Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Is it possible for us to see anything other than ourself as ‘the Self’?

On one of my recent articles, The observer is the observed only when we observe ourself alone, a friend called Zubin wrote a comment in which he ended by saying:
I also think it is possible (and I don’t say this to be proud, it is just what I experience) that any adjunct of the ego can be seen as the Self, and as such it is still self-attendance. For example, I can see a thought (frustration, sadness, etc.) running through and I can immediately see that that thought-feeling is infused with, made up of, awareness/consciousness, and it subsides back into awareness/consciousness when it is looked at directly.

I think looking at anger as anger gives the ego life, but looking at the Self in everything, including anger is, I hope, still self-enquiry.
What sees adjuncts or any other phenomena is only the ego, and since the ego is a mistaken awareness of ourself, how can it ever see ‘the Self’ (ourself as we actually are)? If it did see ‘the Self’ even for a moment, it would cease to be the ego and would therefore cease seeing any adjuncts or other phenomena. Therefore in this article I will try to explain to Zubin the fallacy in the beliefs that he has expressed in this comment.
  1. Seeing anything other than ourself as ourself is the fundamental delusion from which we need to free ourself
  2. Since ‘the Self’ is ourself as we actually are, how can we see anything else as ‘the Self’ when we do not even see ourself as ‘the Self’?
  3. ‘Seeing the world as oneself’ is a metaphorical way of saying seeing oneself as oneself, because oneself alone exists
  4. We cannot know what we actually are and thereby give up our ego by imagining that we are seeing any phenomena as ‘the Self’
  5. If we try to see anything other than ourself as ‘the Self’, we would thereby be nourishing and sustaining our ego
  6. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: attending to any phenomenon is ‘grasping form’ and thereby feeding the ego
  7. Whatever phenomenon we may perceive is only a thought, so if we give no room to the rising of any thought we will not see any phenomena
  8. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28: the nature of ‘the Self’ is diametrically opposite to the nature of phenomena
  9. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 3 and 4: we cannot see ‘the Self’ so long as we see any world, and when we see ‘the Self’ we will not see any world
  10. There is no ‘return to the marketplace’, because the ‘marketplace’ seems to exist only in the view of the ego
1. Seeing anything other than ourself as ourself is the fundamental delusion from which we need to free ourself

Zubin, the basic contention you express in the portion of your comment that I cited above is that ‘it is possible that any adjunct of the ego can be seen as the Self’, but in order to assess whether this is correct or not we first need to clarify the meaning of the terms you have used.

Firstly, what exactly do you mean by ‘any adjunct of the ego’? In the sense in which Bhagavan used the term upādhi, which is what is usually translated as ‘adjunct’, it means anything that is not actually ourself but that we mistake to be ourself, such as a body, or any attribute of such a thing. For example, if we say ‘I am fifty years old, six foot tall, an Indian, a Hindu, a well-educated person, suffering from a head-ache, feeling hungry, feeling happy that my children are doing well in life’, all these adjuncts that we append to ‘I am’, mistaking them to be what we actually are, are upādhis.

You refer to thoughts such as frustration and sadness as if they were adjuncts, but as phenomena that appear in our awareness they are not upādhis per se, but become upādhis only when we identify ourself with them, feeling ‘I am frustrated’, ‘I am sad’ or ‘I am thinking these thoughts’. Frustration and sadness are phenomena we can see in others when we look at the world around us, and as such they are just objects of our awareness, but when we feel ‘I am a person who is frustrated and sad’, we are identifying ourself with these phenomena, taking them to be what we are, and as such they are upādhis or adjuncts. No phenomenon is ourself, but when we mistake any phenomenon to be ourself or an attribute or feature of ourself, it is an upādhi or adjunct, something that we seem to be even though we are not.

Whether what you mean by ‘any adjunct of the ego’ is any phenomenon that the ego takes itself to be or any phenomenon more generally, an adjunct is by definition something that is added or joined to something else, so an adjunct of the ego is something that is added to the ego and is therefore not the ego itself. Likewise the Sanskrit term upādhi means a substitute, replacement, disguise, deception, appearance, phantom, adjunct, attribute, limitation or qualification, all of which mean that an upādhi is something other than whatever it is an upādhi of. In other words, an upādhi or adjunct of oneself is something other than oneself, so when you write that ‘it is possible that any adjunct of the ego can be seen as the Self’ you are in effect saying that it is possible for us to see things other than ourself as ourself.

This is certainly true, because the very nature of the ego is to see other things as itself, but though as this ego we are able to see other things (adjuncts) as ourself, our doing so is not true knowledge but only ignorance. That is, mistaking anything other than ourself to be ourself is the fundamental delusion from which we need free ourself, so seeing ‘any adjunct of the ego’ as ‘the Self’ is not what we should be seeking to achieve, but is on the contrary precisely what we should be seeking to avoid.

2. Since ‘the Self’ is ourself as we actually are, how can we see anything else as ‘the Self’ when we do not even see ourself as ‘the Self’?

Secondly, what you refer to as ‘the Self’ is ourself as we actually are. The use of the article ‘the’ and the capitalisation of the initial ‘s’ tends to give the impression that ‘the Self’ is some sort of object, phenomenon or thing, something other than ourself, so as such it can be a somewhat misleading term, reifying or objectifying what we actually are. Though ‘the Self’ is a term that is often used in translations of Bhagavan’s teachings, there is actually no equivalent term in Tamil, Sanskrit or any other Indian languages, because in such languages there is no equivalent to the article ‘the’ and there are no capital letters. In Tamil or Sanskrit one could say in certain contexts ‘this self’ or ‘that self’, but not ‘the self’.

The Tamil word used by Bhagavan most frequently that is often translated as ‘the Self’ is தான் (tāṉ), which is a generic pronoun that means ‘one’ or ‘oneself’, but in the same sense he also often used other terms of Sanskrit origin such as ஆத்மா (ātmā), ஆன்மா (āṉmā), சொரூபம் (sorūpam [a Tamil form of svarūpa]), ஆத்மசொரூபம் (ātma-sorūpam) and ஆன்மசொரூபம் (āṉma-sorūpam). Generally he used ஆத்மசொரூபம் (ātma-sorūpam) and ஆன்மசொரூபம் (āṉma-sorūpam) to refer specifically to ourself as we actually are, and when he used சொரூபம் (sorūpam) to refer to ourself (our ‘own form’ or fundamental nature) rather than to the fundamental nature of anything else, such as the mind, he used it in the same sense, namely to refer specifically to ourself as we really are. However he used தான் (tāṉ) both when referring to ourself as we actually are and when referring to ourself as this ego, and in many cases he used it to refer to ourself in general in contexts where distinguishing our actual self from our ego would not be appropriate, so we need to understand from each context in which he used it whether he was referring to ourself in general or specifically either to ourself as we actually are or to ourself as this ego. Since we are one, in many cases there is no need to specify whether தான் (tāṉ) or ‘oneself’ refers to ourself as we actually are or to ourself as this ego.

Herein lies another problem with using the term ‘the Self’ with a capital ‘S’, because the capital ‘S’ implies that it refers to ourself as we actually are, and consequently if the initial ‘s’ is not capitalised that would imply that ‘self’ refers ourself as this ego, but in many cases it is either unnecessary or inappropriate to make any such distinction. For example, in the term ‘ātma-vicāra’ or ‘self-investigation’, we should not specify that ‘ātman’ or ‘self’ refers just to ourself as we actually are or just to ourself as this ego, because the reason we investigate ourself is that we now seem to be this ego and we therefore need to find out what we actually are.

If we mistake a rope to be a snake, and if we are advised to look at it carefully to see what it actually is, we would begin our investigation by looking at what seems to be a snake and would end up recognising that it is only a rope. Likewise, when we investigate ourself, what we are trying to keenly attend to initially seems to be a finite ego, but ultimately we recognise that it is not what it seemed to be but is only the one infinite awareness that we actually are. Therefore in the term ‘ātma-vicāra’, ‘ātman’ refers to ourself in general and not specifically either to our actual self or to our ego, so if we use ‘Self’ with a capital ‘S’ to distinguish our actual self from our ego, translating ‘ātma-vicāra’ as ‘Self-investigation’ or ‘Self-enquiry’ would imply that it means investigating our actual self and not our ego, whereas translating it as ‘self-investigation’ or ‘self-enquiry’ would imply the opposite, neither of which would be correct. Therefore in the context of Bhagavan’s teachings using the term ‘Self’ with a capital ‘S’ is liable to create confusion in many cases, since it implies a duality that is not implied in either Tamil or Sanskrit, as if our actual self and our ego were two entirely different things, rather than just one thing being seen either as it is or as it seems to be.

However, since in English the term ‘the Self’ implies ourself as we actually are, I assume that when you say that ‘it is possible that any adjunct of the ego can be seen as the Self’, you mean that any adjunct can be seen as our actual self. If this is what you mean, how can we see anything else as our actual self when we do not even see ourself as our actual self? So long as we mistake ourself to be this ego, we are not aware of ourself as we actually are, so we obviously cannot see anything else as our actual self. First we need to be aware of ourself as we actually are, and then only would it perhaps be possible to see anything else as what we actually are.

3. ‘Seeing the world as oneself’ is a metaphorical way of saying seeing oneself as oneself, because oneself alone exists

However, according to Bhagavan what sees or is aware of anything else is only this ego, so we seem to be aware of other things only when we are aware of ourself as this ego (as in waking or dream), and when we are not aware of ourself as this ego (as in sleep) we are not aware of anything other than ourself. Therefore when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we will not be aware of anything else whatsoever.

Hence when it is said that the ātma-jñāni is aware of everything as itself (or as ‘himself’ or ‘herself’), this does not mean that it is aware of anything other than itself, but only that what we see as myriad phenomena is seen by the jñāni as the one infinite self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) that we actually are. This can be illustrated by the rope-snake analogy. If it is said that someone sees a rope as a snake, that means that what that person is actually seeing is only a rope but that they mistakenly see it as a snake. However, if it is said that someone else sees that snake as a rope, that does not mean that what this second person is actually seeing is a snake but that they mistakenly see it as a rope; what it means is that they are not actually seeing any snake at all but only a rope, because what actually is lying there on the ground is not a snake but only a rope, so all that they are seeing is just a rope, and they recognise it to be what it actually is.

The reason why it is said that this undeluded person ‘sees the snake as a rope’ is that the deluded person mistakes the rope to be a snake, so what that deluded person sees as a snake is seen by this other person to be just a rope, which is what it actually is. Therefore, since what actually exists is only ourself, seeing everything as ourself means seeing only ourself and nothing else at all. What an ajñāni (a self-ignorant person) sees as ‘everything’ (all these manifold phenomena) is seen by the ātma-jñāni to be nothing other than ourself, the one infinite self-awareness, other than which nothing exists.

That is, if we say that someone is seeing a rope as a snake, that statement is true in a literal sense, because what is actually there is only a rope, but it is mistaken to be a snake. However, if we say that someone else is seeing that snake as a rope, that statement is not true in a literal sense but only in a metaphorical sense, because there is actually no snake there for anyone to see as a rope, so what that person is actually seeing is only a rope as a rope.

Likewise, when it is said that we are seeing ourself as all the myriad phenomena that constitute whatever world we are currently perceiving (either in waking or in dream), that is true in a literal sense, because what actually exists is only ourself, but when we rise as this ego we project phenomena within our awareness (our mind) and thus we mistake what actually exists (namely ourself) to be both subject (this ego) and objects (whatever phenomena we are currently projecting). However, when it is said that the ātma-jñāni sees the world as itself (‘the Self’), that is not true in a literal sense but only in a metaphorical sense, because there is actually no world (no phenomena) at all in the clear view of ātma-jñāna (pure self-awareness), so what the jñāni is actually seeing is only itself as itself.

4. We cannot know what we actually are and thereby give up our ego by imagining that we are seeing any phenomena as ‘the Self’

Therefore if you believe that you are seeing any phenomena as ‘the Self’, that is just an imagination and not real awareness of your actual self. If we want to see everything as our actual self, we must first see ourself as we actually are, and we cannot see ourself as we actually are by any act of our imagination. So long as we are aware of any phenomena (that is, anything other than ourself alone), we are aware of ourself only as this ego (the subject who is aware of such things) and not as we actually are, so in order to see ourself as we actually are we must turn our entire attention back towards ourself alone, thereby withdrawing it completely from all other things.

Imagining that we are seeing any or all phenomena as ‘the Self’ or as ‘infused with, made up of, awareness/consciousness’ is not self-attentiveness, because we are self-attentive only to the extent that our attention is focused keenly on ourself alone, thereby excluding all phenomena from our awareness. Until the final moment when we see ourself as we actually are, our self-attentiveness is not yet perfect, so we are still to a greater or lesser extent aware of other things, no matter how subtle they may be, but during our practice we should try to be as keenly self-attentive as possible, so we should give no room to the rising of any imagination such as the idea that we are seeing any phenomena as ‘the Self’ or as ‘infused with, made up of, awareness/consciousness’, because such imaginations are just another trick employed by our ego to distract our attention away from it.

The practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) entails keeping our attention fixed only on ourself, as Bhagavan explains in the sixteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
சதாகாலமும் மனத்தை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பதற்குத் தான் ‘ஆத்மவிசார’ மென்று பெயர்.

sadā-kālam-um maṉattai ātmāvil vaittiruppadaṟku-t tāṉ ‘ātma-vicāram’ eṉḏṟu peyar.

