we can experience true non-dual self-knowledge.


From "Our Self-Consciousness Is Absolute" by Michael James

LINK :

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.sg/2007/02/our-self-consciousness-is-absolute.html


Stephen Ho said...


Dear Michael,

Brief scenario :

While walking I notice the floor is wet. I decide to walk carefully because I fear I might slip and fall otherwise.

I could think that not only does the entire situation take place within Consciousness (Jnana) , all of it is in fact Consciousness (Jnana) alone.

That would mean that the fear of slipping and falling, and the decision made to walk carefully (or even the decision not to walk carefully) are also Consciounsess (Jnana).

If that is so, can I also think that the thought to murder a person, the decision to do so and the act itself would simply be Consciousness (Jnana) and nothing more ?

Please guide me here.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob-P, yes, Bhagavan has taught us that self-investigation is the only way to destroy our ego. Of course, we should believe him when he says so, but it is not the case of only belief. We can also understand this by simple logic.

If we want to watch a movie on TV, what do we do? Obviously, we switch on the TV and start watching the movie. Likewise, if we want to experience ourself as we really are, what should we do? Logically, we should vigilantly attend to ourself alone, until we experience ourself as we really are. We cannot watch TV and expect to know ourself, because if we do so we would thereby be looking at the wrong direction – that is, away from ourself.

No doubt, as you say, ‘Michael is a perfect example of being devoted to one guru (Bhagavan)’, and, like many of our other friends, I am also trying to follow his example. Earlier, while following Bhagavan's teachings, I was also attracted to the teachings of various other gurus. But after understanding the uniqueness and simplicity of Bhagavan’s teachings, I am trying to stick only to his teachings.

Sivanarul said...

Regarding Stephen Ho's selected quotes from Forty verses on reality that he said was for Ananda Akhanda and Sivanarul:

Forty Verses on reality are experiantial statements from Turiya or Sahaja Samadhi. Some of us take them as practice guideliness. Others take them as statements that will be true in Turiya.

"37. The contention, 'Dualism during practice, non-dualism on Attainment', is also false. While one is anxiously searching, as well as when one has found one's Self, who else is one but the tenth man?"

When Venkataraman was lying in Madurai and performed his intense Vichara, he saw the world as duality and did not really have any lone practice other than that 1 minute. The statement above is from Bhagavan (from Turiya) and not from Venkataraman.

Venkataraman (duality) during practice, Bhagavan (non-duality) on Attainment.

ananda akhanda said...

Stephen Ho,
there is nothing but consciousness. Therefore murdering a person is not outside of consciousness because there is nothing more than consciousness.
Wheither murdering is a good that is to say a mutually advantageuos use of consciousness is quite another matter.

ananda akhanda said...

Stephen Ho,
sorry I meant advantageous instead of advantageuos.

Bob - P said...

Sanjay I agree whole heartedly.
We are blessed Bhagavan's teaching has come into our lives.
We must try our best to use this life we have to experience our self as we really are.
Bhagavan will not abandon us.
We must surrender to him by turning within.
We must keep trying no matter how many times we fail we must carry on.

Bob

ananda akhanda said...

Sivanarul and Stephen Ho,
Bhagavan meant the Forty Verses only for us ajnanis as a guiding principle.
That ajnanis are up to their ears in the problem of duality was his own experience
as the Madurai-boy Venkataraman.

Sivanarul said...

ananda akhanda,

"That ajnanis are up to their ears in the problem of duality was his own experience
as the Madurai-boy Venkataraman."

Just like the Madurai-boy Venkataraman had up to his ears in the problem of duality, so will we. Each of us has to walk the path without skipping any steps. A child has to fall down, make mistakes and follow the natural growth cycle. It is every parent's dream that the child will learn from the parent's mistakes and not repeat it. But the child is not the parent and it cannot really learn by the parent's mistakes. It needs to commit mistakes on it's own, fall many times and then and only then will it learn.

http://www.himalayanacademy.com/book/living-with-siva/201

"The mystic whom we see poised on the peak of God Realization is the man who once faced each experience that you now do. He didn’t skip them or go around them. He had to deal with the same doubts, the same fears and the same confusions. He had those same experiences where all seems against you, and you seem so alone and ask, “Why am I the one who has these unsolvable problems, these totally confusing situations?” He didn’t give in to that abyss of doubt. He threw himself at the feet of God when all seemed beyond hope. And hope appeared. He persevered, tried his best, made the decisions that made the most sense in spite of unclarity—and all the while continued his sādhana, continued his spiritual practices, until one by one the veils of confusion faded and clarity became constant. He is the man who strived so hard on the little things in life, as well as on the great challenges. He simply did—not spoke of, but did—what you know you should do. We are the carvers of our own future. God’s grace, His love, is always blessing us in our efforts."

http://www.himalayanacademy.com/blog/taka/2016/06/09/be-content-while-moving-forward/

"You can't walk up a mountain straight unless you're a really strong person. You've got to take a winding path up, and we're born somewhere on this path. Say we're half-way. This is a simple example. We're half way up this path. It takes many lives to get all the way to the top. So, what do we want to do? We're not trying to race to the top. We're trying to move forward as much as our karma and dharma permit. We want to move forward and we want to be content in simply moving forward. Even when we move three steps forward."

Stephen Ho said...

Michael and all others,

Regarding that post on decision making with the wet floor scenario and murder scenario , I think I departed from the Consciousness / Jnana is all position to the that of the non-Conscious/non-Jnana/finite mind position by asking those questions in that post.

Stephen Ho said...

Ananda Akhanda and Sivanarul, I totally agree.

Sivanarul said...

To Sanjay's quote of Michael's transcript:

"We have had a long debate (and in all likelihood it is expected to continue) around the question: Can paths other than atma-vichara destroy our ego, or it is only self-investigation that can destroy it"

I thought the debate was settled when Roger used the words short path and long path. As he said it, Atma-vichari's are on the short path and everyone else is on the long path (to make Atma-Vichari's happy). Also for some us, the ego does not need to be destroyed. What needs to be destroyed is samsara and the resultant suffering. The ego is no trouble at all when it is turned towards God. Let it live for eternity in service to God (who is both internal and external).

In regards to the discussion of following Single Guru versus Many Guru's:

For those of us who follow many guru's, there is no conflict in following as such. The conflict is only in the minds of those who follow a single guru.

Here is the point of view from one who follows many guru's:

All spiritual teachings originate from the one reality known as God. This reality of God shines in the sadhaka's heart and guides him/her on the path/teacher that is appropriate for the sadhaka at a particular time/space coordinate. The teacher at a time/space coordinate may have a particular name like Nayanmar, Bhagavan, Buddha, Jesus Christ etc. The sadhaka who has a good understanding of the teaching will know that all these teachers derive their teaching from the single source of reality known as God and it is God himself that guides him to any teaching at a time/space coordinate.

One of the huge advantages of following the path of heart (Bhakthi) is that it rarely sees conflict in anything, since it trusts that the diversity of teachers and sadhakas are simply God's will. The heart makes very less use of the intellect (Thank you heart). The heart knows that it's intellect is infinitely small and that it will never be able to understand God's will and play. Hence it never falls into the trap that what works for me ought to work for everyone. To the heart such a position is playing God. The heart never wants to play God.

Upon seeing the intense pain and suffering in Samsara, the heart weeps, prays and complains to God. The intellect jumps in and tries to provide an explanation. The heart listens to it patiently but in the end says to the intellect : "Oh Foolish Intellect. You think by logic or hiding behind a particular teacher, you can explain away everything. Have you no humility at all? Do you really think that you as the ego can really explain God's working and reasoning?".

The heart then prays to God: "Oh God, I have no way of understanding your workings with this tiny puny intellect. I also really don't want to understand it. I trust that you know what you are doing. Grant me the strength to bear my own pain and suffering and as well as the pain and suffering of all sentient beings."

ananda akhanda said...

Sivanarul,
indeed, to walk the path without skipping any steps is our daily yoke.
Because the mind falls often down in the pitfall of unclarity caused by its inexperience I am not oriented towards any pictures or imaginations about our path. Even I do not rely on the mind-made picture of moving forward/making progress/getting ahead on a winding mountain path to salvation by taking many lives to get all the way to the top. I prefer to be only aware immediately what is and how I am in the now.

Sivanarul said...

ananda akhanda,

"Because the mind falls often down in the pitfall of unclarity caused by its inexperience I am not oriented towards any pictures or imaginations about our path. Even I do not rely on the mind-made picture of moving forward/making progress/getting ahead on a winding mountain path to salvation by taking many lives to get all the way to the top. I prefer to be only aware immediately what is and how I am in the now."

Congratulations for preferring to be only aware immediately of what is and how I am in the now. The mountain path to salvation was for those of us who believe that the path is not an imagination and that it typically is achieved over many lifetimes.

the way we came said...

Arunachala, would you not set about throwing me in your form of the melting pot of love? Why do you hesitate in reducing the melting point of the ice armour of my dense blindness ? Why do you permit that the ego resist being melted back in you, Arunachala ? Is it not your nature, to melt me in yourself ?
Might you still make it to warm and soften the coldness and hardness of the ego ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivanarul writes: 'In regards to the discussion of following Single Guru versus Many Guru's [...] for those of us who follow many guru's, there is no conflict in following as such. The conflict is only in the minds of those who follow a single guru', and so on.

He says, 'All spiritual teachings originate from the one reality known as God. This reality of God shines in the sadhaka's heart and guides him/her on the path/teacher that is appropriate for the sadhaka at a particular time/space coordinate'. I agree, but the same one reality known as God can also guide a sadhaka to follow only one outer guru, and he may not have any conflict in his mind. In fact, he may be fully satisfied with this one guru's teachings. Therefore, Sivanarul's claim that those following only one guru have conflict in their minds does not stand its ground.

Yes, all gurus like Nayanmar, Bhagavan, Buddha, and Jesus Christ could be pointing towards the same truth, as ultimately guru is only one. But their teachings can be understood and interpreted in different ways. If one likes one may follow many outer guru's, but many try and stick to only one, and there is very good reason for this.

For example, Bhagavan and Nisargadatta were both gurus, and had wide following respectively. Apparently, their teachings also appeared similar. However, they differed much in their details. Whereas Nisargadatta frequently advised his devotees to observe their thoughts; Bhagavan's constant advice was to ignore all thoughts and to attend only to the thinker. If a devotee follows both these guru's, whom should he listen to, Nisargadatta or Bhagavan? Therefore, devotees following many gurus may have conflict in many such cases (I have used 'may have conflict' and not 'will have conflict).

Ultimately guru is only one, and we can this guru by many names, such as - grace, God, self, pure-consciousness, sat-chit-ananda absolute and so on; however, in my opinion, it may be advisable to choose one outward manifestation of this inner guru, and follow his or her teachings wholeheartedly. This one guru for many of us is Bhagavan Ramana; however, it need not be the same for all.

Sivanarul said...

To Sanjay's post:

" I agree, but the same one reality known as God can also guide a sadhaka to follow only one outer guru, and he may not have any conflict in his mind. In fact, he may be fully satisfied with this one guru's teachings. Therefore, Sivanarul's claim that those following only one guru have conflict in their minds does not stand its ground."

Very true for many on this blog who do NOT keep raising the point on why one should follow only one guru and how they have finally arrived at Bhagavan. The one's who do NOT raise this point, certainly does not have a conflict. They are simply happy and silently follow their one guru. But those who do point it out frequently, seem to worry so much about the other sadhakas who follow many Guru's. They like to play God.

"For example, Bhagavan and Nisargadatta were both gurus, and had wide following respectively. Apparently, their teachings also appeared similar. However, they differed much in their details. Whereas Nisargadatta frequently advised his devotees to observe their thoughts; Bhagavan's constant advice was to ignore all thoughts and to attend only to the thinker. If a devotee follows both these guru's, whom should he listen to, Nisargadatta or Bhagavan? Therefore, devotees following many gurus may have conflict in many such cases (I have used 'may have conflict' and not 'will have conflict)."

Absolutely no conflict at all, since they fully realize the harmony and beauty of both teachings. They follow the teaching that they find suitable with the understanding that following either of them will result in the mind getting more and more subtle and grace will take over and shepherd them properly.

"Ultimately guru is only one, and we can this guru by many names, such as - grace, God, self, pure-consciousness, sat-chit-ananda absolute and so on; however, in my opinion, it may be advisable to choose one outward manifestation of this inner guru, and follow his or her teachings wholeheartedly."

If one focuses too much on the diversity and fine prints of each teachings, one sees a need to follow only one teaching wholeheartedly. But if one sees the harmony and beauty among the teachings, one follows the harmony and beauty of those teachings wholeheartedly.

venkat said...

"If one focuses too much on the diversity and fine prints of each teachings, one sees a need to follow only one teaching wholeheartedly. But if one sees the harmony and beauty among the teachings, one follows the harmony and beauty of those teachings wholeheartedly."

Well said Sivanarul - it is like getting lost in the fine detail of the finger pointing to the moon, rather than looking in the direction in which it is pointing.

Actually Nisargadatta's teaching ultimately is the same as Bhagavan's - to look for the witness that is watching thoughts and/or to abide in the 'I am'. Like Bhagavan, Nisargadatta would have shaped his teachings for specific circumstances of the seeker asking the question; for example, at an early stage in sadhana, it is absolutely appropriate to watch thoughts, since that in itself puts some distance between the watcher and the thoughts.

As you note, if you understand the direction in which they are both pointing, the harmony, beauty and complementarity is self-evident.

Roger Isaacs said...


Sanjay said: Bhagavan has taught us that self-investigation is the only way to destroy our ego. Of course, we should believe him when he says so, but it is not the case of only belief. We can also understand this by simple logic.


Sanjay, when you say "we should believe him", by "we" are you referring to me, Roger? Ha!

If you are interested in "simple logic": examine the historical record and make a list of all the great masters who were clearly enlightened. There are dozens. Mahavira, Jesus, Buddha, Sankara etc...
Now, if Atma-vicara is the only way... then why don't we find these great masters praising it?! How do you account for this logical fact?

Numerous masters have proclaimed their way as the only way. It excites the egos of followers and gets them really involved & inspired. But in general, when I hear "only way" regarding just about anything it's a red flag that ego may be present. Fine if you say "atma-vicara" is the only way for Sanjay, just don't put it on me.

In my opinion the most important thing is to find a meditation practice that works for you. "works for you" meaning you have discovered in your experience that a specific practice leads to profound & increasing inner stillness and you practice it everyday, perhaps for an hour in sitting meditation for example. And that may very well be atma-vicara. How long do you spend meditating using atma-vicara each day? If not... then you are just a spectator.

It seems to me that we pass through 3 stages of development and each builds on the foundation of the earlier stages:
1: religious: reliance on outward authority, development of feeling, faith, and moral guidelines.
2: the yogas: looking inward and using the will to still the mind in some way.
3: the stage beyond the yogas: advaita, primarily resting in profound inner stillness, a prerequisite might be that you can already keep the mind profoundly still just by intention anytime. Nisargadatta Maharaj said he rested silently in "I Am" for 3 years before grace descended.

Advaita is frequently taught these days without the prerequisites, but in this case advaita becomes just a religion. That is: without very serious effort at stilling the mind (that is breaking the identification with thought and emotion) using one or more of the yogas (whatever you have an aptitude for)... then most people are blocked forever.

The stage of the yogas can also be a block: some yoga teachers don't adequately teach about advaita. Fascinating that in the Mandukyopanisad with Gaudapada's Karika there are several warnings: if you can hold nirvikalpa samadhi, that is very good but do not let the mind rest there.

The stage of religion can also be a block: some religions only teach a total reliance on outward authority and do not point to the next stage of looking inward and stilling the mind.

Perhaps Jesus was right:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13

By "destruction" I assume that he is referring to over consumption of ice cream.

sprouting seed said...

Michael,
"Bhagavan cannot fail to conquer us, because he conquers us only by his infinite love for us, and there is no power greater than that.
[…].
…what he wants to give us, which is the pure, eternal, infinite and indivisible self-awareness, that we actually are."
Is not the unavoidable question permissible, why then Bhagavan did not prevent the very moment that we first seemingly rose as this impure, temporary, finite and separated ego or mind ?
Presumably that question cannot at all be answered by the mind.

Sivanarul said...

Roger has laid out 3 stages of development very nicely. I oscillate between stage 1 and stage 2 (may be stage 1.5). But sometimes when the mind plunges to tamas, stage 0 :-), then pull back to stage 1 and go again to stage 1.5. Completing stage 2 will be very nice, for occasionally a glimpse of stage 2 occurs and the peace is simply awesome. But the craving begins pretty soon and it goes back to stage 1 or 0. When the glimpse of stage 2 happens, the suffering inherent in craving is clearly recognized. But once slipped back to stage 1 or 0, that clear recognition is lost.

"In my opinion the most important thing is to find a meditation practice that works for you. "works for you" meaning you have discovered in your experience that a specific practice leads to profound & increasing inner stillness and you practice it everyday, perhaps for an hour in sitting meditation for example"

Very good suggestion, especially an hour in sitting meditation. I do 20 minutes one day, 15 mins another day, 45 mins some other day and completely skip several days. It is totally inconsistent. The usual excuses of work, family and time are the reasons even though I don't believe the reasons I tell myself. Can't blame it on grace either, for it has been very kind to me. What can I say other than samasara has a very strong foothold? But hopefully the peace tasted by a glimpse of stage 2, one day will collapse the love for samsara.

Sivanarul said...

sprouting seed,

Bhagavan asked the same question to Arunachala in Aksharamanamalai in verse 11:

"Even when the thieves of the five senses break in upon me, art Thou not still in my heart, Oh Arunachala?"

He answers it in verse 12:

One art Thou without a second; who then could dare elude Thee and come in? This is only Thy jugglery, Oh Arunachala!

Arunāchala Siva, Arunāchala Siva, Arunāchala Siva, Arunāchala!
Arunāchala Siva, Arunāchala Siva, Arunāchala Siva, Arunāchala!

Stephen Ho said...


Dear Michael and everybody else,

So far my understanding from the "the 40 Verses on Reality" by Bhagavan which I read long ago, my conclusion was that "I am a body" was Jnana only, and that absolutely everything without exception , including all thoughts (even decisions and choices ) must be perceived as Jnana only .

