Saturday, 2 July 2016

Names and forms are all just thoughts, so we can free ourself from them only by investigating their root, our ego

A friend recently sent me a long email in which she began by saying, ‘The ego generates words in consciousness. The ego presents in consciousness as streams of words which form the so-called “stream of consciousness”’, and then went on to express her reflections on this idea, saying for example, ‘We all know how the mind races at times with endless streams of words which form thoughts of countless subjects, fears, hopes, memories, etc.’, and ‘Language forms words into thoughts, objects, events, time, space, memories, etc. creating the dream of a populated earth in a vast universe’, and she explained how she tries to apply such ideas in her practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra). The following article is my reply to her.
  1. Why are phenomena called ‘names and forms’ (nāma-rūpa)?
  2. Names and forms are just thoughts or ideas
  3. Whatever we perceive any form to be is metaphorically called a ‘name’ because it is the identity we have attributed to it
  4. Nothing exists or even seems to exist unless we are aware of it
  5. Mental chatter is not the only kind of thought, so stopping this ‘flow of words’ is not silencing our ego
1. Why are phenomena called ‘names and forms’ (nāma-rūpa)?

In Indian philosophy a term that is often used to refer to phenomena in general is nāma-rūpa, which literally means ‘name-form’ and is generally translated as names and forms. The reason why phenomena are described as nāma-rūpa rather than just rūpa (though rūpa is often used on its own to refer to them) is that our perception of forms is greatly influenced by the names or labels we apply to them, because names represent what we identify them to be and therefore perceive them as. For example, we see something lying on the ground, and we can identify it either as ‘rope’ or as ‘snake’. If we identify it as ‘rope’, we see it as a rope, whereas if we identify it as ‘snake’, we see it as a snake.

Likewise in the case of an ambiguous image or a rabbit or duck, we can see it either as a rabbit or as a duck but never as both simultaneously, and what we see it as is determined by the identity (represented by a name) that our mind attributes to it. Suppose that you had never seen such an image before, if someone shows you one and says, ‘See this drawing of a duck’, you will naturally see it as a duck, because that is what you are expecting to see. But if someone else says, ‘No, see, it’s a rabbit’, you will then notice that you can see it as a rabbit instead. Once you notice that you can see it as either a duck or as a rabbit, you will then be able to switch back and forth at will between seeing it as one and then as the other. The form does not change, but the name (identity) you mentally apply to it at each moment determines what you see it as.

Therefore in the compound term nāma-rūpa or ‘name-form’, rūpa or ‘form’ refers to whatever we perceive, and nāma or ‘name’ refers to whatever we identify it to be. In other words, ‘form’ is what we perceive, and ‘name’ is what we perceive it as. Everything that we perceive (whether externally as physical phenomena cognised through our sense organs or internally as mental phenomena such as hopes, fears, desires, memories, plans, concepts, feelings or emotions) is a form of one kind or another, and we never perceive any form without perceiving it as something — whether as something that we can positively identify or as something that we can identify only as unidentifiable (or in other words, that we can name only as nameless). That is, whenever we perceive any form we interpret in it some way, so we perceive it as whatever we interpret it to be (even if as something that we do not recognise).

For example, if we hear people talking in a language with which we are familiar, we perceive the sounds that they make as words conveying certain meanings, whereas if they were talking in a language that we do not know, we may perceive the sounds as words, but we would perceive them as words whose meaning we cannot understand. If we see something written on paper or on a screen, the forms we perceive are just lines of various shapes, but if we can read the script and understand the language, we would perceive those forms as letters, and clusters of them as words, and clusters of words as sentences conveying certain meanings. If we see any form that we recognise, we see it as whatever we recognise it to be (even if it is in fact something else), whereas if we see one that we do not recognise, we see it as something that we cannot identify (even if it is actually something that we know but just fail to recognise, such as a person we have not seen for many years).

Therefore our perception of the world is determined by our interpretation and consequent identification of whatever forms we perceive, and our interpretation of them is what we express in language as names (first mentally, and then perhaps vocally or in writing). Is this what you mean when you say, ‘Language IS matter’? That is, since the material of which any world that we perceive is made is just perceptual images or impressions (each of which is a form of one kind or another), and since those impressions are interpreted by our mind with the aid of identifying labels (names) such as rope, snake, rabbit or duck, do you mean that these labels are what form the world as we perceive it? If this is what you mean by saying that language is matter, it would be more accurate to say that matter is language, rather than vice versa, because matter is language in the sense that all material phenomena are just names and forms, and ‘names’ are whatever we identify and consequently perceive the forms to be.

According to Bhagavan everything that we perceive is nothing but thoughts or ideas, so not only are names ideas, but so too are forms. Therefore the distinction between names and forms is simply that they are different layers of thought. Our mind projects a form and simultaneously projects a name (an identity) onto that form, so for example instead of seeing a particular form as a rope we see it as a snake, or vice versa, and instead of seeing another form as a rabbit we see it as a duck, or vice versa.

In the term nāma-rūpa, it is significant that nāma (name) precedes rūpa (form) rather than the other way round. Logically one may expect forms to be mentioned first and then names, because names are labels applied to forms, but names are mentioned first because they are what we identify and consequently perceive each form to be. More significant than what we perceive (which is just a form) is what we perceive it to be (which is the name or identity we attribute to it). A snake and a rope share the same form when seen in dim light, but if we perceive that form as a snake we do not perceive it as a rope and vice versa. Therefore a form is considered to be of secondary importance in the sense that it is less significant than our interpretation of it, which is what we perceive it to be. If we perceive it as a snake, it gives us a shock and we step back from it, whereas if we perceive it as a rope we may bend down to pick it up, thinking that we can put it to good use.

2. Names and forms are just thoughts or ideas

As I mentioned above, both the forms we perceive and the names we apply to them are all just thoughts or ideas, as Bhagavan clearly indicates in Nāṉ Yār?. For example, in the final sentence of the eighteenth paragraph he says:
ஜாக்ரம் சொப்பன மிரண்டிலும் நினைவுகளும் நாமரூபங்களும் ஏககாலத்தில் நிகழ்கின்றன.

jāgram soppaṉam iraṇḍilum niṉaivugaḷum nāma-rūpaṅgaḷum ēka-kālattil nihaṙgiṉḏṟaṉa.

In both waking and dream thoughts and names-and-forms occur in one time [or simultaneously].
Though this sentence could be interpreted as implying that thoughts and names-and-forms are two distinct classes of phenomena, that is not what Bhagavan intended to imply, as we can infer if we compare this sentence with the following sentences from the fourth paragraph:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு.

niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyamāy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagam-um illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagam-um uṇḍu.

Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world.
Since all the phenomena that constitute any world in either waking or dream are only names and forms, and since he says here that any world is nothing other than thoughts or ideas, he clearly implies that all names and forms are just thoughts. Therefore as he explains in the next two sentences, what we perceive as a world is just a projection of our own mind:
சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும்.

silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉṉiḍamirundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉam-um taṉṉiḍattilirundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. maṉam ātma sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum.

Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears.
This is further explained by him in the following two sentences of the sixth paragraph:
சூக்ஷ்மமான மனம், மூளை இந்திரியங்கள் வாயிலாய் வெளிப்படும் போது ஸ்தூலமான நாமரூபங்கள் தோன்றுகின்றன; ஹிருதயத்தில் தங்கும்போது நாமரூபங்கள் மறைகின்றன.

sūkṣmam-āṉa maṉam, mūḷai indiriyaṅgaḷ vāyilāy veḷippaḍum pōdu sthūlam-āṉa nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; hirudayattil taṅgumbōdu nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ maṟaigiṉḏṟaṉa.

When the subtle mind comes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, gross names and forms appear; when it remains in the heart [which is ātma-svarūpa], names and forms disappear.
Since the world is nothing but a collection of names and forms, and since names and forms are just illusory phenomena projected and perceived by our mind, all names and forms are only thoughts. Therefore, since the root of all thoughts is only our ego, as Bhagavan explains in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār, and since this ego rises, stands and flourishes only by grasping forms, as he explains in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, in order to eradicate our ego along with all the names and forms that it has projected in its awareness, we must try to be attentively aware of ourself alone, thereby excluding all names and forms from our awareness.

Whenever we are aware of ourself as this ego (as we are in waking and dream) we perceive names and forms, whereas whenever we are not aware of ourself as this ego (as we are while asleep) we do not perceive any names or forms, so all names and forms seem to exist only in the view of our ego. Therefore the root of all the problems that arise from our perception of names and forms (as all problems do) is only this ego, so this is what we need to investigate before we concern ourself with investigating any names or forms.

3. Whatever we perceive any form to be is metaphorically called a ‘name’ because it is the identity we have attributed to it

In the first section I referred to your statement ‘Language IS matter’ and tried to understand what you mean by saying so, suggesting that you are perhaps using the term ‘language’ to refer to our use of names to establish the identity of the material forms that we perceive. Since names are one of the basic components of language, and since we use them in the process of interpreting and identifying forms, language does play a limited role in determining what we perceive forms to be. For example, as I mentioned earlier, if someone showed us a duck-rabbit image and said, ‘See this drawing of a duck’, their suggestion that it is a duck would probably make us see it as a duck, because that is what we would be expecting to see.

However it seems that you are perhaps attributing a more fundamental role to language than it actually has, because though in Indian philosophy whatever we identify and perceive a form to be is referred to as nāma or ‘name’, this does not mean names play an essential role in determining what we perceive any form to be. For example a baby is able to identify its mother and other familiar forms even before it learns any names to apply to them, and animals are able to identify forms without applying names to them. Therefore our perception of a form as being whatever we identify it to be is called nāma or ‘name’ in a metaphorical rather than a literal sense. That is, in this context ‘name’ simply means identity (which is whatever we perceive a form to be) rather than just a word that denotes such an identity. Though names (and hence language) can help us to identify or recognise forms, we often do so without the use of any actual names.

An example of the exaggerated role that you attribute to language is the sentence in which you say, ‘Language forms words into thoughts, objects, events, time, space, memories, etc. creating the dream of a populated earth in a vast universe’, which seems to be putting the cart before the horse, because language, words, objects, events, time, space, memories, dreams, population, earth and this entire universe are all just thoughts of various kinds, and what forms all these thoughts is only our ego, because it is the thinker (the projector and experiencer) of them. If this ego were real, its thoughts might also be real, but if it is not real, they cannot be real. So what actually is this ego? Or in other words, who am I who now seem to be this ego?

As Bhagavan often pointed out, language arises from thoughts, thoughts arise from the ego, and the ego arises from silence, which is what we actually are. Therefore if we want to return to our ultimate source, which is silence, we need to investigate ourself, who now seem to be this ego, by focusing our entire attention on ourself, thereby withdrawing it completely from all words and other thoughts. Since this ego rises and endures only by grasping forms (which are all thoughts projected by it), it cannot stand without clinging to them, so if it tries to grasp itself instead, it will subside back into its source and will thereby be dissolved in the all-consuming clarity of pure self-awareness.

4. Nothing exists or even seems to exist unless we are aware of it

Regarding your statement ‘the ego apparently projects countless things of which we are not even aware (such as endless details of “the world”, to wit: history of the planet and man, the speed of light, all of the genomes, regulating the heart beat, regulating the breathing, etc.)’, this may seem to be the case but it is not actually so, because nothing exists or even seems to exist unless we are aware of it. That is, since the ego can project things only in the sphere of its own awareness, it cannot project anything without being aware of it, so whatever we suppose exists even though we are not aware of it exists only as a supposition in our own mind.

As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārthamāy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), which means ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [our own real self]’, so whatever else may seem to exist does not actually exist, and it seems to exist only in the view of ourself as this ego. Therefore nothing else seems to exist unless we are aware of it, so if we are not aware of it, it does not actually exist or even seem to exist.

Other than pure self-awareness, which is our actual self (ātma-svarūpa), everything that we are aware of is just an illusory appearance, because it seems to exist only in the self-ignorant view of the transitive (object-knowing) awareness that we call ego or mind, and not in the clear view of the pure intransitive awareness that we actually are. And in whose view does this ego or mind seem to exist? Only in its own view, because in the view of intransitive awareness nothing exists or even seems to exist other than itself.

Therefore the seeming existence of everything else (including the supposed existence of things that we are not aware of) depends upon the seeming existence of ourself as this ego, so if we investigate ourself and thereby experience ourself as we actually are, this ego and everything else that seems to exist in its view will be dissolved forever in the infinite and all-consuming light of pure intransitive awareness, which is what we actually are, and which is aware of nothing other than itself.

5. Mental chatter is not the only kind of thought, so stopping this ‘flow of words’ is not silencing our ego

The mental chatter that you refer to as ‘the flow of words’ is just one form of thought, because according to Bhagavan every phenomenon is just a thought, and the root of all of them is our ego, which is itself just a thought — albeit the only thought that is aware. What is aware of both the flow of words and the stopping of this flow is our ego, so as long as we are aware of either the presence or the absence of this flow we are aware of ourself not as we actually are but only as this ego. Therefore merely stopping this flow of words is not our aim.

In sleep this flow of words stops along with all other thoughts, but our ego is then not present to notice their absence. It is only after rising again as this ego in either waking or dream that we notice that all thoughts and words were absent while we were asleep.

Even if we are able to stop the flow of words in waking or dream, that is not actually ‘silencing the ego’, as you describe it, because even when it is not projecting words, our ego is still projecting other kinds of thought, no matter how subtle they may be, because everything other than ourself — everything that we experience at one time but not eternally — is just a thought. Therefore our ego is truly silenced only in sleep and in other forms of manōlaya, but such silencing is only temporary, so it is silenced eternally only in manōnāśa.

Therefore what we should be seeking to achieve is not any temporary silence but only the eternal silence that will remain alone when our ego is destroyed, and we can achieve this only by investigating our ego, which entails focusing our entire attention on it so keenly that we do not even notice whether or not there is any flow of words or any other kind of thoughts. As I explained in one of my recent articles, What is ‘the I-feeling’, and do we need to be ‘off the movement of thought’ to be aware of it?, according to Bhagavan we should not be concerned with either the appearance or the disappearance of any thoughts, because our sole concern should be to investigate ourself, this ego, the ‘me’ to whom all thoughts appear, and who alone is consequently what notices their appearance or disappearance.

So long as we notice either the appearance or the disappearance of any thoughts, our attention is not focused entirely on ourself, so just as we should turn our attention back to ourself whenever we notice the appearance of any thought (that is, any phenomenon of any kind whatsoever), we should likewise turn our attention back to ourself whenever we notice that thoughts have disappeared (or seem to have disappeared), because our noticing this is itself another thought projected by our ego. That is, since awareness of anything other than ourself is a thought, awareness of a seeming absence of thought is just another thought, albeit a more subtle one.

Regarding your suggestion that ‘silencing’ the ego by stopping its mental chatter or flow of words perhaps ‘makes more room for the appearance of our true, adjunct-free presence which we really are’, what obstructs our being aware of ourself as we really are is only our ego and not merely its mental chatter or other thoughts. What is aware of the flow of mental chatter is only our ego, so what notices the stopping of this flow is likewise only our ego. Therefore if we notice that this flow has temporarily ceased, we should turn our attention back to ourself, this ego, to investigate who am I, who have now noticed that this flow has stopped.

Merely being aware that our mental chatter has stopped will not destroy our ego, because what is aware of its stopping is only this ego. That is, other than our fundamental self-awareness, whatever we notice or are aware of is just another ‘form’ or phenomenon grasped by our ego in its form-grasping awareness, so if we notice that our mental chatter has stopped, its stopping is another phenomenon projected and grasped by this ego, and hence since this ego rises, stands and flourishes only by grasping phenomena, it cannot subside and dissolve in its source so long as it is aware of either the flow or the stopping of mental chatter or of any other kind of thought.

You say, ‘First to watch what the ego is doing and then to stop the words feels very calming’, but what feels calmed thereby is only this ego, so its calmness is just another thought or mental phenomenon. In order to investigate our ego, we should not watch whatever it is doing, but should vigilantly watch it alone, because only then will it subside and dissolve back into its source. Whatever it is doing is something other than it, so we should watch it so vigilantly that we do not notice whether it is doing anything or not. However, since it can do anything only when it is attending to something other than itself, if it attends only to itself, it will not be able to do anything — not even to rise or stand.

134 comments:

spinning spider said...

Michael,
section 4.
Until we are caught in the self-ignorant view of ajnana the statement "Therefore nothing else seems to exist unless we are aware of it, so if we are not aware of it, it does not actually exist or even seem to exist." is pure hypothesis for us. Only the jnani has (can have) complete certainty about our actual self (atma-svarupa).

Out of focus said...

Michael,
You already write in article of 22 June 2016 using a (real) conditional clause which expresses a realizable/feasible condition:
"…so if we could focus our entire attention only on ourself, other things would disappear from our awareness and hence we would no longer seem to be this ego. Instead we would be aware of ourself as we actually are, and thus the illusion that we are this ego would dissolve and disappear forever."
Now in section 5. you are instructing us that in order to remain in/as eternal silence we have to destroy this ego. For that destruction the necessary general offensive (on it) entails focusing our entire attention on it keenly. It becomes clear that we should grasp what exactly this significant word implies.
Oxford Dictionary of English gives some meanings of the transitive verb focus for instance:
1. adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly
2. Cause one’s eyes to do this
3. Adjust the focus of
4. (a telescope, camera, or other instrument)
5. (of rays or waves) meet at a single point.
6. (of a lense) make (rays or waves) meet at a single point.
7. (of light, radio waves, or other energy) become concentrated into a sharp beam.
8. (of a lense) concentrate (light, radio waves, or energy) into a sharp beam.
(focus on) means pay particular attention to or concentrate or place the focus on.