The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to [the practice of] keeping the mind always in [or on] ātmā [oneself].
What he describes as ‘மனத்தை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பது’ (maṉattai ātmāvil vaittiruppadu), ‘keeping the mind in [or on] oneself’, in this sentence is what he describes as ‘ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பது’ (āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhā-paraṉ-āy iruppadu), ‘being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is steadily fixed in oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [thought of oneself]’ in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph:
ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம்.

āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām.

Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is steadily fixed in oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [thought of oneself], alone is giving oneself to God.
Though ātma-cintana literally means ‘thought of oneself’, what it clearly implies is self-attentiveness, so what Bhagavan teaches us in this sentence is that the means to surrender or give up our ego is to be so keenly self-attentive that we give absolutely no room to the rising of any thought about anything else whatsoever. This is what he describes beautifully in the last two lines of verse 27 of Bhagavad Gītā Sāram (which is his translation of Bhagavad Gītā 6.25):
சித்தத்தை யான்மாவிற் சேர்த்திடுக மற்றெதுவு
மித்தனையு மெண்ணிடா தே.

cittattai yāṉmāviṟ cērttiḍuka maṯṟeduvu
mittaṉaiyu meṇṇiḍā dē
.

பதச்சேதம்: சித்தத்தை ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்திடுக; மற்று எதுவும் இத்தனையும் எண்ணிடாதே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): cittattai āṉmāvil sērttiḍuka; maṯṟu eduvum ittaṉaiyum eṇṇiḍādē.

English translation: Fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.
In order to see (or rather imagine we are seeing) any phenomena as ‘the Self’ we obviously need to attend to those phenomena, and so long as we are attending to anything other than ourself, our mind is not fixed exclusively on ourself and we are not giving no room to the rising of other thoughts. In fact, since all phenomena are only thoughts, by attending to phenomena and imagining that we are seeing them as ‘the Self’ we are not only giving room to a multiplication of thoughts but actually encouraging it. Therefore if we want to follow the simple path of self-investigation that Bhagavan has taught us, we should give absolutely no room to the rising of any such imaginations.

5. If we try to see anything other than ourself as ‘the Self’, we would thereby be nourishing and sustaining our ego

What you refer to as ‘the Self’ is ourself as we actually are, and ourself is what we refer to as ‘I’, or as நான் (nāṉ) in Tamil. Therefore when you say that it is possible to see phenomena such as thoughts, frustration, sadness or anger as ‘the Self’, that means that it is possible to see them as ‘I’ — that is, that it is possible to see ‘I am this thought’, ‘I am this frustration’, ‘I am this sadness’ or ‘I am this anger’.

However, seeing any phenomenon as ‘I’ is not true knowledge but only ignorance, because as Bhagavan often explained, what experiences itself as ‘நான் இது’ (nāṉ idu), ‘I am this’, or ‘நான் அது’ (nāṉ adu), ‘I am that’, is only the ego, because our actual self experiences itself as nothing other than itself, so its experience of its own identity is only ‘நான் நான்’ (nāṉ nāṉ), ‘I am I’, and not ‘நான் இது’ (nāṉ idu) or ‘நான் அது’ (nāṉ adu), ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’. Since in this context ‘இது’ (idu) or ‘அது’ (adu), ‘this’ or ‘that’, refers to something other than oneself, ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ expresses a false identification of oneself with something else. Since we can never be anything other than ourself, being aware of ourself as ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’ is only ignorance and not true knowledge of what we actually are.

Therefore even if it were possible for us to see ourself as phenomena such as thoughts, frustration, sadness or anger, that would not be awareness of ourself as we actually are, but would be just another form of self-delusion. Therefore you are mistaken when you say, ‘I think looking at anger as anger gives the ego life, but looking at the Self in everything, including anger is, I hope, still self-enquiry’, because the ego comes into existence, stands and flourishes by identifying itself with forms or phenomena (as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), so identifying any phenomenon as ourself is only a means to nourish and sustain our ego.

6. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 25: attending to any phenomenon is ‘grasping form’ and thereby feeding the ego

Self-enquiry or self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is not imagining any phenomenon to be ourself (‘the Self’), or imagining ourself to be in everything, but is only looking very keenly at ourself alone in order to see what we actually are. So long as we are attending to (or aware of) any phenomenon, even to the slightest degree, we are ‘grasping form’, and ‘grasping form’ is the means by which the ego survives and flourishes, as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: Grasping form, the formless phantom-ego rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows [spreads, expands, increases, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form, it grasps [another] form. If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight. Investigate [or know thus].
Since the ego rises, stands and flourishes by ‘grasping form’ (that is, by attending to or being aware of anything other than itself), it will cease to exist only when it tries to grasp itself alone, as Bhagavan implies when he says, ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), ‘If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight’. This is why he repeated so often that we should attend only to ourself and thereby give no room to the rising of any thought about anything else whatsoever.

7. Whatever phenomenon we may perceive is only a thought, so if we give no room to the rising of any thought we will not see any phenomena

In a subsequent comment you wrote: ‘I can see the Self, that one thing infusing everything, in forms or feelings whenever I stop thoughts and look deeply at something, but I am not realized nor liberated’. However, since ‘the Self’ means what we actually are, and since being ‘realised’ or liberated means seeing what we actually are, when you say ‘I am not realized nor liberated’ that means that you do not see ‘the Self’ (that is, you are not aware of what you actually are), so you are contradicting yourself when you say in the same sentence ‘I can see the Self’.

You are also contradicting yourself when you talk about seeing forms and feelings when you stop thoughts, because every form and every feeling is just a thought, so when all thoughts stop (as in sleep) there are no forms or feelings to be seen. That is, it is impossible for us to stop all thoughts and look deeply at anything other than ourself, because everything other than ourself is just a thought or idea projected by our mind, as Bhagavan clearly indicates in the fourth and fourteenth paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை.

niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyamāy illai.

Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world.

ஜக மென்பது நினைவே.

jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē.

What is called the world is only thought.
All phenomena are mental phenomena, and mental phenomena are what Bhagavan means by the term ‘நினைவுகள்’ (niṉaivugaḷ), ‘thoughts’ or ‘ideas’. Presumably when you say ‘whenever I stop thoughts’, what you mean by ‘thoughts’ is only mental chatter, but according to Bhagavan that is just one of many different kinds of thought, and what we need to give no room to is the rising of any kind of thought whatsoever.

When you think that you are seeing ‘the Self, that one thing infusing everything, in forms or feelings’, that is itself a thought, and since it is a conceptual thought, it must entail some kind of mental chatter. If you could avoid giving room to any concept or mental chatter at all (that is, to any conceptual thought) while looking at any form, feeling or other phenomenon (which are perceptual thoughts), you would not be stopping all thoughts but would at least be avoiding the erroneous idea that you are seeing ‘the Self’ in those phenomena, because that idea is just a concept.

8. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28: the nature of ‘the Self’ is diametrically opposite to the nature of phenomena

Moreover, when you say that you can see ‘the Self’ in everything, what sort of idea do you have about the nature of ‘the Self’? Obviously your idea of it is somewhat different to what Bhagavan taught us about it in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தனாதியல் யாதெனத் தான்றெரி கிற்பின்
னனாதி யனந்தசத் துந்தீபற
      வகண்ட சிதானந்த முந்தீபற.

taṉādiyal yādeṉat tāṉḏṟeri hiṯpiṉ
ṉaṉādi yaṉantasat tundīpaṟa
      vakhaṇḍa cidāṉanda mundīpaṟa
.

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

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

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

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

English translation: If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-consciousness-bliss].
Since all phenomena appear and disappear, none of them are either anādi (beginningless) or ananta (endless). And since every phenomenon is a form of one kind or another, and every form has certain limits and is therefore finite, no form or phenomenon can be ananta either in the sense of ‘endless’ or the sense of ‘limitless’ or ‘infinite’. Moreover, the limits of each phenomenon separate or divide it from whatever is beyond its limits, so division or fragmentation is the very nature of phenomena, so no phenomenon can be akhaṇḍa (unbroken, undivided or unfragmented).

Since all phenomena are just transitory appearances, none of them can be sat, that which actually exists, because what actually exists must always exist, and therefore cannot either come into existence (appear) or cease to exist (disappear). And since no phenomena is aware either of itself or of anything else, they seem to exist only because they appear in the suṭṭaṟivu (outward-looking, object-knowing or transitive awareness) of the ego, and hence none of them can be cit, that which is actually aware. Moreover, since they are not aware, none of them can be ānanda, happiness, because being happy is an experience that entails being aware. Since the happiness that is our real nature is beginningless, endless, infinite and indivisible, we cannot find it in any phenomenon whatsoever, as Bhagavan says in the fourteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
சுகமென்பது ஆத்மாவின் சொரூபமே; சுகமும் ஆத்மசொரூபமும் வேறன்று. ஆத்மசுகம் ஒன்றே யுள்ளது; அதுவே ஸத்யம். பிரபஞ்சப்பொருள் ஒன்றிலாவது சுகமென்பது கிடையாது. அவைகளிலிருந்து சுகம் கிடைப்பதாக நாம் நமது அவிவேகத்தால் நினைக்கின்றோம்.

sukham-eṉbadu ātmāviṉ sorūpamē; sukhamum ātma-sorūpamum vēṟaṉḏṟu. ātmasukham oṉḏṟē y-uḷḷadu; aduvē satyam. pirapañca-p-poruḷ oṉḏṟil-āvadu sukham-eṉbadu kiḍaiyādu. avaigaḷilirundu sukham kiḍaippadāha nām namadu avivēkattāl niṉaikkiṉḏṟōm.

What is called happiness is only the svarūpa of ātmā [the ‘own form’ or actual nature of oneself]; happiness and ātma-svarūpa [one’s own actual self] are not different. Ātma-sukha [the happiness that is oneself] alone exists; that alone is real. Happiness is not found in [or obtained from] any of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our avivēka [lack of judgement or discrimination].
Therefore the nature of phenomena is the very antithesis of the nature of our actual self (‘the Self’) in respect to each and every one of the six defining characteristics that Bhagavan mentions in this verse, so how is it possible for anyone (either an ajñāni or the ātma-jñāni) to see our actual self in any or all phenomena?

9. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 3 and 4: we cannot see ‘the Self’ so long as we see any world, and when we see ‘the Self’ we will not see any world

The fact that we cannot see our actual self (‘the Self’) so long as we see any phenomena, and that we will not see any phenomena when we see our actual self is stated by Bhagavan unequivocally in the third and fourth paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:
சர்வ அறிவிற்கும் சர்வ தொழிற்குங் காரண மாகிய மன மடங்கினால் ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கும். கற்பித ஸர்ப்ப ஞானம் போனா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான ரஜ்ஜு ஞானம் உண்டாகாதது போல, கற்பிதமான ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கினா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான சொரூப தர்சன முண்டாகாது.

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

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

சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது.

silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉṉiḍamirundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉam-um taṉṉiḍattilirundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. maṉam ātma sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum. āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu.

Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [ourself as we actually are] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear.
Since what Bhagavan refers to as svarūpa or ātma-svarūpa in these two passages is ourself as we actually are, which is what you refer to as ‘the Self’, he makes it very clear that we cannot see ‘the Self’ so long as we see any world, and when we see ‘the Self’ we will not see any world. Therefore from this alone we can infer without any scope for doubt that, contrary to what you believe, it is not ‘possible that any adjunct of the ego can be seen as the Self’, and that it is not correct to say ‘I can see the Self, that one thing infusing everything, in forms or feelings’.

10. There is no ‘return to the marketplace’, because the ‘marketplace’ seems to exist only in the view of the ego

Referring to what you had written in your first comment (the one I cited at the beginning of this article), another friend called Mouna wrote a comment in which he said:
This is an interesting statement. There is a thread of thought these days in spiritual teachings related to Bhagavan and Vedanta that indicates that after realization/liberation, one starts to see the “self in everything”. Some people even call it “the return to the marketplace”. A little bit like saying that we see diversity in unity or vice versa, or like including duality into the non-dual (since the absolute includes everything, it has to include duality also).

I myself, within the limits of my understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings, challenge that view […] I was wondering, Michael, if you have (from your experience or according to Bhagavan’s teachings) any comments on this topic as presented in this posting?
Mouna, you are correct in believing that after our ego has been annihilated there is no ‘return to the marketplace’, because the ‘marketplace’ (the totality of all phenomena) is projected by our ego and perceived only by it, so when our ego (the root and essence of our mind) is eradicated by absolutely clear self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) there can be no phenomena nor anyone to see any phenomena, as Bhagavan explains very clearly in the two passages of Nāṉ Yār? that I cited in the previous section.

This is why he often used to say (as, for example, in verse 114 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai) that the bright light of ātma-jñāna will consume the entire appearance of all worlds, just as sunlight flooding into a cinema would consume all the pictures on the screen. This is what he described as the light of grace swallowing everything in verse 27 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai and verse 1 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam:
சகலமும் விழுங்குங் கதிரொளி யினமன
      சலச மலர்த்தியி டருணாசலா.

sakalamum viṙuṅguṅ kadiroḷi yiṉamaṉa
      jalaja malarttiyi ḍaruṇācalā
.

