Sunday, 27 November 2016

When the ego seems to exist, other things seem to exist, and when it does not seem to exist, nothing else seems to exist

In several comments on one of my recent articles, The difference between vivarta vāda and ajāta vāda is not just semantic but substantive, a friend called Ken argued that the ego does not exist even in a relative sense, but that vāsanās and other phenomena do exist in a relative sense, though not in an absolute sense. However one of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teaching is that since all phenomena seem to exist only in the view of this ego, they seem to exist only when it seems to exist (as in waking and dream), and when it does not seem to exist (as in sleep) nothing else seems to exist. Therefore in this article I will reply to some of Ken’s comments and try to explain this fundamental principle to him in more detail.
  1. Vāsanās are attributes of our ego, so they cannot exist independent of it
  2. Vāsanās seem to exist only in the view of our ego, so they are illusory appearances that only seem to exist relative to its seeming existence
  3. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: the ego is the sole cause for the seeming existence of everything else
  4. Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam verse 7: if the ego does not exist, nothing else exists
  5. The ego is the root cause of everything, including the ‘causal body’ (kāraṇa śarīra)
  6. The ego is an enigma, being a formless phantom that seems to exist only when it does not look closely at itself
  7. The ego is the primal mistake that causes the appearance of everything else
  8. The ego is the first cause, so it cannot be caused by anything else, and hence its appearance is inexplicable
  9. The ego arises from nothing other than our actual self, but our actual self is not its efficient cause (nimitta kāraṇa)
  10. All vāsanās will be destroyed completely only when the ego is destroyed, even though the ‘destruction’ of both is metaphorical
  11. A single moment of pure self-attentiveness will annihilate the ego and all its vāsanās completely
1. Vāsanās are attributes of our ego, so they cannot exist independent of it

Ken, in many of your comments you have been arguing that the ego does not exist, yet you seem to believe that its progeny (its vāsanās and all phenomena, which are projected by it and appear only in its awareness) do exist, at least in a relative sense. For example, in one comment you wrote, ‘The vasanas exist in the relative sense, but not the absolute sense. The ego does not exist in either the relative sense or the absolute sense’. This implies that vāsanās somehow exist independent of the ego, but if there is no ego, whose vāsanās are they?

In this context vāsanā means a propensity, tendency, inclination, impulse or desire, so there cannot be any vāsanā unless there is someone or something whose vāsanā it is. I hope you will agree that our actual self is brahman, the one infinite whole or paripūrṇa vastu, which is anādi (beginningless), ananta (endless, limitless or infinite) and akhaṇḍa (undivided) sat-cit-ānanda (as Bhagavan says in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār), so it obviously does not have any vāsanās (inclinations, impulses or desires), and hence all vāsanās are attributes that must belong only to the ego. Therefore if there were no ego, there would be no vāsanās, and to the extent that vāsanās exist, the ego must also exist.

2. Vāsanās seem to exist only in the view of our ego, so they are illusory appearances that only seem to exist relative to its seeming existence

What exactly do you mean when you talk about existing ‘in the relative sense’? If ‘vasanas exist in the relative sense’, as you say, that surely means that they exist (or seem to exist) relative to something, so relative to what do they exist? What is their existence related to? Surely it is related to whosever vāsanās they are, so since they are only the ego’s, they seem to exist relative to this ego’s seeming existence and could not exist without it.

Saying that something exists in a relative sense is meaningful but somewhat vague, because it always invites the question: relative to what? Therefore rather than discussing relative existence in contrast to absolute existence, we can talk more precisely about seeming existence in contrast to actual existence, particularly in this context.

As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [our own real self]’), so neither the ego nor its vāsanās actually exist, but so long as this ego seems to exist, its vāsanās also seem to exist. Therefore, since vāsanās seem to exist only in the view of this ego, they could not seem to exist if it did not seem to exist, and hence the ego and its vāsanās share the same degree of seeming reality (which is actually no reality at all).

Bhagavan’s core teachings as expressed in texts such as Nāṉ Yār?, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Upadēśa Undiyār are given from the perspective of vivarta vāda (the contention that everything other than our actual self is just an illusory appearance), according to which nothing other than pure self-awareness, which is what we really are, actually exists, but though they do not actually exist, this ego and all the phenomena of which it is aware (including its vāsanās) seem to exist, so they are all just an illusory appearance (vivarta). The root of all these illusory appearances is only this ego, because in order to appear or to seem to exist, an illusion must appear to something, and what all illusions appear to is nothing other than this ego.

3. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: the ego is the sole cause for the seeming existence of everything else

Therefore it is only because this ego seems to exist (though only in its own view) that all other things seem to exist, as Bhagavan teaches us unequivocally in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

ahandaiyuṇ ḍāyi ṉaṉaittumuṇ ḍāhu
mahandaiyiṉ ḏṟēliṉ ḏṟaṉaittu — mahandaiyē
yāvumā mādalāl yādideṉḏṟu nādalē
yōvudal yāvumeṉa vōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandaiyē yāvum ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr.

அன்வயம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், அனைத்தும் இன்று. யாவும் அகந்தையே ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே யாவும் ஓவுதல் என ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, aṉaittum iṉḏṟu. yāvum ahandai-y-ē ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē yāvum ōvudal eṉa ōr.

English translation: If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Hence] the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything.
In the kaliveṇbā version of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan added a relative clause before the first word of this verse, ‘அகந்தை’ (ahandai), ‘ego’, namely ‘கருவாம்’ (karu-v-ām), which means ‘which is the embryo’, thereby implying that the ego is the embryo from which everything else develops. The Tamil word கரு (karu) is derived from the Sanskrit word गर्भ (garbha), which means womb, embryo, foetus, interior, inside or centre, but in Tamil it also means efficient cause (nimitta kāraṇa), inner substance or foundation, so by saying that the ego is கரு (karu), Bhagavan implies that it is the embryo that develops into everything else, the womb from which everything is born, the efficient cause that creates or produces everything, the inner substance of all phenomena, and the foundation on which they all appear.

When you wrote in another comment, ‘Ramana says the ego does not exist’, you are correct in the sense that he teaches us that it does not actually exist, but this does not mean that he did not concede that it seems to exist in our view (that is, in the view of ourself as this ego), as we can clearly see from this verse and many other verses in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and elsewhere. As he explains clearly in this verse, everything else seems to exist only because this ego seems to exist, and if it does not seem to exist, nothing else seems to exist, so this ego alone is what appears as everything else.

In this verse he expresses the very core of his teachings. When he says ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum), which means ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence’, he does not mean to imply that it actually comes into existence, because as he frequently explained it does not actually exist, even though it seems to exist, so what he implies here is that if it seems to come into existence (as it does whenever we rise from sleep, either in waking or in dream), everything seems to come into existence along with it, because everything else seems to exist only in its view. In other words, it alone is the root cause for the seeming existence of everything else.

