Wednesday, 12 October 2016

An explanation of the first ten verses of Upadēśa Undiyār

For nearly five years I have been editing notes I made in 1977 and 78 of useful ideas and explanations that I heard Sadhu Om telling me or other friends, and since April 2012 these have been serialised in each issue of The Mountain Path under the title ‘The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention’. Since the notes I made at that time were intended just to remind myself of some of the explanations Sadhu Om gave, they are too sketchy to publish as they are, so I have had to edit and elaborate them in order to make them more understandable and to represent more faithfully and in more detail the type of explanations and clarifications he used to give, so while editing them I have freely drawn on my memory of what he would generally say about each subject. Therefore the final edited form in which my notes are published in The Mountain Path does not record the exact words of Sadhu Om, but it does convey reasonably faithfully ideas that I remember him frequently expressing.

Recently while preparing the next instalment for the January 2017 issue I came across the notes I had made on 19th August 1978 of an explanation that Sadhu Om had given about the first ten verses of Upadēśa Undiyār, but as usual my notes were not very detailed and I could see that in some respects I had not accurately recorded what he used to explain about each of those verses, so I had to edit and elaborate them in order to convey what I remember him explaining about them on various occasions. Since in its final edited form this portion of my notes conveys quite clearly what he often used to explain about these verses, I decided to reproduce it here:

Sadhu Om: The rishis who were practising ritualistic actions in the Daruka Vana believed that there is no God except action (karma), so in the first verse of Upadēśa Undiyār Bhagavan explains that since karma is insentient, it cannot be God and cannot decide which action is to give which fruit when, so the way and time in which each action is to give fruit is determined only by God. In the second verse he explains that even after the fruit of an action has been experienced the seed of that action, which is the tendency (vāsanā) to do the same kind of action again, remains, thereby causing one to become ever more deeply immersed in the ocean of action, so karma can never give liberation.

However in the third verse he explains that if we do action without any desire for its fruit but simply because of love for God, offering its fruit to him, that will purify our mind and show us the way to liberation. This means that karma done in such a spirit is not itself the path to liberation but can lead us to the path by purifying our mind, because only a purified mind will be able to grasp the fact that liberation cannot be achieved by any action but only by surrendering oneself entirely to God, and that one can surrender oneself only by turning within to vigilantly watch one’s ego and thereby prevent it from rising to do any karma.

In verses 4 to 7 he then explains the relative efficacy of the different types of action that one can do for the love of God. In verse 4 he says that pūjā, japa and dhyāna are respectively actions of body, speech and mind and that in this ascending order each is superior to the preceding one, meaning that they are increasingly effective in purifying our mind. In verse 5 he says that if one considers all things to be forms of God and reveres them accordingly, that is good pūjā or worship of God. In verse 6 he describes different types of vocal worship and japa (repetition of a name of God or a mantra sacred to him), saying that japa done in a loud voice is more effective (in purifying one’s mind) than praising God by singing hymns, that japa whispered faintly within one’s mouth is still more effective, and that japa done mentally is most effective of all and is a type of dhyāna or meditation. And in verse 7 he says that steady and uninterrupted meditation on God, like the steady flow of clarified butter, is better than meditation that is frequently interrupted by other thoughts. This is because the more we love God the more our mind will be drawn to think only of him, and what purifies our mind is not the action itself but the love with which we do it.

Up to verse 7 Bhagavan was discussing actions, which all involve an outward flow of our mind, but in verses 8 and 9 he shows us how we can divert our love for God to go beyond action to our natural state of just being, which is the state of complete self-surrender and hence the most perfect expression of love for God. In verse 8 he says that rather than anya-bhāva (meditation on God as something other than oneself) ananya-bhāva (meditation on him as not other than oneself) is ‘the best of all’, meaning that it is the best of all practices of bhakti and of all forms of meditation, and in verse 9 he says that by the strength or intensity of such ananya-bhāva being in sat-bhāva (one’s natural state of being), which transcends meditation, is para-bhakti tattva, the true state of supreme devotion.

So long as we consider God to be something other than ourself, when we meditate on him our attention is moving away from ourself towards our thought of him, and this outward movement of our mind is an action or karma. On the other hand, when we consider him to be ourself and meditate on him accordingly, we will no longer be meditating on a mere thought of him but only on ourself, so our attention will not be moving away from ourself but will just rest motionlessly on ourself, its source, so this self-attentiveness is not an action or karma but our natural state of just being (summā iruppadu). This is why Bhagavan says in verse 9 that by the intensity and firmness of ananya-bhāva we will remain in sat-bhāva, and that by being so we will transcend all bhāvana, imagination, meditation or thinking.

Thus what Bhagavan implies in these first nine verses is that though we cannot attain liberation by any action or karma, if our actions are motivated only by love of God and not by any desire for temporal gains, they will gradually purify our mind and enable us to understand that God is what shines in us as ‘I’, so the best way to meditate upon him is to meditate on nothing other than ourself, and that if we meditate only on ourself, all actions will cease, and thus we will subside back into the source from which we rose.

Therefore in verse 10 he say that subsiding and being in the source from which we rose (which is ourself as we really are) is itself karma, bhakti, yōga and jñāna, meaning that it is the most perfect practice of all spiritual paths, which are generally classified in four categories, namely karma yōga (the practice of desireless action), bhakti yōga (the practice of devotion), raja yōga (the practice of disciplines such as breath-control as a means to control and subdue the mind) and jñāna yōga (the practice of knowledge, which Bhagavan explained is only ātma-vicāra or self-investigation).

In verse 8 Bhagavan included a relative clause to describe ananya-bhāva more fully, namely ‘avaṉ aham āhum’, which means ‘in which he is I’, and which implies that since he (God) is ‘I’, by meditating on ‘I’ (which alone is ananya, ‘not other’ than oneself) one is meditating on him. However, in Sanskrit he translated this clause as ‘sōham iti’, which means ‘thus: he is I’, and because of this some people interpret ‘avaṉ aham āhum ananya-bhāva’ to mean sōham bhāvana, meditation on the thought ‘he is I’. This interpretation is not correct, however, because ananya-bhāva means ‘otherless meditation’ or ‘meditation on what is not other’, so it cannot mean meditation on the thought ‘he is I’, since any thought is something other than oneself.

Moreover, in verse 9 Bhagavan explains that by the strength or intensity of ananya-bhāva one will be established in the state of being (sat-bhāva), which he describes as bhāvanātīta, which means ‘transcending (or gone beyond) meditation’, and which therefore implies being beyond any kind of thinking, so from this we should infer that what he means by ‘avaṉ aham āhum ananya-bhāva’ is not meditation on the thought ‘he is I’ (sōham bhāvana), because meditation on any thought is a mental activity, so like any other action it would tend to be self-perpetuating, as Bhagavan implies in verse 2. In order to go beyond thinking our mind must subside, and since it rises, stands and flourishes by attending to anything other than itself, it will subside only by attending to itself, the one who rises to think anything.

When aspirants start to follow the path of bhakti, they generally do so with the idea that God is something other than oneself, so they worship, pray to and meditate on him as if he were another. However, since God is not other than ourself, we can never reach him so long as we consider him to be other, so we eventually need to be told that he is actually just ‘I’, which is what Bhagavan refers to when he says in verse 8 ‘avaṉ aham āhum’, ‘in which he is I’. However, when we are told that he is ‘I’, what we should infer is not that we should meditate on the idea ‘he is I’, but only that we should meditate on ourself alone.

As Bhagavan often used to say, why should we meditate on God as someone distant and unknown when in fact he always exists within us and is clearly known by us as ‘I’, our own self? Since ‘I’ is our nearest and dearest and what we are always clearly aware of, the simplest way and most effective way to love God and to meditate on him is to love him and meditate on him only as ‘I’.

158 comments:

Ken said...

Thanks for this article and the work that went into creating it.

Is it possible that at some point, ‘The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention’ might be published separately, for those who do not subscribe to the Mountain Path ?

Either as a PDF on your web site or as a separate publication ?

Michael James said...

Ken, currently ‘The Paramount Importance of Self-Attention’ is being serialised in The Mountain Path, but once it is completed I expect it will be published as a book. I have also been meaning to make the portions that have been published so far available on my website, but first I want to do a bit more work on it, and so far I have not had time to do so. However, you can read some of it in the back issues of The Mountain Path, which are currently available online up till the end of 2014.

Ken said...

Thanks, I did not know that all but the most recent issues of The Mountain Path were online, that could be very helpful.

To everyone else, for those who like to listen to Michael in "real-time" (as opposed to reading), there is a new video "2016-10-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on self-surrender" in which the first 22 minutes is a very good statement of Ramana's teachings about the ego and self-surrender (and the questions and answers are also worthwhile):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYhZtGQqPt0

Grammar Nazi said...

Sri Michael James
Paragraph 5 sentence 5: And in verse 7 he says that steady and uninterrupted meditation on God, like the steady flow of clarified butter, is better than meditation that is frequently uninterrupted by other thoughts.

Kindly correct the second 'uninterrupted' with 'interrupted'.

Michael James said...

Thank you, I have now corrected ‘uninterrupted’ to ‘interrupted’.

Bob - P said...

Hi Michael
Thanks very much for posting your edited notes about the verses above.
It was very helpful to read.
Thank you too for posting you recent video on you tube I look forward to watching it.
In appreciation.
Bob

Robert P said...

Dear Michael
Thank you for your recent blog entries and of course the wonderful youtube posting from the recent RMFUK meeting.
Some discussion from that meeting has left me a little confused. In the conversation with Barry you mention if I recall correctly that there is in fact one ego, despite it seeming like there is two (Barrys & Michaels). I understand Bhagavans teaching (to a certain degree of course) that the ego is only phantom and does not really exist, however I was hoping you could me understand the ‘one ego’ remark, as I am finding it hard to get to grips with.
Many thanks
Rob

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Dear Michael,

How should quotes like this be understood?!

"
By seeing Chidambaram, by being born, in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation.
"


Thank you,
Dragos :)

Nan Yar ? said...

Dragos,
very good question.
Because "...by merely thinking of Arunachala one will surely attain liberation" lacks the information about the frequency and intensity of thinking of Arunachala and does not give any exact moment of attaining liberation, we cannot take the quote literally,
My interpretation is that it means for most of us steady and persistent self-investigation. If one would be able to think extremely strong and unimaginably intensive uninterruptedly of Arunachala as one's true nature then it might be possible to annihilate this ego instantly and completely. At least that shows Bhagavan's life story with his ego-death experience in July 1896 down in Madurai.

Sivanarul said...

"How should quotes like this be understood? By seeing Chidambaram, by being born, in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation."

The quote originates from the Saivite tradition in which Chidambaram, Thiruvarur, Kasi and Arunachala are among the holiest places (including Mt.Kailash, Rameshwaram and others). The quote basically says that sadhakas associated with these places, have started their return journey and are guaranteed liberation "in time".

An analogy quote would be:
"Those who have gained admission to Harvard for an M.B.A, will surely have a successful career in management".

Just like ashrama kitchen workers gained immense spiritual benefit by virtue of being around Bhagavan (without any deep sadhana and/or knowledge of Ajata, Eka Jiva, Drishti-Shristhi etc), similarly sadhakas will reap immense spiritual benefit by associating with these holy places.

Om Sonadrisaya namah said...

Dragos,
the outstanding power of imparting liberation from ignorance attributed to Arunachala/Annamalai is confirmed also by Bhagavan in saying that all other holy places derive their radiation and transforming effect from Arunachala Hill. Every single stone of Arunachala is radiating grace. Sri Ramana said Arunachala is the spiritual center of the earth or universe. Arunachala is Om itself. Arunachala is manifested Siva. Has Bhagavan not said that in the end everyone must come to Arunachala (as the real form of the self) ? Therefore Arunachala's pre-eminent significance and sanctity is indescribable and indisputable, but is not felt, understood and realized by the major part of Indians and even the most people of Tiruvannamalai, because the cognition of its sacredness depends on 'spirtual ripeness' of aspirants.

Ken said...

The six verses from Chapter 26 of Ribhu Gita that are recommended by Ramana Mahashi:

1.! The concept 'I-am-the-body' is the sentient inner organ (i.e. the mind). It is also the illusory samsara. It is the source of all groundless fears. If there is no trace of it at all, everything will be found to be Brahman. (17)

2.! The concept 'I-am-the-body' is the primal ignorance. It is known as the firm knot of the heart (hrdayagranthi). It gives rise to the concepts of existence and non-existence. If there is no trace of it at all, everything will be found to be Brahman. (19)

3. ! Jiva is a concept, God, the world, the mind, desires, action, sorrow and all other things are all concepts. (25)

4.! The mind is unreal. It is like a magic show. It is the son of a barren woman. It is absolutely non-existent. Since there is no mind there are no concepts, no Guru, no disciple, no world, no jiva. All concepts are really Brahman. (36)

5.! The body, etc., are only concepts. Hearing, etc. (i.e. hearing, reasoning and contemplating) are concepts. Self-enquiry is a concept. All other things are also concepts. Concepts give rise to the world, the jivas and God. There is nothing whatever except concepts. Everything is in truth Brahman. (30)

6.! Abiding without concepts is the undifferentiated state. It is inherence (in Brahman). It is wisdom. It is Liberation. It is the natural state (sahaja). It is Brahman. It is Siva. If there is no concept at all everything will be found to be Brahman. (26)

barfooted devotee said...

Ken,
the quoted verses from Chapter 26 of Ribhu Gita may depict the view of a Jnani.
What did Ramana Maharishi recommend for us ignorant fellows [ajnanis] how to be abide without the unreal mind and absolutely non-existent concepts ?
In point 4 it is said that "All concepts are really Brahman". (36)
In point 5 we read that "Everything is in truth Brahman". (30)
If that would be true: Why should we try to stay without concepts if concepts are anyway really Brahman. I just can't understand how there could be any detrimental consequences to our spiritual health ?

ananya-bhava said...

Michael,
how to get the conviction that God is not other than ourself ?
How to get convinced that God in fact always exists within us and is clearly known by us as 'I', our own self ?
How to love God and meditate on him only as 'I' ?
Your answer will be: by the practice of knowledge,which is only atma-vicara or self-investigation.
Stupidly I yet did not manage to get established in the state of being (sat-bhava) (bhavanatita). That I did not succeed in meditating on myself alone is unfortunately how it is.
So I hope to get some time or other the required strength and intensity of ananya-bhava. When the self destroys the ego, the battle is won.
Om purushottamaya namah. Prostration to Bhagavan, who is said to be present as the sovereign awareness in all persons. Arunachala.

Ken said...

ananya-bhava:

As the Ribhu-Gita verse above points out, God is a concept. It is a concept we hear from other people. There are billions of people, and they have lots of ideas, some correct, and some incorrect.

So, first we need to find out "Who am I? And what is this world?". Self-investigation is thus necessary before doing anything else, because if we do not know who we are and what is this world, then how can we justify anything we say or do, and how would we make the next choice?

ananya-bhava said...

Ken,
you are right: Not knowing who we actually are is indeed a fine mess because all our view and choice are possibly wrong. As you say self-investigation is our holy task and cannot be postponed.

Sivanarul said...

To Ken's observation:
"As the Ribhu-Gita verse above points out, God is a concept. It is a concept we hear from other people. There are billions of people, and they have lots of ideas, some correct, and some incorrect."

For non-religious spiritual aspirants who use the intellect as a primary tool in Sadhana, the above is certainly Kosher and this post is not for you. But if you are a religious spiritual aspirant, please read on.

Whether God/Ishvara is a concept or not is to be realized. It is not meant to be a declaration at the Sadhaka stage. There is no point in a sadhaka who is not treating his/her family, friends, work, life etc as concepts, takes every precaution for his and his family's security (insurance etc) with the justification of "practicality", uses the authority of a few ancient texts to then start proclaiming that God is a concept.

Ishvara is more real than your family, friends, etc. It is not concocted by billions of people with lots of ideas. It is declared by sages of the same caliber of Bhagavan. Saint Arunagirinathar of Arunachala is such a sage who, upon request of King Vallalla, in turn prayed to Lord Muruga to appear. Both his scripture and historical pamplets verify that Lord Muruga appeared from one of the pillars in Arunachala temple, and all people gathered there had darshan of the Lord.

For religious spiritual aspirants who use the heart (in addition to or instead of the intellect), you do not have to treat God as a concept to do Self Investigation. While Bhagavan, Shankara and many other saints in the tradition may have written verses which may indicate treating God as a concept, they themselves did not demonstrate that by action. Bhagavan's devotion to Arunachala is well known. There are some soul stirring hymns sung by Sri Shankara on Lord Siva.

The intellects who are non-religious want to take only the highest declarations of Vedanta, and declare that everything else is a concept. That is fine, since it suits their belief. But Vedanta as promulgated by the different acharyas like Sri Shankara and Bhagavan did not demostrate that by action. They incorporated and demonstrated every teaching of Vedanta (from the highest to the beginner's) in their life from physican renuciation, sattic diet observance, devotion to the Lord etc etc. This is followed till today and the Shankaracharya of Sringeri is an excellent example of it.

For us, Ishvara is a loving and powerful guide on the path. Whether Ishvara is worshipped as the holy hill Arunachala, in the temples, as Sri Krishna, Rama etc, whatever the form may be, it remains as a powerful guide. Bhagavan said it best in the following verses of Aksharamanamalai:

O Arunachala! Do protect me like a supporting pole so that I may not wither away like a tender creeper that has no support!
O Arunachala! The knot of ignorance whose beginning or end cannot be traced, Thou hast to untie, like a mother. I cannot untie it by myself.
O Arunachala! Ocean of grace in the form of Hill! Graciously bestow Thy grace on me.
O Arunachala! By what strength can I, who am worse than a dog, approach Thee and attain Thee?
O Arunachala! When will my thought-waves cease so that I may unite with Thy subtle being in the Heart-ether?
O Arunachala! Bestow Thy grace on me who am a fool without even the knowledge of scriptures, by destroying my delusion.
O Arunachala! If I give up (Thy rememberance at the time of death), I shall have trouble (and be born again). Do shower Thy grace that I may die without giving up (remembering Thee).

Ken said...

Sivanarul -

With due respect, you (and all other dualists), do not understand the idea " concept created by a human being ".

You state:

"Ishvara is more real than your family, friends, etc."

That is a sentence spoken by a human being.

You state:

" It is declared by sages of the same caliber of Bhagavan."

That is a sentence spoken by a human being, and all the following sentences in your post are spoken by human beings. All the scriptures in the world are sentences spoken by human beings.

In the 18th Century, scholars compared all of the existing original sources for The Bible. They found thousands of places where different sources had different sentences. In some cases, all of the later sources had things not in the earlier sources, so they were clearly added by people (using "the ends justify the means" rationalizations).

"The remark of even a child is to be accepted, if it is in accordance with reason; but the remark of even God Himself, the creator of the world, is to be rejected like a piece of straw if it does not accord with reason"

- Sage Vasistha (from Yoga Vasistha II:18)

Ken said...

Sadhu Om stated in "The Path of Sri Ramana":

"So long as you see your God or Guru as different from your Self, you cannot know the Self which is the state of Perfect Freedom. So long as there is the feeling of separateness, fear is bound to be there. Your Love of the Self (Swatma Bhakti) i.e., your (ego's) merging into the Self, is verily your true Love of the Guru (Guru-Bhakti).

Till then all your present love towards this gross name and form in the name of the Love for the Guru (Guru Bhakti) is only a divided love, a partial love. This is nothing but the defective state of love.

Self-Love is the best and the greatest.
This Self-Love alone is the Perfect Love. The final state of refinement of the feeling of Love will be experienced as the unshakable Self-abidance. A state of love less than that; is not at all cither Supreme Love (Para Bhakti) or the Fullness of Love (Sampoorna Bhaktii, and this Love is Self and this Love is Shiva.

When love abides as itself, it is the full and perfect Love. When the Love takes the form of movement, it is fragmented and becomes desire which springs upon other objects. It is Love when it is in the form of unbroken Existence; it is desire when it is in the form of movement or fragmentation.
As second and third person objects are fragments, vour love towards them will be in the form of a mere desire - even towards such a loved one as your Guru. But, when the Love abides in the unbroken being of the first person - the Self, It is full and perfect. 'This state of Love of Self (Swatma Bhakti) is the final state of refinement of love and is called Supreme Love (Para Bhakti), Nondual Love (Ananya Bhakti). Hence Love is our Being. Desire is our (ego's) raising.
The state of our just being is the state of immutable Bliss (Ananda), the state of indivisible Supreme Love (Aparichinna Para Bhakti).

So long as you think that your Guru's Divine Love towards you is a love that springs from one entity to an other, certainly this love (your Guru's love towards you) is to be taken as a divided love.
Therefore, it is a lesser one than your love towards Self."

Sivanarul said...

