Monday, 1 August 2016

The observer is the observed only when we observe ourself alone

In a recent comment on one of my earlier articles, ‘Observation without the observer’ and ‘choiceless awareness’: Why the teachings of J. Krishnamurti are diametrically opposed to those of Sri Ramana, a friend called Zubin wrote:
I read a lot of Krishnamurti when younger, and I do agree that his approach may have been unnecessarily complicated.

Krishnamurti focused on self-exploration of one’s mind. If you are angry, dissect it to find out what is deeper than it, etc. In effect, you would be looking at all the little adjuncts of the ego to see each one as false.

But ultimately, Krishnamurti’s main theme was “The Observer is the Observed”, which he repeated frequently.

So, in that sense, there is no difference in Krishnamurti’s ultimate teaching and Ramana’s. When you do self-enquiry you are Self looking at Self. When you are looking at the feeling of I AM, the looker is also that same I AM feeling, or, in other words, the observer is the observed.
The following is my reply to him:

Zubin, the observer is the observed only when we are observing ourself alone. So long as we observe anything else, such as our anger, our emotions, our thoughts or any other phenomena, we are dividing ourself, separating ourself off as an observer distinct from whatever we are observing.

This is how our ego rises, stands and flourishes. By observing, perceiving, attending to or being aware of anything other than ourself we are seemingly limiting ourself as a finite observer separate from whatever we are observing, and this finite observer is what is called ‘ego’. It is a false and illusory form of self-awareness — an awareness of ourself as something finite rather than as the one infinite and indivisible awareness that we really are.

The true awareness that we actually are is always aware of nothing other than itself, so it can never divide itself into subject and object — an observing subject and separate objects or phenomena observed by it. The subject that observes anything other than itself is our ego, which is not what we actually are, so we can be aware of ourself as we actually are only by observing nothing other than ourself.

This is the precious secret that Bhagavan has revealed to us. His teachings are so simple and clear. All we need to understand is this: by observing or being aware of anything other than ourself we rise, stand and flourish as this ego, and by observing ourself alone we subside and merge back into the pure, indivisible and otherless self-awareness that we actually are.

This simple and most fundamental principle is clearly and succinctly expressed by Bhagavan in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: Grasping form, the formless phantom-ego rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows [spreads, expands, increases, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form, it grasps [another] form. If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight. Investigate [or know thus].
Everything other than ourself is a form of one kind or another, so observing or being aware of anything other than ourself is ‘grasping form’ and thereby feeding and nourishing our ego. Therefore to destroy our ego we need to refrain from observing or being aware of anything other than ourself, which we can do only by trying to observe or be aware of ourself alone. This is why Bhagavan concludes this verse by saying: ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), which means ‘If sought [examined or investigated], it [the ego] will take flight’.

That is, this ego (the subject or observer of objects) is not real, because it is not what we actually are but only what we now seem to be. It seems to exist and to be ourself only when we are aware of anything other than ourself, but when we turn back to look at ourself, it takes flight, because it is just a formless phantom that seems to exist only so long as we do not look at it carefully enough.

This simple nature of our ego — to seem to exist when we look elsewhere, but to disappear when we look at ourself — is the fundamental principle of Bhagavan’s entire teachings, and grasping it clearly in our heart is the key to understanding all that he taught us. If we understand and are firmly convinced by it, we do not need to understand anything else. All we need to do is to persistently try to look at ourself, who now seem to be this ego, the subject or observer.

Looking at, observing or attending to ourself alone is not only necessary but also sufficient if our sole aim is to be aware of ourself as we actually are. As Bhagavan says in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும்.

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

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone will be sufficient.
What he describes in this sentence as ‘சொரூப ஸ்மரணை’ (sorūpa-smaraṇai, a Tamil form of the Sanskrit term svarūpa-smaraṇa), which literally means ‘self-remembrance’, is what he elsewhere calls ‘சொரூபத்யானம்’ (sorūpa-dhyāṉam or svarūpa-dhyāna), ‘self-contemplation’ or ‘self-attentiveness’, and ‘ஆத்மவிசாரம்’ (ātma-vicāram), ‘self-investigation’. Therefore what he teaches us in this sentence is that we need do nothing other than trying to be constantly and deeply self-attentive.

This may not seem easy for us, but it is the only way to free ourself from the illusion that we are this finite ego, the observer of all other things, because by attending to anything other than ourself we are feeding, nourishing and sustaining this ego. Though we will no doubt find it difficult to be constantly self-attentive, and though we will often fail in our attempt to be so, he has assured us that we will certainly succeed eventually if we persevere in trying.

As he says in the tenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
தொன்றுதொட்டு வருகின்ற விஷயவாசனைகள் அளவற்றனவாய்க் கடலலைகள் போற் றோன்றினும் அவையாவும் சொரூபத்யானம் கிளம்பக் கிளம்ப அழிந்துவிடும். அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும். ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு பாபியாயிருந்தாலும், ‘நான் பாபியா யிருக்கிறேனே! எப்படிக் கடைத்தேறப் போகிறே’ னென்றேங்கி யழுதுகொண்டிராமல், தான் பாபி என்னு மெண்ணத்தையு மறவே யொழித்து சொரூபத்யானத்தி லூக்க முள்ளவனாக விருந்தால் அவன் நிச்சயமா யுருப்படுவான்.

toṉḏṟutoṭṭu varugiṉḏṟa viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ aḷavaṯṟaṉavāy-k kaḍal-alaigaḷ pōl tōṉḏṟiṉum avai-yāvum sorūpa-dhyāṉam kiḷamba-k kiḷamba aṙindu-viḍum. attaṉai vāsaṉaigaḷum oḍuṅgi, sorūpa-māttiram-āy irukka muḍiyumā v-eṉṉum sandēha niṉaivukkum iḍam koḍāmal, sorūpa-dhyāṉattai viḍā-p-piḍiyāy-p piḍikka vēṇḍum. oruvaṉ evvaḷavu pāpiyāy irundālum, ‘nāṉ pāpiyāy irukkiṟēṉē; eppaḍi-k kaḍaittēṟa-p pōkiṟēṉ’ eṉḏṟēṅgi y-aṙudu-koṇḍirāmal, tāṉ pāpi eṉṉum eṇṇattaiyum aṟavē y-oṙittu sorūpa-dhyāṉattil ūkkam uḷḷavaṉāha v-irundāl avaṉ niścayamāy uru-p-paḍuvāṉ.

Even though viṣaya-vāsanās [inclinations or desires to be aware of things other than oneself, which are the seeds that give rise to all thoughts or phenomena], which come from time immemorial, rise [as thoughts or phenomena] in countless numbers like ocean-waves, they will all be destroyed when svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness] increases and increases. Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘Is it possible to dissolve so many vāsanās and remain only as svarūpa [my own actual self]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to svarūpa-dhyāna. However great a sinner a person may be, if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ he completely rejects the thought that he is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness, he will certainly be reformed [transformed into what one actually is].
As he assures us in this passage, all that is required on our part is tenacious perseverance to be self-attentive as much as possible — the kind of perseverance that manifests as steadfast refusal to ever lose hope no matter how many times our viṣaya-vāsanās rise to drag our mind outwards, away from ourself — because if we do persist in trying to be self-attentive, drawing our mind back to ourself whenever it is distracted away by anything else, we will certainly be reformed sooner or later, ceasing forever to rise again as this ego and instead just remaining as the pure self-awareness that we have always been.

What he advises us to do and the principles on which his advice stand are so extremely simple and easy to understand, and also to put into practice if we have sufficient genuine love to be aware of ourself as we actually are and thereby to surrender or let go of everything else, including our own ego. Nothing other than wholehearted, overwhelming and all-consuming love (bhakti) to be aware of ourself alone is needed.

His simple teachings are therefore fundamentally different to what most others teach or advise us to do. The usual advice we hear from others is to attend to something other than ourself or to do something other than just trying to be simply self-attentive, whereas all Bhagavan advises us to do is to try persistently to attend to ourself alone. He says it does not matter how many times we are distracted by the appearance of other thoughts, which are all that constitute this entire world of myriad phenomena, so long as we persevere in trying to turn our attention back to ourself, the one to whom everything else appears.

We all know that we have many defects and impurities in our mind, such as selfishness, greed, lust, anger and so on, or at least we have the seeds of all such defects, but none of these defects are our real problem. The real problem that Bhagavan has identified, the one problem that is the root of all other problems, is only our ego. Therefore what we need to focus on tackling is only this ego and not any of its numerous other problems.

So long as this ego survives all its defects will survive along with it, to a greater or lesser extent, and even if we manage to overcome any of our defects such as anger to a certain extent, its root, our ego, will still survive. What is it that wants to and tries to overcome all these defects? It is only our ego, so if we were to focus on any or all such defects in an attempt to overcome them, we would thereby be inadvertently sustaining our ego. This is why we can never conquer our mind and all its defects so long as we remain as this ego. The only way to conquer them all is to eradicate our ego.

This is why Bhagavan was not concerned about all our numerous other defects, and he did not advise us to be concerned about them either, because he knew that they are inevitable so long as we rise and stand as this ego. Therefore his entire teachings focus only on this one defect, our ego, which is the root of all other defects, and on the means by which we can free ourself from it.

What he taught us is in essence that, since we rise, stand and flourish as this ego only by being aware of, attending to or observing anything other than ourself, it is only by attending to or observing ourself alone that we can dissolve this ego — which is just an illusory and formless phantom, a mistaken awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are — and thus subside and merge back into our source in such a way that we will never rise again.

196 comments:

Bob - P said...

Thank you for writing this article Michael.

It was a very helpful and much needed reminder, especially your ending paragraph.

Take care Michael.
Bob

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...


I am closing my eyes... i am aware of thoughts... there is something that is aware of thoughts... I turn my attention in that direction... that's the practice... nothing more... nothing less...

aha-nokkal said...

Dragos,
who is turning your attention in the direction of something which is aware of thoughts ?
Who is the remaining awareness which is aware of the "direction turner" ?
Who is aware of that remaining awareness ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael writes, ‘This simple nature of our ego — to seem to exist when we look elsewhere, but to disappear when we look at ourself — is the fundamental principle of Bhagavan’s entire teachings, and grasping it clearly in our heart is the key to understanding all that he taught us. If we understand and are firmly convinced by it, we do not need to understand anything else. All we need to do is to persistently try to look at ourself, who now seem to be this ego, the subject or observer’.

‘This simple nature of our ego — to seem to exist when we look elsewhere, but to disappear when we look at ourself — […] If we understand and are firmly convinced by it, we do not need to understand anything else'. This makes Bhagavan’s teachings so very simple to understand, and so very easy to practise.

Zubin said...

Michael, thanks for your thoughtful and thorough post to my original comment. Your knowledge of Ramana's teachings is truly a gift to everyone reading this blog.

And, of course, the best gift of all for each of us and this world is the simplicity of Ramana's teachings.

For me, getting addicted to Krishnamurti's teachings when younger was also a gift. Their unnecessary complexity tired me out to the edge of surrender, to the point where I fell in love with Ramana's teachings immediately when I came across them.

I also think it is possible (and I don't say this to be proud, it is just what I experience) that any adjunct of the ego can be seen as the Self, and as such it is still self-attendance. For example, I can see a thought (frustration, sadness, etc.) running through and I can immediately see that that thought-feeling is infused with, made up of, awareness/consciousness, and it subsides back into awareness/consciousness when it is looked at directly.

I think looking at anger as anger gives the ego life, but looking at the Self in everything, including anger is, I hope, still self-enquiry.

Mouna said...

Dear Michael,

Zubin wrote recently: "I also think it is possible (and I don't say this to be proud, it is just what I experience) that any adjunct of the ego can be seen as the Self, and as such it is still self-attendance. For example, I can see a thought (frustration, sadness, etc.) running through and I can immediately see that that thought-feeling is infused with, made up of, awareness/consciousness, and it subsides back into awareness/consciousness when it is looked at directly. I think looking at anger as anger gives the ego life, but looking at the Self in everything, including anger is, I hope, still self-enquiry.”

This is an interesting statement. There is a thread of thought these days in spiritual teachings related to Bhagavan and Vedanta that indicates that after realization/liberation, one starts to see the “self in everything”. Some people even call it “the return to the marketplace”. A little bit like saying that we see diversity in unity or vice versa, or like including duality into the non-dual (since the absolute includes everything, it has to include duality also).

I myself, within the limits of my understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings, challenge that view, believing that is sill a layer of mind (albeit very very subtle) that eventually needs to go in the final stage (the ajata point of view maybe?…).
"Coming back” could mean having glimpses (the 179 degree turn, but not the full 180) and then the mind return, but “thinner”.

In terms of alma-vichara it is true that looking or investigating the ego (snake) we are looking at oneself (rope) but clouded by the veil of error and superimposition, although nevertheless the direction (inwards) si still the right one. Ego’s symptoms (like anger as the above example mentioned by Zubin) are but an illusory projection not worth “looking or witnessing” at.

I was wondering, Michael, if you have (from your experience or according to Bhagavan's teachings) any comments on this topic as presented in this posting?

Thank you.

Zubin said...

Mouna,

Since you mentioned my comment, let me clarify something: I can see the Self, that one thing infusing everything, in forms or feelings whenever I stop thoughts and look deeply at something, but I am not realized nor liberated.

I've spoken to a few people who say the same thing. I don't think it is anything special or even a 'checkpoint' along the journey.

My vasanas are still here, as strong as ever, and that is why, for the past couple of weeks and for as long as necessary, I'll throw myself fully into self-enquiry as a practice. Nothing else has worked to fully end this identification, and so I am fully trusting Ramana's teachings.

Mouna said...

Zubin, greetings

Thank you for clarifying but yes, I know/knew what you mean/t. I only used your posting as platform to ask Michael on the subject because there are many people these days (teachers and seekers) that actually take this state you are describing as self-realization or liberation.

Zubin said...

Hi Mouna,

Yes I was clarifying for everyone, since I didn't want anyone to think that what I was describing was special. If one asks "What am I?" and can feel I AM as a response, then I think one can also look at anything and ask "What is that?" and feel the same response (I AM/presence/awareness/Self) emanating from that form, thought, or feeling.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger 1:
I will try to point out what I see as similarities and differences between 'K's approach, Michael's approach and Bhagavan. Just different characteristics, no criticism: everyone is right just from different perspectives.

Michael says "The observer is the observed only when we observe ourself alone".
Bhagavan says "...body consciousness makes no difference..." (Godman, 'Be as you are' Chapter on Samadhi.)

Michael's approach has some attributes that are not explicitly detailed above (Michael, please elaborate or correct me):
In the July blog on Asparsa Yoga Michael says:
1: if our entire attention is fixed keenly and steadily on ourself, we will not even notice whether our eyes are open or closed
2: so a world will always seem to exist so long as we seem to be an ego
3: the world will not disappear entirely until our ego subsides completely


One significant difference between "K"s approach and Michael's is the definition of "ego" and what is excluded in spiritual practice.
Michael defines "ego" as anything other than Self. The projection of the body & world are ego and are excluded during inquiry.
"K" is trying to exclude just ego attachment & identification to objects during waking state, but not literally excluding the world or body.

Bhagavan states 'for the Jnani "His 'I' includes the body"'. (Talks).

These two approaches exemplify two different aspects that Bhagavan describes in "Talks":
Bhagavan says his state is Sahaja and alternating between nirvikalpa (no world, no body) and savikalpa (awareness of world and body, but totally free, no attachment). Bhagavan also uses the words internal samadhi (no world, no body) and external samadhi (world & body in awareness but in freedom). Bhagavan not only discusses these states but demonstrates them: he was either in the world communicating, eating etc... or inwardly focused to the exclusion of the world.

Michael is aiming for "internal samadhi" or nirvikalpa with no awareness of body or world: everything excluded except "I".
"K" is aiming for "external samadhi" or savikalpa, non-attachment, non-identification, freedom... but awareness of world & body continuing: the ability to act in the apparent world retained during samadhi.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger 2:
From another angle: Regarding when 'K' says: "Observer is the Observed, Experiencer is the experienced": I found a new deeper level of understanding when reading Osho recently: Osho says "When 'K' says 'observer is the observed' what he means is as follows". Osho says he got this from Gurdjieff who got it from Patanjali.

In duality-waking state, we have one arrow of attention going to the outward world, that is towards objects in the world including internal mental or emotional objects.
In this exercise, our aim is to make this arrow of attention 'double arrowed' with a barb on each end. We are aware internally as well as externally at the same time. Attentive on our inward essence as well as outward.

Quoting Osho: "Gurdjieff used to tell his disciples, 'When the arrow of your consciousness becomes double-pointed, when your consciousness begins to flower at both ends, you will become an enlightened being.'”

This tends towards savikalpa or external samadhi at the advanced level.

Michael's approach is single arrow of attention directed inward to 'I'.

Depending on a persons style, "K" may have useful tips about being attentive on Self during activity. And Michael has useful tips about being attentive excluding everything.

Michael translates Bhagavan:
"Grasping form, the formless phantom-ego rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows ..."

"K" explains how to be in the world, aware of the body and world WITHOUT GRASPING FORM. How to be inwardly attentive and discover our true Self while in the world. The technique is NOT a surface level analysis of the mind. Rather it is going straight to the source, being attentive on Self during activity.

Various supporting quotes from Bhagavan from "Talks":
M:If the eyes are closed, it is nirvikalpa; if open, it is (though differentiated, still in absolute repose) savikalpa. The ever-present state is the natural state sahaja.

M:Merging in Reality and remaining unaware of the world is nirvikalpa samadhi.

M:External samadhi is holding on to the Reality while witnessing the world, without reacting to it from within. There is the stillness of a waveless ocean. The internal samadhi involves loss of body- consciousness.

D.: But you said just before that the Jnani says “I am the body.”
M.: Yes. His ‘I’ includes the body. For there cannot be anything apart from ‘I’ for him. If the body falls away there is no loss for the ‘I’. ‘I’ remains the same.

D.: Is loss of body-consciousness a perquisite to the attainment of sahaja samadhi?
M.: What is body-consciousness? Analyse it. There must be a body and consciousness limited to it which together make up body- consciousness. These must lie in another Consciousness which is absolute and unaffected. Hold it. That is samadhi.
It exists when there is no body-consciousness because it transcends the latter, it also exists when there is the body-consciousness. So it is always there.
What does it matter whether body-consciousness is lost or retained? When lost it is internal samadhi: when retained, it is external samadhi. That is all.
A person must remain in any of the six samadhis so that sahaja samadhi may be easy for him.



Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...



@Sanjay Lohia

‘This simple nature of our ego — to seem to exist when we look elsewhere, but to disappear when we look at ourself — […] If we understand and are firmly convinced by it, we do not need to understand anything else'.

"when we look at ourself" is the practice right? I believe this is explicit, but in my opinion not explicit enough. How do we look at ourselves?! We may say "just try it" or "turn towards yourself"... but again this is explicit, but not explicit enough.

A much better explanation (as words can convey it and clarify it) would be for example "as soon as you are aware of thoughts turn your attention to what perceves them", or "what is aware of thoughts? turn you attention to that", or "the practice is to be aware of what is aware (of thoughts)", or "you are observing your thoughts right, so there is an observes, turn you attention to what observes the thoughs", or "try to watch what is watching the thoughts" etc...

You might say this is the same pratice, of course it is, but "look at yourself" lacks sufficient clarity in my opionion. That's why I see people in comments here, who after a lot of time and reading, still don't know what to do... (my personal opinion, the terms used by Michael lack sufficient clarity)

Peace,
Dragos

Sanjay Lohia said...

We must live in this world like nattan-kal (a standing stone fixed at a road junction) ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-attention

Sadhu Om: Once a PWD inspector asked Bhagavan, ‘How can we live a pure life in this world?’ and he replied, ‘You know the nattan-kal [a standing stone fixed at a road junction] we have in our villages [in the Madurai district]. See how many uses it has: villagers place their head-loads on it when they take rest, cows use it as a scratching-post, betel-chewers wipe their surplus chunnam [lime-paste] on it, and others spit on it. We must live in this world like those nattan-kal’.

What does Bhagavan mean when he says, 'We must live in this world like those nattan-kal’. I think what he means is that we should let others trample over us, but should not let our ego rise to complain about many injustices done to us. In other words, we should stand in silence like a nattan-kal, and should let the world do whatever it wants to do to us. Or we can also say that we should remain unmoving - poised in ourself - while we experience the various pleasant and unpleasant fruits of our karmas.

I hope my above inference is correct, if not I would request Michael to point out my error.

Bob - P said...


Roger said:

{In this exercise, our aim is to make this arrow of attention 'double arrowed' with a barb on each end. We are aware internally as well as externally at the same time. Attentive on our inward essence as well as outward.]

Roger this is very similar to Douglas Harding's approach / practical experiments to put attention on the 1st person present tense 24 hours a day during waking.

I found Douglas very helpful on my own journey as he doesn't use words to describe the practise of self attention as it is very hard because it is beyond words.

Bhagavan use to say "Do you need to be shown into your own home?".

Douglas provides a non verbal description.

However Douglas didn't explain waking, dream and deep sleep thoroughly enough for me. He didn't buy into what Bhagavan taught that dreamless sleep is were we experience ourself alone and waking and dream is created and experienced by the ego. He preferred to think and focus his teaching on the waking state. He also believed once you understood what he taught that is it so to speak. Nothing else to do apart from live from the 1st person and use 2 way looking so everything is a reminder to return to the 1st person and live from there.

My understanding is Bhagavan would say what Douglas takes to be our real nature is nothing but the false 1st person, the ego and he has mistaken the ego to be what we really are the non dual self-aware being. So what Douglas says to be the truth Bhagavan I think would say it is just a means to put attention on the false (The limited ego).

However regardless of Douglas's beliefs his approach to help me attend to myself I personaly found very helpful.

This was before I found Bhagavan who's teaching resonates with me more than any other teacher on my own personal journey. Plus Bhagavan answers all my questions so simply and it makes perfect sense to me. So Bhagavan is my teacher but I do still use some of Harding's experiments to help me put my attention on myself the 1st person / the subject. I find them very effective.

The rest of Hardings work I personally don't find useful because it doesn't make sense to me. I do think he is confusing the false to be the truth or the ego to be ourself as we really are.

If you look into his work and do the experiments it will either seem to be complete rubbish and totally useless or it will be a help but to what extent I don't honestly know.

In appreciation
Bob

P.s - Not all but most of the other teachers I found including a lot mentioned here now and again had a lot of products to sell (lol)!!






aha-nokku said...

Michael,
we often read: This ego seems to exist and to be ourself only when we are aware of anything other than ourself, but when we turn back to look at ourself,...(for instance)... it takes flight...
Why must we turn back and not forth/forward ?
The adverb 'back' means
a.) in the opposite direction from the one that one is facing or travelling towards b.) so as to return to an earlier or normal position or condition
c.) at a place previously left or mentioned
d.) in or into the past.
If I move back , I move in the opposite direction to the one in which I am facing or in which I was moving before.
If someone or something is back in a particular state, they were in that state before and are now in it again.

So 'turn back' as an intransitive verb-phrase seems to mean generally to teturn to the starting point or to go (or cause someone or something to go) back in the direction in which they have come.
What is the reason to turn 'back' and not 'forth/forward' ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We must unfailingly follow the path shown by the guru ~*~ extract from the article The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention

Sadhu Om: The influence of his [Bhagavan's] silence is of course dependent upon [the receptivity of] us, the receiver set. As he says in Nan Yar? (Who am I?), we must unfailingly follow the path shown by the guru. We must be sincere in our love for him. He says that he is self-shining in each one of us as ‘I’, so if we really love him, we will naturally and happily attend to this ‘I’. When we are thus in his hands, he will make us do whatever is necessary. When we should attend to self, he will make us do so, and when we need some other experiences, he will provide them also.

Reflection: Sri Sadhu Om says, ‘When we are thus in his hands, he will make us do whatever is necessary. When we should attend to self, he will make us do so’. This portion needs a deeper manana. Yes, when we should attend to self, he will make us do so. This is partially true, but without our love and effort to attend to self, even Bhagavan will not be able to do much.