பதச்சேதம்: சகலமும் விழுங்கும் கதிர் ஒளி இன மன சலசம் அலர்த்தியிடு அருணாசலா

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

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

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

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

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

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

English translation:: O Ocean of amṛta [the ambrosia of immortality], which is the fullness of grace, O Supreme Self, Arunagiri, who swallow everything by [your] spreading rays [of pure self-awareness], shine as the sun that makes [my] budding heart-lotus blossom fully.
Another analogy he used in this context was the destructive power of an atomic bomb, as he did on 22nd November 1945 (a few months after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), which was recorded by Devaraja Mudaliar in Day by Day with Bhagavan (22-11-45 Afternoon: 2002 edition, page 49) as follows:
The spark of jñāna will easily consume all creation as if it were a mountain-heap of cotton. All the crores of worlds being built upon the weak (or no) foundation of the ego, they all topple down when the atomic bomb of jñāna comes down upon them.
The ‘marketplace’ is just an illusory appearance that seems to exist only in the view of ourself as this ego, so when this ego disappears in the clear light of pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) the ‘marketplace’ will disappear along with it. Therefore after the destruction of the ego there will be no ‘marketplace’ to return to and no one to return to it.

The reason why we have embarked on this spiritual path is because we have begun to grow tired of rising as an ego and experiencing endless phenomena, so we aspire to free ourself from this ‘marketplace’, since we have at last understood that it is a source of constant trouble and suffering and that the fleeting pleasures we seem to obtain from it are not the real and unlimited happiness that we are always in search of. When this is the case, why should we continue to harbour any desire for this ‘marketplace’, and even more pertinently, why should we hope to return to it after we have freed ourself from it?

As I explained in the third section, ‘seeing oneself in everything’ or ‘seeing everything as oneself’ is a metaphorical way of saying ‘seeing oneself alone’, because 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].
Since we alone actually exist, there is nothing other than ourself for us either to see as ourself or to see ourself in. Since we are the only thing, ‘everything’ means only ourself, so ‘seeing everything as ourself’ is a metaphor that means seeing ourself as ourself, and ‘seeing ourself in everything’ is a metaphor that means seeing ourself in ourself.

Since Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Upadēśa Undiyār, ‘தானாய் இருத்தலே தன்னை அறிதல் ஆம்’ (tāṉ-āy iruttal-ē taṉṉai aṟidal ām), ‘Being oneself alone is knowing oneself’, seeing ourself as we actually are entails just being as we actually are, so when we see our actual self (ātma-svarūpa) we will be nothing but that, and since that alone is what actually exists, it does not see anything other than itself. Hence if anyone claims that after experiencing ātma-jñāna we will ‘return to the marketplace’, meaning that we will once again see the myriad phenomena that constitute this or any other world, that would imply that our actual self, which is brahman, will begin to see phenomena, which is clearly an absurd proposition. Therefore those who make such claims thereby betray the fact that they believe that the ātma-jñāni is not just brahman but is still a person, an individual subject or perceiver, and thus they expose their own ignorance.

We are all faced with a simple choice: either we see ourself as we actually are, and therefore see no phenomena of any kind whatsoever, or we see ourself as this ego, and therefore see numerous kinds of phenomena. So long as we continue to be infatuated with phenomena, as we all are at present, we will continue to make the wrong choice, and if our infatuation with them is particularly strong, we may even be inclined to believe that we will continue to be aware of them even after we have been consumed in the fire of ātma-jñāna. Only when our love (bhakti) to be aware of ourself as we actually are becomes stronger than our liking to be aware of anything else whatsoever will we be able to make the right choice, and since making that choice entails simply turning our entire attention back towards ourself alone, thereby excluding everything else from our awareness, as soon as we make that choice we will merge forever as our actual self, and hence we will never again rise to see any phenomena.

131 comments:

Sanjay Lohia said...

I have just read the following quotation by Bhagavan (source not known) which I found worth meditating upon:

Just as you your mind devises and your body executes, the divine intelligence plans and His energy automatically and spontaneously acts.

Since there is nothing to oppose this divine intelligence and energy, nothing or nobody can oppose its will. Of course, we can foolishly and in our ignorance try opposing it, but we will invariably fail. ‘Not an atom can move without God’s will’, asserts a popular saying. The knowledge of such supremacy of divine intelligence will will calm us down; it will make our surrender easy, because we know that his will prevails in all circumstances. In this regards let us recall Bhagavan’s advice to his mother:

According to the prārabdha [destiny] of each person, God being there there [in the heart of each of them] will make [him or her] act. What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain. Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good.

Silently being is good, or in other words nirantara svarupa smarana is needed to surrender to the will of Bhagavan.

Mouna said...

Thank you Michael,
Mouna

Ken said...

Michael, thanks for this fine analysis.

In fact, what Zubin describes is the opposite of what Ramana and Shankara are saying.

What Ramana and Shankara say is that they see the Self, and then there may or may not be appearances (maya), i.e. seeing the screen and then there may or may not be images on the screen. Ramana: "The jnani knows that the screen, the pictures and the sight thereof are but the Self. With the pictures the Self is in its manifest form; without
the pictures It remains in the unmanifest form. To the jnani it is quite immaterial if the Self is in the one form or the other. He is always the Self."

So, to the jnani, there is the Self, and then there are may or may not be these manifestations.

From these quotes, people like Zubin get the mistaken impression that it works in the opposite direction, but this is not true.

First seeing the specific manifestation of a phenomenon with "name and form" and then seeing it as awareness, might be a defensible beginning practice to get used to the idea that everything is Awareness, rather than matter or energy, but no more than that.

Part of the problem is that seeing a particular phenomenon as the Self, implies that other things are not the Self. For example, seeing a book on the table as the Self, but then still seeing the table as a table, isn't helping anything. :) If the "I" is attached to anything at all as "name and form", then the ego is still involved.

All of this is making the simplest thing in the world, more complicated. Just pay attention only to "I".

Noob said...

There is a famous paradox picture of "rabbit of duck", when you see a rabbit on the painting you cannot see the duck and wise versa. I wonder if we are the paper .....

Mouna said...

Both and neither Noob...

Noob said...

We may as well be a paper on which both duck and rabbit are painted....

Noob said...

so it is difficult to see the paper through the painting....

Noob said...

especially when you are looking either for duck or for rabbit....

Noob said...

The funny stuff is when we are trying to see either the rabbit or duck we keep looking at the paper, but we fail to see it.

Zubin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zubin said...

Michael, thanks for the in-depth exploration and explanation built around my comment. I may not use the same terminology as Ramana and people who have studied him, and so some of my words in my original comment may have been taken incorrectly.

My only point was that when the mind convinces itself it is not looking at Self, then I see the ego and form arise. And then, if I look directly at anything that arises, including thoughts, then there is no difference between what I am looking at and the energy that is looking. Even the feeling of looking dissolves.

There is no me, no ego in that moment, only a feeling of I AM, unbounded, unanchored, and infusing everything. In that moment of direct looking, all is seen as Self, and there is nothing seen as not.

deepa darsana said...

Zubin,
what you describe in the last paragraph of your recent comment seems to be the experience of adjunctfree self-awareness. But why did you re-emerge from that state ?

deepa darsana said...

Ken,
what you say in the last paragraphs of your comment (book on the table) is quite correct.

Zubin said...

Deepa, your question is something I sometimes explore ("Why did you re-emerge from that state?), but as you know, "why?" questions are sometimes impossible to answer.

In that state, the question makes no sense, for there is no state to enter or leave. There is only something so all-encompassing, so complete as to not be an object, something that is so obviously always.

When thoughts re-arise, and I believe my mind saying I am not in that state, then I sometimes ask why?, but it cannot be answered by mind.

All I know is that anytime I can stop thoughts and look and see that everything is Self and there is no looker.

And I do not think it is special, or that I have arrived somewhere, so I pay it no mind and only continue self-enquiry throughout my days.

Ken said...

deepa darsana:

The answer to your question to Zubin is "the mental tendencies (vasanas)".

As Ramana has stated:

"The immersion of the mind in the Self, but without its destruction, is kevala nirvikalpa samadhi. In this state one is not free from vasanas and so one does not therefore attain mukti. Only after the vasanas have been destroyed can one attain liberation."

Eventually, continued practice of self-enquiry will destroy the vasanas and then there is mukti.

deepa darsana said...

Zubin,
yes, continuing persistently to find the source of even all subtle forms of the "seeing" and "knowing" ego is the best decision. The best of luck !

deepa darsana said...

Ken,
yes, let the vasanas burn out in the ever increasing heat of true bhakti.

Mouna said...

When waking up in the morning, who wakes up? And from "where"?

When start perceiving the world, who "does" the perceiving?

When writing and thinking about the jnani's state, who thinks all those thoughts?

When reading this paragraph, when looking out of the window, when seeing our children, spouses, friends, cars, etc..., are all these separate from our subjective field of experience? Could we be deep asleep and have this subjective experience of the other and all other things?

By now we should have come to the conclusion that the rising of the "feeling" of "i" (with everything else) comes only in the waking and dream states.

Wherewere we before that feeling arose?
Where were we before being born to that feeling?

Ego is everything. Everything we "know", everything we (or i) "perceive", "think", "sense", "feel", love, hate, etc...
Everything that is under this feeling of being (limited to a body) is ego, except that pure sense of being.

ego is an hallucination, it's own!...

Ken said...

" Q: How is the ego to be destroyed?

Ramana Maharshi: Hold the ego first and then ask how it is to be destroyed. Who asks the question? It is the ego. This question is a sure way to cherish the ego and not to kill it. If you seek the ego you will find that it does not exist. That is the way to destroy it."

(From Be As You Are)

D Samarender Reddy said...

Take Heart

"All thoughts such as, "Attainment is hard," or "Self-realization is far from me," or "I have to overcome many difficulties to know Reality," should be given up, as they are obstacles and are created by this false self, ego. They are untrue."---Ramana Maharshi

Anonymous said...

Mouna said...
By now we should have come to the conclusion that the rising of the "feeling" of "i" (with everything else) comes only in the waking and dream states.

Wherewere we before that feeling arose?
Where were we before being born to that feeling?

great post Mouna
quite a few times the last months, i woke up by an intense pain (due to an injury). on one ocassion on waking suddenly, i knew that i was disturbed, i was here peaceful and the pain came. i was 100% sure i was here before the pain. in a way, the pain did more than my practice...
however, and this is where Bhagavan differs from most teachers, unless one has an unmistakeble experience of reality as it is, one will habitually go after objects again and again...

Anonymous said...

Mouna said:
"When waking up in the morning, who wakes up? And from "where"?

When start perceiving the world, who "does" the perceiving?

When writing and thinking about the jnani's state, who thinks all those thoughts?"

I has this semi-constant realization that it is 'i' doing all those mentioned but that the witness to the doings is not Me. The doings are not 'happening' as it is customarily said but they are done by the 'i'; the 'i' who makes judgments and chooses the form of action as thinks appropriate. The 'i' is involved in what it does and 'I' does not interfere to correct or judge doings or anything else, (most of the times- the time when I is not I any longer but the 'i' that arises in temporary forgetfulness). If I looks even deeper (that is when 'i' seats in contemplation) then it/the witness of all those things vanishes too and with it the things (and the world).
The ananda of this state is not there to be perceived (because there is no perceiver left and nothing to perceive)- it appears in some form, usually as peace, labeled as such by the mind, only when the witness reappears.

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

"Q: Seeking the ‘I’ there is nothing to be seen.

Ramana Maharshi: Because you are accustomed to identify yourself with the body and sight with the eyes, therefore you say you do not see anything. What is there to be seen? Who is to see? How to see? There is only one consciousness which, manifesting as ‘I’-thought, identifies itself with the body, projects itself through the eyes and sees the objects around.

The individual is limited in the waking state and expects to see something different. The evidence of his senses will be the seal of authority. But he will not admit that the seer, the seen and the seeing are all manifestations of the same consciousness – namely, ‘I, I’. Contemplation helps one to overcome the illusion that the Self must be visual. In truth, there is nothing visual.

How do you feel the ‘I’ now? Do you hold a mirror before you to know your own being? The awareness is the ‘I’. Realize it and that is the truth.

Q: On enquiry into the origin of thoughts there is a perception of ‘I’. But it does not satisfy me.

Ramana Maharshi: Quite right. The perception of ‘I’ is associated with a form, maybe the body. There should be nothing associated with the pure Self. The Self is the unassociated, pure reality, in whose light the body and the ego shine. On stilling all thoughts the pure consciousness remains.

Just on waking from sleep and before becoming aware of the world there is that pure ‘I, I’. Hold on to it without sleeping or without allowing thoughts to possess you. If that is held firm it does not matter even if the world is seen. The seer remains unaffected by the phenomena.

What is the ego? Enquire. The body is insentient and cannot say ‘I’. The Self is pure consciousness and non-dual. It cannot say ‘I’. No one says ‘I’ in sleep. What is the ego then? It is something intermediate between the inert body and the Self. It has no locus standi. If sought for it vanishes like a ghost. At night a man may imagine that there is a ghost by his side because of the play of shadows. If he looks closely he discovers that the ghost is not really there, and what he imagined to be a ghost was merely a tree or a post. If he does not look closely the ghost may terrify him. All that is required is to look closely and the ghost vanishes. The ghost was never there. So also with the ego. It is an intangible link between the body and pure consciousness. It is not real. So long as one does not look closely at it, it continues to give trouble. But when one looks for it, it is found not to exist.

There is another story which illustrates this. In Hindu marriage functions the feasts often continue for five or six days. On one of these occasions a stranger was mistaken for the best man by the bride’s party and they therefore treated him with special regard. Seeing him treated with special regard by the bride’s party, the bridegroom’s party considered him to be some man of importance related to the bride’s party and therefore they too showed him special respect. The stranger had altogether a happy time of it. He was also all along aware of the real situation. On one occasion the groom’s party wanted to refer to him on some point and so they asked the bride’s party about him. Immediately he scented trouble and made himself scarce. So it is with the ego. If looked for, it disappears. If not, it continues to give trouble."

