Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Why does Bhagavan sometimes say that the ātma-jñāni is aware of the body and world?

In the comments on several of my recent articles there has been an ongoing discussion regarding the question of whether or not the ātma-jñāni is aware of the world, because many friends are convinced by Bhagavan’s teachings that all phenomena (second and third persons) seem to exist only in the self-ignorant view of the ego (the first person), and that therefore when the ego is dissolved forever in the clear light of ātma-jñāna (pure self-awareness) no phenomena will seem to exist, whereas other friends seem to believe that even though the ātma-jñāni is nothing but brahman itself, it is still somehow operating through a body and mind and is therefore aware of that body and of the surrounding world. The latter group of friends often cite passages from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi and other records of his oral teachings that seem to support their point of view, and they have even found verses in Guru Vācaka Kōvai and passages in Sadhu Om’s writings that likewise seem to support it.

During the course of this discussion, a friend called Bob wrote a comment on one of my recent articles, The difference between vivarta vāda and ajāta vāda is not just semantic but substantive, in which he cited a passage from The Path of Sri Ramana that had been referred to several times by other friends and remarked ‘Hopefully Michael can shed some light on the deep meaning of this passage for us’, because he conceded that it seems to support the belief that ‘the jnani still experiences the world / multiplicity but experiences everything as itself’, even though his own belief is that ‘the jnani / myself as I really am does not experience the world / body or duality of any kind’, in support of which he cited a translation by Sadhu Om and me of the kaliveṇbā version of verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and a note regarding it from pages 58-9 of Sri Ramanopadesa Noonmalai. Therefore the following is my reply to this comment.
  1. The ātma-jñāni is not a person but the one infinite space of pure self-awareness, other than which nothing exists
  2. Aruṇācalaramaṇa is paramātman, which blissfully shines as awareness in the heart of each one of us
  3. When we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of anything else whatsoever
  4. What we perceive as this world is what the ātma-jñāni perceives as itself, which is just pure self-awareness
  5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham verse 33: though in the self-ignorant view of our ego the jñāni seems to be a person experiencing some prārabdha, it is not actually a person and therefore does not experience any prārabdha
1. The ātma-jñāni is not a person but the one infinite space of pure self-awareness, other than which nothing exists

Bob, regarding the passage that you quote from Part One of The Path of Sri Ramana (2005 edition, p. 212), namely ‘To remain with the body and mind completely inert is not the only sign of samadhi. 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’, to understand why Sadhu Om wrote this we need to consider the context in which he wrote it.

In the previous two paragraphs he wrote, ‘[...] If one once turns one’s attention a full 180 degrees towards Self, one is sure to be caught by this clutch of Grace, which will then take one as its own and will forever protect one from again turning towards second and third person objects. [...]’, and then: ‘Some people doubt, “If it is so, will the mind then remain drowned forever in samadhi? Will it not be able to come out again and know all the second and third person objects of this world? Is it not a fact that even Bhagavan Sri Ramana spent nearly fifty-four years in the state of Self-realization and that most of that time He was seen to be attending to second and third persons?” Yes, it is true that though Sri Bhagavan always remained in the state of Self-realization, yet in the outlook of others He was seen to be knowing the world. How can this be accounted for?’

From this context it is clear that he was writing in reply to those who believe that the ātma-jñāni is actually the person that it seems to be in the self-ignorant view of our ego, so he replied as if this erroneous belief were true. Anyone who has understood Bhagavan’s teachings correctly would not ask such questions about the state of the jñāni, because they would understand that though in our view the jñāni seems to be a person (an individual entity consisting of a body and mind), what it actually is is only brahman, the one infinite space of pure self-awareness, other than which nothing exists, and which is therefore completely devoid of even the slightest awareness of anything else.

2. Aruṇācalaramaṇa is paramātman, which blissfully shines as awareness in the heart of each one of us

As Bhagavan often used to say, ‘ஞானமே ஞானி’ (ñāṉamē ñāṉi), which means ‘jñāna alone is the jñāni’, and in this context jñāna means ātma-jñāna or pure self-awareness. This is why he also used to say, ‘I am not this body’ and ‘Don’t take this body to be Bhagavan. Bhagavan is what is shining in you as I’, and why he wrote in reply to someone who asked who is Ramaṇa:
அரியாதியி தரசீவர தகவாரிச குகையில்
லறிவாய்ரமி பரமாத்தும னருணாசல ரமணன்
பரிவாலுள முருகாநல பரனார்ந்திடு குகையார்ந்
தறிவாம்விழி திறவாநிச மறிவாயது வெளியாம்.

ariyādiyi tarajīvara dahavārija guhaiyil
laṟivāyrami paramāttuma ṉaruṇācala ramaṇaṉ
parivāluḷa murugānala paraṉārndiḍu guhaiyārn
daṟivāmviṙi tiṟavānija maṟivāyadu veḷiyām
.