Ken,

With the same respect to you:
Your's, Sadhu OM's and even Bhagavan's statements are also sentences spoken by human beings, so let not us not make mine or dualists statements alone, to be those of humans. By the way, just because someone does not accept everything as per your definition of non-duality, it does not mean they are dualists. As I posted earlier, different sub traditions interpet advaita differently. The work advaita as per Saiva Siddhantha interpretation is "Not Two" (Na Dvaita). It does not mean "One". As for your Sage Vasistha quote regarding reason, your definition of non-dualists alone do not have a sole right to reasoning. Different advaitic interpretations and dualistic intrepretation of the same upanishads is also based on sound reasoning. Attributing every other interpretation as a "concept created by a human being", except yours, sounds elitist and condescending and is not conducive to spiritual growth.

With respect to the 18'th century quotes being distorted, not all writings have been distorted. Pamban swamigal is a Saiva saint of the highest order, who lived between 1850 to 1929. His written works have been preserved verbatim and verified by him.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamban_Swamigal

Bhagavan never encouraged anyone to call God a concept. Instead he encouraged to deepen the love of God. As a follower of the saivite tradition, I am very familiar with what Para Bhakthi means. Appar swamigal proclaims, "The Lord who could not be found by Vishnu and Brahma (because they searched outside), was found by I by searching within". That proclamation does not translate to God being a concept.

With respect to your Sadhu OM's quotes, I can also quote hundreds of verses from Sri Shankara's and Narada Bhakthi sutras. What would be the point? My message of the previous post was mainly to highlight the fact that to do Self-Investigation, one does not have to call God a concept. If one is non-religious and wants to follow Self-Love as the best and greatest, please be my guest. Apparently many posters in this blog are not able to truly abide in Self-Love, for any outward turning is non-abidance in the Self. So you do whatever is that you do to again turn within. Saiva Siddhantin's and dualists use God as the guide to help turn within. This God/Ishvara is both within and without. If it doesn't work for you, so be it. It works for millions of us.

Sivanarul said...

Reposting as the earlier posting got deleted. Sorry if it is a duplicate..

Ken,

With the same respect to you:
Your's, Sadhu OM's and even Bhagavan's statements are also sentences spoken by human beings, so let not us not make mine or dualists statements alone, to be those of humans. By the way, just because someone does not accept everything as per your definition of non-duality, it does not mean they are dualists. As I posted earlier, different sub traditions interpet advaita differently. The work advaita as per Saiva Siddhantha interpretation is "Not Two" (Na Dvaita). It does not mean "One". As for your Sage Vasistha quote regarding reason, your definition of non-dualists alone do not have a sole right to reasoning. Different advaitic interpretations and dualistic interpretation of the same upanishads is also based on sound reasoning. Attributing every other interpretation as a "concept created by a human being", except yours, sounds elitist and condescending and is not conducive to spiritual growth.

With respect to the 18'th century quotes being distorted, not all writings have been distorted. Pamban swamigal is a Saiva saint of the highest order, who lived between 1850 to 1929. His written works have been preserved verbatim and verified by him.

Bhagavan never encouraged anyone to call God a concept. Instead he encouraged to deepen the love of God. As a follower of the saivite tradition, I am very familiar with what Para Bhakthi means. Appar swamigal proclaims, "The Lord who could not be found by Vishnu and Brahma (because they searched outside), was found by I by searching within". That proclamation does not translate to God being a concept.

With respect to your Sadhu OM's quotes, I can also quote hundreds of verses from Sri Shankara's and Narada Bhakthi sutras. What would be the point? My message of the previous post was mainly to highlight the fact that to do Self-Investigation, one does not have to call God a concept. If one is non-religious and wants to follow Self-Love as the best and greatest, please be my guest. Apparently many posters in this blog are not able to truly abide in Self-Love, for any outward turning is non-abidance in the Self. So you do whatever is that you do to again turn within. Saiva Siddhantin's and dualists use God as the guide to help turn within. This God/Ishvara is both within and without. If it doesn't work for you, so be it. It works for millions of us.

Mouna said...

We always have time for a good story, this one was once told by Robert Adams in one of his satsangs. Enjoy.

There was once a holy man who died and went up to heaven. He came to the pearly gates and banged on the gate. And God came out and said, "What do you want?" And the holy man said, "I am your servant. I have come." And God said, "Sorry, there's no room for you here. Goodbye," and left.
The holy man was perplexed. He sat down in front of the gate and started to ponder. "Why didn't God let me in?" And he sat for two years thinking, "Why couldn't I get into heaven?" And finally it came to him. So he banged on the gate again and God came and said, "Who are you? What do you want?" The holy man said, "I am your servant. I have converted thousands of people on your behalf. I have preached the bible to millions. I have done good deeds. Let me in." And God said, "Sorry, I don't care what you've done, there's no room in here for you," and went away.
This time the holy man was really disturbed. He couldn't understand this. "Why won't God let me in?" he said. So he sat down in front of the gate again. Centuries passed. Remember he was dead anyway so it didn't matter. He was pondering why God didn't let him in. Then it came to him. So again he got up and he banged on the door, on the pearly gates. God came out and said, "Who are you? What do you want?" And he said, "Lord, I am your humble servant, but I must confess my sins. I have had sexual affairs with my female devotees. I have eaten meat and told people I was a vegetarian. But I confess everything to you. Can I come in now?" So God looked at him and said, "I don't care what you do, there's no room for you here." And went away.
Again the holy man said, "What is this? I've done everything I can. I'm going to sit at this gate if I have to sit here for all eternity, until I find out what the problem is." So he sat for years and century after century, pondering. "I confessed my sins to God. I confessed my good deeds to God. I want to get into heaven. Wait a minute, who is this I? Who is the I that committed sins? Who is the I that committed good deeds? Who is the I that wants to get into heaven? Who am I?" And all of a sudden he started laughing. It came to him. He rolled over in laughter and he got up and banged on the gate. And God came and said, "Who are you?" And he said, "I am yourself." And God opened the gate and said, "Come in. There never was a room here for me and you."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, verse 14 of Ulladu Narpadu says that if the first person (the ego or the subject ‘I’) comes into existence, all the second and third persons will also come into existence.

The first person (the ego) projects a body and a person which it takes to be itself – in my case this person is called ‘Sanjay’. In which category does this person fits in? Should I consider this person 'Sanjay' as the first person, or should I consider it as the second person? I suspect, I should consider ‘Sanjay’ as the second person, as it is a jada object which I am aware of. I will be grateful if you could confirm this, or correct my understanding if it is wrong. With regards.

look at yourself said...

Sanjay,
do you really say 'you' to yourself ? Grammatically "you" is namely the second person.
Seen from the viewpoint of the ego therefore the person 'Sanjay' is always the first person in the above sense of the quoted verse.
Kind regards.

Sivanarul said...

Regarding Sri Robert Adam's story above:

Here we go again! Another example of taking the highest Vedantic teachings and using that to declare that there is no space for God. Vedanta as propagated by Sri Shankara and Bhagavan is not an Atheist membership club. It is part and parcel of Sanatana Dharma where God/Ishvara (in whatever name and form you worship) is very central to the teachings until the very end. There is a reason why Vedanta declares Ishvara as Saguna Brahman and Lord of Maya.

For religious spiritual aspirants, thinking prematurely that there is no space for God can be very detrimental to our spiritual growth. It is better to first ask these questions:

Have I given space for watching sports, movies, tv shows, concerts etc? Have I given space to treat my family and friends as special compared to others? Have I given space to relish tasty food? Have I given space to relish on materialistic comforts? What other things have I given space to?

If we answer yes to even one of the above, then there is definitely space for God. The Vedas declare that Ishvara can occupy in space tinier than an Atom. Saint Arunagirinathar sings in his Thirupugazh, that Lord Muruga moves as a Guru within an atom. CERN has placed a Nataraja bronze statue in front of it's office to honor the fact that Nataraja's dance is similar to the dance of sub-atomic particles. So we are talking of less than an atom's space in our heart for God. We have allowed space for all of the above, we certainly can afford space for less than an atom size. When we have space for pride, anger, jealousy etc which can sometimes fill up our entire bodies, it is highly premature to conclude that there is no space for God who takes less than an atom's space.

Non-Religious spiritual aspirants or Guru's like Robert Adams, grew up or threw away any faith in God. When they then give Satsang to similar minded people, it is quite natural they will tell stories as above. It is their belief and they are certainly entitled to it.

Since most readers of this blog are highly intellectual and use reason as a main instrument, the reason for giving God space is clearly explained in Thirukural 350:

Kural 350:
பற்றுக பற்றற்றான் பற்றினை அப்பற்றைப்
பற்றுக பற்று விடற்கு
Cling thou to that which He, to Whom nought clings, hath bid thee cling,
Cling to that bond, to get thee free from every clinging thing

English Explanation:
Desire the desire of Him who is without desire; in order to renounce desire, desire that desire

Mouna said...

"Have I given space for watching sports, movies, tv shows, concerts etc?....
...If we answer yes to even one of the above, then there is definitely space for God."


No Sivanarul, there is no space, because there is still "I" in all of that.

Not one God, not many Gods, only God.
That is what the story is about...

Michael James said...

Sivanarul, surely the import of the story told by Robert Adams that Mouna narrated in his comment is not that there is no room for God, but only that there is no room for anyone other than God. Since God is pūrṇa, the one infinite whole, where is any room for you or me? There is always room for God, because he is what alone actually exists, but when we rise as this ego, we are trying to usurp his space, or at least some of it, as illustrated by that story. Therefore only when this ego subsides completely can we truly be with God, because being with him entails being nothing other than him.

Sivanarul said...

Michael and Mouna,

We see the story how we "want" to see (that applies to me too). As the story tells in the end, if the aspirant has "realized" that "I am yourself", then there is no heaven or God to go and ask that question. Bhagavan used to say something to the effect of, "You know you are a man (from a body perspective). Having known as such, you will not be constantly parroting, "I am a man" to yourself or others. You will also not seek confirmation that you are a man from others or even yourself". If one has "realized" Brahman, there is no one to ask the question to (according to Vedanta).

The story makes a complete mockery of ethics and morals. It implies that having sexual affairs with female devotees, eating meat but telling others that one is a vegetarian doesn't really matter ("I don't care what you do").

This blog is read by both religious spiritual aspirants (RSA) and non-religious spiritual aspirants (NRSA). As I mentioned in all earlier comments, my post was meant for RSA folks only. Both of you, via earlier postings, have clearly indicated that you are aligned with NRSA. Robert Adams also was aligned with NRSA. So taking the highest teachings of Vedanta and applying it from beginning to end of the path, is aligned with your beliefs. You are entitled to walk the path however you want to.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment...

For the RSA folks:
God/Ishvara has been a tenent of our lives from childhood. Vedanta is not a Atheist exclusive membership club. It is part and parcel of Sanata Dharma where Ishvara plays a central role till the very end. The only key difference between Siddhanta and Vedanta is whether in the end, I and God remain as salt in water (Meykandar Adavita Siddhantha) or camphor in Fire / Fire alone (Adavita Vedanta). In both cases the I must first need to isolated from everything else. Here is Saint Pattinathar song:

"பூதமுங்கரணம் பொறிகளைம்புலனும் பொருந்திய குணங்க
ளோர்மூன்றும், நாதமுங்கடந்தவெளியிலேநீயுநானுமாய்நிற்குநாளு
ளதோ, வாதமுஞ்சமயபேதமுங்கடந்த மனோலய வின்பசாகரனே,
ஏதுமொன்றறியேன்யாதுநின்செயலே யிறைவனேயேகநாயகனே.

Will there ever be a day, when 'I' will stand isolated with you, leaving behind the 5 Buddhas, 5 senses, 3 gunas, 36 tattvas?
Oh Lord, you are beyond empty arguments, the egoic pride of my tradition is better than yours or is the only way.
I don't know anything. Whatever happens is as per you will."

How many of us can truly claim that we have reached a state described by Pattinathar above where we have left behind all of the above things. I have certainly not left behind anything. If you are like me, then let's first try to get to the state described above. In that state, we will realize whether there is space both for God and I or only space for God/I alone. We are still trying to just stand up on our feet. Let us not get too carried away with how our running in the olympics with Usain Bolt will go.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Contined from previous comment...

The path for RSA is very clearly illustrated in the Saivaite, Vaisnavite scriptures. It is also very clearly illustrated by Bhagavan in Aksharamanalai. As saint Manikkavasakar says in Sivapuranam:

"சிவன் அவன் என்சிந்தையுள் நின்ற அதனால்
அவன் அருளாலே அவன் தாள் வணங்கிச்
Since Lord Siva stood in my thoughts and heart, by his grace, I worship him"

Let us first get the holy form/name of the Lord firmly planted in our thoughts and heart. Then let his realize that without his grace we cannot even worship him. So let's first pray for his grace. Then let's begin his worship by whatever suits our temperament and maturity. It could be prayer, puja, meditation, parayana, Vichara etc. As the space occupied by the Lord grows in our heart, it will kick out space taken by anger, pride, jealousy etc. Space will be taken by love for all, seeing the Lord in everyone etc. As we walk in this path, we are promised to get to the state described in the Pattinathar song above. After that, it will be TBD.

Vichara not only has a special place in Bhagavan's teachings, it does so in Siddhanta teachings as well. Saint Manikkavasagar's sivapuranam contains the following line:

ஓராதார் உள்ளத்து ஒளிக்கும் ஒளியானே
Lord Siva hides in the heart of devotees who do not investigate/vichara

The above line clearly indicates the need for Vichara. So let us try to do Vichara also in addition to all of our other sadhanas. This journey is a journey of love. As devotees of the Lord, it s important to remember that we are in a state worse than a dog, as illustrated by both Saint Manikkavasagar and Bhagavan:

நாயிற் கடையாய்க் கிடந்த அடியேற்குத்
தாயிற் சிறந்த தயா ஆன தத்துவனே
To the devotees who are in a worst state than a dog, you oh Lord have been kinder than a mother.

In Aksharamanamalai:
O Arunachala! By what strength can I, who am worse than a dog, approach Thee and attain Thee?

Bhagavan's path of surrender is a wonderful path that is fully compatible with Saiva Siddhantha, Vaishnavism and Vedanta. Let us walk the path with love, surrender to Ishvara as best as we can and wait for the day when he strikes down the ego, as Bhagavan has said.

Ken said...

Sivanarul stated:

"Attributing every other interpretation as a 'concept created by a human being', except yours, sounds elitist and condescending and is not conducive to spiritual growth."

I never said "except mine" ! You should include mine as well.

You are still missing the point of the quote about reason.

Just because anyone says something, it does not make it true. The point of the quote is that reason is the only true guide.

When Ramana says:
"It is necessary for one to know oneself. For that, enquiry (jnana vichara) in the form 'Who am I?' alone is the principal means (mukhya sadhana)."

he is not asking anyone to accept his statements on faith, he is saying to verify them for yourself.

We find ourself apparently to be an individual in a world. Reason says that before we do anything, we need to find out "Who am I? And what is this world?".

That is before accepting what any of the billions of people say about things.

"Spiritual growth" already has two assumptions - something needs to be more than it was before, and that there is something called "spiritual".

But before you know "who am I?" and "what is the world?", how can you know what "spiritual" is, and whether it needs to be more than before?

Sivanarul said...

Ken,

If you want to keep on thinking that I am missing the point of the quote about reason, that is your prerogative. As I clearly said earlier, logic and reasoning is not the sole right of one sub-tradition that you align yourself with. All sub-traditions within Sanatana Dharma are based on Upanishads with sound reasoning, albeit different interpretations.

With the spiritual growth comment, you are again taking the highest teachings of Vedanta and splitting hairs about it. Every reader of this blog can decipher what the meaning of spiritual growth is. Taking Paramarthika view in conversation will not take anyone anywhere (again, please don't reply there is nowhere to go and no one to go to :-) I am saying that as a way of speech)

By all means, ask who am I? I am not saying, don't do it. Please read my comment just before this, where I write about the importance of Vichara in both Bhagavan's teachings and Siddhanta.

Sivanarul said...

To Ken's statement:
"Just because anyone says something, it does not make it true. The point of the quote is that reason is the only true guide.he is not asking anyone to accept his statements on faith, he is saying to verify them for yourself."

The fundamental issue here is that the non-religious spiritual aspirants want to discredit any religious spiritual teachings by implying that do not fit reason. There are certainly lot of highly questionable religious teachings like Thumb yoga that Ken alluded to in an earlier post somewhere else. I am not taking about thumb yoga here. I am talking of sub-traditions within Santana Dharma that are 3000+ years old and have withstood analysis, debates, reasoning and time.

If NRSA (non-religious spiritual aspirants) do not like religious teachings, you don't have to subscribe to it or follow it. But implying that they do not fit reason amounts to maligning them which is not conducive to spiritual growth (not conducive to turning closer to 180 degrees, a sadhu om analogy, that you will be in agreement with)

What is so wrong with faith anyways? Vedanta expects Shradda (Faith) as one of the prerequisites. We are not talking about blind faith, but just faith. We live dependent on faith every day. We have the faith in the driver of the bus to take us safely to our destination. We have faith in the basic goodness of our country/culture. We have faith that scientists are telling us the truth about black holes, since we neither have the capacity or capability to conduct experiments on black holes. We have faith in our mother that the father she points to, to be truly our father. We do not ask for a paternity test. If in rare cases we ask, we have faith that the DNA test that confirms paternity is truly a valid test, since we do not have the expertise to know how the test works.

The sub-traditions of Sanatana dharma are not anyone. For the NRSA folks, any saint or teaching from the RSA side will sound as anyone. But for us, the following people are not anyone, but fully vetted and well known saints. Since one has faith in all of the above explained in the above paragraph, there is no issue for RSA folks to have faith in the below saints and teachings:
63 Nayanmars and Bhagavan, 12 Alvars, Saint Arunagirinathar, Pamban Swamigal, Vallalar, Thayumnavar, Tulisdas, Kabir, Namadev, Shankara, Ramakrisnar, Swami Vivekananda and hundreds of others (listed in no particular order, other than memory).

Mouna said...

"As the story tells in the end, if the aspirant has "realized" that "I am yourself", then there is no heaven or God to go and ask that question."

Without realizing it, you just proved the whole point of the story Sivanarul...

Sivanarul said...

To Mouna's post:
"As the story tells in the end, if the aspirant has "realized" that "I am yourself", then there is no heaven or God to go and ask that question."
Without realizing it, you just proved the whole point of the story Sivanarul..."

Again we believe what we want to believe the point of story is and whether I proved it to what Mouna wants it to be. The story was told in a satsang to aspirants who supposedly have not "realized" that "I am yourself". Without that realization, the story tells that I and God cannot be in the same space. The story does not tell that I and tv/movies/sex/sports cannot be together in the same space. The story makes a complete mockery of ethics and morals. It implies that having sexual affairs with female devotees, eating meat but telling others that one is a vegetarian doesn't really matter ("I don't care what you do").

I am ending my comments on this topic. Readers can read whatever they want to read from the story. It is helpful to remember Vedanta's highest teachings are to be realized, not to be taken to mean there is no space for I and God during the journey.

ananya-bhava said...

Quote of Sri Ramanasramam:
"If one watches whence the notion of ‘I’ springs, the mind will get absorbed into that. That is tapas."
To that recommendation nothing is to add.

Annapurna said...

Only the one, whose mind is ripened by supreme devotion to Him, can attain Deliverance through zeal for the Quest of the Self and inward turning of the mind.
(Guru Ramana Vachana Mala,87)

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in answer to your questions, the body or person we take ourself to be is actually a second person, an object that appears in our awareness, but we experience it as if it were the first person, the subject, because our experience now is ‘I am this body, this person called so-and-so’.

While dreaming we experience our dream body as ‘I’, the first person, but as soon as we wake up we cease experiencing it as ‘I’, so we then recognise that it was just a second person, a phenomenon projected and experienced by us.

The first person (taṉmai) whom Bhagavan refers to in the first two lines of verse 14 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu is the ego, which is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, so in the kaliveṇbā version of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he added a relative clause before the first word of this verse, so ‘தன்மை’ (taṉmai) became ‘உடல் நான் என்னும் அத் தன்மை’ (uḍal nāṉ eṉṉum a-t-taṉmai), which means ‘that first person called “I am this body”’.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramakrishna Paramahansa on the Sense of Doership

Out of ignorance one feels, 'I am the doer.' One becomes a jivanmukta if one can but realize that God is the sole Actor (in the world system) and that I am a mere instrument in His hands. All troubles, all want of peace, come of the notion, 'I am the doer, I am the free agent.' ... If a man truly believes that God alone does everything, that He is the Operator and man the machine, then such a man is verily liberated in life. 'Thou workest Thine own work; men only call it theirs.' Do you know what it is like? Vedānta philosophy gives an illustration. Suppose you are cooking rice in a pot, with potato, egg-plant, and other vegetables. After a while the potatoes, eggplant, rice, and the rest begin to jump about in the pot. They seem to say with pride: 'We are moving! We are jumping!' The children see it and think the potatoes, egg-plant, and rice are alive and so they jump that way. But the elders, who know, explain to the children that the vegetables and the rice are not alive; they jump not of themselves, but because of the fire under the pot; if you remove the burning wood from the hearth, then they will move no more. Likewise the pride of man, that he is the doer, springs from ignorance. Men are powerful because of the power of God. All becomes quiet when that burning wood is taken away. The puppets dance well on the stage when pulled by a wire, but they cannot move when the wire snaps. ... If by the grace of God a man but once realizes that he is not the doer, then he at once becomes a Jivanmukta.---Ramakrishna Paramahansa

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for your clarification. As you say, only our ego or the subject called ‘I’ is the first person, though this ego or first person cannot exist without the ‘I am the body’ idea. If we consider our body or the person we take to ourself as the first person, it would be misleading - especially in the context of our practice of atma-vichara. We should not attend to our body but try and attend to our ego - the real first person - while trying to attend to ourself. Thus only our ego is the real first person, whereas our body is erroneously taken as the first person. With regards.