(From "Be As You Are")

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael wrote an e-mail to me in January 2014 (in answer to one my e-mails), in which he said:

We should not imagine that we can be self-attentive only when we sit with eyes closed for meditation, because that would imply that ‘I’ is not always present or that we are not always aware that ‘I am’. Since we are never not aware that ‘I am’, there is no time or circumstance in which we cannot be self-attentive.

Reflections: This in the uniqueness of Bhagavan’s core practice of self-attentiveness. This can be practised at any place, at any time, and in any circumstance. As Michael implies, since one is always present and one is clearly aware of one’s existence-consciousness at all times, one can and should try to attend to oneself as much as possible, and in as many circumstances as possible. Bhagavan says in Nan Yar: ‘If one clings fast to nirantana svarupa smarana (continuous or uninterrupted self-attentiveness) until one attains svarupa, that alone is sufficient’. Therefore Bhagavan expects us to attend to ourself as much as possible in all circumstance.

Even now when I am typing this comment I can and should keep a part of my attention on myself. Is it possible? Yes, by practice it is possible – for which we should have sufficient love to attend to ourself. Will it affect the performance of our duties? No, it will not, because whatever is to happen will happen, and we will be made to do whatever our prarabdha has in store for us. So why should we be so much concerned about our duties and responsibilities? Bhagavan is taking more than perfect care of our responsibilities. Our only real duty or responsibility is to remain vigilantly self-aware as much as possible.

beacon light (dipam) said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"...since one is clearly aware of one's existence-consciousness at all times, one can and should try to attend...".
If we were really always clearly aware of our existence-consciousness we would not need to attend to oneself as much as possible.
Only by the way, instead of 'nirantana ' we should read 'nirantara'.

avoid pramada said...

Ken,
very good quote from "Be as you are":
'There should be nothing associated with the pure Self. The Self is the unassociated, pure reality, in whose light the body and the ego shine'.
Regarding the ego, this 'intangible link between the body and pure consciousness'
I like very much that amusing marriage story of the stranger who play tricks on both the bride's and the bridegroom's party. It makes me laugh every time I read it.

beacon light (dipam) said...

Mouna,
greetings my friend.
Let me try to anwer your questions put on 16 December 2016.
Q: ...who wakes up ? A: the ego.
Q: ...from "where" ? A: from dream or sleep. Whereas the dreamer was also the ego, was there any sleeper at all ?
Q: ...who "does" the perceiving ? A: the ego.
Q: ...Who thinks all those thoughts ? A: the ego.
Q: ...are all these separate from our subjective field of experience ? A: No.
Q: ...have this subjective experience of the other and all other things ? A: No.
Q: Where were we before that feeling arose ? A: Because we know that the ego is unreal we can logically actually and always be only the undivided self.
Q: Where were we before being born to that feeling ? A: like above.
Be well my friend !

avoid pramada said...

Ken,
regarding your quote from "Be as you are": Q: How is the ego to be destroyed ?
Ramana Maharshi's answer : 'Hold the ego first and then ask how it is to be destroyed... ' is a bit mocking the questioner because we all know that we cannot hold the ego-ghost-phantom at all.

Ken said...

beacon light (dipam) wrote:

"If we were really always clearly aware of our existence-consciousness we would not need to attend to oneself as much as possible."

We really are always clearly aware of our existence-consciousness. The problem is that we identify our existence-consciousness as "other", as "the world".

As Ramana says in the quote above: "Because you are accustomed to identify yourself with the body...".

The mistake of ego is sometimes described as "identifying what is object as subject, and what is subject as object" (although in the Absolute non-dual viewpoint, there is no subject-object duality, it is still a useful "pointer").

avoid pramada said...

Anonymous,
hope your pain went away for ever.
In my experience only more than one unmistakable experience of reality as it is will be sufficient to give up "go after objects again and again...".

beacon light (dipam) said...

Ken,
one cannot argue about that we cannot be simultaneously "really always clearly aware of our existence-consciousness and identify our existence-consciousness as "other, as "the world".

beacon light (dipam) said...

Anonymous,
what you describe as "The ananda of this state is not there to be perceived (because there is no perceiver left and nothing to perceive)- it appears in some form, usually as peace, labeled as such by the mind, only when the witness reappears." shows that we necessarily have to look even deeper and deeper.
Best wishes to you.

Ken said...

beacon light (dipam):

There is a difference between "being aware of" and "misidentifying".

One is constantly aware of the Universe, but we identify it as "other".

beacon light (dipam) said...

Ken,
there is also a difference between being "clearly aware" and only being aware.

Sanjay Lohia said...

beacon light (dipam), thank you. Yes, it should read nirantara.

We are aware of our being-consciousness at all times, and we have no doubt about this fact. When I wrote ‘one is clearly aware of one’s existence-consciousness at all times ….’, I was indicating to this fact. However, though we are aware of our existence, this existence is an adjunct mixed existence – that is, we are aware of ourself as an ego. When we look attentively and keenly at our ego it will disappear, and what we then experience will be ourself as we really are - without any adjuncts. In other words, we will experience ourself with absolute clarity.

Ramesh said...

When we talk or write about awareness etc, there is no other way except to use the mind, intellect and body. Once we start using them, being limited, they do not have capability to express the Unlimited. Whatever we express is no more truth. No effort can take us there.

Sanjay Lohia said...

beacon light (dipam), Michael often says, 'we know that we are, but we do not know what or who we are'. I was just been trying to convey this crucial teaching of Bhagavan in my last two comments. We have to keenly attend to the awareness of 'we are', and we will ultimately experience 'what we are' with absolute clarity. So simple...so direct!

beacon light (dipam) said...

Sanjay Lohia,
to experience what we are with absolute clarity is grace. What are we waiting for ?

beacon light (dipam) said...

Ramesh,
though we cannot express the unlimited with thoughts or words, nevertheless we can experience it.
Would you agree ?

Ramesh said...

beacon light (dipam),

Who is that "we" that experiences it?

Iru (being) is the only truth.

None (mind or intellect etc) has access to It.

The moment we say experience / experiencer, we fall into the Tanmai (first person), munnnilai (second person), padarkai (others) trap...

Sanjay Lohia said...

We prefer building house of cards, in spite of the storm all around us

Michael wrote to me in an email in April 2014:

Our constant loka-vicara will never give us atma-jnana, and so long as we are interested in this loka-vicara we do not even want atma-jnana. The sign of true love for atma-jnana is only true, all-consuming love for atma-vicara. To the extent that we love to attain atma-jnana, to that extent we will practise atma-vicara.

Reflection: Yes, we do not truly want atma-jnana, because we still want ‘this’ or ‘that’ from this world. But can we ever achieve our ever illusory goals in this world? Never, because once we achieve one goal, another will invariably pop up almost immediately. After attaining one goal we will run after another goal and another. This cycle continues, and one day we (this person) are no more.

We are looking for fulfillment and happiness, but most of the time we are looking for these at the wrong places. We are looking for these through our worldly pursuits, and in objects. Can we ever get happiness from this world? Even if we get it, how long will it last? We are looking for our happiness in jada (insentient) things, forgetting that these objects are completely devoid of happiness. Therefore, as Bhagavan repeatedly says, true and lasting happiness can only be discovered with – at the very core of being. This core is anadi-ananta-akhanda sat-chit-ananda, as Bhagavan has explained us in verse 28 of Upadesa Undiyar.

How short-sighted are we? We see death all around us, and we also know that the person we take ourself to be (in my case ‘Sanjay’) will die one day, but still we run after our worldly goals, wealth, name, fame, learning, and so on. All these will disappear one day, and therefore these ‘achievements’ are momentary, and will ultimately have no value. In spite of the storm - all death and destruction - around us, we still like building house of cards. Next wind and this house will collapse!

Thus we should try and totally ignore all our worldly goals, but instead try and attend to ourself alone. This is pursuit of wisdom, and in this journey Bhagavan is our ever present support and guide.

Mouna said...

Nonexistent ego projects a universe. Like a very sophisticated planetarium, uses brain as a projector, perceive all forms and names all things feeding on them.
It carries in itself its own means of perpetuating itself as well as the means to commit suicide.
It invented three states of modus operandi, even conceiving a state when it is not.

Great magician... its greatest performance: believing its own reality while being not!

Anonymous said...

isn't it amazing how a thought seems to "localize" the unlocatable?
to "bound" the vastness?
to "long" the everpresent?
to make "effort" to meet its source?

great magician, it is!

Anonymous said...

beacon light (dipam)
"...shows that we necessarily have to look even deeper and deeper."
I guess you missed my point. Even if 'we look even deeper and deeper' who is to report back on what that 'deeper' feels like?! It has to be the same one who when got into the 'deepest' disappeared and then came back to report (either as the witness or even as the ego).
Then there is 'the other end of the stick'- the receiver of the reporting back who is an 'external observer'. We are in duality here but if we move in non-duality then, from the perspective of this onlooker, the reporter of the ananda experience does not exist in reality, nor does ananda or anything else...

Getting back to the relative reality, it feels like the amness/isness experience of sat-chit has a different 'colour' than the ananda aspect which looks more like an descriptor of the sat-chit (no one is reporting back on the sat-chit because... what is there to report?!). If anything is to be expressed about the feeling of sat-chit, silence would be the only appropriate way to do it.

Ken said...

beacon light (dipam) said.

"Ken,
there is also a difference between being "clearly aware" and only being aware. "

But "only being aware" is not the goal.

The goal is identifying as awareness.

"Ramana Maharshi: Progress is measured by the degree of removal of the obstacles to understanding that the Self is always realized." (From Talks)

"Ramana Maharshi: There is happiness when agreeable things are presented to the mind. It is the happiness inherent in the Self, and there is no other happiness. And it is not alien and afar. You are diving into the Self on those occasions which you consider pleasurable and that diving results in self-existent bliss. But the association of ideas is responsible for foisting that bliss on other things or occurrences while, in fact, that bliss is within you. On these occasions you are plunging into the Self, though unconsciously. If you do so consciously, with the conviction that comes of the experience that you are identical with the happiness which is truly the Self, the one reality, you call it realization. I want you to dive consciously into the Self, that is the Heart." (From Maharshi's Gospel, page 44)

"D: How shall I reach the Self?

Ramana Maharshi: There is no reaching the Self. If Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not here and now but that it is yet to be obtained. What is got afresh will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say the Self is not reached. You are the Self; you are already That.
The fact is, you are ignorant of your blissful state.

Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Self which is Bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this veil of ignorance which is merely wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge is the false identification of the Self with the body, mind etc. This False identification must go, and then the Self alone remains.

Therefore Realization is for everyone; Realization makes no difference between the aspirants. This very doubt, whether you can realise, and the notion ‘I-have-not-realised’ are themselves the obstacles. Be free from these obstacles also."

(From Maharshi's Gospel, p. 32)

"D:But unfortunately, I have not yet realised the Self!

Ramana Maharshi: That is just the obstacle in your way. You must get rid of the idea that you are an ajnani and have yet to realise the Self. You are the Self. Was there ever a time when you were not aware of that Self?"

(From Maharshi's Gospel, page 9)

"Ramana Maharshi: Why do you talk of Realisation? Is there a moment when the Self is not realised? If there be such a moment, the other moment might be said to be one of Realisation. There is no moment when the Self is not nor when the Self is not realised. Why pick out sleep for it? Even now you are Self-realised.

D.: But I do not understand.

Ramana Maharshi: Because you are identifying the Self with the body. Give up the wrong identity and the Self is revealed."

(From Talks)

Ken said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Getting back to the relative reality, it feels like the amness/isness experience of sat-chit has a different 'colour' than the ananda aspect which looks more like an descriptor of the sat-chit (no one is reporting back on the sat-chit because... what is there to report?!). If anything is to be expressed about the feeling of sat-chit, silence would be the only appropriate way to do it."

Ananda and Chit and Sat are two concepts that describe the same one thing.

So. the one thing that exists (sat) can be said to be Ananda - i.e. bliss, joy, happiness, peace, love(noun).

So, the one thing that exists (sat) can be said to be Chit - i.e. awareness, consciousness, attention, experience (the latter two being the quality prior to being attached to any form).

"Ramana Maharshi: What is called happiness is merely the nature of the Self. Happiness and the Self are not different. The happiness of the Self alone exists; that alone is real."

"Ramana Maharshi: If you do so consciously, with the conviction that comes of the experience that you are identical with the happiness which is truly the Self, the one reality, you call it realization."

In Guru Vachaka Kovai, Ramana and Muruganar write:

"That which is called happiness is only the nature of Self; Self is not other than perfect happiness.
That which is called happiness alone exists.
Knowing that fact and abiding in the state of Self, enjoy bliss eternally."
-GVK 1029



Anonymous said...

Ken said
"Ananda and Chit and Sat are two concepts that describe the same one thing."
Aren't they three rather? If they describe the same thing why bother with three descriptors? Anyway, existence and consciousness [nouns], unlike bliss/happiness don't sound like descriptors to me whereas bliss looks like an adjective of the two; however, I get the concept that they 'act' inseparably together as a trinity [not much different from the Christian concept of the trinity in its absolute sense].

"Ramana Maharshi: What is called happiness is merely the nature of the Self. Happiness and the Self are not different. The happiness of the Self alone exists; that alone is real."

How about sadness? This is getting back to the inquiry- who is happy/who is sad? The pair of opposites are mind concepts. It could be argued that there is no sadness but the same way there is no happiness either- it is what it is; no descriptors required. Anyway, not everyone feels the need for a verbal descriptor of being.

beacon light (dipam) said...

Ramesh,
would you agree when I use other words:
to be conscious of our own being 'I am ' is the very nature of our being.
Knowing and being the reality is abiding in our true state. Here is no trap.

beacon light (dipam) said...