Pons English Dictionary:
1. If you focus on a particular topic or if your attention is focused on it, you concentrate on it and think about it, discuss it, or deal with it, rather than dealing with other topics.
2. If you focus your eyes or if your eyes focus, your eyes adjust so that you can clearly see the thing that you want to look at.
3. If you focus rays of light on a particular point, you pass them through a lens or reflect them from a mirror so that they meet at that point.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, in this article, you quoted two sentences from the sixth paragraph of Nan Yar:

When the subtle mind comes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, gross names and forms appear; when it remains in the heart [which is ātma-svarūpa], names and forms disappear.

It is clear when Bhagavan says, ‘when it [mind] remains in the heart [which is ātma-svarūpa], names and forms disappear’, but it is not entirely clear what he means when he says, ‘When the subtle mind comes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, gross names and forms appear’.

For example, a blind person has no eye-sight, and consequently he does not have a functioning sense organ: his eyes. However this blind person can dream, and in his dream he can experience gross names and forms (which perhaps he had experienced before he became blind). Therefore, he does not require his sense organ (eye) to project a world of nama-rupa. So, do we really need ‘the portal of the brain and sense organs’ for the gross names and forms appear? Are not the brain and sense organs itself thoughts? I will be grateful if you can clarify this.

We usually consider that only our mental chatter constitutes out thoughts, and if we stop this chatter we are free of our mind, but as you have explained this is not the case. A few passages from the section 5 of this article explains this point:

• The mental chatter that you refer to as ‘the flow of words’ is just one form of thought, because according to Bhagavan every phenomenon is just a thought, and the root of all of them is our ego, which is itself just a thought — albeit the only thought that is aware.

• That is, since awareness of anything other than ourself is a thought, awareness of a seeming absence of thought is just another thought, albeit a more subtle one.

• Merely being aware that our mental chatter has stopped will not destroy our ego, because what is aware of its stopping is only this ego.

Therefore, as you explain, our aim should not be to stop our mental chatter, but to destroy the ego which is aware or not aware this mental chatter. To destroy the ego we need to vigilantly watch it, until it is not able to grasp even in the least, either the mental chatter, or the more subtle thoughts which create all phenomena. Consequently, the ego will subside never to rise again.

With regards

Bob - P said...

Thank you Michael
I found what you wrote below very helpful.

[Since the ego can project things only in the sphere of its own awareness, it cannot project anything without being aware of it, so whatever we suppose exists even though we are not aware of it exists only as a supposition in our own mind.]


[Even if we are able to stop the flow of words in waking or dream, that is not actually ‘silencing the ego’, as you describe it, because even when it is not projecting words, our ego is still projecting other kinds of thought, no matter how subtle they may be, because everything other than ourself — everything that we experience at one time but not eternally — is just a thought.]

In appreciation.
Bob

mental chatter said...

Michael,
I do urgently/fervently hope that our confidence placed in the idea " Whatever it is doing is something other than it, so we should watch it so vigilantly that we do not notice whether it is doing anything or not... if it attends only to itself, it will not be able to do anything - not even to rise or stand." will not be betrayed. Who can guarantee that the above concept will not be merely a further mental chatter of the ego ?

tanmaya-nishta said...

mental chatter,
do not trust any idea.
Only you self can destroy your ego. Only you self can prevent your ego from spreading out its large views of striking ignorance.

Sanjay Lohia said...

How to give up our sense of doership? – video dated 10/5/2014 (0:33 onward)

Senior devotees often advise us that we should give up our sense of doership, by understanding that everything is done by God or sadguru, and not by us. Yes, such an attitude can help to a small extent, but can this bhavana really enable us to get over our doership? It is not possible. To put in simply, our sense of doership can be given up only when our ego is annihilated, and our ego can be annihilated only by persistent self-investigation. Michael’s explanation will help us understand this subject better:

Devotee: Michael, I wanted to ask you, if you could explain the concept: we are not the doer. […]

Michael: Actions are done by three instruments, body, speech and mind. If we are the body, the actions of the body are our actions; the actions of speech are our actions. If we are the mind the actions of mind, the thinking, perceiving and everything is our doing. Because we experience ourself as this body and mind, we experience all actions of the body, speech and mind as our actions. We have the sense of doership, but if by this practice of vichara, we experience this ‘I’ more and more clearly, we will slowly become more and more clearly aware of the distinctness of ‘I’ – how it is actually separate from these things. These things come, cover it and go, so experiencing ‘I’ more and more clearly we become more and more detached from the body and mind. So we have less and less strong sense of doership.

The other side of doership is the sense of experiencership. Just like we have a sense ‘I am sitting here’, ‘I am doing this’; if something is uncomfortable, say if there is thorn pricking me, I am experiencing that thorn pricking me. Doership and experincership are just the two sides, which are inseparable with the identification of ‘I’ with the body and mind.

So the only way to separate ourself from these things is by trying to attend to ‘I’. Because we have strong desires and attachments, for most of us it’s a slow process. It takes time. Slowly, slowly, slowly we have to cultivate the love to attend to ‘I’, until we are able to experience the full clarity of self-awareness, which will completely destroy the mind, and all the products of the mind - world, body and everything else. Until then we will continue to experience, at least to some extent, this body and mind as ‘I’.

So the sense of doership and sense if experiencership will remain as long as the ego is there. Only when the ego is dissolved by the perfect clarity of self-awareness (which is called atma-jnana or self-knowledge), will our doership completely come to an end. ~~ [Transcript ends]

In conclusion: Once a devotee asked Bhagavan (something to the effect): ‘you say just be, without the least action of body, speech and mind, but Bhagavad Gita advises to act constantly . . .’ Bhagavan: ‘yes, Gita advises actorless action’. What Bhagavan was implying is that we should dissolve our ego, which alone is the actor, and then let the body act in whatever way it wants to act.

unreal world said...

Bob-P,
Despite the statement: "Everything other than ourself-everything that we experience at one time but not eternally - is just a thought" we should observe that we not lose touch with the 'real' world at acting in the dull routine of everyday life. The concept "All but ourself is just a thought" can be easily misunderstood and may lead to a wrong behaviour/conduct in our social living together/existence.

Bob - P said...

Dear unreal world.

I agree with you whole heartedly.

I think the last sentence of Paragraph 19 in Nan Yar? Is so true and helpful.

[All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If [everyone] knew this truth, who indeed would refrain from giving?]

Also The Golden Rule or the law of reciprocity which is the wise principle of treating others as one would treat oneself.

While I take myself to be Bob the person/ body all the other sentient beings are as real as me and I must treat them all with love, compassion and kindness until I experience myself as I really am.

In appreciation.
Bob.

Sivanarul said...

Namah Sivaya chant (5 mins) in Sri Ramana Ashram.

The chant is soul stirring and can put the listener in divine rapture very quickly.

Namah Sivaya OM Namah Sivaya OM Namah Sivaya Namah OM

Enjoy listening!.

https://vimeo.com/164548628

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger Part 1:
I find a lot of what MJ (Michael James) is saying to be inspirational and useful, I appreciate the efforts at translation and I agree with a lot of it. However, sometimes MJ appears to stray away from Bhagavan into what appears to be his own speculation and I have issues with it. Or... Bhagavan's high teaching is not put into a context where it is useful. See if you agree with me.

Consider the following quotes from NM (Nisargadatta Maharaj):
1: "Just sit and know that 'you are' the 'I am' without words, nothing else has to be done; shortly you will arrive to your natural Absolute state."
2: "Be empty of all mental content, of all imagination and effort, and the very absence of obstacles will cause reality to rush in."
3: "Once you know with absolute certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard your desires and fears, concepts and ideas and live by truth alone".
4: "A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness inner energies wake up and work miracles without effort on your part."
5: "This attitude of silent observation is the very foundation of yoga. You see the picture, but you are not the picture."
6: "There is nothing to practice. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don't disturb your mind with seeking."


And then consider these quotes from MJ:
1: if we notice that our mental chatter has stopped, it's stopping is another phenomenon projected and grasped by this ego
2: what feels calmed thereby [is] only this ego, so its calmness is just another thought or mental phenomenon
3: In this context the term ‘thought’ does not mean only mental chatter, memories, expectations, hopes, fears and so on, but phenomena of any kind whatsoever, including this and every other world, because according to Bhagavan all phenomena — everything other than our own fundamental self-awareness — are just thoughts projected and experienced by ourself as this ego or mind. (this and following quotes from the post "what is the I feeling..."
4: Many people imagine that if they can stop their habitual mental chatter while meditating, they are thereby experiencing freedom from thoughts, but that is not the case, because the one who is experiencing that relative quietude of mind is the ego, which is itself a thought. Moreover, since this ego cannot rise or stand without grasping thoughts, the quietude or whatever other phenomena it experiences while meditating is also a thought.
5: we can not be completely 'off the movement of thought' so long as we are experiencing either waking or dream.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger Part 2:
NM is saying "be without all the following", "let all of these go": words, mental imagination or activity, fears, concepts, seeking, and ideas. He recommends mental stillness, a quiet mind, silent observation. And says this (if pursued with passionate dedication) is all that is needed and Self Realization will follow.

MJ goes further and says that silence, calmness and quietude itself is still just a projection of the ego. And that ALL phenomena (the external world) are also manifestations of the ego, even experience of the waking or dreaming state is by itself still a projection of the ego. All this must go, the "ego" must be destroyed and annihilated so that it no longer projects a world.

Who is right? Why the difference of opinion?

There is perhaps some truth to what MJ is saying... but this can only be appreciated by looking at the different stages.

1: There is an inward state of total surrender (the "path beyond yoga" advaita stage), rapt stillness, effortless inner attentive quietude. This can be achieved through sincere passionate subtle effort of some type of meditation which ends in effortlessness. The EGO, that is the personal investment in acquiring pleasure and avoiding pain, has been overcome (at least temporarily). This (noting that there will be huge variances in practice and descriptions) is all that can be done in the name of effort on the spiritual quest. Once the mind is still... what else can be done? We are resting in a state of effortless attention. Seeking has ended.

2: Into this attentive inner stillness... Grace, insight in the form of revelation, Self Realization... may descend.

So, MJ's discourse largely FAILS because this distinction is not made between first achieving inner stillness and then the spontaneous revelations that may subsequently occur.

Consider the following possible broad stages or steps:
1: religion: looking to outwards authority for guidance, moral and ethical development
2: yogas: looking inward, using subtle effort, concentration to achieve stillness of the mind
3: advaita: the end of the ego: resting in the inner stillness achieve in the prior step. seeking has ended.
4: grace descends: SELF REALIZATION occurs: "I am THAT".
5: a second stage of enlightenment: "Thou art THAT". NM says: I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at, and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing.
6: a third stage of enlightenment: "All this is THAT": realizing somehow that "I" am perceptually all of creation. "I" am the only "I" in the universe, I am Brahman and All this is Brahman.

So you see, when Michael speaks of "the one who is experiencing the relative quietude of mind is the ego"....
Michael James devalues the essential process of meditation leading to the requisite inner stillness which forms the basis for such higher realizations in Grace.

It must be true that the world is a thought (see Paul Brunton's work for example), but this is a realization that occurs due to Grace, not due to any human effort. And living this perceptual state all the time is certainly a post enlightenment realization only thru Grace.

The "ego" that MJ constantly speaks of "the world is a projection of the ego" is NOT the same ego which is overcome in stillness leading to the Grace of Self Realization.

Yes, it must be true that Time and Space are ultimately only thoughts, but... this is not the same as individual egoic thought & emotion that must be first overcome in meditation. Let's work on being totally inwardly still (work = subtle effort leading to effortless being) .. then we can see what realizations occur in Grace.


without giving room said...

Thanks Sivanarul,
for giving the link. I have been then after dinner there in the singing auditorium of the New Hall of Sri Ramanasramam in February 2016.
Its funny for me to see my body sitting with a slightly sceptical look for a moment on the video.
However, this chant was one of the only few songs at that kirtan which I did really feel as inspiring and moving.

Sivanarul said...

Roger said:

"It must be true that the world is a thought (see Paul Brunton's work for example), but this is a realization that occurs due to Grace, not due to any human effort. And living this perceptual state all the time is certainly a post enlightenment realization only thru Grace."

Very well said. In general, MJ's articles and interpretation are really meant for very advanced sadhakas who have great dispassion and renunciation (inner, but some outer also) and are ready to take the final plunge. For example, treating the Guru as a lion in an elephant's dream, treating grace as nothing other than ourselves, treating all other forms of Sadhana as "mere" aids etc may all well be valid in the very final stage, but quite inappropriate and unhelpful in the earlier stages.

Many seekers, early in the journey, view Grace as something separate from them (even if they view grace as shining in their hearts as Ishvara). This duality is very important in sadhana for the simple reason that the sadhaka is already fully in duality with family, job, physical and psychological difficulties etc etc. There is not much use in hypnotizing himself intellectually, that he is nothing other than grace, when he still is unable to attain even a reasonable degree of inner renunciation from samsara.

Let's take Mindfulness practice as an example. Jon Kabat Zinn lists the following 7 as attitudal foundations of Mindfulness practice which are: Non-Judging, Patience, Beginner's mind, Trust, Non-Striving, Acceptance and Letting Go. How many of the beginner's can really say they have these foundations as a walk in the park? How can someone really let go of the ego without these foundations firmly in place?

Chanting is another example of a great Sadhana. The link I posted earlier contains a 5 min video of Namah Sivaya chant in Ramana Ashram. An aspirant who is in the very final stage can look at that video and say that the devotee's bliss and joy revealed in that video is nothing more than an exalted state of the ego which must be let go. But if that position is taken by an aspirant early in the stage, he/she is letting go of a wonderful opportunity to develop more Sattva. The ego's state that rejoices hearing a film song and the state that rejoices in the Namah Sivaya chanting are quite different.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Papaji on Silence

Check out www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N1rZte8tg4

Mouna said...

Dear Sivanarul and Roger,

"It must be true that the world is a thought..., but this is a realization that occurs due to Grace, not due to any human effort.

As for myself, I firmly believe that effort, human effort, is Grace... the ego enters when we take it as personal, like any kind of bhakti, which is God/Self reflecting Her/His image in the mirror of our minds...
There is only Grace, in and out.

passerby said...

@Roger,
Nisargadatta's teaching is very different.

(I suggest to those who want further instructions on Ramana to read Papaji, especially the "Fire of Freedom", which focuses on the highest and essential teachings of Ramana - self-enquiry / the I-thought, and silence).



Sanjay Lohia said...

How will I know when I reach the state of atma-jnana? – video dated 8-2-2014 (1: 10 onward)

How would we know when we reach our final destination, the state of atma-jnana? Since our ego will no longer be there, who will be there to experience this state? Is it not possible that we delude ourself by believing that we have reached, when in fact we are still ajnanis? These questions seem natural, and at least I still have these doubts. In this regard, let us listen to Michael:

Devotee: How does one know whether one has reached?

Michael: The one, who wants to know, and wants to be sure of this; the ‘I’ who is asking the question, will not reach there. That ‘I’ will dissolve and what will remain is the real ‘I’. This real ‘I’ is absolute clarity, absolute certainty; there is no scope for any doubt to arise. ~~ [Transcript ends]

In conclusion: On our attaining the state of atma-jnana, only our true self will experience our true self. Therefore, there will remain no one to say, ‘I have attained’; likewise, there will remain no one to say, ‘I have not attained’. Michael says that once we attain out true state, it will be state of absolute clarity and absolute certainty.

Question may arise, ‘Who has this absolute clarity and certainty?’ We can say that only absolute clarity will have absolute clarity, and only absolute certainty will have absolute certainty! It is a state beyond the reach of our words and thoughts, and only our direct experience will reveal: this state as it really is.

Noob said...

Bitter repentence and remorse are the first steps that may force the attention to take a turn from outside onto the nature of ourself, however can those occur without grace?

Michael James said...

Spinning Spider, regarding my statement that you refer to in your comment, namely ‘Therefore nothing else seems to exist unless we are aware of it, so if we are not aware of it, it does not actually exist or even seem to exist’, the only part of this that is ‘pure hypothesis for us’ (as you call it) is that nothing else actually exists. This ‘hypothesis’ is what Bhagavan taught us, but he also taught us that we should verify it for ourself by investigating whether we are actually the ego whom we seem to be. Since everything else seems to exist only in the view of ourself as this ego (like everything that seems to exist in a dream), if we investigate ourself and find that we are not this ego but only pure self-awareness, everything that seems to exist only in the view of this ego will disappear along with it.

However, though we can know this for certain only after we have investigated ourself keenly enough to eradicate our ego, even now as this ego we know for certain that nothing else seems to exist unless we are aware of it, because by definition things seem to exist only when we are aware of them. Therefore the only point in doubt is whether anything actually exists when we are not aware of it, and this doubt can be resolved by us only by our investigating ourself, who now seem to be this ego, to whom alone other things seem to exist.