Ken said...

Sanjay -

I think that your use of "real" in your comment could be misleading.

In other words, when you state:

"Thus only our ego is the real first person..."

it contradicts that the ego is not real.

It is true that one of Ramana's biggest clues to us is his statement:

"The body does not say 'I'."

But since the ego is not real, it also cannot be the "real first person" - which, in fact, is the Self.

So, the ego is the "apparent first person".

But you description is correct with that one correction, i.e.

"We should not attend to our body but try and attend to our ego - the apparent first person - while trying to attend to ourself."

Lastly, when you state "the person we take to ourself as the first person", that is a description of ego.

It is consciousness (Awareness) that "lights up" the objects of the world, ie makes them perceivable. Thus, when Awareness looks out through a limited viewpoint on the world (ie in a human body), it sees its reflection in the world and in thoughts about the world. Thus, not being able to see the Self (ie Awareness), because Awareness is itself what is doing the seeing, it identifies itself as only the thoughts and perceptions, because this is all of itself that it can perceive.
However, this self-identification as this combination of thoughts and perceptions has a major error, because what it is identifying as "subject" is actually "object", ie thoughts and perceptions are merely objects to the real subject, Awareness.
A crude analogy to this error would be if you identified your clothes as being part of you.
So this error known as ego, is a major force that keeps one from recognizing who you really are - Awareness.

Ken said...

Sivanarul makes some false statements about Vedanta that should be corrected in the same thread.

Sivanarul stated:
"The only key difference between Siddhanta and Vedanta is whether in the end, I and God remain as salt in water (Meykandar Adavita Siddhantha) or camphor in Fire / Fire alone (Adavita Vedanta)."

and

"Bhagavan's path of surrender is a wonderful path that is fully compatible with Saiva Siddhantha, Vaishnavism and Vedanta. Let us walk the path with love, surrender to Ishvara as best as we can and wait for the day when he strikes down the ego, as Bhagavan has said."

No. Advaita Vedanta is monism. There is only one, period.

The Robert Adams story does not say there is no such thing as God. It is saying that there is only God.

Ramana never agreed that more than one thing exists. He insisted that there has never been "I and God" as two things Here is what he had to say about devotion and surrender:

"Q: Swami, it is good to love God, is it not? Then why not follow the path of love?

Ramana: Who said you couldn’t follow it? You can do so. But when you talk of love, there is duality, is there not – the person who loves and the entity called God who is loved? The individual is not separate from God. Hence love means one has love towards one’s own Self.

Q: That is why I am asking you whether God could be worshipped through the path of love.

Ramana: That is exactly what I have been saying. Love itself is the actual form of God. If by saying, ‘I do not love this, I do not love that’, you reject all things, that which remains is swarupa, that is the real form of the Self. That is pure bliss. Call it pure bliss, God, atma, or what you will. That is devotion, that is realization and that is everything. If you thus reject everything, what remains is the Self alone. That is real love. One who knows the secret of that love finds the world itself full of universal love.
The experience of not forgetting consciousness alone is the state of devotion [bhakti] which is the relationship of unfading real love, because the real knowledge of Self, which shines as the undivided supreme bliss itself, surges up as the nature of love.
Only if one knows the truth of love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled knot of life be untied.
Only if one attains the height of love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only love, which is seeing only love, hearing only love, feeling only love, tasting only love and smelling only love, which is bliss."

Sivanarul said...

Regarding Ken's latest comment:

"No. Advaita Vedanta is monism. There is only one, period."

Looks like we are back to hairsplitting again. I had said:
"The only key difference between Siddhanta and Vedanta is whether in the end, I and God remain as salt in water (Meykandar Adavita Siddhantha) or camphor in Fire / Fire alone (Adavita Vedanta)."

I had given "Fire alone" as the option in Adavita Vedanta, just to avoid this hair splitting which is the same as "There is only one, period". By the way since we are in the midst of hair splitting, there is no period in "There is only one, period". There is only one.

My comments are targeted for religious aspirants who follow the path of Surrender. These aspirants such as myself, are mostly beginners, who see multiplicity in the world, and are walking the path in snail pace. We have desires/aversions etc. We have a long way to go even to be a qualified aspirant as listed in Vivekachudamani. We don't really care whether at the mountain top things are as salt in water or there is only one or there was ever only one.

You seem to be a highly evolved advaitic aspirant and non-religious. So my comments will have no value for you and will appear as false statements. Kindly ignore them. I will also ignore your future comments. as from someone who is living in the advaitic state on a moment by moment basis. (Oh yeah, there is no moment, right? It is hard to write anything about a person (Oh yeah, there is no person, right) who lives as Brahman).

Since we are hair splitting anyways, one last hair splitting regarding this comment:

"Sivanarul makes some false statements about Vedanta that should be corrected in the same thread."

Once someone wrote a manuscript for a book about Bhagavan that had so many inaccuracies, outright lies and cast Bhagavan in a bad light. He was going out of ramanashram and another devotee read the manusscript and told the writer it had complete lies. The writer told that Bhagavan just inspected it and said he approved it for publishing. The devotee was flushed with anger and went to Bhagavan and asked him how he could approve such falsity. Bhagavan looked at the devotee with a smile and showed things around, "Is any of this true and only that false"?

So you see, there cannot be two persons making false and true statements, since all statements are false.

Of course the above is just hairsplitting :-), and in the phenomenal world, for religious aspirants, there are false and true statements.

look at yourself said...

Michael,
regarding your reply to Sanjay:
"While dreaming we experience our dream body as ‘I’, the first person, but as soon as we wake up we cease experiencing it as ‘I’, so we then recognise that it was just a second person, a phenomenon projected and experienced by us."

When we recognise a person as a phenomenon projected and eyperienced by us, grammatically it is a third person.( he she it : personal pronoun as object).

Sivanarul said...

One final comment for religious folks, on Ken's below quote:

"Ramana never agreed that more than one thing exists. He insisted that there has never been "I and God" as two things Here is what he had to say about devotion and surrender:
Q: Swami, it is good to love God, is it not? Then why not follow the path of love?
Ramana: Who said you couldn’t follow it? You can do so. But when you talk of love, there is duality, is there not – the person who loves and the entity called God who is loved? The individual is not separate from God. Hence love means one has love towards one’s own Self."

The never been "I and God" is Bhagavan's statement from his experiental reality. Is that our reality? We see multiplicity in family, friends which we feel are separate from us. Bhagavan underwent surgery without anesthesia. Can we do that? Just because something is applicable to Bhagavan does not make it applicable to us also (not yet). So for us, there is an I and God, whether that God is resident in our heart cave or standing as Arunachala hill or in temples such as Chidambaram, Kasi etc.

Vedanta as taught and practiced in India, even today, is closely intertwined with religion (Sanatana Dharma) and religious practices. When it was exported to the West, a lot of folks who were attracted to it were those who did not want anything to do with religion and God. That is why, the two most popular eastern traditions in the West are Buddhism (silent on God) and Advaita Vedanta (highest teachings tells that only Brahman exists and I is Brahman). So the way Advaita Vedanta taught in the West is without any religious practices (no need for Karma, Bhakthi or Raja yoga, Just ask Who am I). Bhagavan's experiential statements is all that is needed.

Continued in next comment...

Sivanarul said...

Continued from previous comment....

Arunachala was a problem, that needs to be made non-religious. You see Arunachala is Lord Siva manifested in physical form. What to do? Easy, call it the Self (whatever that means, since if it means I, this I does not feel that it is Arunachala. May be your I feels that way.).

Next Girivalam was a problem, that needs to be made non-religious. You see Girivalam is a religious practice. What to do? Easy, call it going around the Self. To me going round the Self would mean, standing up and simply rotating myself, since the Self is 'I'.

Next Bhagavan practicing duality towards Arunachala was a problem. That is easily solved by saying that there was no one else and nothing Bhagavan did after realization.

Next Aksharamanamaalai was a problem, since Bhagavan provides detailed instructions for devotees and employees many phrases used in religious literature (like I am worse than a dog). That problem is solved, by not focusing too much on it and redirecting users to just stick with Naan Yaar and Ulladu Narpadu. Where it is focussed, simply pick the non-devotional phrases only.

Next problem is Bhagavan has said that Surrender to Ishvara is a equally valid path and asked to start by partial surrender which in due course will result in the ego being struck down. That problem is solved by saying that Surrender is simply another name for Vichara and truly there is only one path, named Vichara.

With the above explanations, Congratulation!, essentially Vedanta has been made non-religious and ready for consumption in the West without having to deal with God.

But for folks, who have an eastern upbringing and are religious or with an western upbringing but believe in Sanatana Dharma (like Sri David Frawley), we don't have to divorce Sanatana Dharma from Vedanta. We can practice Vedanta and Sanatana Dharma together. When we do girivalam, we can lovingly go around it with devotion to Lord Siva who is both within and without. We can see Arunachala as Lord Siva. We can lovingly chant, OM Namah Sivaya. We can sing Arunachala Siva Arunachala Siva with love. We can practice Surrender to Ishvara both within and without. We can also practice Vichara on who is the one who is singing OM Namah Sivaya. You see, we love God both within and without. We don't care whether Ajata is true or not. We don't care whether at the mountain top it is monism or dualism. We know we need to graduate many classes and take many steps before we are at the devotional and jnana level of the Nayanmars and other saints. So let's march on with love. Let's march on with the Sanatana Dharma's core belief that just like all rivers end up in ocean, similarly all paths (religious and non-religious) will end up in the same absolute reality which is called by different names by different faiths.

Arunachala Siva, Aruanchala Siva, Arunachala Siva, Arunachala.
Arunachala Siva, Aruanchala Siva, Arunachala Siva, Arunachala.



D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramana Maharshi on the State to be Aimed At

(Taken from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 348)

Questioner: There are times when persons and things take a vague, almost transparent form, as in a dream. One ceases to observe them as outside, but passively conscious of their existence, while not actively conscious of any kind of selfhood. There is a deep quietness in the mind.

Is it at such times that one is ready to dive into the Self? Or is this condition unhealthy, the result of self hypnotism? Should it be encouraged as yielding temporary peace?

Ramana Maharshi: There is Consciousness along with quietness in the mind. This is exactly the state to be aimed at. The fact that the question has formed on this point, without realizing that it is the Self, shows that the state is not steady but casual.

The word ‘diving’ is appropriate when there are outgoing tendencies, and when, therefore, the mind has to be directed and turned within, there is a dip below the surface of externalities. But when quietness prevails without obstructing the Consciousness, where is the need to dive? If the state be not realised as the Self, the effort to do so may be called ‘diving’. The state may in that way be said to be suitable for realisation or ‘diving’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ken, Bhagavan has said, as recorded in the Maharshi’s Gospel:

The ego functions as the knot between the Self which is Pure Consciousness and the physical body which is inert and insentient. The ego is therefore called the chit-jada granthi. In your investigation into the source of aham-vritti, you take the essential chit aspect of the ego; and for this reason the enquiry must lead to the realization of the pure consciousness of the Self.

As Bhagavan says, our ego is the knot between ourself (pure consciousness) and a body. Bhagavan advises us to attend to the consciousness aspect of our ego while we try to attend to ourself. This consciousness aspect of our ego is the first person. However, the consciousness of our ego is not pure-consciousness, but is an adjunct mixed consciousness.

When I wrote: ‘thus only our ego is the real first person’, what I meant by ‘real’ was that we usually take the body or person to be the first person. So in this sense our body or person is the ‘unreal’ first person. In other words, the first person is only our ego (or chit aspect of our ego), and our body is the second person, because it is only our consciousness which is aware of the body. Yes, ego as a whole or as a knot is unreal, an imagination, but it has a real element in it, and this real element is consciousness.

Our true self cannot be considered to be the first person. It is the base or substratum of the first person, and all the second and third persons. Our ego is not an apparent first person, but it the first person in relation to all the second and third persons it experiences. When we look at our ego with one-pointed focus and attention, it will be annihilated, and along with it all the second and third persons will also be destroyed.

When I wrote: ‘We should not attend to our body but try and attend to our ego - the apparent first person - while trying to attend to ourself’, I typed 'the apparent first person' at the wrong place. Please read this sentence as follows:

We should not attend to our body – the apparent first person - but try and attend to our ego [its essential chit aspect] while trying to attend to ourself.



look at yourself said...

Sanjay,
regarding " When we look at our ego with one-pointed focus and attention, it will be annihilated, and along with it all the second and third persons will also be destroyed."
If thus the ego is annihilated, would then the chit aspect of the ego too (together with the ego) have been annihilated ?

Annapurna said...

look at yourself,
chit can be never annihilated. But is the chit aspect of the ego of the same "substance" as pure chit ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

look at yourself and Annapurna, there are two kinds of awareness. To begin with there is pure awareness – this pure awareness is our fundamental and basic awareness, which is permanent and unchanging. This pure awareness can never be annihilated. On this fundamental awareness, our adjunct mixed awareness (chidabhasa) may seem to appear. This is our reflected consciousness (our ego). This chidabhasa periodically rises and subsides, and will permanently subside when we manage to experience ourself as we really are.

It could be useful to understand more about this term chidabhasa (ego): Michael writes in his article :What is chidabhasa, the reflection of self-awareness:

Therefore चिदाभास (cidābhāsa) means a reflection, semblance or false appearance of consciousness or awareness.

Just as the reflection of ourself that we see in a mirror looks like ourself but is not actually ourself, cidābhāsa looks like cit but is not actually cit, so it is just a false appearance. In other words, cidābhāsa means what seems to be aware but is not actually aware — that is, what is not aware of what alone actually exists (namely ourself) as it actually is.

Therefore ‘cidābhāsa’ is just another description of our ego or mind, which is a phantom or false appearance that seems to be aware even though it is not the original awareness (cit), which is only our real self. Our ego seems to be aware because it borrows the light of self-awareness from ourself by posing as ourself, so its awareness is a false appearance, being just a reflection, semblance or image of our own real awareness, which is aware of nothing other than ourself.

Since this ego can rise only by attaching itself to a body, it cannot seem to exist without experiencing a body as itself, and hence it can be described either as cit-jaḍa-granthi (the knot that seems to bind ourself, who are cit, and this body, which is jaḍa, together as if we were one) or as cidābhāsa (a reflection or semblance of cit shining in this body). Therefore the body we identify as ourself is the reflecting medium or surface, our ego is the reflection in it, and what is reflected in it is ourself. In other words, we are the original, our ego is the reflection, and the mirror in which this reflection appears is our body. ~*~ [extract from the article ends]

Ken said...

Sivanarul -

There are some more misunderstandings occurring:

* First, I am not an "neo-Advaita" person, so I am not applying Advaita metaphysics about the Absolute to conversations between human beings. Yes, some neo-Advaitans do that, but I don't think anyone on this blog does that.

* But, when you say things like "in the end, I and God" then we are in the realm of metaphysics, not casual conversation.

* It is true that Ramana thought that any religious practice was better than no religious practice at all, and that when people had difficulties with Self-investigation and asked whether they could do dualistic religious practices, he always said yes.

* However, if you asked him "Is chanting Hare Krishna and waving an arati tray in from of a Krishna murti, Advaita Vedanta?", he would surely say no.

* In the quote above from Ramana:

"But when you talk of love, there is duality, is there not – the person who loves and the entity called God who is loved? The individual is not separate from God. Hence love means one has love towards one’s own Self."

you replied:

"Just because something is applicable to Bhagavan does not make it applicable to us also (not yet)."

No no. The quote clearly shows Ramana replying to someone who asked about what he should practice. Ramana replied and referred to "you".

The idea that we need to see God as separate, up until we become some extraordinary sage is not the teaching of Advaita Vedeanta.

HWL Poonja was taught to be a Krishna bhakta by his mother and spent many decades doing Krishna bhakta. Then he encountered Ramana and later stated "If I had been told to do self-investigation when I was young, I could have saved decades that were wasted".

Swami Muktananda had millions of students at all levels. But his main slogan was "God dwells within you as you". (That slogan is also the point of the Robert Adams story.)

Christian theologian of the 14th Century, Meister Eckhart, once said "The Eye with which I see God is the same Eye with which God sees me".

* Sivanarul wrote: "Easy, call it the Self (whatever that means, since if it means I, this I does not feel that it is Arunachala. May be your I feels that way.)."

You are clearly not reading any of this blog or any of the books of Ramana.

As explained in other posts in this thread, the "I" you refer to, is the ego, that thinks it is "Ken" or "Sivanarul". More simply, the ego is the "I am the body" thought.

Self-investigation ("vichara") is paying attention only to the sense of "I" and not paying attention to either thoughts or sense perceptions. When that is done, one will eventually discover that there is just "awareness" which has identified with the body. This "awareness" is the "God that dwells within you as you".

(It's so simple that complicated people reject it in favor of decades of classes, courses, degrees, practices, etc.)

Ken said...

Or even more simply, as Advaita teacher Adyashanti states:

"The practice, and my core teaching, is the same: Rest As Awareness."

look at yourself said...

Sanjay,
many thanks for explaining the term "c(h)idabasa". But my question was an other one.

Ken said...

Annapurna wrote: "But is the chit aspect of the ego of the same "substance" as pure chit ? "

Yes.

Remember that the ego is just a false appearance.

When we see a rope but think it is a snake, then the "snake" has the same substance as the rope (namely, long fibers).

Ken said...

So, when the words are used "the ego is annihilated", what is meant is that appearance of the "snake" is annihilated, but since the snake was really a rope, the rope is not "annihilated".

So, the "chit" aspect of ego is like the "rope" aspect of the rope that is seen to be a snake.

Sivanarul said...

Ken,

Like I told in my last post, it is better we ignore each other's comments, as our approach to Sadhana are quite different. Irrespective of whatever I write, you are going to see it as more misunderstandings occurring, because my writings are based on the broader Sanatana Dharma, Bhakthi and Surrender. Please don't reply that Bhakthi is self-love and surrender is just self-surrender. The terms Bhakthi and Surrender that I use, are as defined in the Bhakthi traditions.

"* Sivanarul wrote: "Easy, call it the Self (whatever that means, since if it means I, this I does not feel that it is Arunachala. May be your I feels that way.)."
You are clearly not reading any of this blog or any of the books of Ramana.
As explained in other posts in this thread, the "I" you refer to, is the ego, that thinks it is "Ken" or "Sivanarul". More simply, the ego is the "I am the body" thought."

The comment you quoted above of mine was a rhetorical one, sorry if it was not clear. The ego is the one that is demonstrated by your above quote that simply passes an absolute judgement about what I have read in this blog or any of Bhagavan's books. The ego is the one that is replying now that is thinking that after 10 years of reading various things about Bhagavan and 6 years of reading this blog, it has to hear a lecture on things as basic as what 'I' and ego are. The ego is the one that is thinking that, does it really needs to hear what 'I' is from someone else. Really?

May be this is why Saint Mannikavasagar wrote in one his peoms that he does not want any association with learned people (Kattrarai Yan Vayndain), which includes me too. Yeah, I have to start unlearning :-)

It was nice discussing with you, Ken. We have had strong disagreements. But those are just that, disagreements. You walk the path you see fit. I will walk it the way I see fit. That is beauty of religious liberty. We are free to pursue our path as we like.

I wish you the very best in your personal, professional and spiritual life, my friend. I will try not to get into strong disagreements from now on with you. It would also help, if you treat me as someone who at least knows the basics of advaita vedanta (the ego speaking :-)).

Annapurna said...

Ken,
with regard to the question put today by "look at yourself":
when I understand your comment correctly, particularly "...but since the snake was really a rope, the rope is not 'annihilated' " then your view is as follows:
the fate of the ego's chit-aspect after annihilation of the ego is not consequently the same as that of the ego, because the annihilated part of the ego is only its jada-aspect. Since the nature of the chit-aspect of the ego is nothing but pure chit the chit-aspect of the ego is undestructible.
But why should then any aspect of the ego remain when the ego itself is eliminated ?

Ken said...

Sivanarul wrote:"Irrespective of whatever I write, you are going to see it as more misunderstandings occurring, because my writings are based on the broader Sanatana Dharma, Bhakthi and Surrender."

I entirely understand that.

The sole aspect of your writings that I object to, are statements that:

* Advaita Vedanta is a path that includes the same understandings of God, bhakti and surrender as Saiva Siddhanta and Vaishnavism. In other words, you state your undoubtedly accurate statements about God, bhakti and surrender n Saiva Siddhanta and insist that Advaita Vedanta has the same viewpoints.

