Sunday, 2 October 2016

‘I am’ is the reality, ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ is the ego

In a comment on my previous article, What is the ‘self’ we are investigating when we try to be attentively self-aware?, a friend called Viveka Vairagya quoted an extract from chapter 99 of I am That in which it is recorded that Nisargadatta Maharaj said, ‘Relax and watch the ‘I am’. Reality is just behind it’, which prompted another friend who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Extremely Simple’ to ask, ‘But why should reality be “just behind the ‘I am’”?’

Several friends attempted to answer this question. The clearest and most accurate answer was given by Sanjay, who wrote: ‘According to Bhagavan’s teaching, there is nothing behind or in front of ‘I am’, and therefore this ‘I am’ exists absolutely alone. Anything we experience other than our essential awareness, ‘I am’, is merely our ego’s imagination, and since our ego is a formless phantom which exists only in its own view, nothing other than ‘I am’ actually exists’.

Viveka Vairagya then wrote two comments in which he tried to explain what Nisargadatta means by the term ‘I am’. In the first of these comments he wrote, ‘Maharaj uses the term ‘I am’ to refer to reflected consciousness (chidabhasa), that is, reflection of Self or Pure Consciousness in the mind. Hence, just like an object can be said to be behind its reflection, reality, that is Self or Pure Consciousness, is said to be behind its reflection, the ‘I am’. Bhagavan uses ‘I am’ to refer to something else as Sanjay pointed out’, and in the second he wrote, ‘Upon further reflection it strikes me that what Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj means by ‘I am’ Sri Ramana Maharshi means by ‘I-thought’. That is, both ‘I am’ and ‘I-thought’ refer to the same entity, namely, reflected light or reflected consciousness (chidabhasa), that is, reflection of Self or Pure Consciousness in the mind. Hence, just like Self or Reality can be said to be behind the ‘I-thought’, Self or Reality can be said to be behind the ‘I am’’.
  1. Who am I? Am I this unreal ego, or the reality that underlies it?
  2. The truth is not ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ but only ‘I am I’
  3. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18: the mind is essentially ‘I’, the ego or mixed awareness ‘I am this body’
  4. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 19: if we investigate ourself, the source from which we rose as this ego, it will die
  5. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 20: where ‘I am this’ merges, what remains shining is ‘I am I’
  6. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28: the pure self-awareness ‘I am I’ is beginningless, endless and indivisible
  7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 30: though ‘I am I’ appears, it is not the ego
  8. Āṉma-Viddai verse 2: what shines as ‘I am I’ is the one silent and blissful space of pure self-awareness
  9. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 21: what shines as ‘I am I’ is the real import of the word ‘I’
  10. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 22: the body and other adjuncts are not real and not aware, so they are not ‘I’
  11. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 23: we are the one existence-awareness that always shines as ‘I am’
  12. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 24: what seemingly separates us from the reality that we actually are is only our awareness of adjuncts
  13. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 25: being aware of ‘I am’ without adjuncts is being aware of the reality
  14. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham verse 29: clarity of intellect will shine automatically in the outward form of an ātma-jñāni
1. Who am I? Am I this unreal ego, or the reality that underlies it?

Viveka Vairagya is probably correct in saying that Nisargadatta uses the term ‘I am’ (at least in this context, and perhaps elsewhere also) to refer to the I-thought (the thought called ‘I’ or ego), which is cidābhāsa (a reflection, semblance or false appearance of real awareness, which is our actual self), because that is the most reasonable way to explain why he says that the reality is just behind ‘I am’ instead of saying that it actually is ‘I am’. However, if he does refer to the ego as ‘I am’, that shows a fundamental confusion in his thinking and understanding, because though the ego seems to be ourself, it is not what we actually are.

Whether we use the term ‘I am’ to refer to our actual self (as Bhagavan does) or to our ego (as Nisargadatta seems to do) is not just an arbitrary choice about the use of terminology, as many people seem to assume, but reflects our understanding of what we actually are. What actually are we? Or in other words, who in fact am I? Are we this finite ego that we seem to be, or are we infinite self-awareness, other than which nothing actually exists?

If we use ‘I am’ to refer to our ego, that implies that we accept that this ego is what we actually are, which is precisely the error that Bhagavan asked us to question and investigate. If this ego is ‘I am’ and the reality is something behind it or beyond it, that would mean that the reality is something other than ourself, in which case we could never attain it or be one with it, because we cannot become anything other than what we always actually are.

Since the reality is what is called brahman, claiming or implying that it is anything other than ‘I am’ (ourself) is contrary to the fundamental principles of advaita vēdānta as expressed in the four mahāvākyas: ‘prajñānaṁ brahma’, ‘pure awareness is brahman’ (Ṛg Vēda, Aitarēya Upaniṣad 3.3); ‘ahaṁ brahmāsmi’, ‘I am brahman’ (Yajur Vēda, Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.4.10); ‘tat tvam asi’, ‘it [brahman] you are’ (Sāma Vēda, Chāndōgya Upaniṣad 6.8.7); and ‘ayaṁ ātmā brahma’, ‘this self is brahman’ (Atharva Vēda, Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad 2).

Though we now mistake ourself (who are what we refer to as ‘I’) to be this finite ego, what we actually are is only brahman, which is infinite self-awareness, so to help us avoid confusion, Bhagavan often explained that ‘I am’ without any adjuncts is what we actually are, whereas ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ (which is ‘I am’ mixed with adjuncts) is the ego or thought called ‘I’. Distinguishing ‘I am’ from ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ in this way is not using these terms in an arbitrary fashion, because it enables us to understand clearly the difference between what we now seem to be and what we actually are.

The non-arbitrary nature of these terms used by Bhagavan can be understood by analysing them carefully. In ‘I am’, the verb ‘am’ expresses the existence of ‘I’, so since the existence of ‘I’ is not anything other than ‘I’ itself, we can analytically reduce ‘I am’ down to ‘I’. So what does this word ‘I’ denote? It is the first person singular pronoun, so it always refers only to ourself, and hence what we take the term ‘I am’ to refer to depends upon what we believe ourself to be.

If we believe that we are actually this ego, or this person whom our ego currently experiences as itself, we will take ‘I am’ to be a statement expressing the existence of this ego. But can this ego be what we actually are? We seem to be this ego only in waking and dream, but we continue to be aware of our existence in sleep, even though our ego has then disappeared. Therefore this ego cannot be what we actually are, and hence it is not what is actually denoted by the term ‘I’ or ‘I am’.

In waking and dream, which are the only two states in which this ego seems to exist, it always experiences itself as a certain body (though not always the same one) and as other phenomena closely associated with that body, so Bhagavan points out to us that as this ego we do not experience ourself simply as ‘I am’ but as ‘I am this’, in which the term ‘this’ refers to whatever body and other associated adjuncts we currently experience as if they were ourself.

2. The truth is not ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ but only ‘I am I’

In ‘I am this’, what the verb ‘am’ expresses is not the existence of ‘I’ (though it obviously implies that) but the identity of ‘I’ as ‘this’. That is, whereas the ‘am’ in ‘I am’ has a purely existential function in that it denotes simply the existence of ‘I’, the ‘am’ in ‘I am this’ functions as a copula (a linking verb) that denotes the identity of ‘I’ as ‘this’.

However, whereas the statement ‘I am’ is obviously true, because we could not be aware of ourself as ‘I’ if we did not exist, can the statement ‘I am this’ be true? Can ‘I’ actually be anything other than itself? Obviously it cannot, so the statement ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ is necessarily false if ‘this’ or ‘that’ refers to anything other than ‘I’ alone. Therefore the only true statement we can make about the identity of ‘I’ is ‘I am I’.

What the first person pronoun ‘I’ essentially refers to is only our own fundamental self-awareness, which is the only thing that we experience constantly (as Bhagavan points out in verse 21 of Upadēśa Undiyār). Since everything other than this fundamental self-awareness, ‘I’, appears and disappears in our awareness, none of them can be what we actually are, because since we are always aware of ourself, whether or not we also happen to be temporarily aware of anything else, we cannot be anything that we are not aware of constantly. Therefore, since we are not aware of anything other than ourself in sleep, we cannot actually be anything other than the fundamental self-awareness that we experience alone in sleep and along with other things in waking and dream. Hence ‘I am I’ alone expresses accurately what we actually are.

3. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18: the mind is essentially ‘I’, the ego or mixed awareness ‘I am this body’

This is clearly explained by Bhagavan in verses 18 to 22 of Upadēśa Undiyār. Currently we seem to be this mind, so in verse 18 he analyses what this mind is:
எண்ணங்க ளேமனம் யாவினு நானெனு
மெண்ணமே மூலமா முந்தீபற
      யானா மனமென லுந்தீபற.

eṇṇaṅga ḷēmaṉam yāviṉu nāṉeṉu
meṇṇamē mūlamā mundīpaṟa
      yāṉā maṉameṉa lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal.

அன்வயம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். மனம் எனல் யான் ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. maṉam eṉal yāṉ ām.

English translation: Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called mind is ‘I’.

Elaborated translation: Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [the ego or root-thought called ‘I’].
Generally we take the term ‘mind’ to be a collective name for all mental phenomena (perceptions, conceptions, memories, beliefs, desires, hopes, fears, likes, dislikes, feelings, emotions and so on), which are what Bhagavan refers to here as எண்ணங்கள் (eṇṇaṅgaḷ), which literally means ‘thoughts’ or ‘ideas’. However, of all thoughts or mental phenomena, the root is only our ego, which is what he refers to here as ‘நான் எனும் எண்ணம்’ (nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam), which literally means ‘the thought called I’, but which in English books is often translated as ‘the I-thought’.

The reason why this thought called ‘I’ is the root of all other thoughts is that it is what thinks and experiences them, so without it no other thoughts could rise or be known. However, other thoughts come and go and are constantly changing, so this primal thought called ‘I’ is not dependent on any particular one of them, but so long as any other thought seems to exist, we seem to be this thought called ‘I’, which is what is aware both of itself and of all other thoughts, so all other thoughts are dependent on it.

Therefore what this mind essentially is is only this root thought called ‘I’, which is what is generally called the ego. That is, since no thought other than this ego is a permanent feature of our mind, on analysis the mind is in essence just this ego, as Bhagavan implies in the final sentence of this verse, ‘யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்’ (yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal), which means ‘What is called mind is I’.

Thus on analysis the mind that we now experience as ourself reduces down to being only ‘I’, but is this ‘I’ what we actually are? The ‘I’ that we as this mind experience as ourself is our ego, which seems to exist in waking and dream but disappears in sleep, so it cannot be what we actually are, which is what is denoted by the phrase ‘I am’. However, since it is what we currently experience as ourself, it cannot be entirely distinct from ourself, so an element of it must be what we actually are. In other words, it must be a mixture of what we actually are (‘I am’) and other things that we seem to be (‘this’ or ‘that’).

Therefore Bhagavan pointed out to us that this ‘I’ (our ego or thought called ‘I’) is not the pure self-awareness that we actually are, because it is mixed and confused with our awareness of other things, most notably whatever body we currently experience as if it were ourself. Since whenever we rise as this ego or mind we experience ourself as a particular body (but not always the same body, because whatever body we currently experience as ourself is not the same as any of the bodies that we experience as ourself in other dreams), he explained that this ego or thought called ‘I’ is what we experience as ‘I am this body’. Therefore in verse 2 of Āṉma-Viddai he says:
ஊனா ருடலிதுவே நானா மெனுநினைவே
நானா நினைவுகள்சே ரோர்நார் [...]

ūṉā ruḍaliduvē nāṉā meṉuniṉaivē
nāṉā niṉaivugaḷsē rōrnār
[...]

பதச்சேதம்: ‘ஊன் ஆர் உடல் இதுவே நான் ஆம்’ எனும் நினைவே நானா நினைவுகள் சேர் ஓர் நார் [...]

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘ūṉ ār uḍal idu-v-ē nāṉ ām’ eṉum niṉaivē nāṉā niṉaivugaḷ sēr ōr nār [...]

English translation: The thought ‘this body composed of flesh itself is I’ alone is the one thread on which [all] the various thoughts are strung [...]
In this compound awareness, ‘I am this body’, ‘I am’ refers to our permanent and fundamental self-awareness, which is the essential conscious (cit) element of our ego, and ‘the body’ refers to a transient phenomenon, which is the inessential non-conscious (jaḍa) element of our ego, so since the ego is the knot (granthi) that binds these two opposite elements together as if they were one, it is called cit-jaḍa-granthi. This knot is not real, because though it and its jaḍa element seem to exist in waking and dream, they do not exist in sleep, so when they seem to exist they are just a false appearance, an illusion. However, though the knot as a whole and one of its two elements are unreal, its other element, namely pure self-awareness (cit), is real. Indeed it is the only thing that is real, because nothing other than it is either permanent, unchanging or self-shining, which according to Bhagavan are the three hallmarks of what is real.

4. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 19: if we investigate ourself, the source from which we rose as this ego, it will die

This ego or thought called ‘I’, which is the cit-jaḍa-granthi, ‘I am this body’, is impermanent, because it seems to exist only in waking and dream but not in sleep. Since it rises whenever we wake up from sleep or whenever our sleep is disturbed by a dream, it must rise from something that is permanent and hence real, and that real thing must be what we actually are. Therefore in verse 19 of Upadēśa Undiyār Bhagavan teaches us that we should investigate what this ego rises from:
நானென் றெழுமிட மேதென நாடவுண்
ணான்றலை சாய்ந்திடு முந்தீபற
     ஞான விசாரமி துந்தீபற.

nāṉeṉ ḏṟeṙumiḍa mēdeṉa nāḍavuṇ
ṇāṉḏṟalai sāyndiḍu mundīpaṟa
     ñāṉa vicārami dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: நான் என்று எழும் இடம் ஏது என நாட உள், நான் தலைசாய்ந்திடும். ஞான விசாரம் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam ēdu eṉa nāḍa uḷ, nāṉ talai-sāyndiḍum. ñāṉa-vicāram idu.

அன்வயம்: நான் என்று எழும் இடம் ஏது என உள் நாட, நான் தலைசாய்ந்திடும். இது ஞான விசாரம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam ēdu eṉa uḷ nāḍa, nāṉ talai-sāyndiḍum. idu ñāṉa-vicāram.

English translation: When one investigates within [or inwardly investigates] what the place is from which it rises as ‘I’, ‘I’ will die. This is jñāna-vicāra [awareness-investigation].
This ego, the spurious ‘I’ that rises as ‘I am this body, a person called so-and-so’, does not actually exist, but it seems to exist by ‘grasping form’ (that is, by projecting phenomena in its awareness), as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, so if it turns its entire attention back towards itself, thereby ceasing to be aware of anything else, it will dissolve back into its source. This is what Bhagavan explains in the first sentence of this verse, ‘நான் என்று எழும் இடம் ஏது என நாட உள், நான் தலைசாய்ந்திடும்’ (nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam ēdu eṉa nāḍa uḷ, nāṉ talai-sāyndiḍum), which means, ‘When one investigates within [or inwardly investigates] what the place is from which it rises as ‘I’, ‘I’ will die’ (though the literal meaning of ‘நான் தலைசாய்ந்திடும்’ (nāṉ talai-sāyndiḍum) is ‘I will bend its head’, this is a colloquial idiom meaning that it will die).

In order to annihilate our ego, what we need to investigate is ‘நான் என்று எழும் இடம்’ (nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam), ‘the place from which it rises as I’. In other words, we need to investigate the source of this ego. Though Bhagavan describes its source as ‘எழும் இடம்’ (eṙum iḍam), which literally means ‘the place from which it rises’, what he means by ‘இடம்’ (iḍam) or ‘place’ in this context is not any place in time or space but only our actual self, which is the source from which we rise as this ego, because in this context he is not using this term in a literal sense but only in a metaphorical one, as he often did.

From where else could our ego rise except from our actual self? When it subsides in sleep nothing exists or even seems to exist except ourself, so when we rise from sleep as this ego in either waking or dream, what we are rising from is only ourself, so we alone are ‘நான் என்று எழும் இடம்’ (nāṉ eṉḏṟu eṙum iḍam), ‘the place [or source] from which it [our ego] rises as I’. Therefore what he implies in this verse is that we need to investigate ourself, the fundamental self-awareness from which we have risen as this ego.

5. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 20: where ‘I am this’ merges, what remains shining is ‘I am I’

After saying that the ego will die if we investigate its source, which is our actual self, in verse 20 Bhagavan explains what will remain when it dies:
நானொன்று தானத்து நானானென் றொன்றது
தானாகத் தோன்றுமே யுந்தீபற
     தானது பூன்றமா முந்தீபற.

nāṉoṉḏṟu thāṉattu nāṉāṉeṉ ḏṟoṉḏṟadu
tāṉāhat tōṉḏṟumē yundīpaṟa
     āṉadu pūṉḏṟamā mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘நான்’ ஒன்று தானத்து ‘நான் நான்’ என்று ஒன்று அது தானாக தோன்றுமே. தான் அது பூன்றம் ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu thāṉattu ‘nāṉ nāṉ’ eṉḏṟu oṉḏṟu adu tāṉāha tōṉḏṟumē. tāṉ adu pūṉḏṟam ām.

அன்வயம்: ‘நான்’ ஒன்று தானத்து ‘நான் நான்’ என்று ஒன்று அது தானாக தோன்றுமே. அது தான் பூன்றம் ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu thāṉattu ‘nāṉ nāṉ’ eṉḏṟu oṉḏṟu adu tāṉāha tōṉḏṟumē. adu tāṉ pūṉḏṟam ām.

English translation: In the place where ‘I’ merges, that, the one, appears spontaneously [or as oneself] as ‘I am I’. That itself is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa].
When the ego, which is the ‘I’ that rose as ‘I am this’, merges back into the source from which it rose, what remains is only our actual self, which always shines as ‘I am I’. Though Bhagavan says that it ‘appears’, he does not mean to imply that it is not always shining, because it appears in the same way that a rope appears when one looks carefully at what seems to be a snake. Just as the rope was always clearly visible, even when we mistook it to be a snake, our fundamental self-awareness, which is our actual self, is always clearly visible, even when we mistake ourself to be ‘this’ or ‘that’.

However, when we look at the ‘snake’ carefully enough to recognise that it is actually just a rope, at the moment of recognition the rope seems to appear newly or shine forth. Likewise, when we look at ourself carefully enough to recognise that we are not the transitively aware ego that we seemed to be but only pure intransitive self-awareness, at the moment of recognition our pure and infinite self-awareness seems to appear newly or shine forth.

However, since our actual self is always aware of itself as pure self-awareness, in its view no change ever occurs, so the fresh appearance of pure self-awareness can occur only in the view of the ego, but as soon as it appears it swallows the ego, so its appearance and the disappearance of the ego are simultaneous and instantaneous. Its appearance is the ultimate and final sphuraṇa (fresh clarity of self-awareness), and unlike less clear forms of sphuraṇa, which Bhagavan compares to a flame burning camphor until both are consumed and disappear, it is like the ignition of gunpowder, exploding and destroying the ego in an instance.

The verb that he uses in the main clause of this verse is தோன்றுமே (tōṉḏṟumē), which is an intensified form of தோன்றும் (tōṉḏṟum), which in this contexts means it appears, springs into view, is visible or is clear, and in his Sanskrit version of this verse, namely verse 20 of Upadēśa Sāram, he translated this verb as स्फुरति (sphurati), which means it shines, is clear, flashes or shines forth, and which is a form of the verb स्फुर् (sphur), from which the noun स्फुरण (sphuraṇa) derives:
अहमि नाशभा ज्यहम हंतया ।
स्फुरति हृत्स्वयं परम पूर्णसत् ॥

ahami nāśabhā jyahama haṁtayā
sphurati hṛtsvayaṁ parama pūrṇasat

पदच्छेद: अहमि नाशभाजि अहम् अहंतया स्फुरति हृत् स्वयं. परम पूर्ण सत्.

Padacchēda (word-separation): ahami nāśabhāji aham ahaṁtayā sphurati hṛt svayaṁ. parama pūrṇa sat.

When ‘I’ [the ego] is annihilated, the heart [our actual self] spontaneously shines forth as ‘I am I’ (aham aham). [This is] parama pūrṇa sat [the supreme whole reality].
In the first sentence of the Tamil original of this verse Bhagavan uses the word ஒன்று (oṉḏṟu) twice, but in the first instance as a verb meaning merges, combines, coalesces, unites or becomes one, and in the second instance as a noun that basically means one, or in this case ‘the one’, but can also mean what is unique, unequalled or incomparable. What the ego merges in and becomes one with is our actual self, which is the one that appears spontaneously as ‘I am I’, so by using ஒன்று (oṉḏṟu) twice in this way and by describing the ultimate experience that then remains as ‘நான் நான்’ (nāṉ nāṉ) or ‘अहम् अहम्’ (aham aham), which means ‘I am I’, he emphasises the oneness of what remains when the ego is annihilated.

In the second sentence of the Tamil verse he says that this one that appears as ‘I am I’ is பூன்றம் (pūṉḏṟam), which is a Tamil term derived from the Sanskrit word पूर्ण (pūrṇa), which means full, whole, entire, complete or perfect, and which in this context implies the one infinite whole or entirety, other than which nothing can exist. Likewise in Sanskrit he says that it is ‘परम पूर्ण सत्’ (parama pūrṇa sat), in which parama is the superlative of para and means supreme, highest, best or most exalted, pūrṇa means the infinite whole, and sat means what actually exists, what is real, existence or being, so parama pūrṇa sat means the supreme whole reality.

6. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28: the pure self-awareness ‘I am I’ is beginningless, endless and indivisible

This one infinite whole reality that shines forth as ‘I am I’ when the ego is annihilated is what Bhagavan also describes in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தனாதியல் யாதெனத் தான்றெரி கிற்பின்
னனாதி யனந்தசத் துந்தீபற
      வகண்ட சிதானந்த முந்தீபற.

taṉādiyal yādeṉat tāṉḏṟeri hiṯpiṉ
ṉaṉādi yaṉantasat tundīpaṟa
      vakhaṇḍa cidāṉanda mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தனாது இயல் யாது என தான் தெரிகில், பின் அனாதி அனந்த சத்து அகண்ட சித் ஆனந்தம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉādu iyal yādu eṉa tāṉ terihil, piṉ aṉādi aṉanta sattu akhaṇḍa cit āṉandam.

அன்வயம்: தான் தனாது இயல் யாது என தெரிகில், பின் அனாதி அனந்த அகண்ட சத்து சித் ஆனந்தம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): tāṉ taṉādu iyal yādu eṉa terihil, piṉ aṉādi aṉanta akhaṇḍa sattu cit āṉandam.

English translation: If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] beginningless, endless [or infinite] and undivided sat-cit-ānanda [being-consciousness-bliss].
What actually exists (sat) is awareness (cit) and happiness (ānanda), and since it is what remains when we know what our real nature is, it is our real nature — what we actually are. Therefore the one infinite whole (pūrṇa) that shines as ‘I am I’ is sat-cit-ānanda: what exists (sat), what is aware (cit) and what is happy (ānanda).

Though it appears as if new at the moment the ego is dissolved in it, it actually exists and shines eternally, because it is beginningless (anādi) and endless (ananta), so it is what is shining as ‘I am’ even when it seems to be this finite and ephemeral ego, because it seems to be this ego only in the view of this ego and not in its own clear and infinite view. Since ananta means not only endless but also limitless or infinite, by saying that it is ananta Bhagavan implies that nothing exists beyond it or other than it, so it alone is what actually exists.

Not only is it otherless, it is also partless, because as Bhagavan says it is akhaṇḍa, which means unbroken, undivided or unfragmented. Therefore there is nothing that is outside or other than it, and there are also no parts or divisions within it, so it is absolute wholeness and oneness. Since it is undivided, it is also changeless and immutable, because any change would mean that what it was prior to changing is distinct and hence divided from what it is after that, so it is not only undivided but also indivisible.

Though in this context I have been referring to it as ‘it’, it is not actually ‘it’ (a third person) but only ‘I’ (the first person, or more precisely the reality of the first person), because it is our actual self, so it would be more appropriate to call it ‘we’. Therefore what we actually are is the one infinite whole, which is beginningless, endless and indivisible sat-cit-ānanda, and which shines eternally as ‘I am’.

In our real state of pure self-awareness the only thing that exists is ‘I’, and since there is nothing other than ourself and no separate parts within ourself, there is no ‘this’ or ‘that’ that we could ever experience as ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’. Therefore our experience of ourself in that state can only be ‘I am I’.

Therefore neither the rising nor the ultimate merging of the ego is at all real. They seem to be real only so long as this ego seems to exist, but if we look carefully enough at this ego, which seems to have risen as ‘I am this body’, we will see that it does not actually exist, and that all that exists and has ever existed is only beginningless, endless, infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, which is never aware of anything other than itself.

7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 30: though ‘I am I’ appears, it is not the ego

The practice and result of self-investigation that Bhagavan teaches us in verses 19 and 20 of Upadēśa Undiyār were also described by him in similar terms in verse 30 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
நானா ரெனமனமுண் ணாடியுள நண்ணவே
நானா மவன்றலை நாணமுற — நானானாத்
தோன்றுமொன்று தானாகத் தோன்றினுநா னன்றுபொருள்
பூன்றமது தானாம் பொருள்.

nāṉā reṉamaṉamuṇ ṇāḍiyuḷa naṇṇavē
nāṉā mavaṉḏṟalai nāṇamuṟa — nāṉāṉāt
tōṉḏṟumoṉḏṟu tāṉāhat tōṉḏṟiṉunā ṉaṉḏṟuporuḷ
pūṉḏṟamadu tāṉām poruḷ
.