I started having problems when I re-read again the 11th and 13th paragraphs of "Who Am I " by Bhagavan in which all thoughts (including decisions and choices) must be annihilated immediately and consistently (11th paragraph) , and in which in which no thoughts are allowed to arise (13th paragraph). To me , I thought those two paragraphs meant that no thoughts should exist or arise totally.

Looking back, comparing both "40 Verses On Reality" and "Who Am I" together , I think what Bhagavan meant was simply to view absolutely all thoughts without exception that arise (including decision making and choices) are simply Jnana and nothing more.

I wonder if I am on the correct track here.


Sanjay Lohia said...

sprouting seed, may I share my manana on the question you asked Michael; however, please wait for Michael's response to you doubts. You ask, 'why then Bhagavan did not prevent the very moment that we first seemingly rose as this impure, temporary, finite and separated ego or mind? Presumably that question cannot at all be answered by the mind'.

The answer to your question is in your question itself. If we seemingly arose as this ego or mind, as you write, then we have not actually arisen as this ego, because your use of the 'word' says it all. If something seemingly happens, then in all likelihood it does not happen at all. Therefore, if we investigate this ego (ourself) we will realise that the ego has never arisen, and what appeared to be the ego was just a formless phantom, which never existed.

Bhagavan is our true nature - that is, he is our pure, eternal, infinite and indivisible self-awareness. In reality, nothing can arise out it, nor can anything subside within it. However, when we experience ourself as this ego, we seemingly rise from ourself and later subside within ourself, but this is only from the perspective of our ego.

Bob - P said...

Dear Sivanaraul with regards what you wrote below:

In regards to the discussion of following Single Guru versus Many Guru's:

- [For those of us who follow many guru's, there is no conflict in following as such. The conflict is only in the minds of those who follow a single guru.] -

I think the above is linked to what I said in my comment dated 11 June 2016 at 10:46 (Sorry I don't know how to link to it lol!) , as it was me who brought this up not Sanjay.

I didn't use the word conflict I was just expressing my personal opinion based on my own experience.
I was not trying to force my opinion on others. Who am I to try and do that.
In the end of the day Bob has shrink and disappear not grow and expand.

What you wrote gives me the impression that there is a "conflict" or friction between those who follow one or those who follow more than one teacher? My comment did to express this conflict in all fairness Sivanarul.

I agree with you my belief is also that there is only one God so all teachers are one. I was just expressing my opinion that following lots of different teachers "may" cause confusion as even though they are all one and say the same thing, how they say it may seem to contradict each other in the mind of the ignorant and I am one such person.

My personal opinion is if all are the same why not pick one (You don't have to) who resonates whether it be Christ, Bhagavan, Buddha etc and surrender to them. In the end it is my understanding that all learning and reading has to go when you surrender yourself completely to God. I think this is the ultimate expression of Bhakti or love for God. I wish I could do this to be honest with you but I am not that spiritually mature or ripe.

Personally I have chosen Bhagavan and his teaching, it is for me but this may not be the same for everyone and there should never be conflict as you suggest. I apologize to you if my comment may of come across that way but that is the last thing I wanted to do believe me.


You said:

"One of the huge advantages of following the path of heart (Bhakthi) is that it rarely sees conflict in anything"

It is my understanding that surrendering yourself to God by turning within is Bhakthi.
In all fairness what you say could give the impression that following the Bhakthi path is a better choice so to speak than some one who doesn't follow the Bhakti path?

Again it is my understanding that Bhagavan taught two paths:
Self investigation and self surrender.
And both paths are the same path or the they are both sides of the same coin. By following one path you are also following the other path. I don't think either path sees conflict compared to the other path.


Sivanarul you also wrote:

{Very true for many on this blog who do NOT keep raising the point on why one should follow only one guru and how they have finally arrived at Bhagavan. The one's who do NOT raise this point, certainly does not have a conflict. They are simply happy and silently follow their one guru. But those who do point it out frequently, seem to worry so much about the other sadhakas who follow many Guru's. They like to play God.}

Sivanarul before I reply to this I thought it was best to check if it was relating to me.

All the very best and hope you have a good weekend.
Your friend.
Bob

venkat said...

Dear Stephen Ho

I presume when you say "jnana" that you mean consciousness. So when you say the body, thoughts and choices are all jnana you mean that these all rise in consciousness and subside back in consciousness, and therefore they are just consciousness? If that is what you meant, then I think that you are correct. However this is quite difficult to assimilate properly.

So Bhagavan and advaita would say realise that all you perceive - external objects, your body, your thoughts / feelings - are NOT you, you are the perceiver of all these. Therefore investigate, direct attention, to the nature of the perceiver, to the exclusion of all perceptions.

Michael would say that if you can turn your attention 180 degrees to be aware of only oneself, to the complete exclusion of everything else, then the dream / maya ends, and there is just pure consciousness.

Others interpret Bhagavan and advaita to mean that this abiding in self-attention, transforms the mind's interpretation of world and its desires / fears into mere shadows, as it is comprehensively known that everything is just a projection of consciousness / jnana (your point), and the concept of a separate 'me' is just not true; for there is only one, consciousness. The mind / ego effectively dies, in the egotistical sense in which we currently operate; we then live life as it comes, without thought of personal advantage / motivation, because there is just no concept of separate person there. Hence the mind is at peace and silent. And life then is just a spontaneous, goal-less flowering.

venkat said...

Hi Roger,

Using "will to still the mind" is problematic because it implies a thinker that is thinking that it should stop thinking. It is a circular reference which cannot be resolved. Krishnamurti's criticism of this is valid - that a conditioned mind, even one that has conditioned itself into stillness, is still a conditioned mind. Therefore self-investigation and neti, neti - understanding and seeing that all the garbage that occupies our mind most of the time - is just not true, not real, not important, and that it is all an outcome of conditioning. And hence it is naturally discarded. This empties the mind of its traditional attachments / distractions, so that, as you say, it rests in the silence that it truly is.

I would suggest that this self-investigation / neti neti should not be done with the goal of enlightenment in mind, because then you are pre-judging the outcome. It should be pursued with an intensity of curiosity to find out what is true for yourself - not just because someone else has said so. They may point a way, but only you can discover truth. Krishnamurti had a wonderful quote:

"In this total maturity there is austerity – that casual, unpremeditated indifference to the things of the world, its virtues, its gods, its respectability, its hopes and values. These must be totally denied for that austerity which comes with aloneness. Aloneness is a life in which all influence has come to an end. It’s this aloneness that is the essence of austerity."

best wishes,
venkat

sprouting seed said...

Sivanarul,
according my English Dictionary :
a "juggler" is someone who juggles in order to entertain people.
One of the meanings of "juggle" is mentioned:
If you juggle, you entertain people by throwing things into the air, catching each one and throwing it up again so that there are several of them in the air at the same time.
So just I feel as a thing thrown in the air - only for entertain people.
Arunachala, you as the One without a second, why do you need me only for throwing me in the air ? Do you not have an other way of entertainment or pleasure, Oh Arunachala ? How dare you to be eluded by this ego ? I bet you daren't tell us the truth ?
You really should be ashamed of yourself.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob-P, I agree with the contents of your last comment addressed to Sivanarul. As you say, when we said we should stick to only one sadguru, we were just expressing our opinion. We suggested to our friends that if they also find, like we have in Bhagavan Ramana, a sadguru who satisfies them fully, they should stick exclusively to his or her teachings. At least, this is what I implied in my earlier comments.

These suggestions were not directed towards a few particular friends, but were just being shared among all, and surely we were not forcing anybody to accept our suggestion. A question may arise, after all, why do we want to stick to only Bhagavan's teachings? To answer this question, I would like to reproduce an extract from Michael's video dated 23-4-2016 (2:17 onwards):

Devotee: [questions Michael about Buddhism]

Michael: What Bhagavan taught is the essence of all teachings, whether you call it Buddhism, Christianity, or whatever it is. Because religions are for whom; religions are based on the idea that there is an individual self, and ego. Bhagavan says that no religions are necessary if there is no ego, and he says that the only way to get rid of the ego is to look at it. So Bhagavan's teachings from one perspective are the essence of all religions, and from another perspective it bypasses all religions. [Transcript ends]

Therefore, if we understand and are convinced by Michael's arguments here - that is, what Bhagavan taught is the essence of all religions - will we not stick to Bhagavan's teachings? I think, we will! However, this is just my view, and others are entitled to their view.

Stephen Ho said...



I think with the following explanation of Bhagavan Sri Ramana's teachings by Michael James, Bhagavan's teachings are for everybody of all religions, of no religions, atheists etc :


In our present experience, the only thing that is real is our own self-consciousness, 'I am'. If we did not exist, we could not know our own existence, nor could we imagine the existence of anything else.

The one real basis of all our knowledge and all our experience is our own consciousness. When we say 'I know' or 'I experience', we imply 'I am conscious'. However, though we sometimes appear to be conscious of things other than ourself, our consciousness of those other things appears and disappears. Being impermanent, it is only relatively real.

The only thing of which we are permanently conscious is ourself — our own being, 'I am'. Even when we are conscious of nothing else, as in sleep, we continue to be conscious of our own being, because our being is inherently self-conscious. In other words, we are self-consciousness, and hence we always experience ourself as 'I am'.

Since our consciousness of other things appears only when our mind is active, it is merely an imagination. But since we are the consciousness that experiences both that imagination and the absence of it in sleep, we are the real consciousness that underlies the imaginary consciousness of otherness.

Since the only form of consciousness that we experience permanently is our own self-consciousness, we can definitely conclude that it is the true and essential form of consciousness. In other words, since we are the fundamental self-consciousness that underlies the appearance of all other forms of consciousness, we alone are the true and essential form of consciousness.

We can also conclude that we are the absolute reality, because we are the fundamental non-dual self-consciousness 'I am', which is essentially unqualified and unconditioned, being free from all limits and any form of dependence upon any other thing. Whatever else may appear or disappear, and whatever change or other action may seem to happen, our essential self-consciousness always remains unchanged and unaffected. Therefore, whereas all other things are relative, our true self-consciousness is absolute.

We are absolute being, absolute consciousness and absolute happiness. Therefore if we wish to free ourself from all unhappiness and all forms of limitation, we must know ourself as we really are. That is, we must actually experience ourself as the absolute non-dual self-consciousness that we really are, and that we now understand ourself to be.

In order to know ourself thus, we must concentrate our entire attention upon our essential self-consciousness 'I am'. This concentration of our attention upon ourself is the practice of atma-vichara — self-investigation, self-examination, self-scrutiny or self-enquiry — which Sri Ramana taught as the only means by which we can experience true non-dual self-knowledge.


From "Our Self-Consciousness Is Absolute" by Michael James

LINK :

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.sg/2007/02/our-self-consciousness-is-absolute.html


Sivanarul said...

Bob - P,

Regarding my comment on the discussion of one guru versus many guru's, I was not responding to your comment. The discussion between you and Sanjay, reminded me of the discussion that went on regarding the same topic a month or two ago and my response was a continuation to that.

Conflict may not be the right word. Concern is a probably a better word. Based on the earlier discussion, there does seem to be a concern in the minds of some aspirants who follow a single guru, that aspirants who follow many guru's are not focussed or are disspating their energy. I have read many comments over the years both in this blog and in other Bhagavan's groups where concern (scorn sometimes) was being expressed over Sri David Godman and Sri V Ganesan. Some also feel that it implies that the above two do not have full trust in Bhagavan, because if they did, there would be no reason to seek elsewhere. I have read that Sri V Ganesan had to take a lot of flak from Ramanashram itself for his seeking so many Guru's considering that he is the grand nephew of Bhagavan and grew under the watchful eyes of Bhagavan till age 14. Sri David Godman has also written how he faced scorn from many fellow Bhagavan devotees upon him being closely involved with Sri Nisarga and Papaji.

So my comment was based on the above background and was a response from one aspirant who follows many guru's on the reasons for it. I agree that your comments do not express conflict, concern or scorn. Sorry I should have clarified it with the above background and details of previous discussion. Your comment simply reminded me of the above, that's all.

"My personal opinion is if all are the same why not pick one (You don't have to) who resonates whether it be Christ, Bhagavan, Buddha etc and surrender to them."

I agree and I have. My Guru is Lord Siva, who resides in the heart of all sentient beings. He stands majestically as Arunachala. He dances in Tillai. He is lovingly worshipped in Mount Kailash, Chidambaram, Kasi, Rameshwaram. He shines through in all the Jyothirlingas. He is both Brahman and Ishvara of the Advaita tradition. He is formless, with form and form-formless. He is the Lord of the Saivite tradition. He instructed via Thirumoolar and Thayumanavar that liberation is like camphor burning out without a trace. He also instructed via Meykandar that liberation is like salt dissolving in water (neither one nor two). Meykander is very clear that SivaJnanaBotham is direct revelation from Lord Siva.

I am trying to Surrender to him. Realising my inability to do it, he teaches me via Nayanamars, Bhagavan, Buddha, Christ and many others. He teaches me about Bhakthi via the Nayanmars. When I complain of any pain or suffering, he shows me Christ and says, is your suffering really greater than being put on the cross and bleeding to death. He reminds me how lovingly Christ accepted that as Gid's will. When craving takes over, he reminds me of Buddha's 4 noble truths. When I ask him, in modern times with the rampage of materialism, is it really possible for someone to be fully absorbed in Sivaness, he points me to Bhagavan and says: Here is one who was firmly established in me in modern times.

Lord Siva comes directly as the Guru only to very ripe souls such as the Nayanmars, Arunagirinathar, Bhagavan etc. For beginners, he teaches via teachers whom he thinks is the most appropriate at a give time/space coorrdinate. He came in as Roger yesterday and reminded me that I have to be consistent with my meditation practice. All are his play. All are his teachings.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment....

"In the end it is my understanding that all learning and reading has to go when you surrender yourself completely to God. I think this is the ultimate expression of Bhakti or love for God. I wish I could do this to be honest with you but I am not that spiritually mature or ripe."

Yes, once the sadhaka advances and has passed the stage 2 that Roger wrote.

==> One of the huge advantages of following the path of heart (Bhakthi) is that it rarely sees conflict in anything <==

"It is my understanding that surrendering yourself to God by turning within is Bhakthi.
In all fairness what you say could give the impression that following the Bhakthi path is a better choice so to speak than some one who doesn't follow the Bhakti path? "

Yes, Bhakthi is turning both within and without to God and surrendering everything to him. Christ expressed it succintly as, "Not my will, but thy will be done". I did not imply that following Bhakthi is a better choice, but simply the observation that the path of heart uses the intellect very less and thus rarely does it see conflict in anything. For example within the Saivaite tradition, as explained above, there are two teachings regarding liberation. One is liberation is like camphor burning off in fire, other is, it is like salt dissolving in water. If one uses the intellect, one would feel the conflict to know which is correct and have that as an intellectual goal to attain. But with the path of the heart, the intellect is put away. The heart lovingly accepts both as teachings as Lord Siva and hence both as correct. The boolean logic falls away and the logic of Siva wins and takes over.

Take care, my friend. Be well.

Just saw Sanjay's quote of Michael:

"Michael: What Bhagavan taught is the essence of all teachings, whether you call it Buddhism, Christianity, or whatever it is. Because religions are for whom; religions are based on the idea that there is an individual self, and ego. Bhagavan says that no religions are necessary if there is no ego, and he says that the only way to get rid of the ego is to look at it. So Bhagavan's teachings from one perspective are the essence of all religions, and from another perspective it bypasses all religions. [Transcript ends]"

There is no bypassing of anything. Bhagavan has said in some instances, that he had completed all sadhana in earlier lifetimes. I certainly have an ago and an individual self. So religion is very essential for me. One way of categorizing aspirants is in 3 buckets. Bucket 1 are those who are in the long path. Bucket 2 are those who are really in the long path but think they are on the short path. Bucket 3 are those who are really on the short path. I am in Bucket 1. There is no bypassing religious teachings or any steps for those who are in Bucket 1 or 2. Bhagavan's comment is meant for aspirants in Bucket 3.

Sivanarul said...

Reposting since it looks like the previous posting did not go through. Breaking it down to multiple posts. Sorry if these are duplicates.

Bob - P,

Regarding my comment on the discussion of one guru versus many guru's, I was not responding to your comment. The discussion between you and Sanjay, reminded me of the discussion that went on regarding the same topic a month or two ago and my response was a continuation to that.

Conflict may not be the right word. Concern is a probably a better word. Based on the earlier discussion, there does seem to be a concern in the minds of some aspirants who follow a single guru, that aspirants who follow many guru's are not focussed or are disspating their energy. I have read many comments over the years both in this blog and in other Bhagavan's groups where concern (scorn sometimes) was being expressed over Sri David Godman and Sri V Ganesan. Some also feel that it implies that the above two do not have full trust in Bhagavan, because if they did, there would be no reason to seek elsewhere. I have read that Sri V Ganesan had to take a lot of flak from Ramanashram itself for his seeking so many Guru's considering that he is the grand nephew of Bhagavan and grew under the watchful eyes of Bhagavan till age 14. Sri David Godman has also written how he faced scorn from many fellow Bhagavan devotees upon him being closely involved with Sri Nisarga and Papaji.

So my comment was based on the above background and was a response from one aspirant who follows many guru's on the reasons for it. I agree that your comments do not express conflict, concern or scorn. Sorry I should have clarified it with the above background and details of previous discussion. Your comment simply reminded me of the above, that's all.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment....

"My personal opinion is if all are the same why not pick one (You don't have to) who resonates whether it be Christ, Bhagavan, Buddha etc and surrender to them."

I agree and I have. My Guru is Lord Siva, who resides in the heart of all sentient beings. He stands majestically as Arunachala. He dances in Tillai. He is lovingly worshipped in Mount Kailash, Chidambaram, Kasi, Rameshwaram. He shines through in all the Jyothirlingas. He is both Brahman and Ishvara of the Advaita tradition. He is formless, with form and form-formless. He is the Lord of the Saivite tradition. He instructed via Thirumoolar and Thayumanavar that liberation is like camphor burning out without a trace. He also instructed via Meykandar that liberation is like salt dissolving in water (neither one nor two). Meykander is very clear that SivaJnanaBotham is direct revelation from Lord Siva.