Sadguru provides us with the external circumstances which are most conducive to our sadhana - that is, he makes available his teachings to us; he brings us in contact with his devotees whose become channels of his grace (which in our case is Michael), and so on. Of course, he is always there internally, and his pull of self-love is always attracting us towards ourself. So in a way Bhagavan is doing the sadhana for us, but as he says in paragraph twelve of Nan Yar:

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown.

Therefore, our part is to ‘walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown’, and the path our guru has shown us is only the path of nirantara atma-vichara.

jyothi said...

Sanjay,
if I could shift the burden of my vast vasanas on to Arunachala, he (that mountain) would grunt and grain. Its height would thereby decrease by half to some more of 400 metres. Although I put my trust in Bhagavan's grace to desolve my dense ignorance gradually till its complete annihilation.

Siva-sayujya said...

Michael,
persever in trying to be constantly self-attentive and cling tenaciously to svarupa-dhyana is only possible if we would have sufficient genuine love to be aware of ourself as we actually are.
As you write countless desires undermine my attempts to persist in trying to be self-attentive. But how to cultivate the only required wholehearted, overwhelming and all-consuming love (bhakti) to be aware of ourself alone ? Much love is yet necessary to persever in trying to turn our attention back to ourself, the one to whom every thing else appears.

(When you write) that the ego wants to and tries to overcome all the defects I do not uunderstand because the ego is on the contrary pursuing under all circumstances its own survival.
I agree fully that we can never conquer our mind and all its defects so long as we remain as this ego. But how to eradicate the root of all our defects, our ego ?
For the persisting use of our only weapon for destroying this ego - that is attending to ourself alone as much as possible - we need generate again much love. How can just an illusory phantom suppress permanently our germinating love to be alone what we really are ?
Fortunately Bhagavan assures us that by steadfast refusal to ever lose hope and tenacious perseverance to be self-attentive as much as possible we will certainly be reformed sooner or later, ceasing forever to rise again as this ego and instead just remaining as the pure self-awareness that we have always been.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Jyothi,
I like that "vast vasanas...". Whenever I hear talk of Arunachala, I wonder if I could substitute mountains in my local area even though they are not mentioned in Hindu mythology ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Stick to one guru ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention

Sometime back we had a discussion on whether we should stick to one guru, or follow the best of many gurus. Sivanarul and a few others felt that it is best to follow many gurus. Sivanarul also implied that those following only one guru get into conflict with others, whereas those who follow many gurus are free from such conflict, because they accept various teachings and are able to reconcile all, and so on. Sri Sadhu Om spoke on this topic on 2nd January 1978, and this was recorded by Michael. This is what he said:

The aim of all yogas is to make the mind one-pointed, so that it has the strength to abide firmly in its source. This is why I always recommend people to stick to one guru and wholeheartedly follow his teaching. Even if the guru is a bogus one, so long as your guru-bhakti is sincere, your one-pointedness of mind will soon give you the clarity to see that he is bogus. This is why Bhagavan criticised people going to many mahatmas. For example, in verse 121 of Guru Vacaka Kovai he says:

You who desire to see with wonder that mahatma and this mahatma! If you investigate and experience the nature of your own mahatma [great self] within you, [you will see that] every mahatma is only [that] one [your own self].

If you meet real mahatma, he will teach you that atma in you is the same as the atma in all mahatmas, and that it is therefore futile to go to any other mahatmas. One-pointed guru-bhakti is essential for the earnest practice of self-attention.

Conclusion: Following a mixture of many gurus is sure to cause confusion, and will in all likelihood keeps us away from our goal.

Sivanarul said...

To Sanjay's comment of what Sri Sadhu OM said about sticking with one guru:

In the comment, the guru is implied to be the one with the body because going to many mahatmas means going to many "bodies". In various other contexts, it is repeatedly said that Bhagavan is not the body. If Bhagavan is the underlying Self and not the body, aren't all mahatmas, Bhagavan himself? So is anyone really going to anyone else other than Bhagavan? To treat Bhagavan as a body when it suits a point and then discard it when it does not suit a point, is inconsistent.

From my perspective, Bhagavan includes the body he inhabited while embodied, his actions, his samadhi, his writings and of course the Self. (In other words, Self contains all of it). Ishvara/Grace/Guru who is both inside and outside, guides each aspirant to what is best for the aspirant at that moment.

As I said last time, it has never caused confusion to me. In fact, it has convinced me not to take any theoretical knowledge, whether that be Saiva Siddhantha, Advaita, Buddhism etc as "absolute truths". The way I see it, each offers a facet of reality. The masters who report their experiential reality in words, report a facet of that reality. Don't know whether reality itself imposes this or the masters themselves impose it or both. What reality "really" is will be known when reality is realized.

"Following a mixture of many gurus is sure to cause confusion"

As I said the last time around this topic, it did not cause any confusion to Sri David Godman and Sri Ganesan (Bhagavan's grand nephew) who have followed many teachers. It only causes confusion in the minds of those who are sure it causes confusion in others.

eppodum ulladu said...

Sivanarul,
yes, it is said: from the viewpoint of Bhagavan all is Brahman because there is nothing but Brahman. Although Bhagavan appeared till evening of 14 th April 1950 to all people also in form as a body - in order to be able to communicate with his devotees and aspirants on a human level - from that evening onwards he did not cease to be nothing but Brahman.

Sri Arunachala Tattuvam said...

Roger,
Arunachala is not only mentioned in Hindu mythology but is seen also by Bhagavan Sri Ramana as manifestation and form of Siva. The meaning and real significance of the saying that Annamalai or Arunachala is the center of the world will not confide in our mind.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna,
You say There is a thread of thought these days in spiritual teachings related to Bhagavan and Vedanta that indicates that after realization/liberation, one starts to see the “self in everything”. Some people even call it “the return to the marketplace”. A little bit like saying that we see diversity in unity or vice versa, or like including duality into the non-dual (since the absolute includes everything, it has to include duality also).

I've brought this up earlier: stages of unfoldment after initial Self Realization. Michael responded that it was not possible: there is only Self, how could it evolve further?

I believe Michael is right from a perspective. But many teachers / traditions speak of stages after initial enlightenment, although it is so advanced that not much is said.

I like this concise vedic description:
1: I am THAT: Full enlightenment: realization of Self as unbounded, immortal etc...
2: Thou art THAT: the realization of Self as Unbounded extends to what is perceived locally.
3: All this is THAT: the realization of Self as Unbounded extends further to include the universe as Self.

Some say many years passed between these stages. So Michael's perspective seems correct: initially "I am THAT" or Self as unbounded is final, that is the absolute, no further development is possible as far as Self. However.. it appears that this final unchanging state can extend to include the perceived creation as unbounded Self.

But... these stages are with respect to Manifest Creation. Whereas Michael and his philosophies are primarily concerned with the Unmanifest.

It would appear that the other side (i.e. after the death of the ego) is far far more vast than this limited egoic world.

let there be more light said...

Roger and Mouna,
what is the use of speculation about a state "after realisation" and to whom ?
Is not the self always real and therefore ever realised ?

let there be more light said...

Roger and Mouna, may your inquisitiveness put up with the following statement ?:
God is everything and everything is God.

Mouna said...

Roger and “let there be more light”,

Roger, I’m on my way out so no time to address your comment as I want to. Later will be.

“let there be more light”, a quick response to your question as per my understanding:
You say: "what is the use of speculation about a state "after realisation" and to whom?
It is useful to avoid delusion. If I tell you that “after realization” there will be no more sensations, perceptions, thoughts or feelings even when the sense of doership is not there (like deep sleep but never coming back or ego rising again) then, as long as there are all these “experiential” dualistic factors, as illusory as they might be and even without sense of doership, that is not final liberation, from the point of view I just described.
Again, it helps to avoid delusion about "one’s own” enlightened state of affairs.

Is not the self always real and therefore ever realised ?
Absolutely yes, but aso there is a computer (or smartphone) in front of you, right, where you are reading these lines, correct?
And you are experiencing that, correct? Well, according to the sages that came before us (if there is a before or after) this is all an error/belief/snake superimposed on that silent reality/absolute/rope that make us take this as existing in reality, and we can’t see the illusory nature of it. As Bhagavan said, is not a matter or “realize” the real but rather “un-realize” the unreal.

”...may your inquisitiveness put up with the following statement ?:
God is everything and everything is God.”

God, Ishavara is not the same as Brahman… God functions in the realm of drishti-srishti or mind projection. Brahman is the ajata realm, where nothing was created, ever.

In any case, everything is concept, in that I agree with you.


Mouna said...

Hi Roger,

You say Michael said that unfoldment after initial Self Realization is not possible and you said also that he says this “from a perspective”. And then you said that many teachers / traditions speak of stages after initial enlightenment. Who do you trust best?

First of all, so many people say so many things these days that go unverified by our reason, or our guts or by our own experience. From aliens abducting people and showing them the mysteries of the universe to ideas about enlightenment and the hangover aftermath, the fact that is written in an old (or new) book, or seen in a YouTube video, or heard at a satsang doesn’t grant any stamp of “truth” to anything. Only after investigation and testing from many angles (the scientific method) one can start to see for oneself what is useful for oneself or not.

I trust Michael among many others because throughout all these years he has demonstrated me the clearest understanding of Bhagavan teachings. And watching his talks in London I feel that what he writes “matches” his experience and understanding. Everything he commented on, turned out to be logical, experientially verifiable and possible in my manana and useful in my nididhyasana.

At the same time you start saying: “So Michael's perspective seems correct: initially "I am THAT" or Self as unbounded is final, that is the absolute, no further development is possible as far as Self. but then you go out saying: "However.. it appears that this final unchanging state can extend to include the perceived creation as unbounded Self."!!!
What does it means “it appears”? who said that? well, yes, all these other people talking about “final realization” and then “coming back”…

Let me ask you this, were you ever able to come back to one of your dreams after you woke up, in exactly the same conditions as before and continue where you left over?

You had the answer in what you wrote before, you said "these stages are with respect to Manifest Creation”…
According to Bhagavan final teaching and state, this Manifest Creation is the biggest hoax of all!

And last but not least, you said “"It would appear that the other side (i.e. after the death of the ego) is far far more vast than this limited egoic world."
There is no "other side” or “after the death of the ego”, this is it, the incommensurable and borderless whole, but we do not to acknowledge it in the first place because we are veiled and mesmerized by our dreams and beliefs...

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,
I looked at Douglas Harding on line, the "mirror exercise". His descriptions seem a bit complicated for me... but I have already found similar exercises I like. I enjoy the "mirror" exercise in a way: if you have found a way to have attention in the internal direction: look into a mirror: normally the attention is associated with the image in the mirror. But.. if you can switch attention within, the inward attention becomes primary and you withdraw from the mirror image so it becomes secondary: a distinct and interesting sensation.

Your comment is interesting: "Bhagavan would say what Douglas takes to be our real nature is nothing but the false 1st person"

If I am understanding you... I agree. These methods do not take us directly into our absolute real nature. I also don't believe Michael / Bhagavan's method takes you into your final real nature by your own effort. Right?

I believe that there is a phase where we have to search earnestly to find whatever techniques and teachers resonate with us. But.. at some point, the application of the technique becomes virtually effortless and the result is simply abiding in stillness or as close to "our nature" as we can come using subtle effort... all the time? But this is not the final state.

I believe that the final state (turiya, Self Realization etc...) is mainly the result of passionate effortless resting in stillness, intent on "I" (by whatever name) and then finally... grace. Rather than the adjectives used here "kill, destroy, annihilate" the ego which imply force, it is effortless abiding in "I am". At least, that is what it seems to me. Although... I imagine it could be different for others.

Bob says: Not all but most of the other teachers I found including a lot mentioned here now and again had a lot of products to sell (lol)!!

Yeah, maybe you mean the crop of non-duality or satsang quasi-gurus? I had a similar experience with Maharish Mahesh Yogi and TM years ago. He was the real deal, but IMO a business man who built an empire of billions of dollars. Expensive techniques, but it harnessed peoples egos into spiritual practice.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger 1
Hi Mouna, Sivanarul,

Mouna says: ... you said that many teachers / traditions speak of stages after initial enlightenment. Who do you trust best?
My teacher Edward Tarabilda (the master of archetype) says:
For more discussion of ordinary and higher states of consciousness see the writings of Saint John of the Cross, Rudolph Steiner, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and Da Free John among many others. Probably the most complete and scientific description of the higher states of consciousness comes from the tradition known as Kashmir Shaivism and one of its most enlightened exponents, Lakshman Jee. His book entitled "Kashmir Shaivism: The Secret Supreme" is a most worthy commentary on this tradition.

I just ordered it from Amazon. Delightfully, these conversations force me to research and learn! Thanks!

Kashmir Shaivism: Can we draw on Sivanarul?
Regarding the three higher states of consciousness:
The description I gave was from MMY, his pointing to the great saying "I am That, Thou art That, All this is That".
Rudolph Steiner gave the following names: imaginative awareness, inspirational awareness, intuitive awareness.
MMY called them: Cosmic Consciousness, God Consciousness, Unity Consciousness.
Seems like Aurobindo had his own mapping etc...

As an example, I'll quote a section from Barry Longs book "From Here To Reality" describing his enlightenment experience with reference a further higher state:
The pinnacle of my realization of individual consciousness happened nearly forty years ago. It was during my transcendental realisation. This went on for three weeks and an extended account written down shortly afterwards in in my autobiography.
I was not alseep or in a trance. I was lying down completely awake and focused within. My physical senses were performing normally, autonomously.
In another room was the divine master-consciousness in the form of the Blessed John who had come briefly into that body from deep within the unconscious to reach me.
Suddenly I am the Supreme Being, supreme consciousness. I see existence like a tiny sphere far, far away and start physically laughing because I know that nothing in existence - no sensory effort and not even love - can reach me or be what I am. I am above all. I am all. There can be nothing apart from me.
At the time and for many years after I assumed that no deeper realisation of God was possible. I was correct in that no deeper realisation of individual conciousness of God is possible. But I was also wrong.
What I didn't realise was the significance of existence being there at all in the realisation. The union with that knowledge too nearly three decades.


So the first stage of enlightenment MMY calls "Cosmic Consciousness". The realization of Self as unbounded. MMY's description exactly matches one from the ancient veda, and it matches BL's comment above about "see existence like a tiny sphere, far far away... nothing in existence can reach me". And this matches my experience exactly from a few glimpses of brief seconds over the years. And.. it is clear from this for me that although the Self is unbounded in this state, there is further possible development in that although Self is unbounded, perceived creation is not Self... yet. Although... I have no experiences of the highest stages.

Roger Isaacs said...

Roger 2
Some quotes from Edward:
The principle of Soul is fully realized in the 5th state of consciousness sometimes called Cosmic Consciousness. The principle of Intellect is fully realized in the 6th state of consciousness, sometimes called God or Celestial Consciousness. In this state, the "Devas" (principles of creative intelligence) become lively in our awareness and we see how they interrelate in weaving the cosmos and the beings in it. Finally, in the 7th and highest state of Consciousness, called Unity Consciousness, the One is experienced and lived.

Self-reliance culminates in Cosmic Consciousness. After that, it is understood that systematic methods to develop further higher states of awareness, as we commonly think of them, cease. We begin to seek states of consciousness which we can no longer adequately describe, nor use precise methodology to attain. However, the above statement is different than saying we can totally rule out variations in approach in accessing these higher states, based upon each individual's predominant strength of personality. All I am saying is that these variations in approach are no longer subject to adequate conceptualization or description -- at least at our present level of evolution.

In Cosmic Consciousness we reach threeness and bridge time. In God-Consciousness we reach twoness and bridge the subtle psychological space between the Lover and the Beloved, between God and ourselves. In Unity Consciousness we bridge causality and the faint distinction (not a spatial division) which still exists between God and ourselves. The first realization is an inner, subjective one; the next is an outer, objective one and the third is the unification of the inner and the outer. It involves a certain resolution of the process of knowing and is the final enlightenment possible at this stage in human evolution.

Thus, the three great questions of life are answered: 1) Who am I?; 2) What am I and what is the world?; and 3) What is the relationship between the world and me?


You say: What does it means “it appears”? who said that?
I said it. :-)
"appears" means that I have some intellectual understanding but cannot confirm from my own experience. Just letting you know that I know that I don't know. :-)

You say: Let me ask you this, were you ever able to come back to one of your dreams after you woke up...

Not sure I understand the relevance of the question. I think the answer is "no".

you say: "According to Bhagavan's final teaching and state, this Manifest Creation is the biggest hoax of all!"

I see Michael's reluctance to include the Manifest in his philosophy as a weakness of sorts. It means his philosophy is only a partial explanation. Most seriously, we are at the stage of duality in a physical world, and his philosophy considers where we are just a hoax. Not a very eloquent explanation. :-)
Rather arrogant to consider all of manifest creation a "hoax" ? :-)


Mouna said...

Hi Roger,
I think at this point I'll leave this exchange I am having with you.
As I told you before, I am not very interested in other practices or philosophies, neither endless back and forth misunderstandings of one another.
Good luck and be well,
M

Sanjay Lohia said...

The guru is always looking at us ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention

Bhagavan says in paragraph twelve of Nan Yar?:

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown.

Commenting on this, Sri Sadhu Om said:

In Nan Yar? Bhagavan says that those who earn the gracious glance of the guru will surely be saved, but the guru’s glance is not just the glance of his physical eyes. If we wish to know if someone is looking at us, we must look at them, and since self is the guru, we must turn selfward to see if self is looking at us. Indeed the guru is always looking at us, so in order to be saved we only have to attend to him, who shines as ‘I’.

Conclusion: I used to wonder what Bhagavan meant when he said: ‘so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken’. Sri Sadhu Om has beautifully explained this, that guru’s glance means the presence of our true self within us, which is always looking at us, as if eagerly waiting for our return glance back towards itself. Only when we look ‘eye’ to ‘eye’ with our guru (true self), will we become prisoners of our guru’s gaze and this gaze with sooner rather than later destroy us.

let there be more light said...

Mouna,
your decision to leave your recent exchange with Roger is a good one.
He seems to be a typical "much speaker" who what is more lacks ability to distinguish (between usefull and useless practices). He does not have it easy. But sooner ot later he may learn from his experiences.

Viveka Vairagya said...

David Godman's 2nd Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Check out www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyC3yBRsBt8

He mainly talks about Maurice Frydman, Muruganar and Mastan, with quite a few insights thrown in - worth watching

Sanjay Lohia said...

Fighting to conquer our visaya-vasanas by vigilantly watching our ego is the real spiritual life ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention (date 23rd February 1978)

Sri Sadhu Om: However, we need not worry about whether we will overcome our foes (our visaya-vasanas), because as Krishna replied when Arjuna asked him how he could hope to defeat his own archery gurus, ‘They are already killed by me. Fight your fight, and if you die in the process, what is the loss?’ This is the real spiritual life, fighting to conquer our visaya-vasanas by vigilantly watching their root, the ego, and thereby preventing it from rising. In comparison to this, posing as a great guru, getting up on platforms, giving beautiful lectures, blessings, vibhuti and so on, is all mere child’s play. We are not expected to serve Bhagavan outwardly or to propagate his teachings, but only to keep the fire of our own bhakti burning in our heart by constantly trying to attend only to ourself, the first person.

Reflections: Sooner or later, the supreme power of grace will make all our vasanas perish. Then why should we fight to conquer our visaya-vasanas? Likewise, the fate of Kauravas had been pre-decided by Sri Krishna even before the battle of Mahabharata began. Then why was Arjuna advised to fight the battle and kill his enemies, as if he was to do all these killings by his free-will?

Perhaps, the supreme power of grace does not want to take credit for its acts. Perhaps, we are told to fight all our battles as an example to others, and so on. I would be glad if Michael wishes to correct or add to the reasons: why are we advised to fight all these battles when the results are already pre-decided.

Just one point: our worldly battles and their results are pre-decided according to our destiny. Though our spiritual result is also pre-decided, because sooner or later we will surrender ourself entirely and experience ourself as we really are, but here we have a choice: either we can accelerate the progress towards our spiritual goal by our earnest sadhana, or we can delay our progress by getting lost in various worldly pursuits.

Now on the topic of propagation of Bhagavan’s teachings: if at all we want to propagate Bhagavan’s teachings most effectively, we can do this by simply trying to remain silent. Silence in this context means mental silence. Another name of Bhagavan is silence; his teaching is also silence. Therefore if we want to propagate Bhagavan’s teachings, our silent influence on others (if at all we consider that others exist) will have a much greater impact on others that our words can ever have. However we should remember Sri Sadhu Om’s advice: ‘we are not expected to serve Bhagavan outwardly or to propagate his teachings’, because Bhagavan is fully capable of propagating his teachings wherever he feels it is necessary.

Of course, we have to learn his teachings through written and spoken words, because we are not receptive to this silence, but sooner or later we have to reject all words and even thoughts, and merge in silence.

Bob - P said...

Yes Roger I agree my understanding is if we turn our attention towards ourself intensely enough grace will take over and we will be unable to turn outwards again. So our practise of being self attentive will take us so far then grace finishes the job so to speak. My understanding is grace is turning our attention within and maya is turning our attention outward. The more we turn our attention within the more receptive we will be to grace pulling our attention inwards. The more we attend to things other than ourself by turning our attention outwards we are less receptive to grace.

As Michael often says the teaching is so simple all we need to do is trust Bhagavan and turn within. We just need to keenly attend to ourself and look at ourself very carefully and investigate to see what we are. Michael's blog is a invaluable resource and a priceless reminder for us to turn within and attend to our self as is Arunachala and Bhagavan's human form (picture / video footage etc etc ) and of course his teaching.

But sometimes understanding what it means to investigate our self or be self attentive is hard to explain or describe. Lots of teachers describe the practise with different words. Just as some like Douglas Harding don't use words but more of a non verbal experimental approach. But once we understand what it means to be self attentive and know how to practise self investigation we don't need techniques' or experiments and we don't need words or to ask ourself the question "Who am I?"

We just need to be quiet and do it.

Bhagavan has kindly show us a path which is the solution to our problem of self forgetfulness. It is a very dangerous path for the ego and the person it takes itself to be along with everything else it has created. It is a path of death for the false. The hard part is having the courage and the love to follow it all the way to end because there is no going back for the ego. It is on a suicide march.

I hope I cultivate more courage and more love to do just that.

All the best with your practise Roger.
Take care.
Bob










Sanjay Lohia said...

Why should we take interest in or be ambitious for this transient and futile life? ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention

Sri Sadhu Om: Whenever you have some moments free, reflect: ‘What is this ego-life? Now I take this body to be ‘I’ and this world to be real. I feel attachment to things, people and circumstances, but I have only experienced this life for a certain number of years, and some years from now I will cease experiencing it forever. Therefore why should I take interest in or be ambitious for this transient and futile life? All these things seem to exist only because I exist, so should I not try to find out the truth behind this ‘I’?’ The more you reflect in such a way, the more you will lose interest in your life and the more you will wish to remain just as ‘I am’.

Reflection: Why do we take interest in this transient and futile life? Why do we have so many desires and attachments? Why do we take this world to be real? We take this world to be real because we take our ego (or this person) to be real, and since we are part of this world we also take this world to be real. Thus we are attached to this so-called ‘real’ person, and this so-called ‘real’ world.

However, when we do enough sravana (reading) and manana (reflection) of Bhagavan’s teachings, we become convinced, at least intellectually, that this world could be a projection of our mind, just like our dream is the projection of our mind. However, this theoretical understanding is of little value so long as our ego exists to project one and dream after another. Therefore, if we want to wake up from all our dreams, we must investigate ourself (the dreamer), and once our ego is annihilated by such self-investigation all our dreams will also end forever.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Nididhyasana (the practice of self-attentiveness) is a hundred thousand times more efficacious than any other sadhana

Sankara says in Vivekacudamani[verse 364], a hundred times better than sravana is manana, but one lakh (a hundred thousand) times better than manana is nididhyasana (contemplation), which is just remaining attentively as ‘I am’.

Reflection: Even among the devotees of Bhagavan, most of us are more interested in worshipping him in one way or another – either through puja to his form, or by singing songs in his praise, and so on. Likewise, many of devotees do read Bhagavan’s teachings, but they either stop at sravana or at manana, but only a very few try to sincerely practise nididhyasana (self-attentiveness) in a sustained way. There are a few, like me, who do try to practise self-attentiveness, but spend relatively much more time in sravana and manana, whereas once we have understood the practice of self-attentiveness, it should be just: practice, practice, practice. . . .