Anonymous,
going deeper and deeper is not a matter of reporting or desribing. Yes,
penetrating to your inmost depth and thus getting established in the real is right svarupa-smarana (self-rememberance). As you state: Undisturbed inner awareness is what we call silence.

Ken said...

Yes that should have been "three" instead of "two". :)

Bliss and happiness are nouns, not adjectives.

Anonymous said: "This is getting back to the inquiry- who is happy/who is sad?"

First, sadness is merely the absence of happiness.

But aside from that, you have things reversed in a similar way to the materialists who think that Awareness is something produced by brain cells.

Happiness exists.

A person (and the world) is an appearance within Happiness.

beacon light (dipam) said...

Ken,
I did not claim that something other than to be clearly aware is our goal.

beacon light (dipam) said...

Sanjay Lohia,
why going for the world ?
Is it not said that all that exists is but the manifestation of the Supreme ?
The Self alone is the world, the 'I' and God, whereas the threefold reality of world, individual soul and God is only an imaginary creation in the Atman.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Beacon light (dipam), according to Bhagavan’s teaching, all that exists is our atma-svarupa (‘the Supreme’), and any manifestation - this is, this world appearance - we see is just an expansion of our ego. Please refer to v.26 of Ulladu Narpadu, which explains: if the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence. This is the central point of Bhagavan’s teaching.

No, ‘the Self’ is not the world, the ‘I’ and God, but rather what appears as the world, ‘I’ and God is nothing but self (atma-svarupa). We (our true self) do not change, and we alone exist, and everything else is an illusory superimposition on ourself. It is like the illusory snake superimposed on the rope. The rope does not change into the snake, but what seems to be the snake is nothing but the rope. In this regard it will be useful to reflect on the following extract from an e-mail by Michael, which he wrote to me on 31st December 2012:

Atma-svarupa does not create anything, because its nature is pure being and not doing anything. That is, creation is a karma or kriya, an action or ‘doing’, so since atma-svarupa is not a karta or doer, it cannot be the creator.

Atma-svarupa is not an efficient cause of anything (as a carpenter is the efficient cause of a table), nor is it an instrumental cause (as the carpenter’s tools are the instrumental cause of the table), but it is the material or substantial cause of everything (just as wood is the material cause of the table), because it alone exists, so nothing can be other than it.’

beacon light (dipam) said...

Sanjay Lohia,
when you say: "No, 'the Self' is not the world, the 'I' and God, but rather what appears as the world, 'I' and God is nothing but self (atma-svarupa)." I have to ask you if any illusory appearance can appear without (the help of) atma-svarupa.
May I remember you that even maya (i.e.that what is not) cannot celebrate its seeming power and existence outside of the sphere of effectiveness or influence of atma-svarupa.

Follow the Pointings said...

Matthew 7:8 "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

Sanjay Lohia said...

beacon light (dipam), yes, any illusory appearance cannot appear without the presence of atma-svarupa, like the snake superimposed on the rope cannot seem to appear without the presence of the underlying rope. However, atma-svarupa does not ‘help’ the illusory world to appear. In fact, it its view there is no appearance of this world. This illusory, dream world appears in the view of our ego, which itself does not exist, and is just an illusion.

Therefore, our ego and its projection just do not exist, though it seems to exist. When we vigilantly look at our ego it will disappear, and what will then remain is ouself as we really are - absolutely alone (kaivalya).


Ken said...

Sanjay wrote:
"In fact, it its view there is no appearance of this world."

Everything else in your last post is correct, except for this one.

Ramana has always said that in its view, there is only the Self, and the world is seen as the Self.

The following is from Maharshi's Gospel, of which a manuscript exists that is corrected by Ramana in his own hand:

"It is quite immaterial to the jnani or ajnani if he perceives the world or not. It is seen by both, but their viewpoints differ.

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

Ramana Maharshi: Seeing the world, the jnani sees the Self which is the substratum of all that is seen; the ajnani, whether he sees the world or not, is ignorant of his true Being, the Self.

Take the instance of moving pictures on the screen in the cinema-show. What is there in front of you before the play begins? Merely the screen. On that screen you see the entire show, and for all appearances the pictures are real. But go and try to take hold of them. What do you take hold of? Merely the screen on which the pictures appeared so real. After the play, when the pictures disappear, what remains? The screen again!
So with the Self. That alone exists; the pictures come and go. If you hold on to the Self, you will not be deceived by the appearance of the pictures. Nor does it matter at all if the pictures appear or disappear.

Ignoring the Self the ajnani thinks the world is real, just as ignoring the screen he sees merely the pictures, as if they existed apart from it. If one knows that without the seer there is nothing to be seen, just as there are no pictures without the screen, one is not deluded. The jnani knows that the screen, the pictures and the sight thereof are but the Self. With the pictures the Self is in its manifest form; without the pictures It remains in the unmanifest form. To the jnani it is quite immaterial if the Self is in the one form or the other. He is always the Self. But the ajnani seeing the jnani active gets confounded."

(From Maharshi's Gospel, page 60-62)

Ramana's translation of SHankara's Vivekachudamani also has the "Self is the substratum of the World" concept, using the same word "substratum".

beacon light (dipam) said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I did not say that atma-svarupa is the creator of anything. But I stated that the world , the 'I' and God are creations in the atman.
When you quote what Michael James wrote to you: "Atma-svarupa is not an efficient cause of anything (as a carpenter is the efficient cause of a table), nor is it an instrumental cause (as the carpenter’s tools are the instrumental cause of the table), but it is the material or substantial cause of everything (just as wood is the material cause of the table), because it alone exists, so nothing can be other than it." you should be able to understand that nothing in the world can be other than atma-svarupa. So we have no reason to hold the world in contempt.
When it is correct to say that all that exists is atma-svarupa, then it must be consequently correct to maintain that also the world is essentially the self.

Ken said...

Sanjay wrote:
"This is the central point of Bhagavan’s teaching."

Just to note that this a subjective impression.

One could posit many other "central points" such as "If you investigate your identity, you will find that you are not this body, but rather the Self, which is Brahman."

Mouna said...

Here's another bullet in this ego's "quotation war"...

"If [our] mind, which is the cause of all [dualistic, relative or objective] knowledge and of all activity, subsides [becomes still, disappears or ceases to exist], [our] perception of the world will cease. Just as knowledge of the rope, which is the base [that underlies and supports the appearance of the snake], will not arise unless knowledge of the imaginary snake ceases, svarupa-darsana [true experiential knowledge of our own essential nature or real self], which is the base [that underlies and supports the appearance of the world], will not arise unless [our] perception of the world, which is an imagination [or fabrication], ceases."

Simple and easy to understand, and guess who wrote this of his own hand?...

But in the final analysis I suppose that everyone here is right and wrong at the same time because it's all ego anyways!

one space said...

Mouna,
you should note/know that the ego is essentially but the self.
Do you have any further question ?

anadi-ananta said...

Follow the Pointings,
does Matthew know how to knock at heaven's door ? Did he walk through the open door when someone called 'Enter'? And what was his experience there ?

Ken said...

Mouna and Sanjay -

Ramana once explained why he emphasized the Absolute viewpoint that there is no world and so forth:

"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."

Ken said...

After the paragraph quoted by Mouna, Ramana Maharshi wrote in the same text:

"What really exists is Self (atma-swarupam) alone. The world, soul and God are superimpositions in it like the sliver in the mother-of-pearl; these three appear simultaneously and disappear simultaneously. Self itself is the world: Self itself is ‘I’ (the soul); Self itself is God; all is the Supreme Self (siva-swarupam)."

Thus stating very clearly that only the Self alone really exists, andthe world is an appearance in it - "Self itself is the world".

beacon light (dipam) said...

Ken, you master of quotation,
the given explanation of Bhagavan hits the nail on the head.

Mouna said...

Ken,
Just for the record, I myself do not take any position in these topics.
I think I can find in Bhagavan's writings as many quotes on either side of the spectrum to support either "metaphysical" position. And in the past, being part of Vedantic discussions with eminent scholars you will be surprised how similar all sounds to those discussions that were essentailly based on Shankara's/Gaudapada's writings in relation to the post liberation/awakening/realization topic.

In any case, Michael James already responded in a very pragmatic way to different inputs, and for myself, it is the viewpoint that most resonates with my experience and makes more sense.

As for the rest, everything here is an interesting manana, but there is a point where we need to let go also of that (everybody is at a different point regarding this) and base our study seriously in our own experience and our own investigation.

Noob said...

" The wise man looks upon both the paper and script as one. So also with Brahman and the universe. "

If you look at the script and see it how can you see the paper, if you look at the paper and see it, can you see the script? And who are those wisemen?

It is like saying when you found out that the snake was a rope, you continue seeing it as both snake and rope.
In our sleep there is nothing but our consciousness, but taking illusion of the dreams as our consciousness? The images in my dreams are nothing but my consciousnesses, there is no one except myself in my dreams , but should I treat them as real objects?

D Samarender Reddy said...

The Wisdom of Annamalai Swami

If you can resist the impulse to claim each and every thought as your own, you will come to a startling conclusion: you will discover that you are the consciousness in which the thoughts appear and disappear.

If you cultivate the attitude of indifference towards the mind, gradually you will cease to identify with it.

Don’t accept delivery of all the wrong ideas that keep coming to you. (…) Rest quietly in the feeling of “I am”, which is consciousness, and cultivate the attitude that all thoughts, all perceptions, are “not me”.

Mental problems feed on the attention that you give them. The more you worry about them, the stronger they become. If you ignore them, they lose their power and finally vanish.

Don’t worry about whether you are making progress or not. Just keep your attention on the Self twenty-four hours a day. Meditation is not something that should be done in a particular position at a particular time. It is an awareness and an attitude that must persist through the day.

Meditation must be continuous. The current of meditation must be present in all your activities.

If you pay attention to thoughts and feelings while you meditate and try to use them to evaluate how well or how badly you are meditating, you will never reach the ultimate silence. Instead you will just get bogged down in mental concepts.

If you can be continuously aware of each thought as it rises, and if you can be so indifferent to it that it doesn’t sprout or flourish, you are well on the way to escaping from the entanglements of mind.

When you know that everything that is happening is only appearing on the screen of consciousness, and that you yourself are the screen on which it all appears, nothing can touch you, harm you or make you afraid.

– Annamalai Swami (from http://liveanddare.com/meditation-quotes/)

Ken said...

Excellent !

sorupam said...

Noob,
the allegorical picture of paper and script is used as a metaphor to show that the external world/ universe is only an illusion. Do not take it word-for-word. Looking at the script as real is forgetting that it rests upon the paper. Without paper no script. Similarly we have should look upon the universe as dependent or unreal because it cannot stand without Brahman and is therefore (only) an appearance in it.
Images in dreams are mind-born. Therefore we should not treat them as real objects because the mind itself is not real.

Anonymous said...

of course, we all know from experience,that no question of existence/non existence, reality/illusion, liberation/bondage etc. arises in the Self.
pure awareness has no idea of any kind about anything.

Mouna said...

100% yes to anonymous post.

venkat said...

"of course, we all know from experience,that no question of existence/non existence, reality/illusion, liberation/bondage etc. arises in the Self."

i'm sorry that statement just does not stand up to scrutiny. All of this dialogue IS arising in our EXPERIENCE. And this experience is, we are told by Vedanta and by Bhagavan, arises on the substratum that is called the SELF. So this statement is just one of dogma and not consistent with our experience.

As for:
"pure awareness has no idea of any kind about anything."

How would you know? You are the illusory jiva, not pure awareness. So how can a jiva know what pure awareness knows or does not know?

Mouna said...

venkat,

it does stand scrutiny.

deep sleep is the best way to verify that statement...

venkat said...

Mouna, just because sleep is a pointer to the pure consciousness that we are, it does NOT necessarily follow that this pure consciousness is not, in the waking and dream state, not aware of the illusory jiva and world that then arises.

And the statement "we all know from experience" must be said from a jiva's perspective, and from the perspective of all three states, not just deep sleep.

The most that can be said is Brhadaranyaka Up's statement "How can that be known, by which all this is known?"

Mouna said...

venkat,

I start feeling this thread is going in the usual ping-pong opposite thinking that we are very used these days.
I'm not interested in that.
Apparently we have different "interpretations" and we experience Bhagavan's teachings very differently, at the intellectual and experiential levels.
I respect all points of view because they are, in a way, all false and all true at the same time.

I rest my case here.

Anonymous said...

venkat said
How would you know? You are the illusory jiva, not pure awareness.

that is not your experience, not mine, not anybody's.

that is THINKING ABOUT the experience.

drop thinking.

no questions here.

venkat said...

Mouna

I thought we are exploring each other's understanding, as a means to learn. One of the beauties of Vedanta is not only the depth of its philosophy, but also its emphasis on reason based on experience rather than blind belief.

If I may gently point out, you only seem to partake in conversations with those who agree with you! But at a certain level Vedanta is about dialectical investigation and discussion, to help clarify understanding. Bhagavan said no less.

You are of course free to rest your case, but that curtails a conversation from which I / we may have learnt something.

With best wishes,
venkat

venkat said...

Anonymous,

But thinking is there, and it is arising. Where else can it be arising but in the Self. If you say it arises in the jiva, fair enough. But where does the (illusory) jiva arise if not on a substratum called the Self / Pure Consciousness?

Thinking is just as much a part of our experience as is everything else that arises. Indeed I think Bhagavan's point is that all perception is a form of thinking.

venkat said...

Mouna, one final thought. You say we interpret Bhagavan's teachings very differently. I'm not sure that is right.