Since he says, ‘அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), which means ‘if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist’, if you were correct in claiming that ‘The ego does not exist in either the relative sense or the absolute sense’, that would mean that nothing else exists in either a relative or an absolute sense. It is true that neither the ego nor anything else exists in an absolute sense, because none of them actually exist at all, but so long as they seem to exist, they do exist in a relative sense. That is, just as nothing else could seem to exist if this ego did not seem to exist, this ego cannot seem to exist without projecting and clinging to other things (as he explains in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), so everything else exists relative to this ego, and this ego exists relative to whatever else it is currently projecting and grasping.

4. Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam verse 7: if the ego does not exist, nothing else exists

The fact that nothing else exists if this ego (which is our primal thought called ‘I’) does not exist is also clearly stated by Bhagavan in the first sentence of verse 7 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam: ‘இன்று அகம் எனும் நினைவு எனில், பிற ஒன்றும் இன்று’ (iṉḏṟu aham eṉum niṉaivu eṉil, piṟa oṉḏṟum iṉḏṟu), which means ‘If the thought called ‘I’ does not exist, even one other [thought or thing] will not exist’. In the next sentence he says, ‘அது வரை, பிற நினைவு எழில், ‘ஆர்க்கு?’, ‘எற்கு’, ஒன்று ‘அகம் உதி தலம் எது?’ என’ (adu varai, piṟa niṉaivu eṙil, ‘ārkku?’, ‘eṟku’, oṉḏṟu ‘aham udi thalam edu?’ eṉa), which means ‘Until then, if any other thought arises, merge [back within by investigating] thus: to whom [has it appeared]; to me; what is the place from which I rose?’. By starting this sentence with the phrase ‘அது வரை’ (adu varai), which means ‘until then’, thereby implying ‘until the thought called ‘I’ does not exist’, he concedes that from our perspective this ego does now seem to exist, and that because it seems to exist we need to investigate ourself, the source from which it has arisen, and thereby merge back into ourself as we actually are.

5. The ego is the root cause of everything, including the ‘causal body’ (kāraṇa śarīra)

In the same comment that I referred to in the first section of this article you also wrote, ‘Vasanas are part of the casual body that reincarnates’, but what is called ‘reincarnation’ is just the projecting of one dream after another, and in each dream the ego projects another body as itself, so what ‘reincarnates’ is only this ego. What is called the kāraṇa śarīra or ‘causal body’ is one of the five sheaths (pañca-kōśa), which together make up the body as a whole (as Bhagavan explains in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) and which are not the ego itself but only what it projects and grasps as itself.

Though the term kāraṇa śarīra means ‘causal body’, it is not the root cause of everything, particularly when it is conceived as a kōśa (a sheath or covering) or as a body consisting of vāsanās, because the root cause of everything, including all the bodies that it projects and identifies as itself, is only the ego. The concept of kāraṇa śarīra is not actually a very precise one, because it is sometimes described as consisting of vāsanās, sometimes as the abode of vāsanās, and sometimes as the fundamental darkness of self-ignorance. Though these three conceptions are very closely related, when bundled together they form a rather imprecise concept. Since what is self-ignorant is only the ego, and since self-ignorance is the very nature of this ego, as the fundamental darkness of self-ignorance the kāraṇa śarīra is not exactly a ‘body’ but the ego itself, and this ego does not exactly consist of vāsanās, because it is their root and foundation, even though without vāsanās it would not exist.

6. The ego is an enigma, being a formless phantom that seems to exist only when it does not look closely at itself

In verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan describes the ego as ‘உருவற்ற பேய் அகந்தை’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy ahandai), which means ‘formless phantom ego’, because like a phantom it does not actually exist even when it seems to exist, and when it seems to exist it causes endless trouble. As a formless phantom it does not consist of anything but self-ignorance — which is a confused and distorted form of self-awareness, being an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are — but self-ignorance is not real, because it does not exist independent of this ego, since what is self-ignorant is only this ego. This ego is therefore an enigma that seems to exist only because it does not look closely at itself, and that therefore ceases to exist as soon as it looks at itself closely enough to see what it actually is, which is just pure self-awareness, devoid of even the slightest awareness of anything else whatsoever.

7. The ego is the primal mistake that causes the appearance of everything else

In the same comment you say ‘Ego is a mistake, like someone searching for the sunglasses that are on top of their head’, but what you do not seem to appreciate is that it is the primal mistake, being the root cause of all other mistakes. It is not a mistake that occurs after anything else has come into existence, but is the fundamental mistake that causes the appearance or seeming existence of everything else. It is the mistake of our not seeing ourself as we actually are (though what makes this mistake and experiences its effects is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as this ego that we now seem to be), so if we (as this ego) turn our entire attention back towards ourself alone, we will cease to exist as this ego, which is merely a mistaken awareness of ourself as anything other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are.

8. The ego is the first cause, so it cannot be caused by anything else, and hence its appearance is inexplicable

In another comment you say ‘Ego is a misidentification’ and that this misidentification ‘ceases at various times (such as sleep, coma or some samadhis), but returns due to the vasanas’, which implies that the ego is caused by the vāsanās rather than vice versa. Since vāsanās seem to exist only in the view of this ego, they cannot exist prior to or independent of it, so though they sustain its appearance, they cannot be the cause of its appearance, and whenever it ceases they must cease along with it. Only when the ego arises do its vāsanās come into play and does everything else appear, so it alone is the first cause (the original cause of everything), and hence there is nothing that can be said to be a cause of it. It is therefore uncaused and inexplicable.

It is natural for us to seek explanations for everything, but the one thing that can never be adequately explained is the appearance of the ego. We can explain what happens when it appears (as Bhagavan does, for example, in verses 25 and 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), but we can never explain why it appears, because it is māyā, which means ‘what is not’ or ‘what does not exist’, and māyā is rightly said to be anirvacanīya or inexplicable. Therefore whenever Bhagavan was asked why the ego exists or what caused its appearance, he advised the questioner to see whether it actually exists, and he often explained that if we investigate it keenly enough we will see that it does not exist as such, and when it does not exist nothing else exists that could explain how it could ever appear or come into seeming existence.

9. The ego arises from nothing other than our actual self, but our actual self is not its efficient cause (nimitta kāraṇa)

In the same comment you quote Mark Dyczkowski, whom you describe as ‘a scholar of ancient Scriptures’, writing, ‘The ego arises from the mistaken notion that the light of consciousness reflected in the intellect and coloured by objectively perceived phenomena is the true nature of the Self’, but this clearly shows that he has failed to appreciate that the ego is the root cause for the appearance of everything else, because only when the ego comes into existence do all other things come into existence (as Bhagavan explains in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu). Since there can be no mistaken notion unless there is someone or something whose notion it is, from whose mistaken notion does he imagine that this ego arises? Surely it is only this ego that has any mistaken notion, so no mistaken notion can arise before it. We can say that this ego is nothing but a mistaken notion (though paradoxically nothing other than itself could form or experience this notion), but we cannot say that it arises from any mistaken notion, because no mistaken notion could exist prior to it or independent of it.