பதச்சேதம்: அரி ஆதி இதர சீவரது அக வாரிச குகையில் அறிவாய் ரமி பரமாத்துமன் அருணாசலரமணன். பரிவால் உளம் உருகா நல பரன் ஆர்ந்திடு குகை ஆர்ந்து, அறிவு ஆம் விழி திறவா நிசம் அறிவாய்; அது வெளி ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ari ādi itara jīvaradu aha-vārija guhaiyil aṟivāy rami paramāttumaṉ aruṇācalaramaṇaṉ. parivāl uḷam urugā nala paraṉ ārndiḍu guhai ārndu, aṟivu ām viṙi tiṟavā nijam aṟivāy; adu veḷi ām.

அன்வயம்: அருணாசலரமணன் அரி ஆதி இதர சீவரது அக வாரிச குகையில் அறிவாய் ரமி பரமாத்துமன். பரிவால் உளம் உருகா நல பரன் ஆர்ந்திடு குகை ஆர்ந்து, அறிவு ஆம் விழி திறவா நிசம் அறிவாய்; அது வெளி ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aruṇācalaramaṇaṉ ari ādi itara jīvaradu aha-vārija guhaiyil aṟivāy rami paramāttumaṉ. parivāl uḷam urugā nala paraṉ ārndiḍu guhai ārndu, aṟivu ām viṙi tiṟavā nijam aṟivāy; adu veḷi ām.

English translation: Aruṇācalaramaṇa is paramātman [the supreme spirit or ultimate self] rejoicing as awareness in the cave of the heart-lotus of [all] different jīvas [life-forms] beginning with Hari [Viṣṇu]. By heart-melting love obtaining [access to] the sublime Supreme-suffused cave, the eye that is awareness will open and you will know what is innate [your own real nature, the indwelling Aruṇācalaramaṇa]; it will be exposed.
In this verse Bhagavan affirms that his real nature is அறிவு (aṟivu), which means ‘awareness’, but in this context அறிவு (aṟivu) does not mean சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu) or transitive awareness (that is, awareness of anything other than itself) but only pure awareness, which is intransitive (that is, aware of nothing other than itself), because nothing other than pure awareness exists, so there is nothing else that it could ever be aware of.

3. When we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of anything else whatsoever

The three texts in which Bhagavan expressed the fundamental principles of his teachings in a clear, coherent and systematic manner are Nāṉ Yār?, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Upadēśa Undiyār, so if we have any doubt or uncertainty about any crucial aspect of his teachings, we can find clarity and certainty about it by carefully considering one or more of these three texts. The question of whether we can be aware of ourself as we actually are and at the same time be aware of the world or anything else other than ourself is clearly answered by Bhagavan in the third and fourth paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār? (which I cited and discussed in detail in Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 3 and 4: when we shine as our actual self, nothing else seems to exist), and as he explains unequivocally in those two paragraphs the entire world is just a mental projection, like whatever world we experience in a dream, so no world can appear unless our mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa (our own actual self), and hence when any world appears we are not aware of ourself as we actually are, and when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, no world can appear.

To illustrate this, in the third paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? he uses the analogy of misperceiving a rope as a snake, explaining that just as one cannot perceive the rope as it actually is so long as one perceives it as a snake, we cannot perceive ourself as we actually are so long as we perceive any world, thereby implying that what we see as all the phenomena that constitute this or any other world are merely our mind’s misperception of what we actually are. Since our mind or ego is itself nothing but a misperception of ourself (an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are so long as this mind seems to exist, and since any world is projected and perceived only by this mind (or more precisely by our ego, which is the perceiving element of this mind and therefore its root and essence), we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are so long as we are aware of any world.

That is, we alone are what actually exists (as Bhagavan states categorically 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 whatever else we may be aware of is nothing other than our own actual self misperceived by us as something other than what we actually are (which is just pure self-awareness), and hence when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of anything else, and when we are aware of anything else, we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are. Therefore when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of any world but only of ourself alone.

What he explained so unequivocally in the second and third paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār? is also clearly implied by him many verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, particularly verse 26, in which he says ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandaiyē yāvum ām), which means ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. The ego alone is everything’. From this we can infer without any doubt that according to Bhagavan anything other than ourself can seem to exist only when we are aware of ourself as this ego, and that in the absence of this ego nothing other than ourself can seem to exist. Therefore when our ego is destroyed in the clear light of pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) no world or any other phenomenon will seem to exist.

After reading such teachings and carefully considering their clear and indisputable import, if any devotee of Bhagavan continues to imagine that the ātma-jñāni is aware of any world or anything else other than ātma-svarūpa, they would be like an infatuated lover who tries to foist chastity upon a prostitute, as Bhagavan rebukingly says in verse 74 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai.

4. What we perceive as this world is what the ātma-jñāni perceives as itself, which is just pure self-awareness

Why then did Sadhu Om say in the passage you quoted from page 212 of The Path of Sri Ramana: ‘The return of body-consciousness (and consequently world-consciousness) after the attainment of Self-realization is according to the prarabdha of that body’? He did so for the same reason that Bhagavan often replied in such a manner, namely as a concession to those who were unwilling to accept and understand the fundamental principles of his teachings.