Noob said...

It is normal for the ego to "strive" for detailed steps and descriptions on how to "reach" the "realization", while comparing various doctrines and looking for faults in them. But in fact, it is nothing but a suttle effort of the ego to detter the attantion from ourself onto "something other". Instead of looking what unites it looks for what separates.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding your questions about Bhagavan’s statement in the sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘சூக்ஷ்மமான மனம், மூளை இந்திரியங்கள் வாயிலாய் வெளிப்படும் போது ஸ்தூலமான நாமரூபங்கள் தோன்றுகின்றன; ஹிருதயத்தில் தங்கும்போது நாமரூபங்கள் மறைகின்றன’ (sūkṣmam-āṉa maṉam, mūḷai indiriyaṅgaḷ vāyilāy veḷippaḍum pōdu sthūlam-āṉa nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; hirudayattil taṅgumbōdu nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ maṟaigiṉḏṟaṉa), ‘When the subtle mind comes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, gross names and forms appear; when it remains in the heart, names and forms disappear’, whenever our mind comes out of our actual self (ātma-svarūpa), which is what Bhagavan refers to here as ‘ஹிருதயம்’ (hirudayam or hṛdaya), it does so by projecting a body and simultaneously experiencing itself as that body, and it immediately becomes aware of other phenomena (seemingly internal thoughts and a seemingly external world) by projecting them out through the portal or doorway of the brain and senses of that body. Therefore this process by which the mind rises from the heart is what Bhagavan describes here as ‘the subtle mind coming out through the portal of the brain and sense organs’.

Since the body, brain and sense organs are all names and forms projected by the mind, they are mere thoughts like all other names and forms, but they are the conduit through which other names and forms are projected and experienced. We never experience any dream (whether our current one, which we mistake to be waking, or any other one) without experiencing ourself as a body, and we experience thoughts as if they were occurring in the brain of that body, and an external world as if we were perceiving it by means of its senses, so a brain and sense organs are fundamental to our experience of names and forms.

maya said...

"As for myself, I firmly believe that effort, human effort, is Grace.."

What makes one make that human effort?

Mouna said...

"What makes one make that human effort?"

From the ego's point of view, the sense of doership, "I do"
The question is: is there (really) an ego?
And if after investigation we conclude that there is not, then what makes one make that human effort?

tanmaya-nishta said...

Mouna,
the same who comes to the mentioned conclusion that there is not at all an ego
may make us make 'that human effort'.
What answer if any would you give to your own question ?

Mouna said...

What answer if any would you give to your own question?

That there is no question to start with.

barefoot walker said...

passerby,
what/which are the 'highest and essential teachings of Ramana' ?
Do we need actually further instructions on that topic ?

tanmaya-nishta said...

Mouna,
how else do you want to start ?
Where are you going in such a hurry ?
But there seems to be a grain of truth in considering the ability 'to make that human effort' as grace/Grace.

Michael James said...

Mental Chatter, regarding your comment asking who can guarantee that the idea ‘Whatever it [the ego] is doing is something other than it, so we should watch it so vigilantly that we do not notice whether it is doing anything or not. However, since it can do anything only when it is attending to something other than itself, if it attends only to itself, it will not be able to do anything — not even to rise or stand’ will not be ‘merely a further mental chatter of the ego’, no one other than ourself can guarantee this for us, because like all other ideas it will continue to be part of our mental chatter until and unless we apply it in practice by actually keeping a very careful watch on our ego.

Most of us repeatedly fail in our attempts to watch our ego keenly, vigilantly and steadily, but that does not matter so long as we keep on trying. No matter how many times we fall, we just have to get up and continue, because that is the only way to succeed.

This is what Bhagavan has taught us, so if we place our confidence in it sufficiently to motivate ourself to apply it diligently in practice, our confidence will not be betrayed.

Mouna said...

"Where are you going in such a hurry ?"

Going?... Where is to go?

Hurry?... From where to where?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for your comment addressed to me. Yes, I believe, I have understood. As you say:

Since the body, brain and sense organs are all names and forms projected by the mind, they are mere thoughts like all other names and forms, but they are the conduit through which other names and forms are projected and experienced.

With regards

spinning spider said...

Michael, many thanks for your prompt reply.
Yes, we must verify for ourself what Bhagavan taught us.
For instance we as the seeming ego believe that mankind/humanity lives on the planet earth which is a part of a planetary system which itself is a part of the Milkway or other galaxy. At least we – albeit only in the view of this our ego - seem to have some conclusive evidence by our daily sense-perception-born-experience that earth, moon and the sun do really exist even when we are not aware of them. When after self-investigation we will then find that we are not this ego but only pure self-awareness this ego may disappear along with its views, perceptions and hypotheses. Our doubt whether anything actually exists when we are not aware of it can and will be resolved by our knowledge to whom alone other things seem to exist, because there is no other way.
As you say we have therefore as a matter of priority to investigate ourself keenly enough to eradicate our ego. Thank you.

mental chatter said...

Michael,
thank you for your comment.
Unless we as the ego apply in practice to attend only to ourself by actually keeping a very careful watch on our ego we will be lost in our mental chatter.
But I too fail to watch this ego keenly, vigilantly and above all steadily. As you say there is no other way than keep on trying. To lose my confidence in Bhagavan's teaching instead of applying them diligently in practice is surely dim-witted.

tanmaya-nishta said...

Mouna,
excuse the formulation of that question.
I was in the cheerful mood of mental chatter and read that question just in the dictionary. I didn't mean it nastily. Smile.

Mouna said...

tanmaya-nishtaji,
I didn't take it nastly either my friend....

"All's well that ends well..."

tanmaya-nishta said...

Mounaji,
very well, all right, so we easily remain friends.
Best wishes to you and California.
But what has become of your initial today question about
the moving spirit behind 'making that human effort' ?

Mouna said...

Tanmayaji,
The question was originally posted by maya (the member of this list) about a comment I made saying that human effort is also grace, but from the ego's viewpoint is the ego's.
My point is that there is only grace, but we (egos) have this innate tendency to consider ourselves separate from it. And we (egos), we work hard to re-unite (yogas) with it that is necessary, although never being separate from it.
In other words, it's all Maya's lila (this time Maya being the veiling and projecting principle).
Also best wishes, wherever the "here" is for you.. ;-)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna,
you say: My point is that there is only grace, but we (egos) have this innate tendency to consider ourselves separate from it.

Thanks for your comments. For me, it is useful & inspiring to contemplate that all of this is grace here and now.

You say The question is: is there (really) an ego?

My impression from reading Michael is that the teaching here is: as long as there is a world... there is an ego. Apparently, if you are perceiving the world.... then there is an ego. Is that not correct?

maya said...

Mouna,

"From the ego's point of view, the sense of doership, "I do"
The question is: is there (really) an ego?."

But what makes that ego make the human effort towards realizing the self? Because not all human beings are making that effort towards realizing that self. Only some are. What is "it" that propels only certain egos to make that effort.

Whether there is an ego would be known only after that effort, as of now there is surely an ego otherwise why all these debates and that there is no ego is only an assumption at this point for ones who are investigating it. Only one who has completed this investigation can say that there is no ego. For others its just a belief, call it intelligent or blind, either way its just a belief in another's words.

Mouna said...

"Apparently, if you are perceiving the world.... then there is an ego. Is that not correct?"

Yes Roger, as I understand, from the point of view of the teaching this is correct. Perceiving a world doesn't make it real, since in dreams we also perceive a world and we assume its reality. It is only when we wake up that we understand things were otherwise.


Agreed completely.

Mouna said...

maya,

Maybe you didn't notice, but at no point I said that there is no ego.
I only asked a question, "is there really an ego?"
If you say "yes", then the next question will be: "could you declare the absolute reality of it (the ego) according to the definition given by Bhagavan of what is real?"
If the answer to that last question is yes, I'll say go back and study more what Bhagavan said.
If the answer is no, then we are in agreement that ego appears to be real but it's not, like a snake on a rope or a mirage on sand.

As the rope is the locus for the superimposition of the snake but has nothing to do with it, ego and its efforts, perceptions, sensations, vasanas and all the rest is also a superimposition on self, which has nothing to do with it. But from ego's point there are two options, either say "I do the efforts" or "Grace is pulling me towards it making me do efforts". I for one, chose the second option not only because it goes more in accord what is, but also there is the surrender element embeded into it.

So, who or what makes us do efforts? Grace
Who or what makes other people do not do efforts (yet)? Grace


tanmaya-nishta said...

Mouna,
Maya's veiling power is only an other name of this ego, isn't it ?
The ego's viewpoint is only and always to attend to all the nama-rupa.
To name all the phenomena and think/talk a lot about them is the ego's favourite hobby, at all costs. If we provide our intellectual capacity and ability to think for that restlessness of the ego it puts us in chains and takes/holds us hostage.

Mouna said...

tanmaya,

Amen.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger PART 1
(why is it Michael can write 25 pages but I am limited to 4,000 characters per post? Ha!)

Hi Michael and others,

I have no disagreement with MJ's translation of various high states & realizations. I find them inspiring. Such as When the subtle mind comes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, gross names and forms appear and the body, brain and sense organs are all names and forms projected by the mind
It matches the description of other masters, it must be true.

The problem is: mere descriptions of an unfamiliar destination (without a more detailed map) rarely suffice to make a journey possible. Unless... one is already VERY close to the destination. And in that case... a map is hardly needed? This becomes especially difficult because often the one giving directions has not yet personally arrived at the destination.

This is true for road trips as well as spiritual investigations. It's a typical problem with the current crop of neo-advaita teachers: descriptions of the destination without roadmaps.

We can read the descriptions of Lahiri Mahasaya traveling as a ball of light over the Ganges. Or... I am reading about the enlightened founder of the martial art Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba: Ueshiba's party was attacked on a mountain road by bandits. Death was a virtual certainty. But... he discovered that as a gun was fired at him, he could sense the path of the bullet as a beam of light allowing him to twist out of the way at the last instant. Later, people could not believe this story, so a demonstration was arranged. Six Olympic class pistol experts aimed at Ueshiba. An eye witness describes: "While staring at him, I kept thinking helplessly that twenty-five meters is a considerable distance, and was wondering what on earth Sensei could do from there. One, two, three. The six revolvers fired at the same time and a cloud of dust whirled around us. Then, suddenly, one of the six marksmen was flying through the air! What had happened? Before we could figure it out, Sensei was standing behind the six men, laughing into his beard." Everyone present was bewildered and shocked... so they repeated the experiment with the same results. "That time I had promised myself to watch carefully in order to see exactly what Sensei was doing. But even though I had tried very hard, I was completely unable to see how he had moved. "

It's easy to dismiss such miraculous stories... but the things that MJ describes are at a similar level of attainment. If you know the world is a thought, then manipulation of thought-matter in miraculous ways becomes possible (apparently). PB says "Telepathy is possible not because thought can travel in space but because space is actually in thought."

But... how can we personally realize such states? Traveling as a ball of light would really help during traffic jams, can I remain dressed and take a briefcase?

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger PART 2
MJ translates above "when the subtle mind comes out through the portal of the brain...."

AH HA! This could be important! There is a subtle and a gross mind! (Bhagavan says it!!!), and along with the 2 levels of mind, there is a subtle ego and a gross ego. MJ lumps the subtle ego (responsible for projection of the material world: subtle thought is projected as matter etc) and the gross ego (discursive thinking, suffering, anger: attachment and identification with projected matter) together without clearly distinguishing between the two. They are entirely different.

The first and (apparently) most difficult task (until it succeeds and becomes effortless) is to vanquish, to make quiet, the gross ego.

#1: Michael says: Many people imagine that if they can stop their [gross] habitual mental chatter while meditating, they are thereby experiencing freedom from thoughts, but that is not the case, because the one who is experiencing that relative quietude of mind is the [SUBTLE] ego, which is a thought itself

#2: MJ says: what feels calmed [by meditation is] thereby only this [gross] ego, so its calmness is just another thought or [subtle] mental phenomenon

These 2 statements seem correct in a way. But... they do not give adequate emphasis to the extreme importance of achieving inner stillness (of some sort) through meditation (of some type) which is vanquishing the gross ego.

When emphasis is given to the subtle ego without first dealing with the gross ego... it's like a road map which has an infinite loop never reaching the destination. There is no foundation for higher practice.

IMO Bhagavan does talk about dealing with the gross ego for active people in "A Search In Secret India" by PB in the chapter "The Hill of the Holy Beacon". There must be other instances? And I like the chapter on "samadhi" in the Godman book.
"The life of action need not be renounced. If you will meditate for an hour or two every day, you can then carry on with your duties. If you meditate in the right manner, then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst of your work. ... The current induced during meditation can be kept up by habit, by practicing to do so. Then one can perform his work and activities in that very current itself; there will be no break. Thus, too, there will be no difference between meditation and external activities."

(note: Bhagavan did not mention here "but the calm mind is only a mental phenomena".)

I love this discussion of "current induced during meditation" and this correlates with other teachings and I know it to some extent or at least aspire to it.

I have heard that Bhagavan always gave instruction to people based on their need (or level). That is: if they did not understand instruction in Advaita, he would instruct at the level of the Yogas, if they didn't get that, he would instruct at the level of religion.

But it seems here that emphasis is given to the Advaita level but not so much to the "subtle effort" level of quieting the gross ego. Maybe because when Bhagavan wrote, he wrote about the higher levels?

How can we know if the gross ego is adequately stilled?


Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Noob & Passerby:
Noob says: It is normal for the ego to "strive" for detailed steps and descriptions on how to "reach" the "realization", while comparing various doctrines and looking for faults in them. But in fact, it is nothing but a subtle effort of the ego to deter the attention from ourself onto "something other". Instead of looking what unites it looks for what separates.

In my opinion the ego can be used to separate or also to try and project a false unity in concert with separation. The ego is VERY tricky!

I do appreciate your looking for unity, thanks.

But we can see the mechanics of separation and insular (insular = "island forming") positions here. This happens with many or most groups: the locally accepted style (atma-vicara) is declared superior to other styles (the other yogas etc...). This is a separation which then creates kind of a false unity among like minded thinkers.

"false unity" because others outside the group or other perspectives can be subordinated.

In my opinion, ultimate unity is loving & accepting regardless of such group boundaries. The world is diverse. Love is not full & complete until it flows over all boundaries.

Passerby says: Nisargadatta's teaching is very different.

Yes, it must be different, but... in some ways the same. As I described in the last post, I find references to "the current induced during meditation" in both authors, or at least I interpret it that way.

BTW, my perspective is outside the group obviously. And I believe that there are many different possible perspectives, all of value. My perspective is only partial. So.... please ignore me if I don't resonant!


yes, there is hope said...

Roger Isaacs,
as you say the ego is actually very tricky.
Of course you dislike 'false unity' and like the idea of 'ultimate unity which flows over all boundaries of the diverse world'. But do not linger over miraculous stories, gross or subtle mind and/or '(group)perspectives'. If you ever have grasped the value of atma-vichara then let me invite you prior to all considerations first to investigate meticulously in depth to whom likes and dislikes appear.

tanmaya-nishta said...

Mouna,
To your Amen I say amen.
Farewell !

thangakkai said...

Michael,
would you please answer three questions wandering off the subject ?
1. Did Sri Ramana Maharshi - in his state of awareness after 1.9.1896 - remember well his experiences of the usual phenomena of waking and dreams made as being then the normal schoolboy Venkataraman in the period before his "death-experience" in the middle of the month July of 1896 in Madurai.
2. Or had the natural sahaja state annihilated all his memory of his prior life based on/in the consciousness of an ordinary schoolboy ?
3. To me it is conspicious that we can read nearly nothing about how his relation/ connection was to his physical father Sundaram Iyer(Aiyar) who died in 1892 in Tiruchuli and his sister Alamelu. Do you know something about that topic ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

In the ultimate analysis all our scientific theories are useless: video dated 8-2-2014 (1:42 onward)

We are often told to use the our scientific temper. The phrase scientific temper, according to Wikipedia, means: 'a way of life - an individual and social process of thinking and acting - which uses a scientific method, which may include questioning, observing physical reality, testing, hypothesizing, analysing, and communicating (not necessarily in that order)'.

According to Bhagavan we should use this temper, but not to investigate the outside world, but to investigate ourself alone. Michael spoke on this subject in of one of his interactions with a devotee:

Devotee: [asks some questions about dream]

Michael: […] Even now in this waking state we can have the thought, ‘Oh, this is just a dream', but we shouldn’t thinking this cross over a road in front of a traffic. So long as we are dreaming it seems to us to be real; so long as we are experiencing this waking state it seems to be real. Because we take this body to be ‘I’, this body is real; because this body is real, this world is real. We cannot but take it to be real.

But as soon as we wake up from the dream we no longer feel it to be real, because we no longer take that dream body to be ‘I’. We take this body to be ‘I’. So from the perspective of waking, the dream appears unreal; from the perspective of dream, waking appears unreal. […] So actually there is no substantive difference between the waking and dream. Both according to Bhagavan are creations of our mind.

Why this is important? It is important because so long as we accept anything other than ‘I’ to be real, our mind will be after that thing. At least, we have to understand theoretically that nothing is real other than ‘I’. Only then we will think, ‘Doing any other research, trying to know anything else is useless’. Scientists have done so much research on this world; they have developed so many theories about this world. All theories are assuming that the world exists independent of the mind that is making that research, but if that world is just a dream; all their scientific theories are meaningless.