I am trying to Surrender to him. Realising my inability to do it, he teaches me via Nayanamars, Bhagavan, Buddha, Christ and many others. He teaches me about Bhakthi via the Nayanmars. When I complain of any pain or suffering, he shows me Christ and says, is your suffering really greater than being put on the cross and bleeding to death. He reminds me how lovingly Christ accepted that as Gid's will. When craving takes over, he reminds me of Buddha's 4 noble truths. When I ask him, in modern times with the rampage of materialism, is it really possible for someone to be fully absorbed in Sivaness, he points me to Bhagavan and says: Here is one who was firmly established in me in modern times.

Lord Siva comes directly as the Guru only to very ripe souls such as the Nayanmars, Arunagirinathar, Bhagavan etc. For beginners, he teaches via teachers whom he thinks is the most appropriate at a give time/space coorrdinate. He came in as Roger yesterday and reminded me that I have to be consistent with my meditation practice. All are his play. All are his teachings.

Continued in next comment...

Ann Onymous said...

"All are his play. All are his teachings."

Yes, and Bhagavan says that God, Guru, and Self (or god, guru, and self) are one and the same.

So, how is it that their devotees are separate?

Mouna said...

"So, how is it that their devotees are separate?"

Maya

Sivanarul said...

"So, how is it that their devotees are separate? "

The separation is only in the minds of devotees who insist that they are separate. I consider all sentient beings as belonging to one spiritual family headed by Lord Siva (God in generic term or Self/Ishvara in advaitic term).

Mouna said...

Michael, greetings
I was re-thinking about the recent discussion about "perception of the jnani" and how it could relate to the three vadas. If we take the vivarta vada point of view acknowledging the illusory appearance of maya as power of the self, in which case the jnani (or jnana) would be Ishwara "coexisting" with its own power but realizing its complete deceitful appearance, the analogy of seeing the water as mirage would certainly apply in this case, since the knowledge of the illusory nature of that water doesn't make it disappear, but we are no longer deceived by it.
On the other hand, the analogy of the snake would apply to the ajata point of view, where there is and never has been any snake, and only when there is complete absence of snake, the rope is realized.
In this case It could make sense that when addressing people at one level (drishti-srishti or vivarta ) Bhagavan would acknowledge the illusory appearance of ego/maya along with self attentiveness only of oneself as oneself (sahaja state) or the "limitless eye", but when instructing us about ajata then it follows that everything including maya in its totality goes down the drain since we are not talking anymore about Ishwara but Brahman.

I would appreciate your comments, when time allows and if need be, on this particular way of viewing these points.
M

Ann Onymous said...

"Maya"

That which is not?

Mouna said...

"That which is not?"

yes, maya is everything ... and is not.

Mouna said...

Meaning which appears to be, but it's not.

a said...


"Meaning which appears to be, but it's not."

Not what it appears to be, or not at all?

Ann Onymous said...

That was me.

Roger Isaacs said...


Ann O writes: Maya? That which is not?


The following is the definition of Maya from "The Short Path to Enlightenment, instructions for immediate awakening" by Paul Brunton.

I like it. Rather than proposing that the world does not exist, or that the world is an illusion (as is prominent in some eastern views).. which violates our everyday experience (at least my experience)... this view is that in the end the world is entirely different that it seems. There are subtler layers which we may look for as part of our inward development.


Maya: The world does exist, we are surrounded by it, and usually we apply the term to something that does not exist. It will be more correct to translate the term Maya not by "unreal" but by "not what we think it to be." We must not deny the existence of the world-that would be lunacy-but we must try to get a correct understanding of its hidden nature. PB 19-1-26

Sivanarul said...

Saiva Siddhantha tradition does not consider Maya as illusory (seemingly or otherwise). Within the tradition, Maya is actually considered a good thing and this world appearance is also considered real (a degree of reality that co-exists with lower and higher degrees of reality, with Lord Siva being the absolute reality).

http://shaivam.org/daily-prayers/prayer-siddhanta-43.htm

"Shaiva Siddhanta makes it clear that Maya is not a bad thing. It is not the darkness. The veil of darkness is actually Anava. Maya is indeed the light that we have been provided with by the God. Under the influence of Anava the soul is by default in darkness.

The ultimate state for the soul is the dawn - the state enjoying the Bliss from Lord Shiva. In the transit, the soul is provided with a light - that is Maya which manifests as the body, instruments, worlds and the enjoyments that help the soul enjoy limited happinessand travel towards the ultimate destination.

We hail the Mother Shakti as the cause of Maya. She appears as the Maya or Grace depending upon where we are in the journey."

Ann Onymous said...

"Shaiva Siddhanta makes it clear that Maya is not a bad thing."

"not what we think it to be."

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Paul, Shaiva Siddhanta, and William all seem to agree!

And Michael adds:

"...what we see as this world is also seen by Bhagavan, but whereas we see it as a vast array of forms or phenomena, he sees it only as himself, which is just pure formless awareness. That is, what actually exists is only pure awareness, so there is nothing to see other than that..."

venkat said...

Sivanarul

I am not knowledgeable in Saiva siddhanta, but I happen to be reading Ozhivil Odukkam, translated by Robert Butler. It seems to be clear that maya is unreal and not a good thing, and that it needs to be seen through, transcended. Have I misunderstood?

v.150 The aim of Vedanta is to be free of the delusion of maya . . . whilst the aim of Siddhanta is to dwell effortlessly in the state of transcendent bliss, just as those bound by the ego dwell in the state of bondage. To those who are free of the individual consciousness, these two are one and the same.

v162. On being informed that the world and the body, which are of the nature of maya, are unreal like a mirage, you should try to comprehend their true nature. Rather than that, do you expect to be able to eliminate them, shaking them off and obliterating them completely? Similarly the way to escape from a fire that surrounds you in a dream is simply to wake up.

v164. True jnanis and false jnanis alike proclaim that birth is to be abhorred. However you will not recognise those who subside inwardly as their external attachments subside, knowing that the body is an unnecessary affliction, and that true penance is the absence of all attachment, by the simple fact that they demonstrate their lack of attachment to the body and senses in their actual conduct? This is the trait by which you will know them.

Roger Isaacs said...

Sivanarul said: sometimes when the mind plunges to tamas, stage 0 :-), then pull back to stage 1 and go again to stage 1.5.

Yeah, I can relate to "stage 0 tamas", such as after over eating or eating too heavy etc. Why do I keep doing it? Well, maybe it's not so much of a rollercoaster ride as it used to be.

venkat said...

Sivanarul

An extract from Sorupananda's Sorupa Saram.

33
Q: Even if the mind subsides, sayujyam (union) is attained only when maya is destroyed
A: The destruction of the mind is itself the destruction of maya, and hence it is sayujyam
I have seen the way of the birth of the mind that leads to the birth of the world and the birth of the doer, the ego 'I'. The non-subsidence of the mind is itself maya. The firmness of those who destroy this maya is indeed sayujyam.

62
Q: Then what is the way to attain Sivam?
A: The way to see one's Self is by rejecting everything else as maya.
The inert semen became the foetus and then became alive by mixing with the conscious principle. It appears to be real. When this happens, he who contemplates his real nature regarding all this as illusion, is Sivam.

Sivanarul said...

Venkat,

You are correct that Maya has to eventually go, and it is ultimtately not a good thing, in that it blocks liberation. But it is a good thing compared to anava malam, which is what I expressed, although not in detail. Let me explain.

Saiva Siddthantha holds that the Jiva has 3 malams (impurities) namely Anavam, Mayai (Maya) and Kanmam. Anavam is very closely related to Avidya of the Vedanta tradition. Anavam is called primal ignorance. It is uncaused and is said to be inherent in Jiva just as verdigris is inherent in copper. Thaymanavar tells that to be under the influence of Anavam is to be like a blind child thrown and tied into a sac and placed in a dark room. The power of Anavam is, not just that it veils Sivam, but it veils itself also. In other words Anavam not only causes ignorance but also shields the Jiva from knowing it is ignorant. At this stage the Jiva is totally helpless and in total darkness. It does not know light or darkness. A person who has sight, if he enters a darkroom, doesn't see anything, but he sees darkness (as absence of light). A person that is blind from birth will not see the darkness also. Thus Anavam is said to be the worst of the 3 malams.

Lord Siva's infinite and eternal grace manifests as 36 tattvas (principles) to help the Jiva out of the Anava malam. One of these tattavas is Maya, which is used to create the Universe and Bhoga for the Jiva to enter and experience. Thus through the help of Maya, the Jiva now experiences the world. While under the influence of Maya, it does Karma and the Jiva now gets bound to both Maya and Karma (in addition to the original Anava).

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment to Venkat...

Maya is good, only in the sense that it does not veil itself like Anavam does. Regarding the stage 0 plunge I posted earlier, while it can be said to be due to Maya, it did not block me from realizing that I had a stage 0 plunge. Because of that realization, I can try again and get back to stage 1.5. But if it was anavam, then there would have not been any stages to begin with.

Now coming to your point that Maya is not a good thing (Ozhivil Odukkam and Sorupa Saram), you are absolutely right. While Maya is good compared to Anavam, it is bad, because it makes one go after the world which is temporary and devoid of eternal bliss. It is bad because it blocks Sayujam (union) with Sivam.

A wise aspirant is then told to treat Maya and Karma as two thorns that the Lord gave to pick out the eternal thorn of Anavam. Once the Anavam comes under control, then all 3 thorns must subside to enable Siva Sayujam (final union with Sivam).

Thus the state of Anavam is said to be Kevala Thasai(complete darkness and blindess of an eternal nature). The state under the influence of Maya and Karma (with Anavam taking a back seat) is said to be Petha Thasai (a sighted person in a dark room). The state of Siva Sayujam is said to be Muktha Thasai (in eternal bliss within Siva).

The Meykandar school of Saiva Siddhantha holds that even in liberation anavam is not destroyed (Maya and Kanma are destroyed since they were not eternal) because it is an eternal principle. What is destroyed is the power of anavam, in that it will not be able to hide Jiva's Siva nature anymore. The Siva Sayuja is described as Salt dissoliving in water.

The Thirumoolar school of Saiva Siddthantha (along with Thaymanavar, Ozhival Oddukkam and Sorupa Saram) hold that the liberation is more like camphor burnt away in fire. There Jiva is completely annihilated and Siva alone remains and the bliss enjoyed is Siva as Siva.

venkat said...

Thank you Sivanarul.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Venkat,
Thanks for your comments which always encourage me to contemplate deeper.

venkat said: I would suggest that this self-investigation / neti neti should not be done with the goal of enlightenment in mind, because then you are pre-judging the outcome. It should be pursued with an intensity of curiosity...

Yes! I agree. An imagined "goal" or assumption can be some sort of mental activity or projection which is actually a barrier to the Real, the Real is beyond speculation, speculation has to cease. And "intensity of curiosity" for me could be identical with "who (or what) am I?"

A couple of quotes from PB:
There are two stages [in meditation]: (a) effort, and (b) cessation of effort while waiting for Grace.
The art of meditation is accomplished in two progressive stages: first, mental concentration; second, mental relaxation. The first is positive, the second is passive.


So there is a stage which is characterized by the subtle effort of meditation (of some type). But it is paradoxical in that, if successful, the initial effort increasingly drops away towards effortlessness.

Or using a different word: whatever general meditation we are using, we must have the intention to be still or to probe subtler and subtler levels of stillness or "who (or what) am I?" ?

Looking at Mandukyopanisad III-44: If the mind becomes inactive in a state of oblivion (nirvikalpa samadhi) awaken it again. If it is distracted, bring it back... If the mind has attained to be state of equilibrium, then do not disturb it again.

So I am equating the "subtle effort of meditation", the intention to sit down for a time period, and the intention to be inwardly still as using the "will". Does it make sense? In order to practice Mandukyo III-44 we must have the intention to do so? And we could call that the "will" to "awaken" the mind from nirvikalpa samadhi, or to bring the mind back from distraction? I like this verse because it also shows the effortless finale: "if the mind is quiet... then do not disturb it".

It seems like "K" is describing the high state of the effortless finale.

But... it is difficult or impossible to describe such things in words: from an entirely different angle: saying that "implies a thinker that is thinking that it should stop thinking" never works probably doesn't hold. There is the concept in vedanta of "using a thorn to remove a thorn" and after one thorn has been removed the other is discarded.

And, we can and should negate pre-judging or projecting the outcome of meditation, anticipating any particular results etc... because such activities are likely projections of the mind. But PB goes in to a lot of detail about using recollection and remembrance (similar to projecting, anticipating, pre-judging) of the higher Self / glimpse experiences as a high technique.

When trying to describe something that is beyond words... different words may appear be contradictory but simply point to the same goal from a different perspective.

Sanjay Lohia said...

When there is so much suffering in this world, should we not try to relieve this suffering by service to others, instead of trying to seek our own liberation? Many also believe that karma-yoga is a valid path to attain God. Some saints have reportedly said that they would not like their own salvation, until there is even a single suffering or unfed person remaining in their country, and so on.

As recorded in a video, Michael replies to a question (on 24-4-2016 : 8 min. onwards), and his reply addresses our above concerns. I reproduce the relevant transcript of his reply:

Devotee: If we wake up from this dream [world], which we are so convinced is real, how will that help this world? [This was presumably asked in reference to Bhagavan’s statement that the best help one can render to this world is by experiencing oneself as one rally is]

Michael: There is so much suffering in this world, isn’t it, and we would like that suffering to end. But the very nature of this world is suffering. Is there ever going to be a utopia? It is never going to happen. Even if all people were benevolent, there is still disease, old age, death – inevitably the world means suffering. There may be iota of pleasure against the background of suffering. So, how to get rid of all the suffering in this world? The best thing we can do for the world is to destroy it.

Bhagavan says (in Day by Day), when the atom-bomb of jnana descends, all the worlds will be burnt like a pile of cotton, because they are all built on the flimsy foundation of the ego. So, when the ego is destroyed, everything is destroyed along with it. What is the power in the atom-bomb? It is spitting of an atom. What is the smallest atom from which everything is expanded? It is the ego - cit-jada-granthi. It is the knot between consciousness and the insentient. If we split that atom, infinite power will be released, which will engulf all this.

In Aksaramanamalai, verse 27, Bhagavan says referring to Arunachala – the sun whose rays swallows the whole universe. He gives the same analogy in Arunachala Pancharatnam, and referring to Arunachala he says – swallowing everything. That is Arunachala, so Arunachala is a very dangerous God to worship. Be warned! [transcript ends]

Any comments or views on Michael's reply?

jacques franck said...

Thanks Sanjay Lohia to make some transcripts of the video of Michael, because I can read the post/blog, but my understanding by oral is not good...

Namaste :)

Bob - P said...

Dear Sivanarul

Thank you for your reply and explaining what you did about your previous reply.
I whole heartedly agree with you my friend I think it is a shame when scorn is directed to others who follow a slightly different path. Whether it be following one guru or multiple gurus or between those following only vichara and those following different practises. Or worse still those looking down on others or think they are right or superior in some way.

At the end of the day we are all on the same path which is to surrender to God. Or maybe to merge / dissolve in God. So how silly it is when we argue amongst each other. How can we take ourselves or our views seriously when we are the very thing (ego experiencing itself as a person) we are try to remove or destroy!! We must laugh at ourselves. Whenever I get serious I try to remember this.

I must confess Sivanarul I do tend write (probably too often !) how happy and grateful I am to have found Bhagavan, his teaching and Michael's blog to help me understand it! I think I should keep it to myself a bit more. It may come across that I am preaching or trying to convert others (lol)!!!

I am a very slow typer and it is evident you are not.
I must say I found your series of recent posts very interesting about your personal view (your guru being Lord Siva) and all you wrote about it and your practise!! I hope you surrender to Lord Siva soon and in this life. I am trying my best to surrender to Bhagavan so we are both on the same path and trying to surrender to the same guru. Because like you say there is only one God.

All the best and I am so glad you are here and post on this blog.
Bob

Bob - P said...

Dear Sanjay
Thank you for posting the extract from Michael's video dated 23/04/2016 about what Bhagavan taught being the essence of all teachings, very helpful. I must watch these latest 3 videos again. I happen to agree with what you write Sanjay but I also agree with you that others may have different opinions and that is fine too.
Michael has said in the past that Bhagavan has simplified a lot for us and personally speaking I am so grateful as I do tend to get confused easily when I read different teachers. But this is of course down to me getting easily confused !!! Or I should say down to the student not the teacher/s.

Take care
Bob

Bob - P said...

Dear Mouna

Thank you for your post about the recent discussion about "Perception of a Jnani".
Your analogy of the mirage / water and snake / rope linked to vivarta vada and ajata was very helpful to me. Like you I am looking forward to Michael's reply and his future article on this aspect of Bhagavan's teaching.
Take care
Bob

Bob - P said...

Sanjay
I meant to say in my last post to you that I have been thinking about your latest post about "The world and suffering" and Michales reply etc. I will try to get back to you about tomorrow.
All the best
Bob

Bob - P said...

Sorry misspelt "Michael's reply"

Sanjay Lohia said...

Jacques, you wrote, 'Thanks Sanjay Lohia to make some transcripts of the video of Michael, because I can read the post/blog, but my understanding by oral is not good...'.

Whose understanding is not good? Obviously, you mean 'your understanding', so who is this you or 'who am I'? This turning of our attention towards ourself alone is the very essence of Bhagavan's teachings; therefore, we should take every opportunity to turn within. If we do so regularly and with enough persistence we will experience ourself as we really are, and thereby we would understand whatever needs to be understood.

Mouna said...

Dear Bob,

Your heartfelt postings are a breeze of fresh air in this virtual sangha.

All the best,
M

venkat said...

Hi Roger

Its an fascinating question - the role of will in self-realisation. The way many people describe meditation is as if it is a chore, to be practised until a goal is achieved. But I would suggest if you really intellectually comprehend advaita, the meditation would happen automatically. Not because 'you' are trying to achieve a goal. But because you fully appreciate the world and its ambitions are unreal; and therefore you simply rest in beingness, trying to understand what it is you really are, for its own sake. And the very understanding of advaita, means that you just don't have that same level of anxiety to 'achieve'.

Its a bit like studying. For me, studying history was a chore, because I had to learn meaningless dates, etc etc - but I did it, in order to pass my examinations. By contrast, studying maths was a joy - once I understood the principles, it was easy and 'fun' to apply. I could go on doing it endlessly . . . (almost).

I suspect that if you are naturally drawn to advaita, your interest in it will develop at its own pace, and you will then be drawn into meditating, either formally or informally during everyday life. But at that point, can we say that there is a will that is trying to make the mind still, or does your mind naturally fall quiet because its bathes in and enjoys the peace, and is turned off by worldly interests?