Bhagavan never tried to compel anyone to believe what they did not want to believe, so if anyone was unwilling to accept his core teachings as he expressed them in texts such as Nāṉ Yār? and Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, he would offer them a diluted version of his teachings, knowing that as they progressed further on the spiritual path they would sooner or later be willing to understand his teachings in a correct and undiluted manner.

However, even when offering a diluted version of his teachings, Bhagavan incorporated many clues indicating that what he said should not be taken at face value, as Sadhu Om also did in the passage you quoted. For example, after saying that awareness of the body and world may return according to the prarabdha of the body of the jñāni, in the final two sentences Sadhu Om said: ‘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’.

What he implied by saying this is that though in the self-ignorant view of an ajñāni the jñāni may seem to be a person (a body and mind) who is aware of and interacting with the world, in the clear view the jñāni itself what is seen is only pure self-awareness. If we mistake a rope to be a snake and notice that another person is also looking at it, we would naturally suppose that what that person is seeing is a snake, just as we see it, whereas in fact that person may recognise that what we see as a snake is actually only a rope, so what they are actually seeing is not a snake but only a rope. Likewise, when the jñāni seems to be perceiving the world just as we are, we naturally suppose that what they perceive is the same phenomena that we are perceiving, whereas in fact what they are aware of is not any phenomena but only the one infinite and indivisible self-awareness that they actually are, which is the sole reality and which is therefore the actual substance (vastu) that we mistake to be all these myriad phenomena.

5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham verse 33: though in the self-ignorant view of our ego the jñāni seems to be a person experiencing some prārabdha, it is not actually a person and therefore does not experience any prārabdha

Another clue that Sadhu Om gives in this passage lies in the fact that he says that even after the attainment of ātma-jñāna awareness of the body and world may return according to the prarabdha of the body, because anyone who is sufficiently familiar with Bhagavan’s teachings will know that in verse 33 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham he emphatically says that for the jñāni there is absolutely no prārabdha:
சஞ்சிதவா காமியங்கள் சாராவா ஞானிக்கூழ்
விஞ்சுமெனல் வேற்றார்கேள் விக்குவிளம் — புஞ்சொல்லாம்
பர்த்தாபோய்க் கைம்மையுறாப் பத்தினியெஞ் சாததுபோற்
கர்த்தாபோ மூவினையுங் காண்.

sañcitavā gāmiyaṅgaḷ sārāvā ñāṉikkūṙ
viñcumeṉal vēṯṟārkēḷ vikkuviḷam — buñcollām
parttāpōyk kaimmaiyuṟāp pattiṉiyeñ jādadupōṟ
karttāpō mūviṉaiyuṅ gāṇ
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘சஞ்சித ஆகாமியங்கள் சாராவாம் ஞானிக்கு; ஊழ் விஞ்சும்’ எனல் வேற்றார் கேள்விக்கு விளம்பும் சொல் ஆம். பர்த்தா போய் கைம்மை உறா பத்தினி எஞ்சாதது போல், கர்த்தா [போய்] போம் மூவினையும். காண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘sañcita āgāmiyaṅgaḷ sārāvām ñāṉikku; ūṙ viñcum’ eṉal vēṯṟār kēḷvikku viḷambum sol ām. parttā pōy kaimmai uṟā pattiṉi eñjādadu pōl, karttā [pōy] pōm mūviṉaiyum. kāṇ.

அன்வயம்: ‘ஞானிக்கு சஞ்சித ஆகாமியங்கள் சாராவாம்; ஊழ் விஞ்சும்’ எனல் வேற்றார் கேள்விக்கு விளம்பும் சொல் ஆம். பர்த்தா போய் கைம்மை உறா பத்தினி எஞ்சாதது போல், கர்த்தா [போய்] மூவினையும் போம். காண்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ‘ñāṉikku sañcita āgāmiyaṅgaḷ sārāvām; ūṙ viñcum’ eṉal vēṯṟār kēḷvikku viḷambum sol ām. parttā pōy kaimmai uṟā pattiṉi eñjādadu pōl, karttā [pōy] mūviṉaiyum pōm. kāṇ.

English translation: Saying that saṁcita and āgāmya do not adhere to the jñāni [but] prārabdha does remain is a reply said to the questions of others. Just as [any of] the wives do not remain unwidowed when the husband has died, know that [when] the doer [has died] all the three karmas cease.
What Bhagavan refers to here as ‘வேற்றார்’ (vēṯṟār), which means ‘others’, are those who are not yet willing to accept and understand the fundamental principles of his teachings and all that those principles imply, because if we understand and accept that our real nature is just pure self-awareness and that everything other than that is just an illusory fabrication (kalpanā) projected and perceived only by our ego, we would understand that when we see ourself as we actually are and thereby dissolve forever the delusion that we are this ego, the illusory appearance of all other things (including all forms of action or karma) will dissolve along with it, and hence we would not suppose that the ātma-jñāni is aware of anything other than itself and would accordingly not ask any foolish questions based on the assumption that the jñāni is still a person with a body and mind.