When someone asked Bhagavan, what he thought about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, Bhagavan said, ‘It is like you see buildings and you speculate - who built these buildings – and everything. It has no meaning’. The buildings don’t exist except when you are seeing them; so also this world doesn’t exist except when we are seeing it. So saying it was caused by Big Bang (or other such theories) is meaningless. All these beliefs are there because of the fundamental belief that this world is real, and the fundamental belief that the world is real is because of the fundamental belief that ‘I am this body’. Dissolve this wrong belief that ‘I am this body’, and all these other beliefs will also dissolve.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Mouna said...

Sanjayji,

Very useful transcripts, thank you and funny enough, they create a different experience in terms of intellectual perception of what Michael was saying in the videos. I like both the videos (with Michael's body language that makes the teaching more "human" and emotional) but also the transcripts with the deep insights.

When is the book of Michael's transcripts coming out? Just kidding... :-)

M

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment (on scientific theories)

Devotee: So Bhagavan is actually, literally asserting that [this world is a dream].

Michael: Yes, it is not a metaphor. He literally says, ‘There is no difference between waking and dream’. In ‘Who am I?’ he says, ‘Except that waking is long (of some duration), and dream is momentary, there is no difference between them’. But in GVK, Muruganar recorded Bhagavan as saying, ‘Even that is not true. That is said from the perspective of the waking state. There’s actually no difference at all’.

So long as we take this body to be ‘I’, the world is real. We don’t want people to suffer; we want to alleviate suffering. So long as we are interacting with the world, we have to interact with the world as if it is real, because the one who is interacting is the body, which itself is part of the world. So we shouldn’t start acting in this world as if it is unreal, but we have to separate ourself from it, step back, at least during the time of vichara .

During vichara we have to put aside the thought of the world, and all the sufferings in the world, and all the injustices in the world, and concentrate only on the ‘I’. That is the only way to solve all the problems of the world. In dream we see so much suffering. How to alleviate all the suffering we see in dream? The only way is to wake up. […]

We have to separate the outward life. We have so many responsibilities in the outside life. We do all these in the matter of course, because after all what is doing all these actions? It’s the body and mind; we are not the body and mind. So let the body and mind do their dharma. We have to separate ourself and do our dharma - which is to hold onto ‘I’.

In conclusion: Science disintegrates, that is, it divides the one whole into smaller and smaller parts - atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons and whatnot; whereas, spirituality integrates or unites. Since all our differences are created by our ego, once it is annihilated, we would experience absolute integration, unity or oneness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, these transcripts definitely do not match the appeal of Michael's videos, because, as you rightly imply, in these transcripts we are not able to experience Michael's body language, emotions, and so on, which we experience when we watch his videos. However, these transcripts are more than mere recaps for me. The entire process of writing down what he says in his videos, and then typing these as comments, is a rewarding and enriching experiencing.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "yes there is hope",
you say "...let me invite you prior to all considerations first to investigate meticulously in depth to whom likes and dislikes appear. "

Thank you! And I invite you to meticulously experience in depth my personal practice, a mix of Jnana Yoga & Kundalini Yoga leading to effortless being of "I AM"!

You are doing the "advaita shuffle" on me. That is: a conversation is interrupted by insisting the speaker stop and inquire "who am i?". This is just a long used egoic maneuver of neo-advaita whereby one attempts to place themselves in a superior position and stop a conversation by questioning the spiritual credentials of the speaker. It is the same as if you had a child, you might dismiss them, tell them to be quiet & go to their room & to inquire "who am I?"

Who is the "I" in "yes there is hope" which claims authority over what Roger should discuss? Is this the ego? Realize that whenever you point your index finger out at someone insisting "ask 'who am I?'" that the lower three fingers of your hand point right back at you.

Is it possible to address topics literally rather than diverting the subject to "who am I?" ?

I believe this topic below has merit. Can you address it? Can Michael?

Michael translates: "...when the subtle mindcomes out through the portal of the brain..."
Clearly, this translation shows that there is a subtle mind (and corresponding subtle ego) responsible for projecting the material world.

But.. also, there is clearly a gross mind and ego which creates the illusion of identification and attachment to this projected material creation.

The two levels of ego are entirely different, they have different characteristics, and might likely require different techniques to subdue. There could be many follow on issues from this. It seems rather unlikely that the subtle ego might be overcome without first overcoming the gross ego. And... the emphasis here is working on the subtle ego... whereas most of us are probably in the gross ego.

If you say that since Bhagavan is taking no new questions... only questions which fall into old patterns can be addressed. Well that seems to be the truth and this must be the final answer here: no outside-the-box questions.

Michael James said...

Roger, in two of your recent comments (this one and this) you infer that by using the term ‘subtle mind’ Bhagavan implied that is also a gross mind, and that correspondingly there is also both a subtle ego and a gross one, but this inference is in no way justified either by the passage you refer to or by any of the other writings of Bhagavan.

In fact he makes it very clear in his writings that there is only one ego, which he describes in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu as ‘உருவற்ற பேய் அகந்தை’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy ahandai), which means ‘the formless phantom-ego’ and which therefore implies that it is more subtle than any of the forms that it grasps, and he explains in various ways that it is what the mind essentially is. For example, in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār he explains that though in some contexts the term ‘mind’ is used to refer to the totality of all thoughts, the root of all thoughts is only the ego, which he refers to as ‘நான் எனும் எண்ணம்’ (nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam), which means ‘the thought called I’, so the mind is essentially just this ego.

The passage you refer to in which he used the term ‘subtle mind’ is the following two sentences in the sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘சூக்ஷ்மமான மனம், மூளை இந்திரியங்கள் வாயிலாய் வெளிப்படும் போது ஸ்தூலமான நாமரூபங்கள் தோன்றுகின்றன; ஹிருதயத்தில் தங்கும்போது நாமரூபங்கள் மறைகின்றன’ (sūkṣmam-āṉa maṉam, mūḷai indiriyaṅgaḷ vāyilāy veḷippaḍum pōdu sthūlam-āṉa nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; hirudayattil taṅgumbōdu nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ maṟaigiṉḏṟaṉa), which I translated as ‘When the subtle mind comes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, gross names and forms appear; when it remains in the heart, names and forms disappear’. In this passage the Tamil term that I translated as ‘subtle mind’ is ‘சூக்ஷ்மமான மனம்’ (sūkṣmam-āṉa maṉam), in which சூக்ஷ்மமான (sūkṣmam-āṉa) is a compound of two words, சூக்ஷ்மம் (sūkṣmam), which is a noun meaning ‘subtle’, and ஆன (āṉa), which is a relative participle meaning ‘which is’. In Tamil adjectives are often formed from nouns by appending this relative participle to them, so சூக்ஷ்மமான (sūkṣmam-āṉa) can be interpreted either as an adjective meaning ‘subtle’ or as a relative clause meaning ‘which is subtle’, and in the same way in the term ‘ஸ்தூலமான நாமரூபங்கள்’ (sthūlam-āṉa nāma-rūpaṅgaḷ) ஸ்தூலமான (sthūlam-āṉa) can be interpreted either as an adjective meaning ‘gross’ or as a relative clause meaning ‘which are gross’.

Therefore an alternative and equally valid translation of these two sentences would be: ‘When the mind, which is subtle (sūkṣma), comes out through the portal of the brain and sense organs, names and forms, which are gross (sthūla), appear; when it remains in the heart, names and forms disappear’. Therefore the term ‘சூக்ஷ்மமான மனம்’ (sūkṣmam-āṉa maṉam) implies simply that the mind is subtle and not that there are two types of mind, a subtle one and a gross one. In this context சூக்ஷ்மமான (sūkṣmam-āṉa) and ஸ்தூலமான (sthūlam-āṉa) are used to contrast the fact that the mind (the subject or ego) is subtle whereas the names and forms (the objects) that it projects and experiences are gross.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Roger:

In comparison to any name or form, the ego or mind is extremely subtle, but since it is a formless phantom, it cannot seem to exist without grasping and identifying itself with one or more forms. Some of the forms that it grasps as itself may be relatively more gross and others may be relatively less gross, but what we need to investigate is not any of the forms — whether relatively subtle or relatively gross — that it assumes but only itself in its raw, naked, formless condition, which is its fundamental self-awareness. That is, though it rises, stand and flourishes only by grasping forms, some of which (such as a physical body) it grasps as ‘I’, what the ego or mind essentially is is just formless self-awareness, which alone is real and what we actually are, so in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are and thereby to free ourself from the illusion that we are this form-grasping ego we must focus our entire attention on our fundamental self-awareness, thereby separating ourself completely from all the gross names and forms that we have hitherto been grasping.

yes, there is hope said...

Roger Isaacs,
one after the other
1.) Thank you for your counter – invitation, but how could I as a seeming separated mind experience your personal practice ?
2.) Gratulation to being effortless ‚I am‘.
3.) I do not shuffle anything on you let alone I intend such thing.
4.) I did only reply to your comment. Therefore I did not interrupt any conversation.
5.) You cannot reproach me with the complaints lodged by you.
6.) My advice to the benefit of the inquiry as Bhagavan has taught cannot surprise anybody on this blog.
7.) 'Yes,there is hope' was Bhagavan’s answer to a question asked in the sense of "I am a sinner, is there any hope for me ?"
Indeed, this clause-construction does not contain an actual subject.
Therefore you cannot accuse me to claim authority over your point of discussion.
8.) On me you give the impression of feeling persecuted by any insistence
on Bhagavan’s fundamental teaching.
9.) The mind may have subtle and gross facets or different levels; its root in any case is the ego.
10.) Allow me as a beginner on the path of self-investigation to express my personal well and honestly meant impressions:
Your obvious preference for exact but long-winded discussions lets me conclude that you never have meditated in depth for a long period. You must learn to grasp the significance of a teaching in your own practical experience. Your tendence to look into yourself only intellectually prevents you to going deeper and experience yourself more substantial.
11.) Experience shows that first and resolutely has to be overcome the gross ego. However, simultaneous attempts to stop also the subtle ego will never be futile or vainly because our vasanas do not cease to attack us in any shape/type/mode/form of gross and subtle desires.
12.) I admit that my above statement applies also as well to me.
By the way: On which continent do you live, perhaps in Australia ?

spiritual novice said...

Michael,
section 4.
How can I convince myself of the truth of Bhagavan's statement:
'What actually exists is only atma-svarupa[our own self]' ?
How can I check the remark 'so whatever else may seem to exist does not actually exist'...for its correctness ?
How can in the view of intransitive awareness nothing other than itself exist ?
How can I climb over/exceed the object-knowing awareness ?
Is it really true that this ego will be dissolved forever in the infinite and all-consuming light of pure intransitive awareness by self-investigation ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "Yes, there is hope":
You say: Your obvious preference for exact but long-winded discussions lets me conclude that you never have meditated in depth for a long period.

You seem to be providing an update to BG 2.54 where Arjuna asks Krishna "what are the characteristics of an enlightened man?" or in this case... what is a relative measure of advancement? A problem with your proposed scale (less long-winded means more enlightened) is that Michael (with 25 page blogs) would be the least among us! Ha!

But I think you have a point. I prefer very terse writing. It's only with great difficulty that I get through the long blogs. Perhaps less is more.

more later...

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael,
Thanks for addressing my question. Your answer, that there is only one Mind per Bhagavan, is entirely reasonable.

IMO there could be different perspectives on this: for most things, what is a whole and indivisible from one perspective (such as a living body) could be described as having different parts from another perspective. None-the-less, surely the description of the whole is valid.

In my present state of being somewhere on the ladder of evolution, hopefully moving upwards and no longer downwards... :-)
My practice is similar to what I read in "Mandukyopanisad with Karika and Sankara's" commentary:

III-44: If the mind becomes inactive in a state of oblivion awaken it again. If it is distracted, bring it back to the state of tranquility. ... If the mind has attained to be state of equilibrium, then do not disturb it again.
III-46: When the mind does not merge in the inactivity of oblivion, or become distracted by desires, that is to say, when the mind becomes quiescent and does not give rise to appearances, it verily becomes Brahman.

My Inner Guide seems to suggest that this is the correct practice for me now. I put significant attention and practice (I didn't say that it was easy) on being in inner stillness with little or nothing "arising".

This seems similar to your description "we must focus our entire attention on our fundamental self-awareness, thereby separating ourself completely from all the gross names and forms...

So... when Bhagavan describes inner stillness as yet another projection of ego or subtle thought... I do believe it. In order to avoid going into "a state of oblivion" during meditation with eyes closed (is it called "sleep"? Ha!), I often open my eyes and attempt to have the same absorptive meditational focus with eyes open as when they were closed. Now... with eyes open, I still see the world. So Bhagavan would say perhaps that I am still in ego projection because even while there are little or no gross thoughts, the world is there in vision.

But... in my present limited state of evolution, I have to invoke III-44 above "if the mind has attained to be in equilibrium, then do not disturb it". Even though a world is projected... I am otherwise inwardly still, so my intention is to rest in the stillness. I am "actionless", but the world is still projected. What I am doing seems close to "who am I?" because of a passionate innate inner curiosity as part of the stillness. The innate curiosity is wordless and thoughtless. In this stillness, I can not introduce any gross thought "who am I?" or "inquire" further other than to have a wordless, thoughtless innate curiosity.

So I believe what Bhagavan is saying, and it seems very useful to contemplate... but it would seem that I have just not advanced to a level where I can address the subtle mind which projects the world, all I can do now is work towards stillness. BTW here is another source of info: http://paulbrunton.org/notebooks/21

IMO Bhagavan's teaching describes very high states. I like the teaching "I am THAT, thou art THAT, all this is THAT" which I'm told describes 3 progressive distinct stages of Self Realization. I wonder sometimes if Bhagavan might be describing states which are either simultaneous with Self Realization or perhaps might occur later after initial Self Realization. At any rate, it seems that all I can do now is to be still... and that further progress is indeed a "realization" or "revelatory knowledge" which is beyond my gross seeking.

And I say all of this to invite comments by Michael or anyone else. I am a sponge for info.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi "yes, there is hope",

You say 8.) On me you give the impression of feeling persecuted by any insistence on Bhagavan’s fundamental teaching.

Yes, the word "persecuted" seems accurate in some sense, although, I feel no persecution from Bhagavan or his teaching. Just perhaps the way it is sometimes presented.

I do not wish to reopen these issues below, I only state them as a explanation to you so that you have some idea how I can feel like an outsider or at odds with a lot that goes on here.

I did my first post on this blog a couple of months ago. I first found a blog which compared atma vichara and neti-neti which is my main practice. And the blog states with regard to neti-neti "any practice other than atma-vichara is merely a mental activity" and thus not useful as spiritual practice.
So in brief... I have been told in no uncertain words that my spiritual practice is just "mental activity" without spiritual value.

Do you think this qualifies as "persecution"?

I believe that the translations and discussions here due have value, that is why I am here. But... I believe that we should keep an open mind about other peoples practices and not hold ourselves above them.

Also, if I have not handled this challenge better, this is due to my own personality flaws which I have the opportunity, desire and responsibility to correct.

you say: 10.) You must learn to grasp the significance of a teaching in your own practical experience. Your tendency to look into yourself only intellectually prevents you to going deeper and experience yourself more substantial.

How can you say with certainty that my tendency is to look into myself only intellectually?
Do you really know me that well?

Viveka Vairagya said...

Roger,

You are quite right in saying "My Inner Guide seems to suggest that this is the correct practice for me now. I put significant attention and practice (I didn't say that it was easy) on being in inner stillness with little or nothing "arising"." Here is what Papaji says on keeping quiet (from www.satsangbhavan.net/main.htm): "When I speak about quietness - when I tell you to keep quiet - it is not easy for everyone to follow. Most people here are from different backgrounds, practices, sadhanas; and therefore feel they need to do something, to put something into practice. When I say, "Keep quiet." it is not a practice. There is nothing to be done and nothing to be undone. This cannot be followed. There is nothing to think about, no need to make any kind of effort. This is an indication of the quietness I am speaking about." and " You do not need to go to any ashram, because nobody there knows how to sit quiet. In every ashram and center recently different therapies have been introduced. There should be at least one person who could teach you silence, peace, and tranquility, and direct you to that place. He should be in the know of things himself, but nobody is there like that. Therefore wherever you go, some kind of therapy has been introduced in every ashram. Because no one teaches, “Sit quiet and don't do anything.” If a center were to do that what would be the use of that center? A center is there for some commercial reason, for some material gain. This is the only teaching that is not practiced anywhere in the world! What better teaching could there be, or what better teacher who tells you, “Keep quiet!” This was the teaching of my master. Nobody else has taught this recently, in this century. There were a few teachers also in the past but not in this century. In the twentieth century he alone was the teacher who could say, “Keep quiet!”"

Even Bhagavan Ramana says (Talk 379), "Pure Consciousness is the Self. All that is required to realise the Self is to “Be Still.”"

Noob said...

In every comment/remark where "the mind" is stated as something that is an object which can be "disturbed", "stilled", the subject is missed out.
In "If the mind has attained to be state of equilibrium, then do not disturb it again" for example, it is said that there is mind and there is a subject that performs an action on "the mind", such as "disturbing" or "not touching" or "leaving it as it is".
However this is the very subject that we must focus our attention on.This subject is this elusive "I thought" or ego. Only by keeping our full and complete attention on this subject can we "become still".

nirvana said...