That is why Sankara’s verse 364 of vivekacudamani is extremely important. It emphatically reminds us of the paramount importance of self-attentiveness. To illustrate their relative importance, we can write as follows:

sravana: 1
manana: 100
nididhyasana: 10000000

We can clearly see the number of extra zeros in front of nididhyasana. This indicates its relative importance and efficacy.



Bob - P said...

Sanjay thank you for all your recent posts quoting Sri Sadhu Om and your own reflections.
They are always very helpful to me and I am sure for other friends too.
In appreciation.
Bob

Viveka Vairagya said...

Adyashanti on the Basics of His Teaching

Check out www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhdFmgb5xYg - well worth listening to

careful observer said...

Sanjay,
are you reading from the right side ? I can clearly see seven zeros not in front but only behind (the numeral 1 and) the headword 'nididhyasana'. Or does my mind provide a wrong perception ?
Nevertheless, thanks for quoting Sankara's advice on the paramount importance of practising nididhyasana.

Sanjay Lohia said...

careful observer, I wrote, ‘nididhyasana: 10000000, and indicated that extra zeros after nididhyasana indicate the relative importance and efficacy of nididhyasana in comparison to sarvana: 1, and manana: 100. Yes, as you rightly point out, right after nididhyasana is ‘1’ and the eight ‘0s’ only follow ‘1’. But as we generally miss out ‘1’ (ourself) when we count (or experience) others, it may not be inaccurate to say, as I said: ‘We can clearly see the number of extra zeros in front of nididhyasana [ignoring '1' before the '0s']. This indicates its relative importance and efficacy’.

It may be useful here to read the parable of the missing tenth man often quoted by Bhagavan, and elaborated here by Sri Sadhu Om:

Sri Bhagavan cites the parable of the ‘lost’ tenth man [in our instance the missing ‘1’]. Ten foolish men forded a river, and on reaching the other side they wished to make sure that all had crossed safely. So all of them began to count the number of persons on the shore, but since each one forgot to count himself [number ‘1’] they all counted only nine. Believing that one of their companions must have drowned, they all began to weep, until a passing wayfarer who understood the situation asked each one to count himself, whereupon they realized that they were always ten men, both during the time of their seeming loss and after their ‘finding’ the missing man. Similarly, when we attain Self-knowledge we will realize that non-duality (advaita) is always the sole truth, both during the time of our seeming ignorance (when non-duality appears to be lost and duality appears to prevail) and after our ‘attaining’ Self, the non-dual reality.

Conclusion: So we always ignore ourself (one) and pay attention to others (zeros), in other words we are always negligently self-aware. Therefore, I was just following our this tradition when I missed mentioning ‘one’, and only mentioned the ‘seven zeros’ which followed ‘one’:)

maya said...

"Conclusion: Following a mixture of many gurus is sure to cause confusion, and will in all likelihood keeps us away from our goal."

Just because one goes to many Guru's doesn't mean he has to follow all. There are couple of distinctions
a) Taking a specific person as a Guru and following his/her teaching
b) Going to imbibe the presence of or "sannidhi" of a realized soul.

Almost every scripture says that Satsang or being in the presence of a "jnani" is good. Bhagavan himself has said that. Now I know in this blog it is generally said that attentive to oneself is the best satsang, but how many can do that. A jnani's presence as well as Samadhi's has the effect of quieting one's mind with least effort, so there is nothing wrong in paying visits to many Jnanis if one believes a person is self realized.

One can still follow the teaching of one guru yet take advantage of the stillness in the presence of any Jnani. There are many like me who only see similarities in the teachings of many teachers. Just because one finds difference in every statement wasting his time nitpicking on every word, doesn't mean all should see it the same way. I see absolutely no difference between the teachings of Bhagavan, Ramakrishna, Jiddu, Nisargadatta etc. We just waste time trying to use our intellect to pick holes in every teaching if they even slightly differ in wording from Bhagavan's. As paul Brunton rightly said, "Intellect creates its own problems and becomes miserable trying to solve it."

But if one asks, how we know if a person is self realized, the same can be asked about Bhagavan too. How do we know that for sure?

Also, if attention to oneself is the best and other Jnani's presence does not have any benefit, why did Sadhu Om stay with Bhagavan for 5 years till he passed away? He could have learnt the technique of self inquiry in a few months and could have left. What else was there to learn from Bhagavan as Sadhu Om himself says that attention to oneself is the most important thing. One doesn't need to stick with someone for 5 years to get this message.

kingdom of pramada said...

maya,
are you really in the position to judge Sadhu Om's spiritual ripeness and his ability to practise self-inquiry ?
Paying visits to 'many jnanis' is not possible because they are not many. Many are only the would-be Jnanis/pseudo-Jnanis. As we see the gem of discernment is not given to everyone. Although I have great respect for Paul Brunton:
Did Paul Brunton come to Bhagavan or did Ramana come to Brunton ?
We hope that the sun of pure awareness lets rise the veils of mist and thus do not cover our consciousness still more.

Roger Isaacs said...

"Conclusion: Following a mixture of many gurus is sure to cause confusion, and will in all likelihood keeps us away from our goal."

I thought this was a trick question. Sanjay raised the question but he believes that there could only be one viable guru ever, Bhagavan? So why the question? :-)

This is another one of those questions that we might ask for ourself, but people and circumstances are entirely different, why would we assume that our answer would apply to others?

I suppose there could be "guru shoppers" who don't bother to dig deep enough and are constantly switching... but I don't know any. This statement must be for them.

Did Krishnamurti has any identifiable guru? Some of us benefit from staying with only one guru. But others are very independent and by nature need multiple perspectives. Why would we try to influence or judge others?

Sivanarul said...

"kingdom of pramada said...

maya,
are you really in the position to judge Sadhu Om's spiritual ripeness and his ability to practise self-inquiry ?
Paying visits to 'many jnanis' is not possible because they are not many"

I did not see anything in maya's comment judging about Sri Sadgu OM's spiritual ripeness and ability to practice self-enquiry. All he was saying is that if attention to oneself is the best, there was no need to stay with the "form" of Bhagavan for 5 years till he passed away.

"Many Jnanis" means many forms of Jnani's. There were certainly many forms of Jnani's during Bhagavan's time on earth. One example is that Sri Siva Yogaswami of Sri Lanka visited Bhagavan and they both sat in silence for 1/2 hour without saying anything and then Sri Siva Yogaswami left. Later when asked about it, Siva Yogaswami said that they had exchanged whatever needs to be exchanged.

careful observer said...

Sanjay ,
by the way for those mathematically minded: hundred thousand multiplied with hundred makes ten million, that are only seven zeros -not eight.
Thanks for giving your reflection about the parable of the tenth man.

Mouna said...

"What else was there to learn from Bhagavan as Sadhu Om himself says that attention to oneself is the most important thing. One doesn't need to stick with someone for 5 years to get this message."

when you love someone, you do not need to "learn" anything anymore after you learnt "everything" of and from them, you just hang around your beloved because... you like being around him or her, like a sweet music or poem that even heard for a thousand times one keeps coming back... and coming back..

kingdom of pramada said...

Sivanarul,
as you said, you did not see anything in maya's comment judging...
So you are concluding that what you do not see cannot/would not exist (at all).
Sitting in silence with Bhagavan may have served for exchanging whatever needs to be exchanged. But should we regard/consider all who have been sitting silently with Bhagavan as jnanis ?

Sivanarul said...

Kingdom of pramada,

"So you are concluding that what you do not see cannot/would not exist (at all)."

Where did I conclude that? All I said was I did not see any judging in Maya's comment. How do you arrive from that, what I cannot see would not exist at all?

"Sitting in silence with Bhagavan may have served for exchanging whatever needs to be exchanged. But should we regard/consider all who have been sitting silently with Bhagavan as jnanis ?"

Siva Yogaswami is a well recognized saint who is considered a Jnani by many aspirants just like Bhagavan is. You are under no obligation to consider him as such.

Sivanarul said...

""What else was there to learn from Bhagavan as Sadhu Om himself says that attention to oneself is the most important thing. One doesn't need to stick with someone for 5 years to get this message."

when you love someone, you do not need to "learn" anything anymore after you learnt "everything" of and from them, you just hang around your beloved because... you like being around him or her, like a sweet music or poem that even heard for a thousand times one keeps coming back... and coming back.."

The comment above does not reveal the full context of Maya's note, which is included in "Also, if attention to oneself is the best and other Jnani's presence does not have any benefit, why did Sadhu OM stay with Bhagavan for 5 years till he passed away?".

Maya was only suggesting that Sri Sadhu OM was benefiting greatly by being around the form a Jnani, not that he had anything more to learn from Bhagavan. "What else was there to learn" is a rhetorical question.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji,Vannakkam

"Maya was only suggesting that Sri Sadhu OM was benefiting greatly by being around the form a Jnani, not that he had anything more to learn from Bhagavan. "What else was there to learn" is a rhetorical question."

You are absolutely right. I misunderstood the query.
My response was incorrect and out of contest.
And apologies to "maya".

Thanks again my friend for detail correctness.
M

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Vanakkam, Namaste and Aloha, my friend!

You indeed are a true spiritual aspirant for your ego is able to acknowledge a misunderstanding. Many wishes for it to be fully eradicated and cross the ocean of samsara that never existed to begin with :-)

As an out of context question, if Bhagavan's form resurrected somehow and he suddenly reappeared as a 60 year old in the New Hall, would you pay frequent visits to have darshan of his form and be with him to the extent your circumstances permit? I would (easy for me since I value the form as much as the formless). What about you, my friend?

maya said...

Sivanarul,

"The comment above does not reveal the full context of Maya's note, which is included in "Also, if attention to oneself is the best and other Jnani's presence does not have any benefit, why did Sadhu OM stay with Bhagavan for 5 years till he passed away?".

Thanks for rephrasing it. Thats exactly what I meant but didn't put it that way.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji, brother

"if Bhagavan's form resurrected somehow and he suddenly reappeared as a 60 year old in the New Hall, would you pay frequent visits to have darshan of his form and be with him to the extent your circumstances permit?"

AB-SO-LU-TELY!

And I'm so happy to know you'll be there to hang out also!!

maya said...

Here is Bhagavan himself (below) on the benefits of a Jnani's presence, from "The power of presence", by David Godman. If Bhagavan's presence has had that effect on people, why not other Jnanis. Even if one doesn't agree with their viewpoints, the effect they have is their silence. I don't even need to agree with their speech. Their silence is enough. After all isn't that Bhagavan's own teaching, that his silence is the most powerful teaching and Tirumoolar has said that Jnani's samadhi's has that silence and power.

/**
Sankalpa can be translated as 'will' or 'intention'. Bhagavan, along with many other Masters, held that Jnanis have no sankalpa. In this state the self makes the body behave in a particular way and makes it say whatever needs to be said, but there is no individual choice involved in any of these words or actions. Narayana Iyer once had a most illuminating exchange with Bhagavan on this topic, an exchange that gave a rare insight into the way that a Jnani's power functions:

'One day when I was sitting by the side of Bhagavan I felt so miserable that I put the following question to him: "Is the sankalpa of the jnani not capable of warding off the destinies of the devotees?"

'Bhagavan smiled and said: "Does the jnani have a sankalpa at all? The jivanmuktha can have no sankalpas whatsoever. It is just impossible."

'I continued: "Then what is the fate of all of us who pray to you to have grace on us to save us? Will we not be benefited or saved by sitting in front of you, or by coming to you?..."

'Bhagavan turned graciously to me and said: "...a person's bad karma will be considerably reduced when he is in the presence of a jnani. A jnani has no sankalpas but his sannidhi[presence] is the most powerful force. He need not have sankalpa, but his presiding presence, the most powerful force, can do wonders: save souls, give peace of mind, even give liberation to ripe souls. Your prayers are not answered by him but absorbed by his presence. His presence saves you, wards off karma and gives you boons as the case may be, [but] involuntarily. The jnani does save the devotees, but not by sankalpa, which is non-existent in him, only through his presiding presence, his sannidhi"' (The Mountain Path 1968, p.236)
***/

maya said...

One of the reasons Satsang with a Jnani or a saint is so much emphasized in the scriptures is that at the minimum it prevents one talking about their own stories and talk about someone else's stories, in this case of a saint. That is also said to be the reason that Hindu scriptures are replete with God's stories or Puranas, so we stop talking about ourselves and attention is slowly taken to something beyond you either in the form of discourses or music. Take our mind away from our gossip slowly to something beyond. And if one also is blessed to hear that from a realized soul, there may a moment of silence during that when one can actually get a glimpse of reality. There are many such cases of this.

Such things have been inculcated with great thought. Saints/Sages who emphasized all this were not fools. It is all easy to say that paying attention to oneself is the fastest, direct way etc but one should attend such Satsangs to see how easily the mind quietens down, be it listening to the story of Gods or Bhagavan or any other saints. There is no argument there, just listening. There have been real anecdotes, in the case of Nochur Venkatraman, where a cow came specifically for an hour to listen to one of his discourses on 7 days at a stretch precisely at the right time and leave when it was over.

As Swami Chinmayananda says, our intellect is itself a product of our ignorance, the ignorance of our true nature, so how can something that is the very product of ignorance, comprehend our ignorance, no matter how much logic we try to apply. As Aurobindo said, "Whats magic to the finite is Logic to the infinite."

Sivanarul said...

To further elucidate Maya's points on frequent darshan of Jnani's samadhi, the power of that can be easily verified by aspirants. I have felt that power in both Bhagavan's and Pamban swamigal's samadhis. The stillness and peace experienced in those places is very hard to replicate at home. Some of those visits have had no immediate affect, during the visit, and I was dissapointed. But months later cravings would suddenly quieten down out of the blue which can be traced back to the seed that was planted during those visits, that sprouted months (even years) later. This is probably why Sanatana Dharma (and other religions as well) requires a pilgrimage at least once a year to holy places.

For very advanced aspirants who have practically eliminated all craving and have very strong vairagya, paying attention to oneself or meditation all the time, may be the only thing needed. For others, pilgrimage to temples, samadhi's and Satsang with a saint or advanced aspirant can be very helpful. It must be noted that the advaita giant Sri Shankara himself undertook pilgrimages throughout his life worshipping Ishvara in various forms and it is Ishvara that reminded Sri Shankara in Kashi about Atman, when Sri Shankara asked a Chandala to step aside, by asking him who is the impure one that should step aside? For those of us who are religious and have faith in Ishvara, Ishvara pranidhana (as in Yoga sutras), is a wonderful sadhana.

Sanjay Lohia said...

careful observer, I wrote:

sravana: 1
manana: 100
nididhyasana: 10000000

We can clearly see the number of extra zeros in front of nididhyasana. This indicates its relative importance and efficacy.

I think the use of the phrase ‘in front of’ was inappropriate, or at least confusing. I should have used ‘after’ instead of ‘in front of’. Therefore the corrected sentence should read: ‘We can clearly see the number of extra zeros after nididhyasana. This indicates its relative importance and efficacy’. Were you trying to point out this error?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should not express Bhagavan’s view to anyone unless we are asked ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-attention

Sadhu Om: It is difficult for us to mix with sadhakas who have other thought-currents. Hearing their ideas and their views about other gurus, we naturally feel lonely, since we love Bhagavan and like to think only of him and his teachings. But we should be careful not to preach. We should not express Bhagavan’s view to anyone unless we are asked.

Other gurus like Buddha and Sankara went to the world to teach their ideas, but Bhagavan has shown us that that is not necessary. The world is like your shadow, so if you go out towards it to teach it, it will recede from your grasp, but if you withdraw within yourself, it will follow you and subside there. If you quietly keep the fire of devotion to ‘I’, which Bhagavan has kindled within you, burning within your own heart by repeated sravana, manana and nididhyasana [studying, reflecting upon and practising his teachings], that is the best way to teach the world to follow him.

Reflection: Sri Sadhu Om says, ‘we should be careful not to preach. We should not express Bhagavan’s view to anyone unless we are asked’. Yes, I believe the preachers who try to preach before they experience themself as they really are, do themself a lot of harm. One, they usually develop pride: ‘I know more than others; others should hold me in high regard’, and so on. Two, their learning curve may become stagnant. Since such preachers usually feel that they know more than others, they are not willing to listen to others’ views. In short their spiritual development is arrested.

Yes, Bhagavan was unique in his method of teaching, as he just remained like a rock of stillness, and people came to him from all corners of the world, and are still coming to his asramam. As Sri Sadhu Om says, ‘The world is like your shadow, so if you go out towards it to teach it, it will recede from your grasp, but if you withdraw within yourself, it will follow you and subside there’. An advice worth remembering! If we go after the world to teach them about Bhagavan’s teachings, they will surely run away from us, because we will be forcing our ideas on others.

Therefore we can just be an example of what our guru can do to us – what he does is that he makes us still like himself. Let Bhagavan teach others through our stillness, if such be the divine plan. There is no need for us to go from place to place, like missionaries, spreading his teachings. His teachings are extremely powerful; therefore, it will somehow attract mature aspirants towards itself.

Noob said...

"Other gurus like Buddha and Sankara went to the world to teach their ideas, but Bhagavan has shown us that that is not necessary. The world is like your shadow, so if you go out towards it to teach it, it will recede from your grasp, but if you withdraw within yourself, it will follow you and subside there. If you quietly keep the fire of devotion to ‘I’, which Bhagavan has kindled within you, burning within your own heart by repeated sravana, manana and nididhyasana [studying, reflecting upon and practising his teachings], that is the best way to teach the world to follow him. "

The above is the greatest reminder to keep attention within.

careful observer said...

Sanjay,
that only was the point which I wanted to bring to your notice.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If our mind becomes one-pointed in concentrating on any second or third person, that attachment will hinder us for many lives, preventing us from coming to the path of atma-vicara. ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention (5th February 1978)

Sri Sadhu Om: Even in the case of Ramakrishna, his attachment to the name and form of Kali proved a hindrance, and only because of his exceptional maturity and the grace of Kali was he able to cut that name and form with the sword of knowledge (jnana). If one meditates upon a name and form, the mind will gain strength to see God in that name and form, as Bhagavan teaches us in verse 8 of Ulladu Narpadu, but that is not the mental strength that we require to abide in our source. If our mind becomes one-pointed in concentrating on any second or third person, that attachment will hinder us for many lives, preventing us from coming to the path of atma-vicara. Kavyakantha Ganapati Sastri had trained his mind so well in attending to mantras and other such second or third person objects that he was unable to practice self-attention, so Bhagavan remarked that he was like a race-horse that can gallop forwards at great speed but is unable to take even one step backwards.

Reflection: As Sri Sadhu Om says, even our attachment to any and form of God will prove a hindrance to turning within. In fact any such attachment ‘will hinder us for many lives, preventing us from coming to the path of atma-vicara’. Therefore, if our aim is to annihilate our ego and experience ourself as we really are, we should sooner rather than later start practicing atma-vichara, and equally important - try to stick to only atma-vichara.

Most of us are like Kavyakantha Ganapati Sastri. We have meticulously trained our mind to attend to second and third person objects. To use Bhagavan’s words, we are like race-horses that can gallop forward at great speed, but are unable to take even one step backwards. How to take one step backwards? By trying, little here, little there, and to keep on trying until we become masters at galloping backwards, as it were. Therefore, perseverance in practicing atma-vichara has no substitute. We should patiently but surely persevere - that is, repeatedly try and bring our attention back towards ourself as and when it strays towards any second and third person objects.




kingdom of pramada said...

maya,
the version rephrased by Sivanarul of your statement is more sensible than the first one of yesterday at 19:58. But is to be self-attentive really a technique which can be learned like at school ? I think it is rather a spiritual quality which can blossom only with the help of ardent and genuine love(bhakti)to be aware of ourself as we really are.

aha-cudar said...

Bhakti is needed.
How can one make it blossom in one's heart when ignorance spreads out and extends in the full volume of it ?
Bhakti, why do you give me a wide berth ?
Obviously the condition of the soil of my heart is not prepared sufficiently for your flourishing development. Too many defects and impurities sour you to reside permanently in me. But without you I can never make this ego subside. Therefore, Arunachala, would you not like to make the first step and strike at the root of the problem ?
Because to be aware of ourself alone, you (bhakti) are needed, we can never renounce you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If you seek either God or guru rest assured that they are seeking you with a solicitude greater than you can ever imagine ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention (18th February 1978)

Bhagavan often said self is the guru, so the guru has always been and will always be with us. Therefore we need not seek the guru, because he is already doing his part, so we should concern ourselves only with seeking our own real self. As Bhagavan said in Maharshi’s Gospel [Book 2, chapter 2]:

If you seek either [God or guru] – they are not really two but one and identical – rest assured that they are seeking you with a solicitude greater than you can ever imagine.

[...] God or the Guru is always in search of the earnest seeker. Were the coin a dud piece, the woman would not have made that long search. Do you see what it means? The seeker must qualify himself through devotion etc.

The mind can never imagine or understand what work the guru is doing within. If it tried, it would be like someone trying to remember where he was and what he was doing during his grandfather’s wedding.

Reflections: If we are making efforts to find God or guru, we should rest assured he is making an infinitely greater effort to find us. What a reassuring message! As a popular saying goes, if we take one step towards God, he will take ten steps towards us. Michael often reminds us that our love for God or guru is finite, whereas his love for us is infinite. Since we surely love ourselves, we give only part of our love to God. However, since in his view he alone exists, he sees us as nothing other than himself. Thus his love for us is without any boundaries.

God does not have love for us; he is infinite self-love itself. He is like the strong currents of the Ganga river. We just have to make a tittle effort to get into the river, and consequently its powerful and fast flowing currents will just sweep us along, without any effort on our part. Likewise, if we have even a bit of love for God and make a little effort to reach him, his infinite love will overpower us, and we will be carried along with the extremely powerful currents of God’s self-love.

God is always with us, but are we always with God? No, we are not. Whenever we pay attention to any second and third person objects, or get lost in worldly pursuits, we are in effect ignoring God’s love. In order to demonstrate that we really love God, we have to attend to ourself alone, because God or guru exists only in and as ourself. Self-attentiveness and true surrender to God is one and the same. As Bhagavan says in paragraph thirteen of Nan Yar:

Being completely absorbed in ātma-niṣṭhā [self-abidance], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any thought other than ātma-cintanā [thought of oneself or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God.

Viveka Vairagya said...

from www.arunachala.org/newsletters/2009/sep-oct

His [Gajanana's] first question to Sri Ramana Maharshi (reminiscent of the central question in Srimad Bhagavatam by King Parikshit to Sri Suka Maharshi) was: "In this samsara, or whirl of births and deaths undergone by the jiva (the soul), what is the chief thing a man has to do?"

Maharshi: Well, your question is what you as a man should do in regard to your karma, action; and it asks about the most important duty. You wish to arrange duties in the order of their importance, and this importance is based on the value, to you, of the fruits of each karma. So, in short, you are inquiring into your appropriate karma and the value of its fruits. Now, does not the karma and its importance depend plainly on the individual who is to perform the karma and reap the fruit? If so, then, as a preliminary to this investigation, first inquire who is the person who does the karma and tastes the fruit. In other words, start the inquiry "Who am I?" for yourself: i.e., the inquiry into yourself which, almost immediately becomes the inquiry into the Self, with a view to attain Self-knowledge or Self-realization.

This is therefore man's chief duty.

Gajanana: Again, Revered Sir, what briefly are the means to attain this Self-realization; and as for the means already suggested, namely the inward inquiry, or the grand pratyagdrishti, how are we to attain that?

Maharshi: Well, briefly put, the means to attain Self-realization are these: First, the mind should be withdrawn from its objects; the objective vision of the world must cease. Secondly, the mind's internal operations also must be put an end to. Thirdly, the mind must thereby be rendered characterless (nirupadhika) and must continue characterless firmly; and lastly, it must rest in pure vichara, contemplation or realization of its nature, i.e. itself. This is the means for pratyagdrishti or darsana, also termed antarmukham, the inward vision or inquiry.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Even now we can hear Bhagavan’s voice if we turn within and listen to him ~*~ extract from Michael’s latest video dated 17-7-2016 (21 minutes onward) in his Utube channel titled: Spiritual Intelligence World Forum: Spiritual Intelligence and the question ‘Who am I?’

Question: Was Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi’s voice recorded?