I think the only point on which we may disagree is whether Bhagavan really meant that a jnani does not actually see the world. I know this is a point that Michael and you advocate strongly - and I AM NOT SURE it is a correct interpretation - hence the various quotes that we have ping-ponged. But please note the emphasis is I am not sure; I don't know.

However, I have come to the conclusion (as I think you have) that this does not really matter, since Bhagavan would have said (and I have to agree) first do Self-enquiry, find out what the 'I' is, and once you have done that, then worry about whether the world is there or not.

Best wishes
venkat

Mouna said...

Venkat, greetings my friend.

I respectfully apologize for what was a sudden feeling of frustration that resulted in a posting that actually was MY opposite thinking to your comment. Isn't that funny? There is a saying that if you point your finger to someone else, the rest of the three fingers in your hand are pointing at you!

I completely agree that in this blog we are investigating and exploring this realm together, and certainly we have, in the final analysis, more agreements than disagreements as you clearly exposed in your last paragraph.

Maybe my reaction came about more from my own reaction to my mind chatter these days of intense witnessing a monkey mind out of control (mine of course) than the exploration of what you were actually saying.
Once more, you have a valid point, which I shall explore more in depth in the coming moments.

Till then, apologies again and I also extend my best of wishes to you,
m

venkat said...

Dear Mouna

Please, no need for apologies between old friends.

venkat

Anonymous said...

venkat said...

"Thinking is just as much a part of our experience as is everything else that arises. Indeed I think Bhagavan's point is that all perception is a form of thinking."

this is a very important point. Yes, we spontaneously experience thinking, and yes all perception is a form of thinking. Yes, experience is awareness and therefore thinking is reality.
The "problem" is that the content of thought seem to refer to something that exists independently from the thought that thinks it. and that is simply not the case.

for example, where is the jiva , outside the thought that imagines it?
where is "this room", outside the perception-thought?
where is "my body" when the subtle thought that names so, in not present?

where are sensations (seeing,hearing, etc.) when, in the waking state, the thinking-naming process has subsided?

yes, they are nowhere. Names, events, people, whatever, are only awareness.
so, they do not "arise". they do not have existence outside awareness, because existence equals awareness. so there is nothing that is not awareness. nothing to be "other".

there is not an "outside" of our experience-awareness, even when we imagine so.

atma vicara is just this: hold the thought of jiva, thought subsides, jiva is nowhere.
peace.

sorupam said...

Anonymous,
when you say "there is not an "outside" of our experience-awareness, even when we imagine so." are you implying that there is an "inside" of our awareness ?

anma-sorupam said...

venkat,
you are quite right:
we should not stop to find out the place from where the 'I'-thought arises.
Best wishes.

Mouna said...

venkat, greetings again my friend.

Honoring the commitment to dialectical investigation and discussion that you so kindly put in one of your last postings, here my thoughts in what you were saying.

my point in all these kind of viewpoints is what Michael recently stressed in one (or several) of his comments: that any thought or thinking about anything (and I would add perception, feelings and sensations) are ”from the ego’s point of view” because that is all ego know or can know.
I believe that the idea of superimposition of the illusory ego on self is a concession (from vivarta point of view) to a separate self to start understanding the concept of non-duality. Yes, we can say that the snake is a superimposition on the rope or that the rope is the locus of the illusory snake, but that will be from the point of view of a detached experiencer of that phenomena.
Rope can’t “see” any snake, or H2O can’t see any waves, clouds or ice because is a different magnitude of ‘reality’, in the sense that one is real and the other not.
But, from the ego’s viewpoint, we can understand the idea of name and form superimposed on substance, like ring or bracelet being name and form of gold and not separated from it. But still, this ego’s non dual understanding is only from its own point of view.

Let’s take the example of deep sleep again, since it is the closest of what happens when ego is not existing.
Do we know anything about anything in deep sleep? Can we? Evidently not, but in a very interesting way, ego ‘knows’ that awareness in its purest form was present although itself (ego) wasn’t. And that is because let’s remember that the ghostly ego carries in itself a part of pure awareness.

Let us remember that 99.95 % of Bhagavan’s teachings being in written form by himself or Q&A put down by others and either revised or looked up by him, or interpreted by others pertain to vivarta vada or taken the viewpoint that all, INCLUDING THE KNOWLEDGE OF ITSELF is a projection of that same mind (ego).

Then everything makes complete sense from that vantage point, that the jnani continues to perceive a world as self not as names and forms, that the jnani ‘knows’ that is the earth that rotates around the sun and not the other way round, that a snake is only a superimposition (due to ignorance or lack of complete knowledge) on a rope, etc…

So, we cannot conceive ANYTHING, not even self/brahman or whatever that is not ego’s creation, but based on our ‘non-experience’ of deep sleep we can deduce that self/brahman only knows itself and none other than itself. That means that when we move to ajata, self/brahman cannot be the locus of anything, nor know anything except itself… and even this thought is ego generated.

Best, then, summa iru...

cauldron hauler said...

Michael,
last paragraph of section 3.:
"Likewise, when it is said that we are seeing ourself as all the myriad phenomena that constitute whatever world we are currently perceiving (either in waking or in dream), that is true in a literal sense, because what actually exists is only ourself, but when we rise as this ego we project phenomena within our awareness (our mind) and thus we mistake what actually exists (namely ourself) to be both subject (this ego) and objects (whatever phenomena we are currently projecting). However, when it is said that the ātma-jñāni sees the world as itself (‘the Self’), that is not true in a literal sense but only in a metaphorical sense, because there is actually no world (no phenomena) at all in the clear view of ātma-jñāna (pure self-awareness), so what the jñāni is actually seeing is only itself as itself."

How can we get the mentioned clear view of atma-jnana instead of the self-ignorant view of a self-ignorant person (ajnani) ?

venkat said...

Mouna

Thank you for taking the time to explain your perspective.

"we cannot conceive ANYTHING, not even self/brahman or whatever that is not ego’s creation". Absolutely agreed.

I wonder if there is a non-volitional awareness of, and functioning in, the world, that does not involve a super-imposition of ego-ic thoughts, desires, fears, etc. This would seem to be the alternative interpretation of Bhagavan's words, that would be in accord with previous quotes from Murugunar et al.

In any event, we are agreed that the ego is the source of all of our problems, and that is what we need to focus our attention on, to attenuate and eradicate. Everything else is philosophising - important in its place and time, to bring one to this understanding and conviction, but also to be let go of . . .

And then, as you say, summa iru, summa iru, summa iru,

venkat

striving after liberty said...

venkat,
the ego refuses to comply with your demand to just being silent(summa iruppadu).
To get dissolved in its source seems to have no attractive power.

Ken said...

Mouna wrote:
"So, we cannot conceive ANYTHING, not even self/brahman or whatever that is not ego’s creation, but based on our ‘non-experience’ of deep sleep we can deduce that self/brahman only knows itself and none other than itself. That means that when we move to ajata, self/brahman cannot be the locus of anything, nor know anything except itself… and even this thought is ego generated."

Uh, but something is aware of all the ego's creations.

From Ramana Maharshi's selection and translation of Vivekachudamani:

“Now I am going to tell you about the real nature of the supreme Self, by realizing which, man attains liberation and is freed from bondage. That realization of ‘I’ is indeed the Self which is experienced as ‘I-I’ shining of its own accord, the absolute Being, the witness of the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, distinct from the five sheaths, aware of the mental modes in the waking and dream states, and of their absence in the state of deep sleep."

And so the Self is not just there during deep sleep, and it is aware of everything that goes on, especially since it IS the awareness that comprises the ego (and is knotted to the adjuncts).

So, "based on our ‘non-experience’ of deep sleep we can deduce that self/brahman only knows itself and none other than itself" is directly contradicted by Shankara and Ramana Maharshi, if by "itself and none other than itself" you are not including those things experienced by the ego.

Ramana specifically gave a metaphor for how "itself and none other than itself" includes those things experienced by the ego, namely the screen (self) and the image projected on the screen (world).

venkat said...

Hi Ken

"We cannot conceive of anything that is not ego's [mind's] creation" is a true statement because by definition "conceive" means devise / think of an idea in the mind. All that we perceive is translated by our ego/mind into namarupa (names and forms) and thence into like/dislike. The ego is the driving force that does this.

Whilst I would not agree with the logical sequence of: "based on our ‘non-experience’ of deep sleep we can deduce that self/brahman only knows itself and none other than itself", I think we would all agree with "self/brahman only knows itself and none other than itself", since there cannot be anything apart from Brahman.

I think our divergence is only whether the illusory world that is superimposed on Brahman, is 'seen' by Brahman or not. I would understand Bhagavan and Mandukyakarika to be saying that pure consciousness is 'experienced' by us in deep sleep in its purity, unadulterated by perceptions / thoughts, but it (consciousness / turiya) is ever-present through all 3 states.

But this difference is minor. If we recognise that turiya is what we are, and not this body-mind-thoughts that pass across the screen, then we strive towards Gaudapada's asparsa yoga (to be untouched by the world-body-mind). Someone (perhaps Bhagavan) said something along the lines of "anything that is not there in deep sleep is just not real, not important . . . drop it"

Best,
venkat

svatma-bhakti said...

venkat,
if Brahman alone is knowing all what is important than we should not give away our great chance to be(come) Brahman. Then we also will know for certain wheither Brahman sees any thing/world/universe superimposed or projected on itself. We should not burden us with speculating about that problem-question which cannot be solved anyway by the ego's capabilities.

Mouna said...

ken wrote:

"Uh, but something is aware of all the ego's creations."
Uh... yes, the ghostly ego, creator of those creations.

In many articles Michael demonstrated already that self being "the witness" doesn't mean that self is "looking" or is aware of the ego's creation. The rope doesn't witness the snake, since snake is non-existent for the rope, the snake only exist in the eye of the ignorant.

The position that self is the witness of duality serves the purpose of wake up the seeker to the idea that he/she is not phenomena, but rather consciousness/awareness/knowing, first phase but still duality. Second phase is realizing that awareness also is the substance that permeates phenomena, "self in everything, everything as self and self as everything".
Third phase that defies common sense and rational egoic thought, complete silence, no perception/thought/sensation/feelings (in other words any kind of phenomena) because they were never created in the first place.

Traditional Vedanta, almost in its entirety and for teaching purposes , remains at the second phase. Bhagavan goes a step further, ego (and its projection of all phenomena) was never born/created in the first place.
maya, 'that which is not' defines it quite clearly.
self with maya is not brahman, is god (ishwara), but this is ego's point of view.
this ishwara is indeed the witness of manifestation, efficient and material cause at the same time of it, jivatman=paramatman sharing the 'atman' part.
brahman is beyond both.

Deep sleep is the clue, the glitch in the system, the grain of sand that could bring the whole edifice of misunderstanding down, but hard to recognize its importance in the order of things, although we still have a chance once more this coming night...

Ken said...

Mouna wrote:
"first phase... second phase... third phase..."

What is the origin for your theory of these phases ?

I see this only in recent New Age teachings. I have never seen it in Ramana's or Sadhu Om's (although I have not read most of those).

"...doesn't mean that self is "looking" or is aware of the ego's creation."

Then what do Shankara and Ramana means when they apparently contradict that with:

"That realization of ‘I’ is indeed the Self which is experienced as ‘I-I’ shining of its own accord, the absolute Being, the witness of the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, distinct from the five sheaths, aware of the mental modes in the waking and dream states, and of their absence in the state of deep sleep."

?

"aware of the mental modes in the waking and dream states"

When anything in the Universe is aware of appearance and multiplicity, there is only one possibility for the source of that Awareness, namely "Awareness", i.e. Brahman.

Mouna said...

Ken wrote:

"What is the origin for your theory of these phases ?"
Funny, instead of refuting you ask for the sources, I don't have any sources but my experience, built from books in the past.
So I wouldn't mind if you dismiss everything I write or think as nonsense, I couldn't care less, since it is also not the truth.

"I see this only in recent New Age teachings?"
Really? then someone is quoting me about the three phases?? I should be more careful in relation to copyright! or start giving darshan and satsang to collect some funds!!
Now in a more serious tone, what's wrong with New Age teachings? that's another formula invented to discredit some points of view, throwing the baby with the bath water. I also couldn't care less to be labelled New Agey or Neo-Advaitinee. By the way I hold great respect for some of them. A broken watch gives the right time twice a day.

Nobody holds the truth or the complete error, because all is thought and experienced in the dream, so false from the get-go.

When anything in the Universe is aware of appearance and multiplicity, there is only one possibility for the source of that Awareness, namely "Awareness", i.e. Brahman.
I think you should investigate the difference, philosophically as well as pragmatically, between ishwara and brahman...
"nondual" awareness of world (witnessing of world) although paradoxical of course, is god + maya
what lies beyond that, unfathomable and unreachable is brahman (not witnessing of any kind).

I'll put you in the mailing list when my book "The three phases of spiritual realization, by Ego Mouna" will be published.
Members of this blog will have a discount (not much because one has to earn one's living, right?)
Then I could start being quoted!!! (hope there is still a grain of humor on that side of ken's skin...)

Ken said...

"Funny, instead of refuting you ask for the sources"

There is nothing yet to refute.

You are stating a path to realisation. There are many such.

So, the source is the first thing needed.

It could be from your own experience.

It could be from a scripture, either Vedantic or otherwise.

It could be from a teacher, either Vedantic or otherwise.

The only place where I have seen those phases is in modern teachings. I would guess it originated either with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi or Aurobindo or Theosophy.

What I see from Ramana and Sadhu Om is:

Attention is removed from second and third persons and put on first person, which eventually results in Self-Realisation.