Nisargadatta gave a clue to this when he said:

"When there is total surrender, complete relinquishment of all concern with one’s past, present and future, with one’s physical and spiritual security and standing, life dawns full of love and beauty; then the guru is not important for the disciple has broken the shell of self-defence. Complete self-surrender by itself is liberation."

But the reality is that most of us are not yet ready to relinquish all concern with our well-being. So instead we compromise and try to set a bargain with god - I will meditate and purify myself, and at some point you need to bestow your grace upon me and grant me realisation, at which point I will be happy to relinquish everything.

There is a verse in Ozhivil Odukkan which reads:

"You say that is is the incontrovertible truth that the world is false. If you fully realise the truth of the words, is it necessary still to go looking for the 'real'? Why do you cast doubt upon this, repeatedly looking at the sun of true knowledge that banished the black darkness of ignorance, then blinking and turning away?"

Robert Butler comments: The image evoked is that of someone who is not satisfied that the absence of darkness and the full illumination of his surroundings is sufficient proof of the existence of the sun, but insists instead on trying to look directly at it, to make sure that it is there.

One final congruent thought from JK:

"The desire to free oneself from conditioning only furthers conditioning. But if, instead of trying to suppress desire, one understands the whole process of desire, in that very understanding there comes freedom from conditioning. Freedom from conditioning is not a direct result. Do you understand? If I set about deliberately to free myself from my conditioning, that desire creates its own conditioning. I may destroy one form of conditioning, but I am caught in another. Whereas, if there is an understanding of desire itself, which includes the desire to be free, then that very understanding destroys all conditioning. Freedom from conditioning is a byproduct; it is not important. The important thing is to understand what it is that creates conditioning"

Best wishes,
venkat

Sivanarul said...

Venkat,

"But the reality is that most of us are not yet ready to relinquish all concern with our well-being. So instead we compromise and try to set a bargain with god - I will meditate and purify myself, and at some point you need to bestow your grace upon me and grant me realisation, at which point I will be happy to relinquish everything."

I agree that most of us are not ready to relinquish all concern. The meditation and purification part is then the means to gradually increase the relinquishment. The bargain with god is that I will do my part (meditation, purification and other sadhana), but since my part is not going to result in full relinquishment, grace is then required to push me over the edge.

"The way many people describe meditation is as if it is a chore, to be practised until a goal is achieved. But I would suggest if you really intellectually comprehend advaita, the meditation would happen automatically. Not because 'you' are trying to achieve a goal. But because you fully appreciate the world and its ambitions are unreal; and therefore you simply rest in beingness"

Resting in beingness, whether that be advaita or any other sadhana, happens only at the advanced stages. In the early stages, the advaiti who intellectully fully appreciates the world and ambitions as unreal, still watches his sports team and movies, instead of resting in his being. After watching his sports team win or lose the game, he turns to his being as a chore just like the meditator does. The advaiti also has a goal namely "to rest in his being, in an uniterrupted manner (in Turiya)". The meditator also has a goal whether that be merging in Ishvara or raising Kundalini to Sahashara.

The point here is that the method of sadhana is not the key to beingness, but the level of the sadhaka is. In the early stages, most sadhakas do the sadhana somewhat as a chore and with a goal in mind, irrespective of the type of yoga they are following.

Religion recognizes this and that is why temple worship, parayana and daily house worship is highly recommended even if the sadhaka does it as a chore and in a mechanical manner. Bhagavan also recognized this and that is why he recommended the study of Ribhu Gita. He has said something like (not exact), "Reading it frequently will take one to samadhi, even if one does not understand fully what it says". In other words, you can study it as a chore and in a mechanical manner, but still eventually it will lead one to Samadhi.

ananda akhanda said...

Sivanarul,
my recommendation: do not care about samadhi. Do rather try to lead your life always attuned to him who is the one pervading in all things, the self in your heart.

Sanjay Lohia said...

There is a lot of confusion about Bhagavan’s ‘death experience’, because in most of the places this is recorded either in a distorted form, or in a diluted form. Therefore, these descriptions do not give a clear picture as to what exactly happened then. According to these descriptions, Bhagavan had supposedly said that after his death experience, he, thereafter, constantly remained focused on ‘I’, even while he was engaged in his bodily activities, thereby implying that he was aware of his bodily activities even after his ‘death experience’.

What exactly happened during this ‘death experience’? What was Bhagavan's inner state after this experience? I have recorded an extract of Michael’s description of Bhagavan’s in this regard, which is recorded in a video dated 24/4/2016 from 00:54 onwards. This should help us to understand Bhagavan’s ‘death experience’ better:

Devotee: [asks Michael some questions about Bhagavan’s ‘death experience’]

Michael: Bhagavan described that ‘death experience’ in words in order to show us the way, but he himself said that though he described it in so many words, it was an experience behind words. In some books it is written that he dramatised death, but he wasn’t doing any drama. In a flash, he got an intense fear of death, and was so petrified of death [that he asked himself] – ‘if this body dies, am I going to die with it’.

He was so terrified that he just lay down, and his body actually died, and therefore it wasn’t just enacting death. Bhagavan said that for about 20 minutes there was no heart beat, perspiration or anything. These completely stopped. Because of the force with which his mind went inwards, his body actually died. The moment his mind went in, from his perspective, everything was destroyed.

However from our perspective, according to divine grace, after 20 minutes his heart started working again and he seemed to have a life for about 54 years after that. That’s only in our view, in his view there was no body, no world, nothing after that. * [Transcript ends]

Any comments on the above description of Bhagavan’s death experience?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sorry, I typed 'perspiration', whereas it should have been 'respiration'.

venkat said...

Sivanarul

I'd agree with Ananda Ankhanda's sentiment.

I'd suggest that the earnestness of a seeker that is spoken of comes from within; it reflects an utter despair with life as we live it, and the ambitions, desires and fears that society has put upon us. At which point, the seeker desperately wants to learn / understand the meaning of this life, and what is it that 'he' is - not what society has inculcated in him.

Without this disenchantment with life, then other worship is religious, as you say. It is about a person trying to improve himself in order to reach some societal concept of heaven, samadhi, moksha whatever. I agree, not to be dismissed lightly.

But I think this is what the sages meant by 'effortless effort', or effort at the beginning, and no effort at the end. Once the disenchantment sets in, then you 'naturally' are not drawn to watching TV, sports, etc. There is no wilful effort about it. And, I think as Michael said, the more you abide in the Self, the more you are drawn to doing so.

Ann Onymous said...

Sanjay (or Michael, or anyone) -

Re: Life after Bhagavan's (or anyone else's) death experience, how should we interpret the following quote?

"Living in the world with worthless the ego destroyed, is like witnessing a battle of rutting elephants from the vantage point of a mountain peak." - Muruganar (Padamalai, The Jnani v. 40)

Sivanarul said...

Venkat & ananda akhanda,

The gist of what ananda akhanda said is what Sahaja Samadhi is. That is the final goal. How do we get there? That is what I am trying to say.

I agree that for the seeker for whom samsara has given a boatload of sticks (with no or very few carrots), his/her desperation will be intense to get out of it and he/she is ready for the effortless effort. But for significant portion of aspirants, while there is significant sticks, there is also reasonable carrots. So those aspirants do not have the desperation you are alluding to.

What do those aspirants do? That is where the religious practices come into play. Those are nothing but best practices that have been codified by saints who walked the path before us. I don't know whether saying heaven, samadhi, moksha as societal concepts does justice to them. Typically making money, a name, fame etc are the things that are termed as societal concepts. Once we are talking about samadhi or moksha, we have entered into religion and spirituality.

I think you are trying to say that if a person is focussing on heaven, he is simply trying to go on to a better earth. Yes, many religious people are probably trying to that. But if they do manage to do that, then it is a great stepping stone and a wonderful down payment to their progress. To enter the gates of heaven one needs to follow ahimsa, morality, compassion and a truckload of other things.

"Once the disenchantment sets in, then you 'naturally' are not drawn to watching TV, sports, etc. There is no wilful effort about it."

I agree to a certain extent with that. But that does have to exclude at least some practice of Pratyahara. Again that is the beauty of religious practices because they prescribe certain practices like fasting, pratyahara, mimimalist living etc which result in a certain degree of physical renunciation. These help disenchanement to set it which allows the natural withdrawal without wilful effort.

Effortless Effort is for those who have done Effortful Effort either in previous lives or in this life. Effortful Effort leads to Effortless Effort.

Sivanarul said...

"However from our perspective, according to divine grace, after 20 minutes his heart started working again and he seemed to have a life for about 54 years after that. That’s only in our view, in his view there was no body, no world, nothing after that. * [Transcript ends]

Any comments on the above description of Bhagavan’s death experience?"

Honestly, how Bhagavan viewed the world in his view does not matter or help me at all. How I view that Bhagavan viewed the world is what helps me. In those wonderful 54 years, he demonstrated unflinching devotion to Arunachala and practiced duality towards it, he participated in liberating at least 3 souls (including his mother), he drafted a very thoughtful ashram will that ensures proper continuity of ashram management, he encouraged vedic chants in the ashram, he followed Thirumoolar's thirumanthiram when burying his mother's body to make sure it followed the protocol for a saint, he heard and alleviated the sufferings of many of his devotees, he granted visions of him to many devotees, he took the Karma of many devotees on to him, when Sri Muruganar's wife complained to him that due to her husband's complete renunciation she does not even have a saree, he arranged for her to get sarees.

The above are undisputed facts. For those who are religious spiritual aspirants and who follow Bhagavan's path of surrender to Ishvara, Bhagavan's actions are his teachings.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ann, you quote Muruganar: 'Living in the world with worthless the ego destroyed, is like witnessing a battle of rutting elephants from the vantage point of a mountain peak.' (Padamalai, The Jnani v. 40)

It is obvious that Muruganar is talking metaphorically here. I believe, Michael is the most competent person to interpret this metaphor, but anyway I will try to give my views on this verse.


Perhaps what Muruganar is saying is that after one's ego is annihilated this frenzied worldly activity, which we witness all around us, will not affect us. Muruganar may be equating 'this frenzied worldly activity' with 'a battle of rutting elephants’. Why will the jnani not be affected by this mad world-drama? It is because after his ego is annihilated he would go and sit on the mountain peak of jnana, and from that ‘vantage point’ nothing could be witnessed, including this dream-world.

In other words, the jnani, whose ego has been destroyed, will go much beyond his bodily or worldly consciousness. We may be able to witness his body and his actions, but he will not be aware of his body, or even our body, in the least.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivananarul writes, 'For those who are religious spiritual aspirants and who follow Bhagavan's path of surrender to Ishvara, Bhagavan's actions are his teachings'.

Surely Bhagavan's actions are his teachings, but his teachings are much beyond his bodily actions. By the way, his original writings such as Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Yar?, Upadesa Undiyar . . . were also his actions, so what he wrote in these works cannot be ignored since he himself wrote these works.

Therefore, as Michael has been repeatedly emphasising, his teachings in these texts are much more precious than his bodily actions. Bhagavan bodily actions could not have conveyed to us his core teachings, which he gave us in texts such as Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Yar?, Upadesa Undiyar . . ..

Bob - P said...

Dear Sanjay

With regards your post about the world and suffering.

Even though it is not my experience as Bob the person projected by the ego if as Bhagavan says the ego and what it projects, the person, the body and the world is not real it is a huge relief to me. As Michael says there is so much suffering in the world and no matter how much we try to fix everything there will always be suffering because we are experiencing duality. We can never live in a world without suffering.


But to intellectually know the world and the suffering is my own projection does help me a bit as the suffering is only actually my own as the ego. None of the other sentient beings in my dream are sentient at all and are not actually suffering because like Bob they are all the ego's projection. Bob only appears sentient because his essence is the sentient ego and the ego only appears to be sentient because its source or foundation is myself as I really am which is the only sentient being. All other sentient beings apart from it don't exist and only exist in the ego's own distorted view of multiplicity.

However whilst I am Bob the person all the other sentient beings are as real as me and to say they must be treated with compassion is not really right as you are not doing it because you should or because it is the right thing to do or because it makes you a good person!! You do it out of pure love and because you have to. Others suffering is nothing but our own suffering.

It is not easy but I try now to focus on helping sentient beings within my immediate reach and try not to think about all the terrible things going on out of my reach.
It is too painful. I pray it is an illusion.

For example as a vegan I try not think about all the animals suffering far away from me and try to focus on the ones within my reach. Whether it is a snail on the pavement who is bound to me stepped on or a toad walking across the road in need of a helping hand across to the other side. They need my help and I am compelled to give it, I must give it.

I always find injured birds on my morning walk this year so far I have found

Redpoll, Wood Pigeon, Oyster catcher, Starling, Black bird.

Only last week I found in my local church yard a juvenile wood pigeon with a broken wing and puncture wound in its chest !! I took it to my vet and he put it to sleep to remove its suffering as it injuries were beyond repair. I walked home upset thinking about all the wood pigeons suffering a similar fate right at this moment in time that I can't help.
It is heart breaking.

Plus the mind wanders and then thinks about all other species of sentient beings from simple to complex who are suffering right now and are in need of much help.

I don't like this world of mine. The world the ego has created along with me Bob stuck in the middle of it.

From an intellectual understanding I should be able to walk past and leave injured sentient beings as they are not real but in reality it is impossible to do such a thing.

But saving them is actually a selfish act as I am relieving my own suffering by removing their suffering. I am reminded about the story of Lincoln and the pig stuck in mud. He saved it because he could not bare to see it suffer. How true.

Like Michael says the only way to relieve all the suffering in the world is to investigate the cause of the world and all the suffering within it. The cause is the ego and if we investigate it intensely enough and turn 180 degrees towards our self it will disappear along with all its distorted creation including all the suffering contained within.

All that will remain is our self as we really are the non dual self aware happy being.

All the suffering will be gone thank god including me Bob who has to witness it.

In appreciation

Bob

P.s - Please feel free to correct any of above as it is no doubt filled with errors and inaccuracies.

Bob - P said...

Dear Mouna
Thank you. What a treasure this blog is.
How lucky we are it has come into our lives.
Take care
Bob

Ann Onymous said...

Sanjay -

I actually don't think that verse needs any interpretation. And I do think that if a verse - including any in Bhagavan's core teachings - can be interpreted in one way, it can be interpreted in another. The only way to truly know is by experience.

Other verses similar to the one from my previous comment can be found in Padamalai, and the following is also from The Jnani, as an addendum to verse 50:

Bhagavan: Only that man has desires who identifies himself with the body. But the sage has become free from the thought 'I am the body'. The sage looks upon his own body as if it were the body of another. - Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad, v. 565

We shall see.

venkat said...

A couple of thoughts . . .

Sivanarul, you wrote: "These [religious practices] help disenchanement to set it which allows the natural withdrawal without wilful effort."

Why seek disenchantment with life, if one is enchanted by it? If one enjoys watching tv, sports, etc - why does it matter. why should one stop? It doesn't DIRECTLY harm anyone else [it does INDIRECT harm, but that is a longer story], so if one enjoys it, why not?

Sanjay, when you write: Bhagavan's "teachings in these texts are much more precious than his bodily actions" - is that right? Bhagavan's teachings are authoritative BECAUSE of his actions. He lived the scriptural description of a jnani; he had no possessions, no attachments and expected nothing in return for his teachings; he had no fear and sought no protection. He lived what he taught. And actually his highest teaching was silence. So it is artificial and redundant to separate his actions from his teachings

venkat said...

Bob, thank you.

Sivanarul said...

Venkat,

"Why seek disenchantment with life, if one is enchanted by it? If one enjoys watching tv, sports, etc - why does it matter. why should one stop? It doesn't DIRECTLY harm anyone else [it does INDIRECT harm, but that is a longer story], so if one enjoys it, why not?"

No reason not to, if you are satisfied with Samsara. So if we categorize people into 3 buckets:
Bucket A - Deeply Enchanted with Samsara and are not seeking anything else.
Bucket B - Deeply DisEnchanted with Samsara and are doing effortless effort in being. Seeking has mostly ended or very near to ending.
Bucket C - Both Enchanted and DisEnchanted with Samsara (significant sticks but also enough carrots) and is actively seeking a way out.

In the above, if one is in Bucket A, then there is nothing to do. Simply enjoy Samsara. Bucket B is good to go already. But if one is in Bucket C, then one seeks disenchantment with life, so that precious time is not wasted in enchantment with samsara, but instead channeled into the means of getting out. The means of getting out are the various religious and spiritual practices.

A big Amen to your reply to Sanjay. It is fair to say that the vast majority of Bhagavan's devotees were attracted to him because of his demonstration by action of renunciation, simplicity, silence, compassion, fearlessness, his insistence on sharing everything even if it was medicine :-), his insistence on not wasting a single grain, his work in the ashram kitchen, his precribing sadhana based on the devotee and not based on his written works (so for Annamalai swami, the precription was 10 years of Karma Yoga via building projects, then meditation and finally Vichara), his help in granting liberation to at least 3 devotees, his devotion to Arunachala and duality towards it and thousands and thousands of such things.

Sandhya said...

Nice reading all the comments. I have come across two concepts recently, which seems confusing. Is self within the body or is body within the self or is both true? How can snake be within rope ? Or rope within snake? Isn't both one and the same? In the same way is body the self and self the body?

Roger Isaacs said...

regarding 'Living in the world with worthless the ego destroyed, is like witnessing a battle of rutting elephants from the vantage point of a mountain peak.' (Padamalai, The Jnani v. 40)

There is a statement of enlightenment somewhere in the ancient Rig Veda to the effect: I saw my mind, body, intellect, emotions as if from a very great distance, totally uninvolved and totally separate from them.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Venkat, Sivanarul,
Venkat, thanks for the excellent quotes!

Venkat said: The way many people describe meditation is as if it is a chore, to be practised until a goal is achieved. ... I suspect that if you are naturally drawn to advaita, your interest in it will develop at its own pace, and you will then be drawn into meditating... But the reality is that most of us are not yet ready to relinquish all concern with our well-being.
Sivanarul said: but since my part is not going to result in full relinquishment, grace is then required to push me over the edge. ... Resting in beingness, whether that be advaita or any other sadhana, happens only at the advanced stages.