The three karmas, namely saṁcita (the store of the fruits of one’s past āgāmya karmas that have not yet been experienced), āgāmya (the fresh karma that one does by one’s own free will during the course of each life) and prārabdha (fate or destiny, which is the fruits of one’s past āgāmya karmas that have been allotted for one to experience in one’s current life), exist only for the ego, which is the doer of āgāmya and the experiencer of prārabdha, so when the ego is destroyed by the clear light of ātma-jñāna, all these three karmas will be destroyed along with it (as Bhagavan also teaches us in verse 38 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu).

However, though for the ātma-jñāni itself there is no prārabdha — because the ātma-jñāni is nothing other than pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) — in the view of ajñānis the body and mind of the ego that was consumed by ātma-jñāna may seem to remain alive, so for such a body and mind prārabdha will seem to continue, and this is what Sadhu Om referred to as ‘the prarabdha of that body’. Therefore by saying that awareness of the body and world may return according to the prārabdha of that body, he was indicating that this return of such transitive awareness (suṭṭaṟivu) is not for the jñāni itself but only for the body and mind that remain in the view of others.

Since the jñāni is devoid of the ego, which alone is what is transitively aware (that is, aware of anything other than itself), there cannot be any transitive awareness whatsoever for the jñāni. This is the simple truth that can be easily and clearly understood by anyone who carefully studies and reflects upon the core principles of Bhagavan’s teachings as expressed by him in texts such as Nāṉ Yār?, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Upadēśa Undiyār (and also in many verses of Guru Vācaka Kōvai) with an open and unprejudiced mind that is not infatuated with the illusory appearance of phenomena.

33 comments:

Bob - P said...

Dear Michael

Thank you for writing this article linked to my comment.

As I said in my comment my own personal belief is when I experience myself as I really am I will not be aware of the world or duality of any kind even if it is seen as an illusion or false appearance in me / on me. All I will be aware of is myself because nothing else exists.

The passage I quoted did confuse me I must admit as it seemed to support the belief that the jnani does still experience the world but sees it all as itself or perceives all forms / multiplicity as itself.

This confused my understanding of Bhagavan's teaching.

Thank you for explaining the meaning of this passage it was extremely helpful for me as I am sure it was other friends.

You said:

[The entire world is just a mental projection, like whatever world we experience in a dream, so no world can appear unless our mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa (our own actual self), and hence when any world appears we are not aware of ourself as we actually are, and when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, no world can appear.]

[When we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of anything else, and when we are aware of anything else, we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are. Therefore when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of any world but only of ourself alone.]

[From this we can infer without any doubt that according to Bhagavan anything other than ourself can seem to exist only when we are aware of ourself as this ego, and that in the absence of this ego nothing other than ourself can seem to exist. Therefore when our ego is destroyed in the clear light of pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) no world or any other phenomenon will seem to exist.]

Personally this makes perfect sense to me.

Thanks again Michael.
All the best.
Bob

Ken said...

Bob P - This apparent paradox was explained many times by Ramana. If one contemplates this teaching of his, it is helpful in understanding the Self and "where to find it".

For example (please note the wording of the question, and the use of the word "often", in which the questioner has born witness to many of Ramana's discourses on the subject):

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

Ramana Maharshi: 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."

[from Guru Ramana, p. 65]

In the following quote, Ramana not only explains the paradox, he actually describes why he teaches it in the way described by Michael. But what he says is exactly the opposite! He says that teaching the strict viewpoint is necessary for the practice of the ajnani. (Note that this is echoed in Ramana's other statements that ajnanis should stick to various rules, but that jnanis are not bound by them.)

"Q: So the world is not really illusory?

Ramana Maharshi: 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."

[From Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, p. 94]

(continued in next comment)

Ken said...

(continued from previous comment)

Those sources above were used because they are a clear statement of the intention of the teaching.

Here is substantiation from Guru Vachaka Kovai:

"47. This world which appears, concealing Self, is a mere dream, but when ‘concealed’ by Self, it remains as none other than Self."

This is saying the same as all the above. The first half is the viewpoint of the ajnani, since it says "concealing Self". In the ajnani viewpoint, the world is a mere dream.

The second half is the viewpoint of the jnani, since it says "when 'concealed' by Self. In the jnani viewpoint, quote "This world... remains".

This sort of wording appears time and time again. It does not say in the second half of the verse "but when the Self is seen, the dream of world is seen to be nonexistent", which is what he would need to have said to be consistent with Bob's viewpoint.

GVK goes on to make the point even more emphatically:

"48. This whole world of triads which deludes us, seeming to be an undisputable reality, is only the form of the Supreme Power [Chit-Shakti], which abides eternally
as none other than the Supreme Self."

But wait - is not the world "just the mistakenly seen snake"? No, the world is the form of the Self. Seems contradictory - unless you have a viewpoint from which it is not a contradiction.

"49. As the fire shines hidden within the smoke, the Light of Knowledge shines hidden within the names and forms of this world. When the mind is made clear by Supreme Grace, the nature of the world is found to be real [as Self], and it will appear no more as the illusory names and forms."