* The portions of Saiva Siddhanta and Vaishnavism that talk about "vichara" and "non-duality" have the same understandings of those terms as Advaita Vedanta.

Both misunderstandings are frequent in non-Advaitic Shaivism and Vaishnavism, because those sects are based on the authority of statements of various human beings, and thus their viewpoints are always in terms of the existing creeds and teachings. Since one is thereby taking the whole teaching and practice by faith, then one is clearly also accepting the definitions of one's sect. And that is certainly appropriate as long as one is a member of that sect.

A perfect example of this is your statement above:
"...whether in the end, I and God remain as salt in water (Meykandar Adavita Siddhantha) or camphor in Fire / Fire alone (Adavita Vedanta)."

From my reading, Saiva Siddhanta has eternal jivas. As such, the "I" and the "God" have different definitions from Advaita Vedanta.

So, the explanation of "what Advaita Vedanta thinks" is different from a Saiva Siddhanta viewpiont than from an Advaita Vedantist.

I have read "In Saiva Siddhantam, there are four types of liberation. Saalokam = living in the same sphere as Siva. Saameepam = being very close to Siva. Saarubhyam = having save form as Siva. Saayujyam = becoming one with Siva. So Saayujyam is the ultimate merger. In the three other muktis, there is Siva Consciousness but they do not become Sivam."

This may or may not be the viewpoint of your specific sect, but nevertheless it is an entirely different metaphysics from Advaita Vedanta.

In order for a particular religious sect to exist that has different viewpoints than others, it can either simply state its viewpoint, on its web sites and documents - or - it can go out of its way to state why everyone else's viewpoint is wrong. Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the classic example of the latter, they even invented a term for Advaita = "mayavadis" - and go around "picking fights".

Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with that, and monks of various sects have debated each other for centuries.

Purportedly, Ramana said about Saiva Siddhanta:

"Saiva Siddhantam postulates three fundamentals being eternal, i.e Pati (Lord), Pasu (Jiva), Pasam (the relationship through Maya). In that sense, it is different from Advaita Vedanta though not opposed to Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta regards only Self as eternal and jive merges with Brahman once the chord of Maya is snapped.

Such trinities are common in all religions. But they are true so long as the mind is operative. They are mere creations of the mind. One can postulate God only after the mind arises. God is not different from the Self. The Self is objectified as God. So also with Guru."

So, I am not sure why a Siava Siddhanta follower would read this blog for six years?

Ken said...

Annapurna - it is solely due to the imprecision of the phrase "the ego is annihilated".

Ramana and Sadhu Om both say that the ego never existed, in the same way as the snake never existed.

If a small child sees a monster in the dark bedroom, the parent might turn on the light and say "see - the light has annihilated the monster". But, in reality, the monster never existed.

Annapurna said...

Thanks Ken for your reply.
But should we not eradicate the false experience of the seemingly existent ego ?
How would you formulate more precisly e phrase of "the ego is annihilated" ?

Ken said...

Annapurna - read Sadhu Om's explanation of the "triangular room" in "Path of Sri Ramana Vol One" available for free on Michael James' web site, happinessofbeing.com

Ken said...

Here is what the most famous Vaishnavite of the 20th Century had to say about Ramana Maharshi (clearly a transcript of an audio tape where ... or ? represent inaudible words):

"Guest (1): The Ramana Maharshi is actually a... Read Bhagavad-gita. He requested you, "You should always read it."

Prabhupada: "Always read it," but he never preached about Krsna.

Guest (1): Eh?

Prabhupada: But he never preached about Krsna. He may be always reading, but he did not know what is Krsna. He never spoke that "Krsna is the Supreme Lord," never spoke. So what is the use of reading?

Guest (1): Ramana Maharshi?

Prabhupada: Ramana Maharshi, yes, I am speaking of Ramana Maharshi. He never preached about Krsna's superexcellent position, never preached. This is going on. Everyone is taking advantage of Bhagavad-gita and he's preaching in his own way, foolish way. "Own way" means foolish way. This is going on. You cannot... Suppose you have got your philosophy, but you cannot take my book and preach your philosophy. If you have got philosophy, you write your philosophy. Why do you take advantage of my book and misinterpret? This is cheating. Because my book is very popular, you take advantage of my book and preach your own nonsense philosophy. This is going on. If you want to smoke ganja, you smoke in your own hand. Why you capture my hand and smoke? What is this? So the ganja-smelling will be in my hand, not in your hand. This is going on. Why do they take advantage of Bhagavad-gita and preach their nonsense philosophy? That is our protest. You preach your nonsense philosophy. We have no objection. But don't touch Bhagavad-gita. This is our Krsna consciousness movement. What is the... Do you think it is honesty that you want to preach something of your own philosophy and you take advantage of my book and mislead others? Is that very good, honest business? This is going on. This is going on, very dangerous position. In our country, and what to speak of other countries, all these swamis, yogis, and politicians, and scholars, they are doing like this. Very dangerous position. Why should you touch Bhagavad-gita? You speak, you preach, your own philosophy. There are so many philosophies. But our only objection is that "Why should you preach your nonsense philosophy through Bhagavad-gita?" Do you think it is right?

Guest (1): It's not right.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Guest (1): It's not right.

Prabhupada: Yes. That you should understand.

Guest (2): ...not believe Krsna and preaching Bhagavad-gita...

Guest (1): The thing is Ramana Maharshi did preach Bhagavad-gita. He had (inaudible) ...so he kept quiet.

Prabhupada: Why should he kept quiet if he has read Bhagavad-gita?

Guest (3) (Indian man): No. But, say, it's like this. Man who has understood philosophy of Bhagavad-gita probably will not attach much importance whether it's Krsna, Siva or somebody else, once he has reached the supreme state.

Prabhupada: No, if Krsna... Krsna says that "I am the supreme..."

Guest (3): Yes, He says...

Prabhupada: So if you read Bhagavad-gita, then you must accept Krsna as the Supreme. Otherwise, what is the use of...?

Guest (3): No, thing is... is that Krsna is not supreme. Just because somebody doesn't pronounce the name of Krsna, that doesn't mean that...

Prabhupada: That means he does not accept Krsna as Supreme. Therefore he does not pronounce. That is the... If he understands that Krsna is supreme, he should... Just like we have understood. We are chanting always, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna... This is understanding, not, not... If you... Krsna says, satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah [Bg. 9.14]. That is Krsna. Satatam kirtayanto mam: [Bg. 9.14] "Always chanting about Me."

Guest (3): Yeah, but, the thing is...

Prabhupada: There is no "but." This is the instruction of Krsna. You have to accept it. Otherwise, you don't read Bhagavad-gita. That's all."

Sivanarul said...

Ken,

"I entirely understand that."

Finally we are getting somewhere and at least you understood something of what I said :-) Just kidding!

With respect to your new objections, the new misunderstanding you quote are not really misunderstandings. I am deeply familiar with both Saiva Siddhantha (that I consider as "my" tradition) and Advaita Vedanta and to know the similarities and differences. I tend to focus on commonalities and ignore the differences, not only between sub-traditions of Sanatana Dharma but also with other traditions outside of Sanatana Dharma, that includes Buddhism and Christianity. One of my favorite buddhist teachers that I listen to is Ajahn Brahm. I have also read and/or listened to Sri Nisargadatta, Rupert Spira, Adyashanti (his zen koan talk was wonderful), Mooji, Robert Adams and more that I can't remember now. For me, all of the teachings are simply Lord Siva's teachings that are given using various terminologies and names.

From my perspective, this tiny intellect cannot understand the workings of the supreme Lord Siva (Chittarival Perarivai Unara Mudiyathu).

With respect to your Bhagavan's quote of Saiva Siddhanta, Bhagavan explained his experiential reality using Advaita Vedanta. Sri Thayumanavar explained his experiential reality using Saiva Siddantha terms (there is a nice article on David Godman's site regarding Bhagavan and Thayumanavar). Bhagavan often quoted from Thayumanavar.

Many of Bhagavan's religious devotees consider Bhagavan as Saroopa of Lord Muruga (again there is a nice article on David Godman's site regarding this). I personally subscribe to that. Arunachala has 2 great Muruga Saroopa devotees. One is Saint Arunagirinathar who came to expouse Guga Sayujya nilai using Saiva Siddthanta. Other is Bhagavan who came to expouse the same Guga Sayujya nilai using advaita vedanta. Bhagavan's love for Arunachala and his saying "Appavuku pillai adakkam" are the cues for us. Again this is just what we believe and we are entitled to our beliefs :-), which you non-religious folks can dismiss.

"So, I am not sure why a Siava Siddhanta follower would read this blog for six years?"

So that you may ask the above question. :-)

sphinx said...

Ken,
please do spare us such twaddle of the "most famous Vaishnavite of the 20 th century". Your comment is unpleasant, improper, outrageous, uncritical, dishonest, inglorious, shady, extremely unfortunate, unwelcome, detrimental and therefore altogether unbearable.

Annapurna said...

Ken,
thanks for giving the hint to read Sadhu Om's Path of Sri Ramana. I will look for that explanation.

Bob - P said...

Ken wrote:

[So first we need to find out "Who am I?" And What is this world?". Self-Investigation is thus necessary before doing anything else, because if we do not know who we are and what is this world, then how can we justify anything we say or do, and how would we make the next choice?]

I think the above is your own words not a quote from someone else's?

Regardless, I personally don't think Bhagavan advises us to wonder what this world is Ken?
If we did it would take our attention outwards not inwards which is what he teaches, self investigation.

Bhagavan teaches us to investigate ourself and to do so focus our attention within not outwards. In fairness you do mention this when describing self investigation but you also say we must find out what is this world which I found confusing?

It contradicted my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching but I may be wrong as my understanding may not be correct.

All the best Ken.
Bob

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob-P, I agree with what you write in your comment addressed to Ken. Bhagavan does not ask us to investigate ‘What is this world?’ In fact he asks us to completely ignore this world by trying to attend to ourself alone. We cannot find the reality of this world before finding what we really are. The reality of the world is that it does not exist, but it will exist (or at least seem to exist) as long as we experience ourself as an ego, a person called so and so. Only when our ego is dissolved in the clear light of self-knowledge, will we experience that this world does not exist, and has never existed. It is because the one who experienced the world was itself a figment of our imagination.

Sanjay Lohia said...

In a sense it is a misleading to say ‘my ego’ ~*~ (Michael’s video taken on 8-10-2016: 0:41 onward)

Devotee: [Is it correct to say ‘my ego’?]

Michael: Well, it is the ego which seems to be ‘me’.

Devotee: It seems to be ‘me’; we don’t have to say, ‘it’s mine’.

Michael: In one sense it’s a bit misleading to say ‘my ego’. When we say ‘my ego’ we are objectifying the ego, but the ‘me’ and the ‘my’ is the ego. The one who says ‘my ego’ is the ego. We can say ‘my body’ because body actually is an object. We can actually see this body as an object, but we cannot see the ego as an object. It [ego] seems to be the subject, but if we turn our attention towards it it disappears.

The use of the term ‘my ego’… this is language. Language is a way of trying to express our experience, or our understanding of things, but this ego is something beyond understanding. It doesn’t actually exist; it’s a phantom that seems to exist so long as we are aware of other things. [ . . . ]

The essence of the ego is awareness that is aware of all these things. Bhagavan says, ‘look at that awareness’. The ego is the mixture of chit and jada. The body is jada. By attending to the body we are never going to realize the unreality of the ego. We have got to go to the essence of the ego, that chit aspect, that awareness aspect. When we look at that everything dissolves, the ego subsides back into its source, and we find that what actually exists is only the pure formless self-awareness that we always are.


Ken said...

Bob - P:

In regards to my quote:

[So first we need to find out "Who am I?" And What is this world?". Self-Investigation is thus necessary before doing anything else, because if we do not know who we are and what is this world, then how can we justify anything we say or do, and how would we make the next choice?]

you commented on whether it corresponded to Ramana's teachings.

The process described in my quote comes before one encounters Ramana's teachings.

Do we accept Ramana's teachings for no reason? Because his name starts with "R" perhaps?

One of the points of the Prahbupada quote is that those who encountered Prahbupada before Ramana, and said "I like Prahbupada, and I should follow him" now have many viewpoints opposed to Ramana's viewpoints.

So, is it a matter of who we encounter first?

Adyashanti once said (from observing human behavior): "We basically believe things either that we've been taught, sold or we really, really hope."

So, if we instead look to discover what is true, then we have a better chance of encountering the truth.

At any given moment, we cannot investigate two things, so if we investigate who we are, when we find out the truth, it may tell us something about the world, and that appears to be Ramana's recommendation.

If we do investigate the world, we find that there are billions of billions of billions of details, so we cannot discover anything by looking at all the details. So, as Vasishtha suggests, we should apply reason and logic.

And, in fact, if we examine Ramana's conversations about the world, we find exactly that. While he points out scripture that corresponds with logic (just as I have done with Vasishtha), he bases his viewpoint on the world on reason and then looks to see if reality corresponds with what reason suggests.

So, if we encounter Ramana's teachings and we verify that they correspond with reason (rather than merely citing the supposed authority of scriptures, merely because some person says they have authority), then we can follow his recommendations with full confidence.

Ken said...

Michael states in his 8-10-16 video:

"We can actually see this body as an object, but we cannot see the ego as an object. It [ego] seems to be the subject, but if we turn our attention towards it it disappears."

This is a crucial distinction between non-dual teachings (Advaita Vedanta, most of Buddhism, and Kashmir Shaivism aka Recognition) and dualistic teachings.

Dualistic teachings think that the ego is either necessary and eternal, or they think it is like a virus that needs to be killed. But we cannot kill the snake, but merely need to see that it is really just a rope.

Ambrosia said...

Ken,
you may keep your feet on the ground:
The expression "kill(ing) the snake" is only using a sharper/tougher/fiercer tongue for "seeing the (non-existent) snake as just a rope". The choice of words does not make a substancial difference in the meaning of both that statements.

Bob - P said...

Sanjay thanks for your comment.
Yes my understanding is we will not experience our self as we really are by thinking, investigating or reflecting about the world.
Instead we must turn our attention 180 degrees and investigate ourself by turning our attention within.
Hope your practise is going well.
All the best Sanjay.
Bob

Bob - P said...

Ken
Thanks very much for your feedback about what you wrote. Very helpful.
I notice you mention Adyashanti quite often in your posts and quote things he has said.
I came across Adya about 10 years ago.
Do you find his teaching helpful?
Is there any aspects of it you find confusing and not helpful?
Hope your practise is going well.
All the best Ken
Bob

Ken said...

Bob - P:

One benefit from "investigating the world" (meaning logically and conceptually, not physically looking at everything in the world) is that it gives one the conviction that "being the Self" is better than paying attention to the various names and forms of the world.

This is something that the Buddhists have developed extensively, investigating the world to discover such things as:

* Interdependent Origination - that while we conceptually have names and forms for various things like "mushroom", when we examine the world, it is found that everything is dependent on everything else, and it is even hard to draw a line between one thing and another. Modern science has also come to similar conclusions.

* Impermanence - everything in the world is present for a particular length of time and then vanishes. The length of time is impossible to predict, so depending on the existence of anything is perilous.

* Change - everything in the world is constantly changing, and so again, is undependable.

* Suffering - everything in the life of a being in the world eventually involves suffering. Not getting what you want is suffering. But also getting what you want is suffering, because due to impermanence, it eventually goes away. And (as Ramana has pointed out), once you experience the happiness of getting what you want, that happiness soon fades away, so you want something else.

Since the Self is the only thing not subject to these conditions, then it is superior to everything else. Ramana's paragraph on Happiness in Nan Yar explains this very clearly.

If our experience of the world agrees with the above, then we will have more enthusiasm for Self-investigation, which Ramana and all his disciples have said is important for success in that practice.

Ken said...

As far as Adyashanti, he has studied Ramana's teachings and his own teachings are quite similar. For example, he says that "my [recommended] practice and core teaching are simply 'Rest As Awareness'." which is another way of saying self-attention or "Be still with rememberance of 'I'" as Sadhu Om puts it.

He also is in accord with Ramana on other issues, such as both agreeing that the ability to enter nirvikalpa samadhi is just a skill, and is not realisation.

Since Adyashanti teaches in the current world, and primarily Americans, his teaching does go beyond Advaita Vedanta, for example, he recently wrote a book and taught courses on Jesus' teaching, and also has taught courses on Nisargadatta.

I've never seen him in person, and cannot verify his level of realisation. However, he does have skill in noticing the tendencies of our own egoic mind that prevent us from realising the truth.

I've also found that he is one of the few people who understands the problems of the New Age viewpoint. For example, he says: "We basically believe things either that we've been taught, sold or we really, really hope." That corresponds to my own observation that people adopt belief systems that they "like", not belief systems that correspond to the truth of reality. He is also one of the few spiritual teachers who is aware that what traditionally was called conditioning ("samskaras") also includes genetic instincts. Actually, Ramana once referred to this, but at the time, genetics was not yet discovered, so he had no way to identify the process, but he did say (paraphrase) "you do not have to consider normal everyday desires, such as hunger, as vasanas".

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael,

The foundation of your teaching is:
He is "I"".
God shines in us as "I".
"I" is the best object of meditation.
"Who am I?" is the only way to liberation and it is the final way for all, the best and most direct way for everyone.

This seems like a strong logical argument, it is convincing to many. But it is only partially correct. "Partially correct" is really very good... but less than complete :-)

Yes: "we should meditate on ourself"... but what is "ourself"?

Sages throughout the ages have said what you really are ultimately is one thing which has 3 inseparable qualities: sat-chit-ananda. This is a more complete definition or at least a strongly competing definition of 'what you really are'.

Sat is absolute pure being, non-changing truth.
Chit is Consciousness.
Ananda is bliss.

Bhagavan's favorite philosophy, Ajata (which states that the world could never have been created), is a commentary on Sat, Pure Being excluding all else, a commentary about one leg of the triad.

Of course Bhagavan is correct from a perspective if he channels the love of God into meditation on "I". But... this is for people who resonate with the perspective of Sat/Chit. It is a partial viewpoint.
Those of a devotional disposition will recommend the opposite: They might say "in the end Ananda is the most direct, all roads lead to the expansive joy of Ananda, Ananda embraces all in liberation."

Your approach is insightful with regard to Sat/Chit and for people who resonate with this approach. But in order to be more broadly correct (and less offensive to the larger community) commentaries from the view point of Ananda could at least be RESPECTED as being complete on their own.

The commentaries about Ananda are:
Bhakti Yoga: the skill of liberation through primordial or subconscious feeling, love of the divine. "Who am I?" is a detour for a pure bhakti, they follow Ananda alone straight to the source. Pure Bhakti is not taught on your blog!
And the other commentary on Ananda is Karma Yoga: the skill of liberation through conscious feeling.

Any of the three legs (or combinations) can be followed to the source but the style must be matched to ones temperament.

Regarding "karma can never give liberation": yes, object consciousness is not in the direction of liberation. But Karma Yoga IS a direct way to liberation. You don't know or understand Karma Yoga (or Bhakti), and it doesn't appear that you even realize that you do not know.

Lord Krishna taught Arjuna the secrets of Karma Yoga. Your teaching seems to place yourself above Lord Krishna even to the point of saying in effect that his approach can't possibly lead to liberation? (convulsive laughter in response) Lord Krishna's 5,228th birthday is coming up. May you and your teaching demonstrate a similar depth of venerable wisdom 5,000 years from now.

It is not possible for any individual to fully embody all the different approaches, but DEEP RESPECT for that which is different from our personal inclination instantly frees us from mountains of binding vasanas.

Other than these and a few other issues, your blog was excellent.

Bob - P said...

Ken
Just quickly posting to thank you for your two comments above addressed to me.
I will reply tomorrow.
All the best Ken.
Bob

sphinx said...

Roger Isaacs,
we are really impressed by your comprehensive understanding/knowledge even of Lord Krishna's teaching.
Indeed we should send Michael to the renowned 'Roger Isaacs Academy of Thinking' that points the way ahead - for learning the basics of Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Ananda.
Competitive spirit is rather appropriate in the realm of athletic sports.
By the way Michael never claimed to be a teacher.
As a general rule: Is it at all possible or necessary that any way of (spiritual) explanation/approach might convince everybody who is able to read and write ?

Ken said...

Roger -

There is a book which deals with your argument, called "Path of Sri Ramana Part Two", it is available for free to download from http://happinessofbeing.com/books.html#sadhu_om_english . It clearly and logically compares all religious and spiritual methods and practices, without any holes of logic that I could find.

(Part One, also available on the same web page, is a book which explains how to do Self-investigation - the method recommended by Ramana - more clearly than any other book I am aware of.)

====

I'll give my take, but since it is a quickly composed statement, it is nowheres as clear and logical as the Sadhu Om book linked above (Sadhu Om was a disciple of Ramana during the last years of the latter's life).

Also note that there are several thousand comments on this blog that already discuss the issue you bring up.

