Monday, 6 June 2016

Why should we rely on Bhagavan to carry all our burdens, both material and spiritual?

In a comment on my previous article, What is the logic for believing that happiness is what we actually are?, a friend called Sandhya wrote, “I remember reading in some book, where Bhagavan said, ‘don’t take all the burden on yourself, but transform all that to God’ using train/luggage carried by us analogy. If all the burden was created by the ego and if God is aware of not the ego nor the burden, how can one rely on God to carry the burden?”, so this article is my reply to her.

Sandhya, the teaching of Bhagavan that you refer to is what he wrote in the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம். ஈசன்பேரில் எவ்வளவு பாரத்தைப் போட்டாலும், அவ்வளவையும் அவர் வகித்துக்கொள்ளுகிறார். சகல காரியங்களையும் ஒரு பரமேச்வர சக்தி நடத்திக்கொண் டிருகிறபடியால், நாமு மதற் கடங்கியிராமல், ‘இப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டும்; அப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டு’ மென்று ஸதா சிந்திப்பதேன்? புகை வண்டி சகல பாரங்களையும் தாங்கிக்கொண்டு போவது தெரிந்திருந்தும், அதி லேறிக்கொண்டு போகும் நாம் நம்முடைய சிறிய மூட்டையையு மதிற் போட்டுவிட்டு சுகமா யிராமல், அதை நமது தலையிற் றாங்கிக்கொண்டு ஏன் கஷ்டப்படவேண்டும்?

āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhā-paraṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām. īśaṉpēril e-vv-aḷavu bhārattai-p pōṭṭālum, a-vv-aḷavai-y-um avar vahittu-k-koḷḷugiṟār. sakala kāriyaṅgaḷai-y-um oru paramēśvara śakti naḍatti-k-koṇḍirugiṟapaḍiyāl, nāmum adaṟku aḍaṅgi-y-irāmal, ‘ippaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum; appaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum’ eṉḏṟu sadā cinti-p-padēṉ? puhai vaṇḍi sakala bhāraṅgaḷaiyum tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu pōvadu terindirundum, adil ēṟi-k-koṇḍu pōhum nām nammuḍaiya siṟiya mūṭṭaiyaiyum adil pōṭṭu-viṭṭu sukhamāy irāmal, adai namadu talaiyil tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu ēṉ kaṣṭa-p-paḍa-vēṇḍum?

Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is steadily fixed in oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [thought of oneself], alone is giving oneself to God. Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear. Since one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all activities [everything that happens in this world], instead of yielding to it why should we always think, ‘it is necessary to act in this way; it is necessary to act in that way’? Though we know that the train is going bearing all the burdens, why should we who go travelling in it suffer bearing our small luggage on our head instead of remaining happily leaving it placed on that [train]?
So long as we seem to be this finite ego, the infinite reality called ‘God’ seems to be something other than ourself, and hence experiencing ourself as this ego prevents us from experiencing him as he actually is. He now seems to be something separate from us only because we have risen as this ego, thereby seemingly limiting and separating ourself from him, and thus making him also seem in our view to be separate and hence limited, so as a seemingly separate and limited entity he is no more real than our ego, which sees him as such. However what he actually is is not anything limited or separate from anything else, but only the one infinite whole, other than which nothing can exist, so he is what we actually are — our own actual self or ātma-svarūpa. Therefore to know him as he actually is we must know ourself as we actually are, and in order to know ourself as we actually are we must surrender our ego entirely and thereby merge forever in him, as him.

Since this ego is a formless phantom that rises and stands only by ‘grasping form’, as Bhagavan points out in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, we cannot surrender our ego entirely so long as we allow it to continue clinging to any forms or phenomena — that is, to anything other than itself. Since everything other than ourself is just a thought or idea projected and experienced by our ego, and since this ego grasps or clings to such things only by attending to them, he teaches us that this ego will subside in such a way that it will never rise again only if we try to attend to it alone, thereby ceasing to attend to anything else whatsoever. This is what he implies in this verse when he says, ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), which means ‘If sought [examined or investigated], it [this ego] will take flight’.