Noob,
what means 'If the mind has attained to be state of equilibrium' ? I think we should read '...the state of equilibrium or to be in the state of equilibrium...'.
Yes, let the mind investigate this 'elusive I-thought' which is the root of all our problems. Thereby we should prevent this ego from clinging to all other thoughts than itself. So let this ego subside back into its source - as Michael does not cease recommending repeatedly.

careful observer said...

Viveka Vairagya,
why do you say :"Even Bhagavan Ramana says..." ?
Was not Bhagavan anyway/already Papaji's master - in the mentioned twentieth century ?

yes, there is hope said...

Roger Isaacs,
terse:
IMO you should focus MAINLY on directing your full attention to bring back the mind to the state of tranquility. Feeling yourself 'like an outsider or at odds with' anything does not at all impart the required state of equilibrium. Instead do try to get an insider in truth. Do not care about whether other people keep an open or closed mind about other peoples practices or hold themselves above others. Of course I cannot 'say with certainty' and do not really know you that well. Therefore I do not lay claim to truth. What I told you was only my intuitive feeling. I felt it right to warn you to beware you of the trap of possessing the mental powers of a highly developed intellect. In other words do not become a victim of intellectualism but use your keen intellect to understand true but simple teaching in depth. To spend a lot of time studying and thinking about complicated ideas which obviously do not lead you to the right knowledge of what you actually are is not an appropriate way.
But now I finish, because I am the last person who is able to make recommendations to somebody.
May you find your own way of practice to be 'in inner stillness'.
All the best. Arunachala.

poor sinner said...

Michael,
section 5.
I am now seeking (to achieve) eternal silence.
a.)I am sitting in front of the screen and I am noticing that I obviously do/can not focus my entire attention on this ego keenly enough.
b.)Therefore I try it again...
c.)event a.) happens again
d.)event b.) happens again
The above described scenario/occurrence recurs yet again.
Shall I try it again later or what else shall I do now in this matter ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mita sattvika ahara-niyama: video dated 11-8-2012 (17:30 onward)

Michael: [Bhagavan insisted on] mita sattvika ahara-niyama. Ahara-niyama means restriction of what we eat, and mita means moderate quantity, and sattvika means what is conducive to the state of being. So whatever is conducive to keeping the mind in the quiet state of being, that is sattvika.When Bhagavan was asked what he means by sattvika ahara, one thing he was absolutely insistent on was vegetarian diet, because if we eat any animal products, particularly the flesh of the animals that have been killed, that cannot be conducive to keeping our minds in beingness.

When animals are killed they feel fear and they suffer. Just like we are attached to our bodies, animals are also attached to their bodies; just like we want to continue living in this body, they also want to continue living in their bodies. But for the sake of consuming their flesh people murder them, so the flesh of the murdered living being, a sentient being like us is not going to be conducive for putting our mind in beingness.

Bhagavan says if you could do nothing else, at least avoid eating meat because by avoiding eating meat we may not be able to save all the billions of animals being slaughtered every day for food, but at least we will be saving one or two. We will not be contributing to the huge-huge harm.

(I will continue this in my next few comments)

vigilant watcher said...

Michael,
section 5.
I can hardly bite back the uninhibited question, albeit put of course from the self-ignorant view of an ajnani:
How can this ego at all attend to something other than itself, at least seemingly ?
From what source does it (seemingly) take the power of that attention - called shakti or maya - if not from its fundamental essence, the pure awareness which is atma svarupa ?
If the real self were not immutable and imperishable the transitive ego would share a common fate with the intransitive awareness [of self], which is said to be what we actually are and which is aware of nothing other than itself.

Sivanarul said...

Roger,

"And the blog states with regard to neti-neti "any practice other than atma-vichara is merely a mental activity" and thus not useful as spiritual practice. So in brief... I have been told in no uncertain words that my spiritual practice is just "mental activity" without spiritual value."

Anyone reading this, please ignore typos, as this is a long reply, written fast without a spell checker.

As someone who was bothered by such statements and not bothered by it any more, let me share some of my perspectives. You have to arrive there in your own terms and at your own pace, but hopefully this might help. I share your view (ultimate unity is loving & accepting regardless of such group boundaries. The world is diverse. Love is not full & complete until it flows over all boundaries).

This blog is a detailed elucidation of Bhagavan's teachings as written in his core texts. If you search through other articles, for the request that MJ be more inclusive, he did consider it seriously, but decided that anything he writes that goes against the core texts will be a dilution of Bhagavan's teachings. This is his blog and he writes with his own time and he gives it away freely. So I respect his decision fully.

Why are we bothered (you and I) that our practices do not meet the approval of Bhagavan's core text or Michael's writings? There can be many reasons, but a few I can think of, are: Bhagavan is a Jnani, so anything he writes cannot be false. Michael is a sincere advanced sadhaka, who has been at it for 40+ years. So whatever he writes cannot be wrong. So when it comes from both of them, that any other practice is just "mental acitivity", it can certainly feel like persecution.

For starters, Bhagavan is not just about his core texts. That is certainly one way of viewing him, but not the only way. There are very rich teachings of Bhagavan that can be gained if one studies his life via various sources such as Talks, Day by Day, Mountain Path etc etc. I have studied a significant number of these sources and I can guarantee you that Bhagavan never wrote off any spiritual practice when he talked to devotees. His instruction to the devotee was always tailored on a careful reading of the devotee's inner state. If you listen to David Godman's videos, you can see that he only interrupted in a devotee's sadhana when Bhagavan knew that the devotee can proceed to the next level.

Continued in next comment:

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment:

Part 2:

Please watch (from 6:30 to 8:30)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wz-lnLHQAk

You will see how Bhagavan did not interrupt in Natesa Iyer's puja (idol worship) for 2 years. He only interrupted after Natesa Iyer had a solid foundation that was necessary for subsequent steps in the journey.

Now Bhagavan is not in his physical form. So he cannot do the same for us. Michael, however advanced he may be, is not capable of reading our inner state, based on few of our comments. Our own inner awareness (call it Ishvara, awareness, core being etc etc) is then the only thing that is really capable of providing us feedback and walking us through the path. So if our inner awareness has determined that Jnana Yoga + Kundalini is the way to go or that Surrender + Bhakthi is the way to go, then that is the most appropriate for us. Never mind what Bhagavan's core texts or Michael tells us. The core texts and Michael have no access to our inner state and are in no position to tell that our practices are just mental activity. Bhagavan in physical form never did that.

Now let us get to the point that Jnani's writings must be correct. Let's start with an assumption that there is only one final truth/reality. Let's take Sanatana Dharma as an example (you can take other traditions too). Using the Vedas as the authority, there have been several perspectives/interpretations of that single truth. Each Guru of these traditions (Nayanmars, Shankara, Madhvacharya, Patanjali, Ramanujar etc) are believed to have realized that final truth. When they reported back that realization, they have reported it in such a way that have resulted in different philosophies and descriptions of what that truth is. The rope/snake analogy is widely used in Vedanta. But that analogy is only one perspective. Saiva Siddhantha postulates that the rope/snake only demonstrates that the man's perception is colored by the senses as a crystal's appearance is tinged by the color of the flower near it, and that the analogy is no reflection on the ontological status of the categories of ultimate reality. So the Eka statement in the upanishads is interpreted to mean that there are no two Gods, but only one God (that means there could be an infinite number of jivas).

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment:

Part 3:

Even within the Saiva Siddhanta tradition, there are 2 philosophies of moksha. Saint Meykandar says it is like salt dissolved in water. Thirumoolar says that it is like camphor burning away in fire. Both of them tell that what they have written is a revelation directly from Lord Siva. So Lord Siva, who is the ultimate reality (the Brahman of Vedanta) in the Saivite tradition, has himself revealed 2 philosophies that appear contradictory. Who knows why he did that?

The point of this portion of the writing is that there no "single Jnani's text" that can be considered as the ultimate truth. At the best it can be taken as one perspective of the final truth. If this is understood properly, then Bhagavan's core written works can be viewed as one perspective of the truth. So there is no question of it being correct or wrong.

Just as there is diversity in creation, there is diversity of how tolerant spiritual aspirants are, in this blog and elsewhere. Some of them have the view that any practice other than Vichara is "merely an aid" and that it is like cycling away from the destination. As you wrote in another context, such view is a subtle dance of the ego where it gleefuly enjoyes it's superiority over others.

Eckhart Tolle writes how the ego's dance can be seen in people who suffer, in which their ego having now taken the identity of sufferer, now starts claiming that it's pain and suffering is the worst compared to other forms of pain and suffering. I have done that myself, so I can see the wisdom in what Eckhart Tolle writes. On the flip side, since we are bothered by the superiority statements, our ego's dance is the need for others to behave in a united and equinomous way. In a way, our ego's dance is worst, because we are giving away the power of how we feel, to others.

Both superiority and inferiority are mental states. When the ego feels bruised, it is helpful to remember that we helped someone feel superior. If everyone in the world was doing Vichara, how can some of those Vichari's feel superior? This does not mean my ego never gets bruised. It simply means it is becoming a little more tolerant of the intolerant. It simply means a little better realization that making the world tolerant is way above my pay grade. That is Ishvara's job. I trust in Ishvara.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Noob, Nirvana,
Noob says: "the subject is missed out.
I quoted "the mind verily becomes Brahman". Is "Brahman" not sufficient for the subject? :-)

The problem is that the "subject" is, well, uh.. subjective. And hence impossible to describe in concrete terms. Hence the description in the negative: "not this - not this".

If you call the subject "I thought" or "ego".... well ok, but how would you describe it in your personal experience? And if you don't have the personal experience, what is your practice to reach it in your words? What do you do specifically?

Nirvana, you say "I think it should read...": Yes, there are typos or english problems, I typed what is written rather than correcting it.

Are you guys saying that Sankara is incorrect or inadmissible since he does not refer to "I-thought" ? IMO the "elusive I thought" is what's left after everything else has been removed:

The translator Nikhilananda says: "Equilibrium: The non-dual Brahman which is characterised by sameness throughout".
"Complete attention" of the "non-dual Brahman" does not sound so bad? :-)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Viveka V,
Thanks, Papaji's comments are compelling. I will save it and read over a few more times.

“Sit quiet and don't do anything" is exactly what I do. Wow, how exciting to have permission to do so! The world just doesn't allow this! Yes, it makes sense at the early stage of meditation to sit. But a lot of times I lay down. This facilitates being totally quiet, inwardly focused and letting go of the body. At times... since I have very little to do outwardly in life by choice... I can start to feel bored. But then I remember that my highest purpose is to "don't do anything" outward and instead investigate inward. Only the ego could feel bored.

Quoting Papaji: "This desire for God or realisation is like an inner flame. One must kindle it and then fan it until it becomes a raging fire which consumes all one's other desires and interests."

I do think Micheal's translation about "stillness and the world being a projection of the ego" is correct and has value. This is food for contemplation & study at this time.

It was funny: I got up from the couch yesterday and walked toward the door. While walking, I (consciousness) first noticed that there was a new profound stillness. And then... consciousness realized that there was absolutely nobody there at all (in the egoic "I" sense). It was so subtle I could have missed it. And in fact, it seems that this is the case all the time (nobody there) but I am just not nearly still enough to realize it permanently or even regularly.

During this time, there was no "projection of stillness" in the sense that there was no ego there to be still (words fail).

Because the world did not disappear during this experience, I continued to walk and make it to the door, IMO... rather than the translations like "the world is projected by the ego and disappears with the ego"... I think it is: "DUALITY disappears with the ego". This is confirmed by Mandukyopanisad III-31: "For, duality is never experienced when the mind ceases to act."

thanks again,


Viveka Vairagya said...

Careful Observer,

You are indeed a careful observer, for you are right in asking, "why do you say :"Even Bhagavan Ramana says..." ? Was not Bhagavan anyway/already Papaji's master - in the mentioned twentieth century ?" Yes, when Papaji says, "In the twentieth century he alone was the teacher who could say, “Keep quiet!”' he obviously is referring to his guru Bhagavan Ramana. Thanks for pointing out my erroneous choice of the word "even".

mind-polisher said...

Roger Isaacs,
according the sages 'after everything else has been removed' only (the non-dual) Brahman does remain.
'Complete Attention of the non-dual Brahman' sounds admittedly good but is practically not possible, because attention is done by the mind and Brahman is said to be inconceivable and incomprehensible to the mind.
Therefore attention can directed only to the mind or 'elusive I-thought' itself.

Sivanarul said...

Contemplation on death:

http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/articles/item/1184-i-know-but-i-dont-know-the-contemplation-of-death.html

I Know, but I Don’t Know

The Buddha wanted his monks to contemplate their death in the same way. It is as if you are all going to be executed! Life is a death sentence! We are all on death row in this monastery, but we don’t know how the execution is going to take place, and we don’t know exactly when. A weaver’s daughter once responded to a series of questions from the Buddha, by answering, “I know, but I don’t know”. The Buddha smiled and acknowledged her wisdom. Someone asked her afterwards, “What do you mean by you know, but you don’t know?”, and she replied that she knew that she would die, but didn’t know when she would die (Dhp-a, XIII. 7).

Insight into death rearranges your priorities. So what is important for you? You are soon going to die, and after your death you are going to be carrying the kamma of this life into your future lives.

That is the fear of samsāra. It’s not just old age, sickness and death in this life. Its also, old age sickness and death in future lives, in less pleasant lives than the one you are in now. Even though you may be a good monk, a good novice, or a good lay person, it’s still uncertain what your rebirth is going to be. This fact makes you put forth more effort on your spiritual path. It makes you more diligent. Where does diligence come from? Where does that effort come from? It only comes when you see how dangerous rebirth is.

Letting Go

I gave a talk last night to lay people about the meditation on letting go, of just doing nothing. To be able to do nothing, you have to be able to understand that doing nothing is important. That letting go within the mind is valuable. Just sitting down meditating is a matter of life and death, more important than any other business. Meditation is more important than our finances, our relationships, our children, our vehicles, or our possessions. It is more important even than going out and working for the community. It’s more important than everything else because it’s the only way to make an end of suffering.

Accumulating wealth, what meaning has that? It all disappears when you die. Indulging in the pleasures of life – even if you manage to get them in great amounts – usually just bring lots of frustrations. If you do get lots and lots of pleasure in this life, so what! It always disappears in the pain and fog of old age. One of the things that you notice in life, as you get older, is that most of the pleasures in life occur early on and the pain of life is what you’re mostly left with at the end. Knowing this, seeing the dangers in life, why does anybody get involved in all this wasting of time?

Continued in next comment..

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment....

http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/articles/item/1184-i-know-but-i-dont-know-the-contemplation-of-death.html

The Purpose of Life

When you start reflecting on death, everything starts to become so clear. You realize how foolish you have been. During my life I have wasted so much time, when I really didn’t have time to waste. When I look back on my early years as a monk, I did waste too much time. But fortunately I had enough good meditation as well. Now as a forty-nine year old monk I can’t afford to waste any more time.

So, reflect on the following: “I don’t know how long I’ll have these facilities. I don’t know how long I’ll be healthy enough to do this”. There are enough monks here with bad backs or bad knees, bad this and bad that. If you’re a healthy monk, or even a reasonably healthy one, if you can sit meditation, cross your legs and straighten your back without too much pain, you are extremely fortunate. You won’t always be like that. Use this opportunity now!

It’s not just your body that is going to die – your good health will die, your energy will die, and your opportunities will die. So reflect on death, as it says in the suttas, as if your turban was on fire. In other words, death gives precedence to the practice, and it makes the Eightfold Path[iii] the most important thing in the world. It gives the Path priority over everything else. It would be wonderful if people had that understanding of death to the degree that they embraced it all the time. It would be wonderful if they had that mindfulness, which remembers that death is always stalking you. Death can happen at any time!

Therefore, what’s important to me is to develop the Eightfold Path as much as I can, as deeply as I can, so that I can experience the Jhānas. It’s important that I can experience the Paths and Fruits of this practice. It’s important that I can be free. Free first of all from the lower realms, and eventually from rebirth altogether. Otherwise death becomes very scary, even for great practitioners. They can fall so easily if they haven’t got this security from bondage, this security from all bad rebirths. We use these reflections on death to generate a sense of urgency.

As we travel the Eightfold Path, we should not use force. We don’t ‘do’ the practice, it is something we allow to happen. We renounce all other business in our lives. I've often noticed that if you just allow this path to happen, it happens so beautifully, so powerfully and so effectively. The problem is we don’t allow the path to happen. We are too busy doing other things. It’s quite clear what we are supposed to be doing.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment...

http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/articles/item/1184-i-know-but-i-dont-know-the-contemplation-of-death.html

Into the Light

The present moment is the only thing that you ever have. When you die your body and all your concerns, are taken away from you. What were you worried about? Let it all go. Allow your thinking, thinking, thinking, to die. When a person’s dead, they are brain dead, there’s no brain activity. When a person dies, often in the first moments after death, there is that silence of the mind, before the mind made body can start to name things, and start to conceptualise about what they are experiencing. For the first few seconds or even longer, it’s a time of silence, a different type of perception. This is similar to what one can do in one’s meditation – let go of that inner chatter, allow it to die, as if you are dying. Many people when they have been close to death have had spiritual experiences. In many traditions, they have experiences of dying to the world and becoming wise afterwards. The experience which Theravāda monks of our tradition have is that when they get into Jhānas, they die to the body and become wise to the nature of the mind.