One confusion is the use only of the word "form" in our discussion, where the actual terminology used in the translations of Ramana, Muruganar and Sadhu Om is often "names and forms". So what is this "names and forms" ?

One constantly used example is the ocean (e.g. the river merging into the ocean). Suppose two people go to the ocean, a surfer and his very young child. The latter encounters the ocean for the first time.

The surfer goes into the ocean and thinks "This is an easterly swell, it is 12 feet high, and is a seventh wave. I should wait for the ninth wave."

The child goes into the ocean and just experiences glee, without seeing the form of "waves", or the words "water" or "ocean". It is just one undifferentiated experience without names and forms. Only years later, will the child be taught to recognize individual waves and applies words to them.

(This is not to say that babies are "realised", because they still have their vasanas that will emerge later, of course.)

This is not a perfect analogy, it is just intended to give the sense of what is meant in human psychology by "names and forms".

So, in summary:

"All I will be aware of is myself because nothing else exists."

is true AND:

"the jnani does still experience the world but sees it all as itself or perceives all forms / multiplicity as itself."

is also true.

There are many quotes from Ramana stating the second truth over and over (which is why the questioner used the words "often says".

Bob - P said...

Hi Ken

[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."]

What you quote above sounds very similar to Douglas Harding's approach (two way looking).


["All I will be aware of is myself because nothing else exists."

is true AND:

"the jnani does still experience the world but sees it all as itself or perceives all forms / multiplicity as itself."]

I don't personally think they are the same Ken.

My understanding of Bhagavan's teaching is dreamless sleep is where I experience myself as I really am. During sleep I am not aware of multiplicity of any kind and I don't see forms/ phenomena / multiplicity all as myself. I don't experience everything as myself I am only aware of myself alone and nothing else.

When I experience myself as I really am multiplicity (dream and waking) will no longer rise because the creator of them (the ego / limited form of self awareness) no longer rises. The reason the ego, the waking world and the dream world (duality) will no longer rise is because they were nothing but a misperception of what I really am. They were ignorance experienced only in the view of the ego which itself is nothing but an illusion.

So when I experience myself as I really am I will not be aware of multiplicity as myself and will not be aware of illusion.

This is my understanding but I fully appreciate and respect that you don't agree with it.

All the best.
Bob

Ken said...

Bob - P wrote:

"I don't personally think they are the same Ken."

They are not the same, they are two statements that are both true.

Which is the case with all the statements of Ramana that you accept and the ones that you don't. They are not contradictory. They only seem to be, because the connotations of words like multiplicity and names and forms and world and illusion and appearances.

But, as Ramana frequently said, "Just investigate yourself and you will find out."

Bob - P said...

[They are not the same, they are two statements that are both true.}

I personally don't think the latter statement is true Ken I think it is the truth in a diluted form.

So I don't agree with you on this. But I do agree with the Bhagavan quote you ended with:

"Just investigate yourself and you will find out."

So let's do what you suggest Ken, let's investigate ourself and keep quiet.

Best wishes.
Bob

abiding said...

i think it is obvious that what is explained here is
1) the natural state of full absorption-pure self awareness
2) the pre/post absorption state where attention-mind-ego projects multiplicity, while at the same time it recognizes the projection as of the same essence (awareness).

the first is self-realization
the second is practice, as there is still an investment in the world.

Ken said...

Bob-P wrote:

"So let's do what you suggest Ken, let's investigate ourself and keep quiet."

I'm happy to honor your request ... in the sense that I have seen you feel bound to answer communications addressed to you, so I won't do that in the future.

As I've mentioned previously, I think this blog is of great value, in that it is one of the few accurate representations of the true nature of the universe.

While each individual needs to apply their own reason, it can be very helpful to read that others have come to the same conclusions.

So, those who have finished their study and need only to "be still", should not be reading the web at all, and conversely those who are reading the web, are clearly looking to read the words of others - and what better words than those of Ramana.

So, as previously mentioned, I disagree with the posts "stop the chit-chat and keep quiet" - even though that may be the best course of action for a particular person - it is presumptuous to assume that it is right for everyone.

For example, someone might have one of the many "misconceptions about self-enquiry" listed in Be As You Are, such as the idea that self-enquiry is repeating the mantra "Who Am I?". Such a person would benefit from reading and posting to this site until they had found accurate self-enquiry instructions.

PS Since you previously asked about Adyashanti, I should mention that while I found significant insight in his earlier writings and talks, lately I have found his more recent talks to be oddly unfocused (which may or may not be connected to a recent major illness of his).

In general, my current personal opinion is that verbal spiritual teaching is an activity of the teacher's physical body, and thus partakes of the flawed and limited nature of the body. Michael quoted Yoga Vasishtha that realisation improves the body's abilities in some respects, and I would certainly agree with that. However, as Ramana mentioned, there is no way for ajnanis to know for sure about the realisation of any other being. So, we can only judge the writings of others with our own reason, as Yoga Vasishtha suggests.