Therefore in the first sentence of this thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? he says: ‘ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம்’ (āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām), which means ‘Being one who is steadily fixed in oneself (ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ), giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any thought (cintana) other than thought of oneself (ātma-cintana), alone is giving oneself to God’. That is, so long as we think of anything other than ourself, we are ‘grasping form’ and thereby nourishing and sustaining our ego, so in order to surrender this ego entirely, we should not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything other than oneself.

Having risen as this form-grasping ego, we experience ourself as a person, who is currently the primary form that we have grasped and the base of all the other forms that we are aware of, and as this person we seem to have so many cares, concerns and responsibilities. Therefore when Bhagavan advises us to surrender ourself entirely by attending to nothing other than ourself, we are reluctant to do so because we are attached to numerous things associated with this person whom we seem to be, so we cling fast to such things and we believe that in order to protect our body and everything else that we hold dear it is necessary for us to do this or that.

This clinging to things other than ourself is what Bhagavan describes as ‘நம்முடைய சிறிய மூட்டையையு மதிற் போட்டுவிட்டு சுகமா யிராமல், அதை நமது தலையிற் றாங்கிக்கொண்டு’ (nammuḍaiya siṟiya mūṭṭaiyaiyum adil pōṭṭu-viṭṭu sukhamāy irāmal, adai namadu talaiyil tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu), which means ‘bearing our small luggage on our head instead of remaining happily leaving it placed on that [train]’, and he asks us why we should unnecessarily suffer in such a manner: ‘சகல காரியங்களையும் ஒரு பரமேச்வர சக்தி நடத்திக்கொண்டிருகிறபடியால், நாமு மதற் கடங்கியிராமல், ‘இப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டும்; அப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டு’ மென்று ஸதா சிந்திப்பதேன்?’ (sakala kāriyaṅgaḷaiyum oru paramēśvara śakti naḍatti-k-koṇḍirugiṟapaḍiyāl, nāmum adaṟku aḍaṅgi-y-irāmal, ‘ippaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum; appaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum’ eṉḏṟu sadā cinti-p-padēṉ? ), ‘Since one paramēśvara śakti is driving all activities, instead of yielding to it why should we be always thinking, ‘it is necessary to act in this way; it is necessary to act in that way’?’

All our cares and responsibilities seem to be real only because we seem to be a person and consequently there seems to be a world, and these things seem to exist and God seems to be something separate from both ourself and this world only because we have risen as this ego. Therefore when our ego subsides completely, as it does every day in sleep, neither the world nor God seems to exist as anything separate from ourself, and consequently we are free at least for a while from all cares and responsibilities.

Therefore, though God actually is our own real self, he seems to be separate from ourself because we have limited ourself as this ego, and as this limited ego we seem to be burdened with all sorts of cares, concerns and responsibilities. Though our ego and its burdens are not real, they seem real in the view of ourself as this ego, so Bhagavan advises us to surrender this ego along with all its burdens to God, and he assures us that if we do so he will take complete care of us and all our needs, saying: ‘ஈசன்பேரில் எவ்வளவு பாரத்தைப் போட்டாலும், அவ்வளவையும் அவர் வகித்துக்கொள்ளுகிறார்’ (īśaṉpēril e-vv-aḷavu bhārattai-p pōṭṭālum, a-vv-aḷavaiyum avar vahittu-k-koḷḷugiṟār), which means ‘Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear’.