====

You say that Michael (and others) are not respecting "other roads", but you fail to state where the road is leading.

Until you know the answer to that question, then everything else you state is meaningless.

Also, you also do not know who or what is taking that road.

Before you can talk about Yoga, you need to know these things.

Krishna is a word. God is a word.

Bhagavad Gita is a collection of words that already existed when all human beings currently alive were born. There is no way for them to verify that some prankster did not change many or all sentences in it.

In the 1700s, a group of scholars compared all the existing old texts of the Bible to each other. They found thousands of differences. For example, there is one story in the Gospels where Jesus finds it difficult to remove a demon, and says "this one can only be removed by prayer and fasting". Except that all the manuscripts from before the 5th Century say "this one can only be removed by prayer". Historians say that the 5th Century had a big fad for fasting. So, it seems clear that some zealot added "and fasting" to the Gospel text, with the idea "it is okay to change it because it will benefit everyone to fast".

So, the point is that we have no way of knowing whether something in a book is correct.

So how do we know anything ? By two ways. By investigating our actual reality this moment, and by applying rational and logical analysis to the results of our investigation (carefully avoiding any assumptions).

So, self-investigation is the only reliable method to find out who we are (and what is reality). Until we know that, how do we know what else to do?

Ken said...

Roger -

You also have created a bit of a straw man. No one is suggesting to leave Ananda out of any method. At a minimum, it is suggested that those who have bhakti for their Self will be more likely to have success in abiding in it.

Please read further about Ramana's path before making judgements, the two books (free to download) in the previous comment are an excellent place to start.

For example, the following is a core teaching and one of the first things that Ramana wrote (in "Nan Yar"):

"Question: What is happiness?

Ramana Maharshi: What is called happiness is merely the nature of the Self[one's basic thought-free Awareness]. Happiness and the Self are not different. The happiness of the Self alone exists; that alone is real. There is no happiness at all in even a single one of the [many] things in the world. We believe that we derive happiness from them on account of aviveka [a lack of discrimination, an inability to ascertain what is correct]. When the mind is externalised, it experiences misery. The truth is, whenever our thoughts [that is, our desires] get fulfilled, the mind turns back to its source and experiences Self-happiness alone. In this way the mind wanders without rest, emerging and abandoning the Self and [later] returning within. The shade under a tree is very pleasant. Away from it the sun’s heat is scorching. A person who is wandering around outside reaches the shade and is cooled. After a while he goes out again, but unable to bear the scorching heat, returns to the tree. In this way he is engaged in going from the shade into the hot sunshine and in coming back from the hot sunshine into the shade. A person who acts like this is an aviveki [someone who lacks discrimination], for a discriminating person would never leave the shade. By analogy, the mind of a jnani[wise man] never leaves Brahman[the Absolute Ground of all Being], whereas the mind of someone who has not realised the Self is such that it suffers by wandering in the world before turning back to Brahman for a while to enjoy happiness. What is called ‘the world’ is only thoughts. When the world disappears, that is, when there are no thoughts, the mind experiences bliss; when the world appears, it experiences suffering."

Ken said...

By the way, anyone who bothered to actually look at this page would have noticed an Index of Topics, with a link to 33 pages of blog writing by Michael on Bhakti :

https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/search/label/bhakti%20%28devotion%29

Apeetha Kuchamba said...

Ken,
when the owl does not see the sun, it is not the fault of the owl. The owl is not conscious of having done any wrong. So let us lay the blame at the sun's door.
So what will be Roger's anwer ?

Ken said...

Roger -

Most importantly, since your earliest comments months ago, you continually bring up the false viewpoint that rationally pointing out that a method is better than other methods is "disrespectful" and "offensive".

If am digging a 3 foot hole in my yard to plant a new tree with a spoon, it is not disrespectful or offensive, for someone to correctly point out that using a shovel is a superior method.

But even more so, if I have a web site about the use of shovels, and some spoon fanatic comes to the web site to comment, it is absurd and ridiculous for the spoon fanatic to claim that the shovel web site is "disrespectful" and "offensive" for claiming that shovels are superior on the shovel web site.

Ken said...

Roger -

Since you bring up Krishna bhakti, you should know that Ramana Maharshi's most famous disciple, HWL Poonja, was a Krishna bhakta for decades and said this:

"With hindsight I could now see that the question ‘Who am I?’ was the one question which I should have asked myself years before. I had had a direct experience of the Self when I was eight and had spent the rest of my life trying to return to it. My mother had convinced me that devotion to Krishna would bring it back and had somehow brainwashed me into undertaking a quest for an external God whom she said could supply me with that one experience which I desired so much. In a lifetime of spiritual seeking I had met hundreds of sadhus, swamis and gurus, but none of them had told me the simple truth the way the Maharshi had done. None of them had said, ‘God is within you. He is not apart from you. You alone are God. If you find the source of the mind by asking yourself “Who am I?” you will experience Him in your Heart as the Self.’ If I had met the Maharshi earlier in my life, listened to his teachings and put them into practice, I could probably have saved myself years of fruitless external searching."

from:

http://www.mountainrunnerdoc.com/page/page/5144094.htm

radius of three yojanas said...

Ken,
it is really hard not to give up all hope that Roger will ever leave his "spoon-fanaticism".

Apeetha Kuchamba said...

Ken,
now listen:
Bhagavan did not have any disciples, at most devotees.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael and All (individual replies below):

This is a philosophical question for me. I'm only interested in learning about the truth.

We often get off track and the issues get obfuscated. I am guilty of this too, but can we keep our interaction to a small amount of text and mostly a single issue? Michael: please no 20 page blog response because they digress and then we loose focus.

I don't believe anyone has addressed my statement so I will rephrase it. It seems like if this is wrong a paragraph should be sufficient to refute it.

SatChitAnanda is certainly what we are according to many sages. And SatChitAnanda is post liberation, our transcendental essence. In that case, Ananda is one essential part of who we are, and just as much as "I", some people will have the skill of following Ananda directly to liberation without going through "I".
Note: I am not challenging Michael's excellent discourse about "I", only proposing that Ananda is on an equal footing for those who have a skill at it. And I am not interested in the argument of "I" over SatChitAnanda or vice versa.... only that SatChitAnanda (and hence Ananda) is one valid viewpoint.

I do not want to add more issues, but one thing that might be important:
Regarding Michael's apparent position about this: I AGREE with Michael that Karma Marga and Bhakti Marga DO NOT lead directly to liberation. But marga is entirely different than yoga. It seems that marga and yoga are being confused.

Replies:
Ken: "you fail to state where the road is leading": liberation of course.

I agree that the Bhagavad Gita is probably corrupt in some sense. No conceptual info can be perfect.

Ken says: "self-investigation is the only reliable method":

If your essence is Ananda just as much as Sat or Chit, then wouldn't Ananda also be an aspect of your identity and a reliable method? Wouldn't it also meet the qualification of "who you really are"?

Ken: "anyone who bothered to actually look at this page...."

If anyone bothered to actually look at this page... Sat-Chit-Ananda is not listed. Existing articles generally offer some variety of: "Bhakti Marga, and Karma Marga are not a final path, only preparation". I AGREE. But "marga" is not "yoga".

Apeetha:
I am very fond of owls. Seeing in the dark is a valuable skill.

Ken says:
"you continually bring up the false viewpoint that rationally pointing out that a method is better than other methods is "disrespectful" and "offensive""

Yes, And that is because I continually read that atma vicara is the BEST. Isn't proclaiming to all the different schools that "you know better" somewhat disrespectful or arrogant?
Suppose I constantly told you (just for example) that Atma Vicara was subordinate to something else and can never ever lead directly to liberation... and I was not really interested in listening to your perspective... is that disrespectful? If I were your neighbor and did that to you constantly how would you feel? It would shut down any real connection.

Ken says: "H.W.L Poonja says...":
Some people have the skill of sat/chit, others ananda. Maybe Poonja was a sat/chit-er. If anyone bothered to actually look there are numerous saints & schools recommending bhakti and karma yoga. Please note that I am not challenging Michael's teaching on "I", only proposing the Ananda is on equal footing.

Ken and all others with a similar style: you have offered many books, links, blogs etc. But... if these references had a direct reply to my question... you would be able to bring it into this conversation and succinctly refute my argument. As you have not done this, it seems perhaps that none of your references really apply to my question.

Satchitananda said...

Roger Isaacs

The direct reply to your questions is that there is no difference between 'sat', 'chit' and 'ananda', even though they seem to be three differing qualities (along with their opposites) in the view of this deluded ego. In essence, satchitananda is one beginningless endless unbroken non dual infinite reality, which is what we really are, which we each experience as 'I'.

In self-attention, whether we describe it as 'following ananda', or as 'following chit', or as 'following sat', makes no difference so long as we really are paying attention to ourself, which is what these descriptions ultimately point to.

Hope this addresses your questions.

venkat said...

Roger,
As noted in the previous comment, sat chit ananda is not separable, and not in any way linked anywhere to the paths of bhakti, karma and jnana yoga. The self-abidance is just abiding in that.

I think ananda is perhaps wrongly equated with bliss, since it sets up an image in the mind about gaining a state of perpetual happiness. I think it perhaps better defined as peace - i.e. absent the ups and downs of happiness and sorrow. In the upanishads, Brahman is also equated to satyam jnanam anatam: absolute truth, all knowledge and infinite.

Finally, the whole premise of Vedanta is that this mind-body-world is all maya, ignorance; and liberation therefore is the shedding of ignorance; and clearly ignorance can only be shed through jnana, knowledge. The Bhagavad Gita talks only about knowledge and the man established in knowledge. Karma and bhakti are provided as a means to purify the mind, and for the person who still has to interact in the world and has not yet come to renouncing the world.

Arjuna, who hitherto had been a man of action, balked at fighting against his family and comrades, even though it was a righteous war. Consequently he wanted to become a sannyasin, and to escape from the conflict. Krishna recognised that this was just escapism, and that he had not yet gained the knowledge to make renunciation real. So the rest of the Gita is prescribing karma yoga and other practices to prepare him for jnana yoga:

7.18: All of these indeed are noble, but the man of Knowledge is the very Self. This is my opinion. For, with a steadfast mind, he is set on the path leading to Me alone who am the super-excellent goal.

Bob - P said...

Dear Ken
Thanks for your opinion about the benefits of investigating the world and for including the Buddhists perspective on it too.

My personal opinion is once we come to realise the world can only provide us with temporary happiness and fleeting pleasures if we carry on investigating, contemplating or reflecting on the world it may not be helpful to us. My understanding is doing this won't help us experience our self as we really are because the mind is turned outwards compared to inwards. Once we discover things about the world like you mentioned in your post like:

Interdependent Origination
Impermanence
Change
Suffering

I don't think we should need to keep investigating the world to give us enthusiasm to practise self investigation, I find this a bit confusing.

If we are heading towards a desired destination then walking in the right direction is helpful to us. Therefore if we sometimes find our self walking in the opposite direction I think we should use it as a helpful reminder to turn around and walk in the right direction instead. I don't think investigating or focusing our attention on what we don't want is helpful. Instead I think it's more helpful to focus our attention on what we want. We shouldn't need to keep focusing our attention on the opposite direction to give us enthusiasm to turn around and walk in the right direction.

Like wise I think rather than investigating and reflecting about the world we should try our best to turn our attention 180 degrees and investigate our self.
Observe the observer so to speak not the observed.
Turn the mind within and focus our attention on our self.

Easier said than done! And I am guilty of doing the exact opposite I must confess. The very fact I am aware of the world and experience it as something other than myself proves this. It proves the intensity of my practise to attend to myself alone is still weak.
However even though I am aware and experiencing the world I am trying not to investigate it or contemplate and reflect about it. Instead I try my best to use it as a helpful reminder to turn my attention within compared to outwards.

However whilst I am aware of the world I do my very best to treat other sentient beings with much love and respect. My understanding is the only way I can truly help them and help the world is to turn within and experience myself as I really am.

This is my understanding of what Bhagavan recommended we do.

I will get back to you about Adyashanti tomorrow Ken.
Apologies I am a very slow typer.
All the best.
Bob





Mouna said...

Venkat, greetings

There is a small typo in one of your excellent paragraphs about ananda, it is when you said that in the Upanishads (Taittiriya to be more precise) Brahman is named satyam, jnanam and "anantam" (not anatam).
As you surely know, "anantam" is the compound word of "an" meaning not and "anta" meaning end or limit (like in Vedanta), making the most common translation as "limitless" (or unending, infinite) as you rightly pointed out.

Regards,
M

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Venkat, SatchitAnanda,
thanks a lot for your comments, I will take the opportunity to contemplate for a while before responding. These are fascinating issues.

Sheese, BOB P
regarding Apologies I am a very slow typer.

Have you considered that your slow typing speed is delaying the edification of the world?

venkat said...

Hey Mouna my friend. Thank you for the correction - and for the elegant etymology of anantam.

Take care,

venkat

Ken said...

Bob - P wrote:

"Once we discover things about the world like you mentioned in your post like:

Interdependent Origination
Impermanence
Change
Suffering

I don't think we should need to keep investigating the world to give us enthusiasm to practise self investigation..."

I entirely agree with that.

The investigation of the world is only necessary to discover those things. Then they lead us to investigate who we are.

Sadhu Om points out in the Path of Sri Ramana that Ganapati Muni became an expert at doing mantra japa, but his practice of doing something focused on an object, produced a skill that did not help him do self-investigation.

So, anything that we might consider "preparatory" is only to be done until it produces the necessary result, and need not be mastered.... because that mastery is impermanent. :)

==> I point out the "investigation of the world" solely because so many spiritual groups emphasize "how it helps your daily life", which is a reasonable technique to get worldly people interested, but at some point they need to realign their goals towards the spiritual rather than the material.

Ken said...

Roger -

After 6 months here, you still have not bothered to to read any actual description of self-investigation that have been provided for you. Instead, you've spent 10 times as much time writing inaccurate statements, such as:

" And SatChitAnanda is post liberation, our transcendental essence. In that case, Ananda is one essential part of who we are, and just as much as 'I' ".

No.

You are SatChitAnanda right now, you have always been. There is no such thing as "transcendental".

And:

"I" = SatChitAnanda

The Exact Same Thing.

"the inner immortal self and the great cosmic power are one and the same".

"Realization" means realizing that you have always been SatChitAnanda.

"God dwells within you as you"

Ken said...

Roger -

Sadhu Om stated in "The Path of Sri Ramana":

"So long as you see your God or Guru as different from your Self, you cannot know the Self which is the state of Perfect Freedom. So long as there is the feeling of separateness, fear is bound to be there. Your Love of the Self (Swatma Bhakti) i.e., your (ego's) merging into the Self, is verily your true Love of the Guru (Guru-Bhakti).

Till then all your present love towards this gross name and form in the name of the Love for the Guru (Guru Bhakti) is only a divided love, a partial love. This is nothing but the defective state of love.

Self-Love is the best and the greatest.
This Self-Love alone is the Perfect Love. The final state of refinement of the feeling of Love will be experienced as the unshakable Self-abidance. A state of love less than that; is not at all cither Supreme Love (Para Bhakti) or the Fullness of Love (Sampoorna Bhaktii, and this Love is Self and this Love is Shiva.

When love abides as itself, it is the full and perfect Love. When the Love takes the form of movement, it is fragmented and becomes desire which springs upon other objects. It is Love when it is in the form of unbroken Existence; it is desire when it is in the form of movement or fragmentation.
As second and third person objects are fragments, vour love towards them will be in the form of a mere desire - even towards such a loved one as your Guru. But, when the Love abides in the unbroken being of the first person - the Self, It is full and perfect. 'This state of Love of Self (Swatma Bhakti) is the final state of refinement of love and is called Supreme Love (Para Bhakti), Nondual Love (Ananya Bhakti). Hence Love is our Being. Desire is our (ego's) raising.
The state of our just being is the state of immutable Bliss (Ananda), the state of indivisible Supreme Love (Aparichinna Para Bhakti).

So long as you think that your Guru's Divine Love towards you is a love that springs from one entity to an other, certainly this love (your Guru's love towards you) is to be taken as a divided love.
Therefore, it is a lesser one than your love towards Self."

Ken said...

Roger -

Just to be clear, Ramana never agreed that more than one thing exists. He insisted that there has never been "I and God" as two things Here is what he had to say about devotion and surrender:

"Q: Swami, it is good to love God, is it not? Then why not follow the path of love?

Ramana: Who said you couldn’t follow it? You can do so. But when you talk of love, there is duality, is there not – the person who loves and the entity called God who is loved? The individual is not separate from God. Hence love means one has love towards one’s own Self.

Q: That is why I am asking you whether God could be worshipped through the path of love.

Ramana: That is exactly what I have been saying. Love itself is the actual form of God. If by saying, ‘I do not love this, I do not love that’, you reject all things, that which remains is swarupa, that is the real form of the Self. That is pure bliss. Call it pure bliss, God, atma, or what you will. That is devotion, that is realization and that is everything. If you thus reject everything, what remains is the Self alone. That is real love. One who knows the secret of that love finds the world itself full of universal love.
The experience of not forgetting consciousness alone is the state of devotion [bhakti] which is the relationship of unfading real love, because the real knowledge of Self, which shines as the undivided supreme bliss itself, surges up as the nature of love.
Only if one knows the truth of love, which is the real nature of Self, will the strong entangled knot of life be untied.
Only if one attains the height of love will liberation be attained. Such is the heart of all religions. The experience of Self is only love, which is seeing only love, hearing only love, feeling only love, tasting only love and smelling only love, which is bliss."

Ken said...

Roger

Sadhu Om's Path of Sri Ramana is available for free download from:

http://happinessofbeing.com/books.html#sadhu_om_english

Part One is the best explanation of the reason for, and the technique of Self-investigation.

Part Two deals with the issues we have been discussing.

Bob - P said...

Ken thanks for your comment and for mentioning the story about Ganapati Muni from Sri Sadhu Om's book. Along with Michael's book I found Sri Sadhu Om's books so helpful.

You said:

[So, anything that we might consider "preparatory" is only to be done until it produces the necessary result, and need not be mastered .... because that mastery is impermanent. :]

What you say makes sense to me.

You said:

[ I point out the "investigation of the world" solely because so many spiritual groups emphasize "how it helps your daily life", which is a reasonable technique to get worldly people interested, but at some point they need to realign their goals towards the spiritual rather than the material]

I understand what you mean, thanks for explaining.

All the best Ken
Bob

Bob - P said...

Hi Roger
Glad you are back, hope your practise is going well.
you said:

[ Sheese, Bob P regarding Apologies I am a very slow typer. Have you considered that your slow typing is delaying the edification of the world?]

What a great word [sheese} !! lol
Sometimes I feel I should explain why I can take a while to reply so people don't think I have forgotten Roger(lol)!
Believe it or not I am actually a terrible typer I am not making it up.
Live chat conversations gives me the shivers.
You on the other hand are not, you have a natural gift for writing.
Take care friend
Bob

Bob - P said...

Dear Ken
I am about to post my reply to you about Adyashanti. As it is quite long (for me) I have wrote it in word and then pasted it into notepad before pasting it into the comment box (this was a trick my friend Sivanarul shared with me a while back). However that being said it may not appear for a few days or so and may never appear my end even though you see it your end so please could you let me know it posts o.k.

Cheers Ken
Bob

Bob - P said...

Dear Ken
Thanks for your feedback about Adyashanti.
I came across him about 10 years ago. He was very easy to listen to and was very helpful to me along with all the other teachers that came into my life and I am grateful for it.

Please note I am not criticising or judging him here these are just observations I made.

If I understand Bhagavan's teaching correctly then everything is the one ego's projection including the world, all the teachers and Bob the person it presently takes itself to be. So who am I to judge anyone or anything as in truth I am (Bob the person ) as illusory as them. Plus the one ego is an illusion only existing in its own ignorant view. All there really is, is "I am".

Anyway as helpful as Adyashanti was there were a few things I personally found a bit confusing like for example his description of his awakening / self realisation / enlightenment.

Also his childhood experience in the playground were he said the infinite / ancient was peering through the little boy and how later on after years of trying to get somewhere he realised that was it.

My understanding is that was just a level of self attentiveness and what was peering through was the ego that had taken the person Adyashanti to be itself. As long as there is an observer, observed and the process of observation it is duality and not the absolute non dual truth. I found this strange coming from self proclaimed sage.

I remember once when a student described her experience was like she was giant sense organ and there was no one home, she was like a instrument for the infinite to look through. He said that's it and to enjoy. The student asked if that was what it was like for him and he said all the time.

Like I mentioned previously my understanding is this was just a level of self attentiveness and a temporary experience. Even if it was permanent experience it was still just that a dualistic experience.

Please note the above is from memory Ken.

I also noticed like with other teachers like Eckhart Tolle and Rupert Spira for example it seemed like a business. There where lots of products for sale.

With regards the self guided study course he made about Nisargadatta's teaching. As far as I know Nisargadatta's teaching was free to anyone who came to see him. I appreciate there were books published about his teaching like for example those edited by Maurice Frydman and Jean Dunn along with others. Yet Adyashanti has a course for sale about Nisargadatta's teaching for $95?

