Sunday, 17 July 2016

If we are able to be steadily self-attentive, where do we go from here?

A friend wrote to me explaining how he is practising self-investigation and asked, ‘Where do I go from here?’ The following is what I wrote in reply to him.

When you write, ‘I seem to be “witnessing” or aware of the I am thought all the time now’, what exactly do you mean by ‘the I am thought’? The reason I ask is that people tend to objectify everything, so some people assume that the I-thought is some sort of object that one can watch, but the term ‘I-thought’ is just another name for the ego, which is not an object but the subject, the one who is aware of all objects. Therefore what we need to watch or ‘witness’ is not any object but only ourself, the subject (the ego or thought called ‘I’).

Since we are not an object or phenomenon, watching ourself means simply being self-attentive or attentively self-aware. We are always self-aware, but generally in waking and dream we are negligently self-aware, because we are so interested in being aware of other things that we overlook our own self-awareness, which is the foundation or screen on which awareness of other things appears and disappears. Because of our interest in other things, we constantly direct our attention away from ourself towards other things, so our aim now is to turn our attention back and fix it on ourself as keenly and as steadily as possible.

To the extent that we manage to focus our attention on ourself, it is thereby withdrawn from all other things, and hence other things recede into the background of our awareness, so to speak. However other things will linger on to a greater or lesser extent in our awareness until our ego either subsides in sleep, from which it will sooner or later rise again, or is completely annihilated, in which case it will never rise again. Therefore our aim should be just to focus our attention as keenly as possible on ourself at all times.

Until our ego is destroyed, some of our time will be taken up with other activities, but even while our body and mind are active, we can to a greater or lesser extent maintain an underlying current of self-attentiveness. Therefore we should always try to be self-attentive, but when not engaged in other activities we are generally able to be more keenly and steadily self-attentive.

If this is what you are trying to do, there is nothing else you need or should do. Just patiently persevere in trying to be ever more keenly and steadily self-attentive. Therefore the answer to your question where you should go from here is nowhere, except of course deeper and deeper into yourself, which you can do only by persistently trying to be self-attentive.

As Bhagavan assured us in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும்.

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

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone will be sufficient.
Trying to do anything other than just being self-attentive would nourish and sustain our ego, because doing anything else would entail attending to other things, which is the food on which this ego depends for its survival, so being self-attentive as much as possible is the only way to dissolve it completely and forever.

226 comments:

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Atma dhyana said...

Michael,
"…so our aim now is to turn our attention back and fix it on ourself as keenly and as steadily as possible."
"Therefore our aim should be just to focus our attention as keenly as possible on ourself at all times."
How can I fix my attention on myself when I do not really know what is myself ? Because it is often said that we should not direct our attention neither on our breath nor on arisen thoughts there is no trace of the missing myself. I do not have a hot trace. I seem not to have a really good lead.

Bill Callahan said...
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Sanjay Lohia said...

Atma dhyana, I would like to share my reflection on the questions you asked Michael. You ask, ‘How can I fix my attention on myself when I do not really know what is myself ?’ When people asked such questions to Bhagavan, he often replied to the effect, ‘Are you not aware of your existence? If you are not, then who is asking this question? Go within and fix your attention on ‘I’, your self-evident existence, which is also the ever present awareness of your existence’.

Michael often reminds us that we can doubt everything, but we cannot doubt our existence, because how can we experience anything, either ourself or others, if we do not exist? Everything else could be an illusion, or a dream, but the one who witnesses this illusion or dream cannot be an illusion. I fact, we know that we are, but we do not know what we are; therefore, our existence is beyond any doubt.

Our breath and all our thoughts are anya (something other than ourself). As Bhagavan says in Nan Yar, only our atma-avarupa is real, and therefore everything else is unreal, just ‘like [the imaginary] silver [seen] in a shell’. The one who experiences the breath and all the thoughts is real, or to be more accurate the essence of the one who experiences the breath and all the thoughts is real. Our breath and all our thoughts are part of our body, and since our body is unreal, everything which is part of our body is also unreal.

Therefore, we should ignore our body, breath and all our thoughts, and try to be persistently attentive to our self-evident existence, which is at present mixed up with the awareness of our mind and body, and all their adjuncts. The more we attend to our self-evident existence, the more we will experience it clearly, and eventually we will experience only pure existence-awareness, without the least awareness of a mind and a body, and all their adjuncts.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Atma dhyana, I wrote, 'Our breath and all our thoughts are part of our body, and since our body is unreal, everything which is part of our body is also unreal'. I would like to correct whatever I wrote here.

It may not to be accurate to say, 'Our breath and all our thoughts are part of our body'. In fact, everything we experience (other than ourself) are just our thoughts, or expansion of our thoughts, or manifestation of our thoughts. Therefore, our body and prana (life force or breath) are nothing but an expansion or a manifestation of our thoughts. Therefore, we can say our body and breath are nothing but our thoughts, and the thoughts are produced by our ego, and since our ego is by unreal, everything projected and experienced by our ego is also unreal.

stop deluding yourself said...

Bill Callahan,
you got the right track. Most of the so called "Neo-Advaita" (non-dual)- speakers put us on the wrong track. I quickly sense when somebody acts as pied piper(see Pied Piper of Hamelin). Often they tend to be rather talkative.
Take care of yourself !

Atma dhyana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for your reflection.
'Our self-evident existence, which is also the ever present awareness of our existence' is unfortunately not evident enough to me. Therefore the recommended obedience of your advice to 'try to be persistently attentive to my self-evident existence' I at present cannot really comply with.

jacques franck said...

Bill Callahan, completely agreed with 200%

yes.... Ramana's practice is the only true practice

_/\_

Bill Callahan said...
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Bill Callahan said...
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Noob said...

another pointer to I-thought, just look at your childhood pictures, ego does not change with age, if you can catch that glmpse of feeling yourself before we put a lot of unnecessary worries into us, that being aware of yourself does not change regardless of the state of our body, everything else is like a huge pile of unnecessary and sometimes unwanted things that we carry to our end. Everything must go!

Bill Callahan said...
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Noob said...

I have no idea why it appeared Noob on the blog, but it is probably the right place.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan can give us moksha now, if we want it Michael’s video dated 11-8-2012 at 1:24

Devotee: If we try to go for self, are there any prerequisites?

Michael: In what sense?

Devotee: We are looking for self, but we have so many faults, so many vasanas….

Michael: First thing, you said, ‘looking for self’, as if self is something which we don’t know already. We are actually not looking for self, but looking at self. What we experience now as ‘I’, that is self. There is no self, other than ‘I’, but we have mixed other things onto it, so if we look only at this ‘I’, the other things will drop off.

About the vasanas, as long as the mind is there it has vasanas (predispositions, tendencies), and we are all aware of our own faults, and we want to overcome our faults. If you have a tree and you want to get rid of it, because it is blocking the sunlight, if you just chop off the leaves and branches of the tree, what’s going to happen? They are going to sprout again and again, so trying to deal with our thoughts is a bit like that. There is only one way to get rid of this tree of the ego - cut at the root.

So Bhagavan is not concerned with us becoming very pure. Bhagavan said very little about leading a pure life. Obviously, if we go and lead a very unrighteous life, that’s going to be a big distraction from what we should be doing, so obviously that’s not so good. So if we are really intent on following this path, we will tend to lead a purer life, then we would otherwise. But trying to live a pure life is not what Bhagavan asked us to aim for.
He said, ‘To whom are all these impurities? If you find out the truth of yourself, you will find out these impurities never existed'.

Devotee: So in other words, just keep pursuing…

Michael: Jesus said, ‘Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and everything will be added onto you’. Krishna said, ‘If you are devoted to me alone, I will provide all the yogakshema’ – that is, whatever you need for the maintenance of body, and all the spiritual benefits will be given. So we should concentrate only on knowing ‘I’. Everything else will be added.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan can give us moksha now, if we want it – part 2 ~ Michael’s video dated 11-8-2012 at 1:24

Devotee: But the pitfalls carry us away [from self]…

Michael: Who experiences the pitfalls?

Devotee: The personality, isn’t it?

Michael: Yes, but I am not asking for an answer; I am saying that is the practice. Whatever pitfalls we come across, who is experiencing these pitfalls? It is ‘I’. Whatever terrible pitfalls we come across, even if we go to hell, or wherever, we can never leave the ‘I’ behind. So if we are in hell, let’s ask, ‘Who is experiencing this hell?’ So whether we are in heaven or hell, it doesn’t matter. What matters is knowing this ‘I’, and who experiences this hell or heaven. […] There is nothing as purifying as self-enquiry. It is the most purifying thing we can ‘do’. It’s not really doing, it is being. It’s the most purifying practice.

Devotee: When Krishnamurti went to Ramana, and asked Ramana, ‘What can you give me?’ Ramana said, ‘Are you ready to receive what I am going to give you?’ What was that? Was it a joke, or that you are not ready for it?

Michael: Bhagavan didn’t make any judgment. He asked a question, ‘Are you ready for it?’

Devotee: Is it a straight forward statement…

Michael: It’s a question. That person asked, ‘Can you give me moksha?’ Bhagavan said, ‘Can you receive it, are you ready to receive it?’ Bhagavan can give moksha to us at any moment, he can give us moksha now, if you want it. But we don’t want it. So long as we are in a state of ajnana, we are in it because this is what we want. It’s our choice. Bhagavan never forces us to remain in ajnana. He has shown us the way to experience jnana here and now. The fact we don’t experience it is because we don’t want it. So our practice of self-enquiry is just to purify our mind in order to make us want that more and more and more, until one day our love for that will consume us.

Atma dhyana said...

Bill Callahan,
thank you for your detailed comments of yesterday.
Apart from the fact that I do not 'sit to investigate who I am' I want you to check if the 'ever present attentive knowing' has really a 'place'. What is ever present must be also present when I do not 'sit to investigate'.
Only mentally knowing that we are unchanging self-aware presence is not enough help in actual practice.
Nevertheless, I receive some encouragement from your supporting words.
Many thanks for calling to mind again that 'I am what I am looking for'.
I would be pleased with the present of being aware of 'Awarness of Presence'.

Hans Schulz said...

"Since we are not an object or phenomenon, watching ourself means simply being self-attentive or attentively self-aware."
This is a core statement which often passes by not embraced fully.
Michael, would you be so kind to elaborate on this.
We obviously slip back quite often and tend to reify ourselfes being self-aware.
Thank you for providing a helping hand in approaching Sri Ramana.

Hans Schulz said...

"Since we are not an object or phenomenon, watching ourself means simply being self-attentive or attentively self-aware."
This is a core statement which often passes by not embraced fully.
Michael, would you be so kind to elaborate on this.
We obviously slip back quite often and tend to reify ourselfes being self-aware.
Thank you for providing a helping hand in approaching Sri Ramana.

Bill Callahan said...
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Bill Callahan said...
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Atma dhyana said...

Bill Callahan,
thanks again for your reply.
But what you write now is a little fickle waffle, disjointed, sudden and rapid.
As you admit to Hans Schulz you are tending to be a 'know it all'.
Hope you do not put on a hurt expression.
May fortune smile upon you. Best of luck !Take care.

Bill Callahan said...
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Atma dhyana said...

Bill,
Hey, do not be hurt. Keep on engaging in self-investigation and fortune will continue smiling upon you. Try to cut down drastically on the amount of chatting and we are looking forward to your comments rich in substance.
Yours sincerly Atma dhyana.

Bill Callahan said...
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Atma dhyana said...

Bill,
according to Bhagavan there is no time unsuited for self-investigation.
Yes, to enquire with acute vigilance to whom the feeling of being hurt has occurred is a good question to free the deluded mind from confusion and fear.
AS you seem to imply : not to give up one's hold on self is the perfect devotion and constitutes jnana. Therefore let us cultivate the society of the Sages, who are delivered from the untruth.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bill,
I agree with you that the Satsang-movement, non-dualism and neo-advaita are limited. Thankfully someone else sees this. Their teachings are like a religion in that they point to something but without providing the means to realize it. Many (if not all?) of the teachers seem to have mistaken an intellectual understanding for the actual realization. It was fascinating to see Andrew Cohen (Papaji's main heir) acknowledge a few years ago that he was not fully realized and he apologized to his students. He stopped teaching and withdrew to work on himself further.

You say feel very confident that Ramana's practice is the only true practice.

I enjoy you enthusiasm. But there have been many fully realized men and women over the eons presenting many different perspectives. It's a matter of finding those whose style fits your aptitude. When you say "Ramana is the only true practice" I assume that you only mean personally for yourself in the light of your non-dualism detour. And without intending to suggest that Ramana is the only true teacher for all other people.

And... it would seem that the definition of "Ramana's practice" varies depending on the presenter.

Jnana here and now said...

Roger Isaacs,
how can you know what a "fully realised man or woman" is so that you can say "But there have been many fully ..." ?

Bill Callahan said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Jnana,
We might disagree on particular individuals, but obviously people in this class had something going on? Krishna, Jesus, Mahavira, Buddha, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Barry Long, Sankara, Yogananada etc etc Bhagavan of course.

For me, when a person communicates clearly, intelligently and fluidly about some higher reality beyond my grasp it gets my attention. And there aren't many.

You must have this same sense because you are here. :-)

Bill Callahan said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Jnana,
extending the list: Osho, Krishnamurti, Paul Brunton (who introduced Bhagavan to the west), Gaudapada, Astavakra, Ken Wilber,Sivanana Radha, Patangali, Anandamayi Ma, Franklin Merrell-Wolff, D.T. Suzuki, Aurobindo, Rudolf Steiner, Sivananda, Adi Da, Venkatesananda, Chinmayananda, Gurdjieff, Ramakrishna, Vivikananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The only limitation on the list is my limited investigation. :-)

Noob said...

What we may percieve as person may in fact be nothing els but our own thought (as everything else around us). Just it so happens that when the mind is ripe for a certain change, certain thoughts are starting to appear. But seeing them as separate individuals may lead to creating a false religion and/or confusion or to stregthen the desire for the fame/other benefits that those "individuals" received. The desire to become "like them". We must become us, and for that the only tool is our attention. The power of our own intellect should be used to separate the one thing that is unchangebale/immutable in all of those teachings from the various differences that are covering the essense.

Jnana here and now said...

Roger Isaacs,
you did not answer my question.
Of course we cannot know all real sages.
Nevertheless I would like to cross many of the named "fully realised men or women off your lists. For instance: Nisargadatta maybe a good cigarette smoker ...
Barry Long I don't know...
Osho was a skilful seducer who tempted many young people to do some stupidity...
Krishnamurti was more or less only a philosopher...
Paul Brunton did not even know how to behave correctly towards Sri Ramanasramam...
On your second list I let stand only Gaudapada, Asthavakra, Anandamayi Ma and Ramakrishna with Vivekananda. All others I would accept as talented aspirants.

Bob - P said...

Noob said:

[What we may perceive as person may in fact be nothing else but our own thought (as everything else around us). Just it so happens that when the mind is ripe for a certain change, certain thoughts are starting to appear]

This is my understanding too Noob.

Even Bhagavan the Indian sage is a thought, everything is thoughts including the egoic thinker, the 1st thought.

From what I understand all teachers on our path are just are own thoughts / projections, so to contemplate who are real sages or self realised / enlightened etc etc I don't feel is much use to us.

Like a lot of sages Bhagavan says look within and investigate the thinker / ego and see if it actually exists.

The hardest part is accepting this and to do it earnestly with 100% focus because it is in essence a death sentence to the ego. It is suicide for the investigator.

It is much easier to try and learn more, read more, look for new teachers and on it goes endlessly.

No one is more guilty than me. Not in terms for looking for more teachers but with regards me not doing what Bhagavan teaches.

We must keep practising Bhagavan's simple and wise teaching.

All the best everyone with your practise.

Bob

fallen into the tiger's jaws said...

Bob-P,
"...everything is thought including the first thought..."
Therefore what we learn from that statement is:
Thought is the master of the universe !!!
Hope that our investigation will really annoy and finally destroy that master of the engineering of thought production and world projection.
But who chooses to end one's life and enjoys commiting suicide ?

singing songbird said...

Roger Isaccs,
only thickheaded ajnanis make a list of "realized men and women over the eons".
First we have to remove our ignorance. Then - if there is time enough and our wish is still alive - we can list whatever we want.

Bob - P said...

Dear fallen into the tiger's jaws

Thank you for your reply.

Yes it is my understanding that the 1st thought the thinker of all other thoughts (the ego) is the creator of everything, the whole dualistic world experienced in waking and dream. It rises from the non dual deep sleep state which is where we experience our self as we really are.

You said:

[But who chooses to end one's life and enjoys committing suicide ?]

I have been thinking about what you said above.

Michael has said that when we investigate our self intensely enough and manage to turn our attention 180 degrees we will experience our self alone and experience our self as we really are.

The non dual self aware happy being.

Therefore the formless dualistic egoic consciousness or knowing consciousness never actually existed, it only seemed to exist in its own distorted view of multiplicity.

So I appreciate when I said the ego commits suicide it is actually incorrect as for in order to commit suicide (by investigating itself / looking at itself ) it has to exist.

But Bhagavan said it never actually existed at all and we mustn't give it power by accepting it does exist. Instead we must carefully look to see if it does exist which is vichara / self investigation.

If what I wrote above is incorrect or confusing please feel free to correct it and word it in a better or more understandable way.

I find it hard to write about Bhagavan's teaching without contradicting it (lol)!!!

In comparison when Michael writes about it, it is anything but confusing, he explains it so incredibly well!!

We are all very lucky.

In appreciation.
Bob

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bill,
I've been aware of Rupert Spira but have never been moved to check him out. Maybe now. I did look at Joey Lott's site, hadn't heard of him before. Thanks for mentioning him... and for sharing your enthusiasm which is contagious.

I especially like your emphasis on the inner guide. The more subtle effort I put forth, the more the inner guide speaks. It's real. Although, I can playfully imagine that my inner guide may hope to get a more attentive student with the next class.