பதச்சேதம்: நான் ஆர் என மனம் உள் நாடி உளம் நண்ணவே, ‘நான்’ ஆம் அவன் தலை நாணம் உற, ‘நான் நான்’ ஆ தோன்றும் ஒன்று தானாக. தோன்றினும், ‘நான்’ அன்று. பொருள் பூன்றம் அது, தான் ஆம் பொருள்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): nāṉ ār eṉa maṉam uḷ nāḍi uḷam naṇṇavē, ‘nāṉ’ ām avaṉ talai nāṇam uṟa, ‘nāṉ nāṉ’ ā tōṉḏṟum oṉḏṟu tāṉāha. tōṉḏṟiṉum, ‘nāṉ’ aṉḏṟu. poruḷ-pūṉḏṟam adu, tāṉ ām poruḷ.

அன்வயம்: நான் ஆர் என மனம் உள் நாடி உளம் நண்ணவே, ‘நான்’ ஆம் அவன் தலை நாணம் உற, ‘நான் நான்’ ஆ ஒன்று தானாக தோன்றும். தோன்றினும், ‘நான்’ அன்று. அது பூன்றப் பொருள், தான் ஆம் பொருள்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): nāṉ ār eṉa maṉam uḷ nāḍi uḷam naṇṇavē, ‘nāṉ’ ām avaṉ talai nāṇam uṟa, ‘nāṉ nāṉ’ ā oṉḏṟu tāṉāha tōṉḏṟum. tōṉḏṟiṉum, ‘nāṉ’ aṉḏṟu. adu pūṉḏṟa-p-poruḷ, tāṉ ām poruḷ.

English translation: When the mind reaches the heart [by] inwardly investigating who am I, [and] when he who is ‘I’ [thereby] dies, one thing [or the one] appears spontaneously [or as oneself] as ‘I am I’. Though it appears, it is not ‘I’ [the ego]. It is poruḷ-pūṉḏṟam [the entire substance, whole reality or pūrṇa-vastu], the substance that is oneself.
The nature of our ego is to appear in waking and dream and to disappear in other states such as sleep, whereas the nature of our actual self is to shine eternally without ever appearing or disappearing (as Bhagavan says explicitly in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), because it is the infinite whole and one real substance. Therefore after saying in the first sentence of this verse that when ‘I’ (the ego) dies, the one appears spontaneously as ‘I am I’, in the second sentence he says, ‘தோன்றினும், ‘நான்’ அன்று’ (tōṉḏṟiṉum, ‘nāṉ’ aṉḏṟu), which means ‘Though it appears, it is not ‘I’ [the ego]’. It does not appear in its own view — because it is pure self-awareness, unsullied by even the slightest awareness of anything else, so it is always clearly aware of itself as ‘I am I’ — but only in the view of the ego (as I explained above in section 5).

However, it appears only when the ego is subsiding and merging in its source, our actual self, which is what Bhagavan refers to here as உளம் (uḷam), the heart, and as soon as it appears, it swallows and consumes the ego entirely in itself, because it is the infinite clarity of pure self-awareness, so it is like a light that is so bright that nothing else can be seen in it, as Bhagavan indicates in verse 27 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai and verse 1 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam:
சகலமும் விழுங்குங் கதிரொளி யினமன
      சலச மலர்த்தியி டருணாசலா.

sakalamum viṙuṅguṅ kadiroḷi yiṉamaṉa
      jalaja malarttiyi ḍaruṇācalā
.

பதச்சேதம்: சகலமும் விழுங்கும் கதிர் ஒளி இன மன சலசம் அலர்த்தியிடு அருணாசலா

Padacchēdam (word-separation): sakalamum viṙuṅgum kadir oḷi iṉa, maṉa-jalajam alartti-y-iḍu aruṇācalā.

English translation:: Arunachala, sun of bright rays which swallow everything, make [my] mind-lotus blossom.

அருணிறை வான வமுதக் கடலே
விரிகதிரால் யாவும் விழுங்கு — மருண
கிரிபரமான் மாவே கிளருளப்பூ நன்றாய்
விரிபரிதி யாக விளங்கு.

aruṇiṟai vāṉa vamudak kaḍalē
virikadirāl yāvum viṙuṅgu — maruṇa
giriparamāṉ māvē kiḷaruḷappū naṉḏṟāy
viriparidhi yāha viḷaṅgu
.

பதச்சேதம்: அருள் நிறைவு ஆன அமுத கடலே விரி கதிரால் யாவும் விழுங்கும் அருணகிரி பரமான்மாவே கிளர் உள பூ நன்றாய் விரி பரிதி ஆக விளங்கு.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aruḷ niṟaivu āṉa amuda-k-kaḍalē, viri kadirāl yāvum viṙuṅgum aruṇagiri paramāṉmāvē, kiḷar uḷa-p-pū naṉḏṟāy viri paridhi āha viḷaṅgu.

English translation:: O Ocean of amṛta [the ambrosia of immortality], which is the fullness of grace, O Supreme Self, Arunagiri, who swallow everything by [your] spreading rays [of pure self-awareness], shine as the sun that makes [my] budding heart-lotus blossom fully.
Our actual self, which shines eternally and without any break as ‘I am I’, is the one true light, so in it the ego, which is the false reflected light that shines intermittently as ‘I am this’, cannot stand, and in the absence of any ego nothing else can seem to exist (since everything else seems to exist only in the deluded view of this illusory ego), so when we turn within to see ourself, the absolute clarity of pure self-awareness that will thereby shine forth within us will swallow our ego and everything else forever, and only the silent and infinite space of pure self-awareness will remain shining in all its absolute glory.

8. Āṉma-Viddai verse 2: what shines as ‘I am I’ is the one silent and blissful space of pure self-awareness

Another verse in which Bhagavan expresses similar teachings to those he gives us in verses 18, 19 and 20 of Upadēśa Undiyār and verse 30 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu is verse 2 of Āṉma-Viddai:
ஊனா ருடலிதுவே நானா மெனுநினைவே
நானா நினைவுகள்சே ரோர்நா ரெனுமதனா
னானா ரிடமெதென்றுட் போனா னினைவுகள்போய்
நானா னெனக்குகையுட் டானாய்த் திகழுமான்ம —
   ஞானமே; இதுவே மோனமே; ஏக வானமே;
      இன்பத் தானமே. (ஐயே)

ūṉā ruḍaliduvē nāṉā meṉuniṉaivē
nāṉā niṉaivugaḷsē rōrnā reṉumadaṉā
ṉāṉā riḍamedeṉḏṟuṭ pōṉā ṉiṉaivugaḷpōy
nāṉā ṉeṉakkuhaiyuṭ ṭāṉāyt tikaṙumāṉma —
   jñāṉamē; iduvē mōṉamē; ēka vāṉamē;
      iṉbat tāṉamē
. (aiyē)

பதச்சேதம்: ‘ஊன் ஆர் உடல் இதுவே நான் ஆம்’ எனும் நினைவே நானா நினைவுகள் சேர் ஓர் நார் எனும் அதனால், ‘நான் ஆர் இடம் எது?’ [அல்லது, ‘நான் ஆர்? இடம் எது?’] என்று உள் போனால், நினைவுகள் போய், ‘நான் நான்’ என குகை உள் தானாய் திகழும் ஆன்ம ஞானமே. இதுவே மோனமே; ஏக வானமே; இன்ப தானமே. (ஐயே, அதி சுலபம், ...)

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘ūṉ ār uḍal iduvē nāṉ ām’ eṉum niṉaivē nāṉā niṉaivugaḷ sēr ōr nār eṉum adaṉāl, nāṉ ār iḍam edu eṉḏṟu uḷ pōṉāl, niṉaivugaḷ pōy, ‘nāṉ nāṉ’ eṉa guhai uḷ tāṉāy tikaṙum āṉma-jñāṉamē. iduvē mōṉamē; ēka vāṉamē; iṉba-tāṉamē. (aiye, ati sulabham, ...)

அன்வயம்: ‘ஊன் ஆர் உடல் இதுவே நான் ஆம்’ எனும் நினைவே நானா நினைவுகள் சேர் ஓர் நார் எனும் அதனால், ‘நான் ஆர் இடம் எது?’ (அல்லது, ‘நான் ஆர்? இடம் எது?’) என்று உள் போனால், நினைவுகள் போய், குகை உள் ‘நான் நான்’ என ஆன்ம ஞானமே தானாய் திகழும். இதுவே மோனமே; ஏக வானமே; இன்ப தானமே. (ஐயே, அதி சுலபம், ...)

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ‘ūṉ ār uḍal iduvē nāṉ ām’ eṉum niṉaivē nāṉā niṉaivugaḷ sēr ōr nār eṉum adaṉāl, nāṉ ār iḍam edu eṉḏṟu uḷ pōṉāl, niṉaivugaḷ pōy, guhai uḷ ‘nāṉ nāṉ’ eṉa āṉma-jñāṉamē tāṉāy tihaṙum. iduvē mōṉamē; ēka vāṉamē; iṉba-tāṉamē. (aiye, ati sulabham, ...)

English translation: Since the thought ‘this body composed of flesh itself is I’ alone is the one thread on which [all] the various thoughts are strung, if [one] goes within [investigating] what is the place from which ‘I’ spreads, thoughts will cease, and in the cave [of one’s heart] ātma-jñāna [self-knowledge] will shine spontaneously as ‘I am I’. This is silence, the one space [of pure consciousness], the abode of bliss. ([Therefore] ah, the science of self is extremely easy, ah, extremely easy!).
In verse 20 of Upadēśa Undiyār he describes what appears spontaneously as ‘I am I’ as ஒன்று (oṉḏṟu), one, and பூன்றம் (pūṉḏṟam), the infinite whole or pūrṇa; in verse 20 of Upadēśa Sāram he describes it as हृत् (hṛt), the heart, and ‘परम पूर्ण सत्’ (parama pūrṇa sat), the supreme whole reality; in verse 30 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he describes it as ஒன்று (oṉḏṟu), one, ‘பொருள் பூன்றம்’ (poruḷ-pūṉḏṟam), the entire substance, whole reality or pūrṇa-vastu, and ‘தான் ஆம் பொருள்’ (tāṉ ām poruḷ), the substance that is oneself; and in this verse he describes it as ஆன்ம ஞானம் (āṉma-jñāṉam), self-knowledge (in the sense of pure self-awareness), மோனம் (mōṉam), silence, ஏக வானம் (ēka vāṉam), the one space, and இன்ப தானம் (iṉba-tāṉam), the abode of bliss. That is, it is the only one thing, the infinite whole, the one real substance, the heart, our own actual self, and the single, silent, blissful space of pure self-awareness.

And as indicated in this verse, verse 19 of Upadēśa Undiyār and verse 30 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, the means to experience ourself thus is to turn within (away from all external and extraneous things) to investigate ourself, the ‘place’ or source from which we have risen as this ego. When we withdraw our attention from everything else by focusing it keenly on ourself alone, we will clearly see that what ‘I’ actually is is only ‘I’ and nothing other than ‘I’, and thus we will remain alone in the silent and empty space of our own simple and blissful self-awareness, other than which nothing actually exists.

9. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 21: what shines as ‘I am I’ is the real import of the word ‘I’

In verses 18, 19 and 20 of Upadēśa Undiyār Bhagavan refers to the ego as ‘I’, but he clearly implies that it is not what ‘I’ really is, because it is not permanent, and if we investigate from where it rises, it will die. Where it dies and merges, the one infinite whole will shine as ‘I am I’, so this is what ‘I’ actually is, as he states unequivocally in verse 21:
நானெனுஞ் சொற்பொரு ளாமது நாளுமே
நானற்ற தூக்கத்து முந்தீபற
     நமதின்மை நீக்கத்தா லுந்தீபற.

nāṉeṉuñ coṯporu ḷāmadu nāḷumē
nāṉaṯṟa tūkkattu mundīpaṟa
     namadiṉmai nīkkattā lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: நான் எனும் சொல் பொருள் ஆம் அது நாளுமே, நான் அற்ற தூக்கத்தும் நமது இன்மை நீக்கத்தால்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): nāṉ eṉum sol poruḷ ām adu nāḷumē, nāṉ aṯṟa tūkkattum namadu iṉmai nīkkattāl.

அன்வயம்: நான் அற்ற தூக்கத்தும் நமது இன்மை நீக்கத்தால், நான் எனும் சொல் பொருள் நாளுமே அது ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): nāṉ aṯṟa tūkkattum namadu iṉmai nīkkattāl, nāṉ eṉum sol poruḷ nāḷumē adu ām.

English translation: That is at all times the import of the word called ‘I’, because of the exclusion of our non-existence even in sleep, which is devoid of ‘I’ [the ego].
What he refers to here as ‘அது’ (adu) or ‘that’ is the one infinite whole (pūṉḏṟam) that he referred to in the previous verse, which he said will appear spontaneously as ‘நான் நான்’ (nāṉ nāṉ) or ‘I am I’ where our ego merges, so what he clearly implies in this verse is that our actual self is always the true import of the term ‘நான்’ (nāṉ) or ‘I’. That is, even though our ego is now experienced by us as ‘I’, what seems to be this ego is only our fundamental self-awareness, which alone is our actual self, so what the term ‘I’ actually refers to is only the fundamental self-awareness that we actually are.

The reason that Bhagavan gives in this verse for saying, ‘நான் எனும் சொல் பொருள் ஆம் அது நாளுமே’ (nāṉ eṉum sol poruḷ ām adu nāḷumē), which means ‘That is at all times the import of the word called I’, is ‘நான் அற்ற தூக்கத்தும் நமது இன்மை நீக்கத்தால்’ (nāṉ aṯṟa tūkkattum namadu iṉmai nīkkattāl), which literally means ‘because of the exclusion of our non-existence even in sleep, which is devoid of I [or in which I ceases to exist]’ and which implies ‘because we do not cease to exist even in sleep, which is devoid of the ego’. That is, since we continue to exist (and to be aware of our existence) in sleep even though our ego has ceased to exist, the real import of the term ‘I’ is not the ephemeral ego but only our permanent self, which always shines clearly as ‘I am I’.

10. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 22: the body and other adjuncts are not real and not aware, so they are not ‘I’

When the ego is annihilated by the clear shining of ourself as ‘I am I’, nothing else will remain for us to mistake as ‘I’, but until this ego is annihilated it will continue to rise and simultaneously experience itself as a body and other associated adjuncts. In vēdānta philosophy the adjuncts that our ego mistakes to be ‘I’ are generally classified as five ‘sheaths’ or coverings, and in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says that all five of them are included in the term ‘body’, from which we can infer that when he describes the ego as the awareness ‘I am this body’, what he means by ‘body’ is not just the physical body but also the other four sheaths.

These five sheaths are the physical body, the prāṇa (the breath, life or animating force within it), the mind, the intellect and the seeming darkness of ignorance yet happiness that remains in sleep when the other four sheaths have disappeared. Though what we experience in sleep is considered to be a sheath, it is only in the view of our ego in waking and dream that sleep seems to be a state of darkness or ignorance, so each of these five sheaths seem to exist only when the ego seems to exist, and they all cease to exist in its absence, because they are all a projection of the ego and are experienced only by it.

Since they exist only in the view of the ego, and since they cease to exist in sleep and when the ego is annihilated, none of them actually exist or are actually conscious. Therefore in verse 22 of Upadēśa Undiyār Bhagavan says that they are not ‘I’, because ‘I’ is what actually exists (sat) and what alone is actually aware (cit):
உடல்பொறி யுள்ள முயிரிரு ளெல்லாஞ்
சடமசத் தானதா லுந்தீபற
     சத்தான நானல்ல வுந்தீபற.

uḍalpoṟi yuḷḷa muyiriru ḷellāñ
jaḍamasat tāṉadā lundīpaṟa
     sattāṉa nāṉalla vundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: உடல் பொறி உள்ளம் உயிர் இருள் எல்லாம் சடம் அசத்து ஆனதால், சத்து ஆன நான் அல்ல.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḍal poṟi uḷḷam uyir iruḷ ellām jaḍam asattu āṉadāl, sattu āṉa nāṉ alla.

English translation: Since body, mind, intellect, life and darkness [the seeming ignorance that results from the absence of any transitive awareness in sleep] are all jaḍa [non-conscious] and asat [unreal or non-existent], [they are] not ‘I’, which is [cit or consciousness and] sat [what actually exists].
By placing this verse after verses 19, 20 and 21, in which he taught us that the ego will die if we investigate it sufficiently keenly, that our infinite self will then shine forth as ‘I am I’, and that that alone is therefore what the word ‘I’ actually refers to, Bhagavan implies that we can eliminate the illusion that these five sheaths are ‘I’ only by investigating ourself and thereby annihilating the ego that projects and experiences them as itself. That is, it is only by experiencing what ‘I’ actually is that we can destroy the illusion that anything else is ‘I’.

In the view of the ego all these five sheaths seem to exist and collectively they seem to be aware, but in this verse Bhagavan says that they are jaḍa (insentient or non-conscious) and asat (non-existent). Because we experience them as ‘I’, they seem to us to be real and to be aware, but when we are actually asleep none of them seem to exist and hence none of them really exist, and since they do not really exist they cannot really be aware. The existence and awareness that they seem to have are just an illusory reflection of our own existence and awareness.

Since they are jaḍa and asat, Bhagavan says that they are not ‘I’, which is sat, and though he does not say so explicitly, he implies that ‘I’ is not only sat (what actually exists) but also cit (what is actually aware), as he confirms in the next verse (verse 23), in which he says that since there can be no awareness other than what exists to be aware of what exists, what exists is awareness, and awareness alone is what we actually are. In other words, what ‘I’ actually is is only awareness, but it is not transitive awareness (awareness of anything other than itself), because transitive awareness is a transient phenomenon that appears in waking and dream and disappears in sleep, so it is only intransitive awareness (awareness that is just aware without being aware of anything except itself).

11. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 23: we are the one existence-awareness that always shines as ‘I am’

I began this article by discussing whether Nisargadatta can be correct in implying that what is real is not just ‘I am’ but something behind ‘I am’, and as I explained in section 2 there is a fundamental difference between the function of ‘am’ in the statement ‘I am’ and its function in a statement such as ‘I am this’, because in ‘I am’ it denotes simply the existence of ‘I’, which is indisputably true, whereas in ‘I am this’ it denotes the identity of ‘I’ as something other than ‘I’, which is necessarily false.

As we saw in several of the verses that I discussed in the intervening sections, Bhagavan often used the pronoun ‘I’ to refer to the ego, but he made it clear that the ego is not the true import of this pronoun, because we are aware of ourself as ‘I’ even in the absence of the ego in sleep. ‘I’ is a pronoun that always refers only to ourself, but since we seem to be this ego, we generally use it to refer to this ego as ourself, so he accordingly often used ‘I’ when referring to the ego, even though he prompted us to question and investigate whether this ego is what we actually are.

In Tamil the usual word for ‘I’ is நான் (nāṉ) and the usual word for oneself is தான் (tāṉ), and Bhagavan used both these terms to refer sometimes to our actual self, sometimes to our ego and often to ourself in general, so we have to understand from each context whether he is referring specifically to our actual self, to our ego, or to ourself in general (such as in the question ‘who am I?’, in which ‘I’ does not refer specifically either to our actual self or to our ego but to ourself in general, because when we investigate who we are we initially seem to be this ego, but if we investigate ourself keenly enough we will find that the ‘I’ we were investigating is not actually this ego but only our actual self). However, though Bhagavan used ‘I’ to refer both to our actual self and to our ego, whenever he used the term ‘I am’ he was referring to our actual self, because the ‘am’ in ‘I am’ refers specifically to our existence or being, which is what we actually are. Our ego is not what we actually are but only what we seem to be, so it is not our actual existence but only our seeming existence.

The full form of the Tamil term for ‘I am’ is ‘நான் இருக்கிறேன்’ (nāṉ irukkiṟēṉ) or ‘நான் இருக்கின்றேன்’ (nāṉ irukkiṉḏṟēṉ), but since all Tamil verbs are conjugated, the termination of each of their finite forms indicate precisely their tense, person and number, and also gender in the case of their third person forms, so it is customary to omit any pronoun that serves as the subject of a finite verb, since the relevant pronoun is clearly indicated by the termination of the verb. Therefore the usual way of expressing ‘I am’ in Tamil is simply இருக்கிறேன் (irukkiṟēṉ) or இருக்கின்றேன் (irukkiṉḏṟēṉ), and whenever Bhagavan used either of these forms of the verb ‘am’ in the sense of ‘I am’, what he was referring to is ourself as we actually are.

Even in English when we say ‘I am’, or in any other language when we say the equivalent of ‘I am’, what we are referring to is the existence of ourself. Since we now seem to be a certain person, when we say ‘I am’ it may superficially appear that we are stating the existence of ourself as this person, but if we carefully observe our awareness ‘I am’, it should be clear to us that what the term ‘I am’ actually refers to is something deeper than just the person we now seem to be, and deeper even than that which is aware of its seeming existence as this person, because when we try to set aside our awareness of everything else in order to observe our awareness ‘I am’ by itself, it shines only as that which is simply aware of its own existence.

Therefore when we carefully observe our awareness ‘I am’, we should naturally feel prompted to ask ourself what we actually are, and since no amount of intellectual analysis can enable us to experience what we actually are, we can find the correct answer to this question only by keenly investigating ourself — that is, by keenly observing ourself in order to see what this ‘I’ actually is. What we are looking for is not anything behind this ‘I am’, but what this ‘I am’ itself actually is. In other words, we are trying to cognise who or what I am.

What is behind or what underlies the adjunct-mixed awareness ‘I am this person’ is our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’, but we should not expect to find anything else behind or underlying this fundamental awareness, because anything behind or underlying this would be something other than ourself, and whatever is other than ourself is impermanent and hence unreal, because it appears and disappears in our awareness, and does not seem to exist in sleep. The only thing that we are permanently aware of is ourself, so we (this pure ‘I am’) alone are what is real.

Since we are the awareness that is aware of our own existence as ‘I am’, we are both what exists (uḷḷadu) and what is aware (uṇarvu), as Bhagavan teaches us in verse 23 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
உள்ள துணர வுணர்வுவே றின்மையி
னுள்ள துணர்வாகு முந்தீபற
      வுணர்வேநா மாயுள முந்தீபற.

uḷḷa duṇara vuṇarvuvē ṟiṉmaiyi
ṉuḷḷa duṇarvāhu mundīpaṟa
      vuṇarvēnā māyuḷa mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: உள்ளது உணர உணர்வு வேறு இன்மையின், உள்ளது உணர்வு ஆகும். உணர்வே நாமாய் உளம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḷḷadu uṇara uṇarvu vēṟu iṉmaiyiṉ, uḷḷadu uṇarvu āhum. uṇarv[u]-ē nām-āy uḷam.

அன்வயம்: உள்ளது உணர வேறு உணர்வு இன்மையின், உள்ளது உணர்வு ஆகும். உணர்வே நாமாய் உளம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uḷḷadu uṇara vēṟu uṇarvu iṉmaiyiṉ, uḷḷadu uṇarvu āhum. uṇarvē nām-āy uḷam.

English translation: Because of the non-existence of [any] awareness other [than what exists] to be aware of what exists, what exists (uḷḷadu) is awareness (uṇarvu). Awareness alone exists as we.
Since we are both what exists as ‘I am’ and what is aware of our existence as ‘I am’, what we should be looking for is nothing other than ourself, this one existence-awareness (sat-cit) that always shines as ‘I am’. To imagine that there is any reality that we need to look for beyond or behind this ‘I am’ would be to delude ourself and to distract ourself away from focusing all our interest and attention on trying to know only who am I.

12. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 24: what seemingly separates us from the reality that we actually are is only our awareness of adjuncts

‘I am’ without any adjuncts is alone what actually exists (uḷḷadu or sat), so it is the sole reality. Only when it seems to be mixed and confused with adjuncts does it seem to be anything other than the one infinite reality that it actually is, as Bhagavan implies in verse 24 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
இருக்கு மியற்கையா லீசசீ வர்க
ளொருபொரு ளேயாவ ருந்தீபற
      வுபாதி யுணர்வேவே றுந்தீபற.

irukku miyaṟkaiyā līśajī varga
ḷoruporu ḷēyāva rundīpaṟa
      vupādhi yuṇarvēvē ṟundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: இருக்கும் இயற்கையால் ஈச சீவர்கள் ஒரு பொருளே ஆவர். உபாதி உணர்வே வேறு.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): irukkum iyaṟkaiyāl īśa jīvargaḷ oru poruḷē āvar. upādhi-uṇarvē vēṟu.

English translation: By [their] existing nature, God and souls are only one substance. Only [their] awareness of adjuncts is different.
‘இருக்கும் இயற்கை’ (irukkum iyaṟkai) means ‘existing nature’, so in this context it implies that our fundamental nature is what exists (uḷḷadu), which is what shines as ‘I am’. Therefore by saying ‘இருக்கும் இயற்கையால் ஈச சீவர்கள் ஒரு பொருளே ஆவர்’ (irukkum iyaṟkaiyāl īśa jīvargaḷ oru poruḷē āvar), which means ‘By existing nature, God and souls are only one substance’, Bhagavan implies that the one substance that we and God actually are is our own existence, which is what we experience as ‘I am’.

