Sunday, 15 January 2017

What is aware of everything other than ourself is only the ego and not ourself as we actually are

In a comment on one of my recent articles, Why does Bhagavan sometimes say that the ātma-jñāni is aware of the body and world?, a friend called Ken wrote, ‘Ramana states: “The ego functions as the knot between the Self which is Pure Consciousness and the physical body which is inert and insentient.” Therefore, there is nothing that can experience other than the Self. [...] since the body is insentient (cannot experience), and only the Self can experience, then any experience that occurs, can only be experienced by the Self’, but contrary to what he argues in this comment and in several other ones, what experiences everything (all forms or phenomena) is not ‘the Self’ (ourself as we actually are) but only ourself as this ego, as I will try to explain in this article.
  1. Being cit-jaḍa-granthi, the ego is a confused mixture of awareness (cit) and insentience (jaḍa), so it is aware of everything insentient
  2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 4: our actual self is infinite (and hence formless) awareness, so it cannot see any finite forms
  3. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: everything seems to exist only in the view of the ego, so for its seeming existence it depends on the seeming existence of the ego
  4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 23: everything else arises only after the ego arises, and if we investigate this ego it will disappear
  5. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 4: when we see ourself as we actually are, we will not be aware of any world
  6. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 3: we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are unless we cease being aware of any world
  7. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 5: without the ego (the thought called ‘I’ or first person), no phenomena (no other thoughts or second and third persons) exist
  8. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 5: unless we experience ourself as a body, there is no world for us to see
  9. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 98: unless we experience ourself as ‘I am this body’, nothing other than ourself appears
  10. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 6: the mind alone perceives the world, so but for the mind there is no world
  11. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 7: the world is illumined or made perceptible by the mind’s awareness of it
  12. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 22 (kaliveṇbā version ): our actual self gives light to the mind, which sees everything
  13. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 114: in the bright light of pure self-awareness, the false appearance of ego, world and God will vanish
  14. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 9: if we look within to see what this ego is, all dyads and triads will cease to exist
  15. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11: when we know the non-existence of the ego, knowledge and ignorance of everything else will cease
  16. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12: real awareness is our actual self, which shines without anything else to know or to cause to know
  17. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 13: what is aware of multiplicity is not real awareness but only ignorance
  18. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 31: when the ego is destroyed by tanmayānanda, what remains is not aware of anything other than itself
  19. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 14: second and third persons do not exist except in the view of the first person, the ‘I’ who is aware of itself as a body
  20. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 18: for the jñāni, what is real is not the world as such but only its formless ādhāra
  21. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 54: seeing with the infinite eye of sat-cit-āṉanda, the jñāni can see nothing other than that
  22. Only as this ego, which is not what it actually is, does brahman or ātman see anything other than itself
1. Being cit-jaḍa-granthi, the ego is a confused mixture of awareness (cit) and insentience (jaḍa), so it is aware of everything insentient

Ken, as you point out, the ego is cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the seeming entanglement of cit (pure awareness, which is ourself as we actually are) and jaḍa (what is insentient, namely the body), but what is aware of other things (namely all forms or phenomena, all of which are insentient) is not pure awareness itself but only this seeming knot, because pure awareness is intransitive, so it is aware of nothing other than itself, and the body (which includes not only the physical body but all the five sheaths, as Bhagavan explains in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) is not aware of anything, since all the five sheaths that constitute it are not only jaḍa (insentient or non-conscious) but also asat (unreal or not actually existent), as he explains in verse 22 of Upadēśa Undiyār. Since neither cit nor jaḍa can be aware of any forms or phenomena, what is aware of all of them is is only the ego, the knot formed as a seeming mixture of cit and jaḍa.

When you argue, ‘since the body is insentient (cannot experience), and only the Self can experience, then any experience that occurs, can only be experienced by the Self’, you are assuming that there are only two possible candidates for the role of experiencer, namely the body and ‘the Self’, of which only the latter has the required qualification of being aware or sentient, but you are overlooking the third entity in the equation, namely the ego, which borrows and combines features both of ‘the Self’, which is awareness (cit), and of the body, which is insentient (jaḍa). Though this ego seems to be limited to the form and dimensions of whatever body it currently experiences as itself, unlike this body it is aware, because it is cidābhāsa (a reflection or semblance of cit), since it is a confused mixture of cit and jaḍa, and as such it is aware of the seeming existence both of itself and of all other things (namely all forms or phenomena), all of which are insentient.

2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 4: our actual self is infinite (and hence formless) awareness, so it cannot see any finite forms

This is clearly implied by Bhagavan in many of his original writings, such as verse 4 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருவந்தா னாயி னுலகுபர மற்றா
முருவந்தா னன்றே லுவற்றி — னுருவத்தைக்
கண்ணுறுதல் யாவனெவன் கண்ணலாற் காட்சியுண்டோ
கண்ணதுதா னந்தமிலாக் கண்.

uruvandā ṉāyi ṉulahupara maṯṟā
muruvandā ṉaṉḏṟē luvaṯṟi — ṉuruvattaik
kaṇṇuṟudal yāvaṉevaṉ kaṇṇalāṯ kāṭciyuṇḍō
kaṇṇadutā ṉantamilāk kaṇ
.

பதச்சேதம்: உருவம் தான் ஆயின், உலகு பரம் அற்று ஆம்; உருவம் தான் அன்றேல், உவற்றின் உருவத்தை கண் உறுதல் யாவன்? எவன்? கண் அலால் காட்சி உண்டோ? கண் அது தான் அந்தம் இலா கண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uruvam tāṉ āyiṉ, ulahu param aṯṟu ām; uruvam tāṉ aṉḏṟēl, uvaṯṟiṉ uruvattai kaṇ uṟudal yāvaṉ? evaṉ? kaṇ alāl kāṭci uṇḍō? kaṇ adu tāṉ antam-ilā kaṇ.

அன்வயம்: தான் உருவம் ஆயின், உலகு பரம் அற்று ஆம்; தான் உருவம் அன்றேல், உவற்றின் உருவத்தை யாவன் கண் உறுதல்? எவன்? கண் அலால் காட்சி உண்டோ? கண் அது தான் அந்தம் இலா கண்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): tāṉ uruvam āyiṉ, ulahu param aṯṟu ām; tāṉ uruvam aṉḏṟēl, uvaṯṟiṉ uruvattai yāvaṉ kaṇ uṟudal? evaṉ? kaṇ alāl kāṭci uṇḍō? kaṇ adu tāṉ antam-ilā kaṇ.

English translation: If oneself is a form, the world and God will be likewise; if oneself is not a form, who can see their forms, and how [to do so]? Can what is seen be otherwise [in nature] than the eye [that sees it]? The [real] eye is oneself, the infinite eye.
What he implies here by saying ‘if oneself is a form’ is if we are the ego, because we rise, stand and flourish as this ego only by ‘grasping form’ (that is, by projecting and thereby being aware of forms or phenomena, the first of which is whichever body we currently experience as ourself), as he explains in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, so what he implies in the first sentence of this verse is that so long as we rise and stand as this ego (as in waking and dream) the world and God will seem to be forms, and what he implies in the second sentence is that if we do not rise and stand as this ego (as in sleep) there will be no one to see them as forms, and no means to do so. Therefore what experiences forms or phenomena is only ourself as this ego and not ourself as we really are.