I have a huge pile of books (some authors listed previously) and I browse through them on topics following my curiosity (although spending much more time in meditation). Certainly, the case could be made for sticking with a single teacher. There is the very strong risk that studying multiple teachers may only lead to confusion. But... for me they are in some way all pointing to the same reality.

Oh, If you like Bhagavan, I just discovered the complete list of talks online in PDF format, free, downloadable, and searchable: http://selfdefinition.org/ramana/Talks-with-Sri-Ramana-Maharshi–complete.pdf 700 pages.

Regarding "believe the part line that there is nothing to do and no one to do it". I am against party lines regardless of the topic! "Party lines" are unconscious herd mentality. Someone has quoted Bhagavan something to the effect that, although the "nothing to do" is correct, one must continue to inquire passionately (IMO meaning using subtle effort to be still or focused on the inner essence) right up to the end. Although...IMO "who am I?" does not mean introducing that thought, rather, a silent passionate innate inner curiosity, vigilant inner attentiveness in stillness etc. And I like the word "innate" because no particular school can own something which is "innate".

Surely your style differs, but I was/am helped by BL's Pure Sensation meditation, I'm not sure this is the best description: http://www.barrylong.org/statements/meditation.shtml
There is a book and I can give more info if it's interesting.
And my style is "not this - not this", meaning: if anything arises internally occluding pure awareness, such as extraneous digressive thought, emotion etc... just being vigilantly aware inwardly and noticing identification with thought or emotion is "not this.... thought or emotion", and the effortless noticing leaves us back in awareness.

But, beware. after all, I am only a "thick headed ajnani", :-)

Roger Isaacs said...

"Jnana here and now" asks "how can you know what a "fully realised man or woman" is ...

Why are you asking me a question that you obviously have already answered for yourself?

Krishna already answered this question: Bhagavad Gita 2.54

Bhagavan already answered this question: the only truly important question is: who am I?



fallen into the tiger's jaws said...

Bob-P,
of course in the viewpoint of a jnani the ego does not even seemingly exist.
But we in our ignorant view have to annihilate it. That means we have to prevent even its seeming rising.
Yes, having a lucid mind as sharp as a needle like Michael is a divine quality which we need to overcome the veiling and delusive power of maya-ego.

Roger Isaacs said...

singing songbird said... only thickheaded ajnanis make a list of "realized men and women over the eons".

Well yes, of course, I am a thick headed ajnani, that is why I have such a big reading list. Is there anyone here who isn't a thick headed ajnani ? Do you claim to be different Songbird?

Why are you concerned about my sharing my reading list with the group?

Since you are here... this implies that you have a "list of realized men" which has at least a single entry?

There is a Chinese adage: realize that when you point your index finger out towards someone in blame... that your other three fingers point back at you.

Bob - P said...

Thank you fallen into the tiger's jaws
I agree whole-heartedly.
All the best.
Bob

Jnana here and now said...

Roger Isaacs,
indeed the question was actually put to you regarding your yesterday comment (23:28): "...But there have been many fully realized men and women over the eons presenting many different perspectives". Are questions unseemly or entirely inappropriate ?

singing songbird said...

Roger Isaacs,
you'll be reassured to know that the songbird is no exception to be a member of the illustrious circle of thickheaded ajnanis.
I do bear the effect of the quoted Chinese adage patiently.
Take it easy, take it as it comes...

vertical take-off said...

How to get the mind one-pointed ?

in quest of the self said...

Who am I ?
Why am I not clear 'I am' ?

soliloquy said...

Arunachala,
why do you withhold the experience of silence/self-knowledge ?
How can you bear the misery of my contentment with mere objective knowledge superimposed on self ?
Do you get pleasure from looking me roving in the forest of relativity ?
You will have to pay the penalty for your recklessness.

Noob said...
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Noob said...

Dear Roger,
Regarding your reference to Bhagavat Gita 2:54 and up to 2:75
I would interpret that that was a description of wise men, with the final 2:75 stating that those who are in this state of wisdom at the time of death for sure will find liberation.

The one who is liberated from ego cannot die.

Bill Callahan said...
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Bill Callahan said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bill,
yes, I agree with what you are saying "be aware of being aware as constantly as possible."

Bob - P said...

Bill said:

[Rupert Spira is the most gifted speaker of all. He is able to talk about this search and our nature so that any and every man can understand it. His focus is on being aware of awareness]

I think Alan Watts once used this term as well a long time back before Rupert Spira and Michael Langford used the term "Awareness watching awareness". As far as I understand they are both describing vichara / self investigation with different words. They are all saying the same thing I think. Nisargadatta use to say abide in your beingness or the I am-ness.

For me turning my attention inwards to investigate the subject is helpful to me personally but again it means exactly the same thing.

If I remember Eckhart Tolle became famous for teaching us to reside in the present moment which again is nothing new and been taught well before his time.

Michael once said I believe that Bhagavan's teaching is nothing new either but he has explained it in a very simple, logical and systematic way. I think he once used the analogy of "churning the ocean to get the nectar".

All the best
Bob

Bill Callahan said...
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Bob - P said...

Hi Bill
Yes I agree.
looking back on my own personal journey so to speak I realise now all the different teachers I found were in essence saying exactly the same thing but in different words. But I fully appreciate this might not always be the case as I only came across a limited amount of teachers on my own journey and am far from well read .

For me personally Bhagavan's teaching is the simplest and most easy for a thick headed ajnani like me to understand!! The very fact Bhagavan has come into my life just reinforces I am a most desperate case!! In need of a good doctor, diagnosis and prescription!

However I also find questions about this simple and easy to understand teaching arise so I have just contradicted myself yet again.

Personally I am very wary of gurus who claim to be self realised (terrible term) or profess to be sages and who have expensive products to sell. Plus those products are just regurgitating ancient teachings with great marketing.

Good to have you here Bill all the very best with your practise.
Bob

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is the best servant ~*~ Extracts from Michael’s video dated 9-7-2011

Introduction: In the Indian bhakti tradition, one can be connected to God through various relationships with him – that is, by considering God to be one’s friend, or one’s beloved, or one’s father, or one’s mother, or one’s master (by considering oneself to be a servant of God), etc. However, what Michael says in the extract mentioned below is quite opposite to such concepts of bhakti tradition. Michael explains why, in fact, we are not serving Bhagavan, but Bhagavan is servicing us:

Michael: We are constantly misusing Bhagavan’s grace by thinking all these unnecessary thoughts which we think every day. Why do we think these thoughts: because we don’t have love for Bhagavan. Bhagavan is ready to do everything for us; he is ready to even think for us. Sadhu Om used to say, ‘Bhagavan is the best servant you could imagine’. If you have a very-very loyal servant, who is ready to do anything for you - whatever you want him to do, he is ready to do that for you. How relieved you will be of so many tasks, but that servant cannot think for you. Bhagavan is the servant who is ready to even think for us.

If we surrender to Bhagavan, he will take care of everything, nothing we need to think about. Why do we think about all these things: what I am going to do tomorrow; how I am going to pay my bills; how I am going to do this or that – why we think about all these things? Because we don’t trust Bhagavan; if we really trusted Bhagavan, we can leave everything to him and just abide in self. Why we keep on rising, and thinking so many unnecessary thoughts: because we don’t really trust Bhagavan, even though he has offered himself to us as the greatest of all servants – he is ready to do everything for us.

In conclusion: In this context, it would be relevant to reflect on paragraph thirteen of Nan Yar:

Even though we place 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]?

Sivanarul said...

"Introduction: In the Indian bhakti tradition, one can be connected to God through various relationships with him – that is, by considering God to be one’s friend, or one’s beloved, or one’s father, or one’s mother, or one’s master (by considering oneself to be a servant of God), etc. However, what Michael says in the extract mentioned below is quite opposite to such concepts of bhakti tradition. Michael explains why, in fact, we are not serving Bhagavan, but Bhagavan is servicing us:"

Actually what Michael says is not quite opposite to what is said in bhakthi tradition, but is in full conformity to it. Lord Siva when asking Sri Sundarar to sing the greatness of the Lord's devotees, Siva himself gives him the first stanza as:"தில்லைவா ழந்தணர்த மடியார்க்கு மடியேன்" meaning that the Lord is the servant of the 3000 diksithar's residing in Chidambaram who worship the Lord. The Lord also came as a servant for Sri Vandi ammaiyar to help her with the task that the Pandya King ordered all citizens to help in raising the wall to prevent river overflow.

It is well established in the Bhakthi tradition, that the Lord takes over the life of devotees, if the devotee has fully surrendered to him. Periya Puranam, the classical Saivite text of Bhakthi, has detailed description on how the Lord takes over the life of each and every nayanmar.

vox populi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
a view of the problems of the world (and its) population does not whatever happens suggest itself to trust the paramesvara sakti(supreme ruling power). Even if this supreme ruling power is driving all activities [everything that happens in this world]
can we really judge always that events to be necessary or necessarily the best for the people ?
As near as I could judge the occurrences seem often to be senseless, pointless, unjust or arbitrary. Can it be therefore intelligent to yield unquestioningly to such a power ?

imaginary separate identity said...

Michael,
"…attending to other things, which is the food on which this ego depends for its survival, so being self-attentive as much as possible is the only way to dissolve it completely and forever."
I am not sure that I have ever been correctly self-attentive. Therefore I first have to try it for only about twenty seconds. Then I will try to prolong my practice of being self-attentive till maintaining an underlying current of it. Do I get it right with that method ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Vox,
You raise the issue: what about evil in the world? How can there be an supreme power with the world in such a mess? There is a story that is helpful to me.

First I have to describe the Psyche, the vast incomprehensible intelligence & structures that exist prior to the physical. Plato described "non physical but substantial forms or Ideas" prior to the physical. This shouldn't seem too odd: Bhagavan's teaching includes that the world is an Idea. Most of what we take to be the physical world is actually the Psyche at work. The physical is just the thin outer most layer of the Psyche while the majority of it is hidden. The Psyche is responsible for everything, the creation and evolution of life etc. The adaption of species to challenges in the environment. Splitting species into male and female to keep the physical world in infinite motion: just another amazing Idea in the Psyche. All of this so that Pure Consciousness can take form first as subtle Idea, then as physical, splitting into apparent individual consciousness, and then as the human Idea it has the opportunity to come back and realize Pure Consciousness.

I the Psyche is responsible, then why doesn't it clean up it's (expletives deleted) horrible mess? The Psyche, as part of the grand play, has given responsibility to humans. It is our problem. We have created the mess and it is ours to solve.

This is a modern more complex explanation of Karma. For each human, there is a complex mirror like memory structure in the Psyche. The Pure Psyche simply mirrors back to us whatever we put into it. Especially whatever we are attached to keeps coming back to us in similar yet different forms till we are no longer identified with it. When we put unhappiness, worry, fear, doubt in the Psyche: this comes right back at us. If we are somehow able to see in our lives: love, understanding, compassion, cooperation etc... this comes back too.

In addition to the personal psyche, there are things like: main psyche, society, nation, racial etc... some of these go back to the beginning of time.

Our personal Psyche started recording when we were born, and we each take on a small load of the world mess. Fortunately we only have to clear out our personal Psyche for Realization, for freedom. And, although it may seem small, this does have an effect on the whole.

This shows why ahimsa is so important and even smiling and pleasantly greeting everyone.

vox populi said...

Roger,
nice story.
What is the beginning of time ? Did time ever begin ?
Or is time only a thought in our/the mind ?

Noob said...

Dear Roger,
How do you know that you were born, do you have the 1st hand experience of it?

Noob said...

Why do you think the world is in mess? Maybe the world is inching to its end...

Bill Callahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bill,
Regarding your basic question: "where do we go from here?"

Nisargadatta Maharaj says somewhere that after his guru suggested to him to 'just be in "I AM"' it took him 3 years. Apparently he was supporting his family at the time too. And, of course it doesn't matter and we are all very different. But the idea being: just rest in it. What else can be done?

Regarding your comments on meditation:
yes, I realized before writing about meditation that you obviously weren't interested in it... so not sure why I wrote it, perhaps just sharing.

I meditate a lot, sitting, eyes closed, open etc... But all that I am doing is coming back to inner attention when I slip off of it. Apparently I believe that concentrated practice (i.e. sitting with nothing else going on) maybe helpful in some way towards finding a more precise focus which can be extended into activity. And... there is really no technique difference between sitting with eyes closed or being aware during strong physical activity, except that the outer distractions are different.

Somewhere PB mentions encountering realized people who never engaged in sitting meditation at all.

Yes, meditation can be a distraction and can feed the ego. Perhaps this is because the end of meditation is not always taught. Some teachers just want to take your money endlessly. There is a reason for meditation (for example: inner stillness) and we need to recognize when this has been achieved, and then... then just be it. The way I see it: the skill at stilling the mind is very important prior to advaita practice. If we are not able to be inwardly still merely by intention.... then philosophy about advaita may be just more mental activity.

BTW: I looked briefly at Joey Lot & Rupert Spira. For me they are interesting mainly from their style of presentation. I found a lot of hits on "emptiness teachings". thx.
But I am not so much interested in ideas about non-duality. I am more interested in having the reality revealed. Some small amount of contemplation might be useful.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Noob, Vox,

Yes, everything must only be an Idea. Much more on this: http://paulbrunton.org/notebooks/21
Bhagavan says as much?
Time and Space must also be Ideas (capital letters noting that "Idea" is something higher than human mental activity).

Noob says "Is the world inching to it's end?" Are you suggesting that something may happen to reduce or eliminate the infestation of humans on this planet?

Well... what can be really done other than to be inwardly attentive now?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivanarul wrote, ‘It is well established in the Bhakthi tradition, that the Lord takes over the life of devotees, if the devotee has fully surrendered to him. Periya Puranam, the classical Saivite text of Bhakthi, has detailed description on how the Lord takes over the life of each and every nayanmar’.

I agree, but does the Lord take over the life of only his devotees? If yes, then such a Lord will be a Lord who will be partial to some, and therefore would not be of much use to many of us, who are not devotees of the Lord. In fact, the Lord is like the train which is carrying the entire luggage (burdens and responsibilities) of all of us, but we foolishly imagine that it is we who are carrying our burdens. Yes, nayanmars and other advanced devotees can literally experience that God is carrying their responsibilities, but this does not mean that God is ignoring the responsibilities of ‘non-devotees’.

As Bhagavan says in paragraph thirteen of Nan Yar: ‘one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all activities [everything that happens in this world]’. Therefore, whatever activities we see in this world are only according to the will of this paramesvara sakti, but when we rise as the ego and take a body and mind to be ourself, we erroneously attribute the actions performed by our body, speech and mind as our actions.

So when our ego is annihilated by intense self-investigation, we will realise that we had never performed any actions, and if at all any actions were supposedly performed by our body, speech and mind, these were only performed by the supreme ruling power or power of God.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Vax populi, you wrote, ‘As near as I could judge the occurrences seem often to be senseless, pointless, unjust or arbitrary. Can it be therefore intelligent to yield unquestioningly to such a power?'

Who feels the worldly occurrences are senseless, pointless, unjust and arbitrary? If you attend exclusively to yourself, ‘I’, who feels these things, you will knowingly or unknowingly yield to the supreme ruling power

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we are really mature, we would understand how miserable this life really is ~*~ Extract from Michael’s video dated 9-7-2011

Introduction: We (this body, or the person we take ourself to be) are unfailingly moving towards our death or annihilation, but we want to enjoy our life to the fullest, without understanding that all our interest in worldly enjoyments are just a solid preparation for many more rounds of our birth and death. Michael spoke on this subject, so let read what he said:

Michael: When a person commits suicide they want to free themself from the body. They may be even convinced that they are bringing their own existence to an end, but they are doing that because they love themself so much, and because of their self-love they want to be free of the torture of this body, which is a torture, actually.

We are complacent about our life – this life is not so bad, we get on from day-to-day. We have our little pleasures here and there, so let us carry for a few more…. If we are really spiritually mature… in one place in Arunachala Patikam Bhagavan says, ‘unable to bear the intense misery of this bodily life’. So if are really spiritually mature, we would understand how miserable this life really is….

Actually compare to the bliss that is within, this [bodily life] is all nothing. Bhagavan often used to quote, I think, a verse by Thayumanavar, or some such Tamil saint, in which he describes the joys of bodily life:

It is like someone who is walking in the jungle, and he is chased by a tiger, and while running away from the tiger, they fall into the well. They catch hold of the root, and down in the well below there is a crocodile. Above is the tiger; there is a mouse chewing on the root, so it is about to give way. And there is a bees’ nest there, and honey is dripping from the nest, and the man says, ‘O what a blissful life, what delicious honey’. So are the pleasures of our life in this world. […]

Whether we go to heaven or hell, it’s all imagination, a dream, and the difference between heaven and hell is just the matter of degree. In heaven, a bit more honey is dripping from the nest, and the mouse is a bit slow in chewing, so heaven seems to be a bit happier. In hell it all seems a bit closer.

In conclusion: We foolishly want to accumulate material things (including intellectual knowledge), when we know, sooner or later, we have to relinquish all these foolish accumulations. We may say that we are amassing wealth for our dependents, ensuring a comfortable future for them even when we are not around. We do not understand that our wife, children and all our material wealth are just our mental projection, and therefore these will cease to exist when our body dies. Therefore, it is foolishness to hoard wealth, either for ourself or for our dependents. Sri Sadhu Om said (as recorded by Michael, and published as an article in The Mountain Path):

People want to leave something for the world when they die, but when the body dies this world, which is our projection, ceases to exist. If we care about the world, we haven’t understood Bhagavan properly.

Bob - P said...

Very helpful Sanjay thank you.
All the best.
Bob

Bill Callahan said...
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Not2 said...