Moreover, whose intellect is he referring to when he says ‘the light of consciousness reflected in the intellect’? Could the intellect belong to anyone other than the ego? And can any reflected light of consciousness exist independent of this ego? Is not cidābhāsa, the ‘reflection of consciousness’, just another description of this ego?

Likewise, by whom are ‘objectively perceived phenomena’ perceived? Can they be perceived by anything other than this ego? Since the ego alone is cidābhāsa, and since no intellect, nor any phenomena, nor any mistaken notion could exist prior to or independent of the ego, it cannot be correct to say, ‘The ego arises from the mistaken notion that the light of consciousness reflected in the intellect and coloured by objectively perceived phenomena is the true nature of the Self’.

The ego arises or originates from nothing other than ourself as we actually are, because prior to its rising nothing else exists, and since our actual self is not the efficient cause (nimitta kāraṇa) of anything (as Bhagavan clearly indicates in verse 85 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai), there is absolutely no cause for the arising of this ego. The ego is māyā, and māyā is inexplicable (anirvacanīya), so anyone who tries to explain what causes it to appear has not understood its real nature.

10. All vāsanās will be destroyed completely only when the ego is destroyed, even though the ‘destruction’ of both is metaphorical

In another comment you say: ‘“Destroy the ego” is an analogy, not a technical description. The ego does not exist, so you cannot destroy it, any more than you can destroy James Bond, or Luke Skywalker. If you read more technical descriptions by Ramana and others like Sadhu Om, what actually occurs is that the vasanas (mental tendencies) are “destroyed”’.

Firstly, when you say that “Destroy the ego” is an analogy, I assume that you mean it is a metaphor, and if so, you are correct in a certain sense, because just as an illusory snake cannot be killed literally, but will be killed metaphorically when it is seen to be nothing but a rope, this ego cannot be destroyed literally, since it does not actually exist, but it will be destroyed metaphorically when we look at it carefully enough to see that it is not what it seems to be but is only pure and infinite self-awareness, devoid of even the least awareness of anything else. However, since vāsanās likewise do not actually exist, even though they seem to exist, their ‘destruction’ is as metaphorical as the ‘destruction’ of the ego.

Secondly, the nature of the ego is to have vāsanās (impulses, inclinations or desires) of one kind or another, so all vāsanās will be destroyed completely only when the ego is destroyed, and since no vāsanā can exist without the ego whose vāsanā it is, destruction of the ego necessarily entails the destruction of all vāsanās. Therefore vāsanākṣaya (destruction of all vāsanās) is synonymous with manōnāśa (destruction of the mind, and hence of the ego, which is its root and foundation). The former term is not a more technical description of ‘what actually occurs’, as you suppose, but is simply an alternative description of it, one that indicates that destruction of the ego entails destruction of all its desires.

The reason why destruction of vāsanās is emphasised so often is that they are the desires or impulses that motivate the ego to cling (or attend) to things other than itself, thereby perpetuating its seeming existence, so in order to turn our entire attention inwards to cling only to ourself, our outward-going vāsanās need to be weakened to a considerable extent, which we can do most effectively by persistently trying to be self-attentive as much as possible. However, no matter how much our outward-going vāsanās may be weakened, they will not be destroyed entirely until their root, this ego, is destroyed, but the same persistent practice of self-attentiveness that will gradually weaken our vāsanās is also what will eventually destroy our ego, because our ego is just a wrong knowledge of ourself (a mistaken awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), so it can be destroyed only by clear awareness of ourself as we actually are, which can be achieved only by keen self-attentiveness.

11. A single moment of pure self-attentiveness will annihilate the ego and all its vāsanās completely

In the same comment you repudiate what someone else had written in the previous comment, namely ‘Ramana (and others, for example Tilopa just came in mind) says that even a MOMENT of pure awareness destroys the ego FOR EVER’, saying ‘No. Ramana says the ego does not exist, and we have always been the Self. […] So, someone may be practicing self-attention, and successfully attend only to the Self, but then the vasanas reassert themselves (perhaps in the form of a thought about the self-abidance like “this is really great”), and attention then goes away from the Self alone’. However, this is not actually correct, because if we ‘successfully attend only to the Self’ for even a single moment, our ego will thereby be destroyed by the perfect clarity of pure and keenly attentive self-awareness.

What you refer to as ‘successfully attending only to the Self’ is what Sadhu Om sometimes used to describe metaphorically as turning back 180 degrees towards oneself, away from all other things. Until the moment that we manage to turn back the full 180 degrees by focusing our entire attention only on ourself, during waking and dream our self-awareness is always mixed to a greater or lesser extent with awareness of other things.

At present our pure self-awareness (taṉ-ṉ-uṇarvu) is mixed and confused with awareness of adjuncts (upādhi-y-uṇarvu), and this confused mixture (which seems to exist only in its own view) is what is called ‘ego’, our primal thought called ‘I’. Therefore even when we are trying to be exclusively self-attentive, we are generally not able to clearly distinguish and thereby isolate our self-awareness entirely from our awareness of adjuncts, because some adjuncts are extremely subtle phenomena, and until our mind is purified to a very great extent, our power of attention is not subtle and discerning enough to distinguish pure self-awareness from awareness of such subtle adjuncts.

Even when we are able to turn our attention back 179 degrees towards ourself, we are still aware of things other than ourself at least to a slight extent, and so long as we are aware of anything else whatsoever, our ego is thereby sustained, because what is aware of other things is only this ego. That is, since this ego rises, stands and nourishes itself by grasping forms (that is, anything other than itself), as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, it will ‘take flight’ and disappear forever only when it grasps itself alone, thereby ceasing to grasp or be aware of anything else whatsoever.

In the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? Bhagavan says, ‘மனம் எப்போதும் ஒரு ஸ்தூலத்தை யனுசரித்தே நிற்கும்; தனியாய் நில்லாது’ (maṉam eppōdum oru sthūlattai y-aṉusarittē niṟkum; taṉiyāy nillādu), which means ‘The mind stands only by always going after [conforming, attaching itself or attending to] a sthūlam [something gross, namely a physical body]; solitarily it does not stand’, so our ego or mind cannot stand without grasping or attending to something that is grosser than itself. Therefore when it attends exclusively to itself alone, without being aware of anything else whatsoever, it will dissolve and merge back into its source forever.