True, it may be a "chore" to sit (or walk etc) and meditate in some ways, and... there will likely be the impulse to avoid it altogether or get up and do something before finished. But.. we can understand that this is just the ego arising and keeping us from being inwardly still. "Chore" is the ego! If we decide to sit for 20 minutes in meditation, then... when the ego arises insisting "abandon meditation and get up and do [a task] NOW after 3 minutes..." we can understand the process and begin to overcome the ego. I do not think that "resting in being" is necessarily an advanced stage. If we have a style of meditation which is suitable for us, then even in the beginning... there will be moments of Beingness? We just have to surrender and invite it and be aware of the process. There are moments of stillness without mental / emotional activity? And over time there is an increase in stillness?

Sivanarul says "my part is not going to result in full relinquishment..."
Well, perhaps our efforts can lead very close to "full relinquishment", only the final grace is out of our control? My intention is not necessarily to give up everything (TV etc...) but rather to be aware and conscious during all activities (the double arrow of attention: inward attention as well as outward attention at the same time). I don't know where it ends, but I do see that with more and more attention on it... the experience continues to deepen.

Venkat says "if drawn to advaita... will be drawn into meditating".
I'm not so sure about this, perhaps eventually. But it seems there is great confusion for example with advaita commonly taught as the "highest"... but without the prerequisites or adjuncts (meditation etc). Andrew Cohen is a great example. WHL Poonja declared Cohen "to be his heir" and Cohen began to teach neo-Advaita and did so for 30 years as well as publishing the "what is enlightenment?" magazine etc. But in 2013 Cohen declared that his ego was alive and well and he went into sabbatical (IMO to his great credit). "Poonja taught: "no effort is needed to attain enlightenment because it is merely the realisation of what one already is. One of the tragedies of Poonjaji's teaching ministry is that he either told, inferred, or allowed hundreds of individuals to believe they were fully enlightened simply because they'd had one, or many, powerful experiences of awakening. These "enlightened" teachers then proceeded to enlighten their own students in a similar way, and thus was born what is known as the "neo-Advaita", or "satsang" movement in western culture." (all info here from wikipedia article on Cohen).

Sivanarul said...

With respect to Roger's mention of prerequisites for advaita, traditional advaita while claiming as "highest", also listed prerequisites to be the "highest". Before one embarks on a "true" advaita journey, Vivekachudamani requires the following prereqs. Notice that 3a to 3f is achieved through a regular religious and/or spiritual practice like consistent and sustanied meditation, bhakthi, prayer etc. So before one asks "Who am I", certain mastery of the prereqs is required in the traditional advaita route.

http://www.realization.org/down/sankara.vivekachudamani.chaitanya.pdf
http://www.inner-quest.org/Vivekachudamani.htm

"In order to be qualified for enquiry into the Self, a man must have a powerful intellect and ability to seize the essential and reject the inessential besides the various qualities enumerated in the scriptures. What are these? He must be able to discriminate between the Real and the unreal. He must have an unattached mind. He must ardently desire liberation. And he must be tireless in practice. Only such a one is qualified to enquire into Brahman. The qualifications are enumerated as follows:

1.Discrimination — viveka - between the real and the unreal
2. Renunciation — vairagya - of the unreal
3. Six Virtues/Treasures — shatsampatti - of self-control
4. Longing for liberation — mumukshuta

The aspirant must indeed have these qualities in order to attain abidance in the Self; without them there can be no realisation of the Truth. Let us see what these are:

1. Discrimination between the Real and the unreal is the firm conviction that Brahman alone is the Truth and that the world is unreal.
2. We both observe and learn from the scriptures that all pleasures experienced by animate beings, from Brahma downwards, are transient and impermanent and involve sorrows and imperfections; giving up the desire for them is vairagya or non-attachment.
3.[a] Tranquillity implies fixing the mind upon its target by meditating frequently on the imperfections of things and becoming dissatisfied with them.
[b] Self-control means controlling the outer and inner sense organs and fixing them in their respective centres.
[c] Withdrawal means giving up all outer activity by fixing the mind on its target so firmly that it is not led by its previous tendencies to dwell on objects.
[d] Forbearance means the endurance of any sorrows that may befall without trying to avoid them.
[e] Faith, which is the cause of Self-realisation, is the outcome of firm conviction of the Truth of Vedantic scriptures and of the words of the Guru.
[f] Concentration is making every effort to fix the mind on the pure Brahman despite its wandering nature. These are said to be the six qualifications needed for the practice of samadhi [Self-absorption].
4. Intense yearning for liberation arises from the desire to free oneself by realising one's true nature, attaining freedom from the bondage of the body and ego which is caused by ignorance. This yearning may be of different grades. It may be only dull or medium, but it may be highly developed by means of the six qualifications mentioned above, and in this case it can bear fruit. But if renunciation and yearning are weak, the result may be mere appearance like a mirage in the desert."

Ann Onymous said...

Sandhya -

There is only one thing that is real, that IS. It is the only thing that has remained unchanged and clearly apparent throughout your life. It is your very existence, and it is the only thing worthy of your attention. Everything else can, and often does lead to confusion, and truly, nothing else matters.

You (and others) might not find it satisfactory, but in short, that's my answer.

By the way, the quote, 'Living in the world with worthless the ego destroyed, is like witnessing a battle of rutting elephants from the vantage point of a mountain peak.', should read, 'Living in the world with the worthless ego destroyed, is like witnessing a battle of rutting elephants from the vantage point of a mountain peak.' It wasn't a copy and paste, I typed it myself, hence the mistake.

Ann Onymous said...

Who was Bhagavan before the death experience?

Would he tell us that he was, or seemed seemed to be an ego?

Would he not say that he was always, he is always pure aware/being?

Is he then in your ego?

Are you and he only in my ego?

Are we all in one ego?

Doesn't Bhagavan tell us that all we have to do is look, to see that no ego exists.

What remains when ego doesn't exist?

Ann Onymous said...

Please omit one 'seemed'. :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob-P, as we progress on this path of atma-vichara, we naturally become more compassionate towards other sentient beings, because the difference between ourself and others starts to dissolve. Yes, when we help other beings we are actually doing ourself a favour. We thereby relieve our own suffering, which we experience on seeing other beings suffer.

I agree, our persistence in being attentively self-aware will eventually destroy our ego (the one who projects and also experiences suffering), and along with its destruction all our suffering will end once for all.

It was touching and heart-warming to know that you pick up injured birds, when you find them during your morning walks, and take necessary care of them. This kind act of yours could be the result of your practising self-investigation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sandhya, is the screen within the picture (projected on this screen), or vice versa? Obviously, the picture is within the screen. Similarly, our body is within the self (as everything else is), because nothing other than our true self (which is beginningless, endless, unbroken, being-consciousness-bliss) exists.

Although objects seem to exist within ourself, actually, nothing exists within or outside our true self. And on the destruction of our ego all these seeming things will disappear once for all.

If we consider the rope and snake analogy, we can say that the snake appears within the rope.

sprouting seed said...

Sivanarul,
in your reply to Venkat you forgot Bucket D - those who categorize people into 3 buckets.
For better understanding please use only words which are listed in dictionaries:
prescribe and prescription instead of precribe and prec...

What you say in content,yes, all our time is precious and should not be wasted in any way.
Disentchantment and disappointment with life teach us a lot and are a powerful incentive and spur us to get on the right track.
Construction of Ashram buildings does surely not have 'duality towards Arunachala' as a precondition or prerequisite. Rather Swami Annamalai's sincere and genuine devotion to Bhagavan qualified him for becoming/being both a successful master builder and seeker.

Bob - P said...

Glad my post was helpful in some way Venkat, thank you for all your posts too they are very helpful to me.
Take care Bob

Sanjay before I understood Bhagvan's teaching the initial thing that attracted me to him was the kindness in his eyes and his compassion towards all around him from small hornets and squirrels to big peacocks and monkeys. And of course all the people who came to him for help. He saw all as equal, all as himself which he loved beyond measure.

After the initial attraction to his physical and mental characteristics I began to study what he taught with the help of Michael. His teaching is brutal from the ego's perspective no wonder it resists and hangs on for dear life in the presence of Bhagavan's teaching!! He is being cruel to be kind so to speak.

My understanding is Bhagavan is my own creation, I have created and projected the perfect Guru from Bob the persons perspective into my world.

All to get the message / teaching across to me.

Bhagavan is the perfect vehicle to teach me what I need to do to rid myself not only of the ego but also of its creation namely, Bob and the whole world Bob appears to be interacting with in his own dualistic view ..

All the false has to go to reveal the truth.

Take care.
Bob

Sanjay Lohia said...

Venkat, why did Bhagavan love all of us as himself? Why was he so companionate and lived such a pure life? Obviously, his lived such a life because he experienced himself as he really was, and he saw no division between himself and others. Thus, his outer life was a result of his profound, inner, non-dual experience. His teachings also flowed from his same inner experience, and he was constantly teaching us the way to attain the state in which he was established.

Why does a sadguru appear in our midst? He appears to guide us back home; he appears only to lead us out of this endless cycle of samsara. The sadguru’s only purpose of appearing before us is to give us his teachings. Therefore, his teachings are immeasurably more important than his outward life.

Of course, his outward life gives us more confidence and faith in his teachings, because such a pure one can only give us pure teachings; however, merely his bodily life, without his teachings, would not have been sufficient to show us the path to liberation.

ananda akhanda said...

Ann Onymous,
looking CAREFULLY is not the same as looking (only in passing) !
Please do write with great concentration. Then we need not rack our brains over your mistakes.
The answer to your question 'what remains when ego does not exist ?' is 'He who has manifested as All' or in other words 'He is beyond the reach of speech and mind, and name " I am That (Siva-Self)". That is the knowledge transcending all objects.
All is established in me, the all-pervading One.

the way we came said...

Sivanarul,
your remark regarding Bhagavan's insistence on sharing everything even the medicine he got : I cannot suppress a big smile, my face is heavily lined, I split my sides laughing.

Sivanarul said...

sprouting seed,

Greetings! Did my post catch you in a wrong mood, my friend. The tone seems to be quite off.

"in your reply to Venkat you forgot Bucket D - those who categorize people into 3 buckets."

Thank for you for categorizing me into Bucket D, because the Vedas and Upanishads does heavy categorization also, putting people into 3 gunas Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. It is a high privilege and honor to join the Upanishads in Bucket D. Thank you, you made my day.

"For better understanding please use only words which are listed in dictionaries:prescribe and prescription instead of precribe and prec..."

I will certainly try. I type fast in notepad without a spell checker, so some typing mistakes are unavoidable. By the way, are a teacher by any chance?, since typically teachers keep pointing things out, even when relevancy is low. Human brain is a wonderful machine that can fill in huge gaps in sentences and typing mistakes.

"or emaxlpe, it deson’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod aepapr, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm.

S1M1L4RLY, Y0UR M1ND 15 R34D1NG 7H15 4U70M471C4LLY W17H0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17.

- See more at: http://www.livescience.com/18392-reading-jumbled words.html#sthash.SdZzB0Gh.dpuf"

I was able to read the above at full speed, just as if it had correct spelling. I am 100% sure, you can also do it. Give it a try!

I did not say that building Ashram building was practising duality towards Arunachala. Here is what I said:
"so for Annamalai swami, the precription was 10 years of Karma Yoga via building projects, then meditation and finally Vichara"

Sivanarul said...

sprouting seed,

Greetings! Did my post catch you in a wrong mood, my friend. The tone seems to be quite off.

"in your reply to Venkat you forgot Bucket D - those who categorize people into 3 buckets."

Thank for you for categorizing me into Bucket D, because the Vedas and Upanishads does heavy categorization also, putting people into 3 gunas Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. It is a high privilege and honor to join the Upanishads in Bucket D. Thank you, you made my day.

"For better understanding please use only words which are listed in dictionaries:prescribe and prescription instead of precribe and prec..."

I will certainly try. I type fast in notepad without a spell checker, so some typing mistakes are unavoidable. By the way, are a teacher by any chance?, since typically teachers keep pointing things out, even when relevancy is low. Human brain is a wonderful machine that can fill in huge gaps in sentences and typing mistakes.

"or emaxlpe, it deson’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod aepapr, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm.

S1M1L4RLY, Y0UR M1ND 15 R34D1NG 7H15 4U70M471C4LLY W17H0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17.
- See more at: http://www.livescience.com/18392-reading-jumbled-words.html#sthash.SdZzB0Gh.dpuf"

I was able to read the above at full speed, just as if it had correct spelling. I am 100% sure, you can also do it. Give it a try!

I did not say that building Ashram building was practising duality towards Arunachala. Here is what I said:
"so for Annamalai swami, the precription was 10 years of Karma Yoga via building projects, then meditation and finally Vichara"

Sivanarul said...

Reposting for a third time in 2 blocks, since earlier postings did not go through. Sorry if it is a duplicate.

sprouting seed,

Greetings! Did my post catch you in a wrong mood, my friend. The tone seems to be quite off.

"in your reply to Venkat you forgot Bucket D - those who categorize people into 3 buckets."

Thank for you for categorizing me into Bucket D, because the Vedas and Upanishads does heavy categorization also, putting people into 3 gunas Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. It is a high privilege and honor to join the Upanishads in Bucket D. Thank you, you made my day.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment...

"For better understanding please use only words which are listed in dictionaries:prescribe and prescription instead of precribe and prec..."

I will certainly try. I type fast in notepad without a spell checker, so some typing mistakes are unavoidable. By the way, are a teacher by any chance?, since typically teachers keep pointing things out, even when relevancy is low. Human brain is a wonderful machine that can fill in huge gaps in sentences and typing mistakes.

"or emaxlpe, it deson’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod aepapr, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm.

S1M1L4RLY, Y0UR M1ND 15 R34D1NG 7H15 4U70M471C4LLY W17H0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17."

I was able to read the above at full speed, just as if it had correct spelling. I am 100% sure, you can also do it. Give it a try!

I did not say that building Ashram building was practising duality towards Arunachala. Here is what I said:
"so for Annamalai swami, the precription was 10 years of Karma Yoga via building projects, then meditation and finally Vichara"

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob-P, yes, Bhagavan’s form has had a great attraction for many of his devotees, and as you say, many first get attracted to the kindness and compassion in his eyes. I was also perhaps attracted to him this way. Bhagavan uses his alluring form as bait, and fortunately we have taken the bait.

It is only when we become captured by his look of compassion that he also gradually enables us to understand his teachings, especially the practice of atma-vichara. This is where he takes over our entire life, and we (this ego) begin to gradually melt like wax under fire. Yes, it is only our ego that has created or projected this dream lion - our sadguru - but the ego is completely unaware that its own creation (this dream lion) will eventually kill it!

You write, ‘Bhagavan is the perfect vehicle to teach me what I need to do to rid myself not only of the ego but also of its creation namely, Bob and the whole world Bob appears to be interacting with in his own dualistic view ..’. I think, we just need to get rid of our ego. Its entire superstructure, that is, the person we take to be ourself, our world, etc. will all collapse along with the ego’s destruction.

Without a foundation how can a building stand, similarly without this ego how can anything else stand? And the only way to destroy this ego is by being attentively self-aware, as frequently and as intensely as possible.

Bob - P said...

Yes Sanjay I agree I don't think I worded it correctly in my post.
As you say if the ego goes everything goes it is the thinker and everything is just thoughts including Bob, the body, the world, memories ... everything. If the first thought / thinker goes all its creation goes with it. We must strike the tree of illusion at the root /the ego.

Like you said to do this we must investigate it as intensely as possible. I agree.
All the best
Bob

sprouting seed said...

Sivanarul,
greetings, sorry, do not put on a hurt expression, but reading that categorizing made me spontaneously feel uneasy/uncomfortable. Of course it may happen that sometimes the relevance of comments is low. What you write about human brain is probably true: huge gaps... Smile.
Regrettably I applied the clause ...,"his help in granting liberation to at least 3 devotees, his devotion to Arunachala and duality towards it and ..." erroneously on Annamalai Swami. Please accept my apologies.

Sivanarul said...

sprouting seed,

Just curious, what made you feel uneasy/uncomfortable with the following categorization:

" So if we categorize people into 3 buckets:
Bucket A - Deeply Enchanted with Samsara and are not seeking anything else.
Bucket B - Deeply DisEnchanted with Samsara and are doing effortless effort in being. Seeking has mostly ended or very near to ending.
Bucket C - Both Enchanted and DisEnchanted with Samsara (significant sticks but also enough carrots) and is actively seeking a way out."

It simply says that people are either fully happy with samsara or are an advanced aspirant who is very near ending samsara or have one leg in samsara and one leg in getting out. This categorization is found in almost all spiritual traditions and text in one way or the other.

Let me know so that I can be more careful with what I write in the future.

sprouting seed said...

Sivanarul,
my spontaneous rejection of the categorization was only momentary and temporary.It was not directed explicitly or categorically against the special type of classification/categorization given by you. By the way your ability to type so fast in a notepad is entirely noteworthy and also worthy of admiration.

effulgent Supreme said...

Blessed disciples,
listen and know this:

"He who is praised in all scriptures,
As the unborn, the Isvara,
That formless and attributeless Self,
He indeed am I, there is no doubt of this."

Atma Sakshatkara Prakaranam (16)

Sandhya said...

Thank you Sanjay and Ann

Sanjay Lohia said...

Recently it was mentioned on this blog that Bhagavan highly recommended the book Ribhu Gita, and he had also supposedly said that regular recitation of this work can even lead one to samadhi and so forth. It is true that Bhagavan had high opinion about Vedantic books such as Ribhu Gita and Kaivalya Navaneetham, but can mere recitation of such books lead one to samadhi?

I produce below a transcript of a reply given by Michael in this regard. He said this in one of his recent videos dated 24/4/2016. I forgot to note down the exact video in which it was recorded (since there are two videos of this date):

Devotee: [asks a question about Ribhu Gita, and why did Bhagavan recommended it so much]

Michael: People love to say that Bhagavan recommended this book or that book. Ribhu Gita is one text which people do tend to recite. It’s basically a very simple, but a highly repetitive text. It’s basically saying, ‘I am not the body; I am consciousness’ in so many ways (it’s a bit like my blog). It’s saying the same thing again and again. According to Bhagavan saying, ‘I am this’ is ignorance, and saying ‘I am that’ is also ignorance.