Can anyone explain why I start rapid breathing and having jerking motions when I "self investigate"?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Not2, if you have rapid breathing and experience jerking motions while practising self-investigation, obviously you are not investigating or attending to yourself in the correct way, or at least not attending to yourself deep enough. If we practise in the correct way, we should have no awareness of our breathing or any other bodily movements, because our attention will be firmly established in and as ourself alone. This is my understanding.

Bob - P said...

Bill said :

[What world? What people?]

It is my understanding that in reality there is no world and there are no people.

However this is not my direct experience because I am not experiencing myself as I really am but instead am experiencing myself as the ego which creates / projects duality. Whilst the ego exists the world and all sentient beings are as real as Bob the person the ego has presently identified itself with.

When I experience myself as I really am there will be no world, no people and nothing other than myself. Plus everything other than myself never actually existed in reality.

So is there a world and are there other people?
Yes when I am ignorant and no when my ignorance is lifted by experiencing myself as I really am.

What I say above is only my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching, thanks to Michael.

What do you think Bill is there a world, are there people?

Cheers

Bob

Sanjay Lohia said...

When Sivanarul wrote, ‘It is well established in the Bhakthi tradition, that the Lord takes over the life of devotees, if the devotee has fully surrendered to him. Periya Puranam, the classical Saivite text of Bhakthi, has detailed description on how the Lord takes over the life of each and every nayanmar’. What Sivanarul says is echoed by Sri Krishna, Jesus and Bhagavan. They said the following (these are not their exact words):

• Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita: To those who are devoted to me alone, I ensure their yogakshema - that is, I will fulfill all their material and spiritual needs

• Jesus: Seek first the kingdom of Lord, and then everything will be added onto you

• Bhagavan: Grace is vouchsafed only to the devotees who have ceaselessly practised devotion or self-abidance

It may seem that Bhagavan becomes partial to his devotees by granting some special grace to them, but this cannot be the actual case, because grace is nothing but our true self; therefore, grace is available to all in equal measure. Then why did Sri Krishna, Jesus and Bhagavan said what they said:

Firstly, it could be encourage and motivate devotees to follow spiritual paths, without any care and concern about their bodily and material needs. We want to be sure that our giving wholehearted attention to our spiritual pursuits will not affect our material well-being. We are encouraged by such teachings to pursuit our spiritual goals will single-minded attention.

Secondly, in some sense devotees do feel more and more of grace. As their ego starts dissolving, they experience self or grace more prominently. This does not mean that God directs his grace towards these devotees in some special way, or in some extra quantity, but it is just that these devotees recognise the operation of grace in their life more and more clearly. Other people who are not devoted to God may not recognize this grace; nevertheless, it is available to all in absolutely equal measure.

Bill Callahan said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Not2,
I agree with Bill totally, it's a sign of progress, keep at it. Just let it happen without being involved with it.

Bill Callahan said...
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Pillar of Fire said...

Bill Callahan,
your statement refers not only to what we are not.
You report also who we actually are. What shall we do now ?
Which lesson can we learn from your talk/lecture ?
Which conclusion shall we draw from that presentation ?

Atma dhyana said...

Bob-P,
as long as we do not experience the truth we are miserable woolly-headed fantasizers but pitiful creatures.
Lord Arunachala, have mercy upon us.

Bill Callahan said...
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pearl diver said...

Sanjay lohia,
"If we care about the world, we haven't understood Bhagavan properly."
Have you ever seen an ajnani who understood Bhagavan properly ?

pearl diver said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"So if we are really spiritually mature, we would understand how miserable this life really is..."
That may yet be true, but can we pick the maturity like ripe cherries and put them in a basket ?

vox populi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I clearly expressed my mistrust of the 'supreme ruling power'.
Why should I yield to it ?

Pillar of Fire said...

Bill Callahan,
I am not offended by your comment.
But do we call incessantly 'I am Brahman' ?

Bill Callahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pillar of Fire said...

Bill,
Brahma is a Hindu god, whereas it is said that we are Immortal Brahman.
What means 'Go' ?

Bill Callahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maya said...

"If we care about the world, we haven't understood Bhagavan properly."

Writing incessantly in this or any blog is "caring about the world" so yeah, we haven't understood Bhagavan properly. I doubt if Bhagavan was alive in the internet age he'd encourage people to keep writing, arguing and debating in the blog. Even during his time I doubt if he ever asked his devotees to "DISCUSS" about self inquiry. He only asked them to investigate. So lets not get too patronizing about understanding Bhagavan properly.

All that is written here is just each one's theory and belief and until one has had the real experience, providing page after page of quotes and logic is, well, belief, only its belief in someone else's experience and on top of it dismissing other's methods and calling one's own superior is nothing less than unadulterated ego and arrogance.

Bill Callahan said...
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Sanjay Lohia said...

pearl diver, you asked a rhetorical question: ‘Have you ever seen an ajnani who understood Bhagavan properly?’ The answer to this question is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. First the ‘no’ part: yes, until we experience ourself as we really are, we cannot experience or understand Bhagavan as he really is. In other words, we have to permanently lose ourself in Bhagavan to understand him and his teachings with absolute precision.

Now the ‘yes’ part: If we do enough sravana, manana and nididhyasana of our sadguru’s teachings, and, if possible, also try to associate with senior devotees who have much better understanding than us, we would have a reasonably accurate intellectual understanding of our sadguru’s teachings. Can we doubt Michael’s understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings? According to me, it is as perfect and accurate as it can get, though he has admitted that he is yet to experience himself as he really is.

You also enquire, ‘but can we pick the maturity like ripe cherries and put them in a basket?’ Of course not! Spiritual maturity is not our birth-right, and we have to ceaselessly work for it. The most powerful way to gain maturity is by persistent sravana, manana and nididhyasana of our sadguru’s teachings. In other words, it is only our vairagya and corresponding svatma-bhakti which can make us spiritually mature.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Actually what we take to be our effort isn’t our effort; it is grace that is pulling us within ~*~ Extracts from Michael’s video dated 9-7-2011

Devotee: As you have been describing it [the practice of being attentively self-aware], it seems almost impossible…. Because you say we should be doing it all our waking time. How you are going to do that when you have got everyday pressure, and all that…?

Michael: We cannot do this by the strength of mind; we cannot say, ‘I am determined; I am going to do it today’, because that ‘I’ which says ‘I am determined; I am going to do it today’ is the ‘I’ that is the obstacle. So this is where our individual effort and grace work hand in hand. Actually what we take to be our effort isn’t our effort; it is grace that is pulling us within. We wrongly assume doership for even the Bhagavan’s act of grace, and we say, ‘O, I am practicing self-enquiry; I am a very serious sadhaka; I am practicing very hard’. Who is this ‘I’ who is practicing?

By his immense grace Bhagavan has somehow attracted us to his path, so he has put the seed in our heart - this taste to do [self-investigation], and he is a good gardener. He is not a gardener who just scatters the seeds, and doesn’t bother whether [they germinate or not]. If you scatter 100 seeds, at least 10 of them will germinate, whereas every seed that Bhagavan sows, he will see that it germinates. That seed will not fail. So it is impossible for us [as this ego] to succeed, it is impossible for him to fail.

Therefore, it is not we who are doing the sadhana, it is the grace that is doing it. It is just that we have to let grace do the sadhana for us. [Extract ends]

Bill Callahan said...
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Pillar of Fire said...

maya,
you are reinforcing/confirming your opinion given in your comment above:
"All that is written here is just each one's theory and belief and until one has had the real experience...".
So let us celebrate the festival of our ego's temporary triumph, ha.

Mouna said...

Survey

Do you believe that the world existed before you were born and will continue to exist after you will die? Or that it exists while you are in deep sleep?

Do you believe that your mother/father/siblings/spouse/children, fellow humans and non-humans are real?

Do you believe YOU, _________ (your name here), are real and "have" a body?

Do you believe in a god creator of the world being separate from you, or you being a "part" of him?

Do you believe the world/universe is outside your skin and your sense of "I" is inside your skull or chest?

Do you believe having a certain but not total control of your actions and your environment?

Do you think you somehow understood Bhagavan Sri Ramana's teachings so far?

If the answer is yes to all these questions then you might start considering the possibility of being completely wrong.

Bob - P said...

Dear Atma Dhyana
Yes may Arunachala have mercy on us and continue to turn our attention within.
Take care and good luck with your practise.

Dear Bill
Thank you for sharing your opinion about the existence of the world and people,
Yes I agree there is no Bob the person just like there is no Bill the person, the non dual being consciousness is all there is and all there has ever been. Duality doesn't exist it only seems to exist due to ignorance. This is my understanding.

You said:
[I get resentments and annoyed every day when I read some of the things people say on these blogs. I try to remember to ask myself who is it that is getting annoyed? Keep investigating.]

Yes I agree, Bill the person /body /mind who gets annoyed has to go just like Bob the person / body mind who gets annoyed has to go. To do this the ego that is experiencing Bill / Bob must be investigated to see if it actually exists at all. I appreciate what I say above sounds like there is more than one ego but it is my understanding there is only one ego.

I think we must never take our self too seriously or worry about appearing right or clever to others. The one who thinks he / she is right or gets annoyed has to go.

It is funny when you think about it.

Good luck with your Practise Bill.

All the very best.

Bob



trickling sand in hourglass said...

Bill Callahan,
let the thoughts think what they like.
Why do you worry/mind about them ? Go deep down in your heart and let the thoughts splash on the surface of the paddling pool of consciousness. What concern is an ocean wave or meerschaum on the sea-level of a deep-sea-fish ?

trickling sand in hourglass said...

Bill and Bob,
Oho, "much to my constant annoyance".
Oh we have a hard time of it with nasty comments !
Don't make me laugh.
Please, as you say, Bob, a good sadhana for us: we should not take our ego too seriously.
A loud laugh...

Bill Callahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
voice of Arunachala said...

Mouna,
your survey conducted on this blog was a great success:
my answer to nearly all these questions was yes.
Nevertheless, because my attention is directed to the source of the mind I feel safe and secure in the bliss of atman. Because I do understand the limitedness of the mind I am putting my trust in the one illimitable force.

ring of fire said...

Bill,
chin up !
Yes, our spiritual practice is a matter of life and death.
But do not let yourself be fooled by the tricks and moodiness of this ego.

Cow Lakshmi said...

Bill Callahan,
do behave sensibly, take a deep breath, relax and then come back to the comment side.
Are we not all fallen already into the tiger's jaws ?

Atma dhyana said...

maya,
one of the Quotes of Sri Ramanasramam:
He(Sri Ramana)simply puts forward a way of self-analysis, which can be practised irrespective of any ancient or modern theories and beliefs which one may hold, a way that will finally lead man to true self-understanding.

Vaikuntha said...

Michael,
"If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarupa-smarana [self-rememberance] until one attains svarupa [one's own actual self], …"
To be able to cling fast to uninterrupted svarupa-smarana me must have surely spiritual maturity. So in order to put/get us in the required position to cling to self-rememberance we first have to achieve that maturity. Therefore all possible hinderances (egoistic desires, impurities, unfavourable propensities, tendencies, inclinations, vasanas etc. ) have to be beforehand cleared out the way. Contriving that we need Bhagavan's grace. So let us prove ourself worthy of it. Arunachala, would you like to give us assistance.

Sivanarul said...

To Mounaji's survey:

I answer yes to all. I don't mind the possibility of being completely wrong as the Lord is beyond both right and wrong, and if the Lord has willed that I be wrong on this, then so be it.

Siva Yogaswami says in Natchintanai all that I want to say about the reality of mother/father/siblings/spouse/children:

SIVAM ART ALL
Sivam art our father and mother.
Sivam art our dear brethren.
Sivam art the matchless consort.
Sivam art the adorable children.
Verily Sivam art the ruler too.
Sivam art the host of heavenly gods.
This universe and all therein art Sivam.
My own invincible Lord is Sivam.

With respect to the relation of God/Sivam with the Jiva's and the world, I believe in what Siva Jnana Botham 2'nd verse says on it:

http://shaivam.org/english/sen-san-sivagnana-botham-jmnp.htm

Churnika. - Hara exists in all the souls inseparably (as one with them.)

Varthikam. - The word Adwaitham cannot mean oneness or Ekam; as without a second, no one can think of himself as one, and as the very thought implies two things. The word simply denies the separate existence and separability of the two. In this sense, it is said here that the souls exist as one with the Lord.

Illustrations (a). The soul, standing in its body composed of bones, muscles, &c., and in union with the senses, answers to the name given for its body, when any body addresses it, and identifies itself with the body. Similarly though the Lord stands in a similar intimate relation with the soul, He is not the soul, and the soul cannot become the Lord. In the human state, He is one and not one with the soul.

(b) The vedic Text, ‘Ekam evadwithiyam Brahma’ ‘Ekam Eva Rudra Nadwitiyaya thas theh’ means that there is only one Supreme Being without a second. And this one is the Pathi and not the soul. You who say (ignorantly) you are one (with the Lord) are the soul and are bound up with Pasa. As we say that without (the primay sound) ‘A’ all other letters will not sound, so the Vedas say “without the Lord, no other things will exist.”

(c). The Arul Sakti of the Lord which pervades the whole universe is inseparably and eternally connected with the world, just like the sound in the tune and the flavor in the fruit. So, the rare Vedas declare that Brahm is Adwaitham and not Ekam with the universe.

(d). Just like the whetstone composed of gold, wax and sand, God is one with the world and is different from it and He is neither (Bethabetham). When God enters my soul, when I am freed from Pasam, I identify myself with God, and say I am all the world.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael, Sanjay, Bob, Bill, Mouna,

Bob says: "it is my understanding that in reality there is no world and there are no people"
Michael teaches: "when the ego dies, the world and the body die too AND The appearance of the world in our awareness is an arising, and like any other arising it is a projection of our ego.

For me this teaching is confusing and not logical. It does not fit exactly with what we can all observe. And it is not consistent with Bhagavan's other work. Although... I can imagine how it works from a particular perspective.

We all observe (or hear from others): Bhagavan lived in the world, the world was projected in his awareness (it had to be for him to act in the world), and he was totally free. I could supply Bhagavan quotes and other resources but that would make this more lengthy.

Therefore, the "world rising in awareness" does not prove the presence of ego (in the sense of ego attachment), otherwise, Bhagavan must have had ego attachment.

The truth must be: the world and body continue in waking state awareness (either duality-waking state or the freedom of sahaja-turiya-waking state) UNTIL your body dies it's natural death.

No matter what high state of realizations you might have in nirvikalpa samadhi (either temporary nirvikalpa or nirvikalpa-sahaja)... you will still come out into either duality-waking state or sahaja-savikalpa waking state. You have to come out to eat, talk to lakshmi the cow (she always makes more sense than humans) etc.

Michael's teachings above apply to a nirvikalpa samadhi like practice (no world in awareness, no body, no ego). This is obvious: consider Michaels post about putting attention inward and then not being aware of whether eyes are open or closed: the meditation state with no body awareness is nirvikalpa samadhi.

Bob's statement: "no world and no people...": yes, this is true in sleep, and in nirvikalpa samadhi. But it is NOT true in duality-waking or sahaja-waking. Futhermore, it would seem possible that the world as transcendental Idea may continue after the death of the body, this can not be discounted.

Bill says there is "no world": I think what he means is that as we move from duality awareness and approach sahaja, the character of the world changes radically. DUALITY dies. The illusion of an experiencer and doer falls away. The world is still present in awareness (at least during waking state) but free of the usual ego identification. Furthermore, subtler qualities of the world such as "world as energy" or "world as thought" may be realized. But.. as there is still a keyboard for Bill to type on... it would seem that the world continues to exist in some way.

Mouna says all sorts of crazy things: crazy wisdom has value too. It may be useful in startling the ego out of identification into awareness.

Bhagavan says:
"What does it then matter whether the body-consciousness is lost or retained, provided one is holding on to that pure consciousness? Total absence of body-consciousness has the advantage of making the samadhi more intense, although it makes NO DIFFERENCE to the knowledge of the supreme." (Godman)

Who? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Isaacs said...

I agree: "a world but for no one (no egoic individual)". regarding colors: this analysis could be done in many different ways:

a few rare people are born blind... but then gain vision later in life. When they look up to the sky, they see the moon, and reach out to touch it! The developmental stage where depth perception is learned by the brain was missed. So we can glimpse the "projection" feature learned by the brain.

I don't know how they know this (I imagine babies hooked up to instruments in the lab): but they say when you drop a noisy pan on the floor in the kitchen... an infant will not only hear the sound in a way but also see the sound. This is because the brain, born blank, has not yet learned how to process vision and sound. Sensory input is mixed together. We can see how the brain learns over time to project the world.

thanks,


Roger Isaacs said...

in conclusion regarding my last post: when we are young the brain learns to project the world:

Also, a stage of development is learning the egoic process of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It's a basic and essential survival mechanism for what appears at the time to be an individual.

But... maybe later we can advance beyond this simply by being inwardly still and attentive.

Anonymous said...

attention to one's own self is the only raft with which the jiva
can cross the ocean of unending births

Who? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phenomenal world said...

Who ?,
"...But the Self that you are does not bleed".
Regarding 'we create an illusion then we believe it is real':
You may consider the small detail that the 'Self' was not cut at all.
Therefore the remark that the 'Self does not bleed' is superfluous/unnecessary/pointless.

ice melting in water said...

Anonymous,
I consider your statement is entirely applicable.
So we should not miss that raft of self-investigation.

Who? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mouna said...

Sivanarulji, namaste

I think we are talking different teachings here. You know me a little bit to know that I accept everything in its own terms when it comes to teachings, religions, opinions, points of view, etc... unless they are expressed in an unfair and judge mental way.

My point here is that many of us speak about Bhagavan's teachings without really completely understanding them (include me in the lot please). A complete understanding of B's teachings means full blown realization, not just knowledge of what's written in the books that Bhagavan wrote or dictated.

But still partial understanding of the teachings is very important to get on route towards the goal of ego annihilation. And there are certain basic points that if they are not understood properly and implemented with a certain inner attitude then the road that follows will continue to produce misunderstandings and the whole samsara circle will continue to go on and on.