That experience of allowing every thing to disappear is so similar to the process of dying, that the reflection on dying can very easily be incorporated into the practice which leads into Jhānas. Die to the past and future. Die to the thoughts. Die to the body, and eventually die to the breath. It’s as if you take your last breath as you are meditating. In other words your body becomes as still as a corpse, you completely let go of the breathing, and go into the nimitta. It is just like that when a person dies. They go out of their body into the light that is the same as the nimitta.

Old age and sickness, they are all part of death. It’s amazing how people can completely neglect and deny those warning signs. They get old, old, old and they think they’re still going to live for a long time, they get sick, sick, sick and they think they are always going to get better. These are the warning signs that: “Death is coming. Death is coming. Death is coming.” If you’ve got a bad back today, that’s a warning sign that death is coming. If you have a headache, or stomach ache, if you feel a bit low in energy or even if you’ve just had a cold, that’s death coming. Always remember that. These symptoms are like death knocking on the door, you may not be quite ready yet, but it doesn’t really matter. Death will just break in, like a home invader, and drag you away, whether you are ready or not.

Summary and Conclusion

So it’s good to be ready. You do that by preparing to let go of this world. This world is useful in as much as it provides a means for the holy life to be lived. This body is useful in that it provides a vehicle for you to be able sit down and meditate, and gain the Jhānas, and the consequent insight the enables one to leave samsāra. That’s the whole purpose of the body, the purpose of the senses, and the purpose of this life. However people who don’t know the purpose of life, the meaning of life, just waste their time and do foolish things. They go around and around, like children on a merry-go-round, thinking that it’s so good, so wonderful and so enjoyable. Doing the reflection on death again and again, allows you to let go of a lot of the useless pursuits in your life.

Sivanarul said...

Frequent contemplation of death is a wonderful spiritual practice. As Ajahn Brahm explains in the article I posted above, it can provide a sense of urgency. It can lead to spontaneous Vichara, as it did for Bhagavan.

For some it can bring up deep fear and a sense of loss. When the fear and sense of loss is experienced, the realization that one has had whatever one is having now, only for the last x number of years, can bring down the sense of loss. After that, if one suspends the intellect's knowing (via religion and spirituality) and becomes a rustic, one realizes that the current person is a arising from time x to time y. Ok fine, but what was the person before time x and what will be the person after time y? Since you are a rustic, you don't know. What is the person now, in other words, who am i? Don't know. Bhagavan smiles and says, you don't know who you are, but you want to know everything else :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mita sattvika ahara-niyama: video dated 11-8-2012 (17:30 onward) – continuation of my comment of 8 July 2016 at 18:40

So Bhagavan was very very insistent about a vegetarian diet. Among the vegetarian diet, some foods are more sattvik than others. Often it is said that onions and garlic are not sattvik; obviously if we eat a lot of junk, processed food, it is not going to be so sattvik. You can say alcohol, that is also vegetarian, but it is not going to be so sattvik. So just because the food is of plant origin doesn’t necessarily make it sattvik, but if it is not of plant origin definitely it is not sattvik.

In Gita it is said what sort of food is sattvik. It’s the food with lots of juices in it, which are very fresh – in other words, fruits and vegetables. So Bhagavan said by mita sattvika ahara-niyama, which is the best among all the restrictive practices, the sattva-guna (the quality of calmness, clarity or beingness) of the mind will increase, and thereby help will arise for atma-vichara.

Here Bhagavan says sattva-guna of the mind, because the original guna (quality) of the mind is pure sattva (pure-being), but the other two gunas are superimposed on the sattva - that is, the rajo-guna and the tamo-guna. But the original guna or the original quality of the mind is sattva. So that will increase by taking the right kind of food, by avoiding the wrong sort of food, by avoiding eating in excess even the right type of food; and that will help us to turn our minds inwards, and to know who we are.

Devotee: Ramakrishna and Nisargadatta Maharaj consumed flesh, fish…
Michael: Ramakrishna has said in his Gospel that after he saw Kali, he was never able to take fish again.

Devotee: Then, Aanandamayi Maa also cooked fish for her husband.
Michael: Did she do it herself?

Devotee: I don’t know.
Michael: And was she cooking fish up to the end? She would have given that up.

Devotee: I don’t know what she did in the end. All I am saying that I have read she cooked fish for her husband.
Michael: May be. People will find justification for all sorts of things, but can you tell me honestly, is it justified to kill another living being?

Bob - P said...

[Michael: May be. People will find justification for all sorts of things, but can you tell me honestly, is it justified to kill another living being.]

How very true.
Thanks Sanjay for posting this.
In appreciation.
Bob

Yuvaraj said...

(From Sri Ramakrishna – The Great Master by Swami Saradananda)

---
Balaram’s doubt whether to change his opinion about the virtue of non-injury.

Like his external worship, Balaram’s opinion about the observance of the virtue of non-injury also got changed in a short time. Before that time, he never used to hurt even mosquitoes, etc., though they distracted his mind at the time of worship. It would, he thought, destroy his piety altogether. Now, one day during this time, the thought suddenly crossed his mind that religion consisted in making the infinitely distracted mind concentrated on God, and not in always engaging oneself in saving the lives of mosquitoes, insects, birds, etc. Therefore, if the mind could be helped to concentrate on Hari for a short time by the killing of a few mosquitoes, that act should, far from being considered irreligious, be regarded as highly beneficial to man’s end in life. Balaram said, “The long-standing eagerness of the mind to observe the virtue of non0injury got a rude shock at that thought, but the mind assailed by doubts, found it difficult to be swayed by the new thought. I, therefore, started for Dakshineswar to consult the Master about it. On my way I went on thinking the matter over, ‘Did I ever see him kill mosquitoes, etc., like others? I could not remember such an act, as far as I could see, he was more devoted to the observance of the vow of non-injury than I. I recollected that, when one day he saw a man treading a field, green with newly grown grass, he felt as if the man was stamping on his breast and became restless with pain – the Power and Consciousness giving vitality to the field of grass and pervading it through and through, appeared so clearly to him! The decision forced itself upon me that it was quite unnecessary to ask him the question and that it was my mind that was playing me false. Let me, however, go and see him, the mind will become purified, I thought.

‘I reached Dakshineswar and came to the door of the Master’s room. But, before I entered it, I was astounded to see from a distance what he was doing. I saw him bringing out bugs from his own bed and killing them! As soon as I approached, and bowed down to him, he said, “There are bugs breeding in the pillow. They bite me day and night, produce distraction of the mind and disturb sleep, I am, therefore killing them.” There was no need to ask a question. My mind became free from doubt on hearing his words and seeing his action. But, astonished, I thought, ‘I have been coming to him at all hours and without notice for the last two or three years, I came in the day-time and returned at night; I came at dusk and took leave only when the night had advanced more than three hours. I came and went thus three or four times every week. But never did I happen to see him do such an act. How could it be? The solution is this. I was convinced that my spiritual mood would have suffered had I seem do so before; I would have lost faith in him. The supremely compassionate Master, therefore, never acted thus in my presence.”
---

If this caused dismay - sorry. I thought it would be useful to some.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger to Sivanarul PART 1
Hi Sivanarul,
Great thanks for your explanation. It matches with my teacher Tarabilda's comments that Bhagavan always carefully instructed people based on their individual needs. Although, your explanation goes far beyond. I would have never known without your effort to inform me. Thanks.

I did listen to the full video and others which were very interesting. Thanks for this because the videos give me a much fuller experience of the situation. I will continue to listen.

I'm not sure where this leaves me regarding communicating here. Is there any purpose in it?

you say: Why are we bothered (you and I) that our practices do not meet the approval of Bhagavan's core text or Michael's writings?

I feel that I must speak out regarding: whenever we place our way above others this automatically puts us in conflict. A lot of the conflict in the world comes from this paradigm. Perhaps it seems like I am creating conflict here, but IMO I am just pointing out what already exists. It is possible to have ultimate faith and confidence in one's "way" but without holding it above others. If I don't speak out about this source of conflict.... who will? It's a responsibility.

I have no problem with Bhagavan writing such things, Masters make such claims all the time, perhaps to give disciples confidence. And... there is truth in it. From a perspective "following the 'I' thought is perhaps the only way". But... we might consider that many many various traditions lead to exactly that point! It would be possible to investigate and discover that although I have come to this from a different path... I have arrived at the same place ("I" or "I AM" or the "I thought" )!

I did TM for a decade. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had a great version of this: he said that TM was the highest, best, most direct, really the only viable spiritual technique. (sound familiar?) If any other technique worked as well as TM.... then it actually was TM! TM is a derivative of Patangali's work. Of course, such talk worked very well for MMY, it harnessed the egos of followers, created great enthusiasm and helped make his movement very wealthy and powerful, many people have benefitted. But... Tarabilda notes with amusement: MMY's guru Brahmananda Saraswati had the Integral Yoga style, he had multiple disciples. MMY taught one style, another disciple took a different style. So now... 2 of Saraswati's students teach different styles, each claiming their styles are totally superior and so their schools are in conflict with each other!!

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger to Sivanarul PART 2
you say Now Bhagavan is not in his physical form.

A few weeks ago I had a dream involving Bhagavan. Such things are very rare for me. I haven't had a dream involving a Master for 20 years. Readers will immediately want to know: surely he said that Atma Vicara was superior? Or did he insist that I leave the MJ blog and stop harassing the poor participants?

At the time, 3 potential girlfriends had appeared in real life. In the dream, I met a prospective girlfriend at the door and ushered her into the dining room. But then, to my extreme embarrassment, seated at the dining room table was my already existing, long term, and dearly beloved perfect partner: which was Bhagavan! It was only when I was mostly awake did I realize that Bhagavan was a man (I am a totally straight guy). Following this, it became totally clear (for now at least) that being involved in a relationship would be a distraction from my primary goal and such interests have fallen away.

>> Michael, however advanced he may be, is not capable of reading our inner state

My teacher Tarabilda, claimed to be able to read a persons style (ie Bhakti, Jnana, Karma Yoga etc) from birth information, but he did not call it "astrology" because he said the existing science is corrupt. The old web page: http://shell.forethought.net/~risaacs/

>> Now let us get to the point that Jnani's writings must be correct.

All writings are in the form of concepts. Concepts never transmit truth, they only point. Can we transfer the taste essence of a strawberry to someone using language?

>> Eckhart Tolle

Tolle was a student of Barry Long when they were in London. I give my greatest thanks and gratitude to BL.

>> Both superiority and inferiority are mental states....

What good it is to feel superior when at some point we realize that we are the other person? How can we feel superior to ourself? Thoughts of "superior" only prevent the realization of unity.

Nisargadatta Maharaj says:I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention, I become the very thing I look at, and experience the kind of consciousness it has; I become the inner witness of the thing.

Also, to "Yes there is hope": It is a good question: does thinking and writing interfere with practice? I can only say for me: I tried recently doing virtually nothing but meditating. But... then it became apparent that I needed more mental activity as a challenge: the challenge is to be still while being active.

Roger Isaacs said...

mind-polisher said...

according the sages 'after everything else has been removed' only (the non-dual) Brahman remains.'
'Complete Attention of the non-dual Brahman' sounds admittedly good but is practically not possible, because attention is done by the mind and Brahman is said to be inconceivable and incomprehensible to the mind. Therefore attention can directed only to the mind or 'elusive I-thought' itself.


I like the name "mind polisher": Maybe I need to go to the hardware store and get new different mind polish and one of those "micro-fiber" rags! Or maybe an electrical motor driven polisher.

Yes, I agree in a way that "attention is done by the mind and Brahman is inconceivable..."
IMO all that the mind can do is to be still... or focus on "I AM" or "I" or.... as you say.... the "I-thought". In my opinion all these could be identical.

If you say that "stillness is not the 'I' thought"... what is it that is revealed in stillness? It has to be "I" ? There is nothing else. Why not say "I thought" instead of "stillness"? Because "stillness" is a key characteristic. "I" is actually beyond definition as well.

And then.... in this stillness... Brahman is revealed by grace."Grace" meaning that this realization is beyond any human effort, beyond the mind. And with this realization... the (gross level) mind is no more. At least that is my theory.

After everything else has been removed... there is the opportunity for the non-dual Brahman to be revealed by Grace.

Noob said...

Dear Roger,
The reason that stillness is not the "I-thought" is because it is the "I-thought" that becomes aware of stillness in one time and is no longer aware of it in another time. "I-thought" has only one characteristic - attention. When "I-thought" is aware of "stillness" and nothing else then it maybe easier to switch the attention from stillness onto the subject that is aware of this stillness. That is the only thing we as human beings are capable of - switching attention from one object in our awareness onto another, but the key is to try to switch attention onto the very subject from which this beam of attention originates.
Anyway we are driven here by grace, therefore our fate is sealed.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mita sattvika ahara-niyama: video dated 11-8-2012 (17:30 onward) – continuation of my comment of 9 July 2016 at 18:33

Devotee: I am sure we kill vegetables [thus implying that one way or other killing is inevitable].

Michael: If you eat fruit you don’t kill them, and there is a difference between a vegetable and a sentient being. Animals are very much like us in the way they have similar desires like us, they have similar attachments like us, and they feel pain in the similar way as us. As far as suffering is concerned, animal suffering is no different to human suffering, so we have no right for our gratification to cause suffering, or to take the life of any other living being.

Devotee: That includes fish…

Michael: Certainly! Just because fish live under the ocean... Fish also have family; they have husband, wife and children; they also have affection. Just because they live in a different medium (they breathe in water instead of air) doesn’t mean that are any less sentient beings than us. […] Would we want suffering to be caused to us? If not, why should we cause suffering to others?

Devotee: A cow or cattle which are reared in a sensible way, the suffering is only at the moment of death, as it were. We are all going to die at some point, and it is not that everybody tortures animals…

Michael: OK, so there are far too many people in the world, and so many problems are caused [by overpopulation], so should we select half of us to be executed. It [suffering] will only be at the moment of death.

Devotee: I am completely indifferent to it. I don’t make a moral judgment. I support euthanasia.

Michael: Well, yes, if people want it, but for most of us so long as we are reasonably healthy, we are attached to our life. So long as we attached to our life, I don’t think we have any right… In fact, Bhagavan says in GVK, since we cannot create life, we have no right to take it.

Devotee: But who says we are not creating life? We are reproducing all the time…
Michael: That is recreation! But that is not the original creation. OK, we are creating a world everyday when we wake up from sleep, but we don’t have the power that is generally attributed to God, the power of creation of life from nothing.

So the point is, Bhagavan has made it very-very clear that if we want to progress in the spiritual path, we should not eat meat. If we are wise we will listen to his advice, if we don’t want to, we can go the way of so many other people in the world.


mind-polisher said...

Roger Isaacs,
Brahman is ident with Grace, therefore it does not need 'the opportunity to be revealed by Grace'.

vigilant watcher said...

Michael,
section 5.
...noticing either the appearance or the disappearance of any thoughts...
In my experience : that is the point where we have to go further/deeper and keep our focus on ourself.
Here is the more subtle starting point to be self-attentive and to be aware of nothing other than ourself.

Sivanarul said...

Saint Thirumoolar's Thirumanthiram:

TRANSITORINESS OF BODY.

143: Dust Into Dust-That is Body's Way
The Vessel's clay was one, but of two Karmas made,
Firm-set, until Fate its grim summons gave;
Then the rains poured and back to clay the vessel turned;
Thus countless hordes perish and pass to the grave.

144: Your Vigil and Wisdom Alone Accompany Departing Soul
This roof of delights, when by use, to pieces falls,
Wife nor children who all enjoyed follow the parting Soul
Only the holy vigils kept and wisdom gained
Remain to save--others dwindle and desert us all.

145: How Soon the Dead are Forgotten
The neighbours gathered wailing loud and long,
Denied him now a name, called him corpse,
And bore him to the burning ghat and the body burnt,
Then a ceremonial dip--and memory dies as the hours lapse.

146: When Body Roof Falls, It Falls Forever
Two pillars support this roof and one single beam,
Thirty and two the rafters extend side ways,
But as the roof above decays and breaks,
Back to its mansion the breath of life fails its way to trace.

147: Body Dead is but a Feed for Ravens
Gangrened the sore, the body that Karma shaped
Grew loose of joints, the roof's beam rotted and fell;
And with finger on nose, they bore the body dead,
A plenteous feast for the ravens to feed.

148: Death Comes Sudden
The rich repast was laid and he dined and joyed,
With damsels sweet in amorous dalliance toyed;
"A little little pain--on the left" he moaned
And laid himself to rest to be gathered to dust.

149: Pomp and Glory Lead But to the Grave
In pride of pomp a stately mansion he built,
In rage of wealth into the palanquin he stept,
In vain excess gave away largesse in crores,
But ne'er his soul sought the Lord's green retreat.

150: Alive They Embraced the Body, Dead They Consigned it to Flames
Lips met lips, bodies licked in close embrace,
And love in surfeit cloyed--then died memories long cherished,
Soon the body on bier was set while mourners mourned;
All passions spent, the body in the leaping flames perished.

Sivanarul said...