Until it is thereby destroyed completely by being attentively aware of nothing other than itself, our ego will continue to be liable at any moment to swept away by the force of its outward-going vāsanās (as you imply when you say ‘but then the vasanas reassert themselves […] and attention then goes away from the Self alone’), but it will be annihilated along with all its vāsanās as soon as it manages to turn back 180 degrees towards itself, thereby being attentively aware of nothing other than pure self-awareness, which is its real nature, the one fundamental substance that it always was, even when it seemed to rise by grasping other things.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a kind request to make, sir. Could you please, one day when you have some time, make a glossary of the technical terms from Ramana/Indian traditions that you use in English translation? Like, what is 'ego' in Tamil/Sanskrit/or any other Indian language you know?

For someone like me who's recently begun to read these things in English, it is difficult to remember what do these English words refer to in Sanskrit or Kannada. Many thanks, in advance.

acala said...

Sir Michael James,
your writing is very rich in substance and consistent. I prefer directness:
In which way do you experience/ relive/comprehend all that teaching in your "personal development" ?

Kali said...

Michael,
the idea of an uncaused and inexplicable ego leads to the unbearable uneasiness to be only the plaything of a power which is not ? That is downright a nightmare.

Ken said...

Hello Michael,

The following are all from "Path of Sri Ramana Part One", since that is the clearest and most consistent source, since it was written as a whole:

"The knowledge 'I am the body' (which is the ego) is a false knowledge of ourself. The true knowledge of ourself is that in which we know that we are the unlimited Self (atman)."

establishes the meaning of "ego".

"Have we not already said that of all the thoughts which arise from sleep, the first person thought, 'I am the body', is the first? All other thoughts, which pertain to second and third person objects, multiply only by catching hold of this first thought.
Even for those whose thoughts do not subside in the waking state, do not all thoughts vanish when sleep overtakes them, since the first thought, 'I am the body', itself subsides at that time? Thus, does not everyone of us have access to the thought-free state in dreamless sleep? There we are not nonexistent !"

So, when we sleep, "ego" goes away, thus establishing that its vanishing is i nsufficient to make it go away for good, as confirmed by:

"... even in sleep, where there is no ego-'I', we are not non-existent!"
'Upadesa Undhiyar', verse 2 1

"In deep sleep, the ego (ahankara - the mind in the form of attachments) is still alive in the very subtle form of tendencies (vasanas); it is this form which is that base and cause for the rising of the subtle and gross bodies, and therefore it is called the causal body. Even in death, it is in this causal body that we exist. This causal body is not destroyed by the death of the gross body."

So, this seems to be a terminology problem.

One part says "there is no ego in deep sleep", and another part says "In deep sleep, the ego is still alive in the form of vasanas".

Perhaps there should be too different words?

"Why has it been said (in the above two verses of 'Sadhana Saram') that one ought to make effort repeatedly to be in that state (our existence-consciousness) and ought to abide in it with more and more love? Because, until all the tendencies (vasanas) which drive one out of it are completely exhausted, this state will seem to come and go. Hence the need for continued effort and love to abide in Self."

(continued in next comment)

Ken said...

(continued from previous comment)

Here is the central quote about the vasanas from P. 162-3 (Alert - Bob should not read the second bolded part of the quote which refers to a different discussion):

"However, since the knot of attachment is the basic one, until and unless the destruction of attachment (abhimana) is effected, by knowing self, even when the knot of bondage to the nerves is temporarily removed in sleep, swoon, death or by the use of anesthetics, the knot of attachment remains unaffected in the form of tendencies (vasanas), which constitute the causal body, and, hence rebirths are inescapable. This is why Sri Bhagavan insists that one reaching kashta-ninrikalpa-samadhi through raja yoga should not stop there (since it is only mano-laya, a temporary absorption of the mind), but that the mind so absorbed should be led to the Heart in order to attain sahaja-nirvikalpa-samildhi, which is the destruction of the mind (mano-nasa), the destruction of the attachment to the body (dehabhimana-nasa). In the body of such a 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.
Therefore the destruction of the knot of attachment is anyway indispensible for the attainment of the natural state (Sahaja Sthiti), the state of the destruction of the tendencies (vasanakshaya)."

And here, Sadhu Om refers to the Vasanas as creating the world:

"When, through the aforesaid Self-attention, we are more and more firmly fixed in our existence-consciousness, the tendencies (vasanas) will be destroyed because there is no one to attend to them. Thus, the waking and dream states, which have been apparently created by these imaginary tendencies, will also be destroyed."

By the way, the point I was making is stated in the text as:

"So do not accept this ego, the truth of which you have not yet found out by scrutiny; deny it by giving no importance to its existence, root it out and burn it to extinction by attending to how or from what (whence) it rises!"

Valle Sagrado said...

Michael James,
On this web-site often is refered to Sadhu Om and his books. To be on the safe side I ask you if Sadhu Om was a sage of equal value as Sri Ramana Maharshi. I put this question for that reason because on my pradakshina (giri valam) around Arunachala hill I have seen many "Sadhus" of questionable behaviour.

jacques franck said...

Anonymous

at the end of Happiness and the Art of Being there is a glossary, http://www.happinessofbeing.com/hab-gloss.html

Or the same in pdf format :)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3L2UWhKbHhlb3pBVkw1OXVzd0k/view?usp=sharing

:)

Asturias said...

Michael James,
"...no world exists in the clear view of ourself as we actually are."
This statement seems to come from a reliable source. I do not speak about everybody's experience in dreamless sleep. But who in the last and current millenium apart from Bhagavan has ever had uninterrupted this 'clear view of ourself as we really are' ?
(Many of so-called sages are not beyond any shadow of a doubt. Even Mother Theresa of Calcutta was run down.)
It seems that the mentioned clear view of our self as we actually are is only an exceptional phenomeneon/case left up to unusual or "extraterrestrial" beings - not planned for the great mass of population.

Malaguena said...

jacques franck,
thanks for your good hint to the glossary.

Mouna said...

After a certain point, do we still need books to tell us what ego is?... or awareness, or existence?...
How much do we rely still on external sources to know who we really are? Keep missing the mark by surrendering to words instead of experience...
Are we proud of our golden chains?
It seems that in spiritual terms, less is more and simplicity is the tool and outcome of mastery.
Simplicity doesn't necessarily mean the absence of complexity as silence doesn't necessarily mean absence of words, or stillness absence of activity, but rather the recognition of that which pervades every form, every sound, every action and also their absence.

avarana said...

Mouna,
you are right in rebuking us for our behaviour of relying on "external sources" and words. But it seems that the pool of our own experience and knowing who we really are does not overflow with extensive substantialness and richness. So we are somehow in the soup - albeit by our own fault.

Mouna said...

avarana, greetings

"But it seems that the pool of our own experience and knowing who we really are does not overflow with extensive substantialness and richness."

who says that?... the one that is free or the one that is limited by its self-imposed view of itself?

avarana said...

Mouna, greetings
rhetorical questions need not to be answered.
But how to get free from the self-imposed view of oneself when being up to one's ears in it ?

Mouna said...

avarana,

that is what Bhagavan's simple tools are all about.

avarana said...