Of course ALL of us respond yes to that "survey" I asked, otherwise we wouldn't be in this blog or even in this time space continuum!
But!... Bhagavan is asking us through his teachings to try a different approach. For example to investigate if we are really a body or a limited "I", or how true is that the world appears ONLY when we wake up from a dream and doesn't exist at all while we are in deep slumber. Or, is God a concept? a person? a conditioning that changes according to our birthplace and family? Or my own self? All of the above, none of the above? It is just a matter of investigation. Self-investigation.

To really understand Bhagavan's teaching is to put into practice a set of tools (all related to the main ones of self-investigation/self-abidance while completely surrender ourselves to what we find at the other end of that enquiry.
I believe is as simple as that.

phenomenal world said...

Who?,
is it not said that keeping the mind constantly within is an excellent sadhana ?

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Namaste to you too. I fully agree that you accept everything in its own terms. My comment was simply to highlight the other side of Bhagavan's teachings that is rarely discussed here. We are talking different teachings, only if one restricts Bhagavan's teachings to be those found strictly in what is considered here as the triple gem.

Bhagavan gave two parallel teachings, Vichara and Surrender. For those who are not religious and have a very strong intellect, the path of Vichara will sound natural and atttractive. For those who are religious and want to follow the path of heart, Surrender will sound natural and attractive. Bhagavan left it to the aspirant to choose either one or mix and match both. I know this blog repeatedly tries to say Surrender is just another name for Vichara. But as I have said many times before, there lies a key difference. In the path of Surrender, God/Ishvara plays a central role. In Vichara it may or may not.

I fully agree that if we really "experienced" Bhagavan's teachings either via Vichara or Surrender, we would be in a state of Mouna and probably will not be participating in this blog.

Whatever you wrote about Bhagavan asking us to do is very accurate from the Vichara perspective. From the Surrender perspective, God is not a concept or a person and not just a matter of investigation. Just because the world does not appear in deep sleep, doesn't imply it doesn't exist. Correlation is not Causation.

I agree that to really understand Bhagavan's teaching, one must use the set of tools he provided. One such wonderful set of tools he provided is Surrender to Ishvara. That path of Surrender is what the Saivaite tradition is all about. The nayanmar songs and periya puranam are all about surrender to Ishvara, the things that had a deep influence on Bhagavan. How many times this blog refers to Aksharamanamalai? I am not saying it has to, since Vichara is the method prescribed here. I am mentioning it only to remind that Bhagavan did indeed write and preached a set of tools meant for relgious spiritual aspirants.

Advaita Vedanta, as formulated by Sri Shankara, was intended to be used within the religious context of Sanatana Dharma that included puja, temple worship, japa, meditation, Vichara etc. Even today, the Shankaracharya of Sringeri, while talking about rope/snake, parallelly talks of Ishvara and does daily puja in the mutt. Same is with Ramana ashram.

When Advaita Vedanta arrived in the west, the relgious portions were stripped out and the intellectual portions alone emphasized. So now in the west it only means secular terms such as Self, Awareness etc. Even Arunachala is referred to only as the Self. Pradikshana is said as going around the Self. Self was never mentioned in the Vedas or Upanishads. Siva, Rudra, Brahman, Atman and other words are the pointers used in the Vedas. In the context of Sanatana Dharma, Arunachala is Lord Siva in physical form and Thiruvannamalai is a very holy place within the Saivite tradition.

I only point all of these because the intellectual teachings alone have been so much emphasized both in the west and in this blog, that when I write anything about Ishvara, God or Surrender, it seems we are talking about different teachings.

Sivanarul said...

Sri David Frawly explains the misconceptions of advaita in the west. I have reproduced some key highlights:

https://vedanet.com/2012/06/13/misconceptions-about-advaita/

Are There Prerequisites for Advaita?

One of the main areas of difference of opinion is relative to who can practice Advaita and to what degree? What are the prerequisites for Self-inquiry? Some people believe that Advaita has no prerequisites, but can be taken up by anyone, under any circumstances, regardless of their background or life-style. After all, Advaita is just teaching us to rest in our true nature, which is always there for everyone. Why should that rest on any outer aids or requirements? This is a particularly appealing idea in the age of democracy, when all people are supposed to be equal.

However, if we read traditional Advaitic texts, we get quite a different impression. The question of the aptitude or adhikara of the student is an important topic dealt with at the beginning of the teaching. The requirements can be quite stringent and daunting, if not downright discouraging. One should first renounce the world, practice brahmacharya, and gain proficiency in other yogas like Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga and so on (the sadhana-chatushtya). One can examine texts like the Vedanta Sara I.6-26 for a detailed description. While probably no one ever had all of these requirements before starting the practice of Self-inquiry, these at least do encourage humility, not only on the part of the student, but also on the part of the teacher who himself may not have all these requirements!

Ramana defines this ripe mind as profound detachment and deep discrimination, above all a powerful aspiration for liberation from the body and the cycle of rebirth – not a mere mental interest but an unshakeable conviction going to the very root of our thoughts and feelings (note Ramana Gita VII. 8-11).

A ripe, pure or sattvic mind implies that rajas and tamas, the qualities of passion and ignorance, have been cleared not only from the mind but also from the body, to which the mind is connected in Vedic thought. Such a pure or ripe mind was rare even in classical India. In the modern world, in which our life-style and culture is dominated by rajas and tamas, it is indeed quite rare and certainly not to be expected.

To arrive at it, a dharmic life-style is necessary. This is similar to the Yoga Sutra prescription of the yamas and niyamas as prerequisites for Yoga practice. In this regard, Ramana particularly emphasized a sattvic vegetarian diet as a great aid to practice.

The problem is that many people take Ramana’s idea of a ripe mind superficially. It is not a prescription that anyone can approach or practice Advaita in any manner they like. Advaita does require considerable inner purity and self-discipline, developing which is an important aim of practice which should not be lightly set aside.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment...

Is Advaita Against Other Yoga Practices?

A related misconception is that Advaita is against other spiritual and yogic practices like mantra, pranayama, puja and bhakti, which from its point of view are regarded as of little value and only serve to condition the mind further. Even a number of traditional Advaitic texts speak of setting all such other yogic practices aside as useless. Many neo-Advaitins emphasize such advanced teachings. They may tell even beginning students to give up all other practices and discourage them from doing mantras, pranayama or other yoga techniques. We could call this ‘Advaita without Yoga’.

Traditional Advaita, which Ramana echoed, states that advanced aspirants who are truly ready for a dedicated path of self-inquiry can discard other yogic practices if they are so inclined. But it also states that for gaining a ripe mind, developing proficiency in these preliminary practices is a good idea. Most people can benefit from at least some support practices, particularly beginners, even if their main focus is Self-inquiry. Note the Ramana Gita VII. 12-14 in this regard.

If we study traditional Advaita, we find that Yoga practices were regarded as the main tools for developing the ripe mind necessary for Advaita to really work. Many great Advaitins taught Yoga as well. Even Shankara taught Tantric Yoga in his teachings like Saundarya Lahiri and composed great devotional hymns to all the main Hindu Gods and Goddesses. This tradition of Yoga-Vedanta – using Yoga to create a ripe or sattvic mind, and using Advaita for the higher realization through it – has been the dominant approach in Vedanta found not only in the works of older gurus like Shankaracharya and Vidyaranaya, but in modern gurus like Vivekananda, Shivananda and Yogananda.

Ramana, though he emphasized Self-inquiry, never rejected the value of other yogic practices. He commonly extolled such practices as chanting the name of God, chanting Om and doing pranayama. He had regular Vedic chanting and pujas done at the ashram which continue today.

Sivanarul said...

One last comment on the notion that the world disappears if the person projected by the ego dies:

Bhagavan did not act so. While he wrote things similar to the above notion, he ignored his writings and acted as if the world will continue. His action in the ashram will is the testament to it. The ashram will is a master piece of a legal document that clearly tells that the first child born generation after generation in Bhagavan's brother's family will be the head of ashram. So Bhagavan did not act like, "Ego has died. I have realized the non-dual Brahman. Even when the body is there, nothing is real. Certainly after body's death nothing can be real or sustain". Instead he acted, "There will be other egos in the world. They need guidance. Let me make sure, ashram will last for a long time after this body's death. There will be children born in my brother's family in the future. Making them ashram head guarantees a clear line of succession that will ensure ashram will be around"

Yeah, I know about the usual retort that Bhagavan did not do anything and some Athisaya Shakthi (some power) did it. Well then that mysterious power does not think that the world and other ego's would dissappear after physical death of Bhagavan's body.

If you still want believe in that notion and have a living will, you may want to reconsider why you need estate planning and allocation of your assets after your physical death? Whom are you leaving your assets for when the world and other ego's are going to dissappear, when your ego withdraws your person projection?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael, Sivanarul,
Excellent post Sivanarul, Frawley is wise. I rely on several of his books, for example: "The Yoga of Herbs", and his book on Ayurveda. These texts apply to our earlier discussion on garlic etc. Herbs, diet and exercise etc are extremely useful for health, such things are well worth investigating.

Regarding "ego dies, world and body die": IMO this is correct, but only from the standpoint of nirvikalpa samadhi. I have not studied the texts, but... if they could be interpreted from that perspective I might agree with them. Michael, is this possible?

Bhagavan apparently wrote these things "ego dies, world and body die, world is a projection of ego" or something like that. But... it should be noted that he had a body projecting the world in waking state while writing the texts! The texts must apply to nirvikalpa, but there is also savikalpa (transcendental waking state).

This is strange to have it claimed here (at least earlier) that Atma Vicara is the highest technique.... and all others (Jnana, Karma yoga, etc...) are not useful.
A more balanced approach would be to note, as Michael does, that Atma Vicara is simply "keeping our attention fixed firmly on ourself". And that to sit (or act) with a calm mind able to focus inwardly without getting unduly distracted by thoughts is not easy, this is an advanced teaching. Therefore, all sorts of other schools and techniques to quiet the mind should (IMO) be fully utilized to bring the mind to this state of being able to "keep attention fixed on Self".

And, as you say, Surrender is a different teaching that stands alone, as well as other approaches (Kundalini, tantra etc...).

thanks,

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji,

I think I agree with 99% you wrote in your first three postings response to a commentary in the form of a "survey" I made. Your response even goes beyond and investigate the relationship between understanding and sadhana and how things got diluted in time with the advent of different cultures, social and economic structures and specially the idea that we are at the end of a cycle.
Definitely Sanatana Dharma is a comprehensive system that takes someone from the very beginning up the ladder of understanding and realization through a way of life and sipitual practices according with it, culminating in the final stages where the aspirant is ready to be "taking in" by Grace.
At every stage of this journey that happens always in the same place there is effort and practice (sadhana).
The same goes for the investigation as why "intellect took over the heart" when it has to be a balance of both.
You put it beautifully and wisely written. At the very least I am always honored to be discussing something with someone that knows what he is talking about and is well versed on both sides of the aisle.

The 1% I don't, and maybe the right word is connect, has to do with the difference between Vedanta and Bhagavan's "direct path".
Bhagavan didn't teach Vedanta per se, but in my opinion, he acknowledged that it was the basic foundation where to build the understanding of the direct path that he indeed taught (best example: Upadesa Undiyar)
Many vedantins, even advaita-vedantins (I use to carry that flag in my younger days) will take Bhagavan's teachings in a limited form to suit their needs. The rest will be defined as Neo-Advaita.

Although I despise the title given by some vedantic westerners (neo-advaita), I have to confess that I like neo-advaita. In fact, it might read sometimes as a caricature of the direct path, and most importantly I would define the direct path as the end of the ladder, makes me think in Mandukya Up terms. How do we know that the resurgence in western society of the direct path is not the normal development of many people ready in past lifetimes to encounter it now, in the west?
Agreed, phonies are in all shapes and colors, like phony sadhus, phony priests, phony "gurus", and even phony neo-advaitins! But I do believe and feel that are many of them that are ... Yes, the real thing. And again the question is, how do we know that those that project honesty and knowledge didn't "complete" their course in previous lives as Bhagavan did?

Anyhow this are my thoughts on your excellent post response.

In an ulterior post I'll respond to you about your fourth posting (comment about the world disappearing) where I agree only with 1% of what you said! but I'll try to explain why the 99% I didn't! :-)

Be well brother.

Sanjay Lohia said...

A mantra literally means ‘that which protects’ ~*~ extracts from the article The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention, published in a old The Mountain Path

Introduction: Between December 1977 and February 1980 Michael made rough notes of some of the things that he heard Sri Sadhu Om say either to him or to other friends or visitors, and many years later these notes were found and read by a friend, who then urged Michael to share them with other devotees, saying that they contain a wealth of ideas that would help anyone who is following the path of self-enquiry taught by Sri Bhagavan. These notes are being edited by Michael, and are being published in parts, since many years, in The Mountain Path:

Sri Sadhu Om said on 2nd January 1978: A mantra is a set of sacred syllables, and the word literally means ‘that which protects when meditated on’, coming from the same root as manas (mind) and manana (meditation or cogitation). Who is to be protected? The ego! A name of God will at least lead us to God, but a mantra will only protect us (our ego, mind or individuality) from God. There has been so much talk in India about mantras that nowadays people are not satisfied unless they are given a mantra. However, mantras are only for worldly things, so Bhagavan and Ramakrishna never initiated anyone with mantras.

Bhagavan’s instruction concerning mantra-japa was that we should watch the source from which the sound of the mantra rises. What did he mean? Since the sound rises only from oneself, who repeats the mantra, he meant that we should ignore the mantra and instead cling fast to self-attention.

The mind must be made one-pointed so that it will cling to one thing alone, but for that it is not necessary to practise concentration on any second or third person, such as our breathing, a mantra or a form of God. We can just as well start our concentration practice by attending to the first person, ‘I’. If we wish to learn to cycle in order to cycle to Tirukoilur, it is not necessary to practise in some open space here. Why not start our practice on the road to Tirukoilur? Likewise, since self is our goal, why not start by attending to self?

In Conclusion: Not only repetition of mantras, but all our worldly pursuits, and most of our spiritual pursuits protect our ego. Only the practice of self-attentiveness directly attacks the ego and all its outward going tendencies, and eventually only this self-attentiveness can annihilate our ego. Therefore, if our aim is to destroy our ego, there is no other alternative but to practice self-attentiveness. We are trying to ‘cycle’ to self; why should we waste our time and energy by ‘cycling’ towards other directions!


Not2 said...

"In Conclusion: Not only repetition of mantras, but all our worldly pursuits, and most of our spiritual pursuits protect our ego. Only the practice of self-attentiveness directly attacks the ego and all its outward going tendencies, and eventually only this self-attentiveness can annihilate our ego. Therefore, if our aim is to destroy our ego, there is no other alternative but to practice self-attentiveness. We are trying to ‘cycle’ to self; why should we waste our time and energy by ‘cycling’ towards other directions!"
I don't have the intellectual understanding that those here in blog have for sure. I certainly don't have a command of the scriptures. But from my personal and direct experience this is the truest statement I have read on this page.

Sivanarul said...

"Sri Sadhu Om said on 2nd January 1978: A mantra is a set of sacred syllables, and the word literally means ‘that which protects when meditated on’, coming from the same root as manas (mind) and manana (meditation or cogitation). Who is to be protected? The ego! A name of God will at least lead us to God, but a mantra will only protect us (our ego, mind or individuality) from God. There has been so much talk in India about mantras that nowadays people are not satisfied unless they are given a mantra. However, mantras are only for worldly things, so Bhagavan and Ramakrishna never initiated anyone with mantras."

Not sure how much of this was really said by Sri Sadhu OM and how much was lost in translation, as it contains many factual inaccuracies. To begin with, in most cases, mantra is not different from name of God. Lord Siva is named as Siva but also known by one of his mantras "NamaSivaya". Sivapuranam starts with "நமச்சிவாய வாஅழ்க" (NamaSivaya Vazhga). So to say that name of God will at least lead us to God, but a mantra will only protect us, reveals a profound misunderstanding on what a mantra is at best and at worst seems a big stretch of imagination to find someway to cast mantras in poor light. "Mantras are only for worldly things" seems to suggest a gross misunderstanding and nothing but a ploy to cast mantras in poor light.

Here is the spiritual reason given, that why even advanced spiritual aspirants in the Saivite path, must do contemplation of Siva mantra (Sri Panchatchara)

http://shaivam.org/english/sen-san-sivagnana-botham-jmnp-1.htm#sbhd15-9th-sutra

Siva Jnana Botham 9'th sutra:
ஊனக்கண் பாசம் உணராப் பதியை
ஞானக் கண்ணினிற் சிந்தை நாடி
உராத்துனைத் தேர்த்து எனப் பாசம் ஒருவத்
தண் நிழலாம் பதிவிதி எண்ணும் அஞ் செழுத்தே

Churnika. – If the soul contemplates Sri Panchatchara its Vasana Mala will disappear.

Varthikam. – Understand that the contemplation of Sri Panchatchara according to Law is herein enjoined for the purpose of freeing the soul of its hankering after evil, which it does by its long association, even after attaining the knowledge of the Gneya, just like the worm feeding on the bitter margosa bark returns to it even after tasting the sweets of the sugar cane.

This Sutra treats of the Sadana that is required for the Gnana padha, and during the period after Sarguru Darshan, and before becoming Jivan Mukta, and while in the human body. The necessity for any Sadana at all during this period is because as is indicated in the 3rd argument, the human soul by its long association with Asat, sometimes forgets itself even after it has found out its own nature and though it cannot do evil, there is an hankering after evil. This is what is called Vasana Malam or Thosham, evil of habit or association. The man whose sight is restored in the beginning loves to shut his eyes a little. The worm even tasting sweetness forgets it and delights to eat the bitter bark by its long habit previously contracted. The reason why it lingers is shown further on by the illustrations of the potter’s wheel which revolves even after the potter’s hand is withdrawn, and the empty asafoetida pot. The Sadana given in this Sutra for removing this Vasana Malam is the contemplation of Sri Panchatchara or say Pranavam.