Ken with regards what you said:

[I've never seen him in person, and cannot verify his level of realisation.}

Please give me your feedback on my understanding on this mentioned below.

My understanding is there are no levels of realisation I am either experiencing myself as I really am or am not. Once I experience myself as I really am (The non dual self aware happy being) that's it there are no levels.

However there are levels with regards intensity of self attentiveness in terms of our practise (vichara). As the intensity increases our awareness of the world decreases. When our practise becomes intense enough to reach the threshold so to speak we experience our self alone and experience our self as we really are.

What are your thoughts on this?

I am happy I managed to get this reply finished in time for today (just about) .

All the best ken
Take care
Bob


venkat said...

Bob,

Hilarious isn't it - charging for courses in non-duality.

Sankara and Gaudapada in their commentaries noted that as one became more advanced / became a jnani, one was likely to have little to do with the world, and as the Bhagavad Gita put it, live by what comes him by chance.

Bhagavan exemplified this from the very beginning. And as you note, Nisargadatta lived in a slum, and gave his teachings freely like a bubbling spring; it seems some of his followers, and even those like Adyashanti who was never with him (as far as I know), seek to bottle and sell it to unsuspecting souls.

Best,
venkat

Mouna said...

Venkat, greetings

Just for purity of information sake, Nisargadatta didn't live in a slum (at least when he was teaching), he even had a two story small house with his Beedi cigarettes business downstairs.
What I don't know is if the street he lived in is considered slum or not by indian standards, but for the look of it, doesn't seem so, only a very noisy and busy Bombay street.

Regards,
M

Roger Isaacs said...

PART 1:
Making Bhagavan's Teaching Whole: Sat, Chit AND _Ananda_.

Michael's teaching is brilliant but only half the picture. This situation is already perfect IF we respect & realize that the other half exists.

We cannot criticize Buddha (or Michael) for emphasizing "I" (Sat/Chit) because that is their specialty, nor can we reproach Rumi for speaking of Ananda but not Ajata. As far as I know Buddha did not incorporate God as beauty & love (Ananda). But in addition to Sat, let us realize that Ananda (taught by karma yoga & bhakti yoga) is every bit as much of "ourself", our essence or "who we really are".

The teaching here is that "Who am I?" is the ONLY approach and superior to all others. Here, love of God is directed towards examination of "I". This is half the picture: Sat/Chit. Ananda (transcendence through subtle feeling) is the other half, it is distinctly different than "who am I?" and just as much "ourself". Love of God need not be directed to "I" (depending on a persons temperament) because Ananda (subtle feeling) goes straight to liberation.

Sankara remains a guiding light on this because he spoke intelligently & passionately of both Sat and Ananda. Half the world is en-tranced (ha) by Sankara's insight regarding world as maya & ignorance. But let us remember that Sankara also fully embodied Ananda. An example of this is in Talks #428. 15 December 1937. Bhagavan selected for a reading 10 stanzas from Sivananda Lahari (Wave of Auspicious Bliss) composed by Sankara. A few sentences:
"The thick cloud of bhakti, formed in the transcendental sky of the Lord’s Feet, pours down a rain of Bliss (ananda) and fills the lake of mind to over flowing. Only then the jiva, always transmigrating to no useful end, has his real purpose fulfilled. "

"Immortality is the fruit of Devotion, Devotion always unimpaired."

"Wherever or however it be, only let the mind lose itself in the Supreme. It is Yoga! It is Bliss! Or the Yogi or the Bliss incarnate!"

"Karma Yoga also is Bhakti: This Karma Yoga puts an end to one’s samsara."


Therefore, Ananda (the way of subtle feeling taught by Karma Yoga & Bhakti Yoga) is distinctly different than the "I" approach and is the most direct way to liberation if a person has that skill.

Michael's specialty is the subset of Bhagavan's work that emphasizes Sat. Other works of Bhagavan such as the records of talks for decades speak more of Ananda on occasion and are a more diverse approach because they address the actual needs of diverse individuals. Bhagavan taught to the need of individuals, not forcing an abstract hierarchy on individuals. The "BEST" of an abstract hierarchy is not necessarily BEST for an individual. If we say PhD graduate school is BEST... is it best for the 6 year old?

Bhagavan's work may appear inconsistent when comparing the works Michael translates versus Talks etc just as Sankara's words about Advaita appear irreconcilable compared to his words on Ananda. This is simply because of the two different perspectives: Sat versus Ananda. We follow the aspect of SatChitAnanda which resonates with us eventually realizing the whole.

Roger Isaacs said...

PART 2

If you say... "Sat-Chit-Ananda is not separable": I agree that pure Sat-Chit-Ananda is not separable at the transcendental level. But, Bhagavan says: Ananda is felt after the cessation of thoughts in sleep. It is also manifest on other occasions as love, joy, etc., priya, moda and pramoda. But they are all chitta vrittis (modes of mind). Talk 566.

For the un-liberated being, sufficient clues about Ananda exist (modes of mind) to provide a direct path to liberation. This is the same for "I": Pure "I" is not predominate in the un-liberated mind as it is mixed with object consciousness, but sufficient clues exist (modes of mind) to provide a way to the source.

Also, some aspect of SatChitAnanda is put into the world constantly by the presence of the realized master.

Venkat says "ananda is perhaps wrongly equated with bliss, since it sets up an image in the mind about gaining a state of perpetual happiness

Yes, some egoic emotion may be mistaken for Ananda, and some intermediate egoic illusion may be mistaken for "I".

Venkat and Michael in numerous blogs point out a key issue:
Venkat says "clearly ignorance can only be shed through jnana, knowledge" Agreed!
Michael says that Bhakti Marga and Karma Marga can never lead to liberation, only Jnana Marga. Agreed!

There are two interlocking hierarchies at work: the Margas which are stages (Bhakti, Karma, Jnana) and the Yogas (Integral, Bhakti, Kundalini, Jnana, Karma, Raja, Hatha, and Tantra).

Ever wonder why there are only 3 Margas and more yogas? Why isn't there a Raja Marga or Hatha Marga? It's because they are two different hierarchies with different application.

Michael is correct (whoa... that was difficult to say) that Bhakti Marga and Karma Marga do NOT lead directly to liberation because they are preparatory practices: the growth of feeling about God leads to practice of various actions (including meditation) which lead to the final Jnana Marga stage aka Advaita aka Atma Vicara.

The assumption is made that because Bhakti MARGA (or Karma Marga) does not lead directly to liberation... neither does Bhakti YOGA. In fact, a person with the skill of Bhakti Yoga aka Ananda will move through each of the three Margas, their practice will change and become progressively refined leading to liberation.

The stage of knowledge (Jnana MARGA, Advaita) is the pinnacle of each Yoga and is subtly different for each. Bhakti Yoga will have it's own unique wisdom & knowledge through the lens of subtle feeling. Sankara expresses this above. Kundalini Yoga will express Advaita or "He is I" from the perspective of subtle energy.

"Meditate on nothing other than ourself" or "self abidance" differs depending on your temperament or natural skill.

A seasonal specific clarification is required: because the Halloween holiday approaches in the U.S. it should be emphasized that "un-liberated" is different than "un-dead". Although the later maybe a subset of the former in the opinion of Advaita. Sages agree that the vampire mind is nothing but inert sticky slimy green goo. More on this and distinctions between ghouls, ghosts, goblins, vampires and the un-dead in Sankara's revered work "GhoulLobotomy and GulabJamun".

Ken said...

Bob - P,

Your message did post (as indicated by other previous responses).

First, my overall viewpoint is that a person's statements are not an indication of whether they are a jnani or not. Ramana himself mentioned that there is no way for an ajnani to 100% verify whether or not another person was a jnani or not.

Conversely, a jnani's statements (contrary to conventional wisdom from Hollywood movies, etc.) are not necessarily perfect. (I posted about this recently in http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2016/10/i-am-is-reality-i-am-this-or-i-am-that.html?showComment=1477279291399#c8007793273781122743 )

So, in order to get the best possible description of the world, and the best possible "plan of action" (i.e. spiritual practice), then we must apply our own reason and logic while trying to be vigilant that we do not have any prior assumptions about these issues.

Thus, I do not mind reading or listening to spiritual teachings from teachers who a) might or might no be realized and b) might make a mistake here or there. I know to not accept anything without careful analysis. (And, coincidentally, Adyashanti agrees: "We basically believe things either that we've been taught, sold or we really, really hope.")

Okay, now I cannot judge any particular statements without exact quotes. I also would say that a small child would have a very romantic and unexacting memory of any sort of spiritual experience.

As far as what the student said - assuming this is being portrayed accurately - there does not seems to be a problem to me.

Shankara said in Vivekachudamani, verse 380:

"Self, which is self-effulgent and the witness of all ever shines [as ‘I-I’] in the mind. Taking this Self, which is distinct from what is unreal as the target [of your attention] experience it as ‘I’ through unbroken awareness."

So, an "experience of the Self" (aka "awakening") is the ego vanishing, and then there is just "The Self, the witness of all". I will post an excerpt from David Godman's blog in the next comment (due to comment length restrictions). I should mention that Lakshmana Swamy is a follower of Ramana who had a realization experience in Ramana's presence, told Ramana, who reacted happily.

As far as the money issue, this is something which is controversial. My own viewpoint is that there are cultural differences. In India, renunciants are supported by contributions, often from very wealthy people. In the West, religious professionals are paid salaries by churches. Also note that psychiatrists and psychologists charge per visit, as do fitness trainers, and thus yoga postures instructors, and all healers and doctors.

So, in the West, it is not contrary to custom for a spiritual instructor to charge per class, and to charge the usual rates for books.

Also note that in the West, people have a different perspective on books handed out for free, versus books on the NY Times Bestseller list.

So, if the goal is to educate as many people as possible, using mainstream methods may work better.

These days, you can get all of Adyashanti's or Tolle's teachings on the web for free, there is hours of stuff on Youtube. So, poor people are not supporting them.

I find Tolle's overall impact on the world to be overwhelmingly positive, his promotion of what Michael calls "the presentness of the present moment" or what Tolle calls simply "presence" to be something of a spiritual renaissance.

Someone in a discussion elsewhere said this recently about Tolle:

"He lives in the same apartment in Vancouver that he's always lived in. Kim, his long time girlfriend, lives in the unit next door. She said she lives next door so she can have her own space as he's hard to live with because he's always in that state that you see him on stage. He always wears the same clothes—that's not a costume. No fancy car. I think if he was driven by money he'd be spending more of it by now."

Ken said...

David Godman posted on his blog:

"To complete this post on ‘Glimpses of the Self’ I will give the descriptions of the Self that Saradamma gave prior to her realisation, along with Lakshmana Swamy’s comments on them. The exchanges are from No Mind – I am the Self, pp. 170-72:

She [Saradamma] was still able to talk and Swamy, thinking that her realisation was near, placed a small tape-recorder near her to record her words. Sarada spoke in short, quiet sentences, with frequent pauses as she was overwhelmed by the bliss of the Self.

I have no body. I have no ‘I’. I am not the body. How I am talking I do not know. Some power is talking through me.

Swamy asked her if she was looking and she replied:

Even though I am looking, I am not looking. Where is the ‘I’ to look. When the mind enters the Heart there is no ‘I’ to tell that there is no ‘I’. My ‘I’ is dead.

Swamy then asked her how she was feeling.

My whole body is filled with peace and bliss. I cannot describe it. Everything is filled with peace. The Self is pulling me towards it and I am not able to open my eyes. The whole body is weak.

Swamy remarked, “It is like an elephant entering a weak hut. The hut cannot stand the strain. Is it beyond time and death?”

It is beyond time and death as there is no mind. As the ‘I’ is dead I don’t wish to eat anymore. I am not able to eat. However tasty the food, I cannot eat. I have no desire to eat. Everything is filled with peace and bliss. I am content with my realisation. I have recognised my own Self, so I am content.

Swamy then told her that her ‘I’ was not yet dead and that she had not yet reached the final state. Sarada replied:

As the ‘I’ is dead there is no you.

“Have you no mother or father?” asked Swamy.

No father, no mother, no world. Everything is peace and bliss. Why do I have to eat when there is no ‘I’? The body is inert, it cannot eat. A corpse will not eat. It is like that because the ‘I’ is dead. As I cannot eat, I cannot talk. Who is talking I do not know.

“Then who is talking?” asked Swamy. Sarada remained silent and so Swamy answered his own question. “The Self is talking.”

Ken said...

(continued)

Sarada continued:

Even though I am seeing, I am not seeing. Even though I am talking I am not talking. Whatever I do I am not doing it because the ‘I’ is dead. I have no body. All the nerves are filled with peace and bliss. All is Brahman. All is bliss. In the veins instead of blood, love and bliss are flowing. A great power has entered into me.

Three months before Swamy had told Sarada, “Even though I sleep I am not sleeping”. Sarada remembered this, repeated Swamy’s words and said that she was finally able to understand what he had meant. Sarada continued to talk:

I have no thought of doing anything. I have no fear of death. Before, I feared death, but not anymore. I don’t care about death. I have nothing more to do. I shall give up the body.

Swamy asked her to stay but Sarada answered:

What is death to die now? The body is inert, how can it die? My ‘I’ is dead, what is there left to die? Why then fear death? Swamy then reminded her again that her ‘I’ was not dead and that she was not yet in the final sahaja state.

Swamy then stopped the tape we were listening to and talked a little about the state that Sarada was experiencing when she spoke these words.

“Anyone whose mind completely subsides into the Heart for a short time can talk like an enlightened person. Their experience of the Self is the same as that of a realised person. However, their ‘I’-thought is not dead and it is likely to re-emerge at any time. Such an experience is not the final state because it is not permanent.”

He then played the final portion of Sarada’s comments on her experience.

I am everywhere. I am not the body. I have no body so I have no fear. I am immobile. Whatever I may do I am immobile. I am shining as the Self. Everything is a great void [maha-sunya]. How can I describe the Self in words? It is neither light nor dark. No one can describe what it is. In the past, present and future no one can describe what it is. It is difficult to describe. Self is Self, that is all."

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

Dear Venkat & Mouna
Yes I think it depends on who is looking with regards Nisargadatta. He may of seemed to be doing quite well for himself to his neighbours, but to people from more affluent parts of India it may of been seen as a slum. Like wise to some people from the west it may of appeared that he lived in poverty etc.

My understanding is he was a shrewd business man and a feisty character!!! He has been a huge help to me in the past along with lots of other teachers.
Warmest regards.
Bob

Bob - P said...

Dear Ken
Thanks for your comments, very helpful and you make some very good points in them. I will try to get back to you about them in a few days.
But till then thanks for the conversation so far as like I said it has been very helpful.
Best wishes to you.
Bob

venkat said...

Hi Ken

Its worth hearing David Godman's research into Maurice Frydman on the subject of cultural differences.

As an aside, I'm not convinced that advaita is - or should be - about promulgating a mass market message or another 'self-help' teaching, like the mindfulness fad.

People who are earnest will find it - that is one of the qualifications that Sankara put forward for teaching, for good reason I suspect.

Best,
venkat

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Ken,
You say "Roger refuses to read all my sentences, and instead reposts things which have been thoroughly rebutted..."

How do you know that I have not read your sentences? Do you have access to my email reader?

Michael says: "Focus on what you really are: 'I'"
And I propose: "SatChitAnanda is also what you are: focusing on Ananda may be just as useful depending on a person's temperament".

These really boil down to single sentences. Your response is to suggest that I read hundreds of pages of various documents. This is a digression: focus on the topic is lost. You have given a judgmental non-answer.

Above you say that I "repost things which have been thoroughly rebutted."

Your statement is emotional and judgmental. There is actually no data in it, no value. What "things" have been rebutted in what "ways"?
You are digressing and focus is lost. A nonanswer. More claims without evidence.

You are fond of posting large amounts of other peoples quotes. Can you speak in your own voice?

Consider the Moon as liberation. The fingers of innumerable saints and sages have pointed to the Moon, each finger tracing a slightly different arc through the sky to the Moon. Here, it is fashionable to idolize the finger of Bhagavan and it's particular arc and look down on others. Sages say "focus on the Moon" and instead we focus on the imagined superiority of various fingers.

In your post you quote Bhagavan twice:
A: "When the world disappears, that is, when there are no thoughts, the mind experiences bliss; when the world appears, it experiences suffering."
B: "If you thus reject everything, what remains is the Self alone. That is real love. One who knows the secret of that love finds the world itself full of universal love."

In statement "A" we are told that it is necessary to make the world disappear otherwise there is suffering.
In statement "B" we are told that the world itself is full of universal love.

Why the difference? What does it mean?

Also, this statement is not from the perspective of pure Bhakti or subtle feeling because of the negatives "if you thus reject everything". Bhakti and Karma Yoga do not involve rejection (negative) but rather expansive feeling (positive).

Ken said...

Bob - P:

Here is an interesting section from Sankara's Vivekachudamani that was translated by Ramana himself into Tamil (I do not know who translated the Tamil into English, it is from "Collected Works"). Since Ramana's version does not include every part of the original, then we can be certain that he approved of the portions he did include:

“Now I am going to tell you about the real nature of the
supreme Self, by realizing which, man attains liberation and
is freed from bondage. That realization of ‘I’ is indeed the
Self which is experienced as ‘I-I’ shining of its own accord,
the absolute Being, the witness of the three states of waking,
dream, and deep sleep, distinct from the five sheaths, aware
of the mental modes in the waking and dream states, and of
their absence in the state of deep sleep. That Self sees all of
its own accord
but is never seen by any of these. It gives light
to the intellect and ego but is not enlightened by them. It
pervades the universe and by its light all this insentient universe
is illumined, but the universe does not pervade it even to the
slightest extent.
In its presence the body, senses, mind and
intellect enter upon their functions as if commanded by it. By
that unbroken knowledge, all things from the ego to the body,
objects and our experience of them, occur and are perceived.
By it life and the various organs are set in motion. That inner
Self, as the primeval spirit, eternal, ever effulgent, full and
infinite Bliss, single, indivisible, whole and living, shines in
everyone as the witnessing awareness.
That Self in its
splendour, shining in the cavity of the Heart as the subtle,
pervasive yet unmanifest ether, illumines this universe like
the sun. It is aware of the modifications of the mind and ego,
of the actions of the body, sense organs and life-breath. It
takes their form as fire does that of a heated ball of iron; yet it
undergoes no change in doing so. This Self is neither born
nor dies, it neither grows nor decays, nor does it suffer any
change. When a pot is broken the space inside it is not, and
similarly, when the body dies, the Self in it remains eternal. It
is distinct from the causal maya and its effects. It is pure
knowledge. It illumines Being and non-being alike and is
without attributes. It is the witness of the intellect in the
waking, dream, and deep sleep states.
It shines as ‘I-I’, as
ever-present, direct experience. Know that supreme Self by
means of a one-pointed mind and know ‘This ‘I’ is Brahman’.
Thus through the intellect you may know the Self in yourself,
by yourself, and by this means cross the ocean of birth and
death and become one who has achieved his life purpose and
ever remain as the Self."

Ken said...

Roger stated:

"Your statement is emotional and judgmental."

You are right, I posted it late at night, usually a bad idea. First thing in the morning I deleted the whole reply, hours before your post which quotes it.

"Why the difference? What does it mean?"

A is the normal situation for human beings.
B is what "One who knows the secret of that love [of The Self] finds"

"I propose: 'SatChitAnanda is also what you are: focusing on Ananda may be just as useful depending on a person's temperament'."

If that were all you said, that would be fine. But then you go into Bhakti Yoga, and vague ideas of "expansive feelings".

"You are fond of posting large amounts of other peoples quotes. Can you speak in your own voice?"

The site is about Ramana's teachings, which is why I prefer to quote him, rather than just give my own understanding. (By the way, it is also why no one who follows other paths are being insulted here, because it is not a general discussion site. Someone who is doing another path has to find this site, we are not "going into their home" and insulting them.)

But since you ask, here is my understanding.

The Self (aka satchitananda) is just "spirit". Thus, "spirituality" is the attempt to contact our own "spirit", The Self. As I heard another teacher say, "Ramana teaches us that our Self is not 'A Self', but 'The Self'."

Chit (Awareness) "lights up" the objects of the world, ie makes them perceivable. Thus, when Awareness looks out through a limited viewpoint on the world (ie in a human body), it sees its reflection in the world and in thoughts about the world. Thus, not being able to see the Self (ie Awareness), because Awareness is itself what is doing the seeing, it identifies itself as only the thoughts and perceptions, because this is all of itself that it can perceive.

However, this self-identification as this combination of thoughts and perceptions has a major error, because what it is identifying as "subject" is actually "object", ie thoughts and perceptions are merely objects to the real subject, Awareness.

A crude analogy to this error would be if you identified your clothes as being part of you.

So this error known as ego, is a major force that keeps one from recognizing who you really are - Awareness.

Thus, the technique of Self-investigation is remove attention from thoughts and sense perceptions, and put attention on the Self.