Though īśa generally means God as the supreme ruler of the universe, the existing substance (poruḷ or vastu) that appears as God is only brahman, the one fundamental reality that we actually are. Therefore what Bhagavan implies in the first sentence of this verse is that what we and God both essentially are is only brahman.

However, though we as a jīva (a soul or ego) and God as the supreme ruler of the universe are one, in the view of ourself as this jīva we seem to be different, so in the second sentence of this verse Bhagavan says, ‘உபாதி உணர்வே வேறு’ (upādhi-uṇarvē vēṟu), which means ‘Only awareness of adjuncts is different’, thereby implying that what makes us seem to be something other than God or brahman is only our awareness of adjuncts, which we have mixed and confused with our fundamental awareness ‘I am’.

Without any adjuncts (as we are, for instance, in sleep) we are aware of ourself only as ‘I am’, but when our self-awareness is mixed and confused with awareness of adjuncts we are aware of ourself not just as ‘I am’ but as ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’. This adjunct-mixed self-awareness is what is called ego, and because this ego has attributed adjuncts to itself, it likewise attributes certain adjuncts to God, so whereas it experiences itself as something of limited power, limited knowledge and limited love, it attributes to God adjuncts such as having unlimited power, unlimited knowledge and unlimited love. However, since God is the one infinite reality, his real nature cannot be adequately conceived or known by the limited mind of this jīva that we now seem to be, so whatever we attribute to him seems to be real only in our finite view and not in his infinite view. In his view he has no adjuncts, because he is aware of nothing other than himself, so he is aware of himself just as he is.

13. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 25: being aware of ‘I am’ without adjuncts is being aware of the reality

So long as we are aware of ourself as any adjuncts we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are, and hence we cannot be aware of God as he actually is. Therefore it is only by seeing ourself without any adjuncts that we can see ourself as we actually are and that we can consequently see God as he actually is, since he is nothing other than our own actual self, as Bhagavan explains in verse 25 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தன்னை யுபாதிவிட் டோர்வது தானீசன்
றன்னை யுணர்வதா முந்தீபற
      தானா யொளிர்வதா லுந்தீபற.

taṉṉai yupādhiviṭ ṭōrvadu tāṉīśaṉ
ḏṟaṉṉai yuṇarvadā mundīpaṟa
      tāṉā yoḷirvadā lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தன்னை உபாதி விட்டு ஓர்வது தான் ஈசன் தன்னை உணர்வது ஆம், தானாய் ஒளிர்வதால்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉṉai upādhi viṭṭu ōrvadu tāṉ īśaṉ taṉṉai uṇarvadu ām, tāṉ-āy oḷirvadāl.

அன்வயம்: தானாய் ஒளிர்வதால், தன்னை உபாதி விட்டு ஓர்வது தான் ஈசன் தன்னை உணர்வது ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): tāṉ-āy oḷirvadāl, taṉṉai upādhi viṭṭu ōrvadu tāṉ īśaṉ taṉṉai uṇarvadu ām.

English translation: Knowing [or experiencing] oneself leaving aside adjuncts is itself knowing God, because [he] shines as oneself.
When we are aware of ourself without being aware of any adjuncts, we are aware of ourself as we actually are, and since God is nothing other than what we actually are, being aware of ourself without any adjuncts is being aware of God as he actually is. Since what we actually are is just the fundamental adjunct-free self-awareness that we always experience as ‘I am’, there is no other reality behind, beyond or underlying ‘I am’.

‘I am’ is our இருக்கும் இயற்கை (irukkum iyaṟkai) or ‘existing nature’, which is the ஒரு பொருள் (oru poruḷ) or ‘one substance’ that actually exists as the sole reality underlying all appearances. The root of all these appearances is ourself as this ego or jīva, who have risen as the adjunct-bound self-awareness ‘I am this’, because all other appearances such as the world and God exist only in the distorted view of this ego. However even as this ego we are aware of our existence as ‘I am’, so we need to turn our entire attention away from all adjuncts and focus it exclusively on ‘I am’ in order to be aware of ourself without being aware of any adjuncts. This is all that we need do in order to know the one reality, because the reality is nothing other than ourself, this pure self-awareness that always shines in us as ‘I am’.

14. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham verse 29: clarity of intellect will shine automatically in the outward form of an ātma-jñāni

In reply to the question asked by ‘Extremely Simple’, namely ‘But why should reality be “just behind the ‘I am’”?’, another friend called Ken wrote a comment in which he attributed the clarity and logic of Bhagavan’s teachings to the fact that ‘he was highly educated in the Victorian British educational system, and so he had excellent reading, writing, and thinking skills, even by the age of 16’, and he contrasted this with the fact that ‘Nisargadatta was a working class person with no formal education’, which in the context seemed to imply that Nisargadatta’s teachings were not so clear and logical because he lacked the same thinking skills due to not being formally educated.

However, to attribute the simple logic and clarity of Bhagavan’s teachings to his school education seems rather implausible, not least because the British education system in nineteenth century India was not designed to teach critical thinking but to produce loyal and obedient servants of the Empire. The real source of Bhagavan’s clarity was not any external learning but only his self-knowledge (ātma-jñāna), as indicated by him in verse 29 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham (which he translated from Yōga Vāsiṣṭa 5.76.20):
தத்துவங் கண்டவற்குத் தாமே வளருமொளி
புத்திவலு வும்வசந்தம் போந்ததுமே — யித்தரையிற்
றாருவழ காதி சகல குணங்களுஞ்
சேர விளங்கலெனத் தேர்.

tattuvaṅ gaṇḍavaṟkut tāmē vaḷarumoḷi
buddhivalu vumvasantam pōndadumē — yittaraiyiṯ
ṟāruvaṙa hādi sakala guṇaṅgaḷuñ
cēra viḷaṅgaleṉat tēr
.

பதச்சேதம்: தத்துவம் கண்டவற்கு தாமே வளரும் ஒளி, புத்தி வலுவும், வசந்தம் போந்ததுமே இத் தரையில், தாரு அழகு ஆதி சகல குணங்களும் சேர விளங்கல் என. தேர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): tattuvam kaṇḍavaṟku tāmē vaḷarum oḷi, buddhi valuvum, vasantam pōndadumē, i-t-taraiyil dāru aṙahu ādi sakala guṇaṅgaḷum sēra viḷaṅgal eṉa. tēr.

அன்வயம்: இத் தரையில் வசந்தம் போந்ததுமே, தாரு அழகு ஆதி சகல குணங்களும் சேர விளங்கல் என, தத்துவம் கண்டவதற்கு ஒளி, புத்தி வலுவும் தாமே வளரும். தேர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): i-t-taraiyil vasantam pōndadumē, dāru aṙahu ādi sakala guṇaṅgaḷum sēra viḷaṅgal eṉa, tattuvam kaṇḍavaṟku oḷi, buddhi valuvum tāmē vaḷarum. tēr.

English translation: Know that brightness [brilliance, clarity or wisdom] and power [or skill] of intellect automatically increase for those who have seen the reality, just like trees shining with all qualities such as beauty as soon as spring arrives on this earth.
Since the pure self-awareness that we actually are is the original source of all clarity and understanding, clarity of mind and intellect will automatically shine in the outward form of an ātma-jñāni, who has merged and become one with that pure self-awareness. Therefore the profound clarity that we see in Bhagavan’s teachings derived only from his perfectly clear self-knowledge and not from any thinking skills that he might have acquired from his school education.

Regarding Nisargadatta, though he is reputed to be an ātma-jñāni, we cannot know what his inner state actually was. In the English books that record his teachings there seems to be a lot of confusion and lack of clarity, and in many important respects his teachings seem to differ from Bhagavan’s, but this may be due at least partly to poor translation or inaccurate recording of whatever he said. Since we do not know what he actually said in Marathi, all we can judge is what is recorded in English books, which may not accurately reflect whatever clarity there may have been in what he said.

In the case of the statement that ‘Extremely Simple’ questioned, namely ‘Relax and watch the ‘I am’. Reality is just behind it’, these English words may well be a distortion of whatever he said on that occasion, but there are many other more serious confusions in his teachings, and some of them are repeated so frequently that we have to doubt whether his teachings were actually as clear and as useful as many people suppose they are. Most of the more clear and useful ideas expressed by him are what anyone should be able to understand if they have studied any advaita philosophy or the teachings of any other teachers in this tradition, and there is not much sign of any particular clarity, depth or originality in his teachings such as we find in the simple yet extremely profound teachings of Bhagavan. Moreover it seems that many people who hold his teachings in high regard have not clearly understood the basic principles that Bhagavan taught us in texts such as Nāṉ Yār?, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Upadēśa Undiyār, because if they had understood these principles they would be more sceptical about and would question more seriously the value of many of the ideas expressed in the available English translations and recordings of what Nisargadatta said.

If we are convinced by the logic and clarity of Bhagavan’s teachings, we should not allow ourself to be confused by whatever may have been taught by any other spiritual teachers, because in his relatively few and brief original writings Bhagavan has taught us all the fundamental principles that we need to understand in order to follow unswervingly the simple path of self-investigation that he has shown us, and in no other teachings can we find such simplicity, profundity and clarity. Even if we study numerous ancient texts and commentaries and more modern expressions of advaita philosophy we will not be able to gain thereby the same clarity of understanding that we can derive from Bhagavan’s original writings, because he has simplified the entire philosophy, cutting through and pruning away countless superfluous and confusing concepts and ideas, and expressing the essence of it in the simplest, most logical and clearest terms, and he has explained the actual practice and the fundamental principles on which this practice is based as clearly and as precisely as possible.

220 comments:

1 – 200 of 220   Newer›   Newest»
Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Anything we look at is an object. The seer of any object is what we should turn to. If we are aware of something the question "What sees that?" or "What is the seer?" (of that) is the correct path.

So we should turn our attention 180 degrees away from anything (any thought-object) to the seer. One strong attempt in that direction and the it's all gone, the dream it's over...

Ken said...

A few minor comments about Michael's comments on Nisargadatta:

Michael wrote:"...not least because the British education system in nineteenth century India was not designed to teach critical thinking but to produce loyal and obedient servants of the Empire."

That may have been true in a general sense, but Ramana's extended family were in the legal profession, and it seems clear that the British would want anyone studying the law to be able to think critically.

In general, critical thinking is a skill that improves with practice, and is difficult for anyone who grew up without any education (or some other self-chosen thinking practice).

Michael quotes Ramana:"Know that brightness [brilliance, clarity or wisdom] and power [or skill] of intellect automatically increase for those who have seen the reality, just like trees shining with all qualities such as beauty as soon as spring arrives on this earth."

That could also explain how an uneducated son of a common laborer was able to discuss a variety of spiritual concepts with the many educated seekers who came to visit him.

Michael states:"Since we do not know what he actually said in Marathi..."

Actually, all of Nisargadatta's "I Am That" was translated by Maurice Frydman from tape recordings of Nisargadatta's conversations with students. And Frydman stated in 1973: "A Marathi version of these talks, verified by Sri Nisargadatta
Maharaj himself, has been separately published."

However, I expect that it is hard to find any Ramana Maharshi scholars who know Marathi (since they all learned Tamil instead).

(continued in next comment)

Ken said...

(continued from previous comment)

Michael then states:"Moreover it seems that many people who hold his teachings in high regard have not clearly understood the basic principles that Bhagavan taught us..."

And in my experience, that is certainly true, for several reasons:

* "I Am That" specifically avoids using any Indian terminology. Edward Muzika, a PhD psychologist who recommends "Path of Sri Ramana, Vol 1" on his site, as well as Michael James and David Godman sites, nevertheless states:

"I would note that the [book] I most highly recommend explores self-inquiry in many ways better than Ramana because the parables Nisargadatta used better fit the Western mind and give it a rest so that practice can actually take place.

Both Ramana and Nisargadatta speak in "parables." There is no other way, because what you are goes far beyond the mind and cannot be captured by the mind, let alone by words which are derivative of mind. The parables are pointers only, not truth. Truth is found only in self-inquiry, or abiding in the self, which eventually leads to the utter silence of the absolute ― the substratum of all.

The parables and analogies of Ramana are abstract and have poor logic to justify them. When he does not use analogies, the texts expounding his teachings become very Indian.

Nisargadatta on the other hand, has parables better liked by the Western mind."

* 99% of people who encounter Ramana Maharshi primarily read "Talks" or else they read other texts that give them the idea that Ramana advised either saying "Who Am I?" mentally in your head like a mantra, or else doing mental concentration on the spot three digits to the right of the center of the chest. (Of course, both ideas are mistaken, and Godman's book "Be As You Are" has a whole chapter devoted to mistaken ideas about what Ramana suggested to people.

* As Muzika alluded to, Nisargadatta viewed his words as a vehicle for grace rather than a philosophical teaching. This is confirmed by Nisargadatta in a conversation with Godman:

"The words will do their work wherever you hear or read them. You can come here and listen to them in person, or you can read them in a book. If the teacher is enlightened, there will be a power in them. The power of the Self is always present, always working, always the same. What varies is the readiness and willingness of people to turn their attention to it. If someone picks up this book [I Am That] ten thousand miles away in a thousand years' time, those words will do their work if the reader is in the right state to listen to and assimilate the words."

So, while I definitely agree with your statement:

"If we are convinced by the logic and clarity of Bhagavan’s teachings, we should not allow ourself to be confused by whatever may have been taught by any other spiritual teachers."

for most people, it generally goes in the reverse order.

daisilui said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6o5K4WARvA

Ken makes reference to Edward Muzika and i thought i should share this video that it happened to come my way,earlier today. i find Robert Adams a very close follower of Ramana's teachings; unfortunately his message wasn't strong enough to convince some of his so called devotees...

And to link Robert's teachings to Michael's blog, related to: "However, if he does refer to the ego as ‘I am’, that shows a fundamental confusion in his thinking and understanding, because though the ego seems to be ourself, it is not what we actually are."
In repeated occasions Robert explains the phenomenon of the rising I, at awakening in the morning. He says that we should try to catch the I, right away, before the I thought reaches the brain and becomes 'I am the body' [ego taking possession of the I], and if we miss it or we are not able to do that, then trace the I thought back to the source by inquiring to whom the 'I am the body' thought comes, and stay there, in the silence of a non-answer... That which abides in that silence is the true I.

venkat said...

Hi Michael

Nisrgadatta refers to 'I amness'. as the beingness
"When you wake up you have only the sense of being, without words, this is the primary principle, the prerequisite; later on you know fully that you are and the world is, but that is an illusion. The world is like the dream world finally . . . Because the witnessing state happens, hence you are; because you are, witnessing is palpably felt; because the sun is, light is. If there is no witnessing, where is the witness? Dwell there.
Q: The being is the witness?
NM: There are two witnessing stages; beingness witnesses all this manifestation. Witnessing of this beingness, consciousness, happens to that eternal principle, the Absolute"

He also said:
"Maya is the combination of name, form and consciousness. But you are the knower of these. The knower is there, but he has no sense of being a knower. Find out what that means. One is called the knower because One cognizes the knowingness. He is not known to consciousness. He feels ‘He is’, but He is not that feeling. He is the knower of That . . . Consciousness is the knowingness. One who is the knower of consciousness does not have the sense of being the knower."

This seems to be in accord with Brhadarnyaka Up, when it exclaims "How can one know that by which all this is known?"

Best wishes,
venkat

Michael James said...

Venkat, what Nisargadatta is saying in the passages you quote is not at all clear to me. It seems to be completely garbled and incoherent.

According to Bhagavan what witnesses manifestation is not our actual self, which is pure beingness, but only our ego, which is our rising not our actual being. And what knows consciousness is only consciousness and not anything else.

As Bhagavan says in verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, knowing multiplicity is not true knowing but only ignorance, so our concern should not be with knowing multiplicity but only with knowing ourself. Now we know ourself as this ego, which is not what we actually are, so our aim is simply to know ourself as we actually are. And as he says in verse 26 of Upadēśa Undiyār, knowing ourself is being ourself, because what we actually are is just pure self-awareness, which always knows nothing other than itself. Therefore true being (being as we actually are) is true knowing (knowing ourself as we actually are), whereas knowing anything else is not true knowing but only ignorance, and what knows other things is not our being (what we actually are) but only our rising (this ego that we now seem to be).

Regarding the question asked in Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad that you refer to, namely ‘How can one know that by which all this is known?’, I assume that what this implies is that our ego can never know our actual self, which is the light of pure self-awareness that illumines our mind, and that in that sense is that by which all this is known (that is, though our actual self knows nothing other than itself, because nothing other than itself actually exists, it is the light by which the ego or mind knows all this). Though our ego can never know our actual self, our actual self always knows itself, so to know our actual self we need to dissolve back into ourself and thereby be just what we actually are.

Michael James said...

Ken, Bhagavan does use many analogies to illustrate his teachings, but I am not sure what Ed Muzika means when he says he speaks in parables. Certainly his core teachings are not mere parables. Moreover, if Ed thinks that Bhagavan’s teachings as a whole ‘have poor logic to justify them’, he has clearly not understood the basic principles of his teachings, which are based upon an extremely incisive and perfectly logical analysis of our experience of ourself in waking, dream and sleep and of the appearance of other things in the former two states, and all his core teachings form a coherent and logically consistent whole.

Regarding Nisargadatta, I can see no reason why his teachings should appeal more to ‘the Western mind’ than Bhagavan’s, firstly because the idea of ‘the Western mind’ seems to me to be a myth, since there is a vast variety of human minds in the West as there are in the East, and secondly because if ‘the Western mind’ means a more logical mind, as some people suppose it is, Bhagavan’s teachings are far more logical than Nisargadatta’s, which are full of numerous logical inconsistencies. Take for example the selection of passages from I am That that Viveka Vairagya quoted in the comment that I referred to at the beginning of this article, in which Nisargadatta’s logical inconsistencies seem very clear. In one place he refers to ‘I am’ as ‘pure being’, which implies that what he means by ‘I am’ is what we actually are, but in another place he says ‘The sense of being, of ‘I am’ is the first to emerge’, which implies that ‘I am’ is not what we actually are but only what we temporarily seem to be. Likewise, when he says that ‘Reality is just behind it [the ‘I am’]’, he implies that ‘I am’ is not what is real and hence not what we actually are.

He also says that in the mind ‘the Self is reflected as ‘I am’’, which implies that ‘I am’ is not our actual self but only a reflection of it. But since ‘the Self’ is what we actually are and since ‘I am’ denotes the existence of ourself, how can ‘I am’ be anything other than ‘the Self’? Moreover how can our existence be a reflection of anything else? What we seem to be may be a reflection of what we actually are, but what we are cannot be a reflection of anything.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Ken:

In the same passage it is also recorded that Nisargadatta said, ‘As a result of faith and earnest application, I realized my self (swarupa) within three years’, which implies that the ‘I’ that had faith and earnest application thereby realised ‘my self (swarupa)’. However the ‘I’ that has faith and earnest application is only the ego, and the ego can never realise what it actually is, because by trying to know itself it will dissolve back into its source, as Bhagavan taught us, and what will then remain is only our actual self, which is always perfectly aware of itself and therefore never needs to ‘realise’ itself. This is why Bhagavan wrote in verse 33 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:

என்னை யறியேனா னென்னை யறிந்தேனா
னென்ன னகைப்புக் கிடனாகு — மென்னை
தனைவிடய மாக்கவிரு தானுண்டோ வொன்றா
யனைவரனு பூதியுண்மை யால்.

eṉṉai yaṟiyēṉā ṉeṉṉai yaṟindēṉā
ṉeṉṉa ṉahaippuk kiḍaṉāhu — meṉṉai
taṉaiviḍaya mākkaviru tāṉuṇḍō voṉḏṟā
yaṉaivaraṉu bhūtiyuṇmai yāl
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘என்னை அறியேன் நான்’, ‘என்னை அறிந்தேன் நான்’ என்னல் நகைப்புக்கு இடன் ஆகும். என்னை? தனை விடயம் ஆக்க இரு தான் உண்டோ? ஒன்று ஆய் அனைவர் அனுபூதி உண்மை ஆல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘eṉṉai aṟiyēṉ nāṉ’, ‘eṉṉai aṟindēṉ nāṉ’ eṉṉal nahaippukku iḍaṉ āhum. eṉṉai? taṉai viḍayam ākka iru tāṉ uṇḍō? oṉḏṟu āy aṉaivar aṉubhūti uṇmai āl.

அன்வயம்: ‘நான் என்னை அறியேன்’, ‘நான் என்னை அறிந்தேன்’ என்னல் நகைப்புக்கு இடன் ஆகும். என்னை? தனை விடயம் ஆக்க இரு தான் உண்டோ? அனைவர் அனுபூதி உண்மை ஒன்றாய்; ஆல்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ‘nāṉ eṉṉai aṟiyēṉ’, ‘nāṉ eṉṉai aṟindēṉ’ eṉṉal nahaippukku iḍaṉ āhum. eṉṉai? taṉai viḍayam ākka iru tāṉ uṇḍō? aṉaivar aṉubhūti uṇmai oṉḏṟu āy; āl.

English translation: Saying ‘I do not know myself’ [or] ‘I have known myself’ is ground for ridicule. Why? To make oneself an object known, are there two selves? Because being one is the truth of everyone’s experience.

Mouna said...

Michael, greetings

You wrote: (quote)"If we use ‘I am’ to refer to our ego, that implies that we accept that this ego is what we actually are, which is precisely the error that Bhagavan asked us to question and investigate. If this ego is ‘I am’ and the reality is something behind it or beyond it, that would mean that the reality is something other than ourself, in which case we could never attain it or be one with it, because we cannot become anything other than what we always actually are.”(end quote)

My question/objection to this statement is that it doesn’t really matter if we imply that ‘I am' is the ego or the self, the statement itself, or the ‘feeling/experience’ of it, happens within the ego's illusory projected universe, or in other words is filtered by the ego (ego is everything). Nobody or nothing can say ‘I am' in deep sleep. The counter-objection would be that in deep sleep there is only the ‘I am’, ego doesn’t exist there. But that would be exactly what my point tries to argue, the only reference we have about deep sleep is the ego’s account of it. So as long as there is “someone” thinking feeling and expressing ‘I am’, there is ego. Brahman, ‘I am’, self (or Self), guru, etc are only conceptual pointers to what mind/ego can’t reach, only move towards (self-attentiveness).
I completely agree that when I say ‘I am’ I am refering to the essential nature alone, the existence/knowledge (sat/chit), the ‘I’ is refered here is the existence part of the equation and ‘am’ the cognitive or knowing part. We agree that both are not two, there couldn’t be existence without knowing and viceversa.
But then… who is saying ‘I am’?… certainly not brahman.

What I understood by reading and trying to assimilate Nisargadatta’s teachings in the past from the books/translations of his talks, from what living people that were with him tell and from some specific YouTube tapes (not videos, that actually are very good because after his talk or fragments he is immediately translated literally off-recording by a person that knows marathi), is that the ‘I am’ he is refering to is actually (as it was proposed before) the suttarivu or objectified consciousness (or also cidabhasa or reflecting consciousness if you wish) but this statement in no way implies that he was implying that ‘I am’/ego is our true identity or that he was confused about it. In fact all his teaching pointed to transcend this false sense of identity, as Bhagavan’s teachings were.

Last but not least, the fact that we sometimes say that reality is “behind” reflected consciousness or ego is a figure of speech like when we think that the rope is “behind” the snake, or the screen behind the movie, or even when you yourself point out in your rhetorical question in point 1: "Who am I? Am I this unreal ego, or the reality that underlies it?”. We know that there isn’t any “underlying reality”, otherwise there will be two things one superimposed to another and reality cannot be other than non-dual, but in the spirit of Shankara’s adhyasa or superimposition we employ those terms to make understanding more palatable to the untrained reader.

Ken said...

For those in North America:

There is a Ramana Maharshi retreat center in North Carolina called "AHAM". They have a bookstore with an online ordering web page. I recently received two orders from them, so they are reliable as a store.

I mention this because they carry a number of books by Ramana and his disciples that are otherwise only available from India (either through addresses on happinessofbeing.com or through online ordering on davidgodman.com ).

They currently have in stock paperbacks of Sri Sadhu Om - The Path of Sri Ramana Vol One and Two (edited by Michael James).

And, AHAM actually publishes their own pressings of Annamalai Swami's two books (edited by David Godman) - Living by the Words of Bhagavan (hardcover with many photos) and Final Talks (a convenient pocket size paperback priced accordingly at $5). The web site is simply www.aham.com (btw, they also have an ashram at Arunachala which looks to be more Westerner-friendly than Ramanasram, and by having a separate property, gets around the ban on teaching at Ramanasram.)

For North American residents, David Godman links to the bookstore of a Papaji group in Colorado, but they are out of stock for the year of some of the titles mentioned above.

Bob - P said...

Please excuse any typos.
I have typed this directly in the comment box as pasting from word/ notepad does sometimes cause problems for me.

I was meant not to be posting any more long comments (lol)!!

Michael thanks very much for your recent article.

Mouna thanks for your insights about Nisargadatta.