Noob said...

Dear Sivanarul,
Why do you think that repeatedly calling God's name can destroy the ego? There are so many names of God, which one should one call?

Noob said...

Also another question to Sivanarul,
Are there many egos or only one? Is "I-thought" the same is jiva or jivas are created by the "I-thought"? Your own understanding is what matters, not extracts from any sacred texts.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Not2, I was pleased that you liked my ‘In conclusion’ summary, which I wrote in my previous comment. However, should I be pleased if I am praised or appreciated in one way or another? I should not be, because if I am then it is a sign of spiritual immaturity. Bhagavan has emphatically warned us against looking for praise. He says in verse 37 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham:

Even though all the worlds are (renounced as mere) straw and even though all the scriptures are in hand (that is, have been thoroughly mastered), for those who have come under the sway of the vicious harlot which is praise, ah; to escape from slavery (to her) is (indeed very) difficult!

Note by Sri Sadhu Om: Among the three desires, namely the desires for relationships, possessions and praise, it is the desire for praise that is most difficult to renounce. Even though one has renounced the desire for relationships and the desire for possessions, regarding them as mere straw, if one falls a prey to the desire for being praised or appreciated by others, it is very difficult to renounce it. Therefore, of all the evils which threaten to befall people of vast learning, it is the desire for praise and fame which is the most dangerous.

Conclusion: Bhagavan equates the desire for praise with a harlot (prostitute). A harlot entices or tempts her clients through her various tricks; the desire for praise entices or tempts us to always look for praise, or seek approval for our actions. How to escape from such slavery to this vicious harlot which is praise?

As we get more and more established in ourself, we will become less and less affected by any praise or criticism coming our way. Whenever we are praised or blamed, we should turn our attention to the one who is being praised or blamed. This is the only effective way to remain unaffected by these. If we turn our attention towards ourself, our ego will subside, and no one will thus remain to be affected by whatever comes our way.

Who? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob - P said...

[Therefore, of all the evils which threaten to befall people of vast learning, it is the desire for praise and fame which is the most dangerous.]

Thank you for posting the note by Sri Sadhu Om Sanjay.

Very wise advice.
In appreciation
Bob.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji,
"One last comment on the notion that the world disappears if the person projected by the ego dies:
Bhagavan did not act so."


Sivanarul, for a moment, let's focus on our experience of the moment. Let's not give credit to concepts or ideas that disguise as real.
What is your experience in this very moment?
Could we say that you are reading these lines either in your smartphone or your computer? If assuming yes, then the next question will be to double fact check what is happening in Sivanarul's "awareness" at the moment. Sounds, visual stimuli, sensations from the chair you are sitting on, etc... Agreed?
Ok, there are also thoughts appearing, correct? Like for example : "what kind of nonsense this Mouna is talking about??!!"
And you are able to "witness" thoughts appearing just as one witness them while one meditate (assuming one does so).

Ok then, would you agree with me that the phrase "Bhagavan did not act so" is also a thought that jumps into the stage of our mind? Would you agree that even "thinking" about that sage called Bhagavan is also a cluster of thoughts one after the other about something that actually is not happening within the realm of sensations and perceptions of this moment?
Will you agree that those very thoughts called Bhagavan fabricate a kind of "virtual reality" in our minds that is given status of "actual reality" somewhere in the past? That is called the thought processing, very normal and natural you might argue but completely virtual nonetheless.
My point is that that Bhagavan that you are talking about is a thought, easily forgotten in a few minutes or completely non existent in deep sleep.
Sounds simplistic and even blasphemy, but isn't that our very raw experience of what is happening right now?
Well, this is it, the investigation of the source of what's happening right now, ACTUALLY RIGHT NOW, is what in the end will terminate the illusion of the virtual reality dressed in emperor's clothes called Mouna or Sivanarul or even Bhagavan.
That is the building block of atma-vichara and atma-saranagati.

If we take ourselves as bodies then Bhagavan is at best a nice story of a saint that happened to be one of the most incredible teachers of humankind. But a thought nevertheless.
But if we take ourselves as awareness, then that's what Bhagavan means, right here, right now.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

I have a got a very busy schedule for the foreseeable future. So I cannot really take the time and do justice to your comment. But briefly, I agree with what you wrote from the current moment experience (in the here and now). But the point I was raising is that based on Bhagavan's writing, the notion that the world dissapears if the person projected by the ego dies is being discussed and advanced in this blog. I was countering that with Bhagavan did not act so and that if one truly beleived it, there is no point in an estate plan.

Your comment is to put me back on a meditative state, in the here and now and simply focus on what is happening actually right now. I appreciate that, since I could use such meditative moments many times in a day. But that is not the answer to the question. An answer would be if you said, "Yes. I had an estate plan once. Now that I am convinced that the world will dissappear after my phyiscal death, I have torn up my estate plan, since there will be no one to benefit from it". That answer would demonstrate that you can walk the talk.

Sorry for the brief reply. I enjoyed your comment as a nice reminder to focus on the here and now. It will stick with me for a long time just as Roger's comment of "Are you meditating for an hour or two a day" has stuck with me whenever I skimp out on my meditation or do it for just 20 or 30 minutes.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sanjay,
You say "of all the evils which threaten to befall people of vast learning, it is the desire for praise and fame which is the most dangerous.

"Praise" has more sides that just the desire for fame. There is the giver of praise, and the receiver. Wanting to receive praise is definitely egoic, but also, the pattern of delivering negative praise is just as damaging and egoic.

For example: broadly condemning all mantra practice is negative praise.

If we are going to "renounce words" we should consider not only the ego inflation received from praise but also the ego inflation of giving negative words about other spiritual practices and schools? It might make sense to say from experience "I had a bad experience with this particular teacher and his mantras..." but from this can we say that such practice is ineffective for all people, all teachers, for all time? To do so is simply egotism.

It makes total sense to try and determine what practices are beneficial for oneself. But to try and extend one's experience broadly to all other people has nothing at all to do with inquiry. Did Bhagavan recommend that we embrace judging the spiritual practices of others?

Anyone who says that mantra practice is always just protecting the ego is themselves an egotist and ignorant of Bhagavan's teaching. Look in "Talks with Ramana Maharishi" or "be as you are" and you will find a much more intelligent approach by Bhagavan. Of course he warns about potential limitations, but he also says things like:
"By repetition of mantras, the mind gets controlled. Then mantra becomes one with the mind and also with the prana [the energy that sustains the body]. When the syllables of the mantra become one with the prana, it is termed dhyana, and when dhyana becomes deep and firm it lead to sahaja sthiti [the natural state, Bhagavan's state].


Who? said...

Can anyone tell me how to stop getting emails from this blog? I sign out but it signs me out of Gmail?

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji, this is to read later or never.

Thank you for taking a short time to continue the conversation.

I do have a life insurance for my family to be beneficiary, I do care about my three children having a happy life after “I” shall be gone. I do care about the danger of the world getting into the hands of a political sociopath that might annihilate the whole civilization, if not the human race…
But that “I” is Mouna.
Mouna is a character in the script called Lila. And Mouna does what the script dictates for him to do.
Bhagavan is another character in the script (there is only one script) as is Sivanarul.
If Mouna didn’t think that the dream could repeat again, Mouna wouldn’t care less about alma-vichara or surrender, since when Mouna will go, everything goes. But Mouna knows that after deep sleep comes another waking moment, so why dying would be different?

But for some strange reason Mouna also knows that all is lila, or dream, happening nowhere and written by no-one (sorry about the neo-advaita flavor here).
Mouna plays its part as best he can because his guru commanded him so, but knowing and feeling the futility of all this once the dream will be over.

Thanks my friend, is always good to discuss with you. I learn a lot from it.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Who!
When I read emails in gmail, there is an "unsubscribe" button. When I look at the blog on line for posting, there is an Unsubscribe button.

Who? said...

Oh thank you so much.

Sivanarul said...

Noob,

"Why do you think that repeatedly calling God's name can destroy the ego?"

For the same reason that repeatedly doing Vichara can destory the ego. Calling God's name is not like calling your friend's name. What is implied in calling God's name is a one-pointed, uninterrupted remembrance of God's name or a mantra.

Just like repeated Sadhana is required for Vichara to blossom and attain the intensity that the boy Venkataraman was able to do (assumption is he did the required sadhana in an earlier life), repeated calling of God's name will be required for maturity to occur. Simply calling a few times in a day will not result in the destruction of the ego (unless that calling is intense like that of Nayanmars or Bhagavan).

"There are so many names of God, which one should one call?"

The one that one falls in love with. Your question is like a young man asking, "There are so many beautiful and smart women in the world, whom should I marry?". The answer is the one you fall deeply in love with. If you cannot fall in love, then choose someone who seems reasonable (arranged marriage) and love will happen as part of life. Similarly if one cannot fall in love with a name of God, then pick a name that spikes your interest, and the love will automatically happen after you lived with that name for a while.

"Are there many egos or only one? Your own understanding is what matters, not extracts from any sacred texts."

I believe there are many egos. This is based on my own understanding and not sacred texts. I see many sentient beings like me. They share all the humanness I have (anger, pride, virtue, vice, happiness, sorrow etc etc). Since I have an ego, there is no reason for me to question whether they have an ego or not.

"Is "I-thought" the same is jiva or jivas are created by the "I-thought"?"

The jiva is the awareness to which the 'I-thought' occurs. So to me, the I-thought is different than the jiva.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Amen to your latest comment, my friend. It exemplifies the path of surrender beautifully. Of course, I have to slightly translate it to:

All Jiva's are subject to the lila of Ishvara and cannot deviate from the script, Ishvara ordained for them. Jiva has to play it's part knowing fully well it has no control over what will come next or when will deliverance come. Will it be in 100 years or 100 billion lifetimes? Don't know. Just continue to play the part and trust that Ishvara will provide the guidance as necessary.

Life then becomes a sadhana of repeatedly reminding oneself of Christ's immortal saying, "Not my will, but thy will be done".

Noob said...

Sivanarul, thank you for replying.

To me "I-thought", i.e. ego is one and it creates many jivas, in the same way as my dream is populated with many things while being nothing else but my own awareness. There is nothing to surrender as nothing belongs to any jiva, including me.

homecomer said...

Sivanarul,
1.) "Are there many egos or only one? Your own understanding is what matters, not extracts from any sacred texts."
1.) A. "I believe there are many egos. This is based on my own understanding and not sacred texts. I see many sentient beings like me. They share all the humanness I have (anger, pride, virtue, vice, happiness, sorrow etc etc). Since I have an ego, there is no reason for me to question whether they have an ego or not."

Who (are you who) is having an ego ? In other words: to whom belongs your ego ?

2.) "Is 'I-thought' the same as jiva or are jivas created by the 'I-thought'?"

2.) B. "The jiva is the awareness to which the 'I-thought' occurs. So to me, the I-thought is different than the jiva."

If we assume only one infinite awareness how can there be a special awareness to which the 'I'-thought is occurring ? How can the 'I'-thought be different from the jiva ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Regarding "are there many egos"?

This is an aid to seeing and stepping away from your own ego(s): on seeing it, then: not this!

Have you noticed that there are times where there appear to be multiple egos within you? For example: you might be in a difficult relationship, maybe it's a "love / hate" relationship, and so there is one ego that strongly wants the relationship, and another that strongly does not want it ... at the same time!

This type of multiple aspects of ego often can be seen around situations that are emotionally difficult. There is no single consistent personal ego, or if you say there is a single personal ego... then it is split into different desires that can conflict.

You might notice that in some areas of life there are strong desires which compete with desires in other areas of life: relationships, spirituality, work, recreation... Or, if you have a strong desire for one thing... once you acquire it... then it's not so interesting anymore... but you strongly need something else...

On noticing clearly such behavior the effect can be to diminish identification with the ego(s).

And from another perspective: are there many egos?
When the moon is seen reflected in a thousand puddles... are there a thousand moons... or just one?


Bob - P said...

Hi Roger

My understanding is there are different aspects of the personality, not different ego's so to speak. For example Bob the person (mind / body) can experience multiple emotions / feelings. All these are different aspects of Bob the person. But I think there is only one ego which presently takes Bob the person along with all his emotions / feelings / personality traits etc etc to be itself.

This is just my opinion on it linked to my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching. I am not saying this is how it is or you are wrong and I am right, just my personal opinion.

Some people on this blog believe there is only one ego while others believe there are multiple ego's.

I suppose it doesn't really matter in all fairness, each to there own.

Bhagavan may of taught us there is only one ego just to move our attention within and reduce our interest in the world.

From my perspective the only thing I know for certain that is aware is myself the subject. I will never know if any 2nd and 3rd persons are aware as well as me the 1st person.

I am trying my best to focus my attention on myself the subject / 1st person as best as I can. I think at the end of the day we are all trying to do the same thing.

All the best Roger.
Bob

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,
I agree with what you are saying regarding just one ego. It could be described using different words (as can most situations). The situation is even more bizarre for people who have "dissociative identity disorder" also known as "multiple personality disorder". Apparently this effects 1-3% of people where there are actually 2 or more personalities present in one person and the personalities may not know about each other.

But... we could just say that the person still has only one ego... but it is split into different parts. Similar to my ego when one personality wants to eat that rich sweet dessert, but other aspects of personality more wisely suggest (like an angel whispering into the right ear and the devil whispering into the left ear) to skip the dessert knowing that there will be bad consequences: lethargy and lack of consciousness.

You say "Bhagavan may of taught us there is only one ego just to move our attention within and reduce our interest in the world."

"Reduce interest in the world" might have value from some angles. Especially western values tending towards over consumption and over acquiring and using up the planets resources. But for me, becoming "more monk like" although perhaps useful in many ways, is not exactly it: rather, more specifically, it is to be: not attached, not identified, reduce "doership", reduce "experiencership", reduced ego: all while doing whatever is natural for me in the world. Rather than "reduced interest in the world", in some ways, I find some an increase of interest in the world. Interest in some of these things seems to actually assist reduction of the ego: beauty of nature, animals, solitude or company of inspiring people, etc...

Furthermore, there are certain values such as service & compassion in the world which reduce ego. In order to be truly compassionate and giving to others.... we must give up egoic concerns we have for ourselves?

It has been said here that "action" cannot lead to enlightenment. This is true from a particular perspective. But from another: Karma Yoga is not about "action". rather, it is about following your unique inner enthusiasm (footnote follows) in service to the higher principle. By giving and serving without concern for our limited ego... the limited ego is abolished. The inner enthusiasm is not different than the "inner guide".

Love that word "enthusiasm": derived from en+theos or "the god within".

Thanks,

Mouna said...

Bob,

As per my understanding of Bhagavan's teachings, I agree with you when you state that there is only one ego, but te "person" may have different personalities.
When we speak about Bhagavan's teachings we need to be careful not to mix terminology of other teachings where words have a different meaning, causing mostly confusion and misunderstanding. Like for example Psychology where "ego" means (according to the dictionary) "The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity." In this case ego is related to personality and behavior. (The same could be said about the word "real")
That is definitely not what we are talking about here.
If Bhagavan says "ego is everything", that means "every-thing", sensations, perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and the "world out there" that actually is projected by ego, including different dimensions of string theory, gravitational fields, cats, dogs, my kids, money, god, etc... and MOST of all, the sense "I am this body and this person", in my case Mouna. All that and what I didn't include, is ego.
Other connotations of ego: samsara, maya, I-thought, etc..
When ego rises (apparently) in the waking state and the dream state, ego veils (apparently) the self, in fact it atributes limitations to the self and then projects that "everything" that we were talking about, identifying with it, from this side of the skin it calls it "me", from the outer side of the skin, it calls it the world.

Bhagavan's simple advice in all that is to look or investigate if an ego exists in the first place, and wherever we "arrive" or whatever we "found" with this investigation, we stay "there". That's it, no rocket science.

But again, if we start mixing in our spiritual pot all these different recipes, no surprise that we will start feeling confused at one point, and the soup will taste kind of funny, even if we put expensive spices.




Who? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mouna said...

Who? hello

"Why doesn't anyone talk about the actual experience of "self investigation". What to expect? What not to do. The right way the wrong way? What happens, what changes?"

Good question. I am not a Bhagavan anointed (or self-anointed!!) teacher, or a savvy fellow that knows all the tricks (as you will soon discover). Just a fellow traveller like you with many doubts and certainties. I suppose this is what you are interested in knowing, the experience of some of us, regular practitioners, nothing fancy, but entirely based in our experience and not in books read, videos watched and blog comments, correct? If you are not interested in something higher than that job description then I’ll share some thoughts related to your question based in my own attempts to self-investigate and what that brought (or not) to my experience and understanding of what’s going on here.

Disclaimer: the danger of a question like this one is that we have a tendency to create models that we will try to duplicate later on as a measure of what is right and wrong in any particular technique. For example, if I tell you that after three hours of trying hard to self-investigate my “awareness” shift to my solar plexus, my feet get very hot and I start having visions of a meeting between Jesus, Shiva and Buddha discussing enlightenment, and if on top of that you take me as an authority, then if after three hours of SI (Self-Investigation) you get ONLY your feet warm (not hot), you might think that you are doing something completely wrong because you are not getting the same results!

That being said, this is my take, Mouna’s VERY subjective take on what SI and how it impacts/impacted through all this time I’ve been trying to practice.

First of all, the less I expect, the better, because SI is NOT an experience, is getting to the source of existence itself, the kind of existence I am (and you are) at this very moment.
For example, if I question myself, is there existence now? well, the only answer should be yes because one has to exist to say yes or no. And THAT I know, so that means that there is knowledge of that existence (or the second question could be: "is there awareness of existence?"), in fact there are no borders between them, existence (sat) and awareness (cit) are one and the same.
(note that the question is: “is there existence now?”, not “do I exist?”, maybe another day I’ll explain the difference between these two questions)

(Continues in next post)

Mouna said...