Since in his clear and infinite view our ego and this ego-projected world do not actually exist, how can God bear all our burdens along with their root, this ego? He can do so very easily because he does not see our ego as an ego or our burdens as burdens, because in his view he alone exists, so nothing at all is other than himself. Therefore bearing any amount of burden is no burden at all for him. This is why Bhagavan sings in verse 9 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padikam:
பரமநின் பாதம் பற்றறப் பற்றும்
      பரவறி வறியரிற் பரமன்
பரமுனக் கெனவென் பணியறப் பணியாய்
      பரித்திடு முனக்கெது பாரம்
பரமநிற் பிரிந்திவ் வுலகினைத் தலையிற்
      பற்றியான் பெற்றது போதும்
பரமனா மருணா சலவெனை யினியுன்
      பதத்தினின் றொதுக்குறப் பாரேல்.

paramaniṉ pādam paṯṟaṟap paṯṟum
      paravaṟi vaṟiyariṟ paramaṉ
bharamuṉak keṉaveṉ paṇiyaṟap paṇiyāy
      bharittiṭu muṉakkedu bhāram
paramaniṟ pirindiv vulahiṉait talaiyiṟ
      paṯṟiyāṉ peṯṟadu pōdum
paramaṉā maruṇā calaveṉai yiṉiyuṉ
      padattiṉiṉ ḏṟodukkuṟap pārēl
.

பதச்சேதம்: பதச்சேதம்: பரம நின் பாதம் பற்று அற பற்றும் பர அறி வறியரில் பரமன். பரம் உனக்கு என, என் பணி அற பணியாய். பரித்திடும் உனக்கு எது பாரம்? பரம நின் பிரிந்து இவ் உலகினை தலையில் பற்றி யான் பெற்றது போதும். பரமன் ஆம் அருணாசல எனை இனி உன் பதத்தில் நின்று ஒதுக்கு உற பாரேல்..

Padacchēdam (word-separation): parama niṉ pādam paṯṟu aṟa paṯṟum para aṟi vaṟiyaril paramaṉ. bharam uṉakku eṉa, eṉ paṇi aṟa paṇiyāy. bharittiṭum uṉakku edu bhāram? parama niṉ pirindu i-vv-ulahiṉai talaiyil paṯṟi yāṉ peṯṟadu pōdum. paramaṉ ām aruṇācala eṉai iṉi uṉ padattil niṉḏṟu odukku uṟa pārēl.

English translation: Supreme, [I am] supreme among those who are destitute of the supreme wisdom to cling without attachment to your feet. [Taking responsibility for me and my salvation] as your burden, make my activity cease. For you who bear [everything], what is a burden? Supreme, what I have got [by] separating from you and grasping this world on my head is enough. Arunachala, who are supreme, do not seek to keep me separated any longer from your feet [or your state].
Since we each have unlimited love for ourself, and since God is our unlimited self, his love is infinite and embraces all of us, without the slightest exclusion. Therefore just by being the infinite love that he is, he effortlessly bears us and all our burdens, so in the second line of this verse Bhagavan asks Arunachala, ‘பரித்திடும் உனக்கு எது பாரம்?’ (bharittiṭum uṉakku edu bhāram?), which means ‘For you who bear [carry or support everything], what is a burden?’ Therefore rather than carrying any burden on our own head, like a foolish passenger in a train, we can confidently hand over all burdens to him, including the burden of doing or thinking anything.

So long as we are active, doing anything whatsoever, including even thinking, we are carrying a burden on our head, so Bhagavan prays to Arunachala, ‘பரம் உனக்கு என, என் பணி அற பணியாய்’ (bharam uṉakku eṉa eṉ paṇi aṟa paṇiyāy), which means ‘[Taking all this] as your burden, make my activity cease’. Why should we think any thought or believe that we need to do any other action? We do so only because we do not trust the train in which we are travelling (namely Bhagavan or God) to carry our entire burden for us. How foolish we are! This is why he advises us to surrender everything to him, including ourself, this ego that rises as if it were something separate from him.