This is my understanding of Nisargadatta from previous reading/study.
When he uses the terms.
I am, I am ness, beingness, Brahman he is referring to the ego or false 1st person.
Like wise when he is using the term consciousness he again is referring to the dualistic egoic consciousness.

When he uses the terms Absolute, Para Brahman he is referring to what we really are the non dual self aware happy being.
Like wise when he refers to awareness he is refering to the fundamental awareness or ourself as we really are.

My understanding is he first makes his student abide or focus their attention on their beingness (ie) on their dualistic self awareness they presently take to be what they are: the egoic consciousness.

But then he tells them this is not what they are including any profound experiences they have like experiencing themselves as universal consciousness or if they have an experience where they feel one with everything which is still dualistic and ignorance.

He says what we really are is the Absolute / Para Brahman.
But then I have heard/ read him saying the absolute witness's the false and sees it as an illusion?

I have also heard him say it does not know it is?

These were the two aspects of his teaching I personally found somewhat confusing. My understanding is what I really am is the non dual self aware happy being and when I experience myself as I really am I will not be aware of anything other than myself. I will not experience otherness, I will not see multiplicity as myself and I will not see the false as an illusion.
When I experience myself as I really am there is nothing but myself (non duality).

When Nisargadatta said the absolute doesn't know it is, I was confused as that could sound like it doesn't exist or is not self-aware? Which contradicts Bhagavan's teaching as I personally understand it.

However I did find Nisargadatta a huge help on my path to Bhagavan.
The book by Pradeep Apte "The Nisargadatta Gita" was very helpful to me indeed.
I am indebted to Nisargadatta as it was through him I found Bhagavan.

I personally think Nisargadatta & Bhagavan were saying the same thing but of course using different ways of conveying it. I personally find Bhagavan's teaching easier to understand as it makes perfect sense to me whereas Nisargadatta's teaching did some times create confusion in me. Which in all fairness is probably down to me and not his teaching.

But at the end of day both are the ego's projection including the person Bob it now takes itself to be along with everything else it projects. So I won't judge.

Ken thanks for the helpful advice / links.
I got my own copies of Path 1 & 2 from Amazon.uk You can also get them as free PDFs from Michael's website.

Michael if you see any errors in my thinking above please correct my understadning.

All the best everyone.
Bob

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

I'm looking within myself... I see/am aware of all kinds of thoughts, mental images, sounds, feelings, bodily sensantions etc... Yet, there is "something" that perceives/knows/cognizes these things. This is the "I" Bhagavan talks about... This is the clue we have to follow. With a razor sharp attention we should look for this subjective "I" who knows/sees/is aware of everything else, the seer... On doing this with keen attention we will dissapear in our source. As far as I was able to understand and practice this is the correct way... Both Nisargadatta and Muzika imply that there is some kind of objective "I am" that we have to merge in as if in some kind of water, so-to-speak. Muzika, in one of his writings on his blog "Hunting the "I"" implies that we cannot skip steps, that we have to isolate this "I am" and then switch to the observer ....

This is utter rubbish and adds unnecesary "steps" and lacks clarity... Both Nisargadatta and Muzika explicitly say they have attained enlightenment (check Muzika's self important delusional writings), which again seems utter rubbish and delusional to me since whatever the state we are trying to achive may be, it seems clear that in that state we cannot experience ourselves as a body, we cannot see the world and we can't experience time.

We can prove this to ourselves if we follow the correct practice , which is to turn away from what arises to the subject (the "I") that perceives, knows them... (we don't need to achive the goal to see the above is true, just some keen practice)

Blindly believing someone is "enlightened" is not helpful at all... Muzika, Nisargadatta, Papaji, Krisnamurti, Robert Adams and many others claim elightenment explicitly yet, they all seem to imply they are still aware of a body, other people, the environment. This is in clear contradiction with the state we are trying to achive.

We cannot be aware of anything else while in that state, just pure being... So who is to claim elightenmet and to whom? This is laughable indeed...

If we set this clear in our mind (whatever I see/perceive is not the "I", I have to turn to what perceives/knows it..) we cannot go wrong on our path... We don't even need Bhagavan's teachings if we follow this seriously... Nowadays everyone can claim enlightenment and people just blindly believe them...

Thank you,
Dragos

PS: Excuse the tone of my message, I don't want to offend anyone, I know people have they favorite guru figure

parama-isa-bhakti said...

Dragos,
when you say that we "have to turn to what perceives/knows" other things i.e. "all kinds of thoughts, mental images, sounds, feelings, bodily sensations etc. and "should look for this subjective 'I' with (a) razor sharp attention" you seem to imply that there are two selves. But why should contriving the keen self-attention of this subjective 'I' presuppose a separate self ?

Michael James said...

Mouna, I have replied to your comment in a separate article, Why does the term ‘I am’ refer not just to our ego but to what we actually are?

Mouna said...

Dear Michael,

Thank you and I am really looking forward to study it.
Unfortunately the link you gave for the new article is broken because when we click on it, it take us to a page that says that there is no such page.
Could you look into it?

daisilui said...

Dragos,
you say "...Robert Adams and many others claim elightenment explicitly"; i don't know about others but Robert never claimed that because he never failed to consistently get back to the absolute truth even when responding to questions coming from a lower level of understanding of reality. Robert explicitly said in many occasions that in order to claim something there has to be someone to do it. In addition he never claimed to be... something: "I do not consider myself a teacher or a guru. I do not consider myself anything at all."

Foolish Tenth Man said...

Mouna and other readers

This is the link to the article Sri Michael James was pointing to. The link is in the article archive section of this blog.

Mouna said...

daisilui, greetings

I completely agree with you in relation to Robert Adams. To honor his memory I would only say that his satsangs (from 1990 to 1993 all the weekly satsangs are recorded and free to listen in the web, as well as the transcripts of them) are a source of inspiration. Like Bhagavan, he addressed many levels of questioning and understanding, some times responding at the level of the questioner, but most of the time, from a pure ajata level, which according to Bhagavan, is the ultimate truth.

Mouna said...

Thank you oh Wise Tenth Man...

An unemployed graduate in Computer Science said...

Sri Michael James

This was the link to your latest article that you hyperlinked to in your comment addressed to Mouna: "http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2016/10/why-does-term-i-am-refer-not-just-to.htm"

Kindly correct 'htm' to 'html', and the link will be correct.

Ken said...

You can always find the new post by just going to this blog's home page:

http://www.happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/

Ken said...

I am in accord with Dragos in his comments on various spiritual teachers.

The only standard that exists is stated by Vasishtha in the Yoga Vasishtha (held in esteem by all Advaita teachers, including Ramana):

"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"

The excellence of Ramana Maharshi is how he avoids all assumptions, and operates only on logic and reason. Sadhu Om follows this method in his explanations of Ramana, as does Michael James.

Whenever Nisargadatta specifically describes the method he was given by his guru, it seems to be in accordance with the method advised by Ramana. However, the English texts of his conversations seem confused and thereby not a reliable basis on which to reason logically.

I would avoid Pradeep Arte's books. His "Nisargadatta Gita" consists simply of quotes from Nisargadatta's books, which is 10% of the book, combined with his own commentary on the quote, which is 90% of the book. So, we will get something like Nisargadatta saying one sentence like "focus on the I am" followed by a half page of Arte commentary.

Edward Muzika seems to have no standard other than his own personal emotional reaction to things.

He spent decades in Zen Buddhism, and then decided it was "too cold", so he became involved in Hinduism. But he clearly does not like or understand Hinduism, and all his writings are from a Buddhist perspective (e.g. he is constantly referring to "the void"). He describes some things he does not like about Ramana's writings, their "Indian" aspect, and it seems to me that it is the devotional worship of God (e.g. Arunachala) that he dislikes. Unlike Adams or Ramana, Muzika never refers to God (i.e. only occasionally as a synonym for Self or atman, never as Ishvara).

After becoming a student of Robert Adams and having some experiences, Muzika then went and became certified as a Zen Buddhist teacher (!). But instead of teaching Zen, he continued to be a professional psychologist, and has a web site that describes Advaita from a Zen Buddhist perspective, but only recommends Advaita books (like Nisargadatta), not Zen books.

I think that Web Page Rankings give him much more prominence than is otherwise warranted (even though his satsangs are online, they only have half a dozen or so participants). Since he talks about the same Advaita teachers - Ramana, Nisargadatta - a Google search brings him up every so often.

But I don't find anything useful in his confused combination of Zen, emotionality and Advaita.

Ken said...

Dragos wrote: "Blindly believing someone is 'enlightened' is not helpful at all... Muzika, Nisargadatta, Papaji, Krisnamurti, Robert Adams and many others claim elightenment explicitly yet, they all seem to imply they are still aware of a body, other people, the environment. This is in clear contradiction with the state we are trying to achive."

"Enlightenment" simply means the death of the ego, i.e. untying the knot between the Self and insentient adjuncts (the second and third persons).

However, the physical body still continues afterwards, as Sadhu Om states: "In the body of such a Self-realized 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."

Were this not to be the case, how could we have Ramana Maharshi answering questions? If jnanis were cut off from their body and the physical world, then the body would die, and there would be no spiritual teachings in the world.

However, we do know of specific cases where people mistook spiritual experiences for permanent enlightenment. This is why a "claim of enlightenment" by a human being is meaningless. As Ramana has stated, only a jnani can know with certainty than another person is a jnani.

This is why the usual process of spiritual practice is wrong:

* Emotionally "liking" a particular person who is a spiritual teacher.
* Accepting whatever they say as truth and doing whatever they say to do.

As Adyashanti said "We basically believe things either that we've been taught, sold or we really, really hope."

So, as Vasishtha said in the quote in my previous comment, only reason and logic can lead us to the truth.

Michael James said...

Sorry, Mouna, the correct link to my reply to you is Why does the term ‘I am’ refer not just to our ego but to what we actually are? In the link I gave previously the ‘l’ in ‘.html’ was somehow missing.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

You cannot claim unity and still say you experience diversity. As per seeing a Jnani's body, this happens only in our ignorant deluded view. The jnani does not experience any of this, a body, a world, interactions, time, space. This we can gather from the teaching and intuitively for ourselves if we practice for some time. Claiming that you still see your body, other people, events, the arising or dissolution of the waking or dream world, as many teachers directly or indirectly imply in their writings is to me a clear sign they are not describing the state described by Bhagavan. To me this is a serious sign of concern regarding the reliability of what they claim. Anyone can claim anything but how can you claim you experience a state of unity (pure being, pure consciousness) and yet you still see "something". To me this is a serious fracture in a spiritual teaching, so personally I would never trust anyone who claim this inconsistency. I've been attached to all the teachers I mentioned and gave them all up (after all they are just what my mind makes of them). I found no inconsistency in Bhagavan's original writings, so I am keeping this mental projection as a reliable guide. And if Bhagavan is what He is, I can find Him in myself as the true "I", no need to look outisde, so I can give up what my mind makes of his external form also... We are loosing valuable time scattering our mind on so many parts... We can find what we need within...

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

Dragos said:
"You cannot claim unity and still say you experience diversity."

You have reached the point where words cannot describe reality, so you are letting the words confuse you.

How can "Bhagavan describe a state" if he does not see other people or the world? If jnanis no longer see the world, then Venkataraman would become a jnani and then there would never have been a "Ramana Maharshi" and so he would never have taught anything.

"Anyone can claim anything but how can you claim you experience a state of unity (pure being, pure consciousness) and yet you still see 'something'. "

The ocean is all one thing - and yet it still has waves.

Plenty of people have experienced "oneness", the experience that all of the things perceived are not only one, but that they themselves are those things - the Self.

Q&A with Ramana Maharshi from David Godman's Be As Your Are (I know that is not a verified source, but there is a difference between rigorous philosophy and conversation):

Q: I am trying to understand the jnani’s point of view about the world. Is the world perceived after Self-realization?
A: Why worry yourself about the world and what happens to it after Self-realization? First realize the Self. What does it matter if the world is perceived or not? Do you gain anything to help you in your quest by the non-perception of the world during sleep? Conversely, what would you lose now by the perception of the world? It is quite immaterial to the jnani or ajnani if he perceives the world or not. It is seen by both, but their view-points differ.

Q: If the jnani and the ajnani perceive the world in like manner, where is the difference between them?
A: Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self which is the substratum of all that is seen; the ajnani, whether he sees the world or not, is ignorant of his true being, the Self.
Take the instance of moving pictures on the screen in the inema-show. What is there in front of you before the play begins? Merely the screen. On that screen you see the entire show, and for all appearances the pictures are real. But go and try to take hold of them. What do you take hold of? Merely the screen on which the pictures appeared. After the play, when the pictures disappear, what remains? The screen again.
So with the Self. That alone exists, the pictures come and go. If you hold on to the Self, you will not be deceived by the appearance of the pictures. Nor does it matter at all if the pictures appear or disappear. Ignoring the Self the ajnani
thinks the world is real, just as ignoring the screen he sees merely the pictures, as if they existed apart from it. If one knows that without the seer there is nothing to be seen, just as there are no pictures without the screen, one is not deluded. The jnani knows that the screen and the pictures are only the Self. With the pictures the Self is in its manifest form; without the pictures it remains in the unmanifest form. To the jnani it is quite immaterial if the Self is in the one form or the other. He is always the Self. But the ajnani seeing the jnani active gets confounded.

Q: Is there no dehatma buddhi [I-am-the-body idea] for the jnani? If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan is bitten by an insect,
is there no sensation?

A: There is the sensation and there is also the dehatma buddhi. The latter is common to both jnani and ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks only the body is myself, whereas the jnani knows all is of the Self, or all this is Brahman. If there be pain let it be. It is also part of the Self. The Self is poorna [perfect].
After transcending dehatma buddhi one becomes a jnani. In the absence of that idea there cannot be either kartritva [doership] or karta [doer]. So a jnani has no karma [that is, a jnani performs no actions]. That is his experience.
Otherwise he is not a jnani. However the ajnani identifies the jnani with his body, which the jnani does not do.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

... one more thing I would like to add...
People go to what they call gurus and have experiences. We should no rely on anyone's spiritual experience of any kind or claim (even those who have been near Bhagavan and had experiences) This teaching I would say is consistent enough and let's us discover the truth for ourselves and we don't need any external authority or guru proximity. The best any true guru can give us is a path that let's us discover truth by ourselves. Whatever experience people have depends entirely on their own mind and any inference from it is not a reliable guide. I used to think we need to go near a guru so he can do some "transmission" of some kind that would help me get "enlightened". This doesn't stand up to the teaching, since the true guru is within as "I", and unless we are destined to be near a jnani we should not hunt for one, we can find him within. (This was hard for me to realize and accept)

In closing, I live you with the trailer of a movie which I would consider funny unless it would unfortunately accurately depict the spiritual marketplace today, a place where anyone can claim he's an enlightened master and possibly hurt people. The movie is called Kumare, and the guy is an intentional fraud to prove his point. It's a tragic comedy of what spirituality has become. Look at the trailer and see how people have genuine (mind) experiences and take the guy for granted as a spiritual master. This would never happen if a sane person would use some cold reasoning and have a clear vision of what needs to be achieved. Books are one thing but there are many living such "gurus" (intentional or simply self deluded) who may hurt a lot of people. Let's be smart and choose what to believe wisely...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OXUzG6YKuvo

daisilui said...

Dragos

"Claiming that you still see your body, other people, events, the arising or dissolution of the waking or dream world, as many teachers directly or indirectly imply in their writings is to me a clear sign they are not describing the state described by Bhagavan."

i suggest it would be helpful to provide some concrete evidence of the claims you are mentioning. Again, i don't know much about others but i cannot find such claims made by Robert Adams. Here's an example of his position on this:

"R: There's no karma for a Jnani. But the body will do what it has to do. But the Jnani will not be aware of it. (ST: There's no identification with whatever is going in that?) The Jnani sees a completely different world. (ST: So the Jnani is not aware of his body doing what he has to do?) Exactly.
SD: Didn't you say at one point that you're only aware in the observational sense?
R: You're like the screen. The movie is shown on the screen. The screen is just there. And people are getting killed in the movie. People are getting born, people grow old. All kinds of things are happening, wars, man's inhumanity to man, it's all happening on the screen. But the screen is never affected. (ST: So you’re like watching yourself on the screen then?) I realize I am the screen and these are projections.
SD: But you see the projection of what we call Robert? (R: Yes.) You are aware as the screen of the image on the screen? (R: Yeah, I identify with the screen.)"

As for
"We are loosing valuable time scattering our mind on so many parts... We can find what we need within..."

i somewhat agree with you [about searching within], talking at a relative level but at an absolute level i'd ask- 'who is the one perceiving he's loosing time?' [btw. it is important to distinguish/clarify at what level of reality statements are made- that is a shortcoming of many teachers that creates a lot of confusion especially among novices]. In my view time is only significant when striving for results; if we make living with a focus on the I a lifestyle, time has no meaning. Scattering of the mind in searching for the truth is not time wasted [unless the truth heard is accepted without the confirmation of own experience]. On the other hand the scattering of the mind is a necessary step in its purification. No one is born wise... and it is in minds nature to have a scattering tendency. Ultimately- "Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it."

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

If I say "All is one" you describe a state, as clumsily as words allow it. If Bhagavan says "the Jnani sees the Self", again a (conceptual) description, cuz that's the best the mind can do, hence my words are conceptually accurate.

"Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self"<---explicitly clear he does not see any differences and that he is not aware of the world in any way but only of its essence. He is That totality.

If we talk to each other you are looking (have your attention) at my face (the world), but if I tell you to look at your watch ( the Self) you won't see the face anymore, hence the world does not exist anymore for jnani (not like he's entering some dark blind state or something).

Concepts can confuse, I admit. Perhaps Michael or others can explain more clearly in what sense the Jnani "does not see the world" since english is not my native language. I do stand by what I said before when considering other teachers...

Practice is key, concepts follow more accurately after...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"But you see the projection of what we call Robert? (R: Yes.)" <- the evidence.

We are loosing time reading and comparing many teachers and books when we can devote time to actual practice and just studying some core principles (in that kind of sense)

Thank you,
Dragos

(PS: There's nothing personal about these evaluations, I evaluate the their teachings based on some standards which I personally believe are relevant to my discrimination, that's all, I don't want people to get offended but some living teachers can distract or hurt people either intentionally or because they think they are enlightened. I believe if we understand what enlargement is and in what direction we should strive we don't need excessive material to read or the proximity of a guru)

Ken said...

Dragos stated:
" 'Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self'<---explicitly clear he does not see any differences and that he is not aware of the world in any way but only of its essence. He is That totality."

No, it is not explicitly clear.

For example, 'Seeing the ocean, the jnani sees the water'. There is no necessity that the jnani not be able to perceive the waves, just because he sees the water.

In fact, if you had someone who quote " is not aware of the world in any way but only of its essence " that person's state would seem to be lower than someone who could be aware of the world AND its essence.

In order to achieve untying the know between the Self and insentient adjuncts, the ajnani must stop paying attention to sense perceptions and thoughts. Then there is realisation. Then the jnani is free to pay attention to whatever he likes.

As Sadhu Om stated:
"In the body of such a Self-realized 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."

That allows the jnani to

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

... last paragraph... 'enlightenment' not 'enlargement'... it was the autocorrect...

Ken said...

Ignore the phrase at the end "That allows the jnani to" (it was part of a sentence that I decided not to write).

Ken said...

Again:

"Q: Is there no dehatma buddhi [I-am-the-body idea] for the jnani? If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan is bitten by an insect,
is there no sensation?

Ramana Maharshi: There is the sensation
and there is also the dehatma buddhi. The latter is common to both jnani and ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks only the body is myself, whereas the jnani knows all is of the Self, or all this is Brahman. If there be pain let it be. It is also part of the Self. The Self is poorna [perfect]."

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

If my ego dies (Dragos'ego) I cannot possibly be aware of anything else from that moment on except of (being) pure, undifferentiated self awareness. I could not possibly be aware of my body just like I cannot be aware of last night dream body together with that world and its inhabitants which were all created by the mind. Same here in what we call the waking state. Difficulty in understanding the teaching lies in our mistake of assuming each person has his own mind centered in his/her brain, hence we question how can Bhagavan can describe a state if he is not aware of the dream. According to Bhagavan everything that is not our true nature (pure self awareness) is mind so all this vast universe and all people we see here on earth are mind, just like in a dream. A dream figure can appear and show you a way out of the dream and describe something to you, but this is just another projection (albeit a very useful one ). So only in your view Bhagavan describes something (as a dream figure) but Bhagavan as He really is (the Totality, Pure Self Awareness) is no longer aware of anything but this pure self awareness...

Ken we are both getting conceptually entangled... The point I was trying to make (and I believe is a vital one) is that you cannot achieve the state and still be aware of your former world or body just like you cannot be aware of your last night dream body or world... Who claims otherwise is not consistent in his experience...

I invite others too to state their opinion also... and, of course disagree if they see fit...

Thank you all,
Dragos

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

I cannot trust the insect quote.. it doesn't make sense in the overall teaching... or perhaps it was a concession to that particular questioneer ... if I wake up from last night dream how can I be aware of that body or see it as a projection of sorts?! It's not logically consistent to me. It's all I can say... if I wake up from this dream how could I possibly experience anything from it anymore?! It just doesn't add up to me...

Mouna said...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu,

"If my ego dies (Dragos'ego)..."
"I invite others too to state their opinion..."

Dragos doesn't have an ego, Dragos is the ego,
or better yet, ego projects a Dragos. :-)

Ken said...

Dragos stated:
"The point I was trying to make (and I believe is a vital one) is that you cannot achieve the state and still be aware of your former world or body just like you cannot be aware of your last night dream body or world... Who claims otherwise is not consistent in his experience..."

You are inconsistent. If you are going to dwell in the absolute realm for the purpose of discussion then:

* The jnani does not achieve anything
* There is no change in state in the Self
* The ego never existed

all three of which have been stated by Ramana and his disciples.

So your sentence:

"you cannot achieve the state and still be aware of your former world or body"

is from the ajnani's viewpoint of the ego of the jnani.

Again, the point you are missing is that the world is only the Self right now.

So, what you are saying is:

The jnani cannot be aware of the Self.

which is absurd.

If it has limitations, it is not the Self.

Ken said...

Dragos -

From an unassailable source, Ramana Maharshi's Ulladu Narpadu Verse 17:

"To those who have not known Self and to those who have known (Self), this defective (or fleshy) body is ‘I’. (But) to those who have not known Self, ‘I’ is (limited to) only the measure of the body, (whereas) to those who have known Self within the body (that is, within the lifetime of the body), ‘I’, the Self, shines without limit. Know that this indeed is the difference between them.

Note: An ajnani (one who does not know Self) feels ‘the body alone is ‘I’, whereas the Jnani (one who knows and abides as Self) feels ‘the body is also I’. That is, since the Jnani clearly knows that Self alone exists, and that it shines without any limit, He knows that if at all there is any such thing as the body, it cannot be other than ‘I’, the real Self. If the body were to exist as other than Self, that would set a limitation upon the limitless nature of Self.

Verse 18:

To those who do not have knowledge (of Self) and to those who do have (knowledge of Self), the world which is seen in front (of them) is real. (But) to those who have not known (Self), the reality is limited to) the measure of the world (that is, to its names and forms), (whereas) to those who have known (Self), the reality abides devoid of (name and) form as the substratum of the world. Know that this is the difference between them.

Note: An ignorant man who wrongly sees a rope as a snake, and a wise man who sees the same rope as a rope, both feel ‘this is real’. Similarly, the ajnani, who wrongly sees the reality as names and forms, and the Jnani, who sees the reality as it is, that is, devoid of names and forms, both feel ‘this is real’. Thus the feeling ‘this is real’ is common to both of them, but what they experience as ‘this’ is different. The ajnani experiences the world as names and forms, whereas the Jnani experiences the world to be the nameless and formless existence-consciousness-bliss. "

[Note that if the jnani did not experience the world at all, Ramana would not be saying that " the Jnani experiences the world to be the nameless and formless existence-consciousness-bliss. " and instead would be saying " the Jnani does not experience the world ".]

So you will need to come up with other reasons why other teachers are wrong. They are not hard to find !

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"whereas the Jnani (one who knows and abides as Self) feels ‘the body is also I’."

Here he tells us that 'the body is also I', so he implies he experiences only I, therefore he is not aware of any kind of body, but only I... If you see the rope the deluded snake-view dissapears. They cannot be seen simultaneously like other teachers claim. We either see the world like we do now, or we see Reality, whatever that state may be...

The whole idea contradicts the teaching. How can you be aware of anything (before and after) if the practice is to turn away from everything to what perceives it?!

Furthermore, if the experience is permanent there can be no talk of "I am a Jnani"...

I believe I am not inconsistent... These teachers experience something else...Anyway, how can we verify what they experience? But people tend to believe someone is a Jnani just because they claim so, or they write books... We don't even have to believe Bhagavan is a Jnani... just put the instruction into practice and see for ourselves :)...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

...we see (are/be) Reality...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

... in the end, the assertion "If someone claims to be a Jnani but still say they experience a world, people, are aware of something happening etc.. is not a Jnani" is not true from the ultimate viewpoint. In that state there are no others, the sentence does not make sense, but I believe in the relative view I find myself in right now this is a very reliable guide to stay away from false teachers...

peace-giving beacon said...