The only truth is ‘I am I’, and ‘I am I’ is not a statement. I can go on saying ‘I am, I am...’, but still it’s the ego which is saying that. The experience of ‘I am’ is the experience that ‘I am nothing but myself’ or ‘I am nothing but that pure consciousness’, That is the real experience, and therefore mere repeating of ‘I am pure consciousness’ is not going to get us there. We have to turn within and experience that.

So to encourage people to understand the basic principles of advaita, recitation of texts like Ribhu Gita can be beneficial, so when people recited it Bhagavan encouraged that. But that is learning your multiplication tables when you are in school. It’s learning the basic principles, but it is not sufficient for PhD. If we want the PhD text it is Ulladu Narpadu - that is where Bhagavan has really given the practical application.

Ribhu Gita is fine on theory, but how to actually apply that theory in practice is what Bhagavan teaches us in Ulladu Narpadu, Nar Yar? and other such texts. * [transcript ends]

Conclusion: Regular recitation of Ribhu Gita can be considered some sort of the practice of neti, neti. Its recitation can provide us with necessary intellectual clarity amount our true nature, and can also purify our mind to some extent. However, its mere recitation will not enable us to experience ourself as we really are, and for this the practice of atma-vichara is indispensable.

Any comments, please?

venkat said...

Just came across another dialogue in Day by Day, on 12-9-46.

Mundaliar had asked Bhagavan about what is meant by mithya and satyam in Vedanta. Bhagavan's reply:

"These names and forms which constitute the world always change and perish. Hence they are called mithya. To regard all as Self is the Reality. The Advaitin says jagat is mithya, but he also says 'All this is Brahman'. So it is clear that what he condemns is regarding the world as such to be real, not regarding the world as Brahman. He who sees the Self, sees only the Self in the world also. To the jnani it is immaterial whether the world appears or not. Whether it appears his attention is always on the Self. It is like the letters and the paper on which the letters are printed. You are wholly engrossed with the letters and have no attention left for the paper. But the jnani thinks only of the paper as the real substratum, whether the letters appear on it or not."

There are a number of passages in these talks where Bhagavan is saying that a jnani may or may not see the world - it is not important - it is his detachment from the world that is of significance. This is also consistent with Sadhu Natanananda's Q&A with Bhagavan recorded in Spiritual Instruction that I have quoted from before, as well as Shankara, Gaudapada and Ashtavakra, all of which Bhagavan had the highest regard for.

I wonder if the injunction that we are only realised once the world disappears, is setting up another conditioning / expectation in our mind that 'we' must achieve this goal, and that this in fact subtly reinforces our ego with a desire? As opposed to fully comprehending the teaching, and then surrendering all self-concern. Repeating the Nisargadatta quote:

"When there is total surrender, complete relinquishment of all concern with one’s past, present and future, with one’s physical and spiritual security and standing, life dawns full of love and beauty; then the guru is not important for the disciple has broken the shell of self-defence. Complete self-surrender by itself is liberation."

After complete self-surrender also means giving up all expectation of liberation or what might happen on liberation (which are also concepts in the mind).

best wishes
venkat

ulladu said...

venkat,
it is easy to make an appeal for complete/total self-surrender.
Obviously self-surrender means surrender (one's) this ego to (one's)self.
But who/which one fairly rational being would of one's own accord jump in a dark (unknown) abyss ? To risk making the break is irrational unless we do not know ourself at least instinctively. Therefore an indispensable prerequisite will be to know first our true nature. However, self-knowledge is not possible without self-surrender because it is the other side of the coin. Whether we ever be victorious is in the lap of the gods, in a word it all depends on whether our hour of birth has an auspicious start. May our sign of zodiac mean an auspicious constellation.

behind the mind said...

Sanjay Lohia,
experiencing ourself as we really are do we every day or night.
There is nothing special or unusual about that.
So what do you want ?

Ann Onymous said...

'Ribhu Gita is one text which people do tend to recite. It’s basically a very simple, but a highly repetitive text. It’s basically saying, ‘I am not the body; I am consciousness’ in so many ways...It’s saying the same thing again and again.'

'If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone [will be] sufficient.'

'...(it’s a bit like my blog).'

This blog is often more of a reminder that 'we seem to be this ego'.

motionless self said...

Michael, I just saw on David Godman's site
the advertisement of the book "Sri Guru Ramana Prasadam" by Muruganar,
translated by Robert Butler,
published by R. Butler, 2008
[updated and expanded edition of a book that previously appeared on this(David Godman's) page as Non-Dual Consciousness, the Flood Tide of Bliss.
... This is R. Butler's own publication...].

Is it advisable to read this book or would you recommend to purchase it ?

Rattlesnake said...

Ann Onymous,
therefore you should keep your distance and refrain from commenting on this blog.

Ann Onymous said...

If my comments trouble you, Rattlesnake, you should refrain from reading my comments.

Rattlesnake said...

Ann Onymous,
...wondeful display of words, the cause for the delusion of the mind.
Bye-bye

Sanjay Lohia said...

behind the mind, yes, we do experience ourself as we really are in our deep sleep, but the problem is that we (our ego) wake up from it sooner or later. So, we want to be in sleep permanently. Our ego subsides in sleep due to exhaustion, whereas we need to experience ourself as we really are while we are still awake (that is, in full alertness), and thereby make our ego subside. Only the later kind of subsidence will be permanent whereas the former kind will be just a temporary subsidence, and therefore after we have rested sufficiently our ego is sure pop up again.

It is for this reason that the state of atma-jnana is also called jagrat-sushupt (waking-sleep). This is the state where we do not experience our three temporary states of waking, dream and deep sleep, but only experience our true nature - anadi ananta akhanda sat-chit-ananda (beginningless endless unbroken being-consciousness-bliss) - permanently.

Therefore, as long as our ego seems to exist, we should continue our practice of self-investigation, and only this practice will enable us to subside permanently – never to rise again.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ann Onymous, you write, 'This blog is often more of a reminder that 'we seem to be this ego'. Yes, it is true that this blog repeatedly reminds us that we only seem to be this ego, but in reality we are not this ego, We are only pure-consciousness; therefore, we should strive to attain our this primal state by relentlessly practising atma-vichara.

Ann Onymous said...

Enquiry should be made this wise: With the kind help of the Sat Guru one should enquire ‘Who am I? what is this world? what is the reality behind all these?’ - Ribhu Gita (Ch.32, v.21)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Venkat, you write, 'After complete self-surrender also means giving up all expectation of liberation or what might happen on liberation (which are also concepts in the mind)'.

I am in agreement with you when you say we should try not to pre-judge our post liberation state, but I do not fully agree with you when you say we should give up all expectation of liberation. I think our striving on the path of self-investigation is only because of our expectation of our goal - complete egolessness.

Yes, once we have chosen our goal we should just concentrate on the path, because if we relentlessly follow the path we are sure to reach our destination sooner rather than later. However, it may not be a bad idea to periodically remind ourself of our goal, and why reaching this goal is of paramount importance. It may be important to remind ourself, at least time to time, that it is only when we reach our destination of complete egolessness that all our bodily and worldly problems will be over once and for all. Because hereafter the one (the ego) who has these problems will no longer exist.

We should be inwardly convinced that once we reach our destination, we will experience only unconditioned and unmodified happiness. However, as you imply, our single pointed striving on the path of self-investigation is relatively more important than thinking about the goal, and the subsequent result of reaching this goal.

a said...

The conscious introspective concentration of Self-enquiry (‘Who am I’?) kills all thoughts and destroys the dense darkness of nescience; it effaces all worry; it illuminates the intellect with the radiance of pure awareness; it wipes out all conceptual confusions; it fixes one in Siva-Self; it transforms a host of impending disasters into auspicious events; and lastly, it destroys the ego-mind utterly with all its afflictions. - Ribhu Gita (Ch.32, v.24)

Ann Onymous said...

That was me again. :)

Ann Onymous said...

Sanjay -

Read The Ribhu Gita and you will know why Bhagavan recommended this basic schoolbook.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ann, thank for you advice. Yes, I have the book Ribhu Gita with me, and I also tried reading it, but somehow I was not able to proceed beyond about 20 or 30 pages. Every book need not appeal everyone, but if it appeals to you and you find it useful please read or recite it, because Bhagavan also used to give the same advice to his devotees who found it useful.

However, Michael was talking about the usefulness of Ribhu GIta via-a-vis texts such as Ulladu Narpadu, Nar Yar, Upadesa Undiyar . . .. According to him, these texts written by Bhagavan are much more useful and practical than Ribhu Gita or similar texts, and I whole heartedly agree with his assessment.

Ann Onymous said...

"According to [Michael], these texts written by Bhagavan are much more useful and practical than Ribhu Gita or similar texts, and I whole heartedly agree with his assessment."

Then you and Michael should do what is useful for you, and not be so quick to denigrate what others may find useful.

behind the mind said...

Sanjay,
yes, that state of sleepless (wakeful) sleep is our natural state.
It is the under - current in all the three states, the state of happiness.
That state must be brought about even in this waking state. It is called jagrat sushupti. That is mukti.

Roger Isaacs said...

When is self inquiry practiced or performed?
Obviously it can NOT be done in the past.
It can only be done NOW, in the present instant.
Self inquiry can NOT be practiced in a mentally projected future!!

An aspect of the ego is "psychological becoming". The ego mentally imagines or speculates about what it might attain in the future.

Examples of projection into the future:
"kill the ego/world... in the future",
"can our mind be too strong for our self to dissolve it.... in the future",
"what happens to the ego or the world on enlightenment, does the world disappear... in the future",
"expectation of liberation... in the future".

The original David Godman quote starting this blog:

“This is a key part of Bhagavan’s teachings: the Self can only destroy the mind when the mind no longer has any tendency to move outwards. While those outward-moving tendencies are still present, even in a latent form, the mind will always be too strong for the Self to dissolve it completely”

Michael's reply to this seems (to me) to be philosophical, speculative, theoretical.

Rather than philosophical speculation, is it possible to experience NOW the actual stillness of pure awareness, and then see (if it arises) the tendency of the mind to move outward, then back to stillness? IMO the knowledge of this process and experiencing first hand how the intent to be still overcomes the outward movement of the mind is a powerful key. Much more practical than philosophic speculation.

Can Michael lead/teach more directly about this experience of stillness? It seems strange to me that I have seen no talk about using atma-vicara in sitting meditation at all. Gurus that I have been with put the most extensive instruction into the simple practice of meditation.

venkat said...

Ashtavakra Gita:

18.36 The ignorant person does not attain liberation through repeated practice of control of the mind. The blessed one through mere knowledge becomes free and is unaffected by change.

8.2 Liberation is attained when the mind does not desire or grieve or reject or accept or feel happy or angry.

1.15 You are unattached, actionless, self-effulgent, and without any blemish. This indeed is your bondage that you practice meditation.


Ozhivil Odukkam:

To proclaim amidst tears and sobs the holy scriptures, which are the means expressly deigned to make us still; to perform religious rituals; to sit in meditation with the body stretched and contorted is postures designed by the mind - all these are a comedy show designed for the entertainment of jnanis.

venkat said...

V S Iyer:

The Yogis and Mystics want meditation, sitting still, etc. only because it gives them pleasure: the
satisfaction is for their own selves only, not others, hence it is something sought by the ego and
cannot get Brahman in consequence.

The yogi or mystic who sees or experiences something in his meditation which he takes as the
highest, must be asked “How do you know it was the ultimate truth?” That was only your inference.

If you ask "What is the difference between knowledge and meditation" we reply that knowledge
will be determined by the nature of the object to be known, whereas meditation will be
determined by the nature of the meditator.

Sivanarul said...

"V S Iyer: The Yogis and Mystics want meditation, sitting still, etc. only because it gives them pleasure: the satisfaction is for their own selves only, not others, hence it is something sought by the ego and cannot get Brahman in consequence."

With all due respect to Sri V.S. Iyer, is not the seeking done in the path of Knowledge sought by the ego too? And is that ego seeking really for others? At least the yogis and mystics acknowledge there are others, but many aspirants on the path of knowledge think others are an illusion. How does Sri V.S. Iyer really know that yogis and mystics cannot get Brahman in consequence? Has he really travelled the yogic path? If he is making a determination based on his intellect, isn't the ultimate truth beyond the intellect?

"The yogi or mystic who sees or experiences something in his meditation which he takes as the highest, must be asked “How do you know it was the ultimate truth?” That was only your inference."

Similarly to the followers of the Jnana Path who claim that their Guru is a Jnani, need to be asked, "How do you know that your Guru's Jnana is the ultimate truth? That is only your inference."

I know there are lots of writings within each tradition that trash other traditions. But I don't think we need to highlight them. We don't have to celebrate all traditions or paths, but there no need to trash them either.

Sivanarul said...

With respect to Ribhu Gita and Bhagavan's writings and the back and forth between Ann and Sanjay:

"So to encourage people to understand the basic principles of advaita, recitation of texts like Ribhu Gita can be beneficial, so when people recited it Bhagavan encouraged that. But that is learning your multiplication tables when you are in school. It’s learning the basic principles, but it is not sufficient for PhD. If we want the PhD text it is Ulladu Narpadu - that is where Bhagavan has really given the practical application. Ribhu Gita is fine on theory, but how to actually apply that theory in practice is what Bhagavan teaches us in Ulladu Narpadu, Nar Yar? and other such texts"

The fate ascribed to Ribhu Gita here, as learning multiplcation tables in school, can be applied to Bhagavan's trip gem also (Naan Yaar, Ulladu Narpadu and Upadesha Undiyar). Are you shaking your head and saying "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!"? Let me explain.

Bhagavan's triple gem is a very high philosphical and practical work. But being concise without too many examples, you cannot get too much out of it. Enter Sri Michael's Happiness of Being book and his articles and comments. HAB and his articles can be considered Bhashyas on the triple gem. They provide a detailed analysis and the practical application of the triple gem. Personally I would have not undertood eka jiva (that the person projected by the ego is also part of the dream) by directly reading the triple gem. It is Michael's comment that helped me to understand it (even though I do not subscribe to it).

So one could honestly say that the triple gem is like learning your multiplication tables. When people read the triple gem, we encourage it. The triple gem is certainly good for basic principles. but if you want a PhD level in depth analysis of the triple gem and how to apply the triple gem in practice, then that can be provided by HAB and Michael's articles and comments alone.

I did not write the above as a joke. I do truly mean it. But here is the problem with what I wrote. Even if I believe that HAB is the PhD material, do I really want to be labeling Bhagavan's triple gem as elementary level stuff? No I don't and the above was just to make a point. Similarly even if Bhagavan's triple gem is the PhD material, do we really want to put Ribhu Gita, a very ancient and highly respected work as kindergarden stuff?

Roger Isaacs said...


Venkat quotes V S Iyer: The Yogis and Mystics want meditation, sitting still, etc. only because it gives them pleasure...

V S Iyer's prominent student Paul Brunton replies:
Reject the one-sided narrowness of V.S. Iyer and John Levy, successor to Atmananda, which makes them reject mystic experience and mystic feeling. For then the intellect alone is made to serve the quest so that the result is hardly a balanced one. Fanaticism is too limited a way to trace down truth. Mysticism has its valuable service to render on its own level in feeling and devotion.


V S Iyer must have seen that various schools in India were content with inner absorption and not advancing further. So he spoke out against it. I agree with Iyer that taking sitting meditation, lower samadhi (ie not sahaja)... as being the final goal is premature. Mandukyopanisad warns about staying absorbed in samadhi, but... do not take this to mean that samadhi is useless! It has a place!

IMO the fact is that generally (except in rare cases like Sri Ramana or Nisargadatta Maharaj) some type of meditation is first required to still the mind and emotions before Advaita can be successful.

Astavakra says
I-2: If you aspire for liberation, my child, reject the objects of the senses as poison, and seek forgiveness, straight-forwardness, kindness, cheerfulness and truth as nectar.
I-3: You are neither earth, nor water , nor fire, nor air, nor space. In order to attain freedom know the Self as the 'witness' of all these - the embodiment of Pure Consciousness itself.
I-4: If you detach yourself from the body and abide in Consciousness, you will at once become happy, peaceful and free from bondage.
I-18: You are unattached, actionless, self-effulgent, and without any blemish. This indeed is your bondage that you practice meditation.


Before Astavakra delivers his statement "meditation is bondage" he describes the fruits of moral development in I-2.
And he delivers what might be construed as "prerequisites": In order to attain freedom know the Self as the witness... detach yourself from the body and abide in Consciousness.

Yes, if you are able to abide in Consciousness ("I AM" as described by Nisargadatta Maharaj, nothing arising internally)... then meditation is bondage. But if you are not able to abide in Consciousness effortlessly... how are you going to get to this state without concentrated subtle effort ? (meditation).

So is practicing atma vicara while sitting eyes closed simply not done?

Roger Isaacs said...

Sivanarul said: At least the yogis and mystics acknowledge there are others, but many aspirants on the path of knowledge think others are an illusion.

Go ahead Sivanarul, say whatever you want, I know that you are just an illusion! (ha! that is supposed to be a joke!)

Sivanarul said...

Now time for a little joke and a little lesson that annica (impermanence) applies to spiritual teachings as well. This is based on the thought that essentially Bhagavan and his triple gem has replaced all religions (by containing their goodness within it) and the only real way to Self Realization is via the teachings as taught by the triple gem.

Some portion of this is full joke, some is half joke rest half serious. The reader can determine which is which. Smile before you start!!!

The story begins and is narrated in 2100 ....

Long long time ago, in year 2020, Sri Michael James realizes the Self (as commonly understood). Sri Sanjay who trains very closely with Michael, also realizes the Self in 2025, under the careful guidance of Michael. Michael's triple gem gets published as HAB, Articles and Comments. Sanjay's comments get published as the new GVK (Guru Vasaka Kovai). Many years later, Michael and Sanjay leave the body and attain mahasamadhi. Mounaji's musings get published as Mystic Musings on non-duality.

In the year 2100, new aspirants look to get out of samsara. One such very sincere aspirant is named Marco (the new Michael). He studies the old Michael's triple gem very carefully under Sadhu Who (a very close disciple of Michael). After careful mastery of the teachings, Marco writes a 100,000 page Bhashya that goes to excruciating details and step by step guide on how to do Brahma Vichara (in 2100, this is the name for Atma Vichara). Many students come to Marco marvelling at the Bhashya. One of them is Satya (the new Sanjay). Satya is highly convinced that that Marco's Bhashya about Michael's triple gems is the only way to salvation and things that were written in 1940's (by Bhagavan, Muruganar and Sadhu OM) cannot lead one to liberation. The old teachings are certainly excellent aids, but are not enough (they are the old neti-neti). The new 100,000 page Bhashya by Marco is the elucidation of the 1940's teachings (just like atma-vichara is the elucidation of neti-neti) and replaces all other ancient teachings. Brahma Vichara is the only way to salvation. Atma Vichara will simply not do it.