However, so long as we rise as this ego and therefore experience ourself as a person, the world we perceive around us seems to be real, and hence it seems to us that we have responsibilities to ourself, our family, our friends and others whom we care about. It is difficult for us, therefore, to free ourself from the idea that we must engage in various activities of mind, speech and body in order to take care of all our various responsibilities. If we had complete trust in God, believing that he is effortlessly carrying the entire burden of this universe and every creature in it, like a train that carries the entire burden of everyone and everything travelling in it, we would confidently hand over all our seeming responsibilities to him, and we would feel no need to rise as an ‘I’ to think or do anything at all.

If we rise to think anything, that shows we do not yet have sufficient trust in him, and hence we believe it is necessary for us to do this or that in order to take care of ourself and everyone else for whom we seem to have any form of responsibility. If we did not do whatever we need to do, we believe, we would be neglecting our responsibilities and things would not happen as we wish them to happen. For example, if we do not work to earn a living, we will not be able to provide food, clothing, shelter and whatever else may seem necessary for ourself and our family, or if we do not help others who are in need, we would be responsible (or would at least have a share of responsibility) for whatever hardship or suffering they consequently have to undergo. We may also believe that even if we were to surrender all our concerns about outward things to God, we would still bear responsibility for our own salvation, so we must do this or that yōga, prayer, worship, japa, meditation or other sādhana in order to advance spiritually. With this attitude we engage in various kinds of activity, whether worldly or spiritual, and we consequently find it extremely difficult to surrender all our cares, concerns and responsibilities — let alone ourself — entirely to God.

Therefore to make it easier for us to become willing to surrender ourself and our entire burden of seeming responsibilities entirely to God, Bhagavan taught us that whatever is to happen will happen, and whatever is not to happen will not happen, no matter how much effort we may make to prevent what is to happen or to bring about what is not to happen, and that whatever our mind, speech and body are destined to do they will be made to do, so even if we completely surrender ourself along with all our cares, concerns and responsibilities, everything will happen just as it is meant to happen and as it would have happened even if we had not surrendered ourself.

He expressed this assurance most clearly and emphatically in the note that he wrote for his mother in December 1898:
அவரவர் பிராரப்தப் பிரகாரம் அதற்கானவன் ஆங்காங்கிருந் தாட்டுவிப்பன். என்றும் நடவாதது என் முயற்சிக்கினும் நடவாது; நடப்ப தென்றடை செய்யினும் நில்லாது. இதுவே திண்ணம். ஆகலின் மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று.

avar-avar prārabdha-p prakāram adaṟkāṉavaṉ āṅgāṅgu irundu āṭṭuvippaṉ. eṉḏṟum naḍavādadu eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum naḍavādu; naḍappadu eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum nillādu. iduvē tiṇṇam. āhaliṉ mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu.

According to their-their prārabdha, he who is for that being there-there will cause to dance [that is, according to the destiny (prārabdha) of each person, he who is for that (namely God or guru, who ordains their destiny) being in the heart of each of them will make them act]. What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain. Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good.
Therefore if we are wise and have complete faith in Bhagavan and all that he taught us, we will confidently surrender ourself and all our seeming burdens — both material and spiritual — entirely to his care, and thereby we will remain silent in our natural state of pure self-awareness without rising as this ego to think or do anything whatsoever.

15 comments:

Sandhya said...

Thank you very much Michael. Few years back I went to chennai for vacation with my family and I suffered from severe headache for a week and immediately after that we visited various temples in tamilnadu. After that headache i also sufferred a lot mentally. When we visited thirunallaru temple, one of the priest asked us to perform shaneeshwara puja, which we did. The priest looked at me and said that there is no use of earning when i have so much confusion in the mind and i should have faith in God. He knew what i was going through, my health and also about my life. It was so interesting. Then he narrated his life story and told me how his faith in God helped him to be successful and become a priest . I think he was an orphan selling tea in his childhood. But i never understood why he said i should have faith in God at that time. Now i understand that when i think 'i should act this way, that way' the thought itself has little arrogance in it, where i think i am in control of things in the subconscious mind. But i think if one can place the burden on God, peace will automatically set in.