Mouna,
yes, but the best tools do not work in the hand of an unsophisticated ajnani - at least in moments of being aware of other things ...

Mouna said...

avarana,

"but the best tools do not work in the hand of an unsophisticated ajnani…"

That is when trust (not blind faith) and perseverance in Bhagavan’s assurance that these tools work kick in.
Without this inner surrender and confidence in the teacher (inner and outer) nothing will work.
Also, sophisticated ajnanis are still ajnanis.
Sophistication or intellectualization doesn’t produce abidance in awareness by itself, effort is needed until no more effort is needed.

As was said many times, perseverance is the only measure of our progress.
Even the tinniest little effort counts and nothing prevents it from happening now. And I mean right now.

Be well my friend,
m

no projection said...

Michael,
thank you for the detailed article.
you write: "we are generally not able to clearly distinguish and thereby isolate our self-awareness entirely from our awareness of adjuncts, because some adjuncts are extremely subtle phenomena, and until our mind is purified to a very great extent, our power of attention is not subtle and discerning enough to distinguish pure self-awareness from awareness of such subtle adjuncts."

i have the following question: is it within the power of the mind (attention) to discern its nature of pure awareness from the adjuncts? since attention exists only by attending to second and third person, in the absence of objects, attention dies.
i understand that you may be using the term "self-attentiveness" metaphoricaly, but wouldn't it be more clear to describe it as "surrendering" the mind and its adjuncts? i ask this because even the word attentive may create an expectation, an agitation of some kind (in my case it does) seems too much goal-oriented, while a more passive "do nothing-just be" maybe more effective.

again, words are limited, and we obviously point to the same thing, but i want to know your experience during the actual sadhana. would you describe it as "attentiveness" or "beingness"?

avarana said...

Mouna,
thanks for having accompanyed me with your comments through a valley of rather subdued mood.
Be well too my friend.

ananya-bhava said...

no projection,
without anticipation of Michael's reply:
being attentively aware of nothing but our pure self-awareness cannot be different from just being.

Ken said...

ananya-bhava:

There is definitely an existing Michael James blog article on that subject. I don't have time to look for it, but I'm sure you can find it.

ananya-bhava said...

no projection,
as Ken recommended above you may read the following articles of Michael James which treat the requested subject to some extent :
1. Article of 19 October 2016 As we actually are, we do nothing and are aware of nothing other than ourself
2. Article of 4 October 2016
Why does the term ‘I am’ refer not just to our ego but to what we actually are?
3. Article of 8 April 2016
Self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) entails nothing more than just being persistently and tenaciously self-attentive
4. Article of 12 October 2015
Why is it necessary to be attentively self-aware, rather than just not aware of anything else?
5. Article of 15 August 2015
Trying to distinguish ourself from our ego is what is called self-investigation (ātma-vicāra)
6. Article of 3 May 2015
Being attentively self-aware does not entail any subject-object relationship
7. Article of 14 March 2015
Self-attentiveness and self-awareness
8. Article of 24 February 2015
Just being (summā irukkai) is not an activity but a state of perfect stillness

no projection said...

thank you ananya-bhava and Ken,
the no 4. article answers exactly the question.

concluding Michael writes: "but by merely giving up being aware of anything else we do not become attentively self-aware, because unless we try to be attentively self-aware we will subside in sleep or a sleep-like state, which is not manōnāśa (annihilation of the mind) but only manōlaya (temporary dissolution or suspension of the mind)"

which is definately true, too much relaxation will result in sleepiness and this, most certainly, will not destroy the illusion.

however, i asked the question in the context of what Michael writes here: "Therefore even when we are trying to be exclusively self-attentive, we are generally not able to clearly distinguish and thereby isolate our self-awareness entirely from our awareness of adjuncts, because some adjuncts are extremely subtle phenomena, and until our mind is purified to a very great extent, our power of attention is not subtle and discerning enough to distinguish pure self-awareness from awareness of such subtle adjuncts."

in my poor experience, when i try to be concentraded self-attentive, it usually results in subtle thought, there still is mental space, which is itself an adjunct, and this seems to perpetuate the ego as a subject that attends to something. this is why i ask about surrendering (while being knowingly aware). it seems to deal better with the mind's tendency to objectify.
maybe that sounds frustrated, but its a real question nonetheless.
thank you

Michael James said...

Ken, regarding your first comment above, in which you point out a seeming contradiction between what Sadhu Om wrote on page 68 of Part One of The Path of Sri Ramana (2005 edition), namely that in sleep the ego does not exist, and what he wrote on page 70, namely that in sleep it is ‘is still alive in the very subtle form of tendencies (vasanas); it is this form which is that base and cause for the rising of the subtle and gross bodies, and therefore it is called the causal body’, the problem here lies not in terminology, as you suggest, but in the fact that in that chapter (chapter 4) Sadhu Om was explaining why we cannot be either the body or the mind, but was doing so in terms of the concept of the five sheaths (pañca-kōśa) and three bodies (gross, subtle and causal), because that was the conceptual framework that most of the people he was addressing would have been familiar with.

Though this concept is used in many ancient texts and though Bhagavan often referred to it and explained it, in the clear light of his teaching we can understand that there is an inherent contradiction in the concept of the ‘causal body’ (kāraṇa śarīra), or ‘sheath composed of happiness’ (ānandamaya kōśa), as it is also known, because according to this concept the kāraṇa śarīra is the form in which the ego remains in sleep, whereas according to Bhagavan the ego does not exist at all in sleep. The logic of what Bhagavan taught us about sleep can be understood by considering the fact that the ego is just an illusory appearance, so it does not actually exist, even though it seems to exist (but only in its own view) in waking and dream, and hence since it does not actually exist at any time and in sleep it does not even seem to exist, at that time it does not exist at all, either actually or seemingly. Therefore, since everything else — other than our own fundamental self-awareness, which alone is what we actually are — seems to exist only in the view of this ego, whenever this ego does not exist even seemingly, nothing else exists even seemingly.

This is why Bhagavan often said that contrary to popular belief what exists in sleep is nothing other than pure self-awareness, so while asleep we do not actually experience any ignorance or ‘darkness’ (as he explains, for example, in a passage recorded in the first chapter of Maharshi’s Gospel: 2002 edition, page 9). It is only from the self-ignorant perspective of our ego in waking or dream that sleep seems to be a state of ignorance or darkness, so since the darkness of self-ignorance is what is called the kāraṇa śarīra, there is actually no kāraṇa śarīra at all in sleep. Self-ignorance is the nature of the ego, and nothing other than the ego is self-ignorant, so in the absence of the ego (as in sleep) there is absolutely no self-ignorance whatsoever.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Ken:

Why then is it generally said that in sleep our ego remains in seed form as the kāraṇa śarīra? Because people often ask why the ego rises from sleep, and most people will not be satisfied unless they are given a convincing reply. However the idea that the ego remains in the form of the kāraṇa śarīra in sleep is only a superficially convincing reply, for the reasons that I have explained above.