Dragos,
instead of getting dizzy in that whirl of different views and opinions we have urgently to be what we really are i.e. to dwell oneself in the state of a jnani. There is no other way out. Such discussion fairly makes our head spin.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

parama-isa-bhakti,

There are not two selves obviously. The analogy for this "I" and the whole process perhaps would be best described as a muddy water analogy. There is only one "I" mixed with thoughts, what we call ego (the muddy water), and we try to isolate only the water, attend only to "I" alone and ignore the mud. We take only the chit part as Bhagavan says, and it will lead us to the source, it will leave only pure water.

Therefore the pure "I" or "I am" (ourselves without adjuncts, without any mud, just the pure water) is the reality, not what Nisargadatta implies as something that can be watched as any other object different from what we actually are.

There are some serious differences here, so we have to decide which teaching is correct.

I agree peace-giving beacon that if view this from so many angles makes our head spin, but don't you agree its important to separate the wheat from the chaff?! People are still convinced (I was!) that you need to go to a guru to get some "transmission", people still accept everything certain people write without question (I did!). We have to sort these things out somehow... (at least in our own mind). I don't see an issue with clarifying them... I think this is very helpful....

Bob - P said...

Ken you said in your previous comments above.

[Were this not to be the case, how could we have Ramana Maharshi answering questions? If jnanis were cut off from their body and the physical world, then the body would die, and there would be no spiritual teachings in the world.]

My understanding is Bhagavan didn't do anything Ken.

[How can "Bhagavan describe a state" if he does not see other people or the world? If jnanis no longer see the world, then Venkataraman would become a jnani and then there would never have been a "Ramana Maharshi" and so he would never have taught anything.]

Ken my understanding is Bhagavan doesn't see a world or people he just sees himself because there is nothing but himself. He doesn't see multiplicity as himself or experience duality in any form. He is "I am I".

Hopefully Michael will address this better.
All the best Ken.
Bob

Ken said...

Dragos quoted Ken's quote of Ramana: "whereas the Jnani (one who knows and abides as Self) feels ‘the body is also I’."

Dragos then said: "Here he tells us that 'the body is also I', so he implies he experiences only I, therefore he is not aware of any kind of body, but only I..."

You are so attached to this idea that you are contradicting Ramana.

He says "also" and you change that to "only".

Again, people report experiences of seeing all the objects of the world as "I". The now, the present moment is I. Since everything is now, then everything is I. It does not have to vanish to be I.

I think the essence of the problem is in your sentence:
"How can you be aware of anything (before and after) if the practice is to turn away from everything to what perceives it?!"

This is a huge misunderstanding of the general public about religion and spirituality. The practice is only necessary until the goal is reached (manonasa).

The Zen saying is:

"First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is [a mountain again]."

After I became an adult and graduated, I stopped memorizing multiplication tables and what happened in 1812 and so forth.

An Olympic downhill skier has to practice his turns, until he wins the gold medal and annouces his retirement, at which point he can stop practicing.

daisilui said...

there is one fundamental concept of Vedanta that apparently is ignored in these discussions, i.e. distinguish between the common/relative reality and the absolute reality when making statements so that the audience is clear from what position one expresses an opinion.

i agree with Dragos- from an absolute perspective there's nothing other than the Self. 'Be still and know I am God'. God cannot be experienced in action [of the mind], only in stillness. The best non-duality can do in action is to distance the Self from the body-mind viewing it along with the world as drawings on a chalk-board where whatever happens is predestined and not affecting the Self. In this relative reality jnanis exist for others only as they themselves make no difference between their body and that of others or of any objects of the world. All is one and that all is mind made. The teachings of the jnani happen the same way as any movement/actions of the body of a jnani happen but has nothing to do with the Self.
The misunderstood devotional inclination of the 'partially spiritually cooked' [which consist the majority of the 'spirituals'] confuses the person with the formless and gives power to the unreal. There is no room for person or things; the Self is all there is.

paramesvara sakti said...

daisilui,
why should there be two kinds of reality in order to make statements for an audience ?
You say "...; the Self is all there is."
Do you know that vedantic statement by your own experience or do you know it only from hearsay ?

Ken said...

Here is more from Ramana explaining about this topic (from "Be As You Are"):

"Q: Brahman is real. The world [jagat] is ‘illusion’ is the stock phrase of Sri Sankaracharya. Yet others say, ‘The world is reality.’ Which is true?

Ramana: Both statements are true. They refer to different stages of development and are spoken from different points of view. The aspirant [abhyasi] starts with the definition, that which is real exists always. Then he eliminates the world as unreal because it is changing. The seeker ultimately reaches the Self and there finds unity as the prevailing note.
Then, that which was originally rejected as being unreal is found to be a part of the unity. Being absorbed in the reality, the world also is real. There is only being in Self-realization, and nothing but being.

Q: Sri Bhagavan often says that maya [illusion] and reality are the same. How can that be?

Ramana: Sankara was criticised for his views on maya without being understood. He said that
(1) Brahman is real,
(2) the universe is unreal, and
(3) The universe is Brahman.
He did not stop at the second, because the third explains the other two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived
as the Self, and unreal if perceived apart from the Self. Hence maya and reality are one and the same.

Q: So the world is not really illusory?

Ramana: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets that he is Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a
body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external, material universe is unreal. When once he realises his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman.
There is no universe without the Self. So long as a man does not see the Self which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external universe is an illusion. You cannot help it. Take a paper. We see only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is written. The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not. To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the paper and script as one. So also with Brahman and the universe."

daisilui said...

paramesvara sakti

if you are referring to knowing that the Self is all there is, how can i not know what i am, does anybody need to tell me?! But if you refer to the 'vedantic statement' of course that it comes from hearsay- i wasn't born with knowledge of vedanta or any other human concepts applicable to the relative reality.

Michael James said...

Ken, regarding the question about whether any body or world will seem to exist when our ego is annihilated, you may like to consider what Bhagavan wrote very clearly on this subject in the third and fourth paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:

சர்வ அறிவிற்கும் சர்வ தொழிற்குங் காரண மாகிய மன மடங்கினால் ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கும். கற்பித ஸர்ப்ப ஞானம் போனா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான ரஜ்ஜு ஞானம் உண்டாகாதது போல, கற்பிதமான ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கினா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான சொரூப தர்சன முண்டாகாது.

sarva aṟiviṟkum sarva toṙiṟkum kāraṇam-āhiya maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgum. kaṯpita sarppa-ñāṉam pōṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa rajju-ñāṉam uṇḍāhādadu pōla, kaṯpitamāṉa jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgiṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa sorūpa-darśaṉam uṇḍāhādu.

If the mind, which is the cause for all awareness [of things other than oneself] and for all activity, subsides, jagad-dṛṣṭi [perception of the world] will cease. Just as unless awareness of the imaginary snake ceases, awareness of the rope, which is the adhiṣṭhāna [the base that underlies and supports the illusory appearance of the snake], will not arise, unless perception of the world, which is a kalpita [a fabrication, mental creation or figment of the imagination], ceases, svarūpa-darśana [seeing ‘one’s own form’ — what one actually is], which is the adhiṣṭhāna [the base or foundation that underlies and supports the imaginary appearance of this world], will not arise.

[...] நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது. [...]

[...] niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagam-um illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagam-um uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉṉiḍamirundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉam-um taṉṉiḍattilirundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. maṉam ātma sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum. āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu. [...]

[...] Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [our ‘own form’ or actual self] does not appear [as it really is]; when svarūpa appears (shines) [as it really is], the world does not appear. [...]

parama-isa-bhakti said...

Dragos,
if it is true that from the viewpoint of reality there is no ego then it is true all along. Therefore let us bring back to reality in which are not two or many and diverse selves.
But we come to a general agreement saying that we should always separate the wheat from the chaff.

paramesvara sakti said...

daisilui,
thank you for replying.
Your knowledge may be all-embracing. But the question remains whether you know that from your own experience or not.
In which way or what has 'the relative reality' to do with you ?

Ken said...

Neither of those two quotes contradicts the others.

The first one talks about the practice that ends with manonasa, the untying of the knot.

The second one says that the world is not seen in samadhi.

In fact, the second one reminds us that Ramana stated (rough paraphrase follows) that his periods of samadhi partially offset the toll of being with students, and that his lack of time for samadhi (due to his compassion for his students), was partially responsible for his worsening physical condition.

This statement indicates a voluntary perception of the world to benefit his students.

daisilui said...

paramesvara sakti
Thanks but i'm not sure what made you say that... my knowledge is far from being 'all-embracing.
As for the questions... 1. why are you so concerned about me? What difference would any answer make to You [i am using the capital Y because you seem to reject the utility of using a regular 'y']?
2. In case you are asking me- using this dialogue as an example, takes place in that relative reality, i.e. in duality, which is not real but conventional and for a lack of a better term i called it relative reality. But if you are asking Me, well then... I, has nothing to say because all this... has no existence in itself and no connection to the Self...

Pleiades said...

Michael,
could you please describe or paraphrase the term "adhisthana" in more detail ?
In which way does the imaginary appearance of this world need a(ny) base or foundation that underlies and supports it ?
How can svarupa-darsana be ident with adhisthana ?

paramesvara sakti said...

daisilui,
thanks again. I admit I was only curious about your answer.
Kind regards.

Pleiades said...

Michael,
what is the prerequisite for the cognition that the perception of the world or the perceived world is only a mental fabrication or figment of the imagination ?

venkat said...

Sadhu Om is his "The path of Sri Ramana - Part 2" , p45, writes, quoting as support v.17 and v18 of Ulladu Narpadu:

"When a jnani thus feels everything as the one undivided Self, will not his body ALSO be included in that experience as 'I'. [Footnote: Body consciousness is a limited one. It cannot stand comparison with the unlimited eternal Self-Consciousness. The body consciousness of a jnani is nothing but the reflection of a ray of an atom-like part of that pure Self-Awareness which is experienced by him as 'I'. Only in this way A JNANI IS AWARE OF HIS BODILY EXISTENCE.] THE EXPERIENCE OF THE IGNORANT IS 'I AM THE BODY ALONE' WHILE THAT OF A JNANI IS 'I AM THE BODY AS WELL' . . . In the same manner as the whole universe is experienced by the jnani as not apart from Self - sat chit ananda - IT IS NOT WRONG FOR THE JNANI TO FEEL THAT THE WORLD IS REAL; BUT IT IS CERTAINLY WRONG IF AN IGNORANT SAYS 'THE WORLD IS REAL' SO LONG AS HIS EXPERIENCE OF 'I' IS LIMITED TO THE BODY ALONE."

So Sadhu Om is clearly saying that the jnani sees the world as we do, but there is no egoic body identification in him, which separates his body as 'I", as distinct from the rest of the world. i.e. a jnani's 'I' identifies with the whole universe, and not just his own body.

Ken said...

I read a bunch of conversations today between Ramana and students on this topic.

It seems to me that Ramana understands that in order to sever the knot, or extinguish the ego, the student must entirely drop all attachment and aversion to sense perceptions and thoughts, and give attention only to "I".

One particular comment by Ramana gave the impression that he was very reluctant to state what Sadhu Om states in Venkat's post above this one - because he thought that students who expected that the World would return after Realization, would not be able to sincerely and entirely drop all their attachment and aversions to things of the World (because in the back of their mind, they would expect someday to return to the World).

This seems to be supported by Ramana's usual answer of (paraphrase) "Just do self-investigation and realize the Self and then you will find out about being a jnani." Such a statement would indicate that he felt a complete description of "life as a jnani" would not be best for the student.

Mouna said...

From the srishti-drishti and drishti-srishti points of view it seems quite plausible that a jnani could still experience the manifested as the self and still be non-dual. I believe all the quotes from Bhagavan (and many devotees that wrote commentaries about him) that present this possibility are from these points of view, directed to those who could understand only that level. This is Ishwara level, with maya as its power, Ishwara and maya are not two.

I would put into the ajata point of view all the quotes from Bhagavan (and others) that unmistakably denote a complete obliteration of perception, sensation, thought and feeling with the death of the ego/mind. To me this is the final liberation. This is Brahman level, nothing was ever created.

Does this type of recurring advaitc discussion has any pragmatic value? I believe it does to dissipate false assumptions about ego's “enlightenment status” and what the final liberation is all about.

venkat said...

Hi Mouna

Ajata, "unborn", does not need to imply "complete obliteration of perception, sensation, thought and feeling".

As Ken says, Bhagavan did not try to describe the state of the jnani, because this just sets up an expectation in the mind. And Bhagavan's own writings and talks, in different places, on the non-perception of duality can seen to support either side.

Gauadapada and Shankara's comments on ajata do more unequivocally state that duality is a misconception or a dream; and life goes on as a jnani / jivanmukta; there is just no mind / no identification there. And clearly if there is no ego, then the concept of birth and death cannot apply - these are just 'waves' in consciousness or energy or Brahman, that come and go.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Now... if the world stops being perceived in the state of sahaja samadhi as Bhagavan tells us (we can't comprehend how! it will be perceived, but is clear that there will be no names and forms, no you, me, "I still see my body but does not affect me" etc... etc..)... What logical conclusion can we infer form all those teachers writings?! They experience something else.. not the true atma-jnana state... we come to this... there's no other way... that was the point I was trying to comprehend...

Perhaps the term "false teachers" is too much... but based on the descriptions given by Papaji, Robert Adams, Ed Muzika, NIsargadatta and many others who fall in this pattern ("the world, my former body, events etc.. are still there but they don't affect me anymore... I see them like a dream.. etc.. etc") they clearly contradict the few clues Bhagavan gives us about the state of the jnani..

So...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

So I would say the discussion about the true state of a true Jnani and what other people or "enlightened" individuals claim has a very important "pragmatic value" as Mouna says... If the state we are trying to realize does not include perception of body, other people, time, space ... all those forms who come into being instantaneously with our ego, I have to draw the conclusion that these teachers don't experience the true state but something else and I should not trust them... (as "fanatical" or "close minded" as this may sound)... I think this important...

Comments welcome...

Thank you,
Dragos

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"can't comprehend how! it will be perceived" <-- not quite correct, there is no perceving only being...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

I used to think something like this would happen... we strive to become aware of this self-pervading awareness... I imagined it (what we call Self) like an all-pervading ether... After realization (realizing myself as this all-pervading ether(so-to-speak)) I would be it and then I could watch the world, body, people, events from this viewpoint, me being this all pervading ether not being in the least affect by what happens to the body, other people, the world.

When the body dies, I would simply watch it die and me (the real me) remain as this all-pervading something...

But this description (which I believed for a long time) is not correct if we study Ulladu Narpadu or Nan Yar?. More or less this is how many teachers explain their experience of realization or enlightenment.

So... ?! What can we make of this?! If this is not correct then what they teach is not correct and we should not trust their writings...

Peace,
Dragos

Bob - P said...

Michael thank you for your comment above to Ken about whether any body or world will seem to exist when our ego is annihilated.

There was a helpful discussion a while back about this very question and also with regards what Sri Sadhu Om wrote in "The Path of Sri Ramana - Part 1 " about a jnani's experience of the world.

Ken my understanding is if the ego projects everthing including the person Ken it now takes itself to be when it is annihilated everything it projects goes. What reamins is "I am" / Bhagavan / yourself as you really are which is all there has ever been.
Bhagavan is within, what you see outwards is an indian sage, You have limited him to a form because you take yourself to be a form. All the actions you see him do is only in your view.

I am speaking from your perspective because if you trust Bhagavan he says there is only one ego which has projected and identified itself with Ken the person it now takes itself to be . Everything else including me is it's projection.

I appreciate Bhagavan is teaching there is one ego as he has to accept from your view point there is a ego but he says in reality there never was an ego just "I am" which is Bhagavan / yourslef as you really are.

The above applies from my own perspective. The one ego has projected everything and has identified with the person Bob it now takes itself to be. Everything else is just it's projection.

This is just my understanding Ken it may not be right just like your beliefs/ opinions may not be right.

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

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

We can't know what Bhagavan's experience was... we can't know what anyone claims to experience... we basically study their words about a certain experience... there is clear conflict here... so what should we believe?!

I think this is important... What do you think?!

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Bob you are right, if we immerse ourselves in Bhagavan's teachings and accept the "only one ego projecting everything like in a dream" viewpoint, all the point I am trying to make is meaningless... What are Bhagavan and "other teachers" who claim enlightenment?! Projection of this very ego... I should not bother... Just investigate this very ego who is rising question and trying to compare...

well... we can dodge everything with this... but there is help in comparing teachers (what they write specifically) if it helps us reduce our mind interests in all kinds of ideas and things they say... Some of these living teachers really hurt people... The unfortunate case of Andrew Cohen comes to mind... or who knows how many others... Some of these teachers delude people into thinking they need a living guru, they absolutely need their satsang, ask money from gullible followers, do immoral acts, abuse etc...

At his level (one level down from the only one ego-perspective) this discussion can be really helpful... Ideas we hold are very powerful... If we believe, for example, a living guru is absolutely necessary, we may lack to confidence to follow the path, we may go searching for one, we may let ourselves abused if we get to such a deluded person...

So I would say these things are worth analyzing...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"At his level" --> "At this level"...

peace-giving beacon said...

Dragos,
make a quick step sideways and shoot your depressive intellectual approach to the moon.
We do well know what Bhagavan experienced from his own written reports. Why should we mistrust Bhagavan's words ? On the contrary we are blessed with his legacy. What anyone other claims having experienced or to experience currently is in my opinion at best secondary.
Rather doubt the doubter and your peace will be undisturbed.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

My whole point was to show that Bhagavan's teaching is not compatible with other's so called teachers... If you understood it as a depressive rant.. what can I do?! The intellect is what we are using until the goal is reached... Bhagavan's teaching is the only one I trust...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Michael is kind enough to just show Bhagavan's quotes and let us reason for ourselves... perhaps this approach is best... avoiding these ego clashes... I'll try to avoid them in the future...

Thank you,
Dragos

peewit said...

Dragos,
that evidently deceitful Andrew Cohen I know only from an article about modern sages published in a "spiritual" (Buddhist) newspaper in German language perhaps some twenty years ago. I did not even think a second to take him seriously. I immediately felt he is a typical egomanical power-hungry selfish chatterbox not knowing anything of importance. May he come to his senses and repentantly confess his sins and bring himself to a honest way of thinking and truthful life - as we all should do.
Greetings to Muntenia.

peace-giving beacon said...

Dragos,
yes, go out for a breather and all ego clashes will stay outside.

total dependence upon God said...

Dragos,
we would be well advised to trust only Bhagavan's teaching and Michael's explanations.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...


yes... yes... many people here professing to be Bhagavan's devotees and constantly make a combo of all other "teachers"...

para-bhakti tattva said...

Michael,
how can I avoid cidabhasa in waking and instead be aware of 'I am' which is said to be 'the reality' ?

total dependence upon God said...

Dragos,
that is really phenomenal. Yes, I suppose so that people are be bored without making 'a combo of all other so-called teachers'. Or people are expressing their deep doubts in roaming in the playground of would-be-teachers.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

The discussion about Nisargadatta or Robert Adams has been repeatedly brought up on this blog. On close scrutiny they do not stand up to a rigourus analysis of what the experience of atma-jana entails...

total dependence upon God said...

Dragos,
I cannot discuss about Nisargadatta and Robert Adams. I never felt any need or urge to study their books.
Certainly already Nisargadatta's tendency to smoke cigarettes or Indian beedies peeved me.

Mouna said...

Hi Venkat,

The doctrine of ajata doesn't even allow the "existence" of an illusion/dream/mind projection as the drishti-shristri does, that is why is almost impossible to fathom with the mind.
If there was never a jnani, the question doesn't t even arise if that jnani continues perceiving or not after "his" liberation.
All this thinking "we" are all doing here is from the point of view of ego, and we are fooled by sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings that are the imaginary chains ego projects unto itself and then feels trapped into itself.
The closest glimpse we get about ajata, although still part of the illusion is deep sleep, where sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings are (momentarily from the ego's viewpoint), yes, "obliterated."

daisilui said...

to me this discussion takes a funny turn which i think Ramana would find funny too. moving from scholastic selection of quotes to own opinions and to partisan critical assessment of various teachers or the worshiping of others... while forgetting that all teachings are post signs only and words won't reveal the Self. It looks more like time spent on a critical analysis of the sign posts...
"The Self cannot be found in books. You have to find it for yourself, in yourself."

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Mouna, Bhagavan says that deep sleep is exactly the true state of pure self awareness from which we rise as an ego and project this waking and dream state, not some other illusion. That's why it has such a clear logic. Mind rises from sleep (our true nature of pure self awareness where we experience only what we really are) and projects both waking and sleep. So our true state is the state of sleep, where there is no time, space, a body, events, other people. These are all ego creations that come into being instantaneously with the ego. If we abide as that state how can we say we still perceive something as many teachers claim!? Do we perceive anything from our current waking state in sleep!??

I don't know what to say... I cannot but come to the conclusion these teachers don't teach the same thing... (as arrogant as this may sound ...)

Judging by that, all the teachers I read who say they are still aware of something after realization are not true jnanis.
I know this will upset many people but Nisargadatta, Papaji, Robert Adams and the whole array of self proclaimed gurus we find on the net that still claim they experience something other than pure self awareness which we experience everyday in deep sleep after their realization are not true jnanis.

I am not afraid to stand up to this claim no matter if I upset people...

Mouna said...

Dragos,

I agree completely with your whole first paragraph, and with Bhagavan of course.
When I say "deep sleep" is also illusory is the deep sleep we are now, you and me, discussing about, that put in a more figure of speech form, is a distant echo... because otherwise, we would go to sleep and then ... pouf, never come back, either awakening again or in another lifetime.

What I'm saying is that, as I understand, ajata IS the ultimate truth as exposed by Bhagavan, and also he said it was "his" state. The whole discussion seems to gravitate around what this words "his state" mean. And there is only one way to find out.

Ken said...

Dragos -

You seem unwilling to even read my quotes from Ulladu Narpadu and Venkat's subsequent quotes that show Ramana stating that the jnani can perceive the world.

This is then explained even more clearly by Sadhu Om in Venkat's post.

Why are you ignoring it?

Ken said...

Sadhu Om states: "In the body of such a Self-realized 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."

Ken said...

Adyashanti: "One day, when I was thirty-three, something happened without any emotion, which, for me, was absolutely necessary: I heard the call of a bird outside, and a thought came up from my gut, not from my head: Who hears this sound? The next thing I knew, I was the bird, and I was the sound, and I was the person listening; I was everything. I thought, I’ll be damned. I had tasted this at twenty-five, but there had been so much energy and spiritual byproduct. This time I didn’t get elated. It was just factual. I got up and went into the kitchen to see if I was the stove, too. Yeah, I was the stove. Looking for something more mundane, I went into the bathroom. What do you know: I was the toilet, too. Paradoxically I also realized that I am nothing, less than nothing. I am what is before nothingness. And in the next moment even that disappeared. The “I” disappeared completely. All of this — the oneness, the nothingness, and beyond both oneness and nothingness — was realized in quick succession. It all exists simultaneously.

This was a sort of pure, unemotional, clear perception of reality that got more and more ordinary over time. After a while, you realize that everything is one, and you stop jumping up and down about it."

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Ken is now evening here, I will reply tomorrow.

Thank you,
Dragos

tanmaya-nishta said...

Ken,
what Adyashanti claims obviously as awareness of the truth does not at all convince me. To be the stove or the toilet has nothing to do with the inherent and untainted happiness of our true nature the immortal Brahman.
His experience rather seem to be only a distorted reflection. Obvously he did not escape from the tricks of maya.

venkat said...

Hi Mouna

If I may, your position in untenable and does not hold to logic. Ajata, the ultimate truth, is there is no birth, no death. If you hold that this means that there is no dream / illusion, then you cannot explain how we are having this conversation. And even if I am a dream in your mind, you are still having the dream. You cannot brush it aside by saying the mind cannot fathom it.

And after all, we all start from the premise that there IS existence (sat) and there is consciousness (chit). If you can simply say that even the dream does not exist, then logically you must cast doubt on sat and chit.

This is also not what Gaudapada and Shankara have written.

It is worth reading Sankara's commentary to Gaudapada's famous verse 2.32 "There is no dissolution, no birth . . ". Shankara writes "When duality is PERCEIVED to be illusory and Atman alone is known as the sole Reality, then it is clearly established that all our experiences, ordinary or religious verily pertain to the domain of ignorance. Then one perceives that there is no dissolution, no birth or creation . . . There is no duality at any time".

Then in a verse shortly thereafter, 2.36, Gaudapada writes "Therefore knowing the Atman to be such, fix your attention on non-duality. Having attained non-duality, behave in the world like an insensible object"
Shankara comments: "behave with others as one not knowing the Truth; that is to say, let not others know what you are and what you have become".

Given the above, it is hard to contend that Gaudapada and Sankara interpret ajata vada as "all perceptions are obliterated". It is also not consistent with what Bhagavan has written in the verses in Ulladu Narpadu that Ken and I have pointed out.

To me: srsti-drsti means creation came first and then perception. Drsti-srst says first came perception by the jiva and thence the world was created (as Bhagavan said in Ulladu Narpadu, and Gaudapada writes in 2.16). Ajata vada says there was never a jiva in the first place; the jiva too is misapprehended.

Best,
venkat

Ken said...