Michael: No, his voice was never recorded. Once, some people hoped to record his voice (that was back in 1930's probably). In those days the voice recording equipment wasn’t like… we can record it on a mobile phone. In those days it needed so much paraphernalia to record the voice, so someone brought all that equipment, and it was all set up in front of him, and people were hoping he was going to say something. But he just kept quiet, and after a long time they finally gave up everything, and someone said, ‘Bhagavan, they were hoping to record your voice for posterity. It would have been so nice if your voice could have been recorded’, and Bhagavan said, ‘How to record my voice; my voice is silence’.

So even now we can hear his voice if we turn within and listen to him.

Reflection: If Bhagavan’s voice is silence, what about the words he spoke? It could be argued that those words were certainly not silence. Yes, in one sense his words were not silence, but those words were manifestation of silence, and their only purpose was to guide us back to silence. Therefore, if we can attune ourself to this silence, even Bhagavan’s words are not needed, but until we become one with silence, his words are a powerful reminders to turn within and listen to his original voice: silence.


Sujan said...

Dear Sanjay,

Many thanks for your transcripts of Michaelji's videos.It is very difficult to understand what Michaelji said in these videos since his accent is different and the quality of audio is generally poor in some of the videos(along with unavailability of Internet) .Since im very interested to understand Michaelji's answers to various questions at present your transcripts are the only source.Initially i was interested only in Michaelji's comments but Nowadays i eagerly await for ur comments,because of this transcripts.

Just now i came to know about Michaelji's new video dated 17-7-2016.There is a question regarding Michaelji's experience in Sri Ramanasramam(45 minutes later).I failed to understand the answer properly.So if it is possible please provide the transcript( kind request) which i am sure is useful for all

Viveka Vairagya said...

from www.arunachala.org/newsletters/2009/nov-dec

Kavyakantha: Then, Sir, is not the Self – Atman or Brahman (God) – reached by the mind? In fact, while the Mundaka Upanishad, III, i. says [sanskrit, to be transliterated shortly] (This subtle Self has to be known by the mind), [transliteration needed] (It is to be seen by the sharp eye of the seers of the subtle), and the Katha Upanishad IV.ii. says of Brahmana: [transliteration coming] (By the mind alone is this to be attained), while Taittiriya Upanishad, II.9. says [tranlsiteration coming] (Whence words retire baffled, as also the mind); and Brahman is repeatedly styled as [translit coming] (Not to be reached by speech or mind). How is this conflict to be reconciled and which is the truth?

Maharshi: All sets of texts are true. It is the mind that sets out on the enquiry into the nature of the Self. But in the course of its efforts to reach Brahman, it gets transformed and is seen to be Brahman. It ceases to have any separate existence.

(Requested later to elucidate this matter further, Maharshi said):

"In a sense, it is by the mind you reach Brahman. But perhaps it will be better to stick to the more accurate expression that it is Brahman alone that realises itself, and that the mind as such does not. What realises is not the mind as such, but the mind transformed into Purna Prajna or "Cosmic Consciousness".

By way of analogy, we may take the case of a mighty river that flows into the ocean. The waters which formerly took the name of the "river", later take the name of "Ocean". One would not refer to the river as samudrakara nadi, i.e., the "river in the form of the ocean." The mind is the separate, broken (khanda) entity which starts the enquiry; but as it progresses, it develops, alters its nature and form, and finally loses these and itself in the limitless, infinite, and undifferentiated (akhanda) ocean of Brahman. The mind may thereafter be referred to as brahmakara manas, i.e., the mind in the guise of the Absolute.

But perhaps it will be conducive to clarity if we briefly say, in popular language, that there has been manonasa, or the disappearance of the limited, finite mind and that Brahman is realized not by chitta vriti, i.e., mental operation, but by Purnattva or Swabhava Samsthiti, the perfection of Self -realization.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Perseverance and more perseverance; patience and more patience ~*~ extract from Michael’s latest Utube video dated 17-7-2016 (35 minutes onward) titled: Spiritual Intelligence World Forum: Spiritual Intelligence and the question ‘Who am I?’

Question: Is there any evidence I can experience of my spiritual development – some signs of progress?

Michael: There really is no sign, because any sign that we look for is something other than ourself. What we are trying to know is that what we ourself are, but if are looking for signs to know how close we are getting, those signs are something other than ourself, so the signs will mislead us.

The only sign of progress that Bhagavan was ready to admit was perseverance. If we persevere, if this curiosity has caught hold of us… so many times we try to turn our minds inwards, it again goes outwards. It keeps on failing like a small child. When a child learns to walk, they have to get up, stumble, and fall so many times. Have you ever seen a child giving up – ‘O this walking is too difficult’. They persevere until they succeed.
We should be like those small children; we should persevere until we succeed. If we have that perseverance, that is the sign of progress. When we see a small child standing and falling, standing and falling, and so on, do we think, ‘O he is not going to succeed?’ Because it is persevering, we know it is going to succeed. So also if we persevere, we will certainly succeed.

Conclusion: Bhagavan once said referring to the practice of self-investigation: ‘Perseverance and more perseverance; patience and more patience’. We should constantly persevere in practising self-attentiveness, and if we do not get immediate results we should be patient, and again should persevere, and so on. It is only this constant perseverance which will push us in in the jaws of the tiger (our sadguru), and from then onward it is just a matter of time before we get consumed, but our perseverance to surrender more and more to this tiger (our sadguru) should continue until the tiger completely devours us. As Bhagavan says in paragraph twelve of Nan Yar:

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken.

maya said...

"But is to be self-attentive really a technique which can be learned like at school ? I think it is rather a spiritual quality which can blossom only with the help of ardent and genuine love(bhakti)to be aware of ourself as we really are. "

And that exactly is my point and I have said this several times in this blog. Infact realization does not just depend on a technique or calling one's technique or practice superior. It has a lot of other factors like one's inherent vasanas, proximity to a realized soul etc.

Just because one understands self enquiry and even tries to practice it means squat in the bigger picture. For a person who is as ripe as Bhagavan was, its the most direct and the fastest method but just understanding it and expounding it intellectually does not mean much. Otherwise, Michael and many others like him who are extremely knowledgeable about self inquiry and practiced it for decades should have realized their self long back. That "genuine love" that you mention can blossom in many different ways, even with a devotion to an idol which purifies one's heart and prepares it to dissolve the "I" which only takes a moment of clarity. To be able to practice self inquiry which requires the absolute focus on oneself and to attain that level of clarity is for advanced seekers but to get to that point of clarity there is no need proof that other methods cannot do it. If that was not true people who profess the directness, simplicity of self inquiry would be getting realized in droves while people who have practiced other methods would never have realized the self, but is that the case?

Understanding the technique of self inquiry and being able to explain it shows nothing about ones spiritual ripeness. In most cases there is just the ego somehow that one has understood a great method and can write page after page about it.

Also, what does one mean exactly when one says he/she follows a Guru? If one says he follows that Guru's teachings, was self inquiry the only teaching of Bhagavan? Or if one quotes related anecdotes about Bhagavan saying, he was against wastage, so I follow that or he advices sattvic food, so one follows that etc etc, is that following Bhagavan's teachings? Because except for a few generic things Bhagavan's advice was specific to THE person and the Jnani always answers the questioner and not the question. Even among the generic advice given, there are many Jnani's/Saints/Scriptures who give the same generic advice not too different from Bhagavan and Bhagavan's teachings mean different things to different people, so what exactly does one mean when he says that he follows Bhagavan? We will see that even among the followers of Bhagavan it is very subjective and each one actually takes only what he/she finds convenient. I have never seen a single anecdote where Bhagavan asks his disciples to talk and discuss about self inquiry, so obviously that was not one of his teachings, so why are we doing it? On the contrary if such an urge had occurred, i'm sure he would have asked to investigate who wants to discuss, argue etc etc.

Here below is an e.g. of Bhagavan's view on this. From Ramana Periya Puranam
/**
Similarly, when Munagala Venkataramiah took down Bhagavan‟s talks in a notebook, he would gather a group outside the ashram and try to impress them. When this came to Chinna Swami‟s notice he came into the hall and stopped him in Bhagavan‟s presence. Munagala Venkataramiah was deeply hurt on being insulted in the glare of public eye. Later, when Munagala was with Bhagavan, still feeling slighted, Bhagavan said, “The greatest form of ego for an individual is to present himself as a teacher and become a guru.” Understanding that this message was for him, Munagala immediately prostrated before Bhagavan and begged him for his forgiveness. Bhagavan saved him and Munagala himself later said, “When a true seeker becomes a teacher, the first casualty is his own advancement in sadhana.”
**/

maya said...

"But is to be self-attentive really a technique which can be learned like at school ? I think it is rather a spiritual quality which can blossom only with the help of ardent and genuine love(bhakti)to be aware of ourself as we really are. "

And that exactly is my point and I have said this several times in this blog. Infact realization does not just depend on a technique or calling one's technique or practice superior. It has a lot of other factors like one's inherent vasanas, proximity to a realized soul etc.

Just because one understands self enquiry and even tries to practice it means squat in the bigger picture. For a person who is as ripe as Bhagavan was, its the most direct and the fastest method but just understanding it and expounding it intellectually does not mean much. Otherwise, Michael and many others like him who are extremely knowledgeable about self inquiry and practiced it for decades should have realized their self long back. That "genuine love" that you mention can blossom in many different ways, even with a devotion to an idol which purifies one's heart and prepares it to dissolve the "I" which only takes a moment of clarity. To be able to practice self inquiry which requires the absolute focus on oneself and to attain that level of clarity is for advanced seekers but to get to that point of clarity there is no need proof that other methods cannot do it. If that was not true people who profess the directness, simplicity of self inquiry would be getting realized in droves while people who have practiced other methods would never have realized the self, but is that the case?

Understanding the technique of self inquiry and being able to explain it shows nothing about ones spiritual ripeness. In most cases there is just the ego somehow that one has understood a great method and can write page after page about it.

Also, what does one mean exactly when one says he/she follows a Guru? If one says he follows that Guru's teachings, was self inquiry the only teaching of Bhagavan? Or if one quotes related anecdotes about Bhagavan saying, he was against wastage, so I follow that or he advices sattvic food, so one follows that etc etc, is that following Bhagavan's teachings? Because except for a few generic things Bhagavan's advice was specific to THE person and the Jnani always answers the questioner and not the question. Even among the generic advice given, there are many Jnani's/Saints/Scriptures who give the same generic advice not too different from Bhagavan and Bhagavan's teachings mean different things to different people, so what exactly does one mean when he says that he follows Bhagavan? We will see that even among the followers of Bhagavan it is very subjective and each one actually takes only what he/she finds convenient. I have never seen a single anecdote where Bhagavan asks his disciples to talk and discuss about self inquiry, so obviously that was not one of his teachings, so why are we doing it? On the contrary if such an urge had occurred, i'm sure he would have asked to investigate who wants to discuss, argue etc etc.

Here below is an e.g. of Bhagavan's view on this. From Ramana Periya Puranam
/**
Similarly, when Munagala Venkataramiah took down Bhagavan‟s talks in a notebook, he would gather a group outside the ashram and try to impress them. When this came to Chinna Swami‟s notice he came into the hall and stopped him in Bhagavan‟s presence. Munagala Venkataramiah was deeply hurt on being insulted in the glare of public eye. Later, when Munagala was with Bhagavan, still feeling slighted, Bhagavan said, “The greatest form of ego for an individual is to present himself as a teacher and become a guru.” Understanding that this message was for him, Munagala immediately prostrated before Bhagavan and begged him for his forgiveness. Bhagavan saved him and Munagala himself later said, “When a true seeker becomes a teacher, the first casualty is his own advancement in sadhana.”
**/

Mouna said...

"A hypothesis attempts to answer questions by putting forth a plausible explanation that has yet to be rigorously tested. A theory, on the other hand, has already undergone extensive testing by various scientists and is generally accepted as being an accurate explanation of an observation."

Bhagavan Sri Ramana, as well as other sages and saints in different traditions proposed the theory that we are not the body that we assume to be identified with.
If one wants to test that theory, Bhagavan proposed a very simple hypothesis, to turn the attention inwards and enquire (in the sense of investigate) that very source of identity we feel as “I / myself” with all its ramifications (sensations/perceptions/thoughts/feelings)
It is not a requirement to be self-realized to test that particular theory with that particular hypothesis but it is a requirement to be acquainted with that theory and the hypothesis, other wise we risk to misunderstand one or both of them.

As long as attention flows outwards in any of the ego projections/ramifications (sensations/perceptions/thoughts/feelings) the chance of getting to the root of the problem diminishes, not that is impossible to attain the root, but facing attention outwards would be like pedaling in the wrong direction (although if we travel enough time in the opposite direction on earth we will certainly arrive to the same point because it’s a circle).
Bhagavan’s direct path shows the shortest distance between two points, not the only of getting there.
It will depend on the particular aspirant to know what she/he wants and what he/she understands in order to use a more direct or more indirect way of arriving at the same point.

Commentaries on Bhagavan’s teachings help understand the theory and the hypothesis, and it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a self-realized person (although it might help) but eventually the testing is ours to do.

Last but not least, we can never be sure of the “degree” of realization of one another (or how long it will take or took another to reach it if it did at all), the only thing we can be sure about is if our attention is focused on "our personal" sense of existence/consciousness at this very moment. The rest, including this posting, the one posting it, the one reading it and surroundings (inner and outer), are changing phenomena, and by definition and in theory (to be tested), not real.
As David Godman said once, self-enquiry “it’s not rocket science”.

Mouna said...

Addition to my last comment,

As David Godman said once, self-enquiry “it’s not rocket science”.
But it's a scientific process nevertheless.
How passionate (bhakti) we are about it is what makes the whole difference of verifying and testing the hypothesis and eventually live the theory in due time.

Sivanarul said...

Maya's excellent observation:
"That "genuine love" that you mention can blossom in many different ways, even with a devotion to an idol which purifies one's heart and prepares it to dissolve the "I" which only takes a moment of clarity. To be able to practice self inquiry which requires the absolute focus on oneself and to attain that level of clarity is for advanced seekers but to get to that point of clarity there is no need proof that other methods cannot do it."

As an elaboration of the above, the genuine love is said to be when one has the intensity that a person will have, to come up, when held down in water or the intensity he/she will have to put off the fire that they have caught. It is fair to say that many of the aspirants do not have that intensity and a significant portion of the journey (however lifetimes that may be) involves in getting to that level of intensity and for this purpose any combination of Sadhanas (karma yoga, puja, japa, meditation, chanting, prayer etc) will do. Case in point is Sri Kannappa Nayanar (who is considered to be Arjuna in his last birth. As Arjuna he performed Karma Yoga after hearing the Gita from Lord Krishna. That prepared him to have the intensity needed. In the next birth as Kannappa Nayanar, as soon as he saw Kudumi Thevar (Lord Siva in a shrine), for 6 days his intensity was to such an extent that his liberation was received on the 6'th day after he trying to pluck his second eye to placate the bleeding in the Lord's eye. The great advaitin Sri Shankara looking at Kannappa Nayanar exclaims, "Is there anything that Bhakthi cannot do?"

If one watches the 2'nd interview of David Godman in batgap, posted by Viveka Vairagya, in that you could see that Maurice has told that when he sat next to Mahatma Gandhi, he could literally hear Ram Nama japa coming out of the pores of Gandhiji. Mahatma Gandhi was one of the greatest karma yogi's of recent times and lived his life in complete surrender to Ishvara. Some people view this as taking the bicyle in the opposite direction, missing the point that the bicycle analogy is a flawed metaphor when applied to spiritual progress. Even assuming Mahatmaji did not attain self realization in his last birth, there can be no doubt that he has attained the intensity required and it will be simply a magical moment of turning that intensity on oneself in his next birth (if he has one) and he might get realized just like Bhagavan did within a minute's span.

Only in things pertaining to phenomenal world, one can say there is a direct or indirect method that applies to everyone (For example, reaching from point A from point B). In the spiritual journey, there is no direct or indirect method that applies to everyone. The very usage of direct or indirect is simply a play of the ego that has assumed a spiritual identity and to satisfy it's need for superiority, it must label it's method as the "direct" method. (Jnani's and/or saints saying that, is very different, since they are promoting the way they attained the goal in this life. Also when they promote it, they are very careful to tailor the promotion based on the seeker).

As a sadhaka all one could say without giving into the ego's need for superiority is that, "X Sadhana or a combination of Sadhanas is what works for me. These methods have been field tested by so and so saint. I am confident if I follow it, then via grace, in this or some other lifetime, samsara will end."

Whether the intensity intensifies by Vichara itself, by Karma Yoga and Japa like Gandhiji, by 2 hour daily meditation that Roger writes about, by Ishvara Pranidhana as in the yoga sutras or by other means will be up to the aspirant and his/her natural inclination to one or more methods. The unifying factor in all of these various ways is the understanding of the ephemeral nature of life, the dukkha underlying samsara and the desire to get out of it.

maya said...

"It is not a requirement to be self-realized to test that particular theory with that particular hypothesis but it is a requirement to be acquainted with that theory and the hypothesis, other wise we risk to misunderstand one or both of them."

"Commentaries on Bhagavan’s teachings help understand the theory and the hypothesis, and it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a self-realized person (although it might help) but eventually the testing is ours to do."

Both statements true, but when you start making claims that this is the fastest and direct method one better have some credibility and the only credibility is self realization.

Again, going by your own statement below

"Last but not least, we can never be sure of the “degree” of realization of one another (or how long it will take or took another to reach it if it did at all), the only thing we can be sure about is if our attention is focused on "our personal" sense of existence/consciousness at this very moment."

Since we cannot be sure of another's realization, its all the more important that we don't make such claims. Bhagavan had the ripeness to get it in a minute and so he said its the fastest method. Others who say the same thing without realization are just stating a belief and that too not scientifically because one needs to have tested other methods like Japa or whatever to say they are less effective than self inquiry but the proof is in the pudding. Many devotees of Bhagavan did not follow self inquiry nor did he advice them to.

Anyone can write about anything or claim anything, thats their freedom but the credibility goes only if they have managed to achieve the claim not just blind words or quoting Bhagavan or uttering platitudes such as, "Do you exist?", "Is the world really here?" Just because one utters these and talks like mystics, one doesn't become one.

All my comments are aimed at only emphasizing two things
a) Not to present such and such a teaching ONLY as Bhagavan's
b) Without having tried other time tested methods proven by many others, say that they are not as effective as self inquiry when even the one propounding that has not proved it in his case.

Mouna said...

maya,

"Both statements true, but when you start making claims that this is the fastest and direct method one better have some credibility and the only credibility is self realization."
You are right maya, I should have add, for me. I tried many other things before in my life, some even going very deep into them: Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, Buddhism, traditional Vedanta… After all that when Bhagavan’s teaching appeared it shortcut the way to self, but again, for me.
Now, were is my credibility to say that? my own experience. Am I self-realized? As everybody else, no and yes. No because Mouna or Michael or “maya" or even Bhagavan can’t be realized as long as we take them (or us) as real body/minds, and Yes because I Am That, or to put it in a slight less confusing way “I Is That”.

"Since we cannot be sure of another's realization, its all the more important that we don't make such claims."
This passage I really don’t know what are you referring to.

"Just because one utters these and talks like mystics, one doesn't become one."
By the way, you know the definition of mystic according to the dictionary?: "a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.”
From this standpoint, we are all mystics here, including you my friend…

"b) Without having tried other time tested methods proven by many others, say that they are not as effective as self inquiry when even the one propounding that has not proved it in his case.”
Please go back to the answer to your first question. I know you might argue I didn’t try ALL spiritual paths, but I don’t claim that Bhagavan’s is the ONLY path for everyone, what I say is that it became the ONLY one for me and the BEST for me because of the reasons (pragmatic and intellectual) that I explained before.

And “maya”, last but not least again, Mouna will never wake up, or “maya”, what might happen is that this dream of ours that includes Mouna and maya will finish at a certain point, and that is self-realization. The form it will take, does it really matter?

maya said...

Mouna,

"Please go back to the answer to your first question. I know you might argue I didn’t try ALL spiritual paths, but I don’t claim that Bhagavan’s is the ONLY path for everyone, what I say is that it became the ONLY one for me and the BEST for me because of the reasons (pragmatic and intellectual) that I explained before."

As long as "for me" is true, we're on the same page :-) I'm only talking about generic statements in this blog, not by you specifically, doubting or nitpicking the statements of other Jnanis or other methods and holding the view that self inquiry is the only possible and the best method.

I have also said before that I myself try to practice self inquiry and I have tried a few other methods too but I'd never put down other methods just because they didn't suit my nature.

As for the word "mystics", i may have used the wrong word but what I meant was, just uttering statements like "the world is an illusion" doesn't make it so unless one really experiences that. Otherwise it sounds just like some one patronizing others from a higher plane and cutting and pasting statements of Jnanis. Just because I quote Bhagavan doesn't mean I'm in his state and if i'm not in his state and I quote such things to others in a patronizing way, it only comes from one's ego.

I have no reason to doubt that you have tried other methods. I believe what comes out here comes from one's heart and is not meant to just impress anyone.

Mouna said...

maya,

I completely understand where are you coming from (I am not saying this to be condescending).
We are indeed on the same page because I agree on "almost" all points. :-)

One point I don't understand in your statements is when you assume that other friends "put down" other practices or methods. I can't see people in this blog having that attitude, really, and if that happens and when I feel it happens I'll be the first one pointing to the "tilt" button. It might feel like that, but as you know these blogs or writings are very easily misunderstood in their intentions. A statement like "atma-vichara is, in the end, where all spiritual sadhanas will arrive" cannot be taken personal, but rather try to prove its authenticity. After all these are just words...

Another interesting point I don't understand is the "patronizing" point.
If someone utters the statement "the world is an illusion" (I don't think I ever say those things without adding some context to it) my first reaction would be to ask him/her what do they mean by world and by illusion, don't you think is fair game to do so?
If they can't answer such simple questions then I agree, the person is just talking like a parrot.
But again, I think that the words “patronizing from a higher plane” is more a subjective feeling of yours that what actually happens, in most cases, behind the written words. But of course, I might be wrong with that.

As you say and I feel the same, what comes out in this blog comes from the heart and in many cases the ego, but I believe there is never ill will, is up to us not to take it personally and also up to us to try to separate the wheat from the chaff.








Sanjay Lohia said...

Everything (every vasana) that is inside has to come out; that’s the only way of clearing it out~*~ extract from Michael’s Utube video dated 17-7-2016 (45 minutes onward) titled: Spiritual Intelligence World Forum: Spiritual Intelligence and the question ‘Who am I?’

Question: What was your experience in Sri Ramanasramam?

Michael: […] We all have so many desires. These things come to the surface more strongly, when we are trying to follow the path [of self-investigation]. For example, for nearly twenty years in Tiruvannamalai I was living a celibate life, and for lot of that time my mind wasn’t disturbed. I didn’t think about all these carnal pleasures, but when they came to the surface of the mind, they came with such a force… Bhagavan used to say, 'People complained that when they meditate all sorts of things come out. Everything that is inside has to come out. That is the only way of clearing it out’. So we have to face all our inner daemons, let everything come out, but not to get carried away with them.

If bad thoughts come to us, we shouldn’t act on those bad thoughts. We should try to know ‘who is having these bad thoughts?’, and try to turn our attention back within. We will fail many times, like a child learning to walk keeps on falling. If we want to learn to ride a bicycle, we have to be ready to fall so many times before we learn the art of cycling. So the spiritual path is like this. We will fall so many times, but we keep on trying, because there is nothing more worthwhile than this.

So during those twenty years in India I had all sorts of problems, outwardly and inwardly. People think if you go to a spiritual place, all the people will be very holy. It is not like that. In a spiritual place how much politics you get, how much jealousy, envy, ego; all these things are manifest there. once someone said to Bhagavan ‘Bhagavan, Tiruvannamalai is said to be the holiest place on the earth, but why is it that we see here so many bad people, so many manifestation of the ego. Even in your presence Bhagavan, we see so many devotees fighting among themselves’. Bhagavan said, ‘If you put a pot of water on fire it would boil, and bubble, and make so much noise; steam will come out. Until all that which is inside the pot is boiled away, evaporated, it continues making noises. This place (Tiruvannamalai) is fire, the fire of jnana, the fire of real knowledge. When people come here, all that is the worst in them will come out, but that is in order to purify and bring out ultimately the good.