When we begin to study Bhagavan’s teachings or advaita philosophy, our understanding of the subject is not so subtle, so we are easily satisfied by being told that the ego rises from sleep because it remained then in seed form as the kāraṇa śarīra, which is the darkness of self-ignorance in which all vāsanās reside, so Bhagavan himself often referred to the concept of kāraṇa śarīra and answered questions in terms of it, However, for those who were ready to consider the matter more deeply he explained that in sleep the ego does not exist in any form whatsoever, so what we actually experience in sleep is not ignorance but only pure self-awareness, which alone is what is real, and that since nothing other than our actual self exists prior to or independent of this ego, its appearance from sleep is inexplicable.

According to Bhagavan the ego is the root cause for the seeming existence of everything else, and it seems to exist only in waking and dream, so in the absence of the ego in sleep nothing other than pure self-awareness remains. When he explained this, if anyone asked him why then our ego rises again in waking or dream, he would advise them to see whether it has actually risen, and he would explain that its rising cannot be explained for the simple reason that it does not actually exist and has therefore never actually arisen. It seems to exist only when it is aware of other things, but if it turns its entire attention back to itself to see what it actually is, it disappears as a seemingly separate entity and remains as it actually is, which is just pure self-awareness, devoid of even the slightest awareness of anything else whatsoever.

The subject we are dealing with here, namely what we actually are and why we seem to be this ego and consequently perceive all these phenomena, is the subtlest subject of all, and what Bhagavan has taught us about this subtle is simpler and clearer yet more deep, subtle and refined than what is taught in any of the more ancients texts, so when we first read his teachings our understanding of them will be relatively superficial and crude, but as we repeatedly study them and reflect upon them more and more deeply, our understanding of them will become increasingly subtle and refined. Therefore, because Bhagavan addressed his teachings to people at different levels of understanding, the explanations he gave in some contexts seem to be contradicted by deeper explanations that he gave in other contexts, and the same is the case with different explanations given by Sadhu Om in The Path of Sri Ramana. Some of the less deep and subtle explanations given by them are more in accordance with traditional explanations (such as about the concept of kāraṇa śarīra), whereas many of his deeper and more nuanced explanations are extremely original ones that cannot be found in any older texts, and conceptually they are actually much simpler and clearer than traditional explanations (as is particularly the case with many of the verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, in which he explains that the root cause of all problems is only our rising as this ego).

Ken said...

Thanks Michael for that clear explanation !

Ken said...

On occasion, a comment will ask "Why did the Absolute veil itself?". Ramana Maharshi consistently refused to answer that question.

In the following recent video, Rupert Spira (a student of Ramana and other Advaita teachers) gives the best explanation of the reason that the Why question cannot be answered, and why answers such as "spiritual evolution" and "it needed a way to know itself" are categorically wrong:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tNLwOJYD60

ananya-bhava said...

Ken,
after looking some videos of Rupert Spira: he gives the impression of being a honest person and also 'knowing' about awareness. What is Michael's opinion about him ?
But can we expect the same level of consciousness of him as of Bhagavan ?

avarana said...

Michael,
when Bhagavan said that in sleep exists nothing other than pure self-awareness ...
We should obviously assume that it is present unchanged also in waking and dream albeit seemingly obscured by our mind. So we should not hold against the darkened consciousness of waking and dream state that it provides no memory of the pure self-awareness at all. But its a pity about that opportunity not having seized.

Ken said...

ananya-bhava said:

"But can we expect the same level of consciousness of him as of Bhagavan ?"

Ramana stated an ajnani cannot tell whether another human being is realised.

Ramana died before most - if not all - of us where born, so we have no way of proving that he was realised.

Ramana also said that we should not take anyone's statements as fact - including his - but instead should check for ourselves.

So, the teachings of others are meant to help us to come to our own conclusions. One ought not to look for authority figures to believe.

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

- Sage Vasistha (from Yoga Vasistha II:18)

Ken said...

ananya-bhava:

A related important point is that Self-realisation does not make one infallible or all-knowing. It is true that a realised person has a natural advantage in teaching another person about realisation. However, they still have to use their limited physical body and mind to do so.

Saradamma was a student of Lakshmana Swamy, who was a student of Ramana Maharshi during Ramana's lifetime. Her realisation experience is described in a book by David Godman.

Saradamma once stated: "Some people think that jnanis are omniscient, that they have access to all the information in the world. The jnani doesn’t have all this information, or need it. If someone came up to me and said that Hyderabad is the capital of India, I might believe him if I didn’t already know that it is Delhi. There is nothing in jnana that reveals whether things that people say about the world are correct or not. But if someone tells me something about the Self, then this is something I really know about. If someone says, for example, that he has met a jnani who says he is going to reincarnate, I immediately know that this person is not a jnani. There is something about jnana that contains within itself the absolute certainty that rebirth in any form is not possible. Jnana is the ending of all births. If that knowledge, that jnana, is there, there is also the knowledge that another birth is impossible."

Ken said...

ananya-bhava:

So to bring this back to the Rupert Spira video... in that video, he uses logic based on the meaning of finite and infinite, rather than any personal experience. His logic may be accurate or it may be flawed.

So, the point of posting the link to the video was merely for Ramana students to perhaps understand the reason that Ramana refused to answer the questions "Why is their creation?" and "Why did the Self veil itself?".

ananya-bhava said...

Ken,
you are right, we ajnanis should look at ourself firstly. It is the just fate of us ajnanis to get never a satisfying answer to "why-questions". It serves us right. But that fact should encourage us to intensify our efforts in our self-investigation in order to finish leading a miserable existence as an ajnani. So let us keep on with persistent vicara and one of theses days throw off the yoke of tyranny of this ego.

Michael James said...

Ken, regarding what I replied to you about sleep in my previous pair of comments, I would just like to add the following:

Though the rising of the ego (whether its ‘original’ rising or its repeated rising from sleep or any other state of manōlaya) is ultimately inexplicable and is not directly caused by vāsanās, its rising from sleep or laya can be explained partially as follows and is indirectly associated with its vāsanās.

As Bhagavan says in verse 13 of Upadēśa Undiyār, subsidence of the ego or mind is of two kinds, laya and nāśa, and from laya it will rise again, whereas from nāśa it will never rise. Therefore, though this is an incomplete explanation, we can say that the ego rises from sleep because it has not been destroyed. Why then is it not destroyed in sleep or when falling asleep, even though it then temporarily ceases to exist even seemingly?

Since the ego is merely a wrong knowledge of ourself (an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), it can be destroyed only by correct knowledge of ourself (awareness of ourself as we actually are), and in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are we need to focus our entire attention on ourself alone. This is why the ego seems to exist only when it is aware of (or attending to) anything other than itself.