The purpose of the Adyashanti quote was to give an example of experiencing the Self and also the world - by experiencing the world asthe Self.

Right now, you are experiencing the Self. And you are experiencing the World.

As Venkat quoted from Sadhu Om:

"In the same manner as the whole universe is experienced by the jnani as not apart from Self - sat chit ananda - it is not wrong for the Jnani to feel that the world is real; but it is certainly wrong if an ignorant says 'the world is real' so long as his experience of 'I' is limited to the body alone."

What Adyashanti describes is exactly what Sadhu Om describes - his experience of 'I' is not limited to the body alone, but extends to everything.

The world is nothing but the Self. For the Jnani, 'I' is the Self, and so the whole world is 'I' for the Jnani.

In the following, Ramana talks about Adyashanti's experience:

"Q: So the world is not really illusory?

Ramana: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets that he is Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a
body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external, material universe is unreal. When once he realises his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman.
There is no universe without the Self. So long as a man does not see the Self which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external universe is an illusion. You cannot help it. Take a paper. We see only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is written. The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not. To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the paper and script as one. So also with Brahman and the universe."

Mouna said...

Venkat,

I had this discussion sooo many times...
Please don't take it personally, but I don't have the energy anymore to discuss what ajata is or is not.

Just a a hint, read the "Ajata Siddhanta" part of Guru Vachaka Kovai (page 48-50, from the Godman version with Muruganar commentaries) if after that you think that it can be perception in ajata, , like saying that in deep sleep there is perception/sensation, etc... then we have to agree that we disagree on this topic.

And by the way, Gaudapada's II-32 karika doesn't mention birth or death, but no creation and dissolution, no bondage, no one doing sipitual practices or seeking liberation, no one liberated, etc..., without all that , ask yourself, what is left? and remember in order to have perceptions, there should be a perceiver, etc... and as long as maya is there, is not ajata.

And last but not least, as I said before, sages of all times adapted their answers to the ability of the seeker to understand. Sankara, Bhagavan and many others are clear examples of this.

you may have the last word if you like, but I'll stop here.
Be well my friend.
M

venkat said...

Hi Mouna, no worries. I wasn't trying to win an argument or to convince you. For me it was an exploration. Apologies if it comes across otherwise.

Take care.

venkat

Mouna said...

Venkat my friend, no need for apologies. Never thought of your posting in those terms
Here, we are all in the same boat, trying to kill ego, regardless of what lies beyond.
Till soon,
M

Ken said...

David Godman describes Ramana's viewpoint on ajata:

"1 Ajata vada (the theory of non-causality). This is an ancient Hindu doctrine which states that the creation of the world never happened at all. It is a complete denial of all causality in the physical world. Sri Ramana endorsed this view by saying that it is the jnani’s experience that nothing ever comes into existence or ceases to be because the Self alone exists as the sole unchanging reality. It is a corollary of this theory that time, space, cause and effect, essential components of all creation theories, exist only in the minds of ajnanis and that the experience of the Self reveals their non-existence.

This theory is not a denial of the reality of the world, only of the creative process which brought it into existence.
Speaking from his own experience Sri Ramana said that the jnani is aware that the world is real, not as an assemblage of interacting matter and energy, but as an uncaused appearance in the Self. He enlarged on this by saying that because the real nature or substratum of this appearance is identical with the beingness of the Self, it necessarily partakes of its reality. That is to say, the world is not real to the jnani simply because it appears, but only because the real nature of the appearance is inseparable from the Self.

The ajnani, on the other hand, is totally unaware of the unitary nature and source of the world and, as a consequence, his mind constructs an illusory world of separate interacting objects by persistently misinterpreting the sense impressions it receives. Sri Ramana pointed out that this view of the world has no more reality than a dream since it superimposes a creation of the mind on the reality of the Self. He summarised the difference between the jnani’s and the ajnani’s standpoint by saying that the world is unreal if it is perceived by the mind as a collection of discrete objects and real when it is directly experienced as an appearance in the Self.

Ken said...

Spoiler Alert!

I think that, oddly enough, the movie "The Matrix" (1999) has this exactly right.

In that movie, the protagonist meets someone who claims to be able to reveal the truth about our world ("Morpheus"). The protagonist agrees, and gives him a pill which allows him to wake up from the virtual reality everyone inhabits.

He wakes up in his real human body, which has been hooked up to a virtual reality generator.

So, his life and identity within the virtual reality, were just mental constructs. By waking up, he no longer has the suffering (or the achievements) of his imaginary identity in the virtual reality, because he now knows it was not real.

Later, he voluntarily re-enters the virtual reality in order to help other people who are there (just as "Morpheus" did).

But, when he re-enters the virtual reality, he knows it is not real.

All of this perfectly matches everything Ramana says in the thread, and illustrates how there are jnanis teaching us in this unreal world.

By the way, if you have not seen this movie, it is essential viewing for Advaitans or Buddhists.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

COMMENT (1)

I hope not to run into an old problem with long comments so I'm numbering them COMMENT (1), COMMENT (2), COMMENT (3) so even if they do not appear in order they can still be read in order.

First of all I would like to say that English is not my native language, Romanian is. I started learning it in highschool. Certain things which are clear in my head when I tell them myself in Romanian I find hard to properly explain in English. So I hope what I say will make complete sense.
That being said...

Ken, the verses you and Venkat refer to are:

______________________________________________


Ulladu Narpadu

Verse 17:

"To those who have not known Self and to those who have known (Self), this defective (or fleshy) body is ‘I’. (But) to those who have not known Self, ‘I’ is (limited to) only the measure of the body, (whereas) to those who have known Self within the body (that is, within the lifetime of the body), ‘I’, the Self, shines without limit. Know that this indeed is the difference between them.

Note: An ajnani (one who does not know Self) feels ‘the body alone is ‘I’, whereas the Jnani (one who knows and abides as Self) feels ‘the body is also I’. That is, since the Jnani clearly knows that Self alone exists, and that it shines without any limit, He knows that if at all there is any such thing as the body, it cannot be other than ‘I’, the real Self. If the body were to exist as other than Self, that would set a limitation upon the limitless nature of Self.

Verse 18:

To those who do not have knowledge (of Self) and to those who do have (knowledge of Self), the world which is seen in front (of them) is real. (But) to those who have not known (Self), the reality is limited to) the measure of the world (that is, to its names and forms), (whereas) to those who have known (Self), the reality abides devoid of (name and) form as the substratum of the world. Know that this is the difference between them.

Note: An ignorant man who wrongly sees a rope as a snake, and a wise man who sees the same rope as a rope, both feel ‘this is real’. Similarly, the ajnani, who wrongly sees the reality as names and forms, and the Jnani, who sees the reality as it is, that is, devoid of names and forms, both feel ‘this is real’. Thus the feeling ‘this is real’ is common to both of them, but what they experience as ‘this’ is different. The ajnani experiences the world as names and forms, whereas the Jnani experiences the world to be the nameless and formless existence-consciousness-bliss. "



Sadhu Om is his "The path of Sri Ramana - Part 2" , p45, writes, quoting as support v.17 and v18 of Ulladu Narpadu:

"When a jnani thus feels everything as the one undivided Self, will not his body ALSO be included in that experience as 'I'. [Footnote: Body consciousness is a limited one. It cannot stand comparison with the unlimited eternal Self-Consciousness. The body consciousness of a jnani is nothing but the reflection of a ray of an atom-like part of that pure Self-Awareness which is experienced by him as 'I'. Only in this way A JNANI IS AWARE OF HIS BODILY EXISTENCE.] THE EXPERIENCE OF THE IGNORANT IS 'I AM THE BODY ALONE' WHILE THAT OF A JNANI IS 'I AM THE BODY AS WELL' . . . In the same manner as the whole universe is experienced by the jnani as not apart from Self - sat chit ananda - IT IS NOT WRONG FOR THE JNANI TO FEEL THAT THE WORLD IS REAL; BUT IT IS CERTAINLY WRONG IF AN IGNORANT SAYS 'THE WORLD IS REAL' SO LONG AS HIS EXPERIENCE OF 'I' IS LIMITED TO THE BODY ALONE."




______________________________________________

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

COMMENT (2)

In the verse 17 I see no indication that the jnani is "still aware of the body but it doesn't bother him" as many teachers seems to imply nowadays. "‘I’, the Self, shines without limit". It doesn't say the Self shines without limit and the body poses no inconvenience although it is still seen or seems to be seen. It says clearly that what is experienced in that state is Self alone, or pure self awareness only, only 'I', or ourselves alone (as we really are) as the term is used on this blog.

In the note of verse 17 we read "Jnani feels ‘the body is also I’". Again it doesn't say in any way the state of the jnani include any kind of body awareness. Quite the contrary, it clearly says the body is seen as the Self, so what is seen is only Self, so no body awareness. (of course here "seen" is used as far as language can afford a description, there is no literal seeing of something, we be/are the Self, pure self awareness etc...)

verse 18

"To those who do not have knowledge (of Self) and to those who do have (knowledge of Self), the world which is seen in front (of them) is real"

The element of reality in our ego, the "I am", or pure "I", or the clear water in the water+mud example given earlier makes us believe the world is real. That's why we believe in reality of what we see. For the jnani only that element of reality exists, he is not aware of any form or shape (thought). It doesn't mean the world is real as such as we perceive it. We think it is real because of that element of reality in our ego.

Since we take what we see for real because of that element of reality in ourselves (the 'I' or 'I am') Bhagavan says that "to those who have not known (Self), the reality is limited to) the measure of the world (that is, to its names and forms)". But next He makes it clear that "to those who have known (Self), the reality abides devoid of (name and) form as the substratum of the world." In other words the Jnani sees only Reality, the pure "I" or "I am" and he is not aware of a world, body, events, time, space (the names and forms)

In the note of verse 18 it says "the Jnani experiences the world to be the nameless and formless" so how can any form appear. It is clear that he does not experience any world, his former body, other people, events, time since these are names and form created by the ego.

The Sadhu Om quote....

"When a jnani thus feels everything as the one undivided Self, will not his body ALSO be included in that experience as 'I'. Again, where does it say the body is still perceived? It says clearly that the experience is only 'I', or pure self awareness, or the Self, whatever we want to call it.

I honestly don't get the part "The body consciousness of a jnani is nothing but the reflection of a ray of an atom-like part of that pure Self-Awareness which is experienced by him as 'I'. Only in this way A JNANI IS AWARE OF HIS BODILY EXISTENCE."

How can a Jnani still be aware of a bodily existence if the forms are not perceived as such (a body is a form) I can't comprehend.

If the part "which is experienced by him as 'I'" refers to the body as well then this is in agreement with Bhagavan, so all is perceived as pure self awareness only, no forms... no body, no world, no time etc...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

COMMENT (3)

The verses Michael quoted made it clear that in the state of the jnani, or jnana more correctly since there is no individual there, forms and names (body, world, people, events, time all that constitues a world-appeareance) do not appear anymore.

Based on that standard of the Jnani, or Jnana experience:

1. People who claim directly or indirectly (or their writings imply) to be jnani but still say they experience any kind of form (former body, world, people, events etc...) are not jnanis. (the experience of true jnana is not present). This is a crystal-clear contradiction.

2. Claims like the one by Papaji (in Rob Sacks interview with David Godman) that "he knows only three jnanis" are absurd. If the state of jnana is attained, there is no ego-sense anymore so who and to whom is to say "this man is ajnani, this one is not..." Clear contradiction here... At best a concession can be made to the ignorant and be said that "In the jnani view all are jnani" but that would be a concession to us experienceing ourselves as a body. Claiming that only some are jnani is absurd...

Judging based on this criterion we can easily separate the wheat from the chaff.

The quote by David Godman "Speaking from his own experience Sri Ramana said that the jnani is aware that the world is real, not as an assemblage of interacting matter and energy, but as an uncaused appearance in the Self. "

How can a Jnani be aware of the world as something existing somehow separately in what we call Self (pure self awareness devoid of form) since the world itself is a form that is annihilated on the attainment of jnana state?! Again, it doesn't make sense to me... Or perhaps we rely to much on words to describe what cannot be described?!..

Now... one very important thing... it depends on what level we are having this conversation. Mouna bought the subject of ajata, so we can express this on 3 levels.

Level 1

The experience of Jnana does not include perception of any names and form (a body, time, space, other bodies, events... etc.... all that constitutes a world experiene) based on a teaching we consider realiable (Bhagavan's). Anyone who violates this standard is not a jnani.

Level 2

We immerse ourselves in Bhagavan's teaching... Our ego projects everthing like in a dream. This is a world created entirely by our ego just like the last night's dream. Evaluations like I did before are obiously meaningless. My only job here is to turn away from everything and see what this ego is so I can wake up and be done with this dream. It is absolutely irrelevant what other people claim. Let all be jnanis or ajnanis. My job is only one. Investigate the one who is raising all these questions and comparisons. This is what Bhagavan (the dream figure, the lion that appeared in our dream to wake us up) told us to do, this is the only thing this blog also stresses much of the time... On this level the discussion has no purpose.

Level 3

The true state of jnana (ajata). Only 'I' exists, only pure self awareness is the experience, no time, no world, no space, no events, no people, just like in sleep. In ajata we don't even exist even now, just like the last night dream is now non existent. So we can't event touch Ajata for a discussion.

We can only switch between level 1 and 2. Hopefully we are getting more and more immersed in level 2 of seeing things and practice until we attain jnana (level 3) in which case all this will cease to exit and we will experience only ourselves as we really are (pure self awareness devoid of every form)

But let's be honest, we are still struggling to get our of level 1, otherwise we would not even be reading this blog once the basics are well establised in our mind. So I would say that the assessment is accurate from the level one, pointless from level two, and level 3 is what we should be the state of attainment aided by adopting level 2.

I hope what I really wanted to say is clear now...

Thank you,
Dragos

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Ken .... wait for COMMENT (1) to show up ... I'm running into the same old problem...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

... THere is COMMENT (1), COMMENT (2) and COMMENT (3)... who form my complete annswer to your questions... let's hope they appear... they are long, they might take some time...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...


COMMENT (4)

... one small update to the whole thing...

When Bhagavan says ‘the body is also I’ he is refering to it in the following sense... Imagine some water (I) in which we throw another water (the body). It all becomes water.. there will be only water... The first water does not see/is not aware in any way of the part that was thrown in it.. In this sense he uses to express what happens to body awareness after realization (attainement of state of jnana)
.....

smelting heat said...

Dragos,
your COMMENT (3) is till now shown only in RSS-Feed.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

smelting heat,

I had this experience before. I wrote (4) comments... they appear after a while...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

I have to leave the computer now. Usually the comments would appear. I hope so..
I also put all of them in a doc here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q2uaV96KqOjtbrrnh-QOhcOtuEQHE6Bn8zoW0j7zLDM/edit?usp=sharing


Thank you,
Dragos

Comments welcome :)

Ken said...

Dragos,

I think you are not getting the idea behind Ramana's statement:

"to those who have known (Self), the reality abides devoid of (name and) form as the substratum of the world."

Substratum definition - The underlying cause or basis of something.

This is exactly what Ramana says in the Ramana quote by David Godman in "Be As You Are", except that he explains it to the questioner:

"Q: If the jnani and the ajnani perceive the world in like manner, where is the difference between them?

Ramana: Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self which is the substratum of all that is seen; the ajnani, whether he sees the world or not, is ignorant of his true being, the Self.
Take the instance of moving pictures on the screen in the cinema-show. What is there in front of you before the play begins? Merely the screen. On that screen you see the entire show, and for all appearances the pictures are real. But go and try to take hold of them. What do you take hold of? Merely the screen on which the pictures appeared. After the play, when the pictures disappear, what remains? The screen again.
So with the Self. That alone exists, the pictures come and go. If you hold on to the Self, you will not be deceived by the appearance of the pictures. Nor does it matter at all if the pictures appear or disappear. Ignoring the Self the ajnani
thinks the world is real, just as ignoring the screen he sees merely the pictures, as if they existed apart from it. If one knows that without the seer there is nothing to be seen, just as there are no pictures without the screen, one is not deluded. The jnani knows that the screen and the pictures are only the Self. With the pictures the Self is in its manifest form; without the pictures it remains in the unmanifest form. To the jnani it is quite immaterial if the Self is in the one form or the other. He is always the Self. But the ajnani seeing the jnani active gets confounded."

You keep adding "only" into phrases where Ramana does not use them.

As far as "names and forms", they are in the mind, not in sense perceptions. A baby just experiences sense perceptions without names and forms. It is put into a bath for the first time, and it senses warmth and dampness without the words "bath" and "water".

If the jnani did not have the capability to experience sense perceptions, then in Ulladu Narpadu, Ramana would not be saying that " the Jnani experiences the world to be the nameless and formless existence-consciousness-bliss. " and instead would be saying " the Jnani does not experience the world ".

If the jnani's experience was just a blissful void, then there would be no way for the jnani to "experience the world", because there would be no difference between world existing and world not existing.

Ken said...

Actually, it turns out that Ramana himself addressed this idea "No one who says they see the world can possibly be a jnani."

From Be As You Are by David Godman:

"Ramana: There are various controversies or schools of thought as to whether a jnani can continue to live in his physical body after realization. Some hold that one who dies cannot be a jnani because his body must vanish into air, or some such thing. They put forward all sorts of funny notions. If a man must at once leave his body when he realises the Self, I wonder how any knowledge of the Self or the state of realization can come down to other men. And that would mean that all those who have given us the fruits of their Self-realization in books cannot be considered jnanis because they went on living after realization. And if it is held that a man cannot be considered a jnani so long as he performs actions in the world (and action is impossible without the mind), then not only the great sages who carried on various kinds of work after attaining jnana must be considered ajnanis but the gods also, and Iswara [the supreme personal God of Hinduism] himself, since he continues looking after the world. The fact is that any amount of action can be performed, and performed quite well, by the jnani, without his identifying himself with it in any way or ever imagining that he is the doer."

For clarity, the relevant quote is:

"And if it is held that a man cannot be considered a jnani so long as he performs actions in the world (and action is impossible without the mind), then not only the great sages who carried on various kinds of work after attaining jnana must be considered ajnanis"

The other clarification here - which echoes all the other quotes in this thread, is that bondage is identifying.

(By the way, Godman gives the source for this quote as "D. Mudaliar - Day by Day with Bhagavan, p.189-90. Godman states about this source: "One plus in favour of this work is that Bhagavan publicly pronounced himself to be highly satisfied with Devaraja Mudaliar’s skill and accuracy as an interpreter.")

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

David's quotes (where it may be suggested that the Jnani is some kind of all-pervading awareness and the body goes on as before) are in total contrast with other Bhagavan's quotes where he says that the jnani appears to be doing actions only in our own personal view, where he says that Jnani cannot be aware of a world (like when he mentions Christ as a sage saying he could not have been aware performing his miracles). We may find plenty of quotes to support that.

The idea that a Jnani is still aware of his body and the world experiences after the attainment of jnana state contradicts Bhagavan's philosophy in its core point. According to Bhagavan everything except this state of pure consciousness is a form, not only what we call form, like the forms we see in our mind. According to him this is nothing else than a dream. Everything in a dream is a form. My body is form, a tree is a form, time and space are form... the whole dream itself is a form.

Like that only it makes sense that 'forms disappear' or 'forms are annihilated' or like Buddha says the 'candle is blown'.

I think I'm beginning to run out of words repeating the same apparently stubborn ideas.

I invite Michael to say his word concerning this (I believe) very important issue, if possible stepping a little down to level 1 of seeing things, and if possible debating whether someone claiming (directly, indirectly or in their writings) to be a jnani but still saying they experience a body or world could be used as a criterion to say "this description this person gives about his state is not an accurate description of an atma jnana" (if possible!)

Thank you all,
Dragos

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

The Jnani's experience cannot be compared to a blissful void implying he's out of this world enjoying a blissful void. There would still be an ego to be aware of/ enjoy that. A very good analogy I found is the one when a salt doll is throw into the sea. It will eventually melt and disappear (form disappears, dissolves). The form cannot reappear. There is only the experience of being the sea, no kind of seeing... This is an accurate description as far as words allow it and as far as I was able to understand Bhagavan's philosophy and the state of attainment... I may be wrong and I welcome any criticism. This point is very important to me, otherwise it all becomes a mess in my mind and I cannot trust Bhagavan anymore since the whole logic will be flawed and the teaching inconsistent... I expect a more competent and more coherent answer I was able to give with my English to these (crucial I believe ) ideas (for me at least).

Thank you,
Dragos

PS: I will not reply to your other quotes ken because I'll be saying the same ideas in slightly modified forms... thank you! It was an interesting discussion to say the least! :) Some deep understandings for me at least (or perhaps misunderstandings, I accept that also if that's true) All the best to everyone in their spiritual path! I think I said all there is to say as far as I was able to express it concerning this important issue...

Mouna said...

The funny thing about all these quotes, thoughts, explanations from "jnanis", ajnanis, avatars, arguments , counter-arguments, commentaries, etc is that tonight, just in a few hours, and hopefully also for a few hours, everything will go down the drain, to that primordial silence without world, others or my-self (with a small s) without sensations, perceptions, thoughts, emotions...
I wonder why we have such a hard time to understand ajata?...

Yes, I know, the problem is that we come back, right? Or so it seems...

daisilui said...

Mouna,
yes, this is how i see it too- funny. Funny to rely on scriptures, opinions and experiences of others; funny to interpret others' experience in order to get a confirmation that you are on the 'right path'. If Ramana could give you a certificate of enlightenment attesting that you're a jnani now, what would that do for you?!
Again: "The Self cannot be found in books (or talk- my addition). You have to find it for yourself, in yourself."
Ramana said this- not whether he said it or someone else did, would make any difference, at least not to me... If you're looking outside yourself what can you expect to find/how can you expect to find who you are?!

cave of one's heart said...

Mouna,
where are you now to come back 'just in a few hours' ?
Where have you been during the day to come back (in the morning)?
Do or did we ever leave the place ? Have we ever been away ?

Will we ever remain in the abode of bliss ?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind...

looking directly said...

daisilui,
is there at all an 'outside yourself' ?
Why should we expect to find who we are ?
Is it not said that we are already what we are ?

daisilui said...

looking directly

is there a 'within yourself'?! You know what i meant... i don't feel there's a need to get back into further dissecting, analyzing and wordsmithing... that's a trap of the ego!

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

daisilui, can I add "The Self cannot be found on blogs?" Perhaps that helps your understanding...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

If we adopt this attitude perhaps I don't get the purpose of this blog... It's 00:59 here ... In should go back to sleep... and hope to never wake up... you too Mouna ... :)

looking directly said...

daisilui,
do not care about ego-traps. I do not feel any need to walk into the ego's trap.
I would rather like to fall into the trap of grace. Lets have confidence that our real nature is happiness which is inborn in the true self. Therefore we should enquire immediately with acute vigilance 'Who am I ?' !

Mouna said...

Dragos,
That's why we are in this blog and the purpose of it, we keep coming back...
the hope of never wake up won't do... but self-investigation might... :)

looking directly said...

Dragos,
as you know :the force of vasanas or past karmas is unconquerable.
Ah, yes, you have Eastern European Summer Time which is 3 hours ahead of UTC.
Good night and soon good morning !

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Leaving aside this, I still say the questions raised are relevant for the purpose of this blog...

Ken said...

Dragos wrote:

"Everything in a dream is a form. My body is form, a tree is a form, time and space are form... the whole dream itself is a form."

I think there is no point to continuing, since you obviously are not reading and thinking about my points.

You also wrote: "The idea that a Jnani is still aware of his body and the world experiences after the attainment of jnana state contradicts Bhagavan's philosophy in its core point."

The fact that you don't accept Ramana or Sadhu Om's explicit statements to the contrary, including Ulladu Narpadu, means that you probably never will.

Here is one last attempt:

Right now you are aware of the world and your body.

Ramana said "there is no bondage, no liberation, and no ajanis." (Sadhu Om explained this in his analogy of the triangular space in "Path of Sri Ramana Vol. One" which is essential reading).

Since you are aware of the world and your body, and Ramans said there are no ajnanis, then jnanis are aware of the world and bodies.

So, do not confuse the technique (turning away from 2nd and 3rd persons) with reality or capability.

Remember, any statement that "the Self cannot" is automatically wrong.

daisilui said...

Dragos,
'ajunge o bata la un car de oale' means anything to you? To me it is about the pointing of the sign posts not about the sign posts themselves...

Ken said...

I opened a book and this was right there:

"Q: You have said that the jnani can be and is active, and deals with men and things. I have no doubt about it now. But you say at the same time that he sees no differences; to him all is one, he is always in the consciousness. If so, how does he deal with differences, with men, with things which are surely different?

Ramana: He sees these differences as but appearances, he sees them as not separate from the true, the real, with which he is
one.
"

Ken said...

On the same page:

"Ramana: The jnani sees only the Self and all in the Self.

Q: Are there not illustrations given in our books to explain this sahaja [natural] state clearly to us?

Ramana: There are. For instance you see a reflection in the mirror and the mirror. You know the mirror to be the reality and the picture in it a mere reflection. Is it necessary that to see the mirror we should cease to see the reflection in it?"

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Ken then what shall we make of these quotes then?!

You see my point?!