Continues from last post)

Bhagavan gave us this very simple “technique” (not a good word…) of try to direct our attention (instead of things other than myself) towards the source of our sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings (that are what we usually call ourselves) spring. In fact, trying to investigate if there is such a “unifier” principle called “I” that actually I’ll be able to pinpoint.
My experience is that I could never find it. INSTEAD, I find only borderless, changeless “being/awareness” itself. Is that good? I don’t know. That’s what I get, but it’s tricky because there isn’t a feeling of “I getting it”… that’s what’s there, period.

So, turning the attention towards the subjective feeling of “I” seems to be the first step, because the ego (serpent) is in fact oneself (rope), and it doesn’t matter if we “turn” towards trying to find the ego, we will always go in the direction of oneself (rope).
“Who Am I?” is that thought that actually helps the process. Other question could be: “Where is this thought (sensation/feeling) coming from?". These all helpers to make the mind inward looking (this is the “effort” part).
But the aim is not to answer the question (in fact it’s not possible) but to dissolve it and abide in the silence we find “behind the curtains” (this is the “abidance" part).

The tricky part is that there are no two places here, the ego as opposed to the self (as there are no two parts in the snake and the rope), so WE ARE living the maya/ego part at the same time of being SELF. Then it is said that is a process of “substracting/removing” instead of adding”
After a while the questions and helpers dissolve also and one gently turns inwards, abiding (please don’t ask me how long! because “there” there is no time!)
To summarize:
What to expect?: nothing, or no-thing.
Right way: (for me) turn attention inwards finding the source of everything and abiding there.
Wrong way: never trying…
What happens?: dissolution of limitations.
What Changes?: nothing changes and everything changes.

My two cents “who?”, since you asked, without any aspiration of being right.
be well,
m

Mouna said...

Who?
Last thought,
Hope more input from other members of this sangha will come forth in time.
Questions about self-investigation are the most important and the only ones worth spending time on it.

Who? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Who? said...

Mouna
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

You are very generous and brave and appreciated. I think you reached out and proved you are indeed a spiritual being. Thank You. So many words make my head spin and few offer comfort. Yours did the trick. Thank You again.
"Without any aspiration of being right" but how could you possibly have been wrong...

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael, Mouna,

Mouna says "If Bhagavan says "ego is everything", that means "every-thing", sensations, perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and the "world out there" that actually is projected by ego, including different dimensions of string theory, gravitational fields, cats, dogs, my kids, money, god, etc... and MOST of all, the sense "I am this body and this person""

Bhagavan says from "talks": The false ego is associated with objects; this ego itself is its own object. Objectivity is the falsity. Subject is alone the Reality. Do not confound yourself with the object, namely the body. This gives rise to the false ego, consequently of the world and your movements therein with the resulting misery.

Mouna, Bhagavan's apparent teaching about the world being a projection of the ego is a slight misunderstanding IMO. When he says "world" in the paragraph above it is associated with "object" in prior sentences.

Specifically, the ego is not the world and it does not project the world, the ego sees the world as an OBJECT that it identifies with. This ego objective identification is the issue and this is called Duality and dies with enlightenment. And... ego/body/world is also not present in sleep or nirvikalpa samadhi.

We can see easily that your personal ego is associated with your body, and your body will only last 80-120 years. Whereas the world has an entirely different lifespan.

The ego does not create the world. It creates identification with the world as an object. When the ego dies, the world is still there, but object-identification known as "duality" has died.

String Theory, gravitational fields, cats (cats understand gravity very well, and their 9 lives require a different theory) dogs, kids, money ALL CONTINUE TO EXIST after your enlightenment and after your physical death (which will no doubt come long after your enlightenment).

If you say the ego/body/world cease to exist when you have attained nirvikalpa samadhi (either temporary or sahaja) yes, they cease to exist, TEMPORARILY until you come out of your trance to pet and feed the cat.

Why am I so fixated on this? Well... how are we to end the ego if we are confused about what it is?

Mouna said...

Roger hello,
Maybe Michael will respond to your query or maybe not. But since you mention my name here my thoughts about what you said.
I don't have much time to give you a proper response to your misunderstanding of what ego means and I don't want to quote lengthy paragraphs from books like Talks that were not directly written by Bhagavan to "support" anyone's points of view including mine.
I mainly speak in this forum of my own experience, gained applying His teachings.
But I'll tell you this, after studying thoroughly Bhavagan's teachings, if you go to the deepest depth in your self-investigation or "remember" how did "you" feel in deep sleep right now, you will understand not only what the ego is (or better, what it isn't) but also the meaning of many points in Bhagavan's teachings that actually had many levels (srishti-drishti/ drishti-srishti/ajata).

If you live the teaching, you will come to really understand what ego/maya/I-thought/etc… is and isn’t, and there will be no confusion there.
Because ego called by any other name, will smell the same.

be well, my friend
m

who? said...

In response to this comment by 'Who?'.

Why doesn't anyone talk about the actual experience of "self investigation"

Self-investigation is the central theme of all articles written by Sri Michael James in this blog. What he tries to explain as clearly as possibly, is the means of self-investigation, rather than the varied, ephemeral, and seemingly endless distractions in the form of thought experiences that most of us face in our practice. Self-investigation is a shifting of our attention away from anything else onto ourself alone. During practice, we invariably fail due to our paying attention to thought experiences, consequently losing our attentive grasp on our self-awareness. What kinds of thought experiences distract us, varies from person to person and from time to time, and it is not really necessary to discuss them. What remains constant is our inadequate love to experience ourself alone, and consequent liking to experience a body-mind as ourself in a world of multiplicity. As for self-awareness, it has no distinguishing features that separates it from what we are, so no one cannot adequately describe objectively (in words or thoughts) what it really is.


What to expect? What happens, what changes?

Any kind of expectation during the practice is an impediment to the one-pointed attention on oneself that the practice entails. However, both by the testimony of sages and by clear logic as explained by them, one is made to understand conceptually that once successful in the practice, we will experience beginningless-endless-unbroken existence-consciousness-bliss.


What not to do. The right way the wrong way?

The way is one, even though it can possibly be described in many different ways. Bhagavan puts it succinctly as: keeping our mind [or power of attention] fixed on oneself, is the practice of self-investigation.

Roger Isaacs said...

There is a long description & discussion about the philosophy of ajata here:
http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.nl/2008/08/ajata.html

It says for example The ajata doctrine takes the position that since the world was never created, there can be no jivas within it who are striving for or attaining liberation. ... Bhagavan regarded it as ‘the ultimate truth’.

So... the theory "ego dies, body and world die too or world is a projection of ego" is not ajata, it is drishti-srishti vada which Bhagavan clearly considered "not the final truth". The final truth is ajata: the world was never created to begin with, creation can never happen.

So Michael is clearly wrong: The truth is that the world could never have been created. :-)

Mouna said...

Roger, my friend, relax.

In the final analysis what really counts is how deep we dive into our own silence, because all the noise of words of the outer and inner worlds, that too shall pass.

ice melting in water said...

Mouna,
you are right saying what really counts.
But some commentators seem not to be able to grasp that so very quickly.
Of course, because of our unquenchable thirst for knowledge we all want to understand our being also mentally. Nevertheless let's stick to the facts. The tree of knowledge obviously does not grow in everybody's garden under all condition of the soil.
Endless discussion will definitely not lead us into our own silence but elsewhere.
To know mentally/intellectually all the theories about all aspects of our life does not grant us our insatiable longing for remaining in just being.

Bob - P said...

Dear Roger

Thank for your reply I always find your posts / views interesting to read.

Yes there are many psychological disorders that can produce spiritual like experiences. I remember reading about Dr Jill Bolte Taylor and her stoke / haemorrhage experience (left hemisphere). there is also syndrome of subjective doubles and of course psychosis and schizophrenia. I actually experienced an out of body experience myself many years ago with out trying to, it just happened. I don't want another and am not trying to have another (lol)!.

However the important thing is with all the above including my O.B.E is duality is still experienced unlike deep sleep were we experience our self as we really are the non dual happy self awareness. To experience duality there needs to be a body / subject or 1st person. It is my understanding that the 1st person and 2nd / 3rd person can not exist independently but are simultaneously created .

Many years ago I read some where that all sages throughout history were in fact suffering from mental illness or brain abnormalities as mentioned above. Stimulating different parts of the brain can induce very strange spiritual experience including out of body and the feeling of one ness etc etc.

Is this true? I honestly don't know Roger and I can't pretend to know or be sure of anything anymore. All I do know and I can take for sure is I am aware. I am aware of myself and things other than myself during waking and dream and I am aware of myself alone during deep sleep. This I can take as gospel truth as it is my actual experience.

So my time now when not writing posts on this blog and doing other things is to try my best to investigate my self awareness or investigate myself as taught by Bhagavan.
I try to be self attentive as much as I can during the day and have times were I try to be more self attentive like on waking and before bed, this is my own personal practise.

With regards what I said:

"Bhagavan may of taught us there is only one ego just to move our attention within and reduce our interest in the world.

I of course was not saying this was true just a possibility.

I think it all comes down to faith and trusting Bhagavan. My experince as the person Bob can seem to contradict what Bhagavan teaches like for example there is only one ego and duality is ignorance etc etc.

But I trust Bhagavan and his teaching and am trying my very best to do what he teaches. All I can do is have faith and trust Bhagavan and trust Michael's incredible understanding of his teaching.

You also said the below at the end of your latest comment.

***[So Michael is clearly wrong: The truth is that the world could never have been created. :-)]***

In all fairness it is my understanding that Michael accepts "ajata" as the ultimate truth because Bhagavan said it was the ultimate truth. But as this is not our experience Bhagavan had to accept it and come down to our level and teach us that the ego and all it experiences only appears to exist in its own limited distorted view.

However if we investigate / look very carefully at our self / ego intensely enough we will see it never did exist.

We do not experience ajata and although interesting intellectually it can not be comprehended by the ego.

All the very best Roger.
Bob

Bob - P said...

Dear Mouna
Thanks for your reply.
I am sorry this is a short reply to you Mouna but in all honesty I agree with everything you wrote (lol)!!!
I have nothing to add to what you said ... it was beautifully written and very clear.
How lucky we are Bhagavan and his teaching came into our lives along with Michael to help us understand it.
I wish you all the very best with you own practise Mouna.
Take care of yourself.
Bob

Bob - P said...

Dear Roger
I spent 30 minutes replying to your reply (I am a very slow typer) and for some reason it isn't showing up in the comments? Plus I stupidly forgot to save it in word .. just copied and pasted it in .. What a dummy I am.
I just wanted to say that I did read your reply and did make the effort to reply to you.
Hopefully in the future I will have time to re write it all again.
Regardless Roger thank you for your reply and best of luck with your practise.
Bob

ice melting in water said...

Bob-P,
your comment dated at 10:57 is not lost.
Wait one day. If it is not shown till tomorrow I will copy and paste it.

Who? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob - P said...

Dear Ice Melting Water.
Thank you so much for copying my reply to Roger!!
I am a terribly slow typer as I said and probably would not get round to re typing it all again.
I can't thank you enough.
I think the problem was I copied and pasted both Roger's and Mouna's replies together then submitted them both together, that may be why?
As you rightly say it may appear latter on.
But if it doesn't yes please could you re post it.
Not that my post is important in any way and I'm sure Roger will survive if he doesn't read it (lol)!!
All the very best to you.
Take care.
Bob

ice melting water said...

Bob-P,
I too am a terribly slow typer. But this is better than to be a slow grasper.
We both seem to be just a little confused mixtures:
How can I repost/copy anything what is disappeared on the comment site ?
I only have a printout of the vanished comment 26 July 2016 at 10:57.
So we have to wait some time.

Bob - P said...

Dear ice melting water

You said;
How can I repost/copy anything what is disappeared on the comment site ?

Yes I was thinking that myself when you said;

[If it is not shown till tomorrow I will copy and paste it.]

I thought my comment may have showed up then was removed and you had copied it. I am a bit of a technophobe so wasn't sure what you meant.

When you say you have a printout?
Again I am not sure what you mean? A physical printout? I don't know why you would do this? I am bit confused but that's nothing new !

Anyway it doesn't matter as I said it wasn't important and I am sure everyone will survive if they don't get to read it (lol)!!

Thank you.
All the best.
Bob

ice melting water said...

Dear Bob,
yes I have a physical outprint of your comment which was shown as nr.157 obviously only for some moments. Unfortunately I too am little technophobic, so I don't know how to scan my physical printout and paste it in the comment-box.
Vanishing and reappearing of comments sometimes happen when in the same minute more than one comment have been posted.
So we wait ...

Bob - P said...

Dear Ice Melting Water
I see, I understand what you mean.
Regardless of what happens if my comment appears or not thank you very much for all your help.
It serves me right for forgetting to save my word doc (lol)!
I must try to remember from now on, I use to type direct into the comment box but I make so many typo's !! I find word's spell check such a huge help.
Take care and thank you again.
Bob

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Who,
say that 10 times very fast "Hi Who Hi Who Hi Who..."
you say "I have come to realize the smoke like quality of thoughts and imagine that being lost in a deep intellectual argument about anything would be like being in a hurricane. When the storm is over the only thing left is the Stillness."

I appreciate your posts trying to move the conversation to a practical topics such as how is "who am I?" practiced? And what do people experience? Although... philosophical questions can be manana?

You might appreciate Michael's prior blog July 13th "Asparsa Yoga...."
I have spent a long time trying to discuss intimate aspects of my personal practice here and that blog hits a lot of it. However... since I am from outside the school... my approach tends to be different and outside the guidelines. Although... I find the topic fascinating. My approach tends to be tantalizingly similar... yet different enough that the gap is difficult to cross.

Michael said on that blog: "Regarding what you write about meditation with eyes open or closed, if our entire attention is fixed keenly and steadily on ourself, we will not even notice whether our eyes are open or closed, so the opening or closing of them will make no difference to us",

Bhagavan said in "talks" that his state is "sahaja samadhi". And that this is either "nirvikalpa" (no world, no body, inwardly focused to the exclusion of body/world awareness) or "savikalpa" (in the world).

so... with that statement of Michael's "no difference noticed between eyes open or eyes closed"... he is describing nirvikalpa (IMO).

Maybe the interesting question is: do you experience this... or does it seem like a useful pointer to a possible experience?
frankly I do not. I experience in some way a withdrawal of the attention from the senses accompanied by an increased inward focus. So... my conclusion is that my psychology-physiology tends to prefer "savikalpa" (samadhi with attention of the world in the background). Various quotes from Bhagavan suggest that there is no difference between "body awareness or non-body awareness" practice...

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Excellent writeup on the actual experience comment. You are indeed a mystic!

"I am not a Bhagavan anointed (or self-anointed!!) teacher, or a savvy fellow that knows all the tricks (as you will soon discover)."

I, the Self, by the powers vested under me by myself, hereby annoit Mouna, who is myself, to be a teacher under Bhagavan's (who is also myself) lineage. Henceforth he is licensed to hold Satsang to all seekers (who are also myself). To be true to ajata, this annoitation never even seemily happened and I as you did not ever read this.

I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I

Ok, that was good fun. Now in a more serious tone, Mounji, you have graduated to give Satsang. Ojai already has JK's power in the air. When Bhagavan's power gets added to it via your satsang, it will become a super power.

Sivanarul said...

homecomer,

You ask very good questions. I am currently in a time crunch, so not responding, since it will involve more back and forth as my answers will be only from the perspective of the parallel path of Bhagavan (Surrender to Ishvara).
Be well.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

In case you decide to give satsang, the following url would be a nice one:

happinessofmouna.blogspot.com

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji, Vannakkam my friend

Fortunately "I" (meaning this body, just in case!) haven't been operated recently or don't have a heart condition (so far) because you made me laugh so hard that if unhealthy I would have collapsed into death's sweet pillow just by the spasms!

Blessings your way!

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,

Bob says:
>> I read some where that all sages throughout history were in fact suffering from mental illness or brain abnormalities.

Materialists consider consciousness to be just an artifact of having a brain. Brain came first, consciousness later more or less by accident. Therefore, for them, there are no higher states, just abnormalities. (Of course, I might be an abnormality regardless)

>> "Bhagavan may of taught us there is only one ego just to move our attention within and reduce our interest in the world.

Ah, I see. As part of this exercise learning about ajata, it seems perhaps that when Bhagavan says things like "reduce our interest in the world"... it can refer to atma-vicara practice, or ajata philosophy.

Atma-vicara is in these ways life denying & life escaping as is the culture from India in general. And the west is on the opposite side caught up in material life totally. But it is not necessary for spiritual philosophy to be this way. I'm not sure that it is a good thing. Both Sankara's and Buddha's traditions handed down by monks are life denying. I am not an expert in this: but it would appear that Bhagavan's original teaching with the inclusion of the bhakti devotional aspect may have been more life affirming than Michael's approach?

>> I think it all comes down to faith and trusting Bhagavan.

You and I have different styles. I am a "doubting Thomas" (from the bible: Thomas asked to many questions and got a bad reputation). Some of us (you) are blessed with faith (faith is one of the ways), others must question absolutely everything. I must find it in my experience for it to be real. The practice of Jnana Yoga traditionally is based on discovering truth for yourself and you cannot depend on any authority.

I like the teaching:
Knowledge is structured in consciousness.
Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.

This is very practical: if you have a severe toothache, you really need relief. But... the highest philosophy, ajata, is not going to help. The Ajata dentist says "Sir! How can you have a toothache when the world was never created!?"

So... although it is inspiring and useful to hear about ajata... it remains just a pointer to some possible future state. We still need to pay the rent etc... I prefer the philosophies which state ajata, but also state that at different states of consicousness (my state of consciousness: hard headed ajana for example) knowledge is different.