If you take the sum total of the writings of all beings who either self-identify as "realised" or else whom others so identify, I find those writings to not be as accurate and insightful as the writings of a similar number of people who confess not to be realised, such as Michael or David Godman. Again, this is just my personal opinion.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Dualistic devotion can be a great aid in our practice of atma-vicara ~*~ extract from Michael’s email to me sometime in January 2014:

I asked Michael about the benefits and efficacy of repeating ‘Ramana’ or ‘I’ as a mantra, and this is what he wrote:

Michael: Obviously the most direct ‘mantra’ to bring our mind directly back to self-attentiveness is ‘I’ or ‘I am’, so if the only benefit of repeating ‘Ramana’ were that it reminded us that Ramana is ‘I’ and that we should therefore attend only to ‘I’, we would have to conclude that it is better to repeat ‘I’ than to repeat ‘Ramana’ because the former is a more direct and effective means to bring our attention back on ‘I’.

However the only benefit of repeating ‘Ramana’ is not just that it reminds us that Ramana is ‘I’ and that we should therefore attend only to ‘I’, because when our mind is agitated by other concerns, the love that we feel for Bhagavan and our faith in his guidance and protection can do more than anything else to calm our mind down. Since repeating his name is such circumstances reinvigorates [re-energizes, strengthens] our love for him and faith in him, it can be more effective at calming our mind than repeating ‘I’ would be.

This clearly illustrates the fact that dualistic devotion can be a great aid in our practice of atma-vicara. Dualistic devotion can never be an adequate substitute for vicara, but so long as we have clearly understood that vicara is essential and that we should practise it as much as possible, we can use our feelings of dualistic devotion to Bhagavan as a powerful aid in our battle to be attentive to self as much as possible. [extract ends]

ramanargadatta said...

"Who am I?"

The intent of this question is to point out that there is no one who is I.

There is only I. I-I. I-I-I. I-I-I-I-I.

I am always as I am.

If I am you, I am as you are.

ramanargadatta said...

Michael,

It would be helpful if you stopped referring to a non-existent ego as "this ego".

illusory silver in a shell said...

ramanargadatta,
1. you are in error saying "that there is no one who is".
2. 'I am I' is always. But this (any) ego does not really exist.
3. The saying "I am always as I am" does not convey any relevant or sensible/meaningful statement.
4. 'I am I' consequently means that there is actually no second person (you).
5. Therefore your remark "If I am you, I am as you are" is lacking in content.
6. Please give something as the reason for your objection to use "this ego".

purnatva said...

Michael,
a simple question:
When we see the world why can we not place our trust/confidence in the correctness or accuracy in our sense-perception ? Whom can we hold responsible for that ?

porul said...

Michael,
section 3.
"That is, we alone are what actually exists (as Bhagavan states categorically 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 whatever else we may be aware of is nothing other than our own actual self misperceived by us as something other than what we actually are (which is just pure self-awareness), and hence when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of anything else, and when we are aware of anything else, we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are. Therefore when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we cannot be aware of any world but only of ourself alone."
Does not atma-svarupa shine always from its own presence ?

paramatman said...

Michael,
it is said that all that exists is (nothing) but the manifestation of the supreme self. The self alone is the world, the individual soul (the 'I') and God.(Threefold reality).
Is there any more detailed explanation ?

indwelling Arunacalaramana said...

Michael,
we often can read that our ego-mind projects from within itself everything other than itself as soon as it rises and withdraws everything back into itself when it subsides. How does it work ?

Ken said...

"6. Please give something as the reason for your objection to use "this ego"."

I agree with your other 5 objections to his statements, but I think he is correct about "this ego".

It is like saying "this snake", when actually there is only a rope.

"This" has an implication of something that is real.

His objection is similar to my objection to teachers who talk about the ego being crafty or having techniques. Something which is fictional cannot actually do anything, and such talk only increases the students' idea that the ego is real rather than fictional.

Ken said...

paramatman:

You can find the whole description in Shankara's Vivekachudamani, which can be downloaded online for free from many sites.

Ken said...

The following teaching by Ramana Maharshi (from a text known to be corrected by him before publication) specifically tells us that the ego is not some separate powerful thing, but just our own constant mistake. This is why I emphasize avoiding teachings that the ego is a powerful enemy, because that only accepts and strengthens the same mistake that one wants to avoid making:

"D: In this life beset with limitations can I ever realise the bliss of the Self?

Ramana Maharshi: That bliss of the Self is always with you, and you will find it for yourself, if you would seek it earnestly. The cause of your misery is not in the life without; it is in you as the ego. You impose limitations on yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them. All unhappiness is due to the ego; with it comes all your trouble. What does it avail you to attribute to the happenings in life the cause of misery which is really within you? What happiness can you get from things extraneous to yourself? When you get it, how long will it last?

If you would deny the ego and scorch it by ignoring it, you would be free. If you accept it, it will impose limitations on you and throw you into a vain struggle to transcend them. That was how the thief sought to ‘ruin’ King Janaka.

To be the Self that you really are is the only means to realise the bliss that is ever yours."

From Maharshi's Gospel, page 51-52

ramanargadatta said...

"1. you are in error saying "that there is no one who is"."

Your quote is in error.

"6. Please give something as the reason for your objection to use "this ego"."