As we really are, we are what he describes here as ‘அந்தமிலா கண்’ (antam-ilā kaṇ), ‘the endless [limitless or infinite] eye’, in which கண் (kaṇ) or ‘eye’ is a metaphor for awareness. Since every form has a boundary or limit, the limitless awareness that we actually are is not a form, and hence as such we cannot be aware of any forms, but can only be aware of ourself, the one infinite whole, other than which nothing can exist or even seem to exist.

That is, according to the principle that he expresses in the penultimate sentence of this verse, ‘கண் அலால் காட்சி உண்டோ?’ (kaṇ alāl kāṭci uṇḍō?), which means ‘Can what is seen be otherwise [in nature] than the eye [that sees it]?’, that which is infinite (namely our actual self) can see only what is infinite (and therefore formless), and that which is finite (namely our ego) can see only what is finite (namely forms or phenomena). The infinite ‘eye’ that we actually are (namely pure awareness) can never see any finite forms, and the finite ‘eye’ that we seem to be (namely this body-bound ego) can never see infinite awareness as it actually is.

3. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: everything seems to exist only in the view of the ego, so for its seeming existence it depends on the seeming existence of the ego

Therefore ‘the Self’ (ourself as we actually are) is never aware of anything other than itself, so we seem to be aware of other things only when we seem to be this ego. This is why Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Hence] the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything.
Since what actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa, our own real nature, as Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), neither the ego nor anything else actually exists, so when he says in this verse, ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum), ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence’, what he means is that if the ego seems to come into existence, everything else seems to come into existence.

Whatever seems to exist must seem to exist in the view of something that is aware, so in the absence of whatever is aware of its seeming existence whatever seems to exist would not and could not seem to exist. Therefore, since everything (all forms or phenomena) seems to exist only in the view of ourself as this ego, when we do not seem to be this ego (either in manōnāśa or in any state of manōlaya such as sleep) nothing else seems to exist. This is why Bhagavan says in the second sentence of this verse, ‘அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), which means ‘If the ego does not exist, everything does not exist’.

Not only do all forms or phenomena seem to exist only in the view of this ego, but so too does this ego itself seem to exist only in its own view, because it is just a wrong knowledge of ourself (a mistaken awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), so it does not seem to exist in the clear view of the pure self-awareness that we actually are. Therefore the ego and all the myriad phenomena that it is aware of are just illusory appearances that seem to exist only in its own self-deluded view, and hence it alone is the cause, root, foundation and sole substance of all that seems to exist. In other words, everything of which it is aware is just an expansion of itself, so in the third sentence of this verse Bhagavan says: ‘அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām), which means ‘The ego itself is everything’.

Since the ego does not actually exist, it seems to exist only when it is looking at (attending to and hence aware of) things other than itself, and it ceases to exist when it looks only at itself. This is why Bhagavan said in the previous verse (verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu): ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), which means ‘If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight’.

Therefore, since everything else seems to exist only when the ego seems to exist, and since the ego ceases to exist when it looks at itself, in the last sentence of this verse he says: ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்’ (ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr), which means ‘Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything’. If anything else existed or seemed to exist in the clear view of ourself as we actually are, we would not be able to give up being aware of it merely by investigating this ego, but since everything else seems to exist only in the limited, distorted and deluded view of this ego, we cannot investigate and know what this ego actually is without thereby giving up forever being aware of everything else.

4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 23: everything else arises only after the ego arises, and if we investigate this ego it will disappear

Since everything else appears only after the ego appears, and since nothing else appears when the ego does not appear, everything depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of this ego. Therefore since this ego seems to exist only when it does not keenly investigate itself, and disappears when it does investigate itself keenly enough, the only means by which we can free ourself from everything is by investigating this ego with a very keenly focused power of attention, as Bhagavan instructs us to do in verse 23 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
நானென்றித் தேக நவிலா துறக்கத்து
நானின்றென் றாரு நவில்வதிலை — நானொன்
றெழுந்தபி னெல்லா மெழுமிந்த நானெங்
கெழுமென்று நுண்மதியா லெண்.

nāṉeṉḏṟid dēha navilā duṟakkattu
nāṉiṉḏṟeṉ ḏṟāru navilvadilai — nāṉoṉ
ḏṟeṙundapi ṉellā meṙuminda nāṉeṅ
geṙumeṉḏṟu nuṇmatiyā leṇ
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘நான்’ என்று இத் தேகம் நவிலாது. ‘உறக்கத்தும் நான் இன்று’ என்று ஆரும் நவில்வது இலை. ‘நான்’ ஒன்று எழுந்த பின், எல்லாம் எழும். இந்த ‘நான்’ எங்கு எழும் என்று நுண் மதியால் எண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘nāṉ’ eṉḏṟu id-dēham navilādu. ‘uṟakkattum nāṉ iṉḏṟu’ eṉḏṟu ārum navilvadu ilai. ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu eṙunda piṉ, ellām eṙum. inda ‘nāṉ’ eṅgu eṙum eṉḏṟu nuṇ matiyāl eṇ.

அன்வயம்: இத் தேகம் ‘நான்’ என்று நவிலாது. ‘உறக்கத்தும் நான் இன்று’ என்று ஆரும் நவில்வது இலை. ‘நான்’ ஒன்று எழுந்த பின், எல்லாம் எழும். இந்த ‘நான்’ எங்கு எழும் என்று நுண் மதியால் எண்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): id-dēham ‘nāṉ’ eṉḏṟu navilādu. ‘uṟakkattum nāṉ iṉḏṟu’ eṉḏṟu ārum navilvadu ilai. ‘nāṉ’ oṉḏṟu eṙunda piṉ, ellām eṙum. inda ‘nāṉ’ eṅgu eṙum eṉḏṟu nuṇ matiyāl eṇ.

English translation: This body does not say ‘I’. No one says ‘In sleep I do not exist’. After one ‘I’ rises, everything rises. Investigate [consider, determine or find out] with a subtle mind where this ‘I’ rises.
The logical connections between each of the four sentences of this verse are not stated explicitly, so we have to consider the whole verse carefully in order to infer all the logical connections that are implied in it. The first sentence, ‘நான் என்று இத் தேகம் நவிலாது’ (nāṉ eṉḏṟu id-dēham navilādu), literally means ‘This body does not say I’, which is a metaphorical way of saying that it is not aware of itself, because what is aware of this body as ‘I’ is not this body itself but only our ego. The next sentence, ‘உறக்கத்தும் நான் இன்று என்று ஆரும் நவில்வது இலை’ (uṟakkattum nāṉ iṉḏṟu eṉḏṟu ārum navilvadu ilai), literally means ‘There is not anyone saying: in sleep I do not exist’, which implies that no one is not aware of the fact ‘I existed in sleep’, since we cannot have been asleep if we did not exist then.

However, though we did exist in sleep, we existed then without being aware of this body, so the awareness ‘I am this body’ is not real, because if it were real it would persist in sleep. That is, since we are aware of our existence in sleep without being aware of this or any other body as ‘I’, no body can be what we actually are. Therefore there is a clear distinction between ourself, the enduring ‘I’ of whom we are aware permanently in each of our three states, and the transitory ‘I’ that appears as ‘I am this body’ in waking and dream but disappears in sleep.