Michael comes in a vision and says that we should not throw away the teachings of Bhagavan, Muruganar and Sadhu OM. But Marco and Satya reject that vision saying that all actions and visions are unreal. Only Michael's triple gem (HAB, Arcticles and Comments) are real. Thus the 1940's stuff was finally laid to rest.

The Buddha then appears and says:
"Aspirants, remmember that everything is subject to annica including spiritual teachings. Do not get attached to them. What is regarded as the only way today will be made moot by the passage of time. So don't get attached to labels such as atma-vichara or meditation. They have been replaced with Brahma Vichara and Silencation."

Smile!!!, as smiling is annica too!

Roger Isaacs said...

Sivanarul said:
The Buddha then appears and says: "Aspirants, remmember that everything is subject to annica including spiritual teachings. "

Yikes! I would hope that the perfected Buddha would have more advanced spelling skills! "remmember" !
I am just teasing. :-)
Is it true that an enlightened being exhibits perfect spelling? Maybe Jesus never wrote anything due to the possibility of spelling errors?

One problem is that all teachings, all writings, all communication is in the form of concepts.
Concepts are extremely limited: are we able to transfer the taste essence of the strawberry we are eating to the person next to us? Even a lowly strawberry defies description... the ultimate reality and paths to it are totally beyond transference. One can only point in the general direction.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Sivanarul, you have a way with humour.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan says that the world we see is nothing but thoughts, and that we project only one thought at a time. If this is the case, how come we simultaneously see so many objects in front of us? Logically, one thought should enable us to witness only one object at a time. It is a valid doubt. Michael recently spoke on this subject, and his conversation with a devotee (recorded in the video dated 24/4/2016: 1:23 onwards) should clarify our doubt:

Devotee: Can we be aware of two thoughts at once?

Michael: Aren’t we aware of many things here?

Devotee: Yes...

Michael: So each thing, each phenomenon, and each object we see in front of us is a thought. This person [Michael], who is replying to your questions, is one of your thoughts. [...] Though you are focussing your attention on me, you are also aware of other things at the same time.

Devotee: I am only partially aware of these other things...

Michael: I don’t know how the modern computer screen works, but in the old screens, in old TVs, there used to basically a ray-gun – something shooting electrons at the screen, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth... It would spray so many dots on the screen; each dot would be equivalent of a frame from a projected film. So, any one moment it is projecting one spot on the screen, but we see it as a whole picture. It could either be a still picture, or it could be a moving picture, but actually only one dot or one electron is striking the screen – one spot, then the next spot, then the next spot... like that. But it happens so rapidly we see one whole picture – we see two people talking, we are attending to both of them.

So in the same way if we go down to microscopic level we project thought at such rapid succession, it produces of whole world.

Devotee: So we see one thing at a time...

Michael: Well in the ultimate analysis, possibly yes, but in practice our mind is jumping from one thing to another at such rapids speed, we quickly process information. [...] We can attend to many things within a split second, because our mind is still relatively gross. We are not able to separate all those different moments.

When we watch a film on the screen and see a moving picture, it is actually many frames being flashed on the screen (probably modern technology doesn’t use frames like that). Many-many images are flashed on the screen at such rapid speed; we see it as one continuous moving picture. * [Transcript ends]

Conclusion: This world picture which we experience is just like this moving picture - not only metaphorically but literally - because this world-picture is also produced by the same technology which was earlier used to project movies.


Anonymous said...

**in practice our mind is jumping from one thing to another at such rapid speed**

This is explained by Bhagavan with the analogy of a man ejaculating in the waking-body whilst dreaming of having sexual intercourse with a woman.

**If it is asked, ‘[When the dream-body and the waking-body are thus different,] how does the semen in the waking-body drip out when one sees in dream that the dream-body has contacted a woman?’, the answer will be that it is due to the speed of attachment with which one springs from the dream-body to the waking-body. ** – Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 558

Therefore, ‘jumping fromone thing to another’ could be ‘jumping from one body to another body’ - indeed a rapid jump!

venkat said...

Roger,

The point I was making is that each of us (our minds) has come to be where we are today from a whole variety of backgrounds and experiences over time. Therefore, at the early stages, how we are drawn to, and interpret, non-duality will be very different. Even if you and I are in the same room together, I can never really KNOW what and how you experience the sights and sounds around us; and you cannot KNOW my experience. Let alone this nebulous concept of samadhi (and other mystic experiences) which everyone says is beyond words anyway.

Consequently there can be no do's and don'ts, no set prescription or path to follow. We can only figure it out for ourselves - if we are earnest. This is likely to involve meditation for most - but to go about challenging all seekers to sit silently meditating seems to apply an evangelism to advaita, which is out of place. I personally think that all paths will eventually lead to self-investigation, "who am I?"; but even the practice of that can vary widely from a beginner to a Murugunar.

It it interesting that Bhagavan was generally not drawn into tightly defining how to practice who am I, and simply pointed out to the questioner to go back and ask who the questioner is.

This may be relevant, from Nisargadatta, very much akin to Ashtavakra:

"The very idea of going beyond the dream is illusion. Why go anywhere? Just realise that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of the dream and not another. When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs to be done".
[Note: I think Nisargadatta would say that this is the furtherest the mind can go. Thereafter it is up to grace, which is beyond your means. Hence surrender.]

One final thought from Bhagavan:

"The life of action need not be renounced. If you meditate for an hour or two every day you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work . . . Setting apart time for meditation is only for the merest novices. A man who is advancing will enjoy the deeper beatitude whether he is at work or not. While his hands are in society, he keeps his head cool in solitude."


Sivanarul

You asked "How does Sri V.S. Iyer really know that yogis and mystics cannot get Brahman in consequence? "

I don't particularly have any view on yoga or yogis. However it is interesting isn't it, that Ozhivil Odukkam makes the comment it does, that I quoted above?

Also, from Sorupa Saram:

56 Q: Is yoga good?
A: For knowing consciousness it is not necessary
They will practise the highly respected yoga, remaining in a corner and controlling their breath and speech. For seeing and abiding as supreme consciousness, why this sadhana? They are attempting to enjoy the world and live in it for a long time by making the body strong.

59 Q: Is not sadhana necessary to know the Self?
A: Of what use is sadhana that does not enable one to see the sadhaka?

61 Q: Is it not necessary to know the nature of Iswara and Jiva?
A: Since Sivam is non-dual, it is not necessary.
They will say that Iswara is infinite and diva is finite. They will say that diva is like the eye and that Iswara is like the sun. These two definitely cannot be non-dual. Pure consciousness, which is neither of these two, alone is Sivam.

62 Q: Then what is the way to attain Sivam?
A: The way to see one's Self is by rejecting everything else as maya.

67 Q: But will not this experience come to everyone?
A: If one becomes inward-turned instead of remaining externalised, this experience will come for everyone.
I declare: 'If their minds are directed inwards, attending to the light [the Self], and do not become outward turned, all those upon earth are capable of seeing the Self, just as I have seen my Self'.

Ann Onymous said...

"One problem is that all teachings, all writings, all communication is in the form of concepts."

That's not quite right, Roger. What is said to be Bhagavan's highest teaching, the one in which there is nothing to understand or confuse, is also the most accessible teaching available, always here waiting for our attention. Why settle for less than the highest?

Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words. - Bhagavan (Talk 246)

Now I'll be quiet and let silence separate what is true from what are lies as threshing does. - Rumi

A man does not seek to see himself in running water, but in still water. - Chuang Tzu

Ann Onymous said...

WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS KNOWLEDGE THAT CAN CAUSE SEVERE INJURY OR DEATH TO THE 'EGO'.

Please watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTxpT6_Dios

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, you say 'Therefore, ‘jumping from one thing to another’ could be ‘jumping from one body to another body’ - indeed a rapid jump!' Yes, our body is only our thought (in fact our primal thought), and in each of our respective dreams we cling to one body or other by repeatedly thinking about the same body and its adjuncts. Therefore in the ultimate analysis, what sustains the seeming existence of our body is not its prana or life force, but only our thoughts or attention to this body. Just like our body, our prana or life force is also our thought.

If our ego stops grasping or attending to one body it soon grasps or clings to another body, because it is only by clinging to a body that this ego can survive. By persistently practising self-investigation our ego will eventually be annihilated, and thereafter we will not be able to think any thought.

Since our body and world are dependent on our ego, when our ego dies our body and world will also become non-existent (at least in our view) - never to reappear again.

maya said...

/**
Also, from Sorupa Saram:

56 Q: Is yoga good?
A: For knowing consciousness it is not necessary
They will practise the highly respected yoga, remaining in a corner and controlling their breath and speech. For seeing and abiding as supreme consciousness, why this sadhana? They are attempting to enjoy the world and live in it for a long time by making the body strong.
***/

What is referred to here is Hatha Yoga which is just one of the eight limbs of Yoga. Raja Yoga is a comprehensive process by which one purifies the mind to make it still. What is done subtly during self inquiry in bringing one's attention from thoughts to the thinker is stated explicitly by yama, niyama, pratyahara etc etc. It has become convenient these days, especially by the so called neo-advaitins to dismiss everything other method. No less that Swami Abhinava Vidyateertha swami of Sringeri, who was self realized, has explained his practices in his book, "Yoga, enlightenment and perfection."

I addition most people who dismiss other methods haven't practiced them one bit and they dismiss them outright in spite of the fact that they are unable to do self inquiry as well properly. Self inquiry has become a talking point and a point of elaborate discussion rather than going within. And these are the people who dismiss other methods which have been followed by many before to success. And the only success in spirituality is realization, not talking about Bhagavan and the greatness of his teachings all day long.

maya said...

Also, the reason for mentioning Swami Abhinava Vidyateertha swami of Sringeri above is because he was an advaitin from the Sankara lineage and he practiced Yoga to get him to the final stage where he realized his self at the age of 19. It would also help to remember that no less than Swami Vivekananda thought it worthwhile to write commentaries on Raja Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. This was the same Vivekananda who started an Advaita Ashrama at Kankhal near Rishikesh and is said to have asked one of his disciples to remove the photo of even his revered guru Ramakrishna when he entered the ashram, just because it was an Advaita ashrama. Inspite of being an Advaitin he thought it important to write a commentary on Raja Yoga.

To dismiss something without even having practiced that for a while is not rational but stupid. Its one thing to say that a certain method suits one but whole other thing to dismiss everything else. People other than Bhagavan who practiced other methods and attained realization were not fools. Bhagavan was not the only person who realized his self and even the fact that he realized his self is just our own belief.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Nisargadatta said (as quoted by Venkat): ‘The very idea of going beyond the dream is illusion. Why go anywhere? Just realise that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of the dream and not another. When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs to be done’.

If it is accurately recorded, what Nisargadatta says here is quite different from Bhagavan’s teachings. Therefore, I will compare whatever he says here with Bhagavan’s teachings, and this is meant to be a personal criticism of Nisargadatta.
Bhagavan wrote in paragraph eighteen of Nan Yar:

Except that waking is dīrgha [long lasting] and dream is kṣaṇika [momentary or lasting for only a short while], there is no other difference [between these two mind-created states]. To the extent to which all the vyavahāras [doings, activities, affairs or occurrences] that happen in waking seem [at this present moment] to be real, to that [same] extent even the vyavahāras that happen in dream seem at that time to be real. In dream the mind takes another body [to be itself]. In both waking and dream thoughts and names-and-forms [the objects of the seemingly external world] occur in one time [that is, simultaneously].

Nisargadatta says, ‘The very idea of going beyond the dream is illusion. Why go anywhere?’ If this waking state is a dream just like our dream which occurs during sleep, should we not try to wake up from all our dreams by experiencing ourself as we really are?. Therefore, contrary to what Nisargadatta says, going beyond all dreams is our goal.

Nisargadatta says, ‘Just realise that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out’. He says stop looking for ways out of this dream, then why are our sadhanas for? To me it is clear, all our sadhanas are only to get out of this worldly dream-existence. Even if we realise that we are dreaming a dream, how will it help us if we do not try to find a way out?

Nisargadatta says, ‘The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of the dream and not another’. Yes, in the strictest sense our dream is less problematic than the dreamer (our ego). However, our dream is also a problem, because all dreams are filled with endless misery (especially disease, old age, death, if nothing else); of course, there are iotas of pleasures here and there, but it is only on the backdrop of continuous misery, uncertainty, dissatisfaction and so on.

Therefore, even if we see the dream as a dream we should make utmost effort to wake up from the dream, and in Bhagavan’s path this can only be done by our persistent practice of atma-vichara.



Sanjay Lohia said...

Very sorry, I typed 'and this is meant to be a personal criticism of Nisargadatta'. I missed out the word 'not'; therefore, the corrected sentence should read 'and this is not meant to be a personal criticism of Nisargadatta'

Anonymous said...

Freudian slip!

venkat said...

Hi Maya

Sorry to have irritated you. As I said, I do not have any particular opinion for or against yoga. I was simply reporting, what I believe are highly regarded texts in Saiva Siddhanta, had to say on the subject. If they are not authoritative, or are incorrect, or I have misunderstood their meaning, then please do let me know.

I agree with you regarding Sri Abhinava Vidyateertha's practice of yoga; and his pre-eminence as a Sankaracharya.

Best wishes

venkat

Sivanarul said...

Venkat,

Please find below the authoritative texts in Saiva Siddhantha:
The 4 Vedas and the Upanishads (Saiva Siddhantha interprets the 4 Mahavakyas differently than Vedanta.)
28 Siva Agamas (The agamas are granted the same respect, authority and weight as the Vedas)
12 Thirumurai
Periya Puranam
Siva Jnana Botham
Thirupugazh
Kandar Anuboothi
Thirumanthiram (by Thirumoolar, who was a student of Sri Nandi along with Patanjali. Thirumoolar and Patanjali were peer students).

While the western world thinks only of Patanjali, when it talks about Yoga, Thirumanthiram is an in depth yogic text that basically covers every aspect of spirituality that needs to be known (including Jnana path).

From the philosophy point of view, in TamilNadu, the most authoratative Saiva Siddhantha text is Siva Jnana Botham by Sri Meykandar. It is made up of 12 sutras, but bhashyas on it run for several hundred pages with very detailed explanation of it's philosophy.

Ozhivil Odukkam and Sorupa saram are not technically considered core Saiva Siddthantha texts since they are highly skewed towards Jnana alone and their interpretation of Maya is more in tune with Vedantic interpretation that Saiva Siddhantha's interpretation. According to Saiva Siddthantha, even though Jnana is the final step that leads to moksha, all the other steps (Chariyai, Kiriyai and Yoga) are considered very important and are the gates one passes through to Jnana then to moksha. There is no way a sadhaka can directly go to Jnana without going through Chariyai, Kiriyai and Yoga. If someone seems to have done it, it is taken they have gone through it in an earlier life.

The four Saiva Saints (Naalvar) illustrate the path of Chariyai in Jnana (Appar), Kiriyai in Jnana (Sambandar), Yoga in Jnana (Sundarar) and Jnana in Jnana (Manikkavasagar).

The one common theme among the entire saivaite tradition is the love for Lord Siva both internally and externally. It is Bhakthi towards Lord Siva in all 4 steps of Chariyai, Kiriyai, Yoga and Jnana that is the core teaching of Saiva Siddantha. Hence Bhakthi is the common thread that goes through all 4 steps.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji, Vannakkam

You pinched my curiosity when you said: "Saiva Siddhantha interprets the 4 Mahavakyas differently than Vedanta."

When you have a minute, could you expand on this difference of interpretation?

Thank you,
M

venkat said...

Great - thanks Sivanarul. I'd also echo Mouna's question.

Best
venkat

Roger Isaacs said...

Ann Onymous writes:

roger said: "One problem is that all teachings, all writings, all communication is in the form of concepts."

That's not quite right, Roger. What is said to be Bhagavan's highest teaching, the one in which there is nothing to understand or confuse, is also the most accessible teaching available, always here waiting for our attention. Why settle for less than the highest?

Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words. - Bhagavan (Talk 246)


I agree, I constrain my statement to the limitations of conceptual language, written and spoken. Certainly there can be transmission (such as transmission from Bhagavan during silence), or revelation in silence etc...

nice quote, thanks,

venkat said...

Sanjay,

Two points.

(1) What Nisargadatta said in that quote is not really different from what Bhagavan said. Nisargadatta says the world is a dream, and when you give up preferences and aversions, and attachments to the world, [NOTE: Bhagavan would say the same so far] . . . then you will realise that the world is a dream, and in that realisation, then there is no more going beyond. Now it is only this last part where you may argue that Nisargadatta differs from Bhagavan in that UN says that in realisation, the dream world no longer exists. However, if you recall the quotes from Day to Day that I mentioned above, Bhagavan says here that a jnani may see the world (dream) but it is as a shadow for him. No doubt, you will then reply that Day to Day cannot be relied upon. So here is UNA v38:

"{Vasistha said to Rama) 'O hero, having enquired into all the states, which are of various kinds, play (your role) in the world always clinging firmly with the mind only to that one which is the supreme state devoid of unreality. O hero, since you have known that Self which exists in the heart as the Reality of all the various appearances; therefore without ever abandoning that outlook, play your role in the world as if you have desire"

So Bhagavan is clearly saying in this, continue to play your role in your dream, but in the knowledge that it is unreal. Is that really different from the Nisargadatta quote??

(2) Let us say, for arguments sake, that Nisargadatta is saying something wholly different from Bhagavan as far as liberation is concerned. As is, presumably Ashtavakra and Shankara and the author of Ellam Ondre.

Now, you have said that Bhagavan's presence and actions are unimportant. It is only his teachings that are important.

So, how do you know whether Bhagavan's teaching are correct versus those of Nisargadatta or Shankara or Ashtavakra. How do you decide which teachings to follow, especially if you have not had time to investigate other teachings? What criteria do you use and how do you know whether your judgement is correct? If it is a matter of faith, what makes you put faith in him vs others? If it is because of the logical coherence of UN and UNA, have you looked into the logical coherence of Ashtavakra, Shankara and Advaita?

venkat said...