"It is like saying "this snake", when actually there is only a rope."

ramanargadatta said...

Do not expect anything more than peace. You can then give up that expectation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should treat all other people in a kindly and friendly manner ~*~ extract from Michael’s email to me sometime in April 2014

I had asked Michael: It is said that the jnani’s left-over good karmas gets transferred to the persons who were friendly or helpful to him before he attained jnana, and his left-over bad karmas gets transferred to the persons who were unfriendly or troubled him before he attained jnana. Could you comment on this?

Michael replied: All sort of things are said about karmas, perhaps to suit people levels of maturity. But we know from Bhagavan that there are no ‘others’, and we will discover this from our own experience when our mind is destroyed. Where then is there any scope for karmas to be transferred to others?

Perhaps this is said to warn people to respect and treat all other people in a kindly and friendly manner, because we never know who may attain jnana when. But even without such a warning we should anyway treat all people thus. [extract ends]

illusory silver in a shell said...

ramanargadatta,
yes, sorry my quote was incomplete because I have overlooked the final 'I'.
But the given reply is just the same.
Presumably the use of the adjective 'this' for the seemingly appearance of the ego refers to the uniqueness of the ego albeit it does not actually exist at all.

paramatman said...

Ken,
thanks for the hint to Shankara's Vivekachudamani, but I thought not on a special scripture but merely on an explanatory note.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramana Maharshi on Humility

(from http://davidgodman.org/interviews/al4.shtml)

David Godman: Let me give you an extract from a book, Sri Ramana Darsanam, that I recently edited. This is Sri Ramana speaking about the necessity of humility:

"The power of humility, which bestows immortality, is the foremost among powers that are hard to attain. Since the only benefit of learning and other similar virtues is the attainment of humility, humility alone is the real ornament of the sages. It is the storehouse of all other virtues and is therefore extolled as the wealth of divine grace. Although it is a characteristic befitting wise people in general, it is especially indispensable for sadhus.
"Since attaining greatness is impossible for anyone except by humility, all the disciplines of conduct such as yama and niyama, which are prescribed specifically for aspirants on the spiritual path, have as their aim only the attainment of humility. Humility is indeed the hallmark of the destruction of the ego. Because of this, humility is especially extolled by sadhus themselves as the code of conduct befitting them.
"Moreover, for those who are residing at Arunachala, it is indispensable in every way. Arunachala is the sacred place where even the embodiments of God, Brahma, Vishnu and Sakti, humbly subsided. Since it has the power to humble even those who would not be humbled, those who do not humbly subside at Arunachala will surely not attain that redeeming virtue anywhere else. The Supreme Lord, who is the highest of the high, shines unrivalled and unsurpassed only because he remains the humblest of the humble. When the divine virtue of humility is necessary even for the Supreme Lord, who is totally independent, is it necessary to emphasize that it is absolutely indispensable for sadhus who do not have such independence? Therefore, just as in their inner life, in their outer life also sadhus should possess complete and perfect humility. It is not that humility is necessary only for devotees of the Lord; even for the Lord it is the characteristic virtue."

In the final paragraph of this extract Sri Ramana mentions that God Himself derives His greatness from His humility. This is a point of view I have never found expressed by other teachers. We all imagine God as a being who has infinite power. Sri Ramana is on record as saying, perhaps somewhat whimsically, that God got His job because He was the most humble being in the universe, not because He was the most powerful. Here are two of his statements on this topic:

"One's greatness increases to the extent that one becomes humble. The reason why God is supreme to such an extent that the whole universe bows to Him is His sublime state of humility in which the deluded ego never rises unknowingly.
"Is it not on account of His behaving so humbly, as one ever in the service of every creature, that God stands worthy of all the glorious worships ever performed by all the worlds? By seeing Himself in all, by being humble even to devotees who bow to everyone, and by naturally remaining at such a pinnacle of humility that nothing can be humbler than Himself, the state of being supreme has come to the Lord."

All this may sound very eccentric unless one understands that humility equates with egolessness, rather than with a kind of 'nice' or socially acceptable behaviour. God is God because he is utterly egoless, utterly humble, and not because He is omnipotent or omniscient.

paripurna vastu said...

Samarender,
thanks for your humble given comment about the necessity of humility.
Because humility is the absence of pride and arrogance it is really hard to attain.
To recognize the first signs of one's pride and arrogance and to nip them in the bud
is a necessary and indispensable ability/virtue which should be developed particularly by devotees of Arunachala.

Ken said...

paramatman -

A post of mine with a portion of Vivekachudamani which I think is about that topic can be found at:

https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-difference-between-vivarta-vada-and.html?showComment=1477532377430#c5441246466613431950

paramatman said...

Ken,
thank you again for your hint.
I should not postpone hesitantly to study Shankara's works.

D Samarender Reddy said...