This transitory ‘I’ is what Bhagavan refers to in the third sentence when he says, ‘நான் ஒன்று எழுந்த பின், எல்லாம் எழும்’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu eṙunda piṉ, ellām eṙum), which means ‘After one ‘I’ rises, everything rises’. Here the term ‘நான் ஒன்று’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu), which means ‘one I’, refers to the ego, the one ‘I’ that appears in waking and dream as the adjunct-bound self-awareness ‘I am this body’. The real ‘I’ that we actually are (namely the pure adjunct-free self-awareness ‘I am’) exists permanently, so it never rises (appears) or subsides (disappears), and hence the one ‘I’ that rises is not what we actually are.

Since nothing other than the real ‘I’ that we actually are (the pure adjunct-free self-awareness ‘I am’) exists or even seems to exist in sleep, in this sentence Bhagavan points out the obvious fact that only after the rising ‘I’ (the ego) appears does everything else appear. The verb he uses in both clauses of this sentence is எழு (eṙu), which means to rise, ascend, arise, appear or originate, but in this context it does not mean appear merely in the sense of becoming visible or perceivable but in the sense of coming into existence, because according to Bhagavan nothing other than ātma-svarūpa (our own real nature) actually exists, so whatever else seems does not exist independent of our perception of it.

Therefore what he implies in this sentence, ‘நான் ஒன்று எழுந்த பின், எல்லாம் எழும்’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu eṙunda piṉ, ellām eṙum), ‘After one ‘I’ rises, everything rises’, is what he states more explicitly in the first sentence of verse 26, namely ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum), ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence’. In other words, everything else seems to exist only when the ego seems to exist, as he emphasises in the second sentence of verse 26 by saying, ‘அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), ‘If the ego does not exist, everything does not exist’.

Why should this be the case? Why should other things not exist when the ego does not exist? For the simple reason that they seem to exist only in the view of this ego. If they could seem to exist in the view of anything other than this ego, they could seem to exist even when we do not rise as this ego, such as in sleep. Therefore when Bhagavan says that everything appears only when we rise as this ego, he clearly implies that they exist only in the view of ourself as this ego and not in the view of ourself as we actually are.

Since everything else depends for its seeming existence upon our rising as this ego, the adjunct-bound awareness ‘I am this body’, rather than seeking to know anything else we should first seek to know what we ourself actually are. Since this ego appears and disappears in our awareness, it is obviously not what we actually are, so we must be the source from which it rises. Therefore in the final sentence of this verse Bhagavan says, ‘இந்த நான் எங்கு எழும் என்று நுண் மதியால் எண்’ (inda nāṉ eṅgu eṙum eṉḏṟu nuṇ matiyāl eṇ), which means ‘Investigate [consider, determine or find out] with a subtle mind where this I rises’.

What he implies by the phrase ‘நுண் மதியால்’ (nuṇ matiyāl), which literally means ‘by a subtle [refined, sharp, acute or keen] mind’, is a keenly focused attention, so since we ourself are the source from which we rise as this ego, what he instructs us to do in this sentence is to investigate ourself by focusing our entire attention keenly on ourself alone. That is, since this ego rises as ‘I am this body’ by attending to things other than itself, beginning with whatever body we currently mistake ourself to be, it will subside back into its source to the extent that it attends keenly to itself alone, so if it manages to focus its attention on itself so keenly that it ceases to be aware of anything else whatsoever, it will thereby cease to exist.

This is clearly implied by Bhagavan in the kaliveṇbā version of this verse, in which he extended this sentence by changing the final word எண் (eṇ) to எண்ண (eṇṇa) and adding நழுவும் (naṙuvum). எண் (eṇ) is the root of a verb that means to think, consider, ponder on, meditate on, evaluate, calculate, determine or in this case investigate, and it is used here as an imperative. எண்ண (eṇṇa) is the infinitive form of the same verb, and in contexts such as this the infinitive is used as a conditional, so here it means ‘when one investigates’. நழுவும் (naṙuvum) means ‘it will slip off [steal away, escape or evade detection]’, so the extended version of this sentence, ‘இந்த நான் எங்கு எழும் என்று நுண் மதியால் எண்ண, நழுவும்’ (inda nāṉ eṅgu eṙum eṉḏṟu nuṇ matiyāl eṇṇa, naṙuvum), means ‘When one investigates with a subtle mind where this I rises, it will slip away’.

Therefore, since everything else arises only after this ‘I’ arises, and since consequently nothing else exists when it does not arise, when Bhagavan says that it will slip away when one keenly investigates where it rises, he clearly implies that everything else will thereby cease to exist. However, in case any of us are in any doubt about whether this is what he actually intended to imply in the last two sentences of this verse, he stated it still more explicitly and unequivocally in verse 26.

5. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 4: when we see ourself as we actually are, we will not be aware of any world

What Bhagavan refers to as ‘everything’ (ellām, aṉaittum and yāvum) in verses 23 and 26 obviously includes whatever world we may see either in our current state or in any other dream, and the reason why any world appears only when we rise as this ego (which is the root and essence of the mind) is explained by Bhagavan in the following portion of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது.

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

Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [ourself as we actually are] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear.
What Bhagavan means by the term நினைவுகள் (niṉaivugaḷ), which literally means ‘thoughts’ or ‘ideas’, is mental phenomena of any kind whatsoever, so since what we perceive as the world is just a series of sensory impressions, and since all such impressions are mental phenomena (just like all the sensory impressions that we experience in a dream), he says that the world is nothing but thoughts or ideas. Just as any world we experience in a dream is just a multitude of thoughts projected by our mind, so too is the world that we now experience, and hence he says: ‘மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது’ (maṉamum taṉṉiḍattilirundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu), which means ‘the mind projects [or causes to appear] the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself’.

Therefore in the next sentence he says, ‘மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும்’ (maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum), ‘When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears’, thereby implying that the world appears only in the view of the mind (which in this case means the ego, which is its root and essence, being the only element of it that is aware of anything). This implication is made more clear in the next two sentences: ‘ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu), which means ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [our own real nature, ourself as we actually are] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’.

Since ātma-svarūpa (our own real nature or actual self) is always clearly aware of itself as it actually is, in its clear view there is never any moment in which it does not appear and shine as it is, so only the second of these two sentences, ‘சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu), ‘when svarūpa [ourself as we actually are] appears (shines), the world does not appear’, applies to it. Therefore, since it always shines as it actually is, what Bhagavan clearly implies in this sentence is that in its view no world ever appears.

What is not clearly aware of itself as it actually is is only this ego, so the first of these two sentences, ‘ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது’ (āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu), ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [ourself as we actually are] does not appear’, applies only to it. That is, since the ego is a wrong knowledge of ourself (a mistaken awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), in its self-deluded view ātma-svarūpa does not appear as it actually is, and hence a world does appear.

However, if we, who have now risen as this ego and are consequently aware of a world, turn our entire attention back within in order to be keenly aware of ourself alone, we will subside back into our source and thereby be clearly aware of ourself as we actually are (that is, without any adjuncts whatsoever), and hence we will forever cease to rise as this ego. Therefore, since we will then be shining clearly as ātma-svarūpa, in our view no world at all will appear.

In other words, what Bhagavan implies by saying ‘ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu), ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’, is that when we perceive any world we are not aware of ourself as we actually are, and when we are aware of ourself as we actually are we will not perceive any world.

6. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 3: we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are unless we cease being aware of any world

This is also clearly explained by Bhagavan in unambiguous terms in the third paragraph 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. kaṟpita sarppa-ñāṉam pōṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa rajju-ñāṉam uṇḍāhādadu pōla, kaṟpitamāṉa 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 [base or foundation], will not arise, unless perception of the world, which is a kalpita [a fabrication or figment of the imagination], ceases, seeing svarūpa, which is the adhiṣṭhāna, will not arise.
Therefore we cannot see ourself as we actually are so long as we perceive any world, just as we cannot see a rope as it actually is so long as we mistake it to be a snake, and when we see ourself as we actually are, we will not perceive any world, just as when we see a rope as it actually is we will not see it as a snake. This once again clearly implies that as we actually are (that is, as ‘the Self’) we are not aware of any world, so we are aware of any world only because we have risen as this ego.

7. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 5: without the ego (the thought called ‘I’ or first person), no phenomena (no other thoughts or second and third persons) exist

Everything other than the ego is just a thought or idea projected and experienced by it, so the ego is the root cause for the appearance of everything else, and hence without it nothing else can appear or seem to exist, as Bhagavan states unequivocally in the final four sentences of the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா.

maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā.

Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first [primal, basic, original or causal] thought. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [the ego] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.
What Bhagavan refers to here as ‘நானென்னும் நினைவு’ (nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivu), the thought called ‘I’, and as ‘தன்மை’ (taṉmai), the first person, is the ego, and what he refers to as ‘ஏனைய நினைவுகள்’ (ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ), other thoughts, and as ‘முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள்’ (muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ), is everything else (all phenomena), so here once again he implies that all phenomena appear only in the view of the ego, and hence without it they do not exist at all.

8. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 5: unless we experience ourself as a body, there is no world for us to see

In addition to the three verses that we have considered above, namely verses 4, 23 and 26, there are many other verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu in which Bhagavan clearly implies that what is aware of everything else is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as this ego. For example, after explaining in verse 4 that the world and God will seem to be forms only if oneself (the ‘eye’ that perceives them) is a form, and that if oneself is not a form there will be no one to see them as forms, because the nature of what is seen cannot be otherwise than that of the ‘eye’ that sees it, in verse 5 he says:
உடல்பஞ்ச கோச வுருவதனா லைந்து
முடலென்னுஞ் சொல்லி லொடுங்கு — முடலன்றி
யுண்டோ வுலக முடல்விட் டுலகத்தைக்
கண்டா ருளரோ கழறு.

uḍalpañca kōśa vuruvadaṉā laindu
muḍaleṉṉuñ colli loḍuṅgu — muḍalaṉḏṟi
yuṇḍō vulaha muḍalviṭ ṭulahattaik
kaṇḍā ruḷarō kaṙaṟu
.

பதச்சேதம்: உடல் பஞ்ச கோச உரு. அதனால், ஐந்தும் ‘உடல்’ என்னும் சொல்லில் ஒடுங்கும். உடல் அன்றி உண்டோ உலகம்? உடல் விட்டு, உலகத்தை கண்டார் உளரோ? கழறு.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uḍal pañca kōśa uru. adaṉāl, aindum ‘uḍal’ eṉṉum sollil oḍuṅgum. uḍal aṉḏṟi uṇḍō ulaham? uḍal viṭṭu, ulahattai kaṇḍār uḷarō? kaṙaṟu.

அன்வயம்: உடல் பஞ்ச கோச உரு. அதனால், ‘உடல்’ என்னும் சொல்லில் ஐந்தும் ஒடுங்கும். உடல் அன்றி உலகம் உண்டோ? உடல் விட்டு உலகத்தைக் கண்டார் உளரோ? கழறு.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uḍal pañca kōśa uru. adaṉāl, ‘uḍal’ eṉṉum sollil aindum oḍuṅgum. uḍal aṉḏṟi ulaham uṇḍō? uḍal viṭṭu, ulahattai kaṇḍār uḷarō? kaṙaṟu.

English translation: The body is a form of five sheaths. Therefore all five are included in the term ‘body’. Without a body, is there a world? Say, leaving the body, is there anyone who has seen a world?
Whatever body we currently experience as ourself, whether in waking or in dream, is not just a physical form but consists of five kōśa (sheaths or coverings), which obscure our awareness of ourself as we actually are, namely the physical body (which though seemingly physical is actually just a mental projection, like all other physical forms), the prāṇa or life that animates it (manifesting in it as breathing and all its other physiological processes), the mind, the intellect and the darkness of self-ignorance, which rises as a fundamental feature of the ego and enables it to project and perceive all phenomena, just as the darkness in a cinema enables pictures to be projected and seen on the screen.

Whenever we rise as this ego, we do so by projecting and enveloping ourself in self-ignorance and the other four sheaths, all of which we mistake to be ourself. Only when we thus experience ourself as this ‘பஞ்ச கோச உரு’ (pañca kōśa uru) or ‘form of five sheaths’ are we able to project and perceive a world, which likewise consists of forms, some of which seem to be physical and others of which seem to be more subtle, such as all the ideas, concepts, emotions, desires, fears and values that we see manifested in and through the people around us.

Since we perceive all the gross (or physical) and subtle (or non-physical) phenomena that constitute this or any other world only when we experience ourself as a body consisting of five sheaths, Bhagavan asks two rhetorical questions in this verse, namely ‘உடல் அன்றி உலகம் உண்டோ?’ (uḍal aṉḏṟi uṇḍō ulaham?), which means ‘Without a body, is there a world?’, thereby implying that no world would exist if we did not experience ourself as a body, and ‘உடல் விட்டு, உலகத்தை கண்டார் உளரோ?’ (uḍal viṭṭu, ulahattai kaṇḍār uḷarō?), which means ‘Leaving the body, is there anyone who has seen a world?’, thereby implying likewise that we cannot perceive any world whenever we cease experiencing ourself as a body, as we know from our experience in sleep.

Since what rises as ‘I am this body’ is only the ego, what Bhagavan clearly implies in this verse is that no world exists independent of this body-encased ego, and that whenever this ego subsides (either in manōlaya or in manōnāśa) we cannot be aware of any world. Thus in this verse he expresses in slightly different terms what he expressed in the previous verse, namely that we can see the world as a multitude of forms or phenomena only when we experience ourself as the form of a body.

Since perception of the world as a diverse multitude of names and forms depends upon the perceiver experiencing itself as a body consisting of five sheaths, and since our actual self never experiences itself as any of these sheaths, Bhagavan clearly implies in this verse that as we actually are (that is, as pure, infinite and indivisible self-awareness, which can never be enveloped in or concealed by any sheaths) we cannot be aware of any world as anything other than our own nameless and formless self.

9. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 98: unless we experience ourself as ‘I am this body’, nothing other than ourself appears

This is also explained by Bhagavan in verse 98 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai:
சரீரமே நானாச் சரித்தாலே யன்றிச்
சராசரமா மன்னியஞ்சா ராதேல் — பராபரமாத்
தோன்று மயல்விடய சூனியத்தா லான்மாதான்
ஏன்றகரி யென்ற லிழுக்கு.

śarīramē nāṉāc carittālē yaṉḏṟic
carācaramā maṉṉiyañcā rādēl — parāparamāt
tōṉḏṟu mayalviḍaya śūṉiyattā lāṉmādāṉ
ēṉḏṟagari yeṉḏṟa liṙukku
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘சரீரமே நான்’ ஆ சரித்தாலே அன்றி, சராசரம் ஆம் அன்னியம் சாராதேல், பராபரம் ஆ தோன்றும் அயல் விடய சூனியத்தால், ஆன்மா தான் ஏன்ற கரி என்றல் இழுக்கு.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘śarīram-ē nāṉ’ ā carittāl-ē aṉḏṟi, cara-acaram ām aṉṉiyam sārādēl, para-aparam ā tōṉḏṟum ayal viḍaya śūṉiyattāl, āṉmā tāṉ ēṉḏṟa kari eṉḏṟal iṙukku.