(continued in next comment)

Ken said...

(continued from previous comment)

Thus, the technique of Self-investigation is remove attention from thoughts and sense perceptions, and put attention on the Self.

This is generally done by putting attention on Awareness. Why? Because as human beings, we do not encounter existence (sat) and non-existence, we only encounter existence. Non-existence is such a strange concept that it frightens us.

As mentioned, Awareness is what lights up the world. We are familiar with a lack of Awareness from sleep, for example. So, if we remove attention from thoughts and sense perceptions, then we can put attention on the Awareness that remains.

Generally, we encounter Ananda only because we are being rewarded by survival instincts (such as when we eat food), or because we have devotion to an object (bhakti). As we have mentioned, the problem with devotion to an object, is that our attention is on something else, so we are not finding The Self. (If loving an object could liberate us, then millions of romantics would be liberated, as well as millions of fans of various objects.)

If we could put our attention only on the Ananda of our own Self, then that would be the equivalent of putting attention only on the Awareness of our own Self. It's conceivable, but I've never seen a technique proposed.

The reason is that as human beings, our body associates Ananda with certain things. When we are not doing something in accordance with a survival instinct, the body veils ananda. However, the body does not veil Awareness, and uses it to perceive the world. So, Awareness is always available, since it is not being used as a reward system by the body.

The body's reward system makes us associate ananda with an object of "love", which is exactly the problem we are trying to overcome - associating satchitananda with an object instead of the subject, our own Self.

Thus, all the Self-investigation techniques use Awareness, and not Ananda or Existence.

Sivanarul said...

Roger,

It was very nice to read your insights on Ananda and "in order to be more broadly correct (and less offensive to the larger community) commentaries from the view point of Ananda could at least be RESPECTED as being complete on their own."

If only folks who spend significant time, repeatedly prescribing "Vichara only way or the highway", instead spent time on looking keenly at the 'I' that wants to make that prescription, it would serve us all better. But at some point we need to move on, and I have moved on from trying to refute that claim. I have also stopped reading many of the writings and comments, as they seem to be more interested in repeatedly proclaiming God as created by the 'I' and treating Ishvara as someone that is very easily dispensed with (these must come as a "realization" and not an intellectual understanding). Not surprising, since most who proclaim are non-religious, so it is their natural belief. The surprising part is that, it is done only here and not in many teachings that I listen to. For example, I listen to a lot of Ajahn Brahm's talk, who is a Buddhist teacher. Buddha was silent on God and many Buddhists do not believe in God. But I never heard even in one talk anything that was disrespectful to religious folks who believe in God/Ishvara.

You still have lot's of energy and patience to refute the "ONLY" teaching. Good luck!

Please listen to this wonderful talk by Ajahn Brahm on that topic. Listen from 35 mins to 42 minutes. He talks of the trap of falling into Spiritual materialism.
Such falling sooner or later leads to cult like behavior, which is 180 degrees opposite to the broader teaching of Sanatana Dharma, Bhagavan and other major religions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r6yjDTpdcg&index=85&list=PLK1GLF1JpYHlrICQVBcYmG2YRGSkfb9Zz

Ken said...

Sivanarul -

To my knowledge, none of the posters here go to other religious sites to argue with religious people about their devotion.

But, you and other devotional people come here to complain when we post Ramana's words here - on a site about Ramana.

If you come here to debate (a good thing), then don't complain when someone answers your challenge.

PS God dwells within you as you. :)

Sivanarul said...

Ken writes:

"PS God dwells within you as you. :)"

That is to be "realized" and not just intellectually understood. You seem to have "realized" that. Good for you. I have not.

"But, you and other devotional people come here to complain when we post Ramana's words here - on a site about Ramana."

Devotion is part and parcel of Bhagavan, Sri Shankara and broader Sanatana Dharma. I don' know where the idea that devotional people cannot come to a site about Ramana arises. It seems prevalent with western non-religious advaita folks.

Anyway, like I said last time, there is no point in this discussion. I have stopped reading most of your comments. I request and suggest that you do the same of mine.

Have a nice evening!

Ken said...

Sivanarul said: " I don' know where the idea that devotional people cannot come to a site about Ramana arises. "

You seem to have a mental image of the sort of person who might choose to debate you. As a result you are reading statements that are not there. No one said what you said they are saying !

I actually said: "But, you and other devotional people come here to complain when we post Ramana's words here - on a site about Ramana."

First, no one said "cannot come" or "should not come". I said just the opposite in the next sentence, which said:

"If you come here to debate (a good thing), then don't complain when someone answers your challenge."

Michael's pristine method of discussion is to talk only about spiritual theory and practice. He never talks about any particular person or group of people (except for famous sages).

That is the most sensible course of action, and we should all follow his example and stop talking about "religious and non-religious students" or any other groups of people.

Ken said...

Sivanarul wrote:
"Ken writes:

"PS God dwells within you as you. :)"

That is to be "realized" and not just intellectually understood. You seem to have "realized" that. Good for you. I have not."

Returning to spiritual theory and practice...

Here are the possibilities for any spiritual student:

A * Has had a temporary direct experience of the Self, or has not.

B * Has had a temporary direct experience of the personal God, or has not.

C * Has faith that what some person has said is likely to be correct.

Someone who is doing spiritual practice or study, must have at least one of the three, or they would not spend their time.

If the person says "yes" to choice "C", then if that person they are following is Ramana Maharshi, then they would have faith that God dwells within every human being .... as their own Self.

This is also according to the Vedas - ayam ātmā brahma - "This Self (Atman) is Brahman" (Mandukya Upanishad 1.2 of the Atharva Veda)

Bob - P said...

Ken thanks for posting the section from Sankara's Vivekachudamani and highlighting the parts linked to the self being the witness.

I am replying to this before I get back to you about you previous comments.

It can get a bit confusing can't it.

I think it all comes down different beliefs with regards the teaching.

Some Bhagavan devotees think Bhagavan witnessed the world but saw it as himself or saw multiplicity as himself. They also think that when they experience themself as they really are they will still witness the world but see it all as themself. Or they will be aware of duality but see it as an illusion or a false appearance.

Other devotees like myself believe Bhagavan didn't witness anything other than himself and was not aware of the world in any way shape or form. He didn't see it as an illusion or as himself. Like wise when they experience themself as they really are all they will be aware of is themself like for example in deep dreamless sleep. They won't witness the world, see it as an illusion or as a false appearance. There will be no experience of duality of any kind.

I don't think either group can prove themselves to be right or the other wrong.
Plus there are verses / writings that appear to support both beliefs?

I have no interest trying to prove myself right or try to convince you to my way of thinking or get you to share my belief. Plus in all fairness even if I did I couldn't do it anyway. Plus you may be right? Who knows. Not only that but beliefs change.

However speaking from my own personal perspective I honesty don't think my belief will change as this aspect of the teaching does make sense to me.

I am sure we agree on many things about Bhagavan's teaching but with regards this we will have to agree to disagree and respect each others opinion.

Warmest regards.
Bob

P.S - I will try my best to reply to your other comments in a few days as like I said you make some very good points.

Roger Isaacs said...

I have only one simple thing to say which must be agreeable:

NOTHING in relative existence or creation is absolute or eternal. Nothing in Maya (which is all we know pre-liberation) is absolute or eternal. YOU may be eternal eventually, but this is something to realize and not at the level of Maya or ego object consciousness.

Agreed?

The ego 'grasps' and consciousness identifies with non-absolute Maya. If we as attention can move beyond this process of 'grasping' we may realize ourselves as eternal.

It is widely accepted and believed that "Who am I?", Atma Vicara is ABSOLUTE, that it is the BEST, most direct, final way for all. It is taught that all other approaches and schools are subordinate to Atma Vicara.

Let's realize that all spiritual schools, techniques, teachings and gurus are just aspects of Maya and therefore none of these could possibly be ABSOLUTE.
This is easy to see due to the infinite proliferation of schools, teachings and their erosion over time. "BEST" and "PERFECT" when directed outward are words of the ego.
But make no mistake: While saying this, I am celebrating with you the brilliance of Atma Vicara (and Vedanta etc). Bhagavan's work is extraordinary... but not absolute.
Bhagavan's work is PERFECT really only when you are able to apply it as inward (and outward) attention.

I have been speaking to Michael regarding the esoteric philosophy. Probably even he is not interested. I am not sure that he takes any ideas as input which our outside his translations. This is incestuous to only refer only to your own translations?

It can be shown philosophically that Atma Vicara is not absolute. Atma Vicara is only one of many pointings.
It can be shown by looking at Sankara's work: he embodied both Mind (as Sat/Chit) and Heart (as Ananda).
And it can be shown by looking at Bhagavan's work as a whole.

The Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta, the Bible... all have the seeds of truth but are subject to erosion.

I have no religion other than PEACE, outwardly and inwardly.

When we proclaim our religion or school as best for all (or our nation, culture, diet...) this is the beginning of conflict and this is a gross & powerful grasping of the ego.

Ken says:
But, you and other devotional people come here to complain when we post Ramana's words here - on a site about Ramana.

When Bhagavan's word's are used to promote grasping of the ego (an attitude of superiority) this is an incorrect understanding. This is erosion of the teaching. Ego.
Ken, you live in a diverse world, tear down these artificial barriers of "my school".

Hi Sivanarul,
thanks for the Ajahn Brahm link. I will listen eventually.
I have collected a significant amount of work from many teachers: Nisargadatta, Bhagavan, Brunton, Merrell-Wolff, Sankara, Gaudapada, Astavakra, Watts, Ram Dass, MMY, BL, Wei Wu Wei, Patangali, Laksmanjoo, Frawley, Anthony de Mello, Rumi, Tolle, Osho, Buddha, "K", Aurobindo... on and on. Oh, what is that other guy's name, an upaguru, Oh now I remember: Michael James.

Having done the required due diligence of research I can confirm that the truth lies in the inward direction and not in any outward teaching. Although, all insightful teachers seem to be saying the same thing just in different ways and it is fascinating to see this. Teachings are only useful in confirming inner realization.

Even more than the dry and dead words on a page, the infinite spirit manifests vitally alive as the neighborhood Siamese cat and a flock of half a dozen chickens.

And... for God's sake... Bob... take a typing class!!! Sheese!! (with affection)

To Ken, "A man's got to know his limitations." Clint Eastwood.

"If you find the mirror of the heart dull, the rust has not been cleared from its face". Rumi (when mirrors were metal)

I will take a break.
Blessings to all.

Ken said...

Roger wrote:

"I have only one simple thing to say which must be agreeable:

NOTHING in relative existence or creation is absolute or eternal. Nothing in Maya (which is all we know pre-liberation) is absolute or eternal. YOU may be eternal eventually, but this is something to realize and not at the level of Maya or ego object consciousness.

Agreed?"

NO !

You are missing the whole point of what those 22 guys wrote.

Roger wrote: "YOU may be eternal eventually, but this is something to realize"

No no no no no.

You are eternal right now, and you have been so eternally.

Are you ready? Here is the entirety of spirituality, the meaning of life, the universe and everything:

"Q: What is this awareness and how can one obtain and cultivate it?

Ramana: You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you.
Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it. All that you have to do is to give up being aware of other things, that is of the not-Self. If one gives up being aware of them then pure awareness alone remains, and that is the Self.
"

Spirituality is 100% about removing things. It is not about attaining anything or getting anything.

As I said earlier:

" God dwells within you as you. "

ephemeral ego said...

Roger,
only a rogue would call after you: Who is finding fascination in all the many teachings ? Not the flock of chickens. Not Eastwood, not Rumi.
Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

As I said earlier:

" God dwells within you as you. "
"You are eternal right now, and you have been so eternally."

Have you actually realized this or is this just pure blabber like many?

Ken said...

Anonymous -

Read the rest of my comment, rather than scanning it.

Ken said...

Ramana Maharshi: It is false to speak of realisation. What is there to realise? The real is as it is always. We are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before.

The illustration given in books is this. We dig a well and create a huge pit. The space in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just removed the earth which was filling the space there. The space was there then and is also there now. Similarly we have simply to throw out all the agelong samskaras [innate tendencies] which are inside us. When all of them have been given up, the Self will shine alone.

Q: But how to do this and attain liberation?

Ramana: Liberation is our very nature. We are that. The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature. It is not to be freshly acquired.

Q: How can I attain Self-realisation?

Ramana: Realisation is nothing to be gained afresh; it is already there.

Ken said...

Direct quote of Ramana Maharshi: " You are the Self, you are already that."

Full quote and this is hugely important, it is the whole basis for Advaita Vedanta:

"Q: How shall I reach the Self?

Ramana Maharshi: There is no reaching the Self. If Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not here and now and that it is yet to be obtained. What is got afresh will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say the Self is not reached. You are the Self, you are already that. The fact is, you are ignorant of your blissful state. Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Self which is bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this veil of ignorance which is merely wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge is the false identification of the Self with the body and the mind. This false identification must go, and then the Self alone remains. Therefore realization is for everyone; realization makes no difference between the aspirants."

Roger Isaacs said...

Ken says:
You are eternal right now, and you have been so eternally.

In the way that Ken uses these words they are death to spiritual inquiry. The proposal is that there is no difference between ignorance and the liberation. Then why bother with any practice? If one cannot discriminate between ignorance and liberation... then no genuine inquiry is possible. This is one of many neo-advaitian diseases.

Ken says:
But, you and other devotional people come here to complain when we post Ramana's words here - on a site about Ramana.

Ken makes a distinction between "devotional people" and Ramana claiming that they are different.

The profound words that I posted upholding the devotional perspective and Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga were from Ramana Maharishi.

This is the shocking and very sad truth: Ramana Maharishi's words about the devotional perspective are no longer welcome on a site which claims to represent him.

Ken said...

Roger -

Please actually read the two posts right before yours, with the words of Ramana stating that "You are eternal right now, and you have been so eternally."

You state:
"The proposal is that there is no difference between ignorance and the liberation. Then why bother with any practice? If one cannot discriminate between ignorance and liberation... then no genuine inquiry is possible. This is one of many neo-advaitian diseases."

No one said anything about ignorance. You are reading one word and mentally substituting another.

Here are two quotes from above:

"Ramana: Liberation is our very nature. We are that. The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature. It is not to be freshly acquired."

So, we are already liberated. But we are ignorant of the fact. Read - as I've suggested many times to you - "Path of Sri Ramana Part One" and make note of the triangular room analogy which explains how A) we are already liberated and yet b) we are ignorant of the fact.

It is like having sunglasses on the top of your head and asking people "where are my sunglasses, I've lost them".

The second Ramana quote:

"You are the Self, you are already that. The fact is, you are ignorant of your blissful state. Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Self which is bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this veil of ignorance which is merely wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge is the false identification of the Self with the body and the mind. This false identification must go, and then the Self alone remains."

The Karma and Bhakti Yoga is discussed on many pages of this blog, and also extensively in "Path of Sri Ramana Part Two". Again, both books are free downloads at:

http://happinessofbeing.com/books.html#sadhu_om_english

Bob - P said...

Hi Ken

Apologies for the delay getting back to your comments on the 25th October.
Yes I agree with what you say about knowing if someone is a jnani and they may not appear perfect or how we would expect a jnani to be like.

Look at Nisargadatta for example, very grumpy, argumentative, consumed meat (as far as I am aware?) he didn't exactly fit the Jnani stereotype.

But I have to try and remember this is all just in my ignorant dualistic view.
If I believe Bhagavan there is only one jnani, myself as I really am.

I find Bhagavan's teaching so helpful because when we explore the 3 states of consciousnesses it is very practical and we rely on our own direct experience. All I know for certain is I exist and I am self aware everything else is up for grabs so to speak. Are other people self aware like me? I Don't know. Does the world exist when I am in deep sleep? My opinion is no it doesn't but again I have no way of knowing, so it is just a belief. Did Bhagavan experience the world? Again I don't believe he did but I have no way of knowing or proving my belief. However I do know I exist and am self aware so I must study or look at / investigate my self awareness. Turn within and observe the observer.

You said:
[As far as what the student said - assuming this is being portrayed accurately - there does not seems to be a problem to me.]

You are entitle to your opinion and mine differs here as I previously mentioned in my previous comment to you, which is of course fine.

Thanks for the points you make about money or paying for spiritual teachings I have never thought about it like that so I do see where you are coming from. I just think when money gets involved it can be a negative indicator. However you do make good points for example cultural differences.

I too like you found Tolle very helpful just like Adyashanti in the past and am very grateful to them coming into my life when they did. Thank you for the information you provided about Tolle's life. I am not sure if it is completely true but I cant see why it isn't.

Thanks for posting David Godman's post it was very interesting and helpful.

What I am about to say may come out wrong.

I am grateful to all the teachers who have appeared in my life and I do try my best not to judge them, but it can be hard and I am guilty of doing this. I think there is only one teacher. All the teachers are the same thing myself as I really am projected from within into the world in a limited human form.

Ten years ago I don't think I would of been ready for Bhagavan's teaching especially when he says things like there is only one ego and it is everything. It can appear very scary. Plus he says the absolute truth is no ego ever appeared.

So I think myself as I really am manifested in other forms and gave specific teachings when I needed them.

All I know is am very grateful to all of them, they are all Bhagavan and Bhagavan is myself as I really am. I see him as a separate form because I take myself to be a form.

I try to remember this and not be judgemental, but it is hard like I said.

At the end of the day when I experience myself as I really am the illusion of what I am not will end including Bob the person the ego presently takes itself to be.

Nice talking to you Ken.

I am going to try and be quiet now for a while.

All the best with your practise.

Bob.

Ken said...

Bob

In regards to the one issue of "does someone experience the world after they become a jnani", that issue is discussed in the article and the comments of the most recent blog article.(25 October 2016).

I'll just briefly mention an interesting point in regards to that issue:

We know that self-realisation or liberation does not cause the body to die. If you read Sadhu Om's "Path of Sri Ramana Part One", he is clearly describing realisation as no longer making a certain mistake, and no longer paying attention to something that does not really exist (e.g. not spending your time learning to defend against snakes, because the snake is really just a rope).

Here is a good analogy - that has only been available recently.

Imagine someone in a dark basement for many years with a laptop. He might find that his whole experience is social media and Internet discussions. Then someone opens the door to the basement and he realizes that he is a physical human being and can even leave the basement and walk among trees and grass.

He has been "liberated" from the basement. But the door was never locked, he just never looked up from the laptop. So, as Sadhu Om says, "he was never really bound, so he is not liberated".

But this realisation does not prevent him from sometimes returning to the laptop to talk to other people on social media.

Yes, he no longer is making the mistake of identifying himself as his social media persona. And he knows that the social media persona do not really exist (as we can see on this blog from the guy who uses a different one every time). And his ability to leave the dark basement opens a huge new world to him.

That analogy explains how the rigorous absolute perspective is true, and our current personalities are really fictions, along with this world - yet - after realisation we could continue to interact with this world.

Bob - P said...

Dear Kenn
I really like that analogy you gave in your comment above, I haven't heard it before. Thank you.
I also found the analogy of a piece of glass on the ground reflecting the sunshine into a dark room helpful I think it was in The Path of Sri Ramana - Part 1?

Yes what you say is very interesting and I accept it could true.
I actually shared your belief in the past and I admit it does still seem feasible.
I think it depends if we believe when we experience our self as we really are we experience duality or non duality.
I personally believe the later but am certainly open to your opinion.
A lot of teachers and people on this blog will you agree with you on this.
It is a very interesting discussion.
But who knows for certain? I don't.

Regardless of what we believe our experience will be we can only contemplate it.
Whether we believe what you believe or what I believe all we can do is investigate our self.

But I do admit I do find it all fascinating Ken.
Thank you for all your posts and it is great to have you here.
Best wishes.
Bob

Bob - P said...

Sorry I spelt you name Kenn, I just noticed after I posted it.
Bob

venkat said...

Ken, Bob

The following is from Annamalai Swami's Final Talks:

Be the Self. be the peace that is your real nature, and it will not matter what comes up . . . You need to change your vision, your perspective. When you live in the mind and see a world outside you that is separate and apart from you, you will make plans, you will worry, you will have doubts . . .
If you abide as the Self, you will see the world as the Self. In fact there will be NO WORLD AT ALL. NO WORLD, NO MIND, NO MAYA, NO DISTINCTIONS OF ANY KIND. In that state of being and knowing the Self, ideas of right and wrong, things to do and things to avoid doing, will vanish. You will know that they were just mental concepts. In that state you will know that the mind is the Self, bondage is the Self, everything is the Self. With that vision, nothing will bind you, nothing will cause you misery.
The Self may appear as the manifest world, as different separate objects, but the underlying reality, the only real substance is the Self, in which they are all appearing and disappearing. Things and people may appear in this substratum, and you may use them or interact with them, but your peace will never be disturbed.