"

..............
The rope is unrelated to the snake; it did
not give birth to the snake. So too the world and the Reality
are negations of each other, in the sense that he that sees
one of them does not and cannot at the same time see the
other. The two cannot be experienced simultaneously. He
that sees the world sees not the Self, the Reality; on the other
hand he that sees the Self does not see the world. So one of
them alone can be real — not both. Hence there is no real
relation between them.

...........
The Reality is like the lighted screen, on which
move the pictures (in a cinema-show); the soul, the world and
God are like the pictures that move; the Infinite alone (like the
lighted screen) is real. It is pure, without difference. Though
these (pictures) are unreal, they are not different from the
Reality. But the Reality is different from them, because it exists
without them in Its state of Unity (in the Egoless State). He
that sees the unreal appearances does not see the Reality; he
that sees the Reality does not see the unreal appearances


..........

It is called the Heart, because
It is the Source of intelligence from which the mind takes its
rise and expands into the world. To that Source it must return,
so that relativity may be wound up and may cease. When the
mind, with life, returns to the Heart and stays there in unity
with It, then it can no more project on the Self the world appearance
which conceals it. From this it follows that the Sage
does not see the world, though he rarely says so, having regard
to the weaknesses of questioners;

"

Maha Yoga, K Lakshmana Sarma (close devotee for decades, his book considered a primer)

... to me what experiences a jnani is important. It helps me separate those who claim this status (as subjective as this is), makes me avoid reading material who confuses me, focuses and clarifies my mind on certain core issues. This is relevant to ME! Anyone can believe and follow watever they want...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...


"Is it necessary that to see the mirror we should cease to see the reflection in it?"

LOOOL of course it is necessary. Go to a mirror and try to watch both the mirror and your reflection. You cannot!!! You can only see one of them at a time!

Where do you get these dubious quotes from anyway?!

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Let's just drop it... I'm tired of it... Perhaps I am wrong ... I'll keep my conclusions to myself...

Ken said...

The source of the first quote (the one that appeared when I opened the book) is described as having been read and approved by Ramana. David Godman writes:

"The dialogues that precede Sat Darshana Bhashya were read to Bhagavan by Kapali Sastri prior to their publication. As he was listening to them, Bhagavan made suggestions that were all incorporated. K. Natesan, who was present in the hall on the day of the reading, told me that Bhagavan asked Kapali Sastri to change one phrase to ‘import of I’ – a nice English phrase – but he couldn’t remember what words it replaced."

Godman gives the source for the second quote (about the mirror) as "D. Mudaliar - Day by Day with Bhagavan, p.189-90. Godman states about this source: "One plus in favour of this work is that Bhagavan publicly pronounced himself to be highly satisfied with Devaraja Mudaliar’s skill and accuracy as an interpreter."

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

...well... Bhagavan is reported to have praised highly K. Laksmana Sarma's work as well. In fact he said something along the lines of "Everyone is saying that Lakshmana Sarma's commentary on Ulladu Narpadu is the best. Nobody has studied Ulladu Narpadu the way Sarma has". He doesn't say "K. Laksmana Sarma's commentary is the only correct one" because he also said that according to each one's capacity the teaching will be understood differently... there some differences here and I wanted to point them out... But they regard the final state, and there are no differences on what we should actually do, that is a common agreement...

If we adopt Bhagavan's world view given to us as a help then all I need to care is this about ego and see what it is, not care of its projections, so I admit on this level and if we accept Bhagavan's teaching, all I wanted to say makes no sense...

...I would just leave it, to be honest... in the end, if the world appears or not, let's find out and turn back and see what this ego/I really is...

In my mind, I still maintain tough that on attainment of Jnana when Dragos's ego will be gone (will be exposed for what it is, an unreal thing which was actually this pure self awareness all along) the only experience will be of pure self awareness and nothing else as He teaches us in the third or fourth verses of Nan Yar? and many other places....

... if we understand the practice many comparisons become irrelevant I admit... unless who knows... maybe we experience some out-of-the ordinary state and think we are enlightened... wouldn't the idea that we still experience something be of help then?! :)

(sorry... it keeps coming back...)

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

...I remember my heated arguments against Roger's discussion on the topic of neti neti... That's my style I cannot help it... Let's hope this discussion will not end like that... some differences in those text are obvious and cannot be denied though....

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

... all I wanted to say is that Bhagavan's clues as what the state of jnana is do not match other descriptions. I went a bit further and compared other descriptions. I admit that if I profess to be a devotee of Bhagavan and follow his teaching the question "are other people who claim to have attained the state of jnana based on their description of that state really Jnanis?!" does not make sense...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

...well... I guess that would be all I have to say on this thread... God luck everyone with killing your own ego :)

Ken said...

This has been good for sharpening and clarifying our knowledge.

I looked at "Maha Yoga" and the sections there (and the portions of GVK cited) seem to be more aimed at the ajnani. That could explain the apparent conflict with the other Ramana quotes.

So, I looked in GVK (Michael James version) under its sections about jnanis and their experience and there is:

51. Those who have given up worldly [i.e. sense-] knowledge and attachment to it, and who have destroyed the evil force of mind [i.e. Maya], thus gaining Supreme Self-Consciousness, alone can know the correct meaning of the statement, “The world is Real”.

52. If one’s outlook is changed into Jnana [Divine Wisdom], seen through That, the entire universe, consisting of the five elements such as ether and so on, will be found to be real, being the Supreme Knowledge Itself. Thus you should see.

53. If one’s outlook is changed into Jnana, seen through That, this same world, seen previously as a hell of misery, will be found to be a heaven of Bliss.

54. As per the saying “The seen cannot differ from the seeing eyes”, the Jnani, whose eye [i.e. outlook] has become Sat-Chit-Ananda due to the cessation of all mental activities, sees this world also as Sat-Chit-Ananda.

[So again, all these things refer to a world. The world appears as the Self, not "the world fails to appear". Then verse 62 actually refers to the five senses:]

62. He who knows this world-appearance to be his own form, Supreme-Consciousness, experiences the same Consciousness even through his five senses.

[All of this indicates that it is significantly different for the jnani, and there is significant number of references to the ajnani not understanding the view of the jnani, and recommendations to just do the self-investigation and find out for ourselves the viewpoint of the jnani by becoming one.]

Ken said...

BTW, in regards to the comment "maybe we experience some out-of-the ordinary state and think we are enlightened..."

It IS true that an ajnani can have a spiritual experience and falsely believe himself to be a jnani.

One needs to first sever the knot, and this will be in an experience that is ONLY of the self, and then one will experience the "I" thought has gone forever.

Then - as Sadhu Om states many posts earlier, the jnani can experience "I" but in a different way that does not produce bondage (much as a burnt rope cannot burn again), and then experiences the five senses as one unity that is not a multitude of names and forms, but still can be perceived. This is hard for us to imagine, but since it only occurs for jnanis, it is not an essential point.

Amongst other things, it is difficult otherwise to explain how Ramana could read his mail and a newspaper, amongst other things.

As far as identifying worthwhile teachers, Ramana was clear that only a jnani can 100% identify another jnani, and the only indication that an ajnani can use is the experience of being in the physical presence, which is not possible for people who are no longer alive (such as all the teachers mentioned in this thread).

However, when evaluating dead teachers, it is certainly important to verify the logic, rationality and truth of their statements, you are not wrong in that. So, it was a reasonable subject of inquiry and that seems to be what the blog is about.

Murali Meleth said...

Dragos,

When you wake up from deep sleep, your "I" wakes up with the world.

When Sri Ramana Maharshi (the physical entity) wakes up from sleep, his "I" does not wake up with the world as the "I" has been resolved back into the Absolute.

There is no difference between you (the physical entity) and Sri Ramana Maharshi (the physical entity). They both are part and parcel of the same phenomenal existence. Same way as you experience pain, Sri Ramana Maharshi (the physical entity) will also experience pain as long as body consciousness is operating.

When you say "I", the immediate reference is made to the physical entity.

When Ramana Maharshi says "I" or "the Jnani", the point of reference is the Absolute which does not experience anything.

Yet, when the body experiences pain, Sri Ramana Maharshi (the physical entity) for sure will exclaim "Oh... it's painful..."

But he will not say "I am experiencing pain".

venkat said...

Lakshmana Sarma (who Bhagavan lauded as writing the best commentary on Ulladu Narpadu) distilled Bhagavan's teaching in Sri Ramanaparavidyopanishad.

He has a sequence of verses within it that address the reality of the world:

419: Hence the sage who has attained his natural state, which is the Supreme State and remains in his natural freedom, and is therefore free from delusions, sees nothing other than the Self. How then can he see anything unreal?

[This could imply obliteration of perception. However, he goes on . . .]

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.

427: This world, which to the one whose eye is blinded by unawareness of his own Real Self, conceals the Supreme Being, is itself concealed to the One whose eye is purified by the Right Awareness of that Self, by that Supreme Being.

[Again, this could imply that for the sage, the world is concealed or obliterated. But he goes on . . ]

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 the world, does not think of it as real, as does the ignorant one.

venkat said...

Murugunar and Bhagavan in Guru Vachaka Kovai write

62: He who knows this world appearance to be his own form, Supreme Consciousness, experiences that same Consciousness even through his five senses.
Murugunar's comment: This verse explains the little-known truth that the sahaja state is experienced even in external perceptions. For him, who truly knows sense perceptions to be his own Self, the world is not an obstacle. He experiences and enjoys his own Self in all perceptions and rejoices identically both internally and externally, without even a trace of the thought of bondage.

81: Realising the truth of Self within your heart and ever abiding in the Supreme, act according to the human role which you have taken in this world, as if you taste its pleasures and pains.
{This is very similar to Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham, v26 and v27, Bhagavan translates Vasishta's advice to Rama]

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Let's leave asides all these quotes for a moment since they are obviously with some difference. Let's just rely on what we can test ourselves right now... and come up with some conclusions from this.

Let's test this... next time (or right now if possible) when you have a conversation face to face with a friend or spouse try to put your full undivided attention on yourself. Try to do it seriously... Do you still see your friend? Are you aware in any way of his form? If you do this you'll observe that the strength (of attention) you put on yourself is directly proportional with you friend's disappearance from your field of view. Most probably you'll be able to focus say 70% on yourself and the rest will still allows for some perception of yourself.

Now if we do this 100%, how can you'll be able to still be aware of your friend?! .... Better still... test it right now with these words on your computer screen... do you still see them if you turn towards yourself.

This is in a nutshell what Bhagavan taught. The key point of His is that if we do this 100% in the manner of this simple experiment we came up which we can test anytime, we will subside into our source and this ego (which rises and perceives everything else cuz only the ego does that) will die. Then we will experience atma jnana. We have to go all the way to see this is true, there's no other way. If something still appears after the destruction of the ego in this manner it means the ego is not destroyed since it can still perceive something...

So that something is still perceived once the ego is destroyed contradicts everything... It just doesn't make sense...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

still allows for some perception of yourself. ---> .... of your friend (small error)

Fata Morgana said...

venkat,
who cares whether the ignorant ones think of the illusory world as real or the Sage is not deluded by seeing this mirage ?
Does anyone at all care about whether the sage is aware of the self as infinite, formless being or the ignorant ones think of themselves with form and body ?

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"For him, who truly knows sense perceptions to be his own Self" ->> I understand from this that all becomes "All is one", the state of Sahara samadhi, no forms or shapes are perceived.

When the Sage "sees the world" the word "sees" does no mean he is actually aware of something...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Sahaja ... (the autocorrect)

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"obliteration of perception" is not the most accurate word for the experience. When the salt doll is thrown into the sea it becomes the sea, its form never to reappear again. This is the best description for the experience. How can you claim atma jnana status and still see forms then?!

That is what I asked...

Fata Morgana said...

Dragos.
should not a sage be always aware (of awareness) ?
Seeing is only an other word for being aware.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

"The claim of atma jnana experience while forms of any kind are still there or any kind of experience occurs is not an accurate description of the state of jnana"

In this is basically the (subjective) evaluation I wanted to say...

PS: Sorry, right now I have no time for other replies... :) When I find time...

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

In the end Ken, you are right, what you say "recommendations to just do the self-investigation and find out for ourselves the viewpoint of the jnani by becoming one" is obviously the only sensible thing to do...

Thank you,
Dragos :)

venkat said...

Sadhu Om, the Path of Sri Ramana Part 1, Appendix 3:

"Though after Self- realization some Jnanis spend their entire lifetime completely oblivious of the body and world, not all Jnanis will necessarily remain thus. The return of body-consciousness (AND CONSEQUENTLY WORLD-CONSCIOUSNESS) after the attainment of Self-realization is according to the prarabdha of that body; in the case of some it might never return, while in the case of others it might return within a second or after a few hours or days. But even in such cases where it does return, it will not be experienced as a knowledge of second or third persons! That is to say, the body and world are not experienced by the Jnani as second and third persons – objects other than Himself-but as His own unlimited and undivided Self."

Sadhu Natanananda in Sri Ramana Darsanam makes the same point, p.98:

"Only swarupa jnana siddhi - a state free from vasanas - is the attainment of liberation. The attainment of samadhi free of body consciousness adds further greatness to jnana, like a golden flower that is also endowed with fragrance. However loss of ignorance is sufficient for liberation . . . The power of prarabdha that brings about the waking and sleep states in the ignorant also brings about the kerala nirvikalpa samadhi [samadhi without body consciousness] and sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi [unceasing Self-abidance with body consciousness] in jnanis. Therefore samadhi without body consciousness is not experienced by all jnanis.

So again, both Sadhu Om and Sadhu Natanananda make it clear that body and world consciousness may appear to the jnani, but he does not think of them as separate, as objects other than himself.

If we take a scientific, materialistic analogy: we all know from science that our bodies are made up of the same sub-atomic particles; and that these constantly interchange. So whilst in appearance there seem to be different bodies and inert matter, "in reality", they are all made up of the same sub-atomic particles - ultimately energy we are told. Initially we may be ignorant of this science. We read a book or go to a teacher, and get exposed to this 'intellectual' knowledge; whilst we may accept it, the conditioning of being a separate individual is so deep, that it remains intellectual knowledge and never truly transforms us.

A jnani is one for whom this non-dual knowledge is so intuitive, so deep 'in his bones' that he is not deceived by appearances; indeed the subconscious thought/feeling I am separate from the world never arises (so it does not need to be countered by atma vichara).

Fata Morgana said...

venkat,
"A jnani is one for whom this non-dual knowledge is so intuitive, so deep 'in his bones' that he is not deceived by appearances; indeed the subconscious thought/feeling I am separate from the world never arises (so it does not need to be countered by atma vichara)."
Do you merely believe that or do you know it ?
How do you know that ?

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

I give up... :) I will believe this only when I will be aware of my body during sleep :P ... till then allow me to doubt those claims..

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Let me practice and get there in Jnana state... Then I will tell you, like I did to the persons in my last night dream :P

All the best! :)

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Perhaps there are other forms of Samadhi which include body awareness. I might be wrong... I'll just stick to practice. Let's have a good practice :) Don't take anything I said personally, that's my heated way of arguing in general. I didn't mean to upset anyone. Excuse me if I did. (daisilui, Ken, Mouna, venkat, Michael, David and everyone else) All the best to everyone! :)

venkat said...

Fata Morgana, you are quite right. I should have prefaced my comments with: "My understanding of what I have read (of Bhagavan, Gaudapada, Shankara and others) and my manana thereon, is that . . . A jnana is one for whom . . . " Thanks for pointing out.

Ken said...

Dragos says "Perhaps there are other forms of Samadhi which include body awareness".

Here are quotes from Ramana on "other forms of Samadhi which include body awareness":

"Q: What is the difference between internal and external samadhi?

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

Q: The mind does not sink into that state even for a second.

Ramana: A strong conviction is necessary that ‘I am the Self, transcending the mind and the phenomena.’

Q: Nevertheless, the mind proves to be an unyielding obstacle which thwarts any attempts to sink into the Self.

Ramana: What does it matter if the mind is active? It is so only on the substratum of the Self. Hold the Self even during mental activities."

"Q: Is nirvikalpa samadhi absolutely necessary before the attainment of sahaja?

Ramana: Abiding permanently in any of these samadhis, either savikalpa or nirvikalpa, is sahaja [the natural state]. What is body-consciousness? It is the insentient body plus consciousness. Both of these must lie in another consciousness which is absolute and unaffected and which remains as it always is, with or without the body-consciousness. What does it then matter whether the body-consciousness is lost or retained, provided one is holding on to that pure consciousness? Total absence of body-consciousness has the advantage of making the samadhi more intense, although it makes no difference to the knowledge of the supreme."

"Ramana:The true destruction of the mind is the non-recognition of it as being apart from the Self. Even now the mind is not. Recognise it. How can you do it if not in everyday activities which go on automatically? Know that the mind promoting them is not real but is only a phantom proceeding from the Self. That is how the mind is destroyed."

Fata Morgana said...

venkat,
wisdom is to seek one's self and merge into it.
As Natanananda says - loss of ignorance is sufficient for liberation.
All the best.

venkat said...

FM, what is there to merge into, and who is to merge? Loss of ignorance does not require any merging.

Fata Morgana said...

venkat,
without merging the ego permanently into self ignorance will not vanish.

venkat said...

And do you speak from a position of having done so?

venkat said...

FM, Bhagavan and advaita do not talk about merging of ego with Self, because, they state, there never was an ego - it is a mis-apprehension, superimposed on Consciousness. Rather they talk about destruction of the ego / mind. Perhaps your experience is different?

venkat said...

Ken - I came across this. I think it was in Day by Day.

There is a screen. On that screen first a figure appears. Before that figure, on the same screen, other pictures appear and the first figure goes on watching the other pictures. If you are the screen and know yourself to be the screen, is it necessary not to see the first figure and the subsequent pictures? When you don't know the screen you think the figure and pictures to be real. But when you know the screen and realise it is the only reality on which as substratum the shadows of the figure and pictures have been cast, you know these to be mere shadows. You may see the shadows, knowing them to be such and knowing yourself to be the screen which is the basis for them all.

Fata Morgana said...

venkat,
your assertion that Bhagavan does 'not talk about merging of ego with Self' is inappropriate.
Of course, we are illimitable spirit. This ego-phantom does not really exist. But you surely know the problem of our ignorant view of the seemingly rising of this ego. Our knowledge is limited by our mind which rises and jumps out through the senses. When Bhagavan teaches us that destruction of this ego/mind is an indispensable necessarity he advices us clearly to transform the mind into the self by a steady investigation into the nature of the mind. If we consciously abide in self, the base for the rising and setting of this ego, that mere false appearance may come to an end.

venkat said...

FM

Why inappropriate? He doesn't. Talking about merging and transformation of ego / mind is not what Bhagavan or advaita teach. Bhagavan and Shankara say that the ego/mind itself is a misconceived superimposition on reality. By investigating it, its falseness will be seen, and it will disappear. There is no transformation or merging.

"Investigate what the mind is, and it will disappear. There is no such thing as mind apart from thought. Nevertheless, because of the emergence of thought, you surmise something from which it starts and term that the mind. When you probe to see what it is, you find there is really no such thing as mind." - Bhagavan

However, if you mean it poetically, or because you are speaking from a position of authority, fair enough.

Bob - P said...

Hi Venkat

You quoted:

Sadhu Om, the Path of Sri Ramana Part 1, Appendix 3:

"Though after Self- realization some Jnanis spend their entire lifetime completely oblivious of the body and world, not all Jnanis will necessarily remain thus. The return of body-consciousness (AND CONSEQUENTLY WORLD-CONSCIOUSNESS) after the attainment of Self-realization is according to the prarabdha of that body; in the case of some it might never return, while in the case of others it might return within a second or after a few hours or days. But even in such cases where it does return, it will not be experienced as a knowledge of second or third persons! That is to say, the body and world are not experienced by the Jnani as second and third persons – objects other than Himself-but as His own unlimited and undivided Self."

I can't remember when and I am sorry but I don't have the link to the thread where the discussion took place. Not much of a help am I.

I think it was Mouna and myself who brought up this exact quote you mention.
There was a big discussion about it and Michael explained what Sri Sadhu Om meant.

Persoanlly I have never meet Sri Sadhu Om and I can only can go by his words. In comparison Michael was a very close friend of Sri Sadhu Om and spent 8 years studying Bhagavan's teaching under the guidance of Sri Sadhu Om.

So personally I take Michael's word on it.

Maybe Michael can provide the link to the particular thread this discussion occurred.

Anyway from memory I am pretty sure that Michael basically said the jnani only experiences itself and is not aware of a world as a fasle appearence or illusion. The Jnani does not see multiplicity as all one but no multiplicty at all, no body, no people, no world. All this is in the ignorant view of the ajnani including the form he takes the Jnani to be.

Hopefully Micheal will provide the link.
Or Mouna might have it?

Sorry I can't be more help.

All the very best Venkat.
Bob

venkat said...

Hi Bob

Thanks very much for your comment. I will see if I can find it.

All the best to you too.

venkat

Fata Morgana said...

venkat,
you should not stick so closely to the words. To understand the real sense/meaning and significance of vedanta is first necessary. You may consider that subsidence of mind or eradication of this 'misconceived superimposition' on reality which is projected by this ego are absolutely necessary. That phraseology is only expressed in other words for drowning of a soul in the light of Supreme Siva. Ultimately is investigation of the mind just an other word for transformation of the mind or merging of this ego. Destroying the notion 'I am the body', the root of all misery,
leads to true self-understanding and firm knowledge of your real self - irrespective of all theories and beliefs which one may hold.
Sorry that I cannot quote any statements of Bhagavan or Shankara.

jacques franck said...

Bob-P may be in this link:

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.fr/2016/05/what-is-logic-for-believing-that.html

:)

Bob - P said...

Hi Jacques Franck
Yes that's it!! Thank you very much.
Some way down Mouna asks Michael about the same quote Venkat mentioned.

I must admit I did find it very helpful myself as I too always wondered about this bit in the book as I found it confusing.

Venkat I hope it is helpful to you too. I don't mean in terms of changing you mind about what you personally believe but that it is interesting and hepful to read.

Thanks again Jacques Franck
Bob.

Mouna said...

Dear Bob-P, greetings

Michael said he has going to address, in another article, the question I posted in one of my postings where that quote of Sadhu Om was (although maybe it wasn't connected to that specific quote but to another of the questions raised in relation to Guru Vachaka Kovai's Muruganar quote) but he never did.
Mind you, I completely understood that he never responded since he is so busy addressing more essential, pragmatic and pressing issues for us all.

M

venkat said...

Jacques Franck and Bob - thanks. I forgot about this discussion.

Best

venkat

Bob - P said...


Dear Mouna
Thanks very much for pointing this out.
When Jacques kindly provided the link I quickly went over and looked at it and saw that it was the thread that I remembered from the past where the paragraph Venkat quoted was brought up.

I have looked at it more carefully and see you are absolutely right and my memory about it was sadly lacking.
I am very sorry Venkat and to anyone else who read the thread looking for what I mentioned.

All the best everyone.
Bob

Ken said...

I don't find any of the May 31 discussion rebuts the actual comments of Ramana and Sadhu Om.

They are all of the format similar to "Since we know that A no longer exists when B goes away, then C."

Sometimes this sort of logic does not work as well as it looks at first glance, especially when the words are just pointers to spiritual realities.

Sadhu Om essentially says that the jnani is not aware of 2nd and 3rd person, and yet nevertheless is aware of the world as 1st person. Ramana states that the jnani is aware of the world as 1st person, in a large number of quotes.

I think that if one truly understands "aware of the world as 1st person", one will understand that sense perceptions do not need to entirely vanish for the jnani.

Again:

"Ramana: The true destruction of the mind is the non-recognition of it as being apart from the Self. Even now the mind is not. Recognise it. How can you do it if not in everyday activities which go on automatically? Know that the mind promoting them is not real but is only a phantom proceeding from the Self. That is how the mind is destroyed."

Mouna said...

One of the problems in all these discussions is how we define "mind" and even "ego"
Do we include sensations in the term mind, or perceptions?
The way Bhagavan defined mind or ego is different from the hindu term manas, as well as the term ego is different from ahamkara.
Since ego is everything and every thing is a projection of ego, and the pillars of those projected objects (subjective or objective) are sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings it is a normal deduction that when the projection ends by annihilation of ego/mind everything should go with it.
Again and again, nobody here talks about deep sleep (except Michael and a few others) as the fundamental clue to understand the death of the mind and what self-realization might entail.

I bet nobody here can tell that in deep sleep she/he continues having sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings, right?

Last but not least, we attribute reality to Bhagavan, Sadhu Om, Michael James, etc. due to our incapacity to treat ourselves as not being this body. The fact that we keep referring to "them" (no matter how deeply sainthood is attributed) as external factors instead of relying on our own experience proves that we are still identified of "being bodies in an external universe". When we start a discussion on these terms it is always thwarted from the beginning.

That's what I think based on my experience, but since many of you like quotes, here is one from Sadhu Om (from Guru Vachaka Kovai, SO and MJ translation):

"Bhagavan Sri Ramana therefore comes down condescendingly and, setting aside ‘Ajata' and the two lower doctrines, He advocates through His Forty Verses on Reality the ‘Doctrine of Vivartha' which is suitable for the ripe aspirants who have no faith in the lower doctrines, yet do not have the maturity to grasp the highest, ‘Ajata'.