(I will continue this transcript in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment

There is a story in the Indian Puranas, the traditional stories in India. There was a milky ocean, and in that milky ocean is the nectar of immortality, but in order to get that nectar of immortality (amrita) out of the ocean, it is necessary to churn it – like churning milk to get butter from it. But it is such a big ocean; how to churn such a big ocean? So Mount Meru was the churning rod. And then they needed a big rope to churn – to pull back and forth - and the rope was adishesha, which is a big serpent on which Lord Vishnu is supposed to be seated. So adishesha was the rope, Mount Meru was the churning rod, and all Gods and daemons were the ones who were doing the churning. The Gods were pulling on one side; the daemons were pulling on the other side. There is the competition between the Gods and daemons: who is going to get nectar first. What came first, before the nectar, was poison, and none of the Gods or daemons could take that poison without dying. So Lord Shiva took it, and that’s why his throat is blue. This is an allegorical story.

That poison is all the impurities in our mind. In order to find the pure gem within us - which is real God who is always shining within us – we first have to churn out all the poison in our mind – all the bad thoughts, desires, attachments, ego, anger, all these things – they have to come out… When they come out two things can happen. When a strong desire comes to us, we can either get carried away by that desire, or we can turn our mind back within. If we get carried away with the desire, and desire will subside back within, and it will still remain there and will come out again. Every time we avoid getting carried away by a strong desire, or emotion, or anger, or whatever, we are weakening the seed of that desire (vasanas) - the propensity to have that desire. So this is how we slowly, slowly, neutralize the poison within us, and eventually we will find the nectar.

Conclusion: We should duck under our strong desires and let them pass by, like leaving a bouncer bowled at a batsman in the game of cricket, and if we are successful in ducking our desires, we can say to ourself: 'well left!'

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Aloha!

"A statement like "atma-vichara is, in the end, where all spiritual sadhanas will arrive" "

Not necessarily true. Kannappa Nayanar, whom I wrote about before, is not known to have arrived at atma-vichara. His intensity, devotion and surrender to Lord Shiva was of such a magnitude that on the 6'th day of such devotion he was liberated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kannappa_Nayanar

In fact none of the 63 Nayanmars or the numerous saiva saint's spiritual sadhana arrived at the atma-vichara, in an explicit fashion (as discussed in this blog).

I am not saying this about you, but as a general statement. Any conclusive generalization that a method that I have arrived at after trying many other methods has to be the end for everyone else is simply fulfilling the need for egoic superiority and the need to feel I have arrived. In other words, I cannot let others bypass the "final" method that I have found.

An alternative way of saying it without conclusive generalizations and giving credit to the path already travelled will be:

"In my spiritual journey I have walked many paths. All those paths have moved me closer to where I am today (whether in a helpful way or not). I have now arrived at Vichara as my path. I think this is my final destination (but who knows, I have said the same about my previous paths as well, when I was immersed in those). I do my best to practice Vichara diligently. As a brother/sister on the path, I recommend you try it to see whether it helps you. If it did, consider adding it to your other practices. If not, keep doing what you are doing now. I fully recognize that spiritual teachings existed before Bhagavan's advent and the spiritual literature is full of saints who have realized without having read and practiced Bhagavan's triple gem. We are all bounded and united by that single reality which we may call as Brahman, Ishvara, God, Siva etc etc."

naga raja said...

Sivanarul,
Kannappa Nayanar was without doubt a saint. But obviously not every saint can be called a sage who is destined to teach many thousands of aspirants.
When you refer to 'spiritual literature full of realised saints' I might state that
many saints can only in very few cases be called a sage of the kind of Sri Bhagavan.
That is at least my belief. Let us observe Bhagavan's uniqueness after some hundred or thousand years.

Sivanarul said...

Naga raja,

Each one of us, based on our exposure and beliefs, can relate to sages of the kind of Bhagavan. Of course we all love Bhagavan and we all hold him in very high regard and want to think him as unique. It is simlilar to holding our parents, wife and children dear and thinking they are unique in the world. They may very well be, but there also many excellent parents just like ours.

Bhagavan himself was very careful not to let any comparison go too far, when his devotees around would get into comparing him with Sri Ramakrisha or Kanchi Periyaval or many others during or before his time. So I don't want to enter into a comparison match, for all of the saints I quote below are dear to me and it will be like choosing which sweet do I like among hundreds of very tasty sweets. The saints below are just those I know of or read of. I am sure there are plenty more. They are listed in no partcular order out of memory:

63 Nayanmars, 12 Alvars, Arunagirinathar, Thayumanavar, Vallalar, KumaraGuruParar, Pamban swamigal, Meykandar, Thiruvalluvar, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Sri Ramahrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Neem Karoli Baba, Kabir, Tulsidas, Guru Nama sivayar, Guhai Mana Sivayar, Mahatma Gandhi, Peace Pilgrim, Mother Theresa and many many more.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji friend, aloha back to you!

I fully agree with you that what brought me where I am in relation to Bhagavan’s teachings are all the path/roads one travelled in the past. Some taught me the basic principles to understand Bhagavan now and some others taught me what not to do in order to understand…

I like your all encompassing “alternative” way of saying. Pure Sivanarulji poetry.

Oh, and I know you were saying that as a general statement, but with the phrase "atma-vichara is, in the end, where all spiritual sadhanas will arrive” I was just stating that it shouldn’t be taken personally as a putting down of other practices, like if you tell someone that "e=mc2" is a further on the way statement than "1+1=2" nobody should be feeling attacked by such statement, first of all because without "1+1=2" there wouldn’t be any “e=mc2”.
But I agree also that there are always way to bully someone with anything, the thing is to be smart and perceptive enough to recognize the bullying when it appears and not build theories because we take things personally.

All good.
Be well

Sanjay Lohia said...

In spiritual terms things are as they have always been ~*~ extract from the video dated 7-8-2016 titled: Sri Ramana Satsang group: discussion with Michael James on atma-vicara

Devotee: […] I wonder if the tradition of great teachers is weaning away, slowly. It is very difficult to find such kinds of people… Industrial revolution makes it thinking outward more [appealing], thinking inward is reduced. What do you think about the whole situation, the whole scenario?

Michael: Well, in spiritual terms things are as they have always been. In a pond full of lotuses, each morning when the sun rises one or two lotuses will blossom, because each of lotus bud are in a different stage of development. So, at any time in history the majority of people will be worldly minded, will be going outwards; they will be in different stages of spiritual development. So, at any time there will always be few souls who are near blossoming, or actually have blossomed.

If we look outwards it appears that everyone is so worldly, that everyone is only concerned about worldly things, but we don’t know who the real spiritual people are. We cannot recognize? There are so many people who pose as spiritual, and many people believe that they are spiritual, but they are not really spiritual. Nowadays spirituality is a business – you pay me a thousand dollars, and come and have my satsanga. What sort of spirituality is that? But it is going on; we see it all around us. That is not spirituality. There may be some riksha-puller, or goat-herd, or anyone; how do we know who a jnani is? We cannot tell by outward appearance. So there will always be great souls; they may not be known to us.

But all this is of interest, when we are looking outward. Bhagavan says, ‘actually there is only one jnani, and you are that (tatvamasi). If you want to know who is the real jnani, turn within, because jnana alone is the jnani’. Just because we don’t know ourself, we see this world of many people and say, ‘this person is a jnani; this person is an ajnani’. How can we know? We are jnani, according to Bhagavan, but we don’t know what we ourself are, so how can we know about any other person? So we shouldn’t be too much concerned about these things: who is a jnani; who is not a jnani….

It is like in a dream you inquire, ‘who in this dream has woken up?’ How can we know, so long as we see them as people in the dream… We see Bhagavan as a person. By seeing Bhagavan as a person, who lived for 54 years in Tiruvannamalai, we are limiting the infinite, whole, that is Bhagavan to that little person. Bhagavan used to say, ‘Because you see yourself as a person; you see me as a body. But in my experience I am not this body’.

Devotee: […] we see many inspiring person here and there. What you are trying to say is that jnani is difficult to find out, but…

Michael: Now we have all come to Bhagavan; Bhagavan is our guru. Do we really need anyone else? […] According to Bhagavan, the real guru is not the body. We want an ever living guru. So when we have got this ever living guru, Bhagavan, why do we need any other guru?

naga raja said...

Many thanks Sanjay Lohia,
for giving the transcription of an extract from Michael's recent video.
Actually we are the only one jnani... Just because we do not know ourself, we see this world of many people...
Yes, why should we need any other guru than our ever living guru, Bhagavan ?

naga raja said...

Sivanarul,
creating differences of 'spiritual' rank might be useless.
It shows only our compulsive urge to be up and engaging in mental activity.
To gain some overview of Sri Ramana's status/significance in relaxed atmosphere free of personal/individual rash blindness and nervous prejudiced overstraining let us take a close look at Bhagavan retrospectively on 1.1.2500.

Sivanarul said...

Naga raja,

I agree that creating differences of 'spiritual' rank might be useless. That is why the list I wrote simply lists a short list of saints in no particular order.

"To gain some overview of Sri Ramana's status/significance in relaxed atmosphere free of personal/individual rash blindness and nervous prejudiced overstraining"

You can be rest assured that when I comment I write in a very relaxed atmosphere free of rash blindness and nervous prejudice, to the best of my abilities.

" let us take a close look at Bhagavan retrospectively on 1.1.2500."

You can certainly do that. I don't have to wait till then to look at Bhagavan.

"Actually we are the only one jnani... Just because we do not know ourself, we see this world of many people...
Yes, why should we need any other guru than our ever living guru, Bhagavan ?"

Since we are the only one jnani, why do we even need Bhagavan as as the ever living guru? :-). Just kidding!


ragged woodcutter said...

Sivanarul,
no kidding: ever shining guru, inherent happiness, you ocean of grace, may your all-consuming light of pure self-awareness burn this ego, that insubstantial entity, to ash.

fata morgana said...

Sivanarul,
let all the saints be a brilliant beacon to us in the awkward treadmill of our deplorable daily grind of life.

Roger Isaacs said...

A few thoughts on the ever present issue of "atma vichara is... more direct, the only way etc...":

Atma Vicara is a very high level technique (if I understand it). That is: simply to rest in inner attentiveness. As it is very advanced it is probably too subtle for many people at an entry level. Therefore, if we tell an entry level person to use atma vicara... this is NOT the most direct for them as they may need other preliminary methods for stilling the mind. In this case I'm considering myself decades ago as the "entry level" person, and... I am still "entry level" during stressful situations. Atma vicara would have been too subtle for me. Bhagavan instructed people providing different approaches depending on their maturity? I ask the reader: are you able to still your mind effectively, to rest beyond thought, by simple intention? If not... then maybe other approaches might help.

Bhagavan has no exclusive ownership of atma vicara. Because atma vicara is simply being attentive on "I"... I imagine that many different teachings provide the same idea in some form. Atma Vicara is simply what happens with many approaches to meditation when/if they are effective. When I first came to this blog, I was told that my approaches (which are not atma vicara) were not effective... but now, clearly, I'm totally convinced that my approach leaves me at the same place.

I am of the opinion that many other fundamentally different approaches: kundalini, tantra, karma yoga, bhakti etc... all have their suitability for people of different temperaments. My natural approach is very similar to atma vicara... I can not judge those who are most likely entirely different from me.

A digression on different approaches: I was considering the approach of the Jain Arihant Bahubali who attained moksha after standing naked motionless for a year while vines climbed around his body. Couldn't I do this in my garden? But then... inwardly he may have been doing atma vicara... and besides my neighbors might object.

Taking the attitude "atma vicara is superior, more direct etc..." for everyone has a number of drawbacks. Certainly this can create bad feelings with those who favor different methods, or create separation (or even wars for example with Christianity, Islam...). And... there are people who get egoically involved with feeling superior: increasing the ego rather than reducing it! But, most importantly, having an attitude of superiority prevents us from learning things from other approaches: we hurt ourselves the most. For example: I'm not really personally into Karma Yoga, and I have heard it denounced here. But.. recently I was reading some Lakshmanjoo. Sanjay gave the numeric evaluation of Sravana:1, Manana:100, nididhyasana:1000+++. Lakshmanjoo stated that if we are able to remain inwardly attentive during activity (karma yoga) that the benefit is even greater than sitting meditation. For example: if one is able to remain inwardly focused while having a conversation or while walking... this can be very powerful. So... I try to remember to remain attentive during conversation, thanks to learning from a different school.

So... I believe that we can set a trap for our egos. That is: if we ever notice the thought arise "atma vicara is superior, most direct" etc... #1: while thinking this... we are NOT DOING atma vicara! While thinking such thoughts... this is an outward movement of the ego! Furthermore, #2: this gross activity of the ego drowns out the quiet and subtle voice of the inner guide.

Roger Isaacs said...

Mouna says, probably in response to Maya:
One point I don't understand in your statements is when you assume that other friends "put down" other practices or methods. I can't see people in this blog having that attitude, really, and if that happens and when I feel it happens I'll be the first one pointing to the "tilt" button.

Perhaps our current audience is more accepting of other methods. But... Michael teaches that atma vicara is superior to all other approaches, in fact, that all other approaches are not useful because they are an outward movement of the mind. IMO Michael's teaching is a "put down" to all other approaches and by teaching this he is teaching how to increase the ego! This actually detracts from the pure message of Bhagavan by getting the very high technique of atma vicara embroiled in competition. Whenever such competition is happening... it's an outward movement of the ego, not an inward inquiry. Actually, I believe that Michael's translation skills are excellent, I've learned a lot. And I love his enthusiasm. But... he is essentially claiming that he is the only valid spiritual teacher having the only valid approach in the entire world forever. Could this be egoic?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sivanarul,
Regarding "mother teresa":

Mother Teresa is actually a controversial figure. The outward idea of her work sounds great but may fail a deeper examination. I read that she believed "suffering was a gift from god" and her actions seemed to "glorify" & celebrate suffering rather than relieve it. Her group received a large amount of donations, but very little of this went to relieve suffering, improve conditions or administer to the poor. I read that the vast majority of the moneys went for missionary work, work to convert people to her religion. Meanwhile, the actual medical conditions at her clinics were poor if not medieval: lack of doctors, lack of medical knowledge, inadequate sterilization and lack of isolation of infectious patients, lack of pain medications etc. It's said that her beliefs actually encouraged poverty rather than relieving it especially in opposing education and rights for women.

Her spiritual experiences are interesting to me:
Mother Teresa expressed grave doubts about God's existence and pain over her lack of faith:"Where is my faith? Even deep down ... there is nothing but emptiness and darkness ... If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness ..."

Apparently she had visions of Christ earlier in life. But the psychic activity ceased. For us... we might consider "emptiness" as a good sign, the ego is shrinking, but for her it was tragic, perhaps because of inadequate teaching about such things in her religion? But I am speculating.

Sujan said...

Dear Sanjay,

Many thanks for your recent transcripts.

With love and Wishes

Sujan

Vasuki said...

Roger Isaacs,
everybody is free to accept Bhagavan's teaching that atma vichara is the most direct way to reduce this ego. To remain inwardly attentive during any activity is of course just included in atma vichara. But carrying out intensive study of his teaching and correct understanding is not the strong point of everyone. So you may try 'different schools'and consider 'different approaches' as much as you like.
To bring somebody into discredit is easy: for instance :
This Jesus did not even show any respect to the commercial and business activities of the traders in the temple then in Jerusalem. Was he not really a bad egoistic guy ?
Your speculation about the inner struggles of Mother Teresa suffers to a considerable degree from inadequate insight and comprehension. But that is only my personal suspicion.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have to protect the small flame of bhakti which Bhagavan has lit in our heart ~*~ extract from the video dated 7-8-2016 (47 min onwards) titled: Sri Ramana Satsang group, California: discussion with Michael James on atma-vicara

Devotee: When the mind projects outside, what is the best way to start bringing it back in?

Michael: That’s a million-dollar question! We all know we should be bringing our mind within…. The key to it is bhakti. Bhagavan uses to say, ‘Bhakti is the mother of jnana’. Bhakti means ‘love’ - love to turn our attention within. If we firmly believe, what is shining in our heart as ‘I’ (the essence of what we experience as ourself, what we really are) is Bhagavan, we will cultivate that love to turn within. Bhagavan says, ‘Happiness is our real nature’. In sleep we are all perfectly happy. Only when our mind rises and goes outwards, we feel unhappiness. So, we are firmly convinced that happiness lies within; happiness is our own self….

In this way by studying Bhagavan’s teachings, slowly-slowly we cultivate that liking, at least to begin trying, and the more we try… it’s like a snow-balling process. A small snow-ball begins on the top of a mountain rolling down. As it rolls down, it picks up more and more snow, and it becomes a big snow-ball. So also bhakti is like that. We start off with a little seed of bhakti which Bhagavan has sown in our heart; it’s a small flame that Bhagavan has lit in our heart. We have to protect that flame, keep it burning, and allow it to spread and spread, until one day it will engulf us.

He [Bhagavan or Arunachala] will swallow everything, but we have to try to turn our mind within; everything else will be taken care of by him.

maravadu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
regarding the devotee's question about the outgoing mind: Does the mind ever project inside or inwards ?
Does not the mind naturally go ever outwards and not inwards ?
In my experience only when we feel attracted from inside or come into the suction/wake/current of the force of attraction to an inside centre/core or get magnetized by an inside magnetic power we will turn our attention within. Therefore the power of the seed of bhakti which is sown in our heart by Bhagavan will attract our attention only when its power is more attractive than the attraction force of outside pleasures.
Otherwise the inherent happiness will have little attraction for us.

para-vak said...

How can we solve our great problem of not knowing who we really are ?
The investigation 'Who am I ?' will lead in the end to the discovery of something within us which is behind the mind.

between Brahma and Vishnu said...

Arunachala,
hopefully, your patience with my inability and wriggling is not wearing thin.
Please bear with me a little while longer. I feel my lacking ripeness has sorely tried your patience. If you would not stand for it any longer I have to humble myself again from the ruins of this ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

marvadu, yes, it is only our ego or mind which projects everything which now seem to see outside ourself; this ego not only projects all the outside objects, but it even projects our body, and all our thoughts which we experience within ourself. Our mind remains as a mind only when it goes outwards. Bhagavan once said: ‘Ego turned outwards become the mind and this world; turned inwards it itself remains as our true self’.

Can the mind go inwards? Yes, we are ever free to take our mind within by the practice of self-attentiveness. If this freedom were not there, no sadhana would have been possible. In fact, this is the only freedom we have: we are free to turn our mind within whenever we want to, whereas we not free to change any of our outward, worldly experiences, which are as per our prarabdha.

Bhagavan’s power of absolute self-love is ever available to us in and as our heart (our centre), and it is only this power which is called grace. We ignore this power by constantly going outwards in search of happiness; thus, we do not feel the supreme attracting power of grace (which is also absolute happiness) which is always available within ourself. Therefore, the only way to come in contact with this power is to try and turn within, towards this power. Suppose if we stand inside a river and keep our head above water, and then cry: we do not know where the water is; we are so thirsty. We just have to bend down and drink the water. Likewise, we just have to bend down, towards ourself alone, and we will experience the magnetic power of grace, which is constantly trying to pull us towards itself.

You say, ‘Therefore the power of the seed of bhakti which is sown in our heart by Bhagavan will attract our attention only when its power is more attractive than the attraction force of outside pleasures’. What gives ‘the attraction force of outside pleasures’ so much strength? It is only our interest in these outside pleasures. In other words, it is only our vishaya-vasanas which are the seed of all our desires and attachment. And it is only our outward attention which bring these vishaya-vasanas into play. So, how to subdue and destroy our vishaya-vasanas? Bhagavan says in the tenth paragraph of NanYar: ‘they [vishaya-vasanas] will all be destroyed when svarupa-dhyanam [self-attentiveness] increases and increases’.

We in our true state are absolute chit-shakti (awareness-power); thus, being the supreme power ourself we foolishly complain 'we do not feel this power'. Therefore, little by little we have to try practising self-attentiveness. There is no other way to experience ourself as we really are.


suttarivu said...

Michael,
I do not remember when I got divided and have separated myself off as an observer distinct from whatever I was observing for instance my emotions, thoughts and other phenomena. So till now I am unfortunately a finite observer.
I did not even recognize that I am caught in a false and illusory form of self-awareness. I did not even or only seldom feel that I am the one infinite and indivisible awareness that it is said I am really am. Therefore I have to demolish the consequence of that grotesque complication for the rest of my bodily life and to avoid in that act loading new karma.
Many grateful words of thanks to you , Michael, for drawing my attention to that abortive development.

maravadu said...

Thanks Sanjay for your reply.
Not to feel the gladdening power of grace which constantly pulls us towards ourself is without doubt the fruit of lacking bhakti which makes us on the other hand a compliant victim of our vishaya-vasanas. May Arunachala by practising persistently and meticulously self-attentiveness help us out of that double jam.

Bhagavan's assurance said...

Michael,
"..., whereas all Bhagavan advises us to do is to try persistently to attend to ourself alone."
"Nothing other than
WHOLEHEARTED,
OVERWHELMING and
ALL-CONSUMING LOVE (BHAKTI) to be aware of ourself alone is needed."
In order to focus on tackling this ego how and in what way can I get the above mentioned quality/qualities which I am evidently lacking in sufficient genuineness or extent/amount ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Vasuki,

Numerous masters proclaim their teaching to be superior for everyone. Jesus is quoted as saying "no one comes to the father except through me", but I believe he is speaking impersonally, he is speaking as the divine, he is not speaking for Christianity in my opinion. Of course Christians take these and other statements to say that they have the only true religion.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi proclaimed TM the best for everyone and Muktananda proclaimed kundalini was essential (so I hear). In their cases, perhaps they were saying this as a way to get followers excited and involved. Many masters say such things.

I believe it is fine for a person to say atma vicara is the most direct for "me" personally based on "my" experience.

But I also believe it is an activity of the ego for a follower to suggest to someone else that any particular path is the best for everyone.

Bhagavan says in "Talks #319, January 1937"

M.: It is unity in diversity. The universe is now seen to be diverse. See the common factor (sama) in all the objects. When that is done equality in the pairs of opposites (dwandwani) naturally follows. It is the latter which is however spoken of as equanimity ordinarily.

D.: How is the common factor to be perceived in the diversity?

M.: The seer is only one. They do not appear without the seer. There is no change in the seer, however much the others may change.

Yogah karmasu kousalam = Skill in work is yoga,

Samatvam yoga uchyate = Equanimity is yoga,

Mamekam saranam vraja = Only surrender to Me,

Ekamevadwiteeyam = Only one without a second,

representing Karma, Yoga, Bhakti and Jnana convey the same meaning. They are only the single Truth presented in different aspects.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The spark of jnana will easily consume all creation as if it were a mountain-heap of cotton ~*~ From Day by Day with Bhagavan, page 42: date 22-11-45 afternoon: third reprint 1989

Bhagavan: The spark of jnana will easily consume all creation as if it were a mountain-heap of cotton. All the crores of worlds being built upon the weak (or no) foundation of the ego, they all topple down when the atomic bomb of jnana comes down upon them.

Reflections: What is this ‘atomic bomb of jnana?’ Is it something which will come down from somewhere in the sky? No, this ‘atomic bomb of jnana’ is the bright light of absolute clarity of self-awareness, which alone is real self-knowledge. We will experience this absolute clarity when we experience ourself as we really are, and this will destroy our ego and all its creations, and since everything is ‘built upon the weak (or no) foundation of the ego’, everything else will also be destroyed along with our ego. So this is the most powerful atom-bomb we can ever imagine. Regular atom-bombs can cause a lot of damage, and can even destroy an entire country, but this atom bomb of jnana will destroy the entire creation. Our ego is chit-jada-granthi, and when it splits on our attaining jnana, it will ‘consume all creation as if it were a mountain-heap of cotton’.

We can explain this by way of the following analogy. In earlier days, in India, there used to be cinema shows inside a tent, and the darkness inside the tent enabled the cinema show. But suppose if suddenly a strong storm blows away the tent, what will happen to the cinema show? In the bright light of the outside sun, cinema-show can no longer be seen. Likewise when we experience the absolutely clear light of self-awareness, the cinema-show of this world will be destroyed, and will never reappear again.