English translation: Since [any] other thing that is moving or unmoving does not appear unless one lives as ‘body alone is I’, [and] because of the non-existence [in the clear view of ourself as we actually are] of [any] alien viṣaya [phenomenon] that seems to be para-apara [superior or inferior, far or near, earlier or later, cause or effect], it is incorrect to say that ātman [ourself as we actually are] itself is the actual witness.
As Bhagavan explains clearly in the first clause of this verse, we cannot be aware of anything other than ourself unless we are aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’, and as he implies in the second clause, this is because nothing other than ourself actually exists in the clear view of ourself as we really are. Therefore, as he says in the final clause, it is not correct to say that what we really are is actually the ‘witness’ or perceiver of anything. Thus he clearly implies that what is aware of everything other than ourself is not our actual self (‘the Self’), which is pure self-awareness, but only the ego, the adjunct-bound form of self-awareness that rises and stands as ‘I am this body’.

This is why he often explained that when it is said our actual self is the ‘witness’, this should not be taken in a literal sense, because our actual self is not aware of anything other than itself, but should be understood to be a metaphor meaning that it is the fundamental awareness in the presence of which everything else appears, because it is the light that illumines the mind and thereby enables it to see everything.

10. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 6: the mind alone perceives the world, so but for the mind there is no world

Though in verse 5 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan asked rhetorically, ‘உடல் அன்றி உலகம் உண்டோ? உடல் விட்டு, உலகத்தை கண்டார் உளரோ?’ (uḍal aṉḏṟi uṇḍō ulaham? uḍal viṭṭu, ulahattai kaṇḍār uḷarō?), which means ‘Without a body, is there a world? Leaving the body, is there anyone who has seen a world?’, he did not mean to imply thereby that the body is what perceives the world, because though the body and its senses are the instrument though which the world is perceived, what actually perceives the world is not the body itself but only the ego, the formless phantom that grasps the form of the body as ‘I’. Since this ego is the root and essence of the mind, being the only experiencing element of it, in verse 6 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan refers to the ego as ‘mind’ and says:
உலகைம் புலன்க ளுருவேறன் றவ்வைம்
புலனைம் பொறிக்குப் புலனா — முலகைமன
மொன்றைம் பொறிவாயா லோர்ந்திடுத லான்மனத்தை
யன்றியுல குண்டோ வறை.

ulahaim pulaṉga ḷuruvēṟaṉ ḏṟavvaim
pulaṉaim poṟikkup pulaṉā — mulahaimaṉa
moṉḏṟaim poṟivāyā lōrndiḍuda lāṉmaṉattai
yaṉḏṟiyula kuṇḍō vaṟai
.

பதச்சேதம்: உலகு ஐம் புலன்கள் உரு; வேறு அன்று. அவ் ஐம் புலன் ஐம் பொறிக்கு புலன் ஆம். உலகை மனம் ஒன்று ஐம் பொறிவாயால் ஓர்ந்திடுதலால், மனத்தை அன்றி உலகு உண்டோ? அறை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ulahu aim pulaṉgaḷ uru; vēṟu aṉḏṟu. a-vv-aim pulaṉ aim poṟikku pulaṉ ām. ulahai maṉam oṉḏṟu aim poṟi-vāyāl ōrndiḍudalāl, maṉattai aṉḏṟi ulahu uṇḍō? aṟai.

அன்வயம்: உலகு ஐம் புலன்கள் உரு; வேறு அன்று. அவ் ஐம் புலன் ஐம் பொறிக்கு புலன் ஆம். மனம் ஒன்று உலகை ஐம் பொறிவாயால் ஓர்ந்திடுதலால், மனத்தை அன்றி உலகு உண்டோ? அறை.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ulahu aim pulaṉgaḷ uru; vēṟu aṉḏṟu. a-vv-aim pulaṉ aim poṟikku pulaṉ ām. maṉam oṉḏṟu ulahai aim poṟi-vāyāl ōrndiḍudalāl, maṉattai aṉḏṟi ulahu uṇḍō? aṟai.

English translation: The world is a form [composed] of five [kinds of] sense-data, not anything else. Those five [kinds of] sense-data are sensory phenomena [related] to the five senses. Since the mind alone perceives the world by way of the five senses, say, is there [any] world besides [excluding, if not for, apart from, other than or without] the mind?
Though the world seems to us to be something external to ourself and therefore independent of ourself, what we perceive as the world (whether in waking or in dream) is actually just a conglomeration of five kinds of sense-data, which we seem to perceive though the channels of our five senses. However, since the world as we perceive it is nothing other than these five kinds of sense-data, there is no evidence whatsoever in our experience that justifies our assumption that these sense-data are caused by anything external to or independent of our mind.

Whatever world we experience in a dream seems to us to be external so long as we are dreaming, but as soon as we wake up from that dream we recognise that it was just a mental projection and therefore did not actually exist outside or independent of our mind. That is, so long as we experienced ourself as a body in that dream, the world seemed to be outside and independent of ourself, but as soon as we ceased experiencing ourself as that body, it became clear to us that both that body and world were just a creation of our mind and seemed to exist only because we perceived them.

Likewise, though the world we now perceive seems to us to be external (that is, outside or independent of our mind), it seems to be so only so long as we are aware of ourself as this body, so why should we believe that our present state is not just another dream and that this body and world are not just a creation of our mind? Since it is our mind alone that perceives both this body and world, just as it perceived whatever body and world we experienced in a dream, do either this body or world exist independent of our mind?

When Bhagavan poses this question to us in this verse, asking ‘உலகை மனம் ஒன்று ஐம் பொறிவாயால் ஓர்ந்திடுதலால், மனத்தை அன்றி உலகு உண்டோ?’ (ulahai maṉam oṉḏṟu aim poṟi-vāyāl ōrndiḍudalāl, maṉattai aṉḏṟi ulahu uṇḍō?), which means ‘Since the mind alone perceives the world by way of the five senses, is there [any] world besides [excluding, if not for, apart from, other than or without] the mind?’, he does so rhetorically, thereby implying that no world exists independent of the mind that perceives it. As he explains in the extract from the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? that we considered above in section 5, the world is just a projection of the mind, so it seems to exist only when the mind seems to come out from ātma-svarūpa (ourself as we actually are), and since we can seem to come out as this mind only when we do not see ourself as we actually are, ‘சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu), ‘when svarūpa appears (shines) [that is, when we see ourself as we actually are], the world does not appear’.

Since there is no world independent of the mind that perceives it, when our mind subsides temporarily in sleep (or in any other state of manōlaya) no world seems to exist, and likewise when our mind is annihilated (in the state of manōnāśa) by the clear experience of pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) no world will seem to exist. Moreover, since our mind or ego is just a wrong knowledge of ourself (a mistaken awareness of ourself as a body), and since as our actual self we are always clearly aware of ourself as we actually are, in the clear mind-free view of our actual self (‘the Self’) there is absolutely no world at all, nor is there even any appearance of any world, because there is no mind to project or perceive it.

11. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 7: the world is illumined or made perceptible by the mind’s awareness of it

The fact that the world (whether in waking or in dream) seems to exist only because we seem to have risen as this mind or ego, and that it therefore does not appear in the clear view of our infinite self, which never appears or disappears, is also emphasised by Bhagavan in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உலகறிவு மொன்றா யுதித்தொடுங்கு மேனு
முலகறிவு தன்னா லொளிரு — முலகறிவு
தோன்றிமறை தற்கிடனாய்த் தோன்றிமறை யாதொளிரும்
பூன்றமா மஃதே பொருள்.

ulahaṟivu moṉḏṟā yudittoḍuṅgu mēṉu
mulahaṟivu taṉṉā loḷiru — mulahaṟivu
tōṉḏṟimaṟai daṟkiḍaṉāyt tōṉḏṟimaṟai yādoḷirum
pūṉḏṟamā maḵdē poruḷ
.

பதச்சேதம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் பூன்றம் ஆம் அஃதே பொருள்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum pūṉḏṟam ām aḵdē poruḷ.

அன்வயம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் அஃதே பூன்றம் ஆம் பொருள்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum aḵdē pūṉḏṟam ām poruḷ.

English translation: Though the world and mind arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by the mind. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the base for the appearing and disappearing of the world and mind is poruḷ [the real substance], which is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa].
The term that Bhagavan uses here to refer to the mind or ego is அறிவு (aṟivu), which literally means knowledge or awareness, but since the only awareness that arises and subsides is the mind or ego, that is what he clearly means by this term in this context.

What he means by saying ‘உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும்’ (ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum), ‘the world shines by the mind’, is that the seeming existence of the world is illumined or made perceptible by the mind’s awareness of it, or in other words, that it seems to exist only by being perceived by the mind. Therefore, since it shines by the mind, it does not shine or seem to exist in the absence of the mind. Since it is just an illusory appearance, it does not actually exist, but seems to exist only because we (as this ego or mind) see it.

However, not only is this world just an illusory appearance, but so too is this ego or mind, because like whatever world it perceives, it arises (appears) and subsides (disappears), so it is just temporary and hence not real. What is real is only that which does not ever appear or disappear, and which is therefore the sole base or foundation for the appearance and disappearance of the ego and all that it perceives, as Bhagavan says in the final sentence of this verse: ‘உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் பூன்றம் ஆம் அஃதே பொருள்’ (ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum pūṉḏṟam ām aḵdē poruḷ), ‘Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the base for the appearing and disappearing of the world and mind is poruḷ [the real substance], which is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa]’.

Since the nature of what is perceived cannot be otherwise than that of what perceives it, as Bhagavan explained in verse 4, whatever appears and disappears can be perceived only by something that itself appears and disappears, so the appearing and disappearing world can be seen only by the appearing and disappearing mind and not by our actual self (ātma-svarūpa), which is what Bhagavan describes in this last sentence as ‘பூன்றம் ஆம் பொருள்’ (pūṉḏṟam ām poruḷ), the ‘substance that is the whole’, which shines without appearing or disappearing as the base for the appearing and disappearing of the world and mind.

12. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 22 (kaliveṇbā version ): our actual self gives light to the mind, which sees everything

Though the mind is what illumines the appearance of both itself and the world, it does not shine by its own light but only by the light of our actual self, as Bhagavan indicates in verse 22 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
                              […] எவையுங் — காணு
மதிக்கொளி தந்தம் மதிக்கு ளொளிரு
மதியினை யுள்ளே மடக்கிப் — பதியிற்
பதித்திடுத லன்றிப் பதியை மதியான்
மதித்திடுக லெங்ஙன் மதியாய் […]

                              […] evaiyuṅ — kāṇu
matikkoḷi tandam matikku ḷoḷiru
matiyiṉai yuḷḷē maḍakkip — patiyiṯ
padittiḍuda laṉḏṟip patiyai matiyāṉ
matittiḍuda leṅṅaṉ matiyāy
[...]

பதச்சேதம்: எவையும் காணும் மதிக்கு ஒளி தந்து, அம் மதிக்குள் ஒளிரும் மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதியில் பதித்திடுதல் அன்றி, பதியை மதியால் மதித்திடுதல் எங்ஙன்? மதியாய்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): evaiyum kāṇum matikku oḷi tandu, am-matikkuḷ oḷirum matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki patiyil padittiḍudal aṉḏṟi, patiyai matiyāl matittiḍudal eṅṅaṉ? matiyāy.

அன்வயம்: எவையும் காணும் மதிக்கு ஒளி தந்து, அம் மதிக்குள் ஒளிரும் பதியில் மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதித்திடுதல் அன்றி, பதியை மதியால் மதித்திடுதல் எங்ஙன்? மதியாய்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): evaiyum kāṇum matikku oḷi tandu, am-matikkuḷ oḷirum patiyil matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki padittiḍudal aṉḏṟi, patiyai matiyāl matittiḍudal eṅṅaṉ? matiyāy.

English translation: Consider, except by turning the mind back within [and thereby] completely immersing it in God, who shines within that mind giving light to the mind, which sees everything, how to know God by the mind?
What Bhagavan refers to in this verse as மதி (mati), which means mind or intellect, is what he refers to in verse 6 as மனம் (maṉam), the mind, in verse 7 as அறிவு (aṟivu), the awareness that arises and subsides, in verse 23 as ‘நான் ஒன்று’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu), ‘one I’, in verse 24 as ‘நான் ஒன்று’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu), ‘one I’, சித்சடக்கிரந்தி (cit-jaḍa-granthi), the knot formed by the entanglement of awareness with what is insentient, சீவன் (jīvaṉ), the soul, அகந்தை (ahandai), the ego, மனம் (maṉam), the mind, and so on, and in verses 25 and 26 as அகந்தை (ahandai) , the ego.

In this kaliveṇbā version of verse 22, before the first word, மதிக்கு (matikku), which means ‘to the mind’, he added a relative clause, ‘எவையும் காணும்’ (evaiyum kāṇum), which means ‘which sees everything’, thereby stating explicitly that this mind or ego is what sees or is aware of everything. Everything that it sees is insentient (jaḍa), and the reason it is able to see everything is that it is itself a tangled mixture of awareness (cit) and insentient adjuncts, such as whatever body it currently experiences as itself, which is why it is called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the entanglement of these two contrary elements, cit and jaḍa.

If we were not aware of ourself as a jaḍa form, we would not be aware of any phenomena, because all phenomena are jaḍa forms, and as Bhagavan asks rhetorically in verse 4, ‘உருவம் தான் அன்றேல், உவற்றின் உருவத்தை கண் உறுதல் யாவன்? எவன்?’ (uruvam tāṉ aṉḏṟēl, uvaṯṟiṉ uruvattai kaṇ uṟudal yāvaṉ? evaṉ?), ‘If oneself is not a form, who can see their forms, and how [to do so]?’ What is aware of ourself as the form of a jaḍa body is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as this ego, so it is only as this ego that we can be aware of any forms or phenomena — that is, anything other than ourself. As we actually are, we are aware of nothing other than ourself, because we are formless and therefore cannot see any forms.

In order to see ourself as we actually are, we need to turn our mind (our attention) back within and thereby immerse it completely in our source, which is what we actually are, namely pure self-awareness, and which is what Bhagavan refers to in this verse as பதி (pati), Lord or God. When we thereby immerse our mind in pure self-awareness, it will drown and be lost forever, and since it alone is what sees everything, we will thereafter never be aware of anything other than ourself.