Bob - P said...

Michael wrote:

[Therefore to make it easier for us to become willing to surrender ourself and our entire burden of seeming responsibilities entirely to God, Bhagavan taught us that whatever is to happen will happen, and whatever is not to happen will not happen, no matter how much effort we may make to prevent what is to happen or to bring about what is not to happen, and that whatever our mind, speech and body are destined to do they will be made to do, so even if we completely surrender ourself along with all our cares, concerns and responsibilities, everything will happen just as it is meant to happen and as it would have happened even if we had not surrendered ourself.]

This was a very helpful passage thank you.
Bhagavan teaching this helps give us faith and the courage to surrender our burdens to him.
His love for us has no limit if we loved him as much as he loved us we would surrender ourselves to him right now.
In appreciation.
Bob

Stephen Ho said...



Michael, you said :

“If we rise to think anything, that shows we do not yet have sufficient trust in him, and hence we believe it is necessary for us to do this or that in order to take care of ourself and everyone else for whom we seem to have any form of responsibility.”

On one hand , that seems like an absolute with no thinking allowed totally every moment in all situations perpetually.

On the other hand, even simple activities like going to the toilet to empty my bowels or bladder , looking out for the traffic before crossing the road, etc require a certain amount of thinking . Even all of us here reading, posting and responding on this thread are thinking in one way or other.

In my contemplation of and application of Bhagavan Sri Ramana’s teachings so far in my daily activities especially at work, this is what I have concluded :

My Self (which is real) is the “bystander” (so to speak) which is merely aware/conscious of in a totally detached manner everything my imaginary self (which is illusory) thinks or does in every situation which is also totally imaginary (illusory). The imaginary self is allowed to think and do whatever needs to be done at every present moment and will not get lost in thoughts of past and future, the results , the outcome, responsibilities etc. Only the Self is the absolute subject (real) and all else are the relative objects (illusory ) in other words. Only the Self is responsible for every outcome and the imaginary self must not be. As long as I maintain this detached awareness/consciousness (detached bystander merely observing) , I am not contradicting Bhagavan Sri Ramana’s teachings.

May I know where I have gone wrong ? Please guide me in this.


Viveka Vairagya said...

Dear Michael,

You write "whatever our mind, speech and body are destined to do they will be made to do, so even if we completely surrender ourself along with all our cares, concerns and responsibilities, everything will happen just as it is meant to happen and as it would have happened even if we had not surrendered ourself."

You seem to be iomplying that whatever thoughts are necessary as per destiny we will be made to think, whether we surrender or not, for bodily actions to occur as they are supposed to according to destiny. How, then, can I distinguish between such destiny-driven thinking and ordinary thinking. Should I just refuse to harbour any thoughts? If so, how do I know when a destiny-driven thought has occurred to allow it free play and not ignore or suppress it because I think it is ordinary and not destiny-driven thinking?

Stephen Ho said...



Michael,

I am adding on what I said earlier because I feel I need to clarify things further.

Everybody has to make decisions daily, from life and death matters to trivial matters : the president of a nation, a doctor who has to prioritize limited resources while trying to save 5 badly-injured persons at an accident scene, a housewife who has limited resources and has to maintain a home and feed her husband and 5 children daily, and a teenager who has to choose an ice-cream flavour.

The basic conventional things to do : (1) Identify the purpose of your decision. What is exactly the problem to be solved? Why it should be solved? (2) Gather information. What factors does the problem involve? (3) Identify the principles to judge the alternatives. What standards and judgement criteria should the solution meet? (4) Brainstorm and list different possible choices. Generate ideas for possible solutions (5) Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences. Use your standards and judgement criteria to determine the cons and pros of each alternative. (6) Determine the best alternative. This is much easier after you go through the above preparation steps (8) Put the decision into action. Transform your decision into specific plan of action steps. Execute your plan. (8) Evaluate the outcome of your decision and action steps. What lessons can be learnt? This is an important step for further development of your decision making skills and judgement.