This is why both Sri Sadhu Om and Michael emphasize that our intensity of self-attentiveness is more important than the duration of self-attentiveness. It is only in one split second of intense self-attentiveness that our ego will be destroyed, and the resultant atom-bomb of jnana will consume ‘all the crores of world’. Every time we try to exclusively attend to ourself alone, we should try and turn a full 180 degrees towards ourself alone. If we manage to turn a full 180 degrees towards ourself alone, it will be the end of our story, and also the end of the story of all our imaginary worlds.



Vasuki said...

(Hi)Roger,
What Jesus expresses as "coming to the father only through me" is just the same as our real nature remains after having eradicated the ego.
Fortunately we have not to rely on what the religions proclaim as the only truth.
Naming Jesus in the same breath with M.Mahesh Yogi and Muktananda is certainly without any foundation.
Which way of sadhana or particular path might be the best suitable for someone will find everybody for himself. It depends on somebody's experience of life, philosophy of life, journey through life and aim or purpose in life.
I wish you a good day.

Vasuki said...

Sanjay,
your given cinema - analogy is probably very aptly/scores a bullseye.
Congratulations to the creator, if you have invented that metaphoric picture.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Things that appear in a dream seem to exist only when we are aware of them ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention (16th August 1978)

Sri Sadhu Om: In this first chapter of Maharshi’s Gospel Bhagavan implies that the actions our body and mind are destined to do will continue whether we attend to them or not. The reason why he implied this was to encourage us to attend only to ourself and not to be concerned about anything else (which is what he also implied in verse 31 of Bhagavad Gita Saram, which is his translation of Bhagavad Gita 9.22). However we should not infer from this that the body and mind and their actions are real or that they actually exist when we do not attend to them, because their appearance is just a dream, and things that appear in a dream seem to exist only when we are aware of them. This entire world is an imagination or mental fabrication (kalpana), so when our mind ceases to imagine or project things, they cease to exist.

However this should be told only to those who are mature enough to accept it. For others it should be said that the world will continue unaffected if we attend to ourself. Whenever anyone asked Bhagavan whether they should give up their job or whether their family would be taken care of if they renounce, he would generally reply, ‘Who asked you to renounce? Whatever work you are destined to do you will be made to do’, because by asking such questions they exposed that they were not yet ready to renounce.

Reflections: Bhagavan always explained his teachings to others in such a way so that it would encourage them to follow his direct path of atma-vichara; thus, he had to subtly change the ways of explaining his teachings. If immature devotees are told that if they attend to themselves sufficiently keenly, the world of theirs will be destroyed never to reappear again, it may perhaps frighten them. We are all too much attached to our own worlds, and fear losing it forever. Thus, to many of his devotees Bhagavan had to say that their practice of self-investigation will not affect their bodily activities, and that therefore they should devote their entire energy in practising only self-investigation, and that even if they reach their goal of atma-jnana, their body will do whatever needs to be done according to its prarabdha, and so on.

However, to the pakvis (mature ones), he would clearly explain that if our ego is destroyed by practicing self-investigation, our body and this world-appearance will also be destroyed, so from then onwards how can a non-existent body do any actions? Thus, once we attain our goal of atma-jnana, we will have no duties or responsibilities, simply because the one who had these duties and responsibilities will no longer exist.

Therefore, we should try and attend to ourself alone with a single minded focus, and ignore this world. If at all a world exists, let Ishvara take care of it, but the question is, ‘Can any world exist if do not experience it?’ A million-dollar question! We have to find its real answer by our own experience – that is, by our direct experience of what we really are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Vasuki, I heard Michael say the cinema-analogy which I wrote in my comment. May be he had heard this from Sri Sadhu Om, and perhaps its original creator was Bhagavan. Therefore, congratulations are due to Michael (or perhaps to Michael, Sadhu Om and Bhagavan).

svarupa-smarana said...

Michael,
thank you for making me realize that yet/already being aware of, attending to or observing anything other than ourself we rise, stand and flourish as this ego. In my ignorance I was not really conscious of that fact

Vasuki said...

Sanjay,
then let us hang the olympic laurel-wreath round Michael's, Sadhu Om's and Bhagavan's neck.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should not mention what we intend to do even to our friends, but should just do it ~*~ extract from The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention (16th August 1978)

Sri Sadhu Om: We should not mention what we intend to do even to our friends, but should just do it. If we act with the confidence that this entire life is just a dream and that what matters is only attaining self-knowledge, grace will take care of everything else. But until we are mature enough to have such confidence, working to earn a living will seem to be necessary.

Reflections: What we do in not very important - obviously we should refrain from unrighteous acts, especially himsa towards other sentient beings - but how we do whatever we do is more important. According to Bhagavan, we should try and work in a cool, calm and recollected manner: by keeping a part of our attention on ourself, even while we attend to our worldly duties.

Agitated and hurried actions should be avoided, because while doing such actions we cannot remember to be partly self-attentive, as should be our aim. If everything is just a dream, why so much hurry and agitation (this agitation is my problem: by nature I lose self-control quite often)?

Moreover, as Sri Sadhu Om says, ‘what matters is only attaining self-knowledge, grace will take care of everything else’. We should have full trust and confidence in grace: it knows what to do, when and how. We should once and for all give up all our worldly concerns, and should only be concerned with attaining self-knowledge – by persistent practice of self-investigation.

antarmukham said...

Sanjay,
yes, attaining self-knowledge is the highest purpose in life.
But human intelligence clearly forbids me to give up all my wordly concerns so long as I have duties in my family. My confidence in grace is also to be able to look after the family's needs. To take care for the family as a householder does not inevitably come into conflict with that highest aim.

Bob - P said...

A quote from Sanjay's post further up:

[Can any world exist if do not experience it?’ A million-dollar question! We have to find its real answer by our own experience – that is, by our direct experience of what we really are.]

Speaking from my own perspective I will never know if the world exists if I do not experience it, Bob the person projected by the ego will never know the answer to that question. My personal belief is no there is no world independent of the ego that projects it along with Bob even though this is not my present experience. Like the above quote says all I can do is investigate who experiences the world. That is all I can do. But I will never know the answer to the question. If my belief is right (no world if I'm not there to experince it) who will be left to know they are right.

In appreciation.
Bob

apramada said...

Bob,
the above question is answered with: merely theoretical there might be that possibility. But if that theory derived only from our experience based on mind-bound sense-perception is correct we don't know.
Therefore we have first to investigate if there is anything behind the mind and discover what is the real nature of "we".
Bhagavan says that the world is only thought. Because he seems to be not by any means a liar we would be well advised to carefully investigate who we really are or what is our actual nature. After having carried out that task then we can try to answer reliably that "world-question" if it is still put.

Bob - P said...

Dear apramada
Yes as long as am here to ask the question, contemplate it or discover the answer I am not experiencing myself as I really am. Myself as I really am the non dual self aware being doesn't ask or contemplate questions or try to discover a answer to anything.

It just is ... non dual selfaware awareness.

If I discover the answer I the false 1st person will be simultaneously erased off the truth. I will never know if I found the answer or not.

Also I appreciate according to Bhagavan the false 1st person / ego never actually existed in the first place it is an illusion that only exists in its own limited distorted view. But this is beyond my comprehension and reinforces my ignorance.

We must try our best to turn within.

Best of luck with your practise apramada.

Take care.
Bob

Anonymous said...

The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention (16th August 1978)

Sri Sadhu Om: We should not mention what we intend to do even to our friends, but should just do it. If we act with the confidence that this entire life is just a dream and that what matters is only attaining self-knowledge, grace will take care of everything else.

It bears repeating................................................................

apramada said...

Dear Bob,
you will certainly know the answer, because you as you really are know it already now.
Because we are at present a mixture of knowing and not knowing aspects/parts the knowing part of you which is not darkened/veiled by maya is even now pure knowledge. But the ignorant part of you is not conscious of that (fact).

svarupa-smarana said...

Anonymous,
only mental repeat of that statement is not sufficient.
Much better is to produce proof of truth in support of the mentioned remark.
Come on ! All or nothing !

Mouna said...

Dear Bob, greetings
"Speaking from my own perspective I will never know if the world exists if I do not experience it, Bob the person projected by the ego will never know the answer to that question. My personal belief is no there is no world independent of the ego that projects it along with Bob even though this is not my present experience."

I do completely agree with your first sentence ("Speaking from my own perspective, etc..."), but I have my doubts about the second one ("My personal belief is,etc...").
If we can't know if the world exist when we are not experience it, both that it does as it doesn't, are beliefs that are not sustained or confirmed by our experience. You say that you "believe" there is no world "even though this is not your present experience." But our "present experience", in fact, supports mainly the fact that it doesn't! (Although as you rightly said, it cannot prove it) Did you ever, in "your experience", experienced a world when you were not there like in deep sleep. under anesthesia or before you were born?
What we call "our experience" is colored by the conditioned thought or belief that indeed there is a world out there independent of my perception of it and only I, the person, am separate from it, but it was there when I wasn't there before I was born, continues to be there when I am in deep sleep, and will continue to be there after I'll die. As you certainly know that is the srishti-drishti point of view, or "I see it because it's there".
Our actual experience, and let's investigate it right now if necessary, is that there is only sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings happening right now. And all those four, not only "exist", but are "known" to exist. That is our real and only experience in this moment.

My point is that we cannot even say "this is not my experience" that the world is there when I (the person) am not there, because our experience is not connected at all with either of the two possibilities (of the world being there or not when I'm not there)

Be well my friend,
M

Mouna said...

A further thought on the previous post.

What we can say "it's not my experience" is about the reality or existence of the world in relation to the ajata point of view that this world was never created.
That is really what defies our experience!

Roger Isaacs said...

Dear Bob, Mouna,

These questions about the world existing are difficult (but fascinating) in that all we have to go on are the texts that Michael has translated, plus our own experience.

If the book "Talks with Ramana Maharishi" is admitted as possible evidence (and why not admit it as "possible" evidence?), then we might learn more. This work is about 500 pages, BUT, it is in PDF format and can be downloaded for free to your PC, then, it is possible with the pdf reader to search by word! The file to download is here:
http://selfdefinition.org/ramana/Talks-with-Sri-Ramana-Maharshi--complete.pdf

I just searched on "world" and found it on 259 pages. One section below, the key phrase being "the world is not different from the Self". For me, this is different than saying that "the world does not exist", or that it (the world) is just a projection of ego. Rather, the old common world we known through "ego" has been transformed into "Self".

IMO Michael's view is limited due to having limited texts. One huge problem with Michael's view is that reality is only considered from the perspective of Nirvikalpa Samadhi (exclusion of everything, the world, the body all excluded), whereas clearly the other viewpoint of Savikalpa Samadhi is necessary for completeness. (savikalpa samadhi = world and body in awareness but when Self has been realized there is no attachment, the world is Self). Bhagavan existed in both these states.

Mouna, the ajata view point is that "the world could never have been created". This is different than saying that it does not exist. If I understand it, ajata just says it could not have been created, but does not deny the existence of it.

From Talks:

M.: Can the world exist without someone to perceive it? Which is prior? The Being-consciousness or the rising-consciousness? The Being-consciousness is always there, eternal and pure. The rising- consciousness rises forth and disappears. It is transient.

D.: Does not the world exist for others even when I am asleep?

M.: Such a world mocks at you also for knowing it without knowing yourself. The world is the result of your mind. Know your mind. Then see the world. You will realise that it is not different from the Self.



Roger Isaacs said...

As I read over my last post I am struck by the phrase from Bhagavan:
M.: Can the world exist without someone to perceive it? Which is prior? The Being-consciousness or the rising-consciousness? The Being-consciousness is always there, eternal and pure. The rising- consciousness rises forth and disappears. It is transient.


This provides new critical evidence in the "when the ego dies, the body and world die" dilemma:

When the ego dies, Being is realized and it is and was always there, you are That, Being is behind waking, dreaming, sleeping (per Gaudapada).

The key word regarding "world" is "transient": that is "comes and goes" or "not permanent" etc...

The phrase "when the ego dies, body and world die" refers to realizing your identity as unbounded Being. But... the world continues to exist as "transient". When you are in sleep or nirvikalpa samadhi, there is no world, but after Realization, when you are in waking state the world continues to exist (as more like a thought than matter).

IMO there is a serious problem with the way "ego dies, body and world die" is taught. This phrase is taken to mean permanent "body and world die". Whereas, the reality (IMO) is that what is permanent is the death of the ego, but the body and world continue to exist as transient (present during waking state in Savikalpa Samadhi).

Sanjay Lohia said...

antarmukham, even if we want to, we cannot give up our worldly concerns, at least entirely, as long as we experience ourself as a person (‘Sanjay’ or ‘antarmukham’). Therefore, we should attend to our duties towards our family to the best our ability, taking them to be real. Since we take ourself to be real and make efforts to take care of our bodily needs, we have to similarly take care of the bodily and other needs of our family, and dependents.

However, we should often try to reflect that if grace it taking care of our outward life, as Bhagavan has repeatedly explained that it is, should we really be concerned about our or our family’s bodily needs? Like this, slowly-slowly, we should try to relinquish our sense of doership. As Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph thirteen of Nan Yar:

Even though we place whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear. Since one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all activities [everything that happens in this world], instead of yielding to it why should we always think, ‘it is necessary to act in this way; it is necessary to act in that way’? Though we know that the train is going bearing all the burdens, why should we who go travelling in it suffer bearing our small luggage on our head instead of remaining happily leaving it placed on that [train]?

Reflecting on this portion of Nan Yar, and other similar sayings of Bhagavan, would make us realize that we really do not need to be concerned about our life in this world: all are responsibilities, whether they be worldly or spiritual, are being borne by the supreme ruling power, whom we call Bhagavan or grace. However, so long as are ego is intact, we will have doership: ‘I am responsible for my duties towards my family and myself . . .’. We cannot totally give up this sense of doership, merely by reading and reflecting on Bhagavan’s teachings.

We have to give up our ego to give up our sense of doership, and to destroy our ego we need to investigate ourself alone. Only when our ego is eventually annihilated, we will experience that we were never really doing anything, and that one supreme ruling power was doing everything. Since our ego never ever existed, how our non-existed ego could have done anything? Thus, whatever was seemingly being done, was being done by the power of Bhagavan. This power of Bhagavan is called grace or maya, depending upon the way it functions.

maravadu said...

Dear Mouna,
greetings,
who is the bearer/receiver of the 'four' let's say mental, sensory, psychological and emotional movements ? What is the field/soil on which they sprout and grow ? And how are we aware of them ? Yes, it is our consciousness or awareness which make them aware to us. But what or who are we ?
Therefore on the contrary to your mind-based remark: our real and only experience is awareness. Awareness of what ?
Is it not said that awareness of awareness is (called) self-awareness ?
Is it not our experience that we are aware of the absence of our ego-consciousness in deep sleep ? But our awareness is then not the ego-mixture but our real self. Is there any time in which we as the real self are not there ? Because our actual self-awareness is always (t)here your statement that 'our experience is not connected at all with either the two possibilities (…when I'm not there)' is not applicable. From that viewpoint of self-awareness it does not matter if the world appears at weaking/rising of the ego and dissappears at subsiding of the ego. From that view of pure awareness it does not even matter if the ego rises or subsides. Therefore it does not even matter if the world was ever created or not. The same is expressed in the saying "Nothing ever happened".

Mouna said...

maravadu, greetings to you too.
Thank you for your insight.

"who is the bearer/receiver of the 'four' let's say mental, sensory, psychological and emotional movements ?”

Ego, of course, ego is everything.

I agree with you, from the “ nothing ever happened” standpoint, nothing really matters, if the world is there or not when ego is not there, if it’s real or not, if something exists or not, etc… because there is no experience or ego “there” (theoretically), and all concepts and mental constructions are only mind/ego/maya/samsara/I-thought kind of “movements”..

Read my posting again, I was only reacting to Bob’s comment that "his experience” indicates that “there is a world out there”, and what I was saying is that if we inspect “our experience” there is not and cannot be any indication that there is a world out there based on it (experience).

maravadu said...

Mouna,
you seem to assume that self-awareness does not include any experience.
Is that so ?

apramada said...

Roger,
to whom does 'the body and world (appearance) continue to exist as transient ?

suttunarvu said...

Sanjay,
you write: "Thus, whatever was seemingly being done, was being done by the power of Bhagavan. This power of Bhagavan is called grace or maya, depending upon the way it functions."
Did Bhagavan's power also act as murder tousand times now in Syria ?

Mouna said...

maravadu,

"you seem to assume that self-awareness does not include any experience.
Is that so ?


Theoretically, yes.
Because all experience requires, first, an experiencer and something experienced (definition of "experience": practical contact with and observation of facts or events.), and secondly, time and space.
Self-awareness, when pure and not mixed with limitations/adjuncts (like in deep-sleep or before being born) is timeless, borderless, changeless and experience-less.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Apramada,
you say "to whom does 'the body and world (appearance) continue to exist as transient ? "

What do you think? Why do you ask the question?

In this case, as it is Bhagavan who is quoted as saying "transient"... one answer to your question would be "Bhagavan is the one to whom the body and world continue as transient."

Ultimately "whom" is beyond language to describe. We could say "Self", but this word only points.

This phenomena of "body and world are transient" is well know in our experience: body and world disappear during deep sleep and reappear on waking. So you could answer this question from your perspective.

maravadu said...

Mouna,
your answer is conclusive. But is not pure self-awareness always there - therefore also as a kind of understreaming current without no experience in consciousness is possible ?

Mouna said...

maravadu,

Agreed, self-awareness is always there, but veiled by the "experience" of ego experiencing its own projection (the world out there and the psychological world "in there") in waking and dream states.
This seeming experience we are now assumingly "experiencing", when it goes or dissolves or "dies" leaving no trace, gives way, in a matter of speaking, to the pure self-awareness that is beyond the capacity of the mind to comprehend... and experience.

That is why it is so difficult (and I would add impossible) to speak about the ajata (or "nothing ever happened" or nothing was ever created) point of view.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Mouna, Maravadu,

Mouna says "Self-awareness... is timeless, borderless, changeless, and experience-less"

Experience & experiencer denotes duality. Subject and Object indicates duality.

From the non-dual state, as there is no duality, there can be no separation between experience & experiencer, subject & object. However, this non-dual state does not deny the existence of the body, the world, time etc. Only that all of these things are not different than Self. Duality ends because All of This (world, body etc...) is realized as Self.

"difficult or impossible to speak about ajata"

Ajata is the perspective of the void, nirguna brahman, nirvikalpa samadhi, or... sleep. We can easily imagine that from the perspective of deep sleep that the creation of the world would not be a possibility. Deep sleep (or nirvikalpa samadhi) can never move and create the world. But that does not mean that the this appearance of the world does not exist, only that from the perspective of nirvikalpa is could never have been created.

apramada said...

Roger,
the reason why I put the mentioned question to you is because body and world appear only in the view of the ego. Therefore that appearance cannot be considered to be (called) reality.

maravadu said...

Mouna,
our mind likes to discuss incomprehensible subjects from the view of this ego.
We should not waste our remaining lifespan in unrewarding and unfathomable pondering.
Be well.

Mouna said...

maravadu,

In absolute agreement with that.
I responded to you because you asked a series of questions in the first place.
Maybe they were rethorical...
All the best.

maravadu said...

Roger,
the existence of the body, world, time etc. is denied from the non-dual view quite well, but only the consideration of them as separated items. Seeing and experiencing all as the Self is however accepted as truth.

maravadu said...

Mouna,
Quotes of Sri Ramanasramam:
If the mind becomes absorbed in the Heart, the ego or ‘I’, which is the centre of the multitude of thoughts, finally vanishes and pure Consciousness or Self, which subsists during all the states of the mind, alone remains resplendent. It is this state, where there is not the slightest trace of the ‘I’-thought, that is the true Being of oneself. And that is called Quiescence or Mouna (Silence).

All the best !

Bob - P said...

Dear Mouna

I have read your comment and I have re read my post and I do feel I did not word it in a clear way. I do tend to write in a messy confusing way I must confess.

Thank you for pointing this out to me.

I will try to re write it but whether it is a improvement I don't honestly know. (lol)!!

My present experience during waking is there is a world which I experience as separate from myself (duality). During dream I experience a dream world which is separate from myself (duality). However during deep sleep I experience no body, no person Bob and no world whatsoever. All I experience is myself alone, (non duality). There is no ego because the ego = duality, which = ignorance.

Therefore I can conclude that from my own personal experience I can exist without a world to experience, I can exist without a body. But the world can't exist if the ego is not there to experience it (ie) during waking and dream which only exists when the ego rises and only exists in its view. Simultaneous creation.

When I said I believe there is no world I meant I (Bob the person / body which the ego has identified with) believe this during the waking state and dream state when I do experience a world / duality due to my ignorance.

However during the waking state even though it defies my actual experience I believe there is no world if I am not there to experience it because during deep sleep I experience nothing but myself.

I think what I have written above is still filled with errors and contradictions (lol)!!

To conclude I agree with what you wrote my friend !!

Take care.

Bob


Mouna said...

Bob, greetings friend.

Thank you for clarifying your statement. It makes more sense now.
It was all semantics and grammar that confused me. Isn't always the case?! :)

Best,
M

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Maravadu,

You say: "the existence of the body, world, time etc. is denied from the non-dual view quite well, but only the consideration of them as separated items. Seeing and experiencing all as the Self is however accepted as truth."

I agree with what you are saying. However, the teaching by Michael here seems to be different. That is "when the ego dies, the body and the world die too". And "the world is just a projection of the ego". This teaching seems to deny the possibility of a non-dual experience of the world because we are told that the world ceases to exist when the ego dies.

Why even consider the issue? Because IMO the teaching leaves people confused which is undesirable.

Sivanarul said...

From my experience here are the findings:
There is an awareness of being aware and there is an awareness of form. This awareness I call the ego. But I could not find a person Sivanarul who is the projection from the ego Sivanarul.
In waking and dream, the world of form appears. In deep sleep, world and form does not appear. I entertained the possibility of simultaneous creation. Reflecting on that for a while, that possibility bestows on the ego 'I' tremendous powers, because to be able to create everything I perceive from fresh (or bring them from dormant state) implies tremendous amount of power. So I said, ok let me test if I truly have that kind of power. I tried to materialize mercury into gold. Failed. I tried to materialize myself to participate in the 100 meters Olympics race and win the gold medal. Failed. Whatever I tried (regarding special powers) I failed. So I concluded that I/ego doesn't have any powers that the simultaneous creation implies.

Next I entertained, creation then perception (shristi - Dhristi). Reflecting on that for a while, that possibility did not require any special powers from the ego. I arranged the things in a certain way in my house before I entered deep sleep. Upon waking, I verified everything was there exactly as I left it. Creation had already happened. In deep sleep, my perception of creation was lost. In waking the perception was found. This does not require any special powers from the ego and my testing indicated I don't have any special powers. So all is well. So from my experience, Shristhi - Dhristi is the winner.

Then I said, there must be a creator of all that I perceived. Having concluded that the ego is not the creator, there must be an external entity. This universe works on well defined laws. There must be an intelligence that regulates these laws. I rejected self-regulating universe as that intelligence (if universe is taken to be as matter) since matter around me in unintelligent. This intelligence must be energy that has tremendous force.

Now entering into faith. This energy is what is called Shakthi (Shakthi literally means energy) when movement is there (creation) and Sivam when it is does not move (achala). That energy is what is commonly referred to as God. To that energy, I submit myself and pray that it guide me from darkness to light.

Sivanarul said...

Saint Thayumanavar's wonderful poems says it a million times better than I can, which is as follows:

What is it, which is Uncircumscribed Effulgence,
Perfect Bliss, Divine-Love Filled --
What is it, which willed To contain the countless universes
In boundless space And there flourishes as Life of life, -
What is it, which stood Transcending thought and word,
What is it, which remained As the ever contentious object
Of countless faiths claiming, ''This, my God,'' ''This, our God''--
What is it, which exists as Omnipresent, Omnipotent Love-filled and Eternal -
What is it, which knows No limits of Night and day -
That indeed is what is agreeable to thought,
That indeed is what fills all space in silentness.
That indeed is what we in meekness worship.