The awareness or ‘light’ by which we as this mind or ego see everything is called cidābhāsa, a semblance, likeness, reflection or false appearance of awareness, because it is not our original awareness (cit) but only a reflection or semblance of it. By means of this reflected light we are able to see everything other than ourself, but we cannot see what we ourself actually are, because what we actually are is the original light of which this mind is just a reflection, so if we turn our mind back within to see ourself, the source from which it derives light, this mind will dissolve and disappear in its source, just as a ray of sunlight reflected from a mirror into a dark cave would disappear as soon as the bright light of the sun shines directly into the cave.

13. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 114: in the bright light of pure self-awareness, the false appearance of ego, world and God will vanish

That is, though our actual self (ātma-svarūpa) is the original light of awareness that gives the mind the reflected awareness by which it sees everything, our actual self itself does not see anything other than itself, because being what is real, it can see only what is real, and what is real is only itself as it actually is and not itself as all the illusory forms or phenomena that it seems to be in the deluded outlook of ourself as this ego or mind. Therefore when the reflected light of our mind turns back within to see its own source and thereby drowns and merges forever in the infinite light of pure self-awareness, perception of everything else will cease, just as the appearance of pictures on a cinema screen would disappear if the bright light of the sun were to flood into the cinema, thereby swallowing both the limited light from the projector and the background darkness in which it was shining, as Bhagavan says in verse 114 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai:
சின்னவொளி பேரொளியிற் சேர்ந்தொழியி லவ்வொளியிற்
றுன்னுபடக் காட்சி தொலைந்தாங்கே — மன்னியமெய்ச்
சித்தொளியிற் சித்தவொளி சேர்ந்தொழியிற் றீர்ந்தொழியும்
முத்திறப்பொய்க் காட்சி முடிந்து.

ciṉṉavoḷi pēroḷiyiṯ cērndoṙiyi lavvoḷiyiṟ
ṟuṉṉupaḍak kāṭci tolaindāṅgē — maṉṉiyameyc
cittoḷiyiṯ cittavoḷi sērndoṙiyiṯ ṟīrndoṙiyum
muttiṟappoyk kāṭci muḍindu
.

பதச்சேதம்: சின்ன ஒளி பேர் ஒளியில் சேர்ந்து ஒழியில், அவ் ஒளியில் துன்னு படக் காட்சி தொலைந்து ஆங்கே, மன்னிய மெய் சித்து ஒளியில் சித்த ஒளி சேர்ந்து ஒழியில், தீர்ந்து ஒழியும் முத்திறப் பொய் காட்சி முடிந்து.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ciṉṉa oḷi pēr oḷiyil sērndu oṙiyil, a-vv-oḷiyil tuṉṉu paḍa-k-kāṭci tolaindu āṅgē, maṉṉiya mey cittu oḷiyil citta oḷi sērndu oṙiyil, tīrndu oṙiyum mu-t-tiṟa-p poy kāṭci muḍindu.

அன்வயம்: சின்ன ஒளி பேர் ஒளியில் சேர்ந்து ஒழியில், அவ் ஒளியில் துன்னு படக் காட்சி தொலைந்து ஆங்கே, மன்னிய மெய் சித்து ஒளியில் சித்த ஒளி சேர்ந்து ஒழியில், முத்திறப் பொய் காட்சி முடிந்து தீர்ந்து ஒழியும்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ciṉṉa oḷi pēr oḷiyil sērndu oṙiyil, a-vv-oḷiyil tuṉṉu paḍa-k-kāṭci tolaindu āṅgē, maṉṉiya mey cittu oḷiyil citta oḷi cērndu oṙiyil, mu-t-tiṟa-p poy kāṭci muḍindu tīrndu oṙiyum.

English translation: Just as if the small light [from a cinema projector] merges and dies in the vast light [of the sun], the picture-show that appeared in that [small] light will cease, if the mind-light merges and dies in the permanent real light of awareness, the three kinds of false appearance [namely the soul, world and God] will end, cease and die.
To emphasise and make clear that by saying this Bhagavan intended us to understand that the false appearance of ego, world and God will be completely and permanently annihilated by the bright light of pure self-awareness, in the final clause of this verse Muruganar used three verbs, namely ‘முடிந்து தீர்ந்து ஒழியும்’ (muḍindu tīrndu oṙiyum), which all mean more or less the same, namely end, cease, vanish, perish, expire, die, be destroyed, be annihilated, be terminated or become extinct, from which we can infer that everything other than our actual self (ātma-svarūpa), which is the real light of awareness, appears only in the finite light of the ego’s adjunct-mixed awareness and not in the infinite light of pure awareness.

14. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 9: if we look within to see what this ego is, all dyads and triads will cease to exist

Every phenomenon (that is, everything other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are) has certain features that define it and distinguish it from every other phenomenon, and every feature has an opposite, so the totality of all phenomena consists of countless pairs of opposites or ‘dyads’, which are called द्वंद्व (dvaṁdva) or द्वन्द्व (dvandva) in Sanskrit and இரட்டை (iraṭṭai) in Tamil. Since all these dyads and the phenomena that are constituted of them are perceived in one way or another, perception or awareness of them entails three factors, namely a perceiver (the perceiving subject), what is perceived (the perceived object) and the former’s perception of the latter, which together form a ‘triad’, which is called त्रिपुटि (tripuṭi) in Sanskrit and முப்புடி (muppuḍi) in Tamil.

Since no phenomenon could be perceived without a perceiver, the appearance of all these dyads and triads depend upon the ego, which is the perceiver of them, and hence if the ego ceases to exist all these dyads and triads and the phenomena that are constituted of them will also cease to exist, as Bhagavan says in verse 9 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
இரட்டைகண் முப்புடிக ளென்றுமொன்று பற்றி
யிருப்பவா மவ்வொன்றே தென்று — கருத்தினுட்
கண்டாற் கழலுமவை கண்டவ ரேயுண்மை
கண்டார் கலங்காரே காண்.

iraṭṭaigaṇ muppuḍiga ḷeṉḏṟumoṉḏṟu paṯṟi
yiruppavā mavvoṉḏṟē teṉḏṟu — karuttiṉuṭ
kaṇḍāṯ kaṙalumavai kaṇḍava rēyuṇmai
kaṇḍār kalaṅgārē kāṇ
.

பதச்சேதம்: இரட்டைகள் முப்புடிகள் என்றும் ஒன்று பற்றி இருப்பவாம். அவ் ஒன்று ஏது என்று கருத்தின் உள் கண்டால், கழலும் அவை. கண்டவரே உண்மை கண்டார்; கலங்காரே. காண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): iraṭṭaigaḷ muppuḍigaḷ eṉḏṟum oṉḏṟu paṯṟi iruppavām. a-vv-oṉḏṟu ēdu eṉḏṟu karuttiṉ-uḷ kaṇḍāl, kaṙalum avai. kaṇḍavarē uṇmai kaṇḍār; kalaṅgārē. kāṇ.

அன்வயம்: இரட்டைகள் முப்புடிகள் என்றும் ஒன்று பற்றி இருப்பவாம். அவ் ஒன்று ஏது என்று கருத்தின் உள் கண்டால், அவை கழலும். கண்டவரே உண்மை கண்டார்; கலங்காரே. காண்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): iraṭṭaigaḷ muppuḍigaḷ eṉḏṟum oṉḏṟu paṯṟi iruppavām. a-vv-oṉḏṟu ēdu eṉḏṟu karuttiṉ-uḷ kaṇḍāl, avai kaṙalum. kaṇḍavarē uṇmai kaṇḍār; kalaṅgārē. kāṇ.