That is supposed to be a very basic conventional decision-making process in all areas of life and thinking, more or less, is definitely involved. The mind is busy, more or less.

With all that in mind , how does one practice total surrender with no thinking totally in all situations ?






bearer of burden said...

Michael,
Of course only from the view of my 'actually non-existent ego' I have heavy doubts. In spite of my love of Bhagavan and much as I sympathize, that is going to far. I do not carry out an attack but I think you are making things easy for you.
Why should I experience the infinite reality called 'God' which is to me only a dubious entity who/which has not even prevented me from (seeming) rising as this ego, as he actually is ?
If he had kept an careful eye on us we would not have limited and separated ourself from him.
So now he as a seemingly separate and limited entity is no more real than our ego, which sees him as such. Claiming that he is actually not anything limited or separate from anything else, but only the one infinite whole, other than which nothing can exist, our own actual self or atma-svarupa, can possibly be nothing than an utter lie. How can we be sure that we are not victims of lie and deception ?
Is it not asking too much that we should surrender our ego entirely and thereby merge forever in him, as him – as a complete unknown entity ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I would first reproduce a transcript of the video taken on 23-4-2016 (one hour and eighteen minutes onwards). This pertains to your interaction with the devotees at a retreat organised by RMF,London. You argue in this portion that we do not need the physical presence of the guru, because the real guru is within. At the end of the transcript I would ask a few questions based on what you say here:

Michael: Bhagavan came to teach us that we are not a person, but we persevere in considering him to be a person, which is paradoxical.

Devotee: [...] this mental habit is so engrained in our consciousness that it takes time . . .

Michael: Well, the mental habits continue. We can modify our mental habits, but in order to get rid of the mental habits entirely we have to get rid of their root, which is the ego. [...] Bhagavan is the perfect Doctor, because he has diagnosed what is the root of the whole problem – it is simply the ego. Get rid of the ego, you get rid of everything. Until we tackle this ego, we cannot solve any problem.

Devotee: [asked some question about the necessity of the physical presence of the guru, as he felt that such a physical presence is a must]

Michael: [...] Sadhu Om used to say, people think that those of us who were with Bhagavan are fortunate, and those who came after are less fortunate, but in fact it is the other way round. For example, Sadhu Om was a poet, so he used to write songs and sing, and only when he sang it in front of Bhagavan, or gave it to him to read that he felt that Bhagavan had read it. He said, ‘what ignorance was that. From where did that song come? It was only from Bhagavan. What foolishness to think that you have to go and give it to Bhagavan, for Bhagavan to know’. Another thing Sadhu Om used to say, ‘the physical presence of the guru is a subtle maya. Those who came after Bhagavan are fortunate that they were relieved even of that subtle maya. If we want to contact Bhagavan we have no choice now, as we can’t go to Tiruvannamalai and walk into his hall and talk to him. We have to turn within. He has given us no choice’.

My questions are: Sri Sadhu says that the songs he wrote came from Bhagavan. Writing songs in praise of Bhagavan was no doubt a saatvik action, but what about our other rajasik and tamsic actions? Suppose if I go and rob a bank, could I say that this action has also come from Bhagavan? I know it will not to proper to say so, but how can Bhagavan prompt only our good actions, and not our bad actions? Can we not say that all our actions, whether they are good or bad, are initiated and performed only by our ego, and Bhagavan is just the immutable presence that provides the energy and power to our actions? We can use this energy or power in whichever way we like – whether to sing songs in praise of Bhagavan or to rob a bank? I will appreciate your views on these doubts of mine.

With regards




Venkat said...

If I may offer some thoughts on this discussion . . .

If you are convinced, even intellectually, that you are not a separate ego, that you are not separate from the whole, then how could you do an evil or selfish act, which by definition is trying to benefit a separate part against the whole. You will strive to surrender all cares or selfish acts.