Except by way of words and rituals I had not practiced even casually Anything to contain mind and breath.
As though I was longing for renunciation I hold serious discussions.
And when I forget all thoughts of it, I go to sleep.
When I think, I will have to shuffle this body I swoon in fear, my heart trembling.
Long, long indeed is the distance between
The blissful state of Transcendent Silentness And this ignorant one.
Knowing the devilish ways of this lowly cur, Grant Thou a way to contemplation of supreme bliss.
Oh! Thou, the heavenly wishing tree That grants all ripe rich boons To those who enter not the forest of pasas
Oh! Thou who filleth all visible space In unbroken continuity! Thou, the Bliss that is Perfect Full

Sanjay Lohia said...

suttanarvu, I wrote: ‘Thus, whatever was seemingly being done, was being done by the power of Bhagavan’; in response to this you asked: ‘Did Bhagavan's power also act as murder tousand times now in Syria?’

We may look at the answer to your question from different perspectives:

a) According to Bhagavan, the world we experience is just a projection of our ego or mind, and this mind has three qualities: sattva (equilibrium, beingness, and so on); rajas (incessant activity, anger, passion, desire, and so on) and tamas (laziness, callousness, inactivity, and so on). Our mind is a mixture of all these three qualities. Therefore, for example, when we project and experience the presence of our sadguru’s name, form and his teachings; these are projections of our predominantly sattvic aspect of our mind. Whereas when we project and experience tragedies such as the Syrian crisis, these are projection of our rajasic> and tamasic nature of our mind. In this way, whether it is good or bad, everything is a projection of ego.

b) ‘Nevertheless, he [God] is not saṁkalpa sahitar[one who is connected with or possesses any volition or intention]; even one karma does not adhere to him [that is, he is not bound or affected by any karma or action whatsoever]. That is like world-actions [the actions happening here on earth] not adhering to [or affecting] the sun, and [like] the qualities and defects of the other four elements [earth, water, air and fire] not adhering to the all-pervading space’, Bhagavan explains thus in the thirteen paragraph of Nan Yar. So the supreme power called Bhagavan is just a presence; and his mere presence makes the worldly-activities possible. Bhagavan is not aware of the good and bad events happening in his presence.

c) In the relative, worldly plane, badness or ugliness has some value or importance; only extreme badness makes extreme goodness manifest; goodness in and as some other person, or as some event in order to counter and destroy the badness. It needed a Ravana to bring Lord Rama on earth, and Rama and Ravana enabled the epic Ramyana to be written. Thus in a way, we should thank Ravana’s seemingly cruelty! Likewise, it was Duryodhana who made the battle of Mahabharata take place; and this battle was a pretext for Sri Krishna to give his message of Bhagavad Gita: a absolute spiritual treasure. So we do not really know what good is hidden in the seemingly bad or horrible events, like the Syrian crisis.

d) However, in reality all this – good and bad - are just part of our dream, and nothing is actually happening, though in our view they seem to be happening. When we wake up from our dream, we will come to understand that there never was any good or bad; or life and death; or birth and death, and so on. What is, is just beginningless, infinite, being-consciousness-bliss. Therefore, everything else is merely our imagination, or mental fabrication.





maravadu said...

Roger,
only short,
Quotes from the Home Page of Sri Ramanasramam:

"But the man only gains that liberty when he realises that he was never bound. The I, I, I’s who feel so bound are really the illimitable Spirit. I am bound because I know nothing that I do not sense by one of the senses. Whereas I am all the time that which senses in every body, in every mind. These bodies and minds are only the tools of the ‘I’, the illimitable Spirit."

Bob - P said...

Dear Mouna

I am glad my second attempt was a bit more clear I agree my first attempt was confusing.

All the best with your pratcise.
Take care.
Bob


Bob - P said...

[IMO there is a serious problem with the way "ego dies, body and world die" is taught. This phrase is taken to mean permanent "body and world die". Whereas, the reality (IMO) is that what is permanent is the death of the ego, but the body and world continue to exist as transient (present during waking state in Savikalpa Samadhi).]

Roger you may be right, but I personally don't agree.

My understanding is the ego experiences myself as I really am as multiplicity (ie) the world and everything it experiences as separate from itself.

But this is all in its own ignorant view.

As the ego exists only during waking and dream but not in deep sleep it is temporary phenomena and not permanent and so not real or the absolute truth. Once the ego vanishes what it once experienced as multiplicity returns to what it always ever was which is myself as I really am the non dual self aware being.

The ego, the world and everything the ego experiences was never nothing but myself as I really am. Myself as I really am always exists and is always self aware. Plus it is aware of nothing but itself and so is complete fullness or wholeness. It would never experience duality and so in reality no ego, no world ever actually existed.

So I don't share your belief below:

Whereas, the reality (IMO) is that what is permanent is the death of the ego, but the body and world continue to exist as transient (present during waking state in Savikalpa Samadhi).]

But again this is only my opinion and my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching.

The concept of non duality being the absolute truth is a very scary proposition to the dualistic ego !!

It sounds to me you still want the world but to see it as an illusion? Or part of yourself? But I admit I may be wrong here or misunderstood you.

Regardless all the best with your practise.
Take care Roger.
Bob

venkat said...

Hi Sivanarul

Just a gentle challenge to your rejection of drsti-shrsti. Gaudapada stated in Mandukyakarika something along the lines of "first is created the jiva, which then projects the world". Bhagavan says something similar. That in itself does not mean that the ego has power to create / control the world. Drsti-shrsti means perception - creation. Perceiving by implication is passive, not active in controlling what is perceived. Take the analogy of a dream - the dreamer cannot control the events in the dream - s/he can only perceive the dream.

Finally of course, the ego is also that which is perceived. Also part of the illusion. So how can an illusory ego control the broader world illusion. And thence you get to ajata vada - there is no one.

Best wishes.
venkat

Sanjay Lohia said...

If activity is advocated, either the creator (brahma) or death (yama) may be
said to have come in the guise of such a master
~*~ extract from Talks/ talk no. 601/ 27th December 1938/ 2003 reprint

Maharshi: He who instructs an ardent seeker to do this or that is not a true master. The seeker is already afflicted by his activities and wants Peace and Rest. In other words he wants cessation of his activities. Instead of that he is told to do something in addition to, or in place of, his other activities. Can that be a help to the seeker? Activity is creation; activity is the destruction of one’s inherent happiness. If activity be advocated the adviser is not a master but the killer. Either the Creator (Brahma) or Death (Yama) may be said to have come in the guise of such a master. He cannot liberate the aspirant but strengthens his fetters.

Reflections: By this standard, there are unlimited brahmas and yamas among us! Most of the gurus, past and present, have been advocating actions in the name of spiritual practices; so these gurus can never liberate us. All the sadhanas other than atma-vichara are actions, so they can never liberate us, at least directly. Bhagavan has used strong words in the above quoted passage, namely: activities cannot liberate us, and these only strengthen our fetters. Bhagavan warns us on the same lines in verse two of Upadesa Undiyar:

The fruit of action having perished [by experiencing it as a pleasure or pain], [remains] as seed [and thereby] causes [us] to sink in the ocean of actions. [Therefore action] does not give liberation [or freedom from bondage of action].

In the Sanskrit version of Upadesa Undiyar, Bhagavan puts this even more emphatically:

‘Worldly action’ is the cause for one’s falling into the great ‘ocean of action’. Its fruit is not lasting. And, it is obstructive of liberation.

So in these two versions, Bhagavan teaches us: Actions cannot give us liberation; in fact, actions obstruct liberation. Sadhanas other than atma-vichara can purify our mind, if it is done for the love of God and without expecting any worldly benefits, but these practices cannot directly liberate us. At the most, they can show us the way to liberation, but the actual way to liberation is only the practice of being persistently self-attentive - until our ego dissolves in the clear light of self-awareness.

Michael James said...

Sivanarul, in answer to the paragraph in which you say, ‘In the spiritual journey, there is no direct or indirect method that applies to everyone’, I have written a new article, Why is it so necessary for us to accept without reservation the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings?

Sivanarul said...

Venkat,

"That in itself does not mean that the ego has power to create /control the world. Drsti-shrsti means perception - creation"

Fair enough. I tried to test "perception - creation" hypothesis. I perceived a tesla in my backyard and waited a while. The tesla was not created. Then I perceived a million dollars, and waited a while. It also was not created. So, in my experience, I am not able to perceive and create what I perceive. I am only able to perceive what is already there, aka Shristhi-Dhrishti. Your's, Sri Gaudapada's and Bhagavan's may very well be different. Rejecting ajata, from my experience, is very easy, since I experience creation in the here and now. Of course, Sri Gaudapada' and Bhagavan's experience is different.

Analogy of the dream is just that, an analogy. It does not confer any special status or powers of my experience in the waking state.

The ego may very well be part of the lila of Ishvara (I reject illusion, as that kind of implies non-existence, and my current experience negates that). When and if I merge back in Ishvara, then using the powers of Ishvara, this entire creation may very well appear as a play. It has not happended yet.

Mouna said...

Sivanarulji, pranams
This is in response of the first part of your recent posting that apparently got deleted.
You say: "There is an awareness of being aware and there is an awareness of form. This awareness I call the ego. But I could not find a person Sivanarul who is the projection from the ego Sivanarul. "
Your statement is confusing and misleading.
First of all, awareness is one. Are there two lights? one the light of the sun and the other the light of the moon? No. Light is one. The "second" is a reflection of the first one.
I'll put it this way: there is awareness (chit or rope or brahman) and there is form (jada or snake or Sivanarul), between the two there is a mysterious ghostly entity that connects those two, and it's called ego (or error/superimposition/I-thought/mind/maya/shakti) which has two main features, veiling and projecting.
The twist in this apparent dual scenario (chit + jada) is that ego (their link) because of these two features, is on one side veiling the possibility of realizing its chit nature (rope) and is actually projecting jada (drishti-srishti) in the form of sensations/perceptions/thoughts and feelings that constitute what is called Sivanarul (snake). That is why Sivanarul "could not find a person Sivanarul who is the projection from the ego Sivanarul" because Sivanarul IS the ego's projection! (the snake cannot see itself as a snake, it is the ego that projects the snake!).
The last piece of the puzzle difficult to grasp is that in the same way as the rope and the snake are one but at the same time different, the ego and its projection are also one but at the same time different, again explaining why Sivanarul will never be able to find Sivanarul separated from Sivanarul.

Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

Pranam's my friend. Happy Saturday! I just finished writing long comment to Michael's new article and have exhausted my free time. So I have to keep this very short. Rope/snake is one model of reality. That model itself is not the actual reality. There are many models of reality available. All I was trying to say is that, in my experience, Shristi-Dhristi is what appears correct. Let's just leave it that, Vedanta agrees with Shristi-Dhristi as a working model of reality.

Mouna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sivanarul said...

Mounaji,

I saw your comment only after writing to Michael. Both you and Michael are good repositories of my attention, my friend. It is just that there is only so much of "free" time in samsara of the modern world. It is "doing" one thing after the other non-stop, that, time to "being" gets deprived frequently. But as I wrote in my comment, accepting that currently "doing" is the will of Ishvara, is the practice of Surrender. It is akin to Bhagavan making Annamalai Swami work like a dog for 10 years in hot sun without giving him any time for practice. When questioned, Bhagavan said, "Don't think you are the one "doing" it. That is the practice for you."

Have a great weekend and enjoy the olympics, if you happen to watch it.

athletic aspirant said...

Sivanarul,
enjoying the olympic games in Rio: we all cannot run so quickly as the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. In his today preliminary heat he had even time to look at his rivals before the finishing line with sympathetic sidelong glances.

nana neri said...

Mouna,
(as we see) our (world of) awareness seems to be full of paradoxa. Hmm...
Through what means can that tricky problem be solved by us ?

svarupa-smarana said...

Quotes of Sri Ramanasramam

"Atman alone exists and is real. The threefold reality of world, individual soul, and God is, like the illusory appear­ance of silver in the mother of pearl, an imaginary creation in the Atman. They appear and disappear simultaneously. The Self alone is the world, the ‘I’ and God. All that exists is but the manifestation of the Supreme."

Mouna said...

nana neri,

"Through what means can that tricky problem be solved by us ?"

Based in my experience, by self-attentiveness (or in other terms self-enquiry or self-investigation).

nana neri said...

Mouna,
that your experience is surely not deceptive.
Therefore the gold medal goes to... Mouna !
Greetings to the west coast !

Mouna said...

n n,

:-)

...

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,
You say "It would never experience duality and so in reality no ego, no world ever actually existed. ... It sounds to me you still want the world but to see it as an illusion? Or part of yourself? "

I agree with these guys (and thanks for the quotes!):
Maravadu said quoting Bhagavan: "If the mind becomes absorbed in the Heart, the ego or ‘I’, which is the centre of the multitude of thoughts, finally vanishes and pure Consciousness or Self, which subsists during all the states of the mind, alone remains resplendent."
(I assume that this quote is saying that Self sees waking/dream/sleep yet uninvolved after the ego vanishes.)

Svarupa-smarana said (quoting Bhagavan?): "The Self alone is the world, the ‘I’ and God. All that exists is but the manifestation of the Supreme.

IMO after the "death of the ego" the world continues to exist transiently as usual (that is during waking state but not during nirvikalpa samadhi) and the world is now known as Self.

So... when it is said "when the ego dies, the body and world die"... this might be correct if you specify "the duality illusion of the body and the world dies". But... the body and world continue as SELF.

Thus... if we consider Sivanarul's experiment: when he went to bed, he noted the state of his room, then checked again on waking to see if anything changed. We could do the same if the ego died during sleep: before the death of the ego... the room was a mess, on waking up after the death of the ego... the room is exactly the same mess... but now everything is known as SELF.

Or if Bhagavan had school homework to do before the death of his ego, after the death of his ego the assignment was still due, but he knew the world as SELF. The illusion of separate subject and objects died, what is left is SELF. Enlightenment is no excuse for not doing school work.

So... no need to worry: any left over pizza in the fridge will still be there for you after you realize SELF. Only you will be eating non-dual pizza.


maravadu said...

Roger,
regarding your assumption that 'Self sees waking/dream/sleep yet uninvolved after the ego vanishes':
the Self always continues to exist incessantly and untainted whether the ego vanishes or not.
Sivanarul's experiment s based on the ego's sense-perceptions and therefore this is a poor comparison. Checking the state of his room is of course ego's work. Surely Bhagavan's school work - if performed or not - did not promote the sudden death of the boy's ego.
If you are (aware) what you actually are you need not subsume your pizza under whatever concept. By the way eating a cold pizza out of the fridge is not easily digestible.

suttunarvu said...

Sanjay,
many thanks for your interesting reflection from four different perspectives.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Maravadu and Bob, and Michael I invite your comments,
My silly examples are meant to address one issue: Bob and others hear the teaching "when the ego dies, the body and the world die too" and they think that the body and world will cease, that when the ego dies there will be nothing but total non-existence permanently. (am I right?) They are taught that the body/world is a projection of the ego, therefore, when the ego is gone, the world and body are gone forever. Rather than "happiness of being" it is more precisely "happiness of being non-existent" or since it is said "kill, destroy, annihilate the ego" maybe is it "happiness of being ... dead".
:-)

But... this theory doesn't correlate with what was observed with Bhagavan (or any other enlightened beings): after his ego death, the world and his body continued to exist, both from his perspective and from the perspective of others. Although, from his perspective there was an incredible change: everything was now known as SELF.

In my opinion, the teaching "when the ego dies, the body and world die too" and "world is a projection of ego" may refer to conscious nirvikalpa samadhi where body and world are excluded but awareness remains. Bhagavan is established in this state, so maybe he is teaching from there.

Or it may refer to the fact that the world / body known as subject - object or duality awareness are gone... but, during savikalpa samadhi waking state, the body and world continue to exist, although now known as SELF.

Nisargadatta Maharaj's very bad habit of cigarettes continue after his Realization. pizza, even leftover and cold, might not be as harmful. :-)
My point being that after the death of the ego... the body still exists (although as SELF) and needs nourishment.

No matter how deep and far you go into nirvikalpa samadhi... as long as your body is still living... you need to come out into waking state savikalpa samadhi, as Bhagavan did. It seems that Michael's teaching has an emphasis on nirvikalpa (exclusion of everything including body and world) but fails to adequately address savikalpa samadhi (the enlightened waking state).

At least that is my opinion and if I am wrong then I invite someone to correct me.

regards,
R

maravadu said...

Roger,
again:
After the death of Venkataraman's ego 'the world and his body continued to exist ONLY from the perspective of others. According to Bhagavan after middle of July 1896 he was not even conscious of his physical body let alone of any world. We should believe him because he is not a liar.
Death of the ego has always to be considered only in relation to the particular vanished person. Therefore the view of other persons watching/perceiving the death of somebody's ego is in that point irrelevant and of no consequence.
Kind regards.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Maravadu:

you say: After the death of Venkataraman's ego 'the world and his body continued to exist ONLY from the perspective of others...

I'm not saying that Bhagavan is a liar. I'm only saying that there must be a more subtle explanation. A person before you who speaks from the body saying he has no body could be questioned further.

From "Talks 609, Jan 18th 1939" Bhagavan elaborates:
M.: That which is continuous is also enduring, i.e. permanent. That which is discontinuous is transitory.
D.: Yes.
M.: Therefore the state of Being is permanent and the body and the world are not. They are fleeting phenomena passing on the screen of Being-Consciousness which is eternal and stationary.


Therefore, after the death of the ego... the body and world still exist but are "fleeting phenomena".

Ken said...

Hello Roger Isaacs,

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

From the normal perspective (the "ego" perspective), this seems true, but this is because the ego is an error.

What you are calling "life" can be called "the formless essence" and the "the Now" as well as the "Self" (atman).

What you call "life denying" is pointing out the error that the forms are not life.

What you appear to be calling "life" is the same error as someone calling your shirt "Roger Isaacs".

What seems to be worthwhile about "life affirming" is the formless essence that gives life to the forms.

----

Another way of looking at this is to think about movies. When we are watching a really superb movie and the protagonist is hit in the face, everyone in the theater feels pain, and when the protagonist suceeds at the end of the movie, everyone in the theater is happy. (After the movie is over, everyone in the theater is fine, despite the protagonist having been seriously injured in the fight in the movie.)

Similarly, you can imagine that every morning you awaken into a movie theater with 16 hours of the same movie. During the movie, there is a Public Service Announcement, and in it a South Asian guy says "You are not the protagonist, the movie is a fiction, and if you do not like what is going on, you can get up and walk out of the theater".

Now, if you like the movie, and feel that the movie has been insulted by this South Asian guy, you can say that the guy is "life denying".

-----

Another point is that there is no meaning to be found within forms themselves. Again, what you find to be worthwhile is provided by the enlivening quality of the Formless (aka "bliss" (ananda), aka "love").

An analogy is the often heard scenario where someone falls in love, and on the first date, they hear a particular piece of music. They then associate this music with the wonderfulness of that night, and every time they hear the music, they feel that feeling. But, if they heard the same song a month earlier, they might have said "yeah that's okay, nothing special". And, in fact, they would associate the romantic feeling of the date, with whatever music happened to have been playing that night, irregardless of the quality of the song.

So, in a similar way, our lives in the physical world are imbued with the essence of the Formless, the essence of Life itself, and so we associate that Life with the particular forms we encounter, not realizing that no matter what form we encounter, it will still have Life.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael, Bob, Maravadu,

The teaching here is "when the ego dies, the body and world die" and "the world is a projection of the ego".
Essentially, the teaching here is 'when you are established in Being, the body and the world are gone, they do not exist'.

This is a very dramatic contrast with Krishna speaking to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita 2.48: "Established in Being, perform action."
Or B.G. 3.8: "Do your allotted duty. Action is indeed superior to inaction".

Maravadu says quoting Bhagavan: After the death of Venkataraman's ego 'the world and his body continued to exist ONLY from the perspective of others. According to Bhagavan after middle of July 1896 he was not even conscious of his physical body let alone of any world. We should believe him because he is not a liar."

Both Bhagavan's and Krishna's perspective's have value, but neither is entirely true without consideration of the other. Bhagavan's life style is withdrawn from the world (by western standards) and he prefers to emphasize the Unmanifest. Where as Krishna is the opposite. We can ask: what is our personal preference and consider that others may prefer the opposite.

Bhagavan's statement seems reasonable to me, but not absolute, some ways I can understand it:
1: there are the three bodies (which Bhagavan discusses): gross physical body, subtle body, causal body. We are normally tied exclusively to the gross physical and are not aware of the others, where as Bhagavan is no longer tied to the physical at all. Bhagavan is established in the subtle & causal bodies (or higher) rather than the physical, but he still has a physical presence that he is aware of.
2: if Bhagavan has realized the universe as Self, certainly the physical layer of his personal physical body has become very insignificant by comparison with our usual body obsession because his actual body is the entire universe. But... his physical layer of his body still exists, however insignificant.
3: if Bhagavan is primarily established in the Unmanifest, sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi where the world and body are excluded, then this may influence his expression.

To take his statement 'body does not exist' absolutely totally & literally and that it applies to everyone defies logic: here is a man speaking & writing to you using his body... and yet he claims that his body doesn't exist. "Yes" in some ways... but not absolutely.

Bhagavan says: Therefore the state of Being is permanent and the body and the world are not. They are fleeting phenomena passing on the screen of Being-Consciousness which is eternal and stationary.

Bob - P said...

Dear Roger

The first of your last 3 posts on this thread was addressed to me personally and you included my name in the last two inviting a reply.

I am really sorry Roger for not giving you my opinion about what you wrote but I am really trying now to limit my posts especially long ones like this because like I have said I am a very slow typer. This post along with my previous lengthy posts to you took me a such long to write.

Plus in all honesty I do find it hard to write about the teaching without making errors and creating confusion on the blog because of my inability to write clearly about it. I find it very hard to express my understanding in words, it always comes out wrong.

If I post a long post expressing my personal opinion about the teaching you along with anyone else reading this have my permission to remind me of this post. (lol)!

I will be trying my very best now to only post expressing my gratitude and to ask questions to those who have a deeper understand about the teaching than me. The basic principals are very easy to understand and are all I need for my practise. However sometimes questions do arise about more subtle aspects of the teaching of which I am ignorant off and lack a clear understanding .

Or I may post helpful quotes from the teaching as my friend Sanjay often does as this is most helpful to other devotees of Bhagavan who visit Michael's blog.

But I will leave answering questions or participating in lengthy conversations to devotees who can express themselves and Bhagavan's teaching much better than me.

Roger there is one last thing I would very much like to share with you and the reason why I visit Michael's blog.

If you go to his website you will notice he has free PDF copies of all is writings you can download for free including his book. Plus all his wonderful articles about Bhagavan's teachings on this blog are free for everyone.

He has only very recently added a donation button to the side bar and it is placed far down not at the top.

Michael never claims to experience himself as he really is ( I personally find the expressions "self realised" and "enlightened" a bit confusing). He doesn't claim to be a spiritual teacher or to be a guru, he has no disciples or devotes. He has no expensive products for sale including courses, video and audio products. Michael is a devotee of Bhagavan his guru and all his wonderful work is an expression of that love for Bhagavan.

If anyone expresses appreciation he directs that appreciation or praise to Bhagavan and takes no credit for himself. Michael's website and blog are not about Michael James, this isn't Michael's teaching it is all about his guru Bhagavan.

For me like Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, Sri Sadhu Om and many other devotes of Bhagavan Sri Michael James sets the perfect example for other devotes of Bhagavan to follow.

All the very best with you practice Roger.
It was very nice talking to you.
Take care.
Bob

maravadu said...

Roger,
do not forget :
Our remarks are such of ajnanis.
Our trying of mental understanding is done by ajnanis.
Bhagavan's and Krishna's teaching both are given for ajnanis.
Logic is applicable only for the sake of better access to the core teaching by ajnanis.
Our mind is not absolved from this ego i.e. is not as such an absolute actuality but our thoughts arise rather from the 'I'-thought which source is only this transient and phenomenal phantom called ego. As you quote, this ego is a fleeting phenomenon passing on the screen of (our) Being-Consciousness which is eternal and stationary.
Therefore our mental understanding cannot be at all 'absolutely'. Absolute and permananent is only our real state of Being.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,
We've talked about the issue of "when the ego dies, the body and world die" several times. So I think of you whenever it comes to mind.

I don't remember your words, but I recall you expressing at least some minor level of trepidation about the possible loss of the body and world on loss of the ego.