There is no experience of the upadhis in Jnana, and therefore they appear only to the ignorant and never to the Jnani. Having heard this, the ignorant still ask the Jnani how their wrong outlook has come into being, but they should understand that a Jnani can never admit that upadhis exist for Self, and that it is therefore the responsibility of the ignorant to discover for them-selves how and for whom the upadhis appear. Thus, Bhagavan often used to counter-question his devotees, and say, “You claim that upadhis have come into being and are real, and so you alone must find out what they are, and how, from where, and to whom they appear!”

Guru Vachaka Kovai (Sadhu Om and Michael James translation)
Verse 98. Unless the body is taken to be ‘I', otherness – the world of moving and unmoving objects – cannot be seen. Hence, because otherness – the creatures and their Creator – does not exist, it is wrong to call Self the Witness."



venkat said...

Mouna,

If I may, you seem to be dismissive of those who use quotes. But how else are we to deepen our understanding of what Bhagavan meant than pointing out what has been said or written? After all, Michael's whole blog is quoting Bhagavan, and then explaining these quotes.

You mentioned deep sleep. Vedanta uses the three state analysis in two ways.

Firstly it uses the deep sleep state to point out what we truly are - attributeless, thought-free consciousness, and not a body-mind. Vedanta points to this as the underlying substratum, the truth of what we really are. The screen analogy as so often used by Bhagavan.

Secondly, it makes the point that the waking state is no different from the dream state. When we are dreaming, it seems to be real, and we seem to be acting in the dream. However, when we awaken, we realise that it was a dream, an illusion, as was the character that we thought we were in the dream. Consequently we should not take the waking state jiva / world to be any more real that the dream state diva / world, but rather look to the underlying consciousness on which these play out.

Finally, I think you have a constrained view of ajata. Gaudapada did not (and logically cannot) mean no illusion, since the illusion is clearly there for us. Ajata, the ultimate truth, is that there is no jiva in reality; no jiva/world was born, and it will not be destroyed. It is all just an illusion in non-dual consciousness. Gaudapada himself talked about this illusion in explicating ajata over other creation theories. There is an interesting discussion on exactly what we have been talking about (ajata, perception of world, etc) on David Godman's blog.

http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/ajata.html

It is long, and has support for both sides of our discussion, but there is an interesting punchline in the final paragraph. Also worth scrolling down to a clarifying comment by Arvind, a few comments down.

In any event. all of the exchange shows that intelligent, sincere people can come to different perspectives on what Bhagavan really meant by ajata and by a jnani not seeing the world. So, as Bhagavan would advise, lets just focus on who am I, and not worry about what a jnani may or may not see.

Best wishes,
venkat

Ken said...

There is confusion of two different approaches to Ramana's statements.

There is the approach "Ramana sometimes said some things for some people, and some things for other people".

This is true. One person might ask Ramana what he should practice and Ramana would reply to do self-investigation.

Then another person would ask Ramana if he should continue with japa, and Ramana would say "yes", because he understood that person was not ready to do self-investigation.

However, some people in this blog (and elsewhere), apply that to discount anything he said that appears to contradict other statements.

I do not think Ramana ever lied.

So, as stated earlier in the thread, he was asked:

"Q: Is there no dehatma buddhi [I-am-the-body idea] for the jnani? If, for instance, Sri Bhagavan is bitten by an insect,
is there no sensation?

Ramana: There is the sensation and there is also the dehatma buddhi. The latter is common to both jnani and ajnani with this difference, that the ajnani thinks only the body is myself, whereas the jnani knows all is of the Self, or all this is Brahman. If there be pain let it be. It is also part of the Self. The Self is poorna [perfect]."

There are dozens of such quotes in the thread.

So the "tailoring his remarks to the student" would have to include actively lying to them. If Ramana lied some of the time, then we cannot rely on what he says.

I think this is one case, where the snake-rope analogy does not work, because when one knows it is the rope, we no longer see the snake.

However, if children are lying in the yard watching clouds, and one says "that one looks just like a horse's head, the eyes are there, and the ears are over there" and the other child says "yes, now I can see it!".

At that point, the children see the horse's head, and they know it is not a horse, but rather just a cloud. But seeing that they are all just clouds does not remove the ability to see the "horse's head".

So, the jnani's body still has a physical brain and physical senses, but the jnani's mind no longer breaks up everything into individual forms and applies names, but rather views everything as one unified whole, just as an ocean is one unified whole, even though it is "individual waves".

unarvu said...

Mouna,
please help me my friend:
regarding your quote from Sadhu Om: What is an 'upadhi' ?

careful observer said...

Some remarks:
Fortune does not smile to the deluded ego-mind which is never free from confusion and fear.
One's journey embedded in scholary life turns into an endless series of wanderings in the labyrinth of mental entanglements.
Hide yourself deep within the heart.
Not to give up one's hold on the self constitutes jnana (knowledge).

Ken said...

Unarvu -

Here is a tip (or trick):

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

In other words, you never have to wait for someone to tell you the answer to "what is ____" just type it into Wikipedia.

Ken said...

Venkat,

Thanks for the link!

I think David Godman's British author eloquence explains it better than I can, when he stated in the last paragraph of the link (and more clearly than the arvind comment):

"Once these terms (‘world’ and ‘real’) are analysed and understood, some of the more perplexing conundrums that characterise advaitic creation theories can be seen in a new light. If a world is ‘seen’, it is created and sustained by the ignorance of the ‘seer’; it is not a creation of the Self. In these circumstances, it is still possible to say that in the Self creation has ‘never happened’. But what of the world that ‘appears’ to the jnani? This may seem to be semantic hair-splitting of an extreme kind, but ‘appearance’ does not mean ‘creation’. Ajata means ‘not caused’ or ‘not created’. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘not existing at all’. The world of the jnani is an uncaused and uncreated appearance within the Self; the world of the ajnani, on the other hand, is a creation of the mind that sees it."

unarvu said...

Ken,
thanks for your good idea.
But often Wikipedia does not give always satisfactory answers in spiritual contexts.

Mouna said...

unarvu, greetings

"upadhi" is a hindu term that in general means limitation or conditioning, or more specifically a limitation in the form of an atribute. That which creates a form, does it because of the upadhis. These limitations or atributes is what makes us perceive a sphere different from a cube.
For example, H2O takes the upadhi of water when associated with liquid upadhi, clouds when its gaseous state or ice when solid. Although the essential nature of water, clouds and ice is H20, we can only perceive it through the upadhis or different atributes of its forms and state.
The same happens when a lump of clay takes the upadhi of a pot or gold invested with the upadhi of ring or bracelet.

In hindu philosophy Brahman (the absolute or Self) with upadhis (maya) is called Iswara or God. In the same way we "limit" ourselves with the "I am the body" thought, in his case, the body is the upadhi superimposed on our essential self (that is limitless, timeless and changeless).

This is my understanding of what upadhi means.

Mouna said...

Correction, should read second paragraph should read "in this case" not "in his case"

Mouna said...

Venkat, greetings,

"Finally, I think you have a constrained view of ajata."

If a limitless, timeless, object-less and changeless view (like in deep sleep) is a constraint view of ajata, then I agree with you my friend.

And by the way, quotes (books, commentaries, videos etc), even of the highest source can only take you so far, I am not dismissive at all of quoting (I did it for sooo many years) when it supports our experience instead of replacing it.

Best wishes to you too my friend,
Mouna

unarvu said...

Mouna,
thank you for your fine extra explanatory excursion about the meaning of the hindu term "upadhi".
Best wishes to you.

Bob - P said...

Venkat said:

[In any event. all of the exchange shows that intelligent, sincere people can come to different perspectives on what Bhagavan really meant by ajata and by a jnani not seeing the world. So, as Bhagavan would advise, lets just focus on who am I, and not worry about what a jnani may or may not see.]

Great advice Venkat thinking about what a jnani experiences takes our mind outwards.
I think Bhagavan said there is only one Jnani and it is within you. So we must turn within and investigate ourself.

It is very easy to say this is how something is.
Like the grass is green or the sky is blue.
But really it may be more accurate to say the grass appears green to me or from my perspective the sky appears to be blue.

So maybe everything is just opinions or beliefs, maybe there are no facts. I don't know.

But I personally agree with you all we can do is turn within.
All the best Venkat.
Bob

Ken said...

Mouna wrote:
"And by the way, quotes (books, commentaries, videos etc), even of the highest source can only take you so far, I am not dismissive at all of quoting (I did it for sooo many years) when it supports our experience instead of replacing it."

After many decades of doing all this, my conclusion is that the very very highest spiritual teaching was not by Ramana, but from an earlier source he recommends:

"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)

We must start with reason in order to choose what to do and why.

Reason tells us that everything else in life is dependent on answering the questions "who am I" and "what is this world".

So, "who am I" is not just the practice advocated by Ramana, it is also what reason tells us is the most important thing to find out.

We now know that what the ancients called "the mind" is actually far more influenced by the physical body than they could have known. For example, if someone cheats on a test, and that makes you angry, that is not a "samskara", but instead is part of genetically based homo sapiens social instincts.

What that tells us is various things that occur in our own mind are just robotic processes of the body, just like blood flow or breathing.

So, only rational and logical thought that is very careful to examine all existing assumptions, can tells us what is best for us to do.

My personal experience is that the writings of Ramana Maharshi and Sadhu Om echo what my own rational analysis has concluded. So, I am interested in other things they have said ("quotes"). However, to accept this because I say so (or anyone else says so), would be wrong because it would not be a rational analysis. Instead it would be "I like what he is saying" - which is the source of much error. This is because "liking" only results from either instincts or samskaras. For example, we like eating ice cream, but we do not like eating lawn grass or gravel, because instinct tells us what to eat to survive and reproduce. So, any choice we make because we "like it" is only an automatic response. Only rational choices can be otherwise.

Of course, any student of Vedanta (or Buddhism) knows that the practice involves not paying attention to thoughts. This has led to the irrational mistake that, quote, "the rational mind is the source of all our problems" (an idea very popular in the New Age community). As explained in this comment, this idea could not be more wrong.

However, once we have finished our rational analysis of our situation and the remedy, we must put aside rational thought in order to do the practice. But only in that order.

The avadhut Bhagavan Nityananda once said "The mind is the root of bondage and liberation."

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Ken, following you ABC logic, what Bhagavan is actually saying is

Pure Awareness + Forms = Pure Awareness.

of

I + Forms = I;

to get it in an equation form. we might say

I + F =I;

if we try to find out what forms are...

F = I-I ==> F=0; they don't exist. It hold true.

Also I + Froms = Ego

I + F = Ego

I = Ego (again correct). Only our lack to investigate to see what it is is the source of believing forms actually exist.

What other people seem to imply is that there are still forms after realization (they still see a body, world, people and also pure consciousness, pure awareness, I as their source also)

They also maintain at the same time that those form are unreal. They basically say

I + F = I + F but if F = 0 as they claim at the same time ==> I + 0 = I + 0 ==> I=I. Only pure self awareness with no forms, only ourselves as we really are, I.

We can put it like that also in a rational thought kind of way... :)

(I agree of course with we must put aside rational thought in order to do the practice)

Dragos

PS: I believe this will be addressed by Michael in a much better form than our long discussion here.

All, the best again!
Dragos :)

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

My mind came up with that equation example ... it doesn't mean it's actually realiable and it can be proven mathematically ... lol ... ;)

barefoot walker said...

Michael,
section 1. Who am I? Am I this unreal ego, or the reality that underlies it?
"We seem to be this ego only in waking and dream, but we continue to be aware of our existence in sleep, even though our ego has then disappeared. Therefore this ego cannot be what we actually are, and hence it is not what is actually denoted by the term ‘I’ or ‘I am’. "
May I write some reflections ?
First I take some facts when we fall or stay in deep sleep into consideration:
Body has not died. Rather breath continues .
Our awareness of and as this ego – the sense-perceptions and thoughts – has then disappeared. At least we were/are not aware of our ego-existence in sleep.
Different explanations about that disappearance became known.
Some claim that the ego has gone resting in a subtle place and call it 'subsidence in its source', an other version names that phenomenon as temporary death of the ego. Compared with the ego's previous domain or area of activity, with sureness we can assert or at least conclude that the previous functions of the ego were only out of work/function during deep sleep as we experience its rising again at waking or dreaming.
Secondly I draw the conclusion:
Because we have no certainty whether the ego did not at all exist in deep sleep or was only in a kind of 'stand-by modus' or 'energy-saving-modus' the statement:" Therefore this ego cannot be what we really are, and hence it is not what is actually denoted by the term 'I' or 'I am'." cannot be derived convincingly already from the above experiences. In order to maintain that statement the existence of an awareness which underlies all the three states of the mind-awareness is necessary:
Waking – awareness plus ego as gross-body-awareness is seemingly active
Dreaming – awareness plus ego as subtle-body-awareness is seemingly active
Deep sleep – awareness without any ego and body-awareness.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

The second comment by Michael in the article http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.ro/2016/06/can-our-mind-be-too-strong-for-our.html summs up nicely what can be said about our discussion here...

Obviously no kind of comparison have any meaning is such is the case... and I apologize for my tone and various teachers comparisons...


Thank you,
All the best again! :)

Ken said...

For the convenience of readers, here is the comment by Michael James (which Dragos refers in his comment above this one):

"Nana Neri, you are correct in understanding that the jñāni never sees any ‘snake’ (i.e. world), because in the view of jñāna what exists is only the ‘rope’ (i.e. itself, jñāna or pure self-awareness). However we mistake this ‘rope’ to be a ‘snake’, and in our view Bhagavan seems to be another person seeing the same snake, so when anyone assumed that he sees this snake because they see him as a person responding to sensory stimuli and answering whatever questions were put to him, he confirmed that he sees this ‘snake’, but explained that he does not see it as a snake but only as a rope.

In other words what we see as this world is also seen by Bhagavan, but whereas we see it as a vast array of forms or phenomena, he sees it only as himself, which is just pure formless awareness. That is, what actually exists is only pure awareness, so there is nothing to see other than that, but we see it as this ego and world, whereas Bhagavan sees it only as it is. Therefore what Bhagavan sees is exactly the same as what we see, but he does not see it as we see it, because in his view it is only pure awareness, which is indivisible and hence completely devoid of forms, whereas in our view it seems to be divided up as the myriad forms that constitute this dream-world.

You point out that we see this world only by mean of sensory perception, but the body and sense organs through which we seem to see this world are themselves a part of this world, which is the ‘snake’ in our analogy. Therefore since Bhagavan sees that this snake is only a rope, the body and sense organs through which he sees it as a rope are themself just the same rope, namely himself. In other words, in his view, which is just pure self-awareness (jñāna), this ‘world’ is just pure self-awareness and the ‘body’ and ‘eye’ though which he sees it are likewise just pure self-awareness, because nothing other than pure self-awareness actually exists."

Sivanarul said...

Regarding Mounaji's comment:

"upadhi" is a hindu term that in general means limitation or conditioning"
"In hindu philosophy Brahman (the absolute or Self) with upadhis (maya) is called Iswara or God"

It would be more accurate to say that these apply to Sri Shankara's Vedantic school interpretation of the Upanishads and Brahmasutras rather than saying it applies to the broader Sanatana Dharma (hindu) tradition. Sri Shankara's Vedanta is one important sub-tradition among a rich tapestry of sub-traditions within Sanatana Dharma. The commonality of all the schools is that they accept the Vedas and Upanishads to be authoritative. While they contain many similarities, they also have some differences based on different interpretation of the Upanishads. For example, within the Saiva Siddhantha tradition (which is also known Suddha Adavita (pure Advaita)), Brahman is Para Siva. Ishvara is one tattva (principle) out of 36 tattvas, from which creation occurs. Also upadhi is not a key term employed within Saiva Siddhantha.

http://www.himalayanacademy.com/media/books/tirumantiram/web/Tirumantiram_Inspired_Talk.html

"It may be that Saint Tirumular pioneered the reconciliation of Vedanta and Siddhanta. But what is the Vedanta that Tirumular was referring to? Sankara, with his exposition of Vedanta, was not to come for many centuries. Thus, concepts such as Nirguna and Saguna Brahman being two separate realities rather than one transcendent immanent God, the absolute unreality of the world, and the so-called differences between the jnana path and the previous stages had not yet been tied into Vedanta. The Vedanta Tirumular knew was the direct teachings of the Upanishads. If there is one thing the Upanishads are categorical in declaring it is Advaita, "Tat Tvam Asi-Thou art That," "Aham Bramasmi-I am Brahman." And when Saint Tirumular says that Siddhanta is based on Vedanta he is using Vedanta to refer to this Advaita, which according to him must be the basis of Siddhanta. This is perhaps one of the most important essentials of Tirumular's Siddhanta to be brought forward into the Siddhanta of today, for it did, in fact, stray from the Rishi's postulations."

For those who understand Tamil and are interested in how Vedanta and Siddhantha's different interpretations can be synchronized, below is a wonderful talk in Tamil by Dr Lambotharan of Canada. He reconciles both views very nicely. The talk runs for 8 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qXAovu-sew

Sivanarul said...

My earlier post got deleted. Sorry if this becomes a duplicate post.

In relation to Mounaji's comment:

"upadhi" is a hindu term that in general means limitation or conditioning"
"In hindu philosophy Brahman (the absolute or Self) with upadhis (maya) is called Iswara or God"

It would be more accurate to say that these apply to Sri Shankara's Vedantic school interpretation of the Upanishads and Brahmasutras rather than saying it applies to the broader Sanatana Dharma (hindu). Sri Shankara's Vedanta is one important sub-tradition among a rich tapestry of sub-traditions within Sanatana Dharma. The commonality of all the schools is that they accept the Vedas and Upanishads to be authoritative. While they contain many similarities, they also have some differences based on different interpretation of the Upanishads. For example, within the Saiva Siddhantha tradition (which is also known Suddha Advaita (pure Advaita)), Brahman is Para Siva. Ishvara is one tattva (principle) out of 36 tattvas, from which creation occurs. Also upadhi is not a key term employed within Saiva Siddhantha.

http://www.himalayanacademy.com/media/books/tirumantiram/web/Tirumantiram_Inspired_Talk.html

"It may be that Saint Tirumular pioneered the reconciliation of Vedanta and Siddhanta. But what is the Vedanta that Tirumular was referring to? Sankara, with his exposition of Vedanta, was not to come for many centuries. Thus, concepts such as Nirguna and Saguna Brahman being two separate realities rather than one transcendent immanent God, the absolute unreality of the world, and the so-called differences between the jnana path and the previous stages had not yet been tied into Vedanta. The Vedanta Tirumular knew was the direct teachings of the Upanishads. If there is one thing the Upanishads are categorical in declaring it is Advaita, "Tat Tvam Asi-Thou art That," "Aham Bramasmi-I am Brahman." And when Saint Tirumular says that Siddhanta is based on Vedanta he is using Vedanta to refer to this Advaita, which according to him must be the basis of Siddhanta. This is perhaps one of the most important essentials of Tirumular's Siddhanta to be brought forward into the Siddhanta of today, for it did, in fact, stray from the Rishi's postulations."

For those who understand Tamil and are interested in how Vedanta and Siddhantha's different interpretations can be synchronized, below is a wonderful talk in Tamil by Dr Lambotharan of Canada. He reconciles both views very nicely. The talk runs for 8 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qXAovu-sew

Ken said...

While reading, I just came across yet one more applicable quote.

The author of the Tamil text recommended by Ramana - "All is One", states:

"He who has realized the fourth state later wakes up in this world, but for him this world is not as before. He sees that what he realized as the fourth state, shines forth as all this."

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

Perhaps the wrong (subconscious) idea came from these discussions that the sage goes into some kind of blank or something... this is not the case...

___________________________________

From: ~~~ Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 272.
Q.: There are widespread disasters
spreading havoc in the world e.g.,
famine and pestilence.
What is the cause of this state of affairs?
M.: To whom does all this appear?
Q.: That won’t do.
I see misery around.
M.: You were not aware of the world and its sufferings in your sleep;
you are conscious of them in your wakeful state.
Continue in that state in which you were not afflicted by these.
That is to say,
when you are not aware of the world,
its sufferings do not affect you.
When you remain as the Self,
as in sleep,
the world and its sufferings will not affect you.
Therefore look within.
See the Self!
There will be an end of the world
and its miseries.
..........
The trouble now is due to your seeing the world externally
and also thinking that there is pain there.
But both the world and the pain are within you.
If you look within there will be no pain.

.......
So long as you consider yourself the body
you see the world as external.
The imperfections appear to you.
God is perfection.
His work also is perfection.
But you see it as imperfection
because of your wrong identification.
.............................
Q.: So it amounts to this -
that I should always look within.
M.: Yes.
Q.: Should I not see the world at all?
M.: You are not instructed to shut your eyes from the world.
You are only to
“see yourself first and then see the whole world as the Self”.
If you consider yourself as the body
the world appears to be external.
If you are the Self
the world appears as Brahman.
__________________________________

So, if I am in this state, I cannot see my body and Ken's body in the way we do now. There will be no such "seeing" at all. There will be no seeing of separate things like we do now. There will be a state (how can we imagine it with our mind?!) in which forms do not appear.

Bhagavan uses the term mind different from our general usage of the term. The mind is everything else than this state, and all we see is a form comprising the mind. Mind is actually only pure self awareness, so when he says for example that "it ceases to exist" it means it will become this pure self awareness again where forms are not perceived anymore.

Time, body, a tree... all are forms. All these forms comprise what Bhagavan says is mind When "forms are not seen" it means we are in that state of unity where all this is not perceived. Where mind is "anihilated" so to speak...

We have to take into account how Bhagavan uses certain term like mind and what He means by form for example. It is very different from the way we use it. When we say mind, we automatically imply the brain and its thought processes.

So when the "mind is still" we asume there is quiteness in our brain and we still experience the world. Bhagavan does not intended it this way. When He says "Be still" he implies that state of jnana not a mental quiet. We can get confused if we do not follow his terms I admit...

I believe it somehow important to understand as far as our mind can process the idea that the state of jnani or the state of jnana more correctly does not include perception of anything separate, there is no sense of time and an external world with events... This can be difficult to grasp... because we are trying to use a mind-made description to explain that state...

waveless ocean said...

Ken,
now we know intellectually:
"Nothing other than pure self-awareness actually exists."
So we are happy that our dense ignorance is also nothing but pure self-awareness.
But does this "knowledge" help us in any way further ? At best it is intellectually stimulating.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...


"
the world, the individual soul, and God are appearances in it like silver in mother-of-pearl. These three appear at the same time, and disappear at the same time.
"
- time is a form, part of the world-appeareance, we cannot have a sense of time while in that state..


aaa.... wait...

I found the absolute best quote ever... (Talks)


"In that state there is Being alone. There is no you,
nor I, nor he; no present, nor past, nor future. It is beyond time and
space, beyond expression."



I believe it's important to have this set in our mind, because it may happen, who knows, that we experience some out of the ordinary state and we might think we are enlightened... as many people claim nowadays... the description of their state does not match Bhagavan's way of explaining... that's all I was saying... this can be really helpful if you think about it....

It cleared a lot of confusion for me personally....

All the best,
Dragos :)

Bob - P said...

Dragos thanks for mentioning that comment of Michael's he posted back in June.
Warmest regards.
Bob

waveless ocean said...

Dragos,
as you already know:
we will never understand the state of jnana with the tule "mind".
Unless we are aware of jnana by own experience we remain as ajnanis.
We got the punishment we deserved for the seemingly arising as separate beings from our source. Or did we deserve any better fate ?
But let me put my arm around you all to comfort you: Nothing exists than pure self-awareness. Or is it not much consolation to you ?

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...

... I was refering to this comment actually on that article... but it's the same idea... the above coment by Michael is a little bit down that page...

__________________________

Stephen, yes, what you say in the final paragraph of your comment is correct (and it is an appropriate answer to the question of whether or not the jñāni sees the world or any forms, about which there has recently been a lively discussion going on in the comments on some of my other articles). Bhagavan sometimes used to say that the ātma-jñāni sees the world but sees it only as himself, the one infinite and therefore formless self-awareness. What he meant by saying this can best be understood in terms of analogies such as the rope and snake.

What actually exists is only the rope, but it is mistaken to be a snake, so the snake does not actually exist but only seems to exist. Likewise what actually exists is only infinite awareness, which is what we really are, but as this ego we mistake our indivisible self to be this ego and as a vast world of forms or phenomena, so this ego and world do not actually exist but only seem to exist.

We mistake the jñāni to be a person in this world, but what the jñāni actually is is not a finite person but our own infinite self. As Bhagavan used to say, the jñāni is only jñāna. Therefore since jñāna is pure self-awareness, which is our real self, it is formless, and hence the jñāni sees nothing but formless awareness.

Therefore when Bhagavan says that the jñāni sees the world but sees it only as his own infinite self, that is like saying that he sees the snake but sees it only as the rope. What does seeing the snake as the rope actually mean? Since there is actually no snake but only a rope, seeing the ‘snake’ as the rope means seeing only the rope. Likewise, since there is actually no ego or world but only oneself, seeing the ‘world’ as oneself means seeing only oneself.

The reason why he says that the jñāni sees the world but only as himself is that we see ourself as this world, so he is pointing out to us that what we see as this world is what the jñāni sees as himself. He does not mean that the jñāni sees the world as we do, but that what he sees is only himself, because nothing else actually exists or even seems to exist in his clear view.

__________________________

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