Hence why the bhagavad Gita prescribes the goal of nishkama karma - acting without acting, acting without desire for personal fruits. So when jnanis talk about giving up thoughts, it most acutely applies to those thoughts that emphasise egoic concern, rather than functional thoughts such as doing a job, driving a car, etc. functional thoughts can continue in the background, without too much attention.

If we observe ourselves carefully, we find that 90%+ of our thoughts are about "me", about my past and my future, my desires and my fears. If these are given up you just act and think in the "now", IMPERSONALLY. So the mind becomes still for a greater proportion of time. Ultimately bhagavan would say summa iru, which implies surrendering most activities, apart from the bare essential, and abiding in the self.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Venkat,

I agree with what you have written and it makes sense: "So when jnanis talk about giving up thoughts, it most acutely applies to those thoughts that emphasise egoic concern, rather than functional thoughts such as doing a job, driving a car, etc. ... If we observe ourselves carefully, we find that 90%+ of our thoughts are about "me", about my past and my future, my desires and my fears. If these are given up you just act and think in the "now", IMPERSONALLY. So the mind becomes still for a greater proportion of time."

Thanks for the answer to my doubt.

Sandhya said...

I don't understand the concept that when a poet sings a song song came from God. God is just being and does not have anything to do with 'doing'. May be is it right to say ' in his presence, actions happen' ? Then my question becomes 'is there a trigger for actions to happen'? Answer could be Ego. So when Sadhu Om writes poems the ego is the trigger. So why did he say that song came from bhagvan? So desires belong to ego, consequences of desire belong to bhagvan?

Venkat said...

Sandhya

If your actions are without desire for personal fruits of the action, the actions you undertake will inevitably be fewer and done with peace and love.

I suggest that as long as you believe that you are separate and are in control, you need to take responsibility for your actions (ie don't harm others, treat them as you would treat yourself) and with an attitude of detachment from whatever the consequences of the action might be.

It seems that once you are realised, then you are just the witness, and necessary actions take place spontaneously on their own with minimal volitional thought. And remember that poet is God so the song is an effervescence of joy from God to God. Of course, the poet was always God, but the ego veiled this truth.

Another interpretation is that this is all your dream: and so a dream poet is singing a dream song to a dream God in your dream. And the purpose is to help you wake up from the dream.

Stephen Ho said...


I guess another way to look at it is that in the rope and snake / ocean and waves / gold and jewellery analogies, we should see only the rope, the gold and the ocean respectively, and the SURRENDER the mind that sees them as snake/waves/jewellery respectively .

Sandhya said...

Thank you Venkat.

bearer of burden said...

Michael,
please forgive me for writing in a crude style.
With all due respect to the glory of paramesvara sakti, as this ego I am destitute of the supreme wisdom to cling without attachment to 'the feet of the Lord'.
Because I am not even able to feel that the Lord is always shining within me as 'I' , I am not able to place that ego and its seeming real burdens upon God. Consequently I cannot place 'my luggage on that train'. Therefore the advise of Bhagavan to surrender this ego entirely by giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any thought about anything other than ourself is like heaping scorn on me. Looking at the atrocities happened and furthermore happen in the world only a complete fool would resort confidently to one paramesvara sakti who is supposed to 'drive all activities'.
The fact that we are free at least for a while from all cares and responsibilities every day in sleep can comfort only a bumbling simpleton.
How could I as such one who has risen as this form-grasping ego and experiences himself as a person be one who is steadily fixed in oneself (atma-nisthaparan) ? How could I try to attend to the ego alone and thereby cease to attend to anything else whatsoever ?
That in the view of God he alone exists and so nothing at all is other than himself does not help me. How could I trust such a 'train' to carry my entire burden for me ?
Therefore silently being or being silently may be good. But to have complete faith in Bhagavan may be not wise.

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.