IMO the teaching here about drishti-srishti vada (when ego dies, body and world die... and world is a projection of the ego) (if I got it right) has that same mismatch of a higher level of knowledge presented at a lower state of consciousness and is thus confusing. The result is that devotees believe that they are going to die when they reach enlightenment.


know the knower said...

Robert Isaacs,
you are really a perfect example of a 'doubting Thomas', you beat him by some length.
Doubting and questioning are fundamentally a good tool or skill.
But you seem to forget often if not permanently to draw the right conclusion from the answers given. If you manage to use/employ/apply your tenacity instead of in endless questioning to consequent deepening self-inquiry you would progress nicely in your practice towards self-knowledge.
Just try at least once but tenaciously the enquiry: who is the bearer of IMO ?

Bob - P said...

Dear Roger

The mystery of my vanishing comment continues as you quote from it but I still can't see my comment in the comment section? Maybe it is a problem my end as you have obviously read it to quote from it?? Most strange (lol)!

You say you like to question everything compared to having faith in authority. I too use to question everything, my authority was myself and what I learned. The only person I trusted was myself and if something needing doing I would do it myself, I was a perfectionist.

I have never been religious in my life and have never gone to church. I was a very independent curious, sceptical person. I was constantly jumping around from one thing to another to quench my unceasing thirst for knowledge. In fact to me I thought knowledge was power and ignorance was not bliss it was in fact pain and suffering.
I had no heroes, or authority figures I relied on, I relied on myself and I trusted myself.

It was up to me to find out for myself not blindly follow or trust some so called expert or authority figure. I wanted to explore different spiritual teachings, science and psychology. I didn't rely on one I would take what I liked, what made sense and more importantly what I agreed with. Like wise I would discard what I didn't like, what didn't make sense and what I didn't agree with.

However I personally found in time I got tired of it all, the world, my curiosity and my endless seeking journey. Not only that but my interest in myself (Bob the person) lessened.

I personally think all teachers on our journey are nothing but our self. They are our self as we really are (non dual self awareness) projected outward in a limited finite from within teaching us to surrender our outward curiosity and instead turn our attention back within to our self.

Personally for me the final teacher on my path is Bhagavan I see him as an authority figure as my understanding is he is nothing but myself along with all the other teachers on my journey along with everything I experience as separate from myself.

This of course is not my direct experience it is just my understanding which I have faith in.

I must stress this is all just my personal perspective, not right or wrong.

So by having faith in Bhagavan I have faith in myself or rather faith in myself as I really am not this temporary illusory finite limited form of knowing consciousness experiencing itself as Bob the person. The same person who appears to be dumped slap bang in the middle of a vast separate world.

For me in time I had to let go and trust someone or something more that I trusted myself.

Continued below ...

Bob - P said...

Continued from above ...

Personally for me that something is Bhagavan an Indian sage and I have faith in his teaching. Plus I have faith in Michael's writings about the teaching.

In fact his teaching is the same as all the other teachings I personally found on my journey to him merely expressed in different words and terminology. Plus it just resonates with me and I find it simple to understand with regards the basic principles. Admitted the subtle nuances can some times create confusion but the foundational principles as Michael outlines in his recent video does resonate with me.

With regards ajata I agree it is of little practical use to us because it defies our current experience, not only that is beyond our egoic comprehension. But personally I do trust and have faith in Bhagavan and according to him it is the absolute truth. Plus Bob will never know if it is truth or fiction because in the end Bob has to go, he is fiction and when the truth shines alone Bob will be wiped of it or disappear because my understanding is in truth Bob doesn't really exist.

Don't get me wrong Roger I am still fearful of disappearing if I wasn't I wouldn't still be here writing these words to you. But thankfully my disappearing act so to speak is not as frightening as it once was in the past. Plus my thirst for knowledge and having faith in myself to find all the answers on my own is much reduced.

All the best to you Roger on your own personal journey and also with your own personal practise.

Take care.
Bob

anubhava said...

Michael,
may I ask you something out of the subject of this article ?
At present I start reading an article of Mountain Path(July-September 2016) called Enlightenment:Revelling in the Eternal Experience by Swami Tanmayananda Sarasvati,
subtitle:The Magnificence of PratyabhijnA, the Experiential Awakening

What significance have the capital letters which are used sometimes in the middle of a word(for instance: sahaja samAdhi), sometimes at the end(PratyabhijnA or Atma-nishtA)or sometimes on any place of the word(sAkshi-pratyaksha or vichAra mArga or jAgrat-sushupti) ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your inspiring post.

As I must have said before, there is nothing to fear about disappearing (if I understand you). Actually, it's just a misunderstanding from the way that the info is presented. I invite anyone to show me otherwise. As always, if my understanding is not correct, then please tell me about it (but more than just repeating dogma please).

Consider the statements "when the ego dies, the body and world die too", or "the world is a projection of the ego".

Consider Bhagavan: his ego died, yet his body and the world projected in his awareness continued till he died a natural death. This is a very important example!!!

Those statements "ego dies, body and world die" are true (although exaggerated or misconstrued) from the state of nirvikalpa samadhi. Bhagavan said (in Talks and elsewhere) that his state was Sahaja and either nirvikalpa (withdrawn inward: no world, no body) or savikalpa (aware of the world but still free of any ego).

Whenever a person is in deep sleep or nirvikalpa samadhi (a state where the world and body have been excluded from awareness) then the ego, world and body do not exist. You could say that ego/body/world have died or have been killed etc... but this language is to dramatic. Actually, they have just been excluded from awareness.

The word used is "ego"... but rather "duality" maybe better. What really dies at some point is the illusion of duality.

I was told this by an enlightened sage: no matter how deep you go into the inner world (nirvikalpa samadhi, no body, no world) you must always come back out again as long as you have a body. So... in a way it is similar to deep sleep: while you have a body, you come out of sleep and the world and body reappear. Similarly, if you have discovered the deepest and highest as Bhagavan did, you still come back to body/world consciousness to eat etc. Bhagavan's state for me is unimaginably high, he speaks from his true home which is the highest nirvikalpa. But... apparently his followers have forgotten that he had to be in the body while writing and speaking about it.

There is no need to believe me. But question me or challenge me endlessly if there is anything to be gained from it.

I do not see what I am saying as contradicting Bhagavan at all. Just saying the same thing from another angle.

Also, it is true that the world is a projection, rather than being solid material... it is more like a Thought. But ego attachment, identification and duality are different than the projection of the world. This is obvious because Bhagavan had the world projected in his awareness while he interacted with others... and yet he was totally free of ego attachment.
Yes, you could say that "projection of the world is ego attachment" IF you want to get to nirvikalpa samadhi and the projection of the world is blocking it.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "know the knower",
Actually I am Roger... not Robert... but Robert is close enough. :-)

It seems that because I think differently than you (one word for "think differently" is "heretic") you believe you can safely assume that my thinking is wrong and/or that I am off the spiritual path and lack self-knowledge? Do you want an enforced sameness here without any diversity of opinion?

If there is anything that I believe, it is: NOT ONE! (The Jain philosophy named anekantavada can be called "not one"). Basically this philosophy says that the world is very complex and diverse and there is NOT ONE single religion, doctrine, philosophy taken alone by itself which adequately describes reality or is the whole truth. This is the source for the fable about the blind men and the elephant: we are all blind and can only grasp an ear of the elephant (Ah! an elephant is like a fan!) or a leg (Ah! an elephant is like a tree trunk).

Yes, it is certainly true that thinking can be a materialistic trap. It is for some people, yet not for others. Actually, a number of months ago I was spending the majority of my time meditating (just being inwardly attentive). But... I was forced back out to interact more. to find that same level of settled Beingness while interacting in some way. We are encouraged to do "manana" or contemplation about the nature of existence? I have learned a lot here: that my practice is very similar to atma-vicara although named differently, I have learned about Gaudapada, Asparsa Yoga and Ajata etc...

The question seems to be: while contemplating or thinking about some matter of truth... does the mind become still?

So... when I put "IMO" In My Opinion in my posts, it is to remind that whatever I could possibly say is just the opinion of a single limited human who may very well step away from the opinion and say it differently tomorrow.

Bob - P said...

Hi Roger
Thanks very much for your great reply.

Roger you say:

[Consider Bhagavan: his ego died, yet his body and the world projected in his awareness continued till he died a natural death. This is a very important example!!!

Similarly, if you have discovered the deepest and highest as Bhagavan did, you still come back to body/world consciousness to eat etc. Bhagavan's state for me is unimaginably high, he speaks from his true home which is the highest nirvikalpa. But... apparently his followers have forgotten that he had to be in the body while writing and speaking about it.]

Roger this is were our perspective differs. Not that it matters of course.

My personal belief is Bhagavan the Indian sage with a body / mind walked, breathed, slept, woke, showed kindness to all, wrote his teachings and eventually left the body was nothing but my own mental creation.

I believe Bhagavan didn't do anything it is all in my limited distorted dualistic view. I take myself to be a human with a body/mind and a personality "Bob the person" so by doing so I reduce Bhagavan to a human with a body / mind and a personality. I am therefore doing him a great injustice so to speak as he is the infinite, non dual, self aware undividable whole. He is "I am" existence-consciousness-bliss. He is Arunachala , he is the teaching and he is nothing but myself as I really am.

I have projected / created the perfect sage, the perfect teacher just for me in my self projected world. I am a vegan and love animals. Bhagvan loved animals. But If I loved practising yoga he would be a great yogi. He is the perfect vehicle to pass on the teaching to me and direct my attention within. If I was a Christian the vehicle would be Christ, if I was from Tibet the messenger would appear as Buddha. It is my belief they are all the same and their teachings when reduced to their basic core are the same. Look within.

You said:

[I was told this by an enlightened sage: no matter how deep you go into the inner world (nirvikalpa samadhi, no body, no world) you must always come back out again as long as you have a body. So... in a way it is similar to deep sleep: while you have a body, you come out of sleep and the world and body reappear.]

My understanding is the enlightened sage who told you this is nothing but your own mental creation. He/she was nothing but yourself projected outward from within. The sage was yourself. The perfect messenger to pass you information / wisdom that you needed to hear on your personal journey.

If I understand correctly manolaya can only be a temporary like sleep, coma, death. But my understanding is if you bring the sleep state into the dream or waking state with full clarity of self awareness and experience yourself as you really are that it is manonasa.

Manonasa is my personal goal.

The ego that presently takes itself to be Bob the person with a body / mind and that projects duality will cease to be. If I trust Bhagavan it never actually existed, it was a misidentification and the whole thing is beyond my limited comprehension.


The closest I can come to understand it is it is like going to sleep and never waking up or dreaming again. I will be aware of nothing but myself (non duality) I will be pure self aware happiness.

Roger is this your goal too?
Where does your journey end or what is Roger the person trying to do or achieve etc?

Thank you again for your reply.
All the best.

Bob




know the knower said...

Roger Isaacs,
please accept my apologies for my mistake writing your first name incorrectly.
You may consider in whose view your consideration that Bhagavan's 'body and world projected in his awareness continued till he died a natural death' exists.
The idea that Bhagavan would have 'projected the world in his awareness while he interacted with others' is wrong. Very often Bhagavan asked and admonished devotees not to consider him as the body which appears to them. What we call Bhagavan is (said to be) not a body or world –projecting ego but only jnana, immortal Brahman. Therefore it is also said that in Bhagavan's awareness no 'others' ever existed.
Instead of dismantling my comment in all its component parts try to understand fully the meaning what I have written.
Roger, I did not tend to judge in which state of self-knowledge you currently are.
We should not 'describe adequately reality' but to experience it. The philosophers may find the 'whole truth' for themselves but they will not save you that job. Only you can find it for you.
You may further consider to whom a 'single limited human' appears. What you can learn essentially from Gaudapada is to experiece/know the significance of pursuing in depth and tenaciously the glorious question : From where do the mind arise ?

Sivanarul said...

All talk of "everything is a projection" is meaningless, unless it is experiential.

Watch these two nice videos to bring you back to empirical reality, if you want to of course.

The Advaita Trap 1: Absolute and Relative Confusion - The Cartoon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KXidr0z1RY

The Advaita Trap 2, The Duelling Non Dualists

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nhjbyBM7c8

Enjoy the Tea! It is real.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "knower" and Bob,

When you say things like "Bhagavan was my mental creation, the sage who spoke to Roger was Roger's mental creation etc..."

There is an obvious problem with this philosophy. Yes, I agree all is just Thought at some high deep level of realization. However, there are obviously different levels of Mind. Bhagavan is known to millions of people. Are you saying that each person at the level of their personal ego mentally creates the same image known as Bhagavan?

So Bob and Roger and "Knower" all create a Bhagavan with the same characteristics? Did we each create this "mental creation" independently? Impossible. Bhagavan died before I was born... how could I have created him?

Bhagavan was created by a HIGHER LEVEL of Mind, it could never have been Bob or Roger who created him. Mind at the level of World created Bhagavan, not individual. Therefore, if you realize yourself as the creator of the world, then... you can properly claim to have created the mental creation of Bhagavan. But not before.

Bhagavan can say such things, that he is our mental creation (if he said that), because that is his reality. But for us... it is only an pointer to be realized at some time in the future. The idea that Bob or Roger created Bhagavan mentally is not true at our current level of development (for me at least). Yes, all that we know of him is idea, but... we didn't create him.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sivanarul,
Great videos! (still listening, but so far great!)

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji,

It is experiential... It is what you, Sivanarul, is experiencing at this very moment. What we cannot experience is the absence of projection, because that is called deep sleep, where the movie (projection of Sivanarul and all the rest) is not there, only the screen.
And by the way, as you surely know, it is one of the characteristics of maya, called vikshepa. That, is in every hindu scripture, don't know if you ever read them. Not that you have to believe in the scriptures but I'm sure is also part of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, correct.

The videos are funny, they are good caricatures, but are only that, cartoons. Never encountered someone like that. Actually maybe they are redeeming cartoons for this person Jeff Foster that once was a staunch neo-advaitin and used to speak like that...

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

What am I experiencing right now, is to challenge the notion that everything is my projection. I said to myself, if it was truly my projection, then I would have the power to alter it. So I tried a few ways to alter it and I miserably failed. Then I said, ok, forget about altering my projection. Let me try withdrawing it. I tried hard and found I could not withdraw it. So my experience tells my, irrespective of whether this is a projection or not, I have no power to alter or withdraw it.

In regards to the projection power of maya being part of Saiva Siddhantha philosophy, there is a very important distinction. Maya is the benevolent power of Ishvara (benevolent compared to Anava Malam / Avidya) provided to the Jiva that serves as a lamp to help the Jiva to return back to Ishvara. That does not mean I am projecting. Ishvara can both alter and withdraw the projection anytime. I cannot. Maya along with Karma provides the tune to the lila/dance of Ishvara.

Even if one takes a pure advaitic view (as in Advaita Vedanta, since Saiva Siddantha is also an advaitic system, albeit it's definition of advaita is different), and considers Ishvara an illusion projected by the Jiva, advaitic texts and Bhagavan are emphatic that Ishvara will be the very last illusion to go. So unless the sadhaka is really at the tip of crossover, calling everything including Ishvara as projections is meaningless. That is what I mean by it needing to be experiential and not intellectual.

The other thing advaitic texts are emphatic about is the injunction against practicing non-duality towards one's guru based on intellectual understanding.

If Bhagavan is just a mental creation, why do we say we trust him, we want him to save us etc etc. Why don't we just say, we trust ourselves, we will save ourselves etc. This blog's header will better read as "Happiness of Being - The teachings of myself to myself. You creatures who read this, know that you are all my mental creations"

Good night, my friend. Enter deep sleep and forget about all of this for a short while. I am going to do just that.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger 1
Hi Bob,
You are very non-confrontational in the way you relate, something I may not be capable of... :-)

You say: Manonasa is my personal goal.
The ego that presently takes itself to be Bob the person with a body / mind and that projects duality will cease to be. If I trust Bhagavan it never actually existed, it was a misidentification and the whole thing is beyond my limited comprehension.
The closest I can come to understand it is it is like going to sleep and never waking up or dreaming again. I will be aware of nothing but myself (non duality) I will be pure self aware happiness.
Roger is this your goal too?
Where does your journey end or what is Roger the person trying to do or achieve etc?


The definition of Manonasa, although it may seem clear in terms of "annihilate the ego", does not seem clear to me at all, so I cannot compare my intentions to that particularly. There seems to be a lot of confusion about it.

What I do is virtually nothing: I simply have the strong intention to be "self attentive" or without extraneous thought all the time, a lot of time sitting, but all the time, walking etc...

What is my goal? My goal is to be totally inwardly still and observant. I use the words "still" noting that this is not directly "I" or "self"... yet... the distraction preventing all-the-time absorption in "I" is the outward movement of the mind, the mind gets involved with and identified with objects. Therefore, "stillness is the way" far as I can see. In the stillness there are subtle qualities of inward attention which defy description. All that I can do is to be inwardly attentive. There are no other goals. Any other goal would be a mental projection of some sort. And my intention is to be without all mental projections and anticipations.

As far as I can tell, there are distinct differences in what I am doing versus what Michael is recommending. In Michaels last blog regarding "asparsa yoga"... I can see that there are very clear similarities: just be inwardly attentive, then coming back to that if the mind slips off of it.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger 2
First a quote from Bhagavan from "talks":
"If the eyes are closed, it is nirvikalpa; if open, it is (though differentiated, still in absolute repose) savikalpa. The ever-present state is the natural state sahaja.
---
External samadhi is holding on to the Reality while witnessing the world, without reacting to it from within. There is the stillness of a waveless ocean. The internal samadhi involves loss of body- consciousness.

D.: Is loss of body-consciousness a perquisite to the attainment of sahaja samadhi?

M.: What is body-consciousness? Analyse it. There must be a body and consciousness limited to it which together make up body- consciousness. These must lie in another Consciousness which is absolute and unaffected. Hold it. That is samadhi.

It exists when there is no body-consciousness because it transcends the latter, it also exists when there is the body-consciousness. So it is always there.