151: Nothing Remains, When Life Departs
The pulse failed, the mind lost its axle-hold,
The senses five, that buttered sweets enjoyed, left their home;
The fair-eyed beloved and dear treasures remained to stay,
But the spark of life for ever quitted
The warm precincts of clay.

152: Kith and Kin Wept and Left
The roof to pieces went, the bonds of life broke loose,
The mansion's nine gates closed fast for ever and aye,
Time's painful march fast gaining apace,
One by one weeping they left him as the hours passed by.

153: Final Procession to Grave
Lord was he of our land, sole leader of our place,
Mounted now on palanquin for the ultimate journey's end;
Mourners walked behind, clashing drums beat afore;
Thus did the solemn show, in ample length, extend.

154: The Body Temple Crumbled; the Ninty-Six Tattvas Fled
The thirty and thirty and thirty-six they say,
They that behind temple walls safely dwelt,
They saw the temple walls crash and crumble,
And all alike, without a trace, thence did melt.

155: They Hurried the Body to Flames
Death strikes from life's enchanted cup
Honeyed delights of wife, cherished treasures of heart;
Kinsmen bore him on bier to the common burning ghat,
And the burden discharged hurried home,
Having done their part.

156: Coveting Riches of the Dead Some Remain Back
The body to its final fate consigned,
Friends and kinsmen all dispersed;
But some remained; long had they lusted for the dead man's wealth,
Intent on riches, men deem they could for ever hold,
Panting and pining for what they might carry by stealth.

157: They Too Finally Depart Cleansing Themselves by a Bath
Mourning friends, weeping spouse, dear children all,
They but followed him to the river's edge--not a step beyond;
Then sorrow dropped its mark, quick the pyre was lit,
Then the plunge in water, heart-whole they, graceless band.

158: When Body-Pot Breaks None Cares To Retain It
This universe entire of treasures vast compact,
The Great Potter from watery clay wrought to shape;
If the moulded pot breaks, men keep the pieces still,
But if the vital body cracks, who even a while cares it to keep?

159: Body is Burnt to Ashes; Beyond That We Know Not
Five the segments of the head, six the plaits of hair,
Thirty the joints, eighteen the sides,
Nine the roofs, fifteen the rows--
All to ashes burnt--no more we know besides.

Sivanarul said...

160: Body is Karmic Fruit
Fruit of fig and seeds of green to pieces chopped,
In a pot they placed, mixed and ground to paste;
Seeds of green the fruit of fig consumed,
Loud they wailed, and bore the body in haste.

161: Body is Fragile Frame
No roofing above nor standing ground below,
Two legs to support and a central beam athwart,
Rudely thatched on top but unlined within,
An empty vessel, in Karmic garb enwrapt.

162: The Lute Lay in Dust; the Music Ceased
Deserted the banquet-hall, unlit, unadorned,
Gone the dancer's swaying shape and flashing feet;
Another song now they sang to a wailing tune,
And, seeking fire, flung the body to its consuming heat.

163: What Did the Body Leave Behind?
Three hundred days agone, the foetus emerged,
Naught remains of it now, dear friends, you know;
In twelve years' time it learned to smell the rich odours of life
At seventy it turned to dust--thus briefly ends the show.

164: Lamp Remained; Flame Died
The lamp remains but the flame is out,
Loud the fools lament but the truth ignore;
Night follows day--this they fail to grasp,
And thus immersed fall and moan,
Ever sobbing more and more.

165: Those Who Do Not Adore Lord, Lie Writhing in the Seventh Hell
While the body the Lord of blooming Konrai wrought
And Life worshipping not the Divine,
In the Seventh hell, neglected lie,
Writhing in pain and wordless agony keen,
The kith and kin, widely crying, did shout and howl and sigh.

166: Life's Procession Leads But to Grave
With horse and sword and canopy outspread,
Man fills his fugitive years with pride of life;
But even as the grand cavalcade sweeps past,
Circling from left to right, expires the breath of life.

167: Nothing Can Lure Back the Life that Left
What though the ravens on him feed and way-farers scorn?
What though you feed with parting drops of milk; or many scoff?
For, know that this bag of leather, inflated awhile,
The Great Show-man blows and batters with a smile.

Mouna said...

How is it that with Bhagavan words I tend to go silent and with so many other discourses I hear around, outside and inside me, there is only noise that's generated?
Now I clearly understand that the power of those words don't reside in the words themselves but on what lies behind.
Bhagavan's words are not the finger pointing at the moon, they are the moon's finger pointing at ourselves.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Glad to hear from you. Noise lies in the ears of the beholder. There can be silence in noise and noise in silence :-)

Enjoy the Sunday!

Sivanarul said...

Saint Arunagirinathar of Arunachala tells in his Kandhar Anuboothi, how he attained mouna (transcendantal silence):

"நேசா முருகா நினதன் பருளால்
ஆசா நிகளந் துகளா யின்பின்
பேசா அநுபூதி பிறந் ததுவே."

Oh Lord, by your loving grace, the entire chain of my desires got broken. Due to that breakage, transcendantal silence was born.

Mouna said...

"Noise lies in the ears of the beholder."

At the transactional level, not only, my friend, not only...

You too enjoy the Sun Day...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, yes, Bhagavan’s words are strong reminders to look at ourself alone, by ignoring all the seen phenomena. Our real nature is nothing but absolute silence, and Bhagavan’s words are persistently encouraging us to look within towards this silence. Everything else other than this silence is noise, and this noise is nothing but our never-ending thoughts. Any external noise we experience is just an expansion, or manifestation of this basic noise - our thoughts.

Yes, our sadguru's words are indeed very powerful, as these directly originate from pure-consciousness. That is, his words are not distorted by any ego or mind (like our words); thus, these words should be treated like Gospel truth, or Upanishads.

You wrote, 'Bhagavan's words are not the finger pointing at the moon, they are the moon's finger pointing at ourselves'. I think what you meant was that the moon (our true self) is pointing at the very same moon (again our true self). I agree. We can take our sadguru (his name, form and his teachings) as the manifested self, and this manifested sadguru is constantly imploring us to look within at the unmanifested sadguru (our true self). I believe this is what you meant; however, please correct me if you meant something else.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mita sattvika ahara-niyama: video dated 11-8-2012 (17:30 onward) – continuation of my comment of 10 July 2016 at 09:41 - last and final instalment

Michael: Bhagavan says in Arunachala Astakam, just like the birds flying in the sky sooner or later have to come back to the earth, just like the water which has evaporated from the ocean, sooner or later, has to form clouds, rain onto the mountains, form rivers and streams, and flow back to the ocean. So also all of us will eventually get back there, one way or another, but if we want it to happen sooner rather than later, we will be well advised to follow Bhagavan’s advice.

Devotee: Why are onion and garlic treated as non-sattvik?

Michael: They are said to excite passions, to agitate the mind. Bhagavan wasn’t so particular about this […] It is better to minimize these, particularly garlic. […] Chilly can also excite passions.

Devotee: Bhagavan was critical about plucking flowers. […] So Bhagavan was equally passionate towards trees and animals.

Michael: Outside the old-hall there are some mango trees. People used to beat the mango trees to make the mango fall. Bhagavan got very angry about that. He said when the mango is ripe it will fall from the tree.

If we want to have a absolutely sattvik diet, the best thing is to eat only fruit which has fallen from trees, because the nature has designed the edible fruit to be consumed, because it is a means of seeds distribution. So we are actually doing the plant a service by eating its fruit. Unfortunately nowadays we have modern toilets, so the seeds get flushed down the toilet, which is pity. But in a more natural condition (as we were used to living), we would go into the fields or woods, and seeds will be distributed. So if we want an absolutely sattvik diet, the windfall fruit is the best, but we sometimes have to make some compromises. As long as we are not doing any harm, either to others or to ourself, compromise is acceptable.

In conclusion: In modern conditions, it is best if we consume a vegan (plant based) diet, and not just a vegetarian diet. Only a vegan diet is good for ourself, animals and the environment.



Mouna said...

Sanjayji,
"Mouna wrote, 'Bhagavan's words are not the finger pointing at the moon, they are the moon's finger pointing at ourselves'. I think what you meant was that the moon (our true self) is pointing at the very same moon (again our true self). I agree. We can take our sadguru (his name, form and his teachings) as the manifested self, and this manifested sadguru is constantly imploring us to look within at the unmanifested sadguru (our true self). I believe this is what you meant; however, please correct me if you meant something else.

Right on my friend, right on...

Roger Isaacs said...

Great thanks to Michael for his efforts, but this may provide some levity.
A new motto:
However you try to define meditation, it's not that. Swami Brahmananda

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Noob,
I tried to respond to your msg and Mind Polisher's... but when I found the quote However you try to define meditation, it's not that.
I could no longer speak. :-)

Noob says: That is the only thing we as human beings are capable of - switching attention from one object in our awareness onto another, but the key is to try to switch attention onto the very subject from which this beam of attention originates.

Are humans also capable of love?

Love is very basic, we are told that Love is the finest quality of God in creation. Love is not an emotion or a feeling (although it could be mixed with those).

Quotes from Barry Long on Love:

Love is the state of enlightenment and enlightenment is the state of love. You can't make any separation between them. Enlightenment is the state of no feelings and pure knowledge and so is love.

Love is beyond description; but not beyond demonstrating. Love is beyond the mind because it is always new.

When the robot mind is mastered, undisciplined thinking ceases and is replaced by awareness. Awareness can know love. You can only experience the new when you are aware, when you are without thought.

to experience beauty, love, truth and peace, or God, your mind has to be stilled.

Love is a power, a mighty principle that exists in its own right independent of any individual. Man changes, but the principle of love does not and cannot. Love does not leave men and women. Men and women leave love.

Love is all around you like the air and is the very breath of your being. But you cannot know it, feel its unfeeling touch, until you pause in your busy-ness, are still and poised and empty of your wanting and desiring. When at rest the air is easily offended and will flee even from the fanning of a leaf, as love flees from the first thought. But when the air or love moves of its own accord it is a hurricane that drives all before it.

The understanding of love comes with the knowledge that you are nothing. The greatest purity is nothing or nothingness - no thinking, no desiring, no imagining. You are then one with the moment and the great movement of life so nothing can happen that is not right. Every moment is perfect and everything that happens is eternally just.


Noob says: Anyway we are driven here by grace, therefore our fate is sealed.

"drive here by grace" makes it sound like we are cows... which is probably the case.

Bob - P said...

Sanjay wrote:

[In conclusion: In modern conditions, it is best if we consume a vegan (plant based) diet, and not just a vegetarian diet. Only a vegan diet is good for ourself, animals and the environment.}

In the perfect world I would have my own cow to provide me with milk. Only then would I know where the milk has come from and how that cow has been treated. I would treat the cow with love and kindness and gratitude for the milk she provided me and would look after her until the day she passed. Same with eggs and keeping your own chickens but I appreciate eggs are sometimes treated as a life form so that is a bit more complicated. Michael has spoke about eggs I think in the same video.

Unfortunately the diary and egg industry is extremely cruel and there are sources who claim they are treating the animals well when in fact they are nor for example (Happy Eggs). The safest way I believe is if you can't keep your own cows or chickens if you decide to eat eggs is to refrain from eating milk and eggs to make sure and eat a plant based diet or a vegan diet.

This is what I personally do, I have been doing this before Bhagavan came into my life and recommended it. To me it is just the right and kindest thing to do. This is just my opinion of course.

If I was told eating egg, meat and fish would improve my spiritual practise I would take the long road and still be a vegan.

In appreciation.
Bob

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob-P, yes, Michael spoke about eggs in the video dated 11-8-2012 (0:33), extracts of which I have been transcribing. I had omitted this portion on eggs in my transcription:

Devotee: What is the problem with eating eggs?

Michael: Eggs are supposed to be life forms; it’s a developing life. It’s just like a baby in a womb. There are unfertilized eggs which people talk about. It’s not natural for chickens to lay unfertilized eggs. Chickens lay unfertilized eggs only if they are kept in unnatural conditions by human beings.

Devotee: It’s [eggs] a potential life…

Michael: It’s a developing life.

Devotee: It’s not natural for the hens to lay eggs…

Michael: It’s not natural for them to lay unfertilized eggs. They usually lay eggs after fertilization. Unless you separate hens from cocks, you cannot tell which eggs are fertilized and which are not fertilized. It’s only in the artificial conditions of modern agriculture that one can guarantee and say, ‘This is unfertilized egg’.

And from the health point of view eggs are one of the unhealthy foods. They are full of cholesterol, protein and fat, that is, food which are not actually very good for the bodily heath, and what is not good for the bodily health is usually not very good for the mental health either.

Noob said...

Dear Roger,
Indeed a very poetic description of Love.
I would say that if Love has a target, i.e. if you direct love to any 2nd and 3rd place objects, it becomes an emotion, has a life span/degrees of strength, has also its dual tween - hate or dislike and can be demonstrated by various actions. Can you direct Love without directing attention to those objects? Love to ourself cannot be demostrated and is the same as turning our attention away from all the phenomena.

Bob - P said...

Thanks Sanjay for your post above about what Michael said about eggs in the video.

Michael said Bhagavan seemed a bit more lenient about garlic and onions. But Michael also said be careful because garlic can stimulate the mind. I think it's best to experiment to see what effect certain foods like garlic have on the mind. Someone might be able to eat it no problem whereas someone else may find it to stimulating and have to refrain from eating it.

However both are a lot better than the flesh of an animal.

All the best Sanjay and thank you.
Bob.

Anonymous said...

Here is a nice article on garlic and onions.

http://kurma.net/essays/e19.html

I will immediately quit eating garlic and onions.

Noob said...

If everything around us is nothing but our own awareness as in a dream, how eating a mango can be different from eating a dog?

Roger Isaacs said...

If you are just a dream... then why eat anything at all?

Mouna said...

"If everything around us is nothing but our own awareness as in a dream, how eating a mango can be different from eating a dog?"

No different as dream material.
But... next time you are hungry, cut a good slice of your own thigh, roast it, salt and peppered it, mke a sandwich out of it and maybe then that will carry you until the evening, where you can slice your other thigh, or under arm, that usually is more tender.
By following this diet you will understand the difference.

Noob said...

We eat what we are destined to eat and die when we are destined to die, there is no food when the body is dead.

Roger Isaacs said...

This teaching that garlic and onions (for example) should ALWAYS be avoided because they are tamasic is simply CRAP! SHIT! I use these words for emphasis and after all talking about the digestive system.

I hope that I will able to explain this convincingly:

The real goal is to have a sattvic physiology. This in most important in facilitating meditation, inquiry and Realization.

But this can not be achieved (necessarily) by just eating sattvic (neutral) foods. We must consider the state of the body and it's tendencies, and how to move the body back to a satwic state using food and medicine.

It's like you have a car, you have been told to say in the middle of your lane while driving. Therefore, it is falsely taught to always keep the steering wheel centered (sattvic) without turning left (tamasic) or right (rajasic). But obviously this is not going to work. If you find your car drifting left you need to take the steering wheel out of the sattvic neutral position and turn it to the right to counteract, the result being that your car is again centered (sattvic ).

For example: if you have the disease of coldness, that is Vata-Kapha in ayurveda. For example, it is winter in Alaska, you can't stay warm, you are anxious, freezing, your body is stiff and painful, contracted, and your digestion is simply not working, you are constipated, have little appetite etc..
This indicates an imbalance in the body. If you eat just sattvic food, this food is neutral and does not help to resolve the issue.
What you may need (depending on your particular physiology) is to TAKE GARLIC which through its heating and grounding properties alleviate your symptoms. Yes garlic is tamasic.... but in this situation... by taking it... you will correct the imbalance in your body and your body will become healthy and sattvic.

Consider a different situation: you have the disease of Heat also known as Pitta in Ayurveda (Michael Jackson and Prince is similar). You live along the equator, it is damned hot. You have given too many rock & roll concerts, too many drugs & wild over stimulating sex all the time. You are emaciated and burning up, feverish, the fire in your body is so high that your body is consuming itself in a sense: fat and muscle are already gone. You can not sleep. You are confined to bed.
In this situation, if you take garlic or cayenne pepper, since these will heat you further, increase metabolism further, it may kill you.
What you need is cooling therapy and protein (of some form) to balance your body back into a sattvic state.
I sympathize with vegan motives, I am mostly vegan myself. And ashima is the highest. But it you come to me in such a state, I would suggest taking some form of easily digestible protein (including meat if possible considering individual preferences) at least temporally till you are out of danger. Possibly allow the chicken to give its life so that you may live. In this condition, if you eat only sattvic foods (vegetables, grains) there is not enough substance there to tame down the raging fire in the body. It's like you have a roaring camp fire and you continue to feed it with kindling & paper so it's getting worse: you need to add a big log to achieve balance. Yes, it would be terrible and a sin to kill a cow, but, if Michael Jackson the vegetarian snacked on a pot roast all day (at least till he was balanced)... he would probably be alive today.

Have I been convincing?

Bob - P said...

Dear Anonymous thanks for the link to the article.

According to Michael's video Bhagavan didn't say you shouldn't eat onions and garlic he just said it can stimulate the mind. He use to tease his mother about eating them I think? I personally avoid garlic as it disagrees with me but I do eat onions now and again and leeks it's just up to the individual to experiment to see what foods agrees with them and with their practise.

The one thing Bhagavan did recommend is not to consume flesh.