Sivanarul, is there a good English translation of Siva Jnana Botham and an authoritative bhashya?

maya said...

Venkat,

Sorry, my comment was not directed at you but I chose that text from Sorupa Saram just to drive my point about putting down other methods that is often adopted here by some as against Self Inquiry which "According to Bhagavan", a phrase used often is his only teaching.

The greatness of Sanatana Dharma is that "Truth is one and the ways are many" and not "Self inquiry is the only/best/direct/fastest way". Its not as if that people who practice self inquiry are getting realized by the hordes and many don't, even after practicing and extolling its greatness for decades otherwise there would not be so much blabber on this blog. In fact self inquiry is not even able to keep people quiet for sometime without responding to a comment. In fact these people seem to have the highest ego in saying that this is the best.

All other methods are dismissed by saying that they only serve to control the mind while the fact is people who propound self inquiry's greatness here are not even able to shut their mouth (or hands) without responding. They don't have even this much control.

As I have expressed many times before, realization, in my opinion, has nothing to do with any specific method. It has to do with the purity of mind and the methods adopted to purify one's mind depends on one's samskaras, vasana, gunas or however one describes it. What works for one may not work for another. If that had not been the case why are people who have been practicing self inquiry for decades not realized yet. Simply because their mind is not pure and still enough and will not allow them to be quiet enough to look at oneself and to realize their true nature.

The problem with advaita these days is almost everyone talks about giving up the sense of doership but not the sense of enjoyer-ship.

I have avoided reading this blog for a long while but I suppose my vasana cropped up again.

venkat said...

Maya - no worries - good to have you back though!

Sivanarul said...

Maya,

Welcome back! Got to tell you, you are back with a thunder :-) As a fellow believer in Sanatana Dharma's "Truth is one and the ways are many", it was really nice reading your comments. You were dearly missed.

"The problem with advaita these days is almost everyone talks about giving up the sense of doership but not the sense of enjoyer-ship."

This has been something lately on my mind, from my own sadhana's perspective. Can there be much progress without significantly reducing the sense of enjoyer-ship? In other words, without some sort of physical and/or mental renunciation of pleasures, can there be much progress? I posted earlier the prerequisites that one first needs to fulfill before beginning walking the path of Jnana (according to Vivekachudamani). Also Sri Shankara's mutts are monastic in nature where the occupants have taken a formal vow of Sannyasa and have rejected all pleasures of the world. Sri Ramakrishna mission is also a monastic order. Buddhism also has a huge monastic order.

Obviously Sannyasa is not for everyone (definitely not for me :-)). Most of us have to make progress as a householder. But I think the point is to move towards Sannyasa, slowly but steadily, while continuing to fulfill the dharma of householder. It basically goes back to the purity of mind that you alluded to. That I think is a very key prerequisite. Once that is gained, grace will be able to function without impedance.

This purity of mind is a hallmark of most saints, if not all.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji and Venkat,

Regarding Saiva Siddhantha's different interpretation of MahaVakyas, I have read it only at a cursory level and not in depth. I would not be doing justice to it. There are 14 Meykanda
Sastras that does a rigorous logical and philosphical analysis. Think of them as 14 Michael's on steroids :-)

Here is a sample (I have posted the link and relevant contents below.):

"Ekam evadvitiyam brahmam" is translated by Vedanta as "Brahman is one, without a second"

http://shaivam.org/english/sen-the-relation-of-samkhya-and-saiva-siddhanta.htm

ADVITIYAM

Now let us turn our attention for a while to another world of great philosophic significance – the word Advitiyam of the Vedic literature. In such passages as “Ekam Evadvitiyam Brahma” “Ekam eva Rudro nadvitiyayatdaste” this world has been taken by Sankara to mean the definite number one. The first of these two sentences as interpreted by him means that ‘Brahman is one, one only.’ In the Sanskrit language there is the word Ekam to denote the definite number one. And in almost all the languages of the world only one word is there to denote one single number and this law is not violated in the case of Sanskrit, for we have seen in it only one word Ekam for one, Dvitam for two, Tritham for three, Chaturtam for four and so on. But if we have to accept the meaning of Sankara, for the number one we shall have two words Eakm and Advitiyam instead of one quite contrary to the philological principle I have just pointed out to you.

The term Advitiyam is a compound word; and how Sankara takes this term to mean one by the process of splitting it into two parts and tracing out the sense of the two ingredients is very amusing to note. Advitiyam is divided into na and dvitiyam and the prefix na is made to mean no and dvitiyam two. If by its parts it would mean no two, the term Advitiyam must necessarily mean the denial of the existence of two objects. After coming to this skillful conclusion it is easier for him to argue that if the sacred scriptures deny the existence of two objects by making a frequent use of the term Advitiyam, it becomes our bounden duty to believe in the existence and reality of one only Brahman and the non-existence and unreality of all others.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment.... (Please disregard any inter traditional slights written in these)

But as it seems to me that this exposition of his contradicts the sense and spirit of all Vedic and Upanishad teachings I find it difficult to bring myself to believe in the correctness of his teaching and explanation. With all due deference to his greatness, we must, for the cause of truth, submit his meanings and arguments to a searching and critical examination. In the first place let us see whether he is correct in his etymological study of the term Advitiyam.

I think he is not right in taking the prefix na in the sense of no, especially when it stands in union with numerals; because though that prefix may convey that meaning when it combines with other words denoting objects, it never signifies that sense when it stands in combination with numerals, but it clearly expresses another meaning of not. For example, when the prefix na is joined to the numeral Ekam which means one, the two become the compound word Anekam; and this term Anekam does not mean no one, but it means not one an equivalent of many. Similarly when the prefix na is united to the numeral Dvitham, the two must necessarily mean not no two but not two. But sadly this fact escaped the notice of Sankara. Does it not show the imperfect nature of the human mind that this simple fact of Sanskrit etymology eluded the intellectual grasp of so great a scholar as Sankaracharya?

Further Dvitham and Dvithiyam are not identical in meaning. Dvitham means two and Dvitiyam a two-fold state. It follows from this that nadvitiyam ought to mean a not-two-fold state. The peculiar function of this term Advitiyam is to express the exact relation in which the Supreme Being stands with the Universe. God is an omnipresent Being. And this nature in Him makes Him one with the world and the individual minds. Without his immediate presence not even a single atom can move of its own accord; without his simultaneous help no living thing can stimulate itself into activity; and without His inmost advice no human being can live even for a moment.

Hence to endue each and all with life and activity He pervades the entire system of cosmos and individual minds. Though H thus exists one with the universe yet is He essentially different from it. And therefore this peculiar relation of His with mind and matter cannot be called either one or two. If He were not different from them how could there be either mind or matter? Or if He were different from them how could they move, think or have their very being?

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment.... (Please disregard any inter traditional slights written in these)

If He alone existed the Vedic poet would have said omitting the word Advitiyam ‘Evam eva Brahma’ ‘Brahma is the one only.’ Or if He existed farthest away from mind and matter then would he have said putting the word Dvitham ‘Dvitam eva Brahma’ that Brahma and the rest are two only. But he has clearly stated ‘Ekam evadvittyam Brahma’ Ekam eva Rudro nadvitiyayam daste’ thus adding the term Advitiyam and meaning there by that Brahman is the one only in a kind of not-two-state, that Rudra is one only and is in a kind of not-two condition. Why? The relation of God is neither one nor two but a kind of not-two state. To express accurately this interrelation, neither the word ekam meaning one nor the word Dvitham meaning two would serve the purpose of the Vedic poet; and so he resorted to the aid of a third word Advitiyam in order to bring into a clearer light what he conceived of the relation that subsists between God and the universe. Now you see what those line “Ekam evadvitiyam Brahma” “Ekam eva Rudro na dvitiyaya taste.’

Indicated in the minds of the Vedic poets; that Brahman or Rudra who is one only without having a second being to be compared with it in any respect always exists with the universe in a kind of not-two relation is the real meaning of these Vedic texts. That this is the real meaning of the term advitiyam will be fully borne out by the etymological and philosophical expositions given of this word by saint Meykanda Deva of the Tamil country some six hundred years ago in his unique Tamil work of metaphysics-the Sivajnanabodha. That this passage and similar ones in which the word advitiyam occurs instead of lending any countenance to the illusion-theory of Sankara glitter like sharp sickles that cut down the very stalk of his doctrine at its root will be apparent to anyone who makes even a superficial study of the works of saint Meykandadeva and his disciples of the Saiva Siddhanta School. Nay anyone who enters upon a critical and comparative study of the oldest systems of philosophy, Upanishads and Vedas will see for himself that the term advitiyam itself establishes beyond all dispute the reality of matter and individual selves as was upheld by Sage Kapila in his thoroughly scientific system of Sankhya.

Roger Isaacs said...

Venkat said: quoting Bhagavan:
"The life of action need not be renounced. If you meditate for an hour or two every day you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work . . . Setting apart time for meditation is only for the merest novices. A man who is advancing will enjoy the deeper beatitude whether he is at work or not. While his hands are in society, he keeps his head cool in solitude."


Venkat, where is this statement from? So far, it's the only statement I've heard from Bhagavan regarding practice specifically for people engaged in "the life of action"... which must be a lot of us? (apologies since I have not studied that deeply, perhaps there are a lot of such statements)

The statement raises other possible questions:
What is the "right manner" of meditation (from Bhagavan's perspective) for someone in the "life of action"? Is this atma-vicara while sitting?
What is this "current of mind induced" which is a result of right meditation? What are the characteristics of it? How would I know it?
How will I know when I have advanced from the stage of "mere novice"?

For me, these kind of questions are practical and useful, they apply directly to practice.

Questions I frequently hear about "killing the ego" at some imagined time in the future may be philosophically interesting but they don't seem practical.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Venkat, Nisargadatta said, ‘Just realise that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of the dream and not another’. Is this what Bhagavan taught us? I do not think so. Our dreams are projected by our ego, and ego cannot exist without projecting and experiencing thoughts, and thoughts create images or perceptions in our mind, and these images and perceptions are our dream-world.

As long as we dream we will always take the dream to be real (paragraph 18 of Nan Yar). For example, we are sure to be petrified if a tiger were about to pounce on us in our dream. Therefore, we invariably treat all our dreams to be real, and consequently we consider all our bodily and worldly problems to be also real. Therefore, clearly our dreams are a problem, and when Nisargadatta says, ‘The dream is not your problem’, it does not confirm with simple logic.

You say Bhagavan said that the jnani does see the world. This is again contrary to Bhagavan’s teachings and logic. However, since you talked about DBD, I will also quote from the same book (1989: 17-10-49 - page 286): ‘The realised being, though he has normal sight [in our view], does not see all these things. (He sees only the Self and nothing but the Self)’

This confirms with Bhagavan’s overall teachings. What sees or witnesses anything other than itself is only our ego, and since the jnani has no ego, how can he see any objects? It is an logical impossibility.

Vasistha said to Rama, ‘O hero, since you have known that Self which exists in the heart as the Reality of all the appearances; therefore without ever abandoning that outlook, play your role in the world as if you have desire’.

Who was Rama? If he was the avatar (reincarnation) of Lord Vishnu (which he is supposed to be), he did not need this advice from Vasistha; therefore, this advice may have been for other spiritual aspirants. This could have been like the advice Bhagavan gave us in paragraph eleven of NanYar: ‘If one cling fast to svarupa-smarana [self-remembrance] until one attains svarupa [one’s own essential self], that alone [will be] sufficient.

That is, Bhagavan advised us that, even in the midst of our work, we should hold fast to our self-attentiveness, and it was perhaps the same advice that Vasistha gave Rama.

(To be continued)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Continued from my previous comment

Venkat, you claim that I had said, ‘Now, you have said that Bhagavan's presence and actions are unimportant. It is only his teachings that are important’. As far as I can remember, I did not exactly say this. I said Bhagavan’s teachings were more important than his actions, and that his inner presence is as powerful as his physical presence was.

You ask. ‘So, how do you know whether Bhagavan's teaching are correct versus those of Nisargadatta or Shankara or Ashtavakra. How do you decide which teachings to follow, especially if you have not had time to investigate other teachings’.

In the ultimate analyses, it is only grace which decides our spiritual path for us. Grace or Bhagavan knows the most suitable path for our spiritual development, and accordingly exposes us to the relevant teachings of that path. However, we may feel that it is our intuition or discrimination that has made us choose a particular path, but it is only grace which has the final say here.

How do I know ‘Bhagavan's teaching are correct versus those of Nisargadatta or Shankara or Ashtavakra?’ May I ask you: why do you think that the teachings of Nisargadatta, Shankara or Ashtavakra (with due respects to them) are important? Since you have mentioned them here, I presume that you consider their teachings important?

Have you investigated other teachings like Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and say even atheism, to come to your present understanding? It could be that you may find any of these religions more appealing, and therefore you may stop giving importance to Shankara, Ashtavakra and others.

The point I am trying to make here is that there are several factors which draw us to a particular guru. We need not study all the other teachings in order to decide our present guru. As far as Bhagavan's path of self-investigation is concerned, according to me, it is the most simple, direct and logical path to attain atma-jnana.

You may say, ‘How can you claim that self-investigation is the best path?' Well, Bhagavan had himself said so in many places. For example, in verse 8 of Upadesa Undiyar he says, ‘Rather than anya-bhava, ananya-bhava, which is [practised with the conviction] ‘he [is] I’, is indeed the best among all [forms of meditation]’

Since we write our comments on the blog dedicated to the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana, we often repeat his teachings based to our understanding, and this is not intended to offend or hurt any feelings or beliefs.

venkat said...

Roger,

If you haven't got it already, it is worth getting David Godman's "The Teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi". He thematically brings together the points that Bhagavan made through his various works. He has two chapters on Self-enquiry - theory and practice.

I got this the quote that you asked about from David's book. He sources it to Paul Brunton's "A search in secret India".

venkat said...

Sanjay

I have studied quite broadly philosophy and spirituality. However, I agree with you, that it is a still a drop in the ocean of everything that one can read and study on the subject, as is evident from my limited understanding of Saiva Siddhanta. And there will be no end to such studies, which is not what Bhagavan, or anyone else for that matter, recommends.

However, in most of what I have studied, there has been a clear theme of non-duality, of non-separation, of detachment from worldly desires and fears that has been a common thread that runs through all of them. And that to my mind makes absolute sense, and is consonant with both a common sense view of life and death, and from a scientific viewpoint.

I also would agree with you that Bhagavan's teachings are the simplest and most direct. However, you seem to feel the need to point out differences between Bhagavan and everyone else, without celebrating the harmony. As Sivanarul I think wrote previously, there is a beauty in the different expressions of advaita - different fingers pointing in the direction of the same moon. You can get hung up with dissecting each of the fingers, or see the beauty of the direction in which they are pointing, and their expressions of truth.

venkat said...

Sivanarul, Maya

"The problem with advaita these days is almost everyone talks about giving up the sense of doership but not the sense of enjoyer-ship."

I'd totally agree. Shankara, Gaudapada, Bhagavan, Nisargadatta et al, all lived and talked about giving up desires, about living day to day, by what comes from chance.

Sivanarul, thanks for taking the time with your exposition on Siddhantha. Please do let me know if you know of a good English translation of Sivajnanabodha.

Viveka Vairagya said...

A Doubt on Practice

Dear Michael (and anyone else inclined to answer),

These days in sadhana, for moderate stretches of time I am able to remain in thought-free awareness / consciousness state, punctuated only occasionally by awareness of sounds originating outside, like the whirring of the fan overhead or the sound of starting and stopping of lift. So, does further sadhana consist merely in trying to abide for prolonged periods of time in this thought-free awareness / consciousness state? Also, I might add that before this phase I do an hour of nama japa, which sets the tone for self-enquiry.

behind the mind said...

Viveka Vairagya,
from Atma Sakshatkara Prakaranam:

"...,
... -
That taintless , attributeless Self
You should unceasingly meditate upon." (31)

behind the mind said...

Viveka Vairagya,
again from Atma Sakshatkara Prakaranam:

"This is the mantra ", "this is the deity",
"This is indeed what is called meditation",
"This indeed is tapas",
Casting afar all such thoughts,
Concentrate on the nature of your own Self. (35)

Anonymous said...

So many word....

Padamalai 21

If the doubts that could not be dispelled by the many oral instructions were dispelled by that mauna, what power that mauna hast

~~~

In none of the traditional accounts of Dakṣiṇāmūrti's life does Dakṣiṇāmūrti ever speak.

However, when Bhagavan narrated this story, he sometimes said that Dakṣiṇāmūrti initially attempted to communicate his teachings verbally, but without success. It was only when he sat in silence that his four rishi-disciples understood what his teachings were and realised the Self When Muruganar once remarked that he had never read this version of events in any book, and asked Bhagavan for the source of this story, Bhagavan replied , But this is exactly what happened'.

Muruganar concluded from this that Bhagavan was Dakṣiṇāmūrti himself, and that his knowledge of this particular incident was a personal memory of having sat in silence in front of the four sages.

Pranam...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Venkat, I thank you for your comment addressed to me. On the point of 'harmony', if we are relatively conflict-free and harmonious inside; we will find everything relatively conflict-free and harmonious outside. It is even possible to remain calm and composed amidst a battle. Like Sri Krishna advised Arjuna: 'remain calm and fight'. However, our mind can be turbulent and in turmoil even in a cave, if there is turbulence with.

Therefore, I believe we should try to bring about harmony within. If we do so we are likely to find harmony - among different spiritual teachers, religions and so on. Therefore, so long as our ego is fat and healthy we will experience disharmony, in one form or other, both inside and outside. I hope you will agree.

five thieves said...

Ann Onymous,
maybe in California there is an urgent need for such a demonstrated affected behaviour of a "big guru". Regarding the mentioned "WARNING" in my experience watching a video alone can never cause permanent death to the ego. Pictures of Ramana are easily fixed on the wall and reading from Ribhu Gita cannot transmit any self-knowledge.

Mouna said...

Thank you Sivanarulji for the comment on the mahavakya.
M

removal of misery said...

Arunachala,
why do you tolerate that I have not yet cooperated willingly enough in your work of cultivating love for pure self-awareness in my heart ?
Would you not fill the empty watering can to water the sprouting seed of that love with my attention ? Is it a matter of complete indifference to you when you see me being plunged into fruitless thoughts and darkness ?

love will blossom said...

Michael,
as you say: Happiness is our essential being.

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