What does it matter whether body-consciousness is lost or retained? When lost it is internal samadhi: when retained, it is external samadhi. That is all."


So Michael is clearly recommending conscious nirvikalpa samadhi (no awareness of body or world or even of stillness) although MJ has never used the word "nirvikalpa" as far as I know. You can see this for example in the prior blog "asparsa yoga..." when he says things like: "we will not even notice whether our eyes are open or closed" (loss of body consciousness).

I find this interesting and I am holding these ideas. I do lie down after meditating formally thus encouraging "loss of body consciousness" but with awareness. However, my psychological/physiological preference seems to be strongly for EXTERNAL samadhi, savikalpa samadhi.

The fact that I am aiming for "external samadhi" has a lot of implications: you are concerned with the loss of the body and world... where as my practice is done with the world and body in awareness, yet unattached. So how could I be concerned about "body and world die" on realization since I am practicing with those in awareness! I have had glimpses of success. I agree that the Reality is always there under my mental noisiness, only I fail to be still enough to stabilize it. Furthermore, it seems to me that I could be in conversation with you in person, and my ego might die permanently, AND even though you were talking to me... you probably would not even notice. That is how subtle is it. Yes, Bhagavan's death experiences are dramatic, but others note that after a long time meditating a person might have a much smoother transition.

Thanks Bob,
R

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sivanarul,
thanks for your post. Great clarifications about advaita and practice.

I'm glad that when you attempted to withdraw the projection of the world that you failed, I could have been in the middle of something important... and the world could have disappeared on me!!

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji, I assume you will read this tomorrow morning or afternoon, but it’s alright.

I said to myself, if it was truly my projection, then I would have the power to alter it.
I completely undertstand what you are saying, but I think there is a main distinction between our points of view. Neither Mouna neither Sivanarulji or Ramana Maharshi would have been or are able to alter the projection, of course. Why? because they are part of it!!
This is the main metaphysical difference between us my friend.

There is another point also, the difference between experiential and intellectual.
In fact, they are the same from the jiva’s point of view. When we investigate not only our subjective experience but also the so called objective world, we come to the conclusion (I shall not go into what it takes to come to that conclusion now, it would take too long) that everything is awareness, but one layer downwards we are apparently veiled by our concepts and beliefs, and one of them (if not the principal) is that awareness is divided in four categories: sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings, each one with completely distinct features and outputs, the building blocks of the “projection” called reality by the ego.

Teachers like Bhagavan tells us that those are all creatures of the mind (drishti-srishti), but he doesn’t tell us “they don’t exist” he doesn’t stop there, he tell us to go and investigate if there is a mind in the first place. When doing that we come to understand “experientially” that actually there isn’t any mind per se, but instead there is only borderless, self-effulgent awareness at the bottom of everything, including Mouna, Sivanarul, Sri Ramana or even Ishwara.

But why then we still “experience” THIS??
We aren’t!!… We imagine it because our conceptual beliefs of projecting a snake when it actually there is a rope.

I am not well versed in scriptures and less in Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, in that you have a lot to instruct me with, but one thing I know, one thing I live with everyday, is the unmovable experiential conviction of knowing who I am and what that “I” in that phrase means, and this conviction matches inch by inch what my guru expresses throughout His teachings and is because of His teachings that I came to this living understanding.

Yes, I know, here comes the question, who is living this understanding? Mouna? of course not! Mouna is just another character in this big lila directed by the King of the Dance… and once the music will stop, everything and everyone will be disolved in the Real.
For the last time, who knows? Mouna doesn’t, do you?

I’ll follow your advice now and shall let myself dissolve once again in the sweet, blissful, peaceful and all-encompassing nature of deep silent sleep.

Love going your way, friend.
m

we are already that said...

Roger Isaacs,
extracts from Mountain Path, July-September 2016, Keyword Upadesa, John Grimes:
Bhagavan, who was established in the state of unceasing Self-abidance(sahaja-samadhi) compassionately taught spiritual seekers in various ways...
Firstly, Sri Ramana said, "Silence is the true upadesa(instruction). It is the perfect upadesa. It is suited only for the most advanced seeker. Others are unable to draw full inspiration from it. Therefore they require words to explain the Truth. But Truth is beyond words. It does not admit of explanation." He often praised Silence as the clearest upadesa, the primary, the highest form of Grace. He said that all other upadesas are derived from Silence and therefore are secondary.

Bhagavan said, "The Vedantins do not say the world is unreal. That is a misunderstanding. If they did, what would be the meaning of the Vedantic text:'All this is Brahman' ? They only mean that the world is unreal as world, but it is real as Self. If you regard the world as not Self it is not real. Everything, whether you call it world or maya or lila or sakti, must be within the Self and not apart from it. There can be no sakti apart from the sakta."

we are already that said...

Roger,
"Bhagavan died before I was born...how could I have created him ?".
Seen in the light of reality you may watch :
1. Because Bhagavan is the pure awareness shining as 'I-I' in every human heart, he was never born and for that reason he could not ever die.
2. You in your real essence are never born.
John Grimes writes further in the mentioned Mountain Path article: "Another perspective, which is a verbal concession for seekers who find the ajata-vada impossible to digest, posits that creation is simultaneous with perception. According to this perspective the world arises like a dream on account of a person's own thoughts, induced by the ignorance of not knowing oneself to be the non-dual Self. With the arising of the 'I'-thought, the world simultaneously comes into existence and ceases to exist when the 'I'-thought ceases. The world only exists when it is perceived..."

Roger Isaacs said...

"knowledge is different in different states of consciousness":

We have been considering this question: you here are taught "when the ego dies, your body and the world die too" but then worry that you will disappear. And that "the body and world are mere projections of the ego".

I responded with "Consider Bhagavan: his ego died, yet his body and the world projected in his awareness continued till he died a natural death."

And Bob responds with the teaching "Bhagavan was my MENTAL CREATION". Implying that Bhagavan was either not physical or we are not to consider him physical.

This makes communication virtually impossible and it happens here all the time. In a discussion our well known state of "duality-physical world" gets mixed up with an imagined "non-duality, non-physical" and the conversation immediately becomes nonsense.

The fear about disappearing is on the level of duality-physical. So on that level, we can consider that Bhagavan's body appeared in the world physically after his ego died. Therefore, there should not be any fear about disappearing when your ego dies. This statement must be true on the level of the physical? If you say Bhagavan did not have a physical body at all... then... well...are you really serious?

Certainly, it's also agreed hypothetically that on the non-dual level that Bhagavan's body only existed as a thought and he was anchored in ajata or nirguna brahman (or whatever) . And... YOU TOO will realize this in time.

We have to clearly discriminate between what is theoretical teaching that may be realized some day... and our actual experience today. If not... we start to mentally project an imagined world and this further occludes the real, the imagination is just more thought activity which strengthens the ego (such as fear about disappearing)!

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "we are already that":

Thanks for your comment on the teaching of silence. This is the clearest I've heard it described. From your quote, we can see that the more words are able to point beyond to silence... the more value they have. And further, IMO Bhagavan continues to teach in silence.

You say: "Bhagavan said, "The Vedantins do not say the world is unreal. ...There can be no sakti apart from the sakta."

I looked up "sakta" in an online hindu dictionary: it really says: "an elephant in the condition of dangerous frenzied sexual excitement".

Although I think I understand: you are saying that the world is real when known as Self. Or if you do not know the world as Self... it is unreal in the sense that it is in constant illusory change or the illusion of duality.

R: "Bhagavan died before I was born...how could I have created him ?".
1. Because Bhagavan is the pure awareness shining as 'I-I' in every human heart, he was never born and for that reason he could not ever die.
2. You in your real essence are never born.


I agree, with what you are saying from the NON-DUAL level, which is still theoretical for me (today, tomorrow might be different).
From the level of physical-duality... I did not mentally create Bhagavan. I am honoring both levels: dual where I am, and the non-dual theory as best that I understand it.

You say: John Grimes writes further in the mentioned Mountain Path article..."

What I am reading about ajata:
Ajata means "no creation", but this does not mean that the world does not exist, only that it could never have been created from the perspective of the ever pure non-involved nirguna brahman. And "not real" only means this: what is "real" is unchanging, constant and forever persistent, therefore the world fails to meet this criterion because it is always changing. But... I have to still pay the rent etc..

I "digest" ajata-vada as contemplation or manana... but I realize this is speculation for me at this point. So... I am not interested getting involved with imagination and will wait to see what is revealed in consciousness. Imagination would be activity of the mind... and my practice is to be inwardly still.

My favorite theory is as follows using an imagined diagram to make the point:
Imagine a large sphere. The sphere represents nirguna brahman (known by many names: Unmanifest God, the Absolute, Formless) ultimate formless consciousness but with no qualities at all. Outside this sphere, there is a pointed cone with the point near the sphere BUT NOT touching the sphere. At the narrow pointed end of the cone the most basic and subtlest Ideas of creation are found: for example space and time as Idea. The cone is the inconceivably vast Psyche and at the widest part as thin as scum on a pond is the physical layer. Everything physical first exists as subtle Idea in the Psyche.

From this imagined diagram:
yes, ajata is the perspective within the sphere: forever formless, no activity, no creation possible.
The cone does not touch the sphere, although it appears to issue forth from it. So the sphere, the unmanifest, is uninvolved with creation.
As you say, from the perspective of the sphere, the world does not exist. It is not perceived, not created.
But... from the perspective of the cone... there is this massive extremely vast complex prior-to-physical Psyche which to us mortals might appear as God... but it is still subtle idea and the play of the opposites: still the play of subtle substance. So... although I live in the pond scum today... there is possibility that I might realize the subtler mechanisms of creation and the formless beyond... during some future lifetime. This is from Barry Long's teaching, as best as I can remember.

John Grimes sounds interesting, I'll search for more.
thanks,
R

Bob - P said...

Hi Roger

Thanks for your reply.

After reading your reply to me and "Knower" and your reply to me I think I understand your perspective a bit better.

I think we both believe our present experience of ourself is not the truth or we are not experiencing ourself as we really are. To experience ourself as we really are we both do a form of practise / sadhana which has been taught to us from a perceived external source (ie) a spiritual teacher / jnani.

Plus from what you write our practise sounds very very similar which is it to look within, be still, be quiet, be self attentive, just be, etc etc. There may be slight subtle differences but I think we are in essence doing the same thing.

So you could say we are both on the same boat headed to a destination.

I think our beliefs or ideas differ when it comes to what the destination is or our experience once we supposedly reach our perceived destination.

If I understand you correctly from your posts on Michael's blog you believe your destination will be dualistic but very different form your present dualistic experience. Of course you could be absolutely right here Roger.

My belief is it won't be dualistic but non dual where I will experience nothing but myself. Like for example in deep dreamless sleep. For me any type of duality where there is a subject and an object is not the absolute truth. This is just my opinion and my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching but I could be absolutely wrong.

So I think we do differ in this regard. However neither of us can prove ourselves to be right.

Also from your posts it seems to me you believe that all the sentient beings within your field of awareness have egos or they are all self aware like you (multiple egos). I don't think you believe or think that there is only on ego or only one self aware being?

I personally believe that there is only one ego and all I perceive in my field of awareness in truth is egoless and is not self aware. I believe there is only one self aware being. It is the only thing I know for certain.

However while I take myself to be an individual person all other sentient beings are as real as me and need to be treated as I myself would like to be treated. If I didn't believe this I wouldn't be a vegan for example and could be a very cold, uncompassionate person. But my understanding or my belief is like I said there is only one ego or only one self aware being. This one ego or self are being is presently identified with the body/person Bob who is nothing but its projection along with the world and everything else.

So for example let's just say you shared my belief Roger and also thought there was only one ego or only one self aware being.


You would believe that the one ego has projected or created everything including Roger the person body. For the ego or false limited consciousness to rise it needs a body or point of reference and to identify with that body and take it to be itself which happens simultaneously. So now there is the 1st person and 2nd and 3rd persons / duality.

You are experiencing yourself not as you really are but instead as multiplicity.

Continued below ....

Bob - P said...

Continuing from above ....

The body / person the one ego is presently identified with is a person called Roger. Roger the body/ person appears to be self aware because Roger's source or foundation is the one self aware ego. Plus the ego only seems to be self aware because it's source is the non dual self aware being, yourself as you really are, the truth, the absolute reality. You would therefore believe that everything including the person Roger is a false perception of what you really are.

So everything within your awareness including Bob, Michael's blog, Bhagavan, all your friends, family, all other sentient beings and basically everything other than you within your field of awareness is just like Roger a projection of the one ego that presently takes itself to be Roger.

You would believe that your self as you really are has manifested within your dualistic field of awareness in a limited human / non human form called Bhagavan / Arunachala which appears to be separate from yourself due to ignorance. He would teach you that you are not what you take yourself to be and tell you to turn within and carefully look at yourself to see what you really are. You would trust Bhagavan and take what he says to be the gospel truth because he is yourself guiding you home so to speak. You find questions arise about the simple teaching so Michael James, his blog and all his wonderful writings manifest within your field of awareness to help you and continuously remind you to look within and to investigate yourself.

You would trust Bhagavan that in truth the ego has never existed. But you would also trust his teaching that the ego is everything and there is only one ego or self aware being. You would also trust him that if you investigate yourself earnestly and manage to turn you attention 180 degrees and experience yourself alone you will experience yourself as you really are the non dual self aware happy being. There would be nothing other than yourself. No world, no body, no Roger, no people. You would be completely empty of anything other than yourself and instead completely full of what is real, yourself. So you are not empty or nothing but instead complete whole fullness.

If you believe all this you would believe the same as me as this is my personal understanding.

But I am not trying to convince you of anything. As I said I could be completely wrong. You said I wrote or related in a very non - confrontational way the reason why is because I don't take myself too seriously, with my belief how can I (lol)!!!!
In all fairness if I wanted to do a better job I would write only in E-Prime.

You may say if you believe this Bob why are you writing all this and why do you post comments on Michael's blog? Are you not just writing to yourself (lol)!

My present experience is no I am not because everyone I experience and interact with is as real as Bob but if I understand Bhagavan's teaching correctly then you could say in truth I am writing to myself. But this is beyond my limited ignorant comprehension.

Hope you have a great weekend Roger and all the very best with your practise.
Take care.

Bob

P.s - I will not be writing as much now I normally just write the odd short post and thank Michael for his wonderful articles. Of course questions do rise and I ask questions to help with my understanding. I must stress Roger I am sure there are errors in what I wrote with regards my understanding I must confess I do find it very hard to write about this without contradicting myself or contradicting Bhagavan. This is why I believe we are blessed to have Michael and his blog!! I must also point out if what I wrote does make that is thanks to Michael not me.


But as I said Roger I am not blessed when it comes to typing speed!!

It has been a pleasure talking / writing to you.





Bob - P said...

Hi Roger for some reasons my posts have apeared the wrong way round??

Thanks for your reply.

After reading your reply to me and "Knower" and your reply to me I think I understand your perspective a bit better.

I think we both believe our present experience of ourself is not the truth or we are not experiencing ourself as we really are. To experience ourself as we really are we both do a form of practise / sadhana which has been taught to us from a perceived external source (ie) a spiritual teacher / jnani.

Plus from what you write our practise sounds very very similar which is it to look within, be still, be quiet, be self attentive, just be, etc etc. There may be slight subtle differences but I think we are in essence doing the same thing.

So you could say we are both on the same boat headed to a destination.

I think our beliefs or ideas differ when it comes to what the destination is or our experience once we supposedly reach our perceived destination.

If I understand you correctly from your posts on Michael's blog you believe your destination will be dualistic but very different form your present dualistic experience. Of course you could be absolutely right here Roger.

My belief is it won't be dualistic but non dual where I will experience nothing but myself. Like for example in deep dreamless sleep. For me any type of duality where there is a subject and an object is not the absolute truth. This is just my opinion and my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching but I could be absolutely wrong.

So I think we do differ in this regard. However neither of us can prove ourselves to be right.

Also from your posts it seems to me you believe that all the sentient beings within your field of awareness have egos or they are all self aware like you (multiple egos). I don't think you believe or think that there is only on ego or only one self aware being?

I personally believe that there is only one ego and all I perceive in my field of awareness in truth is egoless and is not self aware. I believe there is only one self aware being. It is the only thing I know for certain.

However while I take myself to be an individual person all other sentient beings are as real as me and need to be treated as I myself would like to be treated. If I didn't believe this I wouldn't be a vegan for example and could be a very cold, uncompassionate person. But my understanding or my belief is like I said there is only one ego or only one self aware being. This one ego or self are being is presently identified with the body/person Bob who is nothing but its projection along with the world and everything else.

So for example let's just say you shared my belief Roger and also thought there was only one ego or only one self aware being.


You would believe that the one ego has projected or created everything including Roger the person body. For the ego or false limited consciousness to rise it needs a body or point of reference and to identify with that body and take it to be itself which happens simultaneously. So now there is the 1st person and 2nd and 3rd persons / duality.

You are experiencing yourself not as you really are but instead as multiplicity.
Continued above....

Bob - P said...

Hi everyone
please could someone let me know if my 2 recent posts replying to Roger have appeared in the comments? I don't want to keep reposting them and clutter up Michael's blog comments.
I think I have a technical issue my end as I had a similar problem happen just recently posting on Michael's blog.

To anoyone who responds much appreciated.
All the best.
Bob

Bob - P said...

I forgot to add that I posted them this morning about 12.15pm
Thanks.
Bob

ice melting water said...

Bob-P,
I cannot see any comment of you dated today 12:15 UTC.
Your last comment in reply to Roger is dated on the comment list with 28 July 2016 at 10:59.
Maybe you forgot to click on the final button: Publish Your Comment.

Bob - P said...

Hi again Ice melting water (lol)!!
I did exactly the same with my two comments that appeared and you just replied to?
I will wait to see if they appear by tonight in the comments section if not I will try to repost again.
Thank you very much.
All the best.
Bob

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