A vegan diet can be very healthy if you make the effort.
My doctor recently wanted some blood work done, I real comprehensive M.O.T so to speak and was happy with everything.

I personally think purely from a health perspective the human body will be healthier eating fresh organic mostly raw food including meat, fish, eggs and milk. The more variety the better.

But from a moral / ethical perspective for me its a very easy choice to make and I am happy to sacrifice some health benefits for doing what I personally feel is right.

However there are plenty of vegan athletes who look a picture of health.

A vegan diet can be very unhealthy or healthy just like a non vegan diet can be.

But I fully appreciate Bhagavan would say what body (lol)!!!

Thanks Rodger for your take on it.

In appreciation.
Bob

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Noob,

Noob says: I would say that if Love has a target, i.e. if you direct love to any 2nd and 3rd place objects, it becomes an emotion, has a life span/degrees of strength, has also its dual tween - hate or dislike and can be demonstrated by various actions.

My speculation:
It seems that Love or bhakti is an entirely different spiritual style than inquiry. Love is not something that is directed, except perhaps through surrender. Love may first be known for objects: the love of a spouse, or child. But perhaps at some point there is the realization that Love is not dependent on external objects. Rather than inquiry, Love is more like the intense feeling and longing for unity with the beloved, which eventually is the Lord of all creation.
Starting as love for an object... perhaps it grows into realizing that you are love itself, which is God in manifest creation (unmanifest God is different).

From the Paul Brunton Notebooks:http://paulbrunton.org/notebooks-db/
Where the Greek Orthodox Church regards the Light experience as the highest point reachable by man, the Indian Philosophic Teaching regards it as the last stage before the highest. For anything which is "seen" implies the existence of a "seer" as separate from it. This is not less so even in the case of the Holy Light. Not seeing but be-ing is the final experience according to this Teaching. "You have to go beyond seeing and find out who is the `I' who experiences this light," said Ramana Maharshi to a disciple.

The quote above is a great example of inquiry.
But perhaps the experience of love is entirely different. Love may have no interest in the personal "I" at all. Rather from the perspective of Love, it might be:
My God, My love, the small "i" in me is but a projection of this very limited mind and body. I see YOU as light, yet you are still separate from me. I can not bear this separation. I beseech thee to take me into thee and remove this unbearable separation. Destroy my limited "i" ego and merge me with Thee into One.

So ... you see love is transcendence and Self Realization through expansive feeling, it is not investigation, not inquiry.

Noob says: Can you direct Love without directing attention to those objects? Love to ourself cannot be demostrated and is the same as turning our attention away from all the phenomena.

"demonstrate love" is Barry Long's advice for relationships: if your partner is not demonstrating love to you... then there is a problem in the relationship (and of course there are always problems to clear). He advises partners to inform each other "your behavior does not seem loving, can we clear the issue...". The idea being to keep the relationship clear and focused on love, lead by love.

In a relationship, in order to be real, love must be demonstrated.

"turn away from phenomena": I don't know if this makes sense for a bhakti (someone who has the innate skill of bhakti): phenomena are not interesting... LOVE is. There is only one phenomena, that is love, and love is the finest expression of God in existence.

The question is: have you had the experience of love for something which has stopped your ego, caused you to give up your ego for the beloved? This is different method of destroying the ego. If there is emotion... go deeper, love is 110% surrender.

Noob said...

Dear Roger:
To answer your question about Love: yes , it is Love that started the process of polishing this person and made him take a look at what is this that I called myself. Love leads us from birth to death.Love is Grace and Grace is Love. We must love ourself to destroy the ego or "I-thought". At one point there is nothing one can do but to surrender to this scorching heat of love that is destroying our ego.

Viveka Vairagya said...

Summa Iru
(from Mountain Path, Jul-Sept 2016 issue, p. 57)

His [Thayumanavar's] guru [Mouna Guru Desikar] then advised him that the essence of all spiritual pursuit (sadhana)is to 'remain quiet' (summa iru). "Remain quiet in silence, without any thought," the Guru exhorted his disciple. Thayumanavar followed this advice very sincerely and he consequently experienced a state of peace and happiness: "As I remained quiet, without thoughts, I was uplifted to a state where, without the difference of 'you' and 'me', the pure and supreme 'I' (Self) alone remained," he wrote later.

Sivanarul said...

Thayumanavar writes about how that instruction (Summa Iru) helped him:

Obeisance to Mauna Guru (4/10)

Holding as real This body that is evanescent
Unto the flash of lightning;

Holding as real The pleasures of flashy women
That intoxicate the senses With their collyrium painted eyes;

Holding as heaven The stately mansion and mounting riches;

Holding gold as imperishable treasure That waxes high;

Putting on false appearances To degree exceeding;

Abandoning to winds all virtues -
Patience, wisdom, renunciation and charity;

To be possessed of greed, miserliness And other devils;

To walk about here below Caught in the faith of the materialist;

Thou with one single Word prevented me
From all these, in compassion
That I might receive the Grace
Of the great Vedanta-Siddhanta accord
And enjoy the life eternal.

Oh! Thou Jnana Guru!
Oh! Mantra Guru! Oh, Yoga Tantra Guru!
Mauna Guru that comes in the line of Mula the Holy!

Sivanarul said...

Mouna Guru's detailed instruction to Thayumanavar for the single word instruction to take hold:

The Master graciously looked at the ripe soul and said,
"My darling, your psychic being is ripe enough to receive that yoga.
"My son, hear from me the ancient wisdom taught by Sri Mula and Satyadarsi and sing it to humanity.

The world of manifold appearances is the multiplicity of one Divine
Energy.
It is a play in five acts,
creation, preservation, destruction, self-absorption and salvation.
The play is kept going on by the Cosmic-Force,
at the Will of the Witnessing Lord God is All-in-all,
all-blissful, allcontaining and impersonal.
Grace is His personality.
He is omnipotent, omnipresent.
He is the Life of lives,
the Thinker in the brain,
the Feeler in the heart,
the Seer in the eye,
the Hearer in the ear,
the Breather in the lungs
and the Speaker in the tongue.
He does everything through His Grace
and remains an unattached Witness,
far beyond the world of modes and dualities.

He is as He is.
Just as rays spread from the Sun and give light and warmth to the
world,
Grace radiates from the Divine and plays as the world.
There is no language without the first vowel A;
there is no world without God's Grace.
He is the unique One;
there is nothing to be compared with him.
He has no birth, no death.
His Grace descends into purified souls.
Such souls, are lights that lead us godward.
Embodied creatures have the taint of egoism, lust and delusion.
They are tied to the results of good and bad acts.
The mundane world emanates from the Divine Will
and evolves from the lowest inertia
to the highest superconsciousness
according to the results of acts.
The sower reaps the fruit of his seed.
The field is as it is.
Just like husk which covers rice,
dirt which stains copper,
salt which is in the sea water,
the three stains of egoism, delusion and action are in the soul.
These form an impression in the mind
and the soul departs with it to another birth.
Freedom means freedom from these triple stains.

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment..

The body is the mechanism of the Mayashakti, the illusive Force of multiplicity.
The Divine Grace, holds the Soul like a magnet which holds a piece of iron.
The soul which is conscious of the Divine Grace, enjoys peace, bliss and freedom.
The soul identifying itself with the mental-vital-material body suffers bondage and the pangs of birth and death.
The mirror cannot reflect forms without light.
The soul cannot act without Grace.
The soul by the force of the Grace behind it,
rules as a king over the body,
with the mind, intellect, emotive mind and egoism as its ministers.
Waking, dream, deep sleep, trance, supertrance
are the five states of soul-consciousness.
In the superconscious trance, the soul feels its identity with the Divine
and attains divinity.
The Jiva then enjoys Shivahood.
The sun causes seasons, day and night;
but it is quite separate from them.
Even so Atman is separate from the mind and its modifications.
The soul must feel this
and be conscious of its eternal unity with the Divine.
This conscious living in the Divine is Life Divine.
The Divine Grace transforms life into love and love into bliss.
That Grace descends in the form of Consciousness.
The ordinary physical eye cannot see the Divine.
The inner eye alone can subtly feel the Divine presence in the soul.
The mind is internalised and concentrated in meditation,
With unflagging patience, forbearance, faith and constancy the aspirant must practise meditation.

Purity of the heart and one-pointed fixity of the mind enables meditation.
As the soul detaches itself from mental modifications, it approaches the Divine Centre.
Then Grace takes possession of the pure soul and reveals the Divine presence.
The soul must become red-hot in the Divine flame. Then it becomes a shining gold and at last a crown of divinity.

The first step is mental purification and concentrated devotion.
The next is constant meditation and inner fixity.

By this the soul feels its at-one-ment with the Divine, the Quintessence
of its being.
Then it sees the same Divine essence in the universe of beings.
From self-consciousness, the soul widens into cosmic consciousness.
"Dear one, keep these in mind and renounce everything for the sake of
Divinity.
Take a pearl-diver-s plunge into the heart.
Be centre in and there is the Divine Light to lead you on.
Go hence to Chidambaram:
Meditate upon Lord Nataraja, the symbol of perfect Divine Truth.
Worship Him daily, with songs and he will lead you on! Shivoham!"

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Noob,
Ok, what does "noob" stand for? or is it your name? And thank for the comments on Love.

noob says: We eat what we are destined to eat and die when we are destined to die, there is no food when the body is dead.

This could be an egoic or mental projection of imagined events in the future.
If your ego dies before your body dies... then how can you say that 'you' die?
If you say "the world disappears with the ego..." Not so: It is clear that Bhagavan's ego evaporated long before his physical form.
If you say "no food when the body is dead"... how do you know that after your body is gone that you might not subsist on subtler food such as love and light?


"I am luminous,
I am like ether,
I am formless,
pure and bodiless.

"This should be your intense and speechless meditation every day, before going to sleep at least. And in course of time you will certainly attain to the state. This is what your Guru says, do not forget it. Whatever you intently meditate on in the hypnoidal state you are sure to realize."
Nisargadatta Maharaj

Noob said...

When my ego dies body is dead too, as there may be one ego with different bodies as in this waking state and then in a dream, but can there be a body without an ego? And more importantly, who is going to see that body when there is no ego and no world projected by it?

It is said here that there are many enlightened people lingering in their bodies, but it is only my ego who sees that in this waking state, in my dream the same ego sees other bodies and another world...

Noob said...

Whichever path is the fastest and least complicated for ego on its way to destruction is for sure the path shown by Grace.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Noob,
noob says Whichever path is the fastest and least complicated for ego on its way to destruction is for sure the path shown by Grace

I like that a lot, I believe it's the truth. Actually, even such descriptions as "the 'I' thought" etc... are just pointers, it has to be discovered in practice. And... it would appear that the inner guide will reveal it in personal experience directly, if there is enough passionate practice.

noob says When my ego dies body is dead too, ...but can there be a body without an ego? And more importantly, who is going to see that body when there is no ego and no world projected by it? It is said here that there are many enlightened people lingering in their bodies, but it is only my ego who sees that in this waking state, in my dream the same ego sees other bodies and another world...

So I think you're saying that when you become Self Realized, reach enlightenment... your ego and body die and the world also no longer exists.

What happens to your body from the perspective of us left behind?

If your body dies, then we'd see your corpse. If you go "POOF!" then we'd at least miss you or witness your exit. These events would be sensational, they would generate huge interest.... and we see none of this sort of thing either now or in the vedas. Major ashrams with enlightened Masters would also have a crematorium in the back yard. There would be a new category on death certificates "death by Self Realization".

There is the great saying:
I am THAT.
Thou are THAT.
All this is THAT.

But you are saying that once "I am THAT" is realized... then "thou" and "all this" no longer exist. It does't seem to make sense to me.

I believe that the world and body do not die with enlightenment. What was a limited understanding of duality just no longer exists, it has been supplanted by a higher Realization. The non-dual understanding of the body and world continue. At least in my version... we don't need a way to dispose of corpses.

Ramakrishna said something like "there is enough ego left to exist in the world".

Noob said...

Dear Roger,
If the waking state is the same as the dream state., i.e. is a mere projection of ego then as soon as the ego is dissolved the world should immediately be dissolved at the same time. Saying otherwise would amount to admitting that your dreams are going on somewhere after you had already woken up. Seeing many worlds populated by many people/creatures is a feature of ego. In fact, is there anyone but you in your dreams? even if you see a mountain or an iron bridge in your dream, what is it made of? It is made of your awareness (consciousness) and nothing else. Many people that you maybe talking to in your dreams are also no one else but yourself, even your parents and beloved ones are in fact made of your essence that is awareness. Dreams cannot exist independent of the dreamer. If I am THAT and thou are THAT then I am You.

Noob said...

Therefore no one is left behind.

Bob - P said...

Noob says:

[If the waking state is the same as the dream state., i.e. is a mere projection of ego then as soon as the ego is dissolved the world should immediately be dissolved at the same time. Saying otherwise would amount to admitting that your dreams are going on somewhere after you had already woken up.]

Yes what you say makes sense to me with regards my own understanding of Bhagavan's teaching.
In appreciation.
Bob

Noob said...

In my opinion Bhagavan's teachings are the work of Grace.

Michael James said...

Roger, I have replied to your reply to my previous comment in a separate article: Asparśa yōga is the practice of not ‘touching’ or attending to anything other than oneself.

Bob - P said...

Noob said: [In my opinion Bhagavan's teachings are the work of Grace.]

Yes I agree Noob, Bhagavan's teaching is telling us to turn within and attend to ourself compared to turning our attention outwards and attending to things other than ourself. It is my understanding that this is grace just like you say.

How blessed we are Bhagavan has come into our lives.

Take care
Bob.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob and Noob,
IMO you are Grace too.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger Part 1
Hi Noob and Bob,
I'm putting most of my attention on responding to Michaels new blog which also covers this issue... but regarding:
Noob says:
If the waking state is the same as the dream state., i.e. is a mere projection of ego then as soon as the ego is dissolved the world should immediately be dissolved at the same time. Saying otherwise would amount to admitting that your dreams are going on somewhere after you had already woken up. Seeing many worlds populated by many people/creatures is a feature of ego. In fact, is there anyone but you in your dreams? even if you see a mountain or an iron bridge in your dream, what is it made of? It is made of your awareness (consciousness) and nothing else. Many people that you maybe talking to in your dreams are also no one else but yourself, even your parents and beloved ones are in fact made of your essence that is awareness. Dreams cannot exist independent of the dreamer. If I am THAT and thou are THAT then I am You.


Note: I will speak as though I know what I am talking about. However, mentally put "it appears from my current limited understanding that...." in front of all sentences. And please propose corrections if you think I am off base.

Clearly, the waking state is not entirely the same as the dream state. This is ridiculous. What is being said is that there are similarities between the two and this is used to point to higher states.

When you say that "as soon as ego is dissolved the world should immediately be dissolved at the same time".

This is correct from a very important perspective... but not correct from others.

There is a final state, you might call it nirguna brahmin, the supreme reality without form or qualities as YOU. Or perhaps you might call it the nirvikalpa samadhi state but with awareness (I am proposing, I can't support this by scripture and not from experience). Or you might call it God Transcendent, The Absolute, The Unmanifest God, The Formless etc...

You might realize: I am THAT.

Roger Isaacs said...

roger Part 2
However, there is also God Immanent, The Relative, The Manifest God which appears as creation, with Form.

It would appear that Bhagavan is pointing to this high state (pick your favorite term from above) as the way and as the ultimate reality, that the clear conscious experience of this will result in freedom, and will result in destruction of DUALITY or the individual ego. Bhagavan speaks as if from this state.

So... on experiencing this, yes, the world disappears in awareness, and... if you have realized this, you can go back there any time.

However, the point that seems to be overlooked is that while you are associated with a body, that is until your body dies, clearly you can not stay in Nirguna Brahmin Consciousness all the time, you have to come out to eat etc... And... when your awareness switches from Nirguna Brahmin back to the apparent world, the world is once again projected through the brain. This does not mean in any way that the personal ego is present. Of course, it may be possible to experience a unity of Form and Formless... but that is way beyond me.

Bhagavan sitting with eyes open but absorbed in Nirguna Brahmin is 100% egoless and free and "one with the father", there is no world, time and space no longer exist.
But Bhagavan talking, walking, eating.... is still 100% egoless and free, but now aware of the body and the "world idea" projected through the brain.
Both states exist!!!

In another way: it is realized that the world is more like a dream because the substance of the world rather than being material and concrete is realized to be more like a thought (see PBs mentalism http://paulbrunton.org/notebooks/21 ).
And... when the identification with Duality drops away and you realize non-duality... the world is like a dream because whatever happens in the world has no more impact on you in waking state than if it had happened in a dream.
So... there are subtler layers to the world.... but.... the world still exists, even if it is only like a thought.
And... even when your body dies... this is just a personal event, the "world idea" continues to exist because "world" is more pervasive than your personal body. Obviously people die all the time... but the world (God Immanent, God Manifest, Form) continues. Perhaps after your body dies, you may continue to observe subtle Form (Idea).... just from another perspective. Bhagavan did say that he would be more active in the ashram after he left the body.

Mouna said...

Although it might be a different spelling, and to avoid misunderstandings, it is better to consider the spelling Nirguna Brahman (or Saguna Brahman), Roger, not "Brahmin"

Roger Isaacs said...

thanks Mouna, Ha!