When we (this ego) fall asleep, we do so because we are too tired to continue attending to other things (any of the phenomena that we experience in waking or dream but not in sleep), but we do not do so by focusing our entire attention on ourself alone, and hence our ego temporarily ceases to seemingly exist but is not destroyed.

Though in sleep we are not aware of anything other than ourself, our ego is not thereby destroyed, because in order to be destroyed it must at least seem to exist, and in sleep it does not seem to exist at all. Therefore it can be destroyed only in waking or dream, when it does seem to exist, and in order to be destroyed it must itself turns its entire attention back towards itself to see what it actually is.

However, even after understanding this and even though we may try to turn our entire attention back towards ourself to see what we actually are, we generally do not immediately succeed to doing so perfectly, so we have to continue trying until we eventually succeed. What prevents us succeeding in spite of our efforts to do so is the strength of our liking to be aware of things other than ourself, and the various forms of our liking to be aware of such things (which are what are called viṣayas, a term that in this context is more or less equivalent to the term phenomena in English) are called viṣaya-vāsanās (likings, desires, inclination or impulses to be aware of phenomena).

Therefore, since our ego rises from sleep because it has not yet been destroyed by being keenly self-attentive in waking or dream, and since its viṣaya-vāsanās are what are now preventing it from being self-attentive keenly enough, its viṣaya-vāsanās can be said to be indirectly the cause of its rising from sleep. This is why it is generally said in advaita philosophy that viṣaya-vāsanās cause the ego to rise from sleep, and that therefore (metaphorically speaking) the ego exists in a seed form in sleep as the kāraṇa śarīra, which consists of all its vāsanās in a dormant condition.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment addressed to Ken:

However, we should understand this explanation given in advaita philosophy to be metaphorical, because if it were literally true that the ego exists in any form whatsoever in sleep, even though it does not then seem to exist at all, that would mean that it does not merely seem to exist but actually exists, which is contrary to the basic principles not only of Bhagavan’s teachings but also the entire advaita philosophy.

Since the ego does not actually exist and does not even seem to exist except in its own self-ignorant view, any explanation of how it appears or rises has to be ultimately false, because the ultimate truth is that it does not appear at all. Therefore we should not give too much weight to any explanations regarding its appearance, but should instead follow Bhagavan’s advice to investigate it by looking at it keenly and persistently in order to see whether it is what it seems to be and whether it has therefore actually ever appeared at all.

ananya-bhava said...

MIchael,
when you say: "..., but should instead follow Bhagavan’s advice to investigate it by looking at it keenly and persistently in order to see whether it is what it seems to be and whether it has therefore actually ever appeared at all."
The ego must have appeared at least in a relative sense, because otherwise we could not correspond to each other about this subject at all. But of course I would not claim that our correspondence (reading and writing of comments) would have any (absolute) reality.

Michael James said...

Ananya-bhava, we now seem to be this ego and therefore it seems to exist and to have appeared from sleep, since it did not seem to exist in sleep, but according to Bhagavan we are not actually this ego, so it does not actually exist and has therefore never actually appeared at all.

In whose view does this ego now seem to exist? Only in its own view, so it is a non-existent thing that does not seem to exist at all except in its own view. Therefore even its seeming existence is a self-contradiction, because if it does not actually exist how can it seem to exist in its own view, since its own view must be as non-existent as it is? It is therefore an enigma, so we cannot explain it or comprehend it adequately. All we can do is to look at it very carefully to see whether or not it is real.

Since it is what we now seem to be, looking at it means looking at ourself, and according to Bhagavan, if we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see what we actually are and will therefore know that we have never been this ego, so since it was just a mistaken awareness of ourself, and since as we actually are we have never mistaken ourself to be anything other than what we actually are, this ego has never actually existed or even seemed to exist at all.

However, we can know this by our own experience only when we look at ourself carefully enough to see what we actually are. Until then we will seem to be this ego except when it subsides in sleep or any other such state of manōlaya (temporary non-appearance of the mind), and consequently we will seem to experience all the problems caused by its unreal appearance.

ramanargadatta said...

All that is required is to cease regarding as real that which is unreal ['this ego']. - Ramana

Don't pretend to be what you are not ['this ego']. Don't refuse to be what you are. - Nisargadatta

ananya-bhava said...

Michael,
thank you for your clarifying reply.
Yes, because we feel and are aware of this ego 'we now seem to be this ego'. And therefore this ego seems to exist and to have appeared from sleep. As you direct my attention to it, all what we think and feel all day is only in the ego's own view. Even it looks like as there were nothing but the ego.
But according to Bhagavan's teaching this ego does not really exist and has never actually appeared at all. It is therefore logically said that this ego's own view too is in no way existent. Nevertheless we concede - quasi as a working hypothesis suitable for everyday life - that this ego has a (seemingly) own view. To manage having an own view albeit an only seemingly one (i.e. an actually non-existent one) the help of our undivided awareness was somehow required because the setting up of such a thought construction cannot happen without any movement in our consciousness.
As you say this ego's seeming existence is indeed enigmatic and cannot comprehended adequately.
In order to know by our own experience that this ego has never actually existed or even seemed to exist at all, it is absolutely necessary to look at ourself carefully enough to see what we actually are. Thanks.

get established in the real said...

ramanargadatta,
yes, how could this ego ever seem to exist ?
Yes, yes, let us know and be what we really are !

Avila said...

Michael,
regarding your comment in reply to "ananya-bhava";
on the one hand we never have to experience any problems caused by the non-existent horn of a rabbit or the non-existent son of a barren woman. Why do we on the other hand 'seem to experience all the problems caused by its unreal appearance' ?

ramanargadatta said...

"...how could this ego ever seem to exist ?"

I would have to give it its seeming existence.

Toledo said...

Michael,
regarding section 8. " The ego is the first cause, so it cannot be caused by anything else, and hence its appearance is inexplicable." and
what you write today in reply to Ken:
"Since the ego is merely a wrong knowledge of ourself (an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), it can be destroyed only by correct knowledge of ourself (awareness of ourself as we actually are), ...".

To think that a wrong knowledge of ourself is uncaused and inexplicable cannot be the answer to everything. It is clear to me that the ego seemingly originates from nothing other than ourself as we really are and that our actual self is not the efficient cause of anything(section 9.). Rather it would be correct to say that there is no ego at all. But if we speak about an (seemingly) originating and existing ego then we cannot correctly say that there is absolutely no cause. We should honestly confess that we have no knowledge about that.

However, it is on the other hand surely correct what you say in the final paragraph of the continued comment addressed to Ken:
"Since the ego does not actually exist and does not even seem to exist except in its own self-ignorant view, any explanation of how it appears or rises has to be ultimately false, because the ultimate truth is that it does not appear at all. Therefore we should not give too much weight to any explanations regarding its appearance, but should instead follow Bhagavan’s advice to investigate it by looking at it keenly and persistently in order to see whether it is what it seems to be and whether it has therefore actually ever appeared at all."

get established in the real said...

ramanarga,
I do not understand your remark. Could you define or paraphrase its meaning ?
To whom would you have to give it...?

ramanargadatta said...