"D: How shall I reach the Self?

Ramana Maharshi: There is no reaching the Self. If Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not here and now but that it is yet to be obtained. What is got afresh will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say the Self is not reached. You are the Self; you are already That.

The fact is, you are ignorant of your blissful state.

Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Self which is Bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this veil of ignorance which is merely wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge is the false identification of the Self with the body, mind etc. This False identification must go, and then the Self alone remains."

From Maharshi's Gospel, p. 32

Again, for emphasis - "You are the Self; you are already That.".

As for humor, it's hard to do on the Internet, with people from many different cultures. There is a difference sense of humor even in different regions in the same country, let alone on a discussion site open to everyone in the world.

Ken said...

David Godman's blog article on Ajata ends with:

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

Mouna said...

You are stating a path to realisation. There are many such.
no my friend, I don’t see it that way. I only interpret, for myself, my experience in the light of, for example the three vadas (shristi-drishti/vivarta/ajata). I read a lot in the past but now, although it might sound simplistic, I only rely in one or two things that resonate with my day to day understanding, like the fact that maya/ego really feels like an unreal dream superimposed on what is clearly its substance, existence/consciousness/endless. That’s why I am in complete accord with all your quotes and points of view. But, not so long ago, the understanding of the reality of the deep sleep state made me rethink (and feel) everything I knew about the superimposition/error in a new light. Just like that. And I don’t claim anything like realization or liberation because there is still this, no matter how non dual it might feel…

how couldn’t I agree with "Attention is removed from second and third persons and put on first person, which eventually results in Self-Realisation” since it really feels like there is only this? Of course I agree with that, but it doesn’t prevent the understanding that there is a further step to be, not realized (since there will be no entity or experiencer there to realize anything), but attained when the total dissolution happens (that’s where the deep sleep experience kicks in).

On your second posting, quoting David Godman, everything I can relate to until the phrase: "But what of the world that ‘appears’ to the jnani? This may seem to be semantic hair-splitting of an extreme kind, but ‘appearance’ does not mean ‘creation’. Ajata means ‘not caused’ or ‘not created’. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘not existing at all’. The world of the jnani is an uncaused and uncreated appearance within the Self; the world of the ajnani, on the other hand, is a creation of the mind that sees it.” I am nobody to discuss or argue with such a teacher of Bhagavan’s teaching like David, but still this phrase doesn’t really satisfies me for the reason he observes, semantically hair-splitting! Words like ‘existing without a cause’ or ‘the world of the jnani’… there is no jnani as a limited entity, but rather jnana, chit so already from te beginning we are in the realm of the ajnani which he declares very to the point 'is a creation of the mind that sees it’ like what is happening right now here…

By the way, I’ve never read anything at all from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi or Aurobindo or Theosophy. Not a single word on any single book…

i agree about the humor, one has to be careful (or aware) whom one is speaking to (for the risk of being misunderstood), but I come from a culture (latin-southamerican) that really doesn’t care much about having much tact.

Ken said...

"Q: Does a jnani have dreams?

Ramana Maharshi: Yes, he does dream, but he knows it to be a dream, in the same way as he knows the waking state to be a dream. You may call them dream no.1 and dream no.2. The jnani being established in the fourth state – turiya, the supreme reality – he detachedly witnesses the three other states, waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep, as pictures superimposed on it.'

From Guru Ramana, p. 100

nirvisesa said...

Ken,
to whom belong the three states of consciousness ? To the ego - mind or to our self ?

venkat said...

Nirvisesa, the answer to your question is atman, our self. The three states are an illusion that passes on the substratum of turiya / atman.

Ken said...

Here is an interesting quote from Maharshi's Gospel (again, this is a source which was edited by Ramana, and the manuscript with his corrections are in the Ashram archive. I mention this because the wording is important in this case). I read this several times before, but only today did I notice the very important phrase which I have put in boldface:

"D: How does individuality emanate from the Absolute Self, and how is its return made possible?

Ramana Maharshi: As a spark proceeds from fire, individuality emanates from the Absolute Self. The spark is called the ego.

In the case of the ajnani, the ego identifies itself with some object simultaneously with its rise. It cannot remain without such association with objects."

(From Maharshi's Gospel, page 27)

----

Given the boldface, there is a very strong implication of something like:

"In the case of the jnani, the ego does not identify itself with some object simultaneously with its rise. I can remain without such association with objects."

This is coherent with several other known facts:

* Ramana emphasized that the best thing that human beings can do is to attain realization. Non-duality philosophy can result in the statement "The Self is always fine, and the body cannot be realized" which seems to imply that no one should bother doing spiritual practice, but Ramana did NOT come to that conclusion.

* Ramana frequently stated that the only problem is identification with the body/mind, instead of the Self. The quote above is another such statement.

* Ramana emphasized the importance of the work of jnanis in the world in this quote:

"Ramana Maharshi: They put forward all sorts of funny notions. If a man must at once leave his body when he realises the Self, I wonder how any knowledge of the Self or the state of realization can come down to other men. And that would mean that all those who have given us the fruits of their Self-realization in books cannot be considered jnanis because they went on living after realization. And if it is held that a man cannot be considered a jnani so long as he performs actions in the world (and action is impossible without the mind), then not only the great sages who carried on various kinds of work after attaining jnana must be considered ajnanis but the gods also, and Iswara [the supreme personal God of Hinduism] himself, since he continues looking after the world. The fact is that any amount of action can be performed, and performed quite well, by the jnani, without his identifying himself with it in any way or ever imagining that he is the doer." (From Day by Day with Bhagavan, p. 189-190)

----

So, what we can deduce from the first quote at the top of my post, is that normally, there is a "spark" from the Absolute Self that becomes an individual being, and becomes identified with the body (As Ramana says on the same page "The false identification of oneself with the body is dehatma-buddhi or ‘I-am-the-body’-idea.")

Then, as Ramana continues on the same page "If this tendency to identify itself with objects is destroyed, the ego becomes pure and then it also merges into its source."

But then, in the second quote above from Day to Day, Ramana refers to the important actions of the jnanis.

So, again, we can conclude that the strong implication of the Maharshi's Gospel quote is that "In the case of the jnani, the ego does not identify itself with some object simultaneously with its rise. I can remain without such association with objects."

(continued in next post)

Ken said...

(continued from previous post)

On the following page of Maharshi's Gospel, Ramana verifies this point of view:

"...there is this fundamental difference, that the ajnani’s ego when it rises up (really it has subsided except in deep sleep) is quite ignorant of its source; in other words, the ajnani is not aware of his sushupti in his dream and waking states; in the case of the jnani, on the contrary, the rise or existence of the ego is only apparent, and he enjoys his unbroken, transcendental experience in spite of such apparent rise or existence of the ego, keeping his attention (lakshya) always on the Source. This ego is harmless; it is merely like the skeleton of a burnt rope — though with a form, it is useless to tie up anything. By constantly keeping one’s attention on the Source, the ego is dissolved in that Source like a salt-doll in the sea."

(From Maharshi's Gospel, page 28-29)

Sadhu Om describes how this works in a section towards the end of Path of Sri Ramana Part One, and echoes Ramana's analogy of a "burnt rope". Here is part of it, although I recommend reading the whole several page section:

"In the body of such a Selfrealized One (sahaja jnani), the coursing of the 'I' -consciousness along the nerves, even after the destruction of the knot of attachment, is like the water on a lotus leaf or like a burnt rope, and thus it cannot cause bondage.
Therefore the destruction of the knot of attachment is anyway indispensible for the attainment of the natural state (Sahaja Sthiti), the state of the destruction of the tendencies (vosunakshaya)."

- Sadhu Om in Path of Sri Ramana Part One, p. 163

Ken said...

Typo:

Twice I wrote:

"In the case of the jnani, the ego does not identify itself with some object simultaneously with its rise. I can remain without such association with objects."

and it should be:

"In the case of the jnani, the ego does not identify itself with some object simultaneously with its rise. It can remain without such association with objects."

(although coincidentally, it makes sense either way, since "It" is "I".)

venkat said...

Ken - thanks for sharing the interesting quotes.

Here is Gaudapada's Mandukyakarika on the 'knowing' of pure Consciousness:

2.11: If the objects cognised in both the conditions of dream and of waking be illusory, who cognises all these (illusory objects) and how again imagines them?

2.12: Atman, the self-luminous, through the power of his own Maya, imagines himself by himself. He alone is the cogniser of the objects so created. This is the decision of Vedanta.
Sankara's commentary: It is like the imagining of the snake, etc in the rope. He himself cognises them as he has imagined them. There is no other substratum of knowledge and memory.

nirvisesa said...

venkat,
thank you for your answer, but it is not logically correct. If the three states pass (only)illusorily on the atman, our self, why and how should they thus belong to atman ?

venkat said...

nirvisesa

They 'belong' to the atman, because there is nothing apart from Atman. Atman is all these is. The three states are an illusion that arises on Atman. In that sense therefore they belong to Atman. They certainly can't belong to a jiva, which is just as much as illusory construct as the three states.

In a dream you see yourself acting within the dream. The dream cannot belong to the actor within the dream, since the actor is himself part of the dream. The dream belongs to the dreamer who is dreaming the scene.

nirvisesa said...

venkat,
you assume that all the three states arise seemingly on atman.
Can we really call the three states a construct ? In my opinion the three states are states of mind or consciousness
Waking and dream state happen obviously to the ego-mind, whereas the state of dreamless sleep happens only when the ego has vanished.
Therefore only dreamless sleep happens to atman.
What are exactly the so-called waking state and dream state ? The concerned subject is in both states the ego-mind.
What is exactly the so-called dreamless or deep sleep ? Is the subsidence of the ego-mind and the inactive nervous system and the partly suspended consciousness all what we grasp as/call sleep ? Is there any other concerned subject ?

Ken said...

Nirvisesa:

From Ramana Maharshi's selection and translation of Vivekachudamani:

“Now I am going to tell you about the real nature of the supreme Self, by realizing which, man attains liberation and is freed from bondage. That realization of ‘I’ is indeed the Self which is experienced as ‘I-I’ shining of its own accord, the absolute Being, the witness of the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, distinct from the five sheaths, aware of the mental modes in the waking and dream states, and of their absence in the state of deep sleep. That Self sees all of its own accord but is never seen by any of these. It gives light to the intellect and ego but is not enlightened by them."

Ken said...

The rest of the passage in Vivekachudamani is also worthwhile. The last sentence contradicts many New Age viewpoints...

"It pervades the universe and by its light all this insentient universe is illumined, but the universe does not pervade it even to the slightest extent. In its presence the body, senses, mind and intellect enter upon their functions as if commanded by it. By that unbroken knowledge, all things from the ego to the body, objects and our experience of them, occur and are perceived.

By it life and the various organs are set in motion. That inner Self, as the primeval spirit, eternal, ever effulgent, full and infinite Bliss, single, indivisible, whole and living, shines in everyone as the witnessing awareness. That Self in its splendour, shining in the cavity of the Heart as the subtle, pervasive yet unmanifest ether, illumines this universe like the sun. It is aware of the modifications of the mind and ego, of the actions of the body, sense organs and life-breath. It takes their form as fire does that of a heated ball of iron; yet it undergoes no change in doing so. This Self is neither born nor dies, it neither grows nor decays, nor does it suffer any change. When a pot is broken the space inside it is not, and similarly, when the body dies, the Self in it remains eternal. It is distinct from the causal maya and its effects. It is pure knowledge. It illumines Being and non-being alike and is without attributes. It is the witness of the intellect in the waking, dream, and deep sleep states. It shines as ‘I-I’, as ever-present, direct experience. Know that supreme Self by means of a one-pointed mind and know ‘This ‘I’ is Brahman’.

Thus through the intellect you may know the Self in yourself, by yourself, and by this means cross the ocean of birth and death and become one who has achieved his life purpose and ever remain as the Self."

nirvisesa said...

Ken,
thank you for giving the hint to the verses of Shankara.
"The absolute Being as the witness of the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep,
distinct from the five sheaths,aware of the mental modes in the waking and dream states, and of their absence in the state of deep sleep.....".

venkat said...

Nirvisesa

"What are exactly the so-called waking state and dream state ? The concerned subject is in both states the ego-mind."

Ramana, Gaudapada and Shankara all point out that the subject-object division in the waking / dream states is the fundamental illusion. And that all 3 states - and the world-body-mind in waking/dream, and their absence in deep sleep - are witnessed by the supreme Self. So the ultimate subject is always the Self - which witnesses the rise of the ego-mind-world in the waking and dream states, and of their absence in deep sleep.

Jnana is knowingly being this ultimate subject, and not identifying in the slightest with the body-mind.

nirvisesa said...

venkat,
thank you for your comment saying what our great sages pointed out regarding the three states of consciousnees. So I let it be the end of the matter. Yes, knowingly being the ultimate subject - the supreme self - is not possible without eliminating that fundmental illusion.

Stoned Sadhu said...

Ken

You frequently quote from Ramana Maharishi's selection and translation of Vivekachudamani.
Do you rely completely and literally only on the English translated version? Or have you read or are in the possession of the Tamil or Sanskrit verses as selected and translated by Sri Ramana?

Ken said...

Stoned Sadhu -

I am not able to read Tamil or Sanskrit.

The English translation is the one published by Ramana's Ashram in "Collected Works".

Yes, we are dependent on the accuracy of the translation.

Stoned Sadhu said...

Ken

Even I do not currently possess the Tamil or Sanskrit verses.