I firmly and absolutely believe & know that the ultimate reality of all this is totally beyond any possibility of accurate depiction using concepts and language.

So in this case, Krishna's comment "established in Being, perform action" simply provides another reference to counter balance any attachment to the perspective "ego dies, body and world too". The main point being: release any and all concerns regarding about the conceptual explanations as the ultimate reality is totally and forever beyond.

thanks for all your info regarding Michael. I find myself in an odd position: I find Michael's translations to be very useful and worthy of deep contemplation. But... as a fellow ajnani (at least today) the challenge for us to to walk the razor's edge trying not to fall off to the right or to the left. IMO Michael's presentation is a bit rigid and inflexible and with plenty of ego (such as Atma Vicara is the best, final, direct way for all). Thus, his conceptual presentation, although it is certainly inspiring, has the seeds of further attachment in it.

Regards,
R

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Maravadu,

Yes, Logic and mental understanding for ajnanis can never be absolute. Even for the Realized, as soon they express some reality by reducing it into language the full essence is lost by the time the ajnani hears it.

We are taught that mental contemplation is useful, essential. But... it also seems that contemplation is successful when the mind (while contemplating something) comes to rest, when thinking mostly or totally stops.

For me, the mind can get adhered or stuck to or identified with a concept such as "atma vicara is the best, most direct etc..." or "when the ego dies the body & world die". And then... it may be useful to consider that often the exact opposite of a particular teaching can be found which forces the mind to give up.

In other words:
In one work Bhagavan says "atma vicara is the best" and in another he says "kundalini and/or mantra are also the Self". The mind can certainly get stuck on "atma vicara is the best"... but if all of Bhagavan's teachings are studied, then we can see the he also said the opposite. On seeing this, the mind sees that there is no one single way, there is nothing to hold on to, and the mind is freed.

The mind can get identified with and stuck on "when the ego dies the body / world die". But when we see Krishna state the opposite "established in being perform action", then the mind is forced to see that the ultimate reality is either beyond or in-between the apparently conflicting descriptions. Then... the mind gives up and can let go of it's position.

And... when the mind no longer takes a particular position which places it in conflict with minds that have taken opposing positions... then we can live in peace.
:-)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Ken,
It seems that you are trying to describe the non-dual level of life or a subtler level. I agree with your statements from that level.

In my opinion, a knowledge base is not complete unless it covers many different layers and explains the apparent opposites: nondual - dual, manifest - unmanifest etc... Knowledge is different on each layer.

So when you say things like "there is no meaning to be found within forms themselves" I agree in a way... but not on our level of duality and not from our well known gross physical existence.

For example, when we try to apply this adage "there is no meaning to be found within forms themselves" to our common everyday duality-physical level, then you might tell a loved one "oh, you are just a form and no meaning can be found within forms". Obviously, this approach does not work in our common lives, in relationships.

My point being that non-dual teachings refer to the non-dual layer, and often DO NOT make sense in our everyday duality. If you go to the Ajata Dentist and tell him you have terrible tooth pain, he responds with "Great news sir! There can be no pain! Because the universe could never have been created!"

So... in my opinion, Michael's teaching and others such as the non-duality movement and satsang movement emphasize the unmanifest or deeper hidden layers of reality. These layers are true... but we can also consider the fullness of relative existence at the same time. Both nirvikalpa samadhi (unbounded Self conscious during exclusion of the world) AND savikalpa samadhi (unbounded Self in activity).


eppodum ulladu said...

Roger,
that you call Michael's 'presentation a bit rigid and inflexible you owe to your refusal of fully study of Bhagavan's principle teachings as given by Michael's articles.
May I suggest to you to study carefully all his articles before writing again comments on this blog. Take the time, it is really worth studying also all old articles.
Your view and theoretical understanding will then be more comprehensive. Otherwise you are turning round in a circle. Please do excuse my straight way of expressing.

Roger Isaacs said...


Hi Eppodum Ulladu,
When I say IMO (in my opinion) I am stating that what I write is just from the perspective of my experience and makeup. I only encourage you to find your own perspective as it will no doubt be different than mine. I don't wish to change your mind, I'm only providing my perspective.

You say I should read the old articles. If I am missing something then please just tell me what it is instead of referring me elsewhere.

What you have not been told is that all outer knowledge (for example Michael's work) is only an adjunct.

Clearly, any possible teaching is only for guidance on the path and all a teaching can do is to point to the Truth that you are.

When a teaching is presented in a way which places it in conflict with other teachings... then the teaching is losing it's value as a tool for inner inquiry. Instead, the teaching is becoming a device for outward competition and ego stimulation.

In other words, when it is said "atma vicara is the best way, final way, superior way etc..." then... the focus has shifted from atma vicara as a tool for inquiry and instead the focus has become outward competition with other schools and techniques. This invites outward ego involvement and actually discourages inner inquiry.

Similarly, there are many possible perspectives on virtually any issue. I posted:
1: Bhagavan says around 1890 'ego died, body and world dead too'.
2: but then in the 1930's Bhagavan says the world is a "fleeting phenomena". Ah, so the world must not be totally dead since it is a fleeting phenomena.
3: and Krishna says "established in Being perform action", well, the world & body must not be entirely "dead" if we are to perform action.

If you feel best about taking a single position, then fine, I will not try to change your mind because I know that there are many valid perspectives, find your own truth. But, some of us have a style of intellectual curiosity and need to consider issues from multiple perspectives.

When teachings demand that there is only one right answer to a question, then this is suspicious. It means that students are not encouraged to find their own truth, it means that the school only allows them to adopt and recite the dogma without enough freedom to contemplate and find the inner truth behind the outward concepts.

eppodum ulladu said...

Roger,
1. What you deliberately fail to notice is that one must carry out the necessary and careful study of teaching by one's own work. Teaching only get told is insufficient.
2. An adjunct in the used meaning as noun (a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part) can be very helpful for understanding the teaching.
3. Any teaching may come into conflict with any other teaching. That is however no characteristic which would lead the teaching at any rate to the loss of its value as a tool for inner inquiry.
4. You should inquire inside why all your instincts incline to see everywhere outward competition with other schools or ego stimulation/involvement.
5. Obviously you get something similar like an electric shock when reading the emotive/stimulus words 'atma – vicara is the direct way'.
6. Bhagavan's death-experience was not 1890 but 1896.
7. Any sayings of Bhagavan have their specific background particularly on the part of the questioner. That means the answer was given always taking the spiritual ripeness of the asking person into consideration.
8. Your special style of intellectual curiosity is in the mean time official and internationally known/famous. But you must decide if that is actually your main aim in life.
9. It is your home-made opinion that Bhagavan's teaching does demand only one right answer to a question. In the contrary you are just encouraged to find the inner truth behind the outward concepts. Wake up and free yourself from unnecessary obsessions.
Kind regards.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Eppodum,

3. Any teaching may come into conflict with any other teaching. That is however no characteristic which would lead the teaching at any rate to the loss of its value as a tool for inner inquiry.

To publicly state your teaching as superior places it in conflict with other teachings & people. This is ego. Ego blocks inner inquiry. To speak of other teachings positively and note that they must have their own truth in some way breaks down internal & external barriers.

7. Any sayings of Bhagavan have their specific background particularly on the part of the questioner. That means the answer was given always taking the spiritual ripeness of the asking person into consideration.

Does the teaching here consider the spiritual ripeness of the asking person and teach different techniques and approaches depending on ripeness?

9. It is your home-made opinion that Bhagavan's teaching does demand only one right answer to a question. In the contrary you are just encouraged to find the inner truth behind the outward concepts. Wake up and free yourself from unnecessary obsessions.

Of course there is only one right answer here:
"when the ego dies the world and body die" is the single right answer.
Other suggestions I made quoting Bhagavan on other days or Krishna are not right by the school and not acceptable.

Michael is the deliverer of right answers here.

Obsession with Atma Vicara as the superior technique is not actually performing Atma Vicara, and obsession with defending particular answers "when the ego dies the body and world die" is not practicing Atma Vicara. Both are outward movements of the mind and ego.

thanks for the interaction,
R

Ken said...

Hi Roger Isaacs,

You stated:
"So when you say things like "there is no meaning to be found within forms themselves" I agree in a way... but not on our level of duality and not from our well known gross physical existence."

No, I was speaking from the point of view of a "jiva" (individual limited being) in the physical world.

The Self (atman) is characterized by Advaita Vedanta as "SatChitAnanda" - Absolute Existence AND Absolute Consciousness AND Absolute Bliss. Since the Absolute is just one thing, then the meaning is that Existence IS Consciousness, and both ARE Bliss.

Another word for Bliss (Ananda) is "Love" as explained by the popular phrases "God is Love" and "You are Love".

In the introduction to "Who Am I?", Bhagavan explains that what the Jiva is doing throughout life is looking for Happiness, aka Bliss, aka Love. And, in the physical world, we get this parceled out to us in little bits, here and there. There is the joy of accomplishing a task, the joy of satisfying hunger, the joy of sex, and many other things.

But as I was trying to explain in the last part of my previous post, all of those forms are just containers that hold "joy" (yet another name for bliss/love/happiness). We associate the joy with the container which it comes in, but actually it is the same one joy, regardless of how it is obtained.

So, we can go through a life in the physical world, and not pay attention to the forms, but just pay attention to the bliss/love/happiness/joy that is there every moment, in fact, the "Now" is the formless in which the forms appear. (And, as Tolle points out, the "Now" and your Self are the same thing.)

A love relationship with another person is a special case - because the other person IS the Self also. When we "love" - the verb, rather than the previously used noun - that means we totally accept something. When we totally accept another person, another jiva, we connect to the Self through their Self.

Lastly, in terms of the issue of "responsibility in this life", I defer to Michael James' post "7. So long as our mind is turned outwards we should care about the well-being of others" at http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/why-are-compassion-and-ahimsa-necessary.html#07-care

Ken said...

It is also worth briefly investigating "What is a Spiritual Teaching?".

Imagine that the physical world had no mention of religion or spirituality. Then it is very unlikely that any jiva would ever discover the Self.

So, the Self - in its Worldly manifestation as God (Ishvara), puts clues and contact points into the physical world.

The Self creates innumerable limited jivas as its Play, and then puts religious and spiritual teachings and contact points into the world, so that the jivas can return when they have finished playing.

Ken said...

Roger,

You have some statements construed as being opposed and contradictory that are not so.

"Self-enquiry is the best practice" and "kundalini and/or mantra are also the Self" are not contradictory. Probably the two best Ramana Maharshi books are "The Path of Sri Ramana Maharshi Vol 1" and "Vol 2" by Sri Sadhu Om, which can be downloaded for free from Michael James' web site (in his bio, he said that these books were what clarified the teachings for him, and this is also true for myself.)

Vol. 1 is an excellent explanation of Self-enquiry, and Vol. 2 deals with religion and the world. In Vol. 2, it is explained how lesser teachings can help a jiva progress towards the Self, even though Self-enquiry is the best technique. One of the other techniques is "performing actions", i.e. Karma Yoga, and the book explains clearly why it works - yet is not as "advanced" as Self-enquiry.

As far as "the world dies", what is meant by that is explained by the analogy of going into a dark garage, seeing a coil of rope, but seeing a "snake". Only when the light is turned on, is it clear that:

* There is no snake
* There never really was a snake

*** But do not confuse that with "No one ever saw a snake". No one is saying that. Bhagavan is not saying "No one ever saw a physical world". ***

Consider Sherlock Holmes. He is more famous than any of us, has made more money than any of us, is more successful at what he does than any of us. And he never existed. But it is not correct to say "No one ever experienced Sherlock Holmes".

In Philosophy, semantics is everything. :)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Ken,

thanks for the elaboration, now I understand more about where you are coming from. It wasn't clear.

>> A love relationship with another person is a special case - because the other person IS the Self also.

The other person is myself when I actually experience this, if not, then it is only theoretical.

>> You have some statements construed as being opposed and contradictory that are not so.
>> "Self-enquiry is the best practice" and "kundalini and/or mantra are also the Self" are not contradictory.

It depends on who wrote the words and their intention which determines if they are contradictory. I have heard them posed in opposition. I certainly do not see them as contradictory, it seems they were posed as contradictory here.

>> Probably the two best Ramana Maharshi books are "The Path of Sri Ramana Maharshi Vol 1" and "Vol 2"

Thanks, I downloaded them. I am loving PDF's because I can search on words.

>> Vol. 2, it is explained how lesser teachings can help a jiva progress towards the Self, even though Self-enquiry is the best technique.

I will determine from my experience and my inner guide what is the "best" technique for me. Thanks for the suggestions, but I accept them only as more grist for the mill.

>> One of the other techniques is "performing actions", i.e. Karma Yoga, and the book explains clearly why it works - yet is not as "advanced" as Self-enquiry.

"what is advanced" varies by person in my experience. There are very advanced teachings about "Karma Yoga". For example, can you be aware of the Self and anchored in it while communicating with someone else or performing action? I can not see how this can be confidently labelled as "not advanced".

IMO you guys here make assumptions "karma yoga is not as advanced", "self enquiry is best"... these assumptions are mental, why don't you find out for yourself? Sounds like you are just repeating the school teachings. :-)

>> As far as "the world dies", what is meant by that is explained by the analogy of going into a dark garage

It is cooling off here and I have had snakes take siestas on the warm concrete in the garage, this is shocking, so I will remain wary. If necessary, I will call Michael for help. "No god damn it, it's not a rope I tell you, it's a f***ing snake. Yes I have the light on!!"

>> Consider Sherlock Holmes.

entertaining story, thanks!

You mentioned Tolle, I have some of his books, but I much prefer his teacher Barry Long. Tolle sat in BL's lecture's in London before he had the realization experience.

Ken said...

Okay, so George Lucas once wrote (in one of his scripts) a very wise saying: "The ability to speak does not make you intelligent". (Not referring to anyone here by the way!)

There is a corollary to that: "Being enlightened does not make you intelligent".

The ability to reason logically is an acquired skill, that gets better with practice. Just like it takes practice to be an excellent tennis player, it also takes practice to reason logically. Probably the most important part of that is to question all of your assumptions. This takes time, because the first 20 years of our lives consists of adopting innumerable assumptions.

I was never in the room with Barry Long, so I do not know whether he was a realized being, but his philosophical writings are drivel. All you have to do is read this article he wrote for Andrew Cohen (the latter has admitted recently to falsely claiming attainments, by the way):

http://www.barrylong.org/statements/love1.shtml

The easy way to become a famous fake guru is by copying true words of true gurus. Andrew Cohen, Rajneesh and Castaneda all did this. The latter two actually copied word for word - Castaneda's plagiarism is documented in the UCLA Library's system.

Then people read or listen to what you say and ... they agree! So they think you must be really great.

All of the above seems lost on Tolle. He had an experience, and then went in search of pre-existing writings to explain it. Whenever they seemed to correspond to his experience, he assumed that meant they were valid. He never thought to question whether they were true ideas that were plagiarized from elsewhere. So, he likes "A Course in Miracles" - probably the most dubious source in existence. If someone rings your doorbell and says "Hi, I'm Jesus and I want to dictate teachings to you", you would call the local mental hospital to pick up the guy. But if someone starts talking in your head - why does that give it any more validity? If one accepts that Jesus "cast out demons", then why can't it be a demon talking in your head who is claiming to be "Jesus"?

Of course, that mental dictation did not actually happen. Mysteriously, no "channeling" ever occurred prior to advent of charlatans in the 19th Century giving fake seances and the like. It's just a way of giving mysterious validity to your plagiarized material.

Having said all that, I think that the Tolle phenomenon has been really beneficial for a lot of people - getting them to "Be Here Now" and stop thinking so much. And, as you say, a lot of it is repurposed Barry Long, who undoubtedly was also beneficial for many people.

However, none of that is equivalent to an accurate description of the world. The reason is that most people - such as the average Oprah viewer - cannot examine their own assumptions, and they cannot reason logically.

For those who can, there is Advaita Vedanta.

By the way, those Path of Sri Ramana Maharshi PDF books - don't search them before reading them, especially Vol 1. It uses logical reasoning that goes from one thing to the next, so it helps to read it in order.

Roger Isaacs said...

Part 1:
Hi Ken,
If BL doesn't resonate with you, that's fine with me, I have no problems with that. Furthermore, I am not in the business of defending him, and I certainly do not necessarily agree with everything he said. But, in the interest of conversation (not that I reread the article carefully either): http://www.barrylong.org/statements/love1.shtml

You do not state beyond "drivel" your objections. But, for me, I do not have a problem with the article. He is using words differently, but stating that a distinction can be made between emotions which he calls feelings and sensations.

Now... a person deeply into Michael's work may not appreciate these distinctions because you here are all about excluding the body and the world totally: nirivikalpa samadhi. BL is taking an approach similar to Krishnamurti where he is excluding only attachment of the ego to objects in waking state: savikalpa samadhi.

"feelings" are the personal emotional interpretation of events, the illusory egoic attachment to objects in waking state.
"sensations" are NOT emotional, NOT interpretations, they are real at the physical level.

So, if you have an emotional feeling that Roger is a f***ing asshole... then, although certainly this case could be made, it is an emotional feeling of a particular individual that is not shared with everyone else (hopefully): it is very possibly an ego attachment. Feelings are constantly changing... unreliable.

But... the sensation of heat or cold or the desk & chair is not emotional, it is real (yeah sure, we can argue that the world is not real... but that's a different level).

And, although it may seem odd, he is saying that love, which we usually think of as an emotion, at the deepest level is actually a sensation: it is something real. Love is God, a very fine level of creation. Emotional feelings and attachments can be negated. But you can not negate sensations of your desk, the chair. The deepest level of love (where it is not mixed with personal emotions) can not be negated either.

Roger Isaacs said...

part 2:
No need to respond, I'm happy with "drivel" if you want to leave it that way. :-)

But also, I must say in thanks: BL's "sensation of the body" meditation really works for me, it is the same as Bhagavan describing the "current of energy", he is describing how to get into it, Nisargadatta Maharaj also points at this but leaves how to get into it as an exercise.

BLs style may not suit you, but you might check out "The Origins of Man and the Universe". It's very abstract, it explains the Psyche in great detail. The Psyche being what Plato was getting at with the theory of forms or theory of ideas. I had a teacher (Tarabilda) who was the most intelligent person I'd ever met, he studied everything is deepest detail to the point there was nothing left, later in his life, he discovered BL and commented that he was surprised that BL presented new information that he'd never heard before.

Are we philosophers? With the discussion of various personalities this sounding like people magazine. Actually, I am not a philosopher, I am more metaphysical and interested in experiential things. My philosophical interest does not go that deep.

Cohen: yes, thank God he recognized his delusion and went into seclusion! Although apparently he is back now.
I am not sure that ANY of the satsang crowd beyond Papaji speaks from established direct experience. But... by creating a new nondual religion (religion being something that speaks of a goal but without the means to attain it) they must being doing something useful, maybe.

Tolle: I've listened to a number of Tolle tapes and had the distinct feeling that every scenario he discussed was a translation of something I had heard BL say. I don't know if he is established in the higher state, probably, but BL said "no". As you say, he is doing useful work. If he's taken the work of others and presented it to a wider audience in a more digestible format... it's useful.

Casteneda: he occasionally provides interesting ideas about the path of the warrior, for example: running through a boulder field at night to silence the internal dialogue. The warrior needs some such strong challenging task. It's like the japanese samuri discussion of mushin or "no-mind" during battle. But... Casteneda does seem odd, I'm not surprised if there is something like plagiarism.

Osho is a bit unusual: IMO he is totally genuine, absolutely. But... he is a tantric, that is his essence is that of the revolutionary, the iconoclast, the rebel, the spiritual outlaw. He is philosophically oriented, but a revolutionary. He is totally devoted to destroying stale traditions (Krishnamutri has a bit of this too but not as direct). I laugh reading some of Osho's commentaries which seem philosophical... but then suddenly he veers off on a tangent cursing corrupt brahmans.

>> If someone rings your doorbell and says "Hi, I'm Jesus and I want to dictate teachings to you",

I'm telling people that they should give all their devotion and money to me, build big buildings in my honor with crosses on top, and then in return I will save them after they die... but, this doesn't seem to be working.

hocuspocus said...

Roger,
your "knowledge" is worthy of admiration. But let me now press the escape buttom.

Bob - P said...

Dear Roger
I have noticed in a few of your recent posts on this thread you have got a bit over emotional and resorted to using profanity. I appreciate you have used ** but the mind completes patterns internally. Why use it all? I don't think it helps to be honest with you. Personally I have no problem with profanity as it is just words. However I am only quickly mentioning it just in case younger visitors drop by. Like wise other visitors may find it a bit inappropriate.

Hope your practise is going well Roger.
Bob

Ken said...

"Osho" is equally as nonexistant as "Sherlock Holmes".

Rajneesh was a complete fake. He was one of a number of rather huge fakes going back over the past couple of centuries. There are thousands of pages about this on the web, I don't need to go into details. If you are over 45 years old, this is obvious. If you are under 45 years old, then you are subject to the whitewashing which has been done by people trying to profit from his name recognition.

You stated: "If BL doesn't resonate with you, that's fine with me," I don't use feelings to evaluate philosophy. As I said, I was never in the same room with Barry Long, so I cannot judge his state (same with Tolle). However, his writing is pop psychology, it is aimed at an average confused person. That may have been an effective teaching technique (and his message is positive), but there is nothing there to judge whether he had any idea what he was talking about.

On Castaneda - as an example, Castaneda wrote in one of his books that he went to a particular native american religious ceremony on a specific date. The UCLA Library has records that he had checked out a book about that ceremony on that date. Oops.

99% of human beings have no way to evaluate religious and spiritual teachings, and it all takes is a handful of people out of 7 Billion who have a cynical viewpoint combined with talent at persuasion. Those handful can dominate the spirituality market by simply parroting spiritual teachers of the past.

There are also those who are sincere, but cannot evaluate their own state. A good example is Andrew Cohen, who was a disciple of a disciple of Ramana Maharshi. He setup a whole organization based on himsself as Guru, which has had numerous allegations of abuse of power, and recently he has admitted to not being enlightened and making mistakes.

The same quality of Ramana's teachings that allows it to be conveyed by Ramana to us in a few paragraphs, also allows any charming and personable person to set themselves up as a teacher of that simple path. Which is a shame, because actually one does not need a teacher to do the path. Just a copy of "The Path of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Vol. 1" should be enough (and the fact that it can be downloaded for free, shows the sincerity of Michael James and the Ramana ashram organization).

In fact there is a frequent pattern of Indian spiritual teachers authorizing Westerners to setup meditation centers or be ashram managers, and then the guru dies, and then the Westerners each set themselves up as "Gurus" and abuse their power. Some have suggested that Western culture does not inculcate the sort of social responsibility values that generally prevent that sort of abuse.

Anyway, the subject of not-so-genuine teachers is one that can go on for thousands of pages, so perhaps we should leave it at that (although it is up to each person to decide when they are finished with a topic).

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,
You have a sweet disposition. If younger visitors drop by, there are bigger issues that they will face. Please see my statement in the newer blog, I have been struggling with how to deal with this situation. Suggestions would be appreciated although any solutions appear virtually impossible.

It it always a pleasure talking with you,

Ken, thanks for the conversation.

Roger

Bob - P said...

Dear Roger
With regards profanity I must stress I wasn't telling you what to do only asking you to maybe reconsider. Plus I am not a moderator !! (lol). You are of course free to express yourself in anyway you see fit. I personally don't have a problem with profanity unless young ears are listening.

You mentioned a statement on the newer blog and asked for a suggestion about it. Which post was it Roger? What was the statement?

I am trying to write shorter less frequent posts now but I will do my best to help as best as I can, but I am afraid I may not be able to in all fairness.

Roger I appreciate there has been some heated debate and you may not agree with certain things but I do hope you decide to stay.

Hope your practise is going well.
All the best.
Bob.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Bob,

Sorry for the misunderstanding. When I have said things about "Bob" and "cursing" I was always just playfully teasing. Now, in hindsight I can see that this was not at all obvious and I should have stated "playfully teasing" directly.

Michael posted a new blog today, ah, I see you've already found it. I will reply there.
There is another blog "Sunday 13th" why is it so necessary for us to accept ..." but this is very contentious and I would not read it.

best to you,
Roger

Bob - P said...

Best of luck with your practice Roger.
All the best.
Bob