Lakshmana Karma says the same in Sri Ramanaparavidyopanishad, and in process explains ajata vada:

307: The Real Self is real in His own right; this world is not at all real in its own right: thus should be understood the reality of the world and the reality of the Self, who is pure Consciousness
326: This world is not other than the body; this body is not distinct from the mind; the mind does not exist apart from the Real Self; therefore the Self is all the world.
420: Therefore the sage, established as he is in his natural state, would say that the body, appearing as his body to others, and the world are real. But there is a world of difference in the meaning of what he says. Because the superimposition does not appear as real to the Sage
421: The outlook of discrimination is enjoined only on the aspirant for deliverance, nor for him that has won deliverance. Confused outlook is possible for the former, not for the latter.
422: The ignorant one, because of his confounding body with the Self, thinks of himself as with form and extensive with that body. The Sage is aware of the Self as infinite, formless being; this is the distinction in the meaning of what is said by these two.
423: What is seen as the 'body' by the ignorant appears to the Sage only as the Self; and he refers to it as 'I',ignoring the body-form through his right awareness.
428: Just as one that has become wise as to the truth of the mirage, may again see the mirage without being deluded, so too the Sage, seeing this world, does not think of it as real, as does the ignorant one.

venkat said...

From Guru Vachaka Kovai (David Godman's version) on ajata vada:

44: The world does not exist in the state of ultimate truth. Its appearance, its apparently existing nature in maya, is like the imagined appearance of a snake in a rope, a thief in a wooden post, and water in a mirage. Their essential nature is delusion.

1119:Though the mind that has been captivated and held under the sway of the shining of pure being may move away to sense objects that are seen, heard, eaten, smelt and touched, as in the past, its knot has definitely been severed through perfect, firm, vichara.

Murugunar: There is no rule that the mind whose knot has been cut should not operate among the sense objects. Through strength of practice, it can remain without kartrutva [sense of doership], the suttarivu [the false consciousness that divides itself into someone who sees and objects that are seen], and it can operate among them [the sense objects] wholly as the Self, but it will not in the least become bound by them.

Ken said...

Venkat -

Is the Murugunar comment found right after verse 1119, or elsewhere ?

Ken said...

The GVK 1119 translated by Michael is:

"1119. Though the mind [of a Jnani] which has been enchanted by the true light [of Self-knowledge] is [seemingly] engaged as before in the five senses, which know taste, smell, sight, sound and touch, it has [in fact] been severed [destroyed] by the power of intense Self-enquiry."

and is not followed by anything other than 1120.

The statement of Sadhu Om, that ratifies the comment above by Murugunar, in Path of Sri Ramana Part One is:

"This is why Sri Bhagavan insists that one reaching kashta-ninrikalpa-samadhi through raja yoga should not stop there (since it is only mano-laya, a temporary absorption of the mind), but that the mind so absorbed should be led to the Heart in order to attain sahaja-nirvikalpa-samildhi, which is the destruction of the mind (mano-nasa), the destruction of the attachment to the body (dehabhimana-nasa). In the body of such a Selfrealized One (sahaja jnani), the coursing of the 'I' - consciousness along the nerves, even after the destruction of the knot of attachment, is like the water on a lotus leaf
or like a burnt rope, and thus it cannot cause bondage.
Therefore the destruction of the knot of attachment is anyway indispensible for the attainment of the natural state (Sahaja Sthiti), the state of the destruction of the tendencies (vosunakshaya).

The nerves (nadis) are gross, but the consciousness power (chaitanya-saki) that courses through them is subtle. The connection of the 'I'-consciousness with the nerves is similar to that of the electrical power with the wires, that is, it is so unstable that it can be disconnected or connected in a second. Is it not an experience common to one and all that this connection is daily broken in sleep and effected in the waking state? When this connection is effected, body-consciousness rises, and when it is broken, body-consciousness is lost. Here it is to be remembered what has already been stated, namely that body-consciousness and world-consciousness are one and the same. So, like our clothes and ornaments which are daily removed and put on, this knot is alien to us, a transitory and false entity hanging loosely on us! This is what Sri Bhagavan referred to when He said, "We can detach ourself from what we are not"!

Disconnecting the knot in such a way that it will never again come into being is called by many names such as 'the cutting of the knot' (granthi-bheda). 'the destruction of the mind' (mano-nasa) and so on. 'In such a way that it will
never again come into being' means this: by attending to it (the ego) through the enquiry 'Does it in truth exist at present?' in order to find out whether it had ever really come into being, there takes place the dawn of knowledge (jnana), the real waking, where it is clearly and firmly known that no such knot has ever come into being, that no such ego has ever risen, that 'that which exists' alone ever exists, and that which was existing as 'I am' is ever existing as 'I am'! The attainment of this knowledge (Self-knowledge or atma-jnana), the knowledge that the knot or bondage is at all times on-existent and has never risen, is the permanent disconnecting of the knot. Let us explain this with a small story.

[He then gives the triangular room analogy, which is too long to paste here, so instead go to http://happinessofbeing.com/books.html#sadhu_om_english for the free download of the book.]

venkat said...

Ken,
The murugunar comment is in the David Goldman version, and follows the verse.

Venkat

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Ken and all,
My purpose in making this post is to commend Michael's teaching over neo-advaita and illustrate a particular discussion related fallacy. This fallacy or technique in discussion is used to dilute Ramana Maharishi's teaching and I want to make it easily recognized.

The technique used in spiritual discussion is called the Advaita Shuffle: When discussing some topic at the relative level of life a person shifts the topic to the advaita level.

Examples:
You go to the doctor and ask "What can be done to cure this very troubling disease that I have?"
And the physician replies: "Well, sir I have good news: there is no need for concern about your disease because you are eternal!"
Or the physician replies: "Who is the 'I' that is asking the question? That is what you should ask!"

I like this example because it emphasizes the genuineness of the question on the relative level (your disease) and the total ineffectual response.

Another way this technique is used: various neo-advaita teachers may respond to virtually any question by diverting attention away from the question and back on the spiritual qualifications of questioner:
The questioner asks: "What about this topic...."
The neo-advaita teacher responds: "Who is the 'I' asking this question?"

So in Ken's example:
I stated: "All spiritual teachings (we can make an exception for teachings when the Master is present) are on the relative field of life and therefore are not absolute or eternal, even YOU are not eternal (until you realize this). Therefore, there can be no single teaching which is the ONLY, BEST etc..."

And Ken responds: You are eternal right now, and you have been so eternally.

Actually Ken is doing a double diversion:
1: changing the topic from 'the relativity of spiritual teachings' to 'the eternal nature of you'. AND
2: changing the topic from the relative level to the advaita level.

Ramana Maharshi's teaching addresses two levels:
1: the relative field of existence where the METHOD of "who am I?" or attention on self is of extreme importance.
2: the advaita level where having established attention on self, a further step might be to consider in various ways that "you are already that".

Both levels maybe essential although, without first having established attention on self, any consideration about "You are already that" is likely to be just another impotent thought.

Neo-advaita has become so enamoured with the advaita level in isolation that they have forgotten about the paramount need of culturing attention on self! Therefore, their teaching has become just a religion: descriptions of liberation without any METHOD (attention on self). Neo-advaita has done the Advaita Shuffle on Self Inquiry eliminating attention on self as a necessary prerequisite.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Venkat,
Thanks, I appreciate your quote from Murugunar: "There is no rule that the mind whose knot has been cut should not operate among the sense objects. ...

It seems the general assumption here is that: the ego, body and world must cease simultaneously, that the ego can only be eliminated by excluding everything from awareness.

This may be one way of eliminated the "knot" by excluding the world and body from awareness. Michael praises the trance state by saying "exclude body and world".

But Sankara recommends attention while avoiding the trance state (aka nirvikalpa samadhi or no awareness of body/world).

When the mind does not merge in the inactivity of oblivion, or become distracted by desires.... it verily becomes Brahman.
Sankara and Gaudapada. Mandukyopanisad:III-46

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sivanarul,

I listened to the Ajahn Brahm segment you mentioned (reproduced below): very good. Thanks. I didn't realize that he is an Englishman.

This is a bit strange that people recognize various aspects of materialism (faster car, bigger wallet, more expensive clothes etc...) but they fail to recognize that "best, most perfect, only way" applied to any spiritual approach is still materialism.

Please listen to this wonderful talk by Ajahn Brahm on that topic. Listen from 35 mins to 42 minutes. He talks of the trap of falling into Spiritual materialism.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r6yjDTpdcg&index=85&list=PLK1GLF1JpYHlrICQVBcYmG2YRGSkfb9Zz

Mouna said...

Venkat and friends, greetings

Here is Ulladu Narpadu’s verse #40 to ponder on the subject that has been recently debated. As usual, Bhagavan always has the best answer on doubts about his own teachings. My guess is that it is not a coincidence that is the last one of the verses:

"If it is said, according to the maturity of the mind, that the liberation which is attained may be of three kinds, with form, without form, or with or without form, then I will say that liberation is [in truth only] the annihilation of the form of the ego which distinguishes [liberation] with form, without form, or with or without form. Know thus.”
(translation Sadhu Om - Michael James)

"If it be said, according to one’s mental propensities, that liberation is of three kinds, with form, without form, and both with and without form, I shall reply that the destruction of the form of the ego, which distinguishes between [liberation which is] with form, without form, and both with and without form, is liberation. Know thus."
(translation Robert Butler)

Roger Isaacs said...

Very nice Mouna, thanks.

a digression on Venkat's quote from Murugunar: "There is no rule that the mind whose knot has been cut should not operate among the sense objects"

Bhagavan selected these verses from Yoga Vasishta for Mercedes de Acosta:

“Steady in the state of fullness, which shines when all desires are given up, and peaceful in the state of freedom in life, act playfully in the world, O Raghava!”

“Inwardly free from all desires, dispassionate and detached, but outwardly active in all directions, act playfully in the world, O Raghava!”

“Free from egoism, with mind detached as in sleep, pure like the sky, ever untainted, act playfully in the world, O Raghava!”

“Conducting yourself nobly with kindly tenderness, outwardly conforming to conventions, but inwardly renouncing all, act playfully in the world, O Raghava!”

“Quite unattached at heart but for all appearance acting as with attachment, inwardly cool but outwardly full of fervour, act playfully in the world, O Raghava!”

Ken said...

Roger wrote:

"So in Ken's example:
I stated: 'All spiritual teachings (we can make an exception for teachings when the Master is present) are on the relative field of life and therefore are not absolute or eternal, even YOU are not eternal (until you realize this). Therefore, there can be no single teaching which is the ONLY, BEST etc...'

And Ken responds: You are eternal right now, and you have been so eternally.

Actually Ken is doing a double diversion:
1: changing the topic from 'the relativity of spiritual teachings' to 'the eternal nature of you'. AND
2: changing the topic from the relative level to the advaita level."

Uh no, that is not what happened. And you can read the real quotes in this same thread above.

You started a post with:

"I have only one simple thing to say which must be agreeable:

NOTHING in relative existence or creation is absolute or eternal. Nothing in Maya (which is all we know pre-liberation) is absolute or eternal. YOU may be eternal eventually, but this is something to realize and not at the level of Maya or ego object consciousness.

Agreed?"

So you asked whether there was agreement and I quoted that and that is when I replied:

"No. You are eternal right now, and you have been so eternally."

(In fact, all of the sentences before 'Agreed?' were false, but I only chose one to dispute.)

The point of saying that, is that it is the very point that is missed or denied by dualistic teachings, because they are all based on the false idea of becoming something you are not .

In contrast, Advaitic teachings say "you are already the Self and you are already eternal". So, the one and only problem is a mistaken idea.

Normal egoic life is a life of enormous complexity in a physical world of massive detail with 7 billion people and billions of other things.

So, beginner teachings are always complex, because beginners are too immersed in complex life to be able to accept the simplicity of actual reality.

So, those teachings are thousands of pages and millions of words, because people would be bored with a real Advaitic teaching of three words, such as "Rest As Awareness".

You apparently do not want to simply practice "Rest As Awareness", so for months you have been complaining about people using their brain cells to recognize that something that is better, is - shock - better. Why? Because that would make what you do "worse", so you would rather waste your time arguing that point.

But no matter how many strings of words you put together, you cannot disprove that there is meaning to the concept "better".

HWL Poonja wrote: "If I had met the Maharshi earlier in my life, listened to his teachings and put them into practice, I could probably have saved myself years of fruitless external searching."

That is an example of the meaning of the concept "better".

venkat said...

Quite right Mouna. Focus on eliminating the ego whenever it arises, and then see if there is any concern about liberation, whether with or without form.

Ken said...

Roger wrote:

"Ramana Maharshi's teaching addresses two levels:
1: the relative field of existence where the METHOD of 'who am I?' or attention on self is of extreme importance.
2: the advaita level where having established attention on self, a further step might be to consider in various ways that 'you are already that'. "

No, that is not correct either.

The entire method IS "attention on self".

"Considering" is not part of Ramana Maharshi's method.

As I keep metioning, you need to read "Path of Sri Ramana Part One" where Ramana's method is explained, in a logical and airtight way, why it is "better" and why it is so simple. It is just "attention on self" and nothing more.

It is a free download at:

http://happinessofbeing.com/books.html#sadhu_om_english

By the way, there are no two fields of existence. There is a relative conceptual level of discussion, and an absolute conceptual level of discussion, but there is only one reality.

Ken said...

Roger - Ramana is here answering all your questions of the past few months:

Q: I meditate neti-neti [not this – not this].

Ramana: No – that is not meditation. Find the source. You must reach the source without fail. The false ‘I’ will disappear and the real ‘I’ will be realized. The former cannot exist apart from the latter.
There is now wrong identification of the Self with the body, senses, etc. You proceed to discard these, and this is neti.
This can be done only by holding to the one which cannot be discarded. That is iti [that which is].

Q: When I think ‘Who am I?’, the answer comes I am not this mortal body but I am chaitanya, atma [consciousness, the Self].’ And suddenly another question arises, ‘Why has atma come into maya [illusion]?’ or in other words, ‘Why has God created this world?’

Ramana: To enquire ‘Who am I?’ really means trying to find out the source of the ego or the ‘I’- thought. You are not to think of other thoughts, such as ‘I am not this body’. Seeking the source of ‘I’ serves as a means of getting rid of all other thoughts. We should not give scope to other thoughts, such as you mention, but must keep the attention fixed on finding out the source of the ‘I’-thought by asking, as each thought arises, to whom the thought arises. If the answer is ‘I get the thought’ continue the enquiry by asking ‘Who is this ‘I’ and what is its source?’.

Q: Am I to keep on repeating ‘Who am I?’ so as to make a mantra of it?

Ramana: No. ‘Who am I?’ is not a mantra. It means that you must find out where in you arises the ‘I’- thought which is the source of all other thoughts.

Q: Shall I meditate on ‘I am Brahman’ [aham Brahmasmi]?

Ramana: The text is not meant for thinking ‘I am Brahman’. Aham [‘I’] is known to every one. Brahman abides as aham in every one. Find out the ‘I’. The ‘I’ is already Brahman. You need not think so. Simply find out the ‘I’


Q: Is not discarding of the [neti-neti] mentioned in the sastras?

Ramana: After the rise of the ‘I’-thought there is the false identification of the ‘I’ with the body, the senses, the mind, etc. ‘I’ is wrongly associated with them and the true ‘I’ is lost sight of. In order to sift the pure ‘I’ from the contaminated ‘I’, this discarding is mentioned. But it does not mean exactly discarding of the non-Self, it means the finding of the real Self. The real Self is the infinite ‘I’. That ‘I’ is perfection. It is eternal. It has no origin and no end. The other ‘I’ is born and also dies. It is impermanent. See to whom the changing thoughts belong. They will be found to arise after the
‘I’-thought. Hold the ‘I’-thought and they subside. Trace back the source of the ‘I’-thought. The Self alone will remain.

Q: Is not affirmation of God more effective than the quest, ‘Who am I?’ Affirmation is positive, whereas the other is negation. Moreover, it indicates separateness.

Ramana: So long as you seek to know how to realize, this advice is given to find your Self. Your seeking the method denotes your separateness.

Q: Is it not better to say I am the supreme being’ than ask ‘Who am I?’

Ramana: Who affirms? There must be one to do it. Find that one.

Q: Is not meditation better than investigation?

Ramana: Meditation implies mental imagery, whereas investigation is for the reality. The former is objective, whereas the latter is subjective.

Q: There must be a scientific approach to this subject.

Ramana: To eschew unreality and seek the reality is scientific.

Q: I mean there must be a gradual elimination, first of the mind, then of the intellect, then of the ego.

Ramana: The Self alone is real. All others are unreal. The mind and intellect do not remain apart from you. The Bible says, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Stillness is the sole requisite for the realization of the Self as God.

Bob - P said...

Venkat replied to Mouna with:
{Quite right Mouna. Focus on eliminating the ego whenever it arises, and then see if there is any concern about liberation, whether with or without form.

How very true.
In appreciation.
Bob

iti said...

The only question is: how to be the self alone ?
In other words : Who am 'I' ?
All other concepts and thoughts are growths of the mind.

Ken said...

"iti said...

The only question is: how to be the self alone ?
In other words : Who am 'I' ?
All other concepts and thoughts are growths of the mind."

In all of the previous discussions of talking about different spiritual practices, we were saying that since spirituality is giving attention to spirit, and since spirit is obscured by attention to thoughts and sense perceptions, then self-attention is inherently more direct than any other practice.

However, iti brings up another aspect, perhaps even more clear.

If some spiritual teacher says to practice:

" I have devotion to Ishvara. "

or

" I am focusing on the ajna chakra to raise kundalini. "

then there is also the question:

" Who am I ?"

Without knowing that, how can you possibly understand what the teacher is suggesting?

So, the practice of self-investigation, aka self-attention, is not only the most direct spiritual practice, but it is also absolutely necessary before doing anything else in life.

Ken said...

By the way, some commenters in this thread are using "The Neo-Advaita Suffle" without understanding what it means.

The Neo-Advaita Shuffle is using the concept of investigating "Who Am I?" in an entirely mundane physical world context. Here is an example of the Neo-Advaita Shuffle:

"George: I do not have enough money for the bus fare. Fred, can you lend me enough money so I can get home on the bus?

Fred: Investigate who it is that wants to get home on the bus."

But it is NOT the Neo-Advaita Shuffle if the question is about spirituality. For example, Ramana would frequently answer spiritual questions in that way, such as this one:

"Q: Is it not better to say I am the supreme being’ than ask ‘Who am I?’

Ramana: Who affirms? There must be one to do it. Find that one."

Again, to be clear, the level where that kind of answer is not appropriate, is the mundane physical world level, as in the bus fare example. Why? Because that answer always makes the discussion a philosophical and spiritual discussion. So, doing so is "The Neo-Advaita Shuffle".

But that same answer in a philosophical and spiritual discussion is entirely appropriate and not "Neo-Advaita".

Anonymous said...

Dear Michaelji,

We just came to know about a song written by Sri Sadhu om swamigal. It is sung by sriram parthasarathy available in youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2plYWYL6Gwo.
The song is very melodious and someone has commented that it contains the essence of Sri Bhagavan's teachings.The song is little bit long.Since we don't know tamil is it possible to provide the meaning of this song? only if you are free and has suffficient time.Just simple meaning or essence of the song.

Yethanayo Katranaye idhanai KEtAyA
inimelEnum amaidhiyAga irukamAtAYA
Nam budhiketAdhadhelAm nanrAi purindhu nadakinra
Oru shakthikku vittuvittAl ullathil ShAnthi nilAithuvidum
NenJai punnAkki KondE nee ninaithu ninaithu cheyyum
Seyal Konjamum thEvayillai guruvarul kondu nadathuradhAl
Mootayai vandiyil vai thalaimEl mukki sumakkAdhE
Manasettayil Avadhillai thiruvarul chittam nadathi vaikum
Dehamum chitthamume unadhalla deivathin kai karuvi
Yeno Ekanavan seyalil karthruthvam yeidhu ThindAduginrAi
Dhehathai nAn YenavE KollAmai setthu piravAmai
irrAru sAga therindhukondon vunmayil thannai therindhukondon
SeibavanAy ezhudAl suka dhukha thettam unai cherum
Pinnar Yeibavanai viduthe ambayai yesi veruthu nirpAi
Ullavan oruvan andrineedhAn Vunmayil ondrum illai
Satrum kallamillA agathai avan arukkaiyil alithirupAi
Eesan arutseyalai kurukkittu indha manam thadukkum
Idhu nAsam adaindhuvittAl
Manam nasam adaindhuuvittal thiruvarul gnana anubhudhi tharum
`Thannai maruthadangu udal manam thAnenru yezhamal iru
Adhan pinnai irupadhedho
Udal manam thAnenrezhamal iru
Adhan pinnai irupadhEdho adhuvE brahmam YenappadumAm
GnyAn Guru ramanan arulAl nadappadhellAm nadakka
Udal aga eena yezhuchi yezha vizhippodu iruppadhE nam kadanAm

Thank you

God is 'I' said...

Michael,
to get the conviction that 'he is 'I' meditation on him only as 'I' is necessary.
Because I do not clearly know that God always exists within me I do not know him as 'I'.
Arunachala , may you graciously let me feel that you are in me ?
Without your mercy how can I clearly know you as 'I' ?
I am completely at your mercy.