(from http://davidgodman.org/interviews/al1.shtml)

David Godman: People came to Sri Ramana [Maharshi] with the standard seekers' question: 'What do I have to do to get enlightened?' One of his standard replies was the Tamil phrase 'Summa iru'. 'Summa' means 'quiet' or 'still' and 'iru' is the imperative of both the verb to be and the verb to stay. So, you can translate this as 'Be quiet,' Be still,' Stay quiet,' 'Remain still,' and so on. This was his primary advice.
However, he knew that most people couldn't naturally stay quiet. If such people asked for a method, a technique, he would often recommend a practice known as self-inquiry. This is probably what he is most famous for. To understand what it is, how it works, and how it is to be practiced, I need to digress a little into Sri Ramana's views on the nature of the mind.
Sri Ramana taught that the individual self is an unreal, imaginary entity that persists because we never properly investigate its true nature. The sense of 'I', the feeling of being a particular person who inhabits a particular body, only persists because we continuously identify ourselves with thoughts, beliefs, emotions, objects, and so on. The 'I' never stands alone by itself; it always exists in association: 'I am John,' 'I am angry,' 'I am a lawyer,' 'I am a woman,' etc. These identifications are automatic and unconscious. We don't make them through volition on a moment-to-moment basis. They are just the unchallenged assumptions that lie behind all our experiences and habits. Sri Ramana asks us to disentangle ourselves from all these associations by putting full attention on the subject 'I', and in doing so, prevent it from attaching itself to any ideas, beliefs, thoughts and emotions that come its way.
The classic way of doing this is to start with some experienced feeling or thought. I may be thinking about what I am going to eat for dinner, for example. So, I ask myself, 'Who is anticipating dinner?' and the answer, whether you express it or not, is 'I am'. Then you ask yourself, 'Who am I? Who or what is this ''I'' that is waiting for its next meal?' This is not an invitation to undertake an intellectual analysis of what is going on in the mind; it is instead a device for transferring attention from the object of thought - the forthcoming dinner - to the subject, the person who is having that particular thought. In that moment simply abide as the 'I' itself and try to experience subjectively what it is when it is shorn of all identifications and associations with things and thoughts. It will be a fleeting moment for most people because it is the nature of the mind to keep itself busy. You will soon find yourself in a new train of thought, a new series of associations. Each time this happens, ask yourself, 'Who is daydreaming?' 'Who is worried about her doctor's bill?' 'Who is thinking about the weather?' and so on. The answer in each case will be 'I'. Hold onto that experience of the unassociated 'I' for as long as you can. Watch how it arises, and, more importantly, watch where it subsides to when there are no thoughts to engage with.
(Continued in Next Comment ...)

D Samarender Reddy said...

(Continued from Previous Comment ...)

This is the next stage of the inquiry. If you can isolate the feeling of 'I' from all the things that it habitually attaches itself to, you will discover that it starts to disappear. As it subsides and becomes more and more attenuated, one begins to experience the emanations of peace and joy that are, in reality, your own natural state. You don't normally experience these because your busy mind keeps them covered up, but they are there all the time, and when you begin to switch the mind off, that's what you experience.
It's a kind of mental archaeology. The gold, the treasure, the inherent happiness of your own true state, is in there, waiting for you, but you don't look for it. You are not even aware of it, because all you see, all you know, are the layers that have accumulated on top of it. Your digging tool is this continuous awareness of 'I'. It takes you away from the thoughts, and back to your real Self, which is peace and happiness. Sri Ramana once compared this process to a dog that holds onto the scent of its master in order to track him down. Following the unattached 'I' will take you home, back to the place where no individual 'I' has ever existed.
This is self-inquiry, and this is the method by which it should be practiced. Hold on to the sense of 'I', and whenever you get distracted by other things revert to it again. I should mention that this was not something that Sri Ramana said should be done as a meditation practice. It is something that should be going on inside you all the time, irrespective of what the body is doing.

daisilui said...

D Samarender Reddy
good layout of the practice of self inquiry!
there is one aspect that would benefit from some clarification, and which came up recently in a discussion elsewhere- that of the experience of 'peace and joy'- the ananda of the sat-chit. Ananda's English translation as 'bliss' is confusing for many seekers as the meaning of the English word is often associated with 'happiness on steroids'/ecstasy rather than with that of 'peace'. Seekers are mainly looking for this happiness that cannot be satisfactorily found in the world, without realizing that this is the effort of the ego looking for fast results and such perpetuating the illusion. This may create the frustration of not finding for the seeker.

The confusion may be the result of the incompatibility of translating words from a language crafted to serve the spirit and one designed to deal with the relationship of the variety of objects of the illusory world of matter. Translators do what they can with the tools at hand and based on their own experience [or lack of it...].

On the other hand the word peace leaves no room for interpretation. It is also that which is experienced first and upon which jolts of joy/happiness that has no cause appear. Although they may not be lasting, the feeling of peace is not that fleeting and as it increasingly becomes more and more stable, joy follows.

ramanargadatta said...

'I am that I am' sums up the whole truth

I can never know who I am, only that I am, because I am that I am.

Can you see why the method is summed up in the words 'Be still'?

Therein lies peace.

illusory silver in a shell said...

ramanargadatta,
this ego will never know who it is. Only after annihilation of the ego we as just pure awareness will be knowing what we really are: perfect stillness.