"To whom would you have to give it...?"

Exactly.

get established in the real said...

ramanarga,
your cryptical way of expression is too highly intellectual for my understanding.
Farewell.

ramanargadatta said...

get established,

Yes, 'be still' is much better. : )

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramana Maharshi on Waking and Dream

(from https://dharmapost.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/waking-and-the-dream-states-ramana-maharshi/)

Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] once made the following remarks about the waking and the dream states.

"The world vision which appears in the waking state and the world vision which appears in the dream state are both the same. There is not even a trace of a
difference. The dream state happens merely to prove the unreality of the world which we see in the waking state. This is one of the operations of God’s grace. …

Some people dispute this by saying, ‘But the same world which we saw yesterday is existing today. Dream worlds are never the same from one night to the next. Therefore how can we believe that the world of the waking state is unreal? History tells us that the world has existed for thousands of years.’

We take the evidence that this changing world has been existing for a long time and decide that this constitutes a proof that the world is real. This is an unjustified conclusion.

The world changes every moment. How? Our body is not the same as it was when we were young. A lamp, which we light at night, may seem to be the same in the morning but all the oil in the flame has changed. Is this not so? Water flows in a river. If we see the river on two successive days we say it is the same river. But it is not the same; the water has changed completely.

The world is always changing. It is not permanent. But we exist unchanged in all the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping. Nobody can truthfully say, ‘I did not exist during these three states.’ Therefore we must conclude that this ‘I’ is the permanent substance because everything else is in a state of perpetual flux. If you never forget this, this is liberation.”

Aranjuez said...

D Samarender R.,
saying that everything else is in a state of perpetual flux...
I would appreciate when Bhagavan would have given a credible reason why a perpetual flux or the permanent changing world should constitute a proof that the world is unreal. Is not a permanent change also permanent and thereby real ?

D Samarender Reddy said...

Aranjuez,

Bhagavan defines something as real if it "exists by itself, which reveals itself by itself and which is eternal and unchanging". So, something changing cannot be real.

Aranjuez said...

D Samarender Reddy,
thank you. Yes, that is the point: Bhagavan postulates also the unchanging as the distinguishing feature of something real. (Possibly one could assume that perpetual change is also existing and revealing by itself and also eternal).

Algeciras said...

D Samarender Reddy,
another question arises referring to your quotation of Ramana Maharshi:
"The dream state happens merely to prove the unreality of the world which we see in the waking state."
In which way can the world vision which appears in the dream state prove the unreality of the world seen in the waking state ? Am I starting from a false assumption that the waking state is different from the dream state albeit in both states we are aware of the same ego ?

Alcantara said...

Michael,
only the first person i.e. the ego in the form as the 'I am the body idea' can scrutinize the seeming existence of itself.
Shall I be ashamed of my dense ignorance, having only objective knowledge of multiplicity instead of clear knowledge (jnana)?

Salamanca said...

Michael,
section 3.,
since I followed the given link to Ulladu Narpadu Kalivenba version, may I ask a question referring to verse 3 of Nul-Text ?
"That state in which, by giving up [knowing] the world and by knowing oneself, 'I'[the ego] is lost and thereby [the notions of] oneness and duality themselves are lost, is loved by all."
I do understand the sense of losing duality. But I do not understand why I shall lose also [the notion of] oneness ?
Is this 'oneness' meant as part of the dyad (pair of opposite) non-duality - duality,
which is an unreal appearance because of its the ego-based state ?

D Samarender Reddy said...

Algeciras,

"The dream state happens merely to prove the unreality of the world which we see in the waking state" because we know for sure that the dream state was merely a projection of our mind, so we begin to wonder if the waking state could also be similarly a projection of our minds and not real.

Anonymous said...

Salamanca,
oneness, ego, mind, Self, awareness, other, duality, non-duality, etc. are all concepts...
the state that Ramana refers to is free of concepts, it doesn't need to "verify" itself as this or that, it doesn't need to define, realize, to do anything whatsoever.
it is completeness, and that is why Bhagavan says it is loved by all.

Algeciras said...

D Samarender Reddy,
aha, that's the way of thinking. It agrees with my experience that the dream state is nearer to the waking state than to to dreamless sleep. Okay, therefore we can or must doubt also our common assumption that the perceptions and experiences made by senses and mind in our waking state have any feature of reality. That suspicion is natural and well founded.
But is that an immediate proof of the unreality of the mind in waking ?
The unreality of the projecting mind in waking has to be of course proved in waking itself.

Salamanca said...

Anonymous,
thanks for your comment.
Oneness is not only a concept but is also able to be experienced.
Does not oneness express the one infinite whole reality (pundram or purna)?
How can anyone lose that absolute wholeness and oneness, the entire substance and with it love that fictitious loss ?

D Samarender Reddy said...

Algeciras,

You ask, "But is that an immediate proof of the unreality of the mind in waking?" Yes, it is not an immediate proof, but given the many parallels between waking and dream (as given by Bhagavan in several places in his works and as we can deduce ourselves), coupled with the testimony of sages that there is a state of realization from which the waking state is seen to be unreal like a dream, it gives us enough fodder to start suspecting heavily that the waking state could be unreal just like the dream state.

Anonymous said...

Salamanca,
in our seeming journey back home, we will have experiences of oneness, bliss, non-separation etc. but all these experiences are still within the mind. they are observed-known by a subject. they require a mind that fixates on them.
so from the point of view of a subject "oneness" can be recognized and experienced. and its great. from the point of view of the reality, there is nothing to view. we are fullness that doesn't require viewing something that comes and goes.
i think the point that Ramana makes is to not attach ourselves to "heavenly" experiences. they will also be lost.

Algeciras said...

D Samarender Reddy,
what you say finally makes sense. The main thing is, we exist in all these three states as the permanent substance. Thanks.

Salamanca said...

Anonymous,
your interpretation of the meaning of that point in verse 3 in question may be correct.
However, the given literal English rendering/translation is perhaps not fully unambiguos.

Salamanca said...

Anonymous,
after looking at Michael James's article of 14 June 2009 Ulladu Narpadu - an explanatory paraphrase:
"...pointing out the simple truth that the egoless state in which we have given up all thought of the world and known only our own essential self, thereby freeing ourself from our false 'I'(the mind or ego) and its thoughts about 'one' (non-duality) and 'two' (duality), is agreeable to everyone."
Now the meaning is clear to me.

abiding in one's true state said...

Ulladu Narpadu Kalivenba,
verse 8
...Yet knowing one's one truth in the truth of that Supreme Reality, subsiding into it and being one with it, is the true seeing. Know thus.
That is what I call a good aim and purpose in life.
Arunachala.