However, it is my hunch that in the part [...]the absolute Being, the witness of the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep, distinct from the five sheaths, aware of the mental modes in the waking and dream states, and of their absence in the state of deep sleep[..], the word as translated into English as 'witness' is actually the Sanskrit-origin term साक्षिन् (sākṣin).

Anyway, it may be insightful if you peruse the article What is meant by the term sākṣi or ‘witness’? written by Sri Michael James, with special reference to the part subtitled "In a literal sense, the only sākṣin is our ego".

Ken said...

The Sanskrit - in roman characters - can be found at:

http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/gretil/1_sanskr/6_sastra/3_phil/vedanta/vivcud_u.htm

There are some translations at:

http://www.universaltheosophy.com/sacred-texts/crest-jewel-of-wisdom/

Swami Madhavananda translates the section as:

"124. Now I am going to tell thee of the real nature of the supreme Self, realising which man is freed from bondage and attains Liberation.

125. There is some Absolute Entity, the eternal substratum of the consciousness of egoism, the witness of the three states, and distinct from the five sheaths or coverings:

126. Which knows everything that happens in the waking state, in dream and in profound sleep; which is aware of the presence or absence of the mind and its functions; and which is the background of the notion of egoism. – This is That.

127. Which Itself sees all, but which no one beholds, which illumines the intellect etc., but which they cannot illumine. – This is That.

128. By which this universe is pervaded, but which nothing pervades, which shining, all this (universe) shines as Its reflection. – This is That.

129. By whose very presence the body, the organs, mind and intellect keep to their respective spheres of action, like servants!

130. By which everything from egoism down to the body, the sense-objects and pleasure etc., is known as palpably as a jar – for It is the essence of Eternal Knowledge!

131. This is the innermost Self, the primeval Purusha (Being), whose essence is the constant realisation of infinite Bliss, which is ever the same, yet reflecting through the different mental modifications, and commanded by which the organs and Pranas perform their functions.

132. In this very body, in the mind full of Sattva, in the secret chamber of the intellect, in the Akasha known as the Unmanifested, the Atman, of charming splendour, shines like the sun aloft, manifesting this universe through Its own effulgence.

133. The Knower of the modifications of mind and egoism, and of the activities of the body, the organs and Pranas, apparently taking their forms, like the fire in a ball of iron; It neither acts nor is subject to change in the least.

134. It is neither born nor dies, It neither grows nor decays, nor does It undergo any change, being eternal. It does not cease to exist even when this body is destroyed, like the sky in a jar (after it is broken), for It is independent.

135. The Supreme Self, different from the Prakriti and its modifications, of the essence of Pure Knowledge, and Absolute, directly manifests this entire gross and subtle universe, in the waking and other states, as the substratum of the persistent sense of egoism, and manifests Itself as the Witness of the Buddhi, the determinative faculty.

136.By means of a regulated mind and the purified intellect (Buddhi), realise directly thy own Self in the body so as to identify thyself with It, cross the boundless ocean of Samsara whose waves are birth and death, and firmly established in Brahman as thy own essence, be blessed.

137. Identifying the Self with this non-Self – this is the bondage of man, which is due to his ignorance, and brings in its train the miseries of birth and death. It is through this that one considers this evanescent body as real, and identifying oneself with it, nourishes, bathes, and preserves it by means of (agreeable) sense-objects, by which he becomes bound as the caterpillar by the threads of its cocoon."

So, the section with "witness of the three states" is in Sanskrit:

"asti kaścitsvayaṃ nityamahaṃpratyayalambanaḥ &
avasthātrayasākṣī saṃpañcakośavilakṣaṇaḥ // 125 //"

venkat said...

From Guru Vachaka Kovai (David Godman):

151: Siva shines within each jiva as the witness, [enabling] him [the jiva] to experience his prarabdha through his [Siva's] presence. Whoever knows his nature to be mere being consciousness, without imagining through ignorance that his is the experiencer to prarabdha, shines as that supreme person, Siva.

943: Not brooding over what has happened in the past, not dreaming about what is to be attained in the future, remaining a mere witness even to the happenings that unfold in the presence and rejoicing in unassailable peace - this is the excellence of the state of granti bheda [severance of the knot].

From Michael's translation, Sadhu Om's comment on the witness is helpful:

674. Whatever happens in whatever way, separating yourself remain as the witness of each such thing.

Sadhu Om: The instructions ‘simply be a witness to them’ which Sri Bhagavan gives in this verse should be correctly understood. The word ‘witness’ [sakshi] is used in Vedantic scriptures in a special sense, and it should be understood accordingly. The scriptures explain that Self or Brahman is a witness to all activities just as the sun is a witness to all that happens on earth, that is to say, all activities take place in and because of the mere presence of Self, just as all that happens on earth takes place in and because of the mere presence of the sun. However, just as the sun is unconcerned with [that is, does not attend to] all that happens on earth, so Self is unconcerned with [that is, does not attend to] all the activities that take place in Its presence. Refer here to the work Who am I? in which Sri Bhagavan has clearly explained this simile of the sun, which is unaffected by and unconcerned with all that happens on earth.
Therefore, when Sri Bhagavan says in this verse that we should simply be a witness to all things, He does not mean that we should attend to them. He simply means that we should remain like the sun, unattached to and unconcerned with whatever happens or does not happen in our presence. This is why He also says in this verse, ‘remain aloof from them’, for one who is truly aloof from something will not be in the least concerned with that thing and will not attend to it. So long as one attends to something, it means that one is concerned with that thing, in other words, that one is attached to it.

venkat said...

In Bhagavad Gita, chp 13 (entitled "The field and the knower of the field"):

13.22 He who is the Witness, the Permitter, the Sustainer, the Experiencer, the great Lord, and who is also spoken of as the transcendental Self, is the supreme in this body.

From Sankara's commentary:
He who is the upadrasta, Witness, who while staying nearby does not Himself become involved. . .
Proceeding inwards from that body, the Self is the inmost as also the proximate observer compared with which there is no other higher and inner observer . . .
He is the anu-manta (Permitter) because when the body and organs are engaged in their own functions, He remains as a witness and never dissuades them. . .

He is paramatma, the transcendental Self, because he is the Self which has the characteristics of being the supreme Witness of all those - beginning from the body and ending with the intellect - which are imagined through ignorance to be the indwelling Self.

Mouna said...

A work reflection/hypothesis.

Self observation and witnessing are the first actions recommended to beginners in the path to start knowing themselves. It is sometimes called the "observing I" or "witnessing consciousness". The purpose is to arrive to the experiential understanding that we are not the phenomena, body/mind/world, present to us but rather the witnessing awareness/consciousness/knowing. The 'not this, not this' method. It helps to sever the identification we have with phenomena, establishing our essential identity with awareness. The world still appears but we are not the world, the world is in us. Both the one who knows himself as consciousness and the one who doesn't, see the world, but the one who knows is no longer under the hypnosis of Maya's projection of the world, he's free from its limitations.

At one point this apparent division between awareness and imagined limitations collapses and "the two become one". Awareness/consciousness/knowing not only witness phenomena but also pervades it, maya is not separate from consciousness, but rather its power. God is the universe, the rope is the snake. Wood is one with the table and chair, gold is one with the ornaments. The one who knows see himself as one with phenomena, the one who doesn't see himself as separate from it and limited by it. The illusion of separation was 'destroyed' in the sense that it it was 'assimilated' in consciousness and knowledge. We still see the water mirage, but we know it is not real water. There wasn't any water to start with but the illusion is still there, we are no longer fooled by it because the illusion is pervaded by the knowledge we are.

And then, although there isn't and wasn't ever a 'then'...
Phenomena as such no longer operates. Complete and absolute reality, beyond comprehension, beyond experience, complete and absolute awareness, knowledge. The flame is extinguished but there was never a flame to start with.
Absolute and endless peace, the dream is over, all dreams ever dreamt are over. No man can put this in words, it can't be described nor experienced by anyone. There is not one, nor two, there wasn't and weren't ever.
It just is.
Silence.

Michael James said...

Ken, I have replied to several of your comments about the state and experience of the jñāni (namely this pair and this one) in a separate article: The jñāni is only pure awareness (prajñāna) and not whatever person it may seem to be.

venkat said...

Hi Mouna,

Your comment reminded me of Sadhu Natanananda's "Spiritual Instruction", which was his Q&A with Bhagavan. I'll start with his explanatory footnote on the seven stages of knowledge - and the corresponding names given to those who have attained jnana:
1. The desire for enlightenment
2. Enquiry (vicharana)
3. Tenuous mind
4. Self-realisation - Brahmavid (one who has realised Brahman)
5. Non-attachment - Brahmanvidvara
6. Non-perception of objects - Brahmavidvarya
7. Transcendence (turyaga) - Brahmavidvarishta (the very best amongst knowers of Brahman)

Now the Q&A with Bhagavan:

Q: To which of the seven stages of knowledge does the jnani belong?

A: He belongs to the fourth stage.

Q: If that is so, why have 3 more stages superior to it been distinguished?

A: The marks of the stages 4 to 7 are based upon the experiences of the realised person (jivanmukta). They are not states of knowledge and release. So far as knowledge and release are concerned no distinction whatever is made in these four stages.

From Sadhu Natanananda's Sri Ramana Darsanam:

Only swarupa jnana siddhi - a state free from vasanas - is the attainment of liberation. The attainment of samadhi free of body consciousness adds further greatness to jnana, like a golden flower that is also endowed with fragrance. However loss of ignorance is sufficient for liberation. The inert samadhi in which there has been no destruction of vasanas confers no benefit other than the experience of a bliss that is similar to that of deep sleep. This inert samadhi is not different from deep sleep. . . Samadhi without body consciousness [kevala nirvikalpa samadhi] is not experienced by all jnanis . . . It is the extent of the period of kevala nirvikalpa samadhi that divides jnanis, who are equal in their knowledge of the supreme, into Brahmavidvara, Brahmavidvarya and Brahmanvidvarishta.

atma-sorupam said...

Mouna,
may you live/sustain yourself on the memory of your beautiful experience made from within all your life.
Best wishes.

star of Bethlehem said...

venkat,
can an 'inert samadhi' as been described called at all a samadhi, a state of unwavering quietness/stillness ?

venkat said...

Mouna

My working hypotheses of these teachings.

What we are is awareness (Brahman). On this screen of awareness arises, a bundle of thoughts (including perceptions), which become conceptualised into names-forms of my jiva-body-mind and the 'outside' world. (Think of a baby - it only sees colours - and later learns to conceptualise / identify these into names and forms. Hence JK's constant refrain "the word is not the thing"). Layering on top of this original set of thought-concepts, are further derivative thoughts of "I need to protect myself", "I need security, love, wealth" and then "I like / want this, I dislike that"., etc, etc

When these thoughts arise, we conceptualise it into waking / dream, and when they subside, we conceptualise it as deep sleep.

But, what we really are, which we arrive at through the 5 sheaths analysis and neti neti, and through the three states analysis, is the state of awareness / consciousness / existence which is present in deep sleep, when there are no other adjuncts that we can attach to as "us". That deep sleep consciousness, is also that consciousness that underlies and is aware of our waking and dream states.

Intellectually understanding / knowing provides a level of freedom. The deepening of this understanding to become conviction is jnana - hence the Vedantic emphasis on sravana, manana and nidhidyasana, to develop that conviction. With that level of conviction / understanding, the world is seen as a mirage, there is no specific identification with the body-mind, and nothing is taken seriously any longer. At that level of conviction, there can be no ego (or at least a very minimal ego), such that there is no striving for anything for the ego - including liberation - because it is seen as illusory. At this point there would be no derivative thoughts, of my/yours, like/dislike, etc - or if they did arise, there would be no attachment to them, and therefore they would drift away again.

That level of conviction is not common-place. It is the depth of conviction that we hitherto had that we are the body-mind. As you know, even though many of us read and agree with Vedanta, we still have not given up this identification, because it is so inherent in us. Similarly, this must be the level of conviction that characterises the jnana that we are NOT the body-mind.

Now from Bhagavan's conversation with Sadhu Natanananda, the jivanmukta may mature (for want of a better word) to wholly transcend even the originating thought-perceptions. [This would in any event occur at the seeming death of the body-mind thought construct]. However there is no volition / striving by the jnani to achieve this maturation, because that would imply an ego that is trying to achieve it. It just happens. Hence summa iru.

Wth best wishes,
venkat

Mouna said...

Venkat, greetings

Thank you for this thoughtful exposé of your thinking regarding this topic.
Clearly, you know your Vedanta.
I do have some commentaries (from the 'devil's advocate' point of view. :-) ) to your comments.
Unfortunately, some normal life circumstances like loss of job, deadlines and many more trivial transactional fictions impel me to put my limited thinking energy into those matters.
But surely I'll get back to you since manana on the subject is apparently not over yet!

Be well my friend and for those who go for this western time constructed illusion:
Happy and Peaceful New Year!
May all pervading Bhagavan's grace continue enlightening the path.

Love, m

venkat said...

Mouna

I look forward - with trepidation - to your devil's advocate deconstruction of my hypotheses!

I am sorry to hear about your vyavaharika satya. For what it is worth, take heart that it is a blessing from Bhagavan.

With love and best wishes for 2017 - and lets hope a peaceful one.

venkat

Jerusalem said...

Mouna,
with Bhagavan's loving radiation from the innermost core of your heart you may certainly surmount your material difficulties in life soon. Sometimes we have to face the music. Chin up !

Mouna said...

Venkat and Jerusalem,
Thank you for your kind wishes of prosperity.
As you say, it's all Bhagavan's grace and we are all not only facing the music here... but also dancing with it!

Love, m

Jerusalem said...

Mouna,
may you dance in divine self-effulgent grace of real waking.