English translation: Dyads and triads exist [by] clinging always to one. If one looks within the mind [to see] what that one is, they will cease to exist. Only those who have seen [this] have seen the reality. See, they will not be confused.
The ‘one’ (oṉḏṟu) that Bhagavan refers to here is the ego, which is what perceives everything else, but if we (this ego) look within ourself to see what we actually are, we will cease to exist as this ego, and hence everything else (all the dyads and triads) will also cease to exist, and what will then remain is only the infinite self-awareness that we actually are, which as Bhagavan says in verse 7 ‘shines without appearing or disappearing as the base for the appearing and disappearing of the world and mind’. Seeing ourself as this fundamental self-awareness is alone seeing what is real, and when we see it we will never again be confused, deluded or disturbed by the illusory appearance of any dyad or triad, as Bhagavan implies here when he says, ‘கண்டவரே உண்மை கண்டார்; கலங்காரே’ (kaṇḍavarē uṇmai kaṇḍār; kalaṅgārē), which means, ‘Only those who have seen [this] have seen the reality; they will not be confused [confounded, agitated or disturbed]’.

Since perception or awareness of anything other than oneself (any form or phenomenon) entails the basic triad (tripuṭi) of oneself as the perceiver, that other thing as what is perceived, and one’s perception of it, when Bhagavan says in this verse, ‘அவ் ஒன்று ஏது என்று கருத்தின் உள் கண்டால், கழலும் அவை’ (a-vv-oṉḏṟu ēdu eṉḏṟu karuttiṉ-uḷ kaṇḍāl, kaṙalum avai), ‘If one looks within the mind [to see] what that one [the ego] is, they [all dyads and triads] will cease to exist’, he clearly implies that when the ego is annihilated by self-investigation, everything else that was formerly perceived and the perception of all such things will cease to exist along with it. Without this triad of perceiver, perceived and perception, nothing other than oneself could be perceived, so since we as we actually are cannot be a member of such a transitory triad — because we alone are what actually exists and we exist forever, unlike the perceiver, who appears and disappears along with whatever it perceives — it should be clear to us that the perceiver of anything other than ourself can only be ourself as this transitory ego and not ourself as we actually are.

15. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 11: when we know the non-existence of the ego, knowledge and ignorance of everything else will cease

One of the most basic dyads or pairs of opposites is knowledge (awareness) and ignorance (non-awareness) of any particular phenomenon, because as soon as we come to know or become aware of anything other than ourself, we also come to know that we were previously ignorant or not aware of it. Therefore, as Bhagavan says in verse 10 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘அறியாமை விட்டு, அறிவு இன்று ஆம்; அறிவு விட்டு, அவ் வறியாமை இன்று ஆகும்’ (aṟiyāmai viṭṭu, aṟivu iṉḏṟu ām; aṟivu viṭṭu, a-vv-aṟiyāmai iṉḏṟu āhum), ‘Without ignorance, knowledge does not exist; without knowledge, that ignorance does not exist’, because no phenomenon exists independent of our awareness of it, and hence our ignorance of it (the fact that we were formerly not aware of it) comes into existence only when our knowledge or awareness of it comes into existence, and our knowledge of it could not come into existence without our prior ignorance of it coming into existence simultaneously.

Since what knows or is aware of any phenomena is only the ego, knowledge and ignorance of them is a feature only of this ego and not of our actual self, in whose clear view no phenomena exist either to be known or not known. However, whatever else it may know or not know, this ego does not know what it itself is, and not knowing this is real ignorance, as Bhagavan says in verse 11 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அறிவுறுந் தன்னை யறியா தயலை
யறிவ தறியாமை யன்றி — யறிவோ
வறிவயற் காதாரத் தன்னை யறிய
வறிவறி யாமை யறும்.

aṟivuṟun taṉṉai yaṟiyā dayalai
yaṟiva daṟiyāmai yaṉḏṟi — yaṟivō
vaṟivayaṟ kādhārat taṉṉai yaṟiya
vaṟivaṟi yāmai yaṟum
.

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு உறும் தன்னை அறியாது அயலை அறிவது அறியாமை; அன்றி அறிவோ? அறிவு அயற்கு ஆதார தன்னை அறிய, அறிவு அறியாமை அறும்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu-uṟum taṉṉai aṟiyādu ayalai aṟivadu aṟiyāmai; aṉḏṟi aṟivō? aṟivu ayaṟku ādhāra taṉṉai aṟiya, aṟivu aṟiyāmai aṟum.

English translation: Not knowing oneself, who knows, knowing other things is ignorance; except [that], can it be knowledge? When one knows oneself, the basis for knowledge and the other [ignorance], knowledge and ignorance will cease.
What Bhagavan refers to here as ‘அறிவு உறும் தன்னை’ (aṟivu-uṟum taṉṉai), ‘oneself who knows’, is the ego, because in this context ‘who knows’ implies ‘who knows other things’, and what knows anything other than itself is only the ego. Likewise, what he refers to as ‘அறிவு அயற்கு ஆதார தன்னை’ (aṟivu ayaṟku ādhāra taṉṉai), ‘oneself, the basis for knowledge and the other [ignorance]’, is again the ego, because it alone is the ādhāra or base for both knowledge and ignorance of other things, since such knowledge and ignorance seem to exist only in its self-ignorant view.

Therefore the reason why he says, ‘அறிவு அயற்கு ஆதார தன்னை அறிய, அறிவு அறியாமை அறும்’ (aṟivu ayaṟku ādhāra taṉṉai aṟiya, aṟivu aṟiyāmai aṟum), which means ‘When one knows oneself, the basis for knowledge and the other [ignorance], knowledge and ignorance will cease’, is that when we know the non-existence of the ego by investigating what we actually are, knowledge and ignorance of other things will cease to exist, because they seem to exist only in the self-deluded view of ourself as this ego and not in the clear view of ourself as we actually are, as he explains in the next verse.

16. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12: real awareness is our actual self, which shines without anything else to know or to cause to know

As we actually are, we are just pure awareness — that is, awareness that is uncontaminated with awareness of anything other than itself, because in its clear view nothing other than itself exists or even seems to exist for it to know, as Bhagavan explains in verse 12 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அறிவறி யாமையு மற்றதறி வாமே
யறியும துண்மையறி வாகா — தறிதற்
கறிவித்தற் கன்னியமின் றாயவிர்வ தாற்றா
னறிவாகும் பாழன் றறி.

aṟivaṟi yāmaiyu maṯṟadaṟi vāmē
yaṟiyuma duṇmaiyaṟi vāhā — daṟitaṟ
kaṟivittaṟ kaṉṉiyamiṉ ḏṟāyavirva dāṯṟā
ṉaṟivāhum pāṙaṉ ṟaṟi
.

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்றது அறிவு ஆமே. அறியும் அது உண்மை அறிவு ஆகாது. அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும். பாழ் அன்று. அறி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu aṟiyāmaiyum aṯṟadu aṟivu āmē. aṟiyum adu uṇmai aṟivu āhādu. aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum. pāṙ aṉḏṟu. aṟi.

English translation: That which is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is actually knowledge. That which knows is not real knowledge [or awareness]. Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know, oneself is [real] knowledge [or awareness]. Know it is not a void.
As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [our own real self]’, so when we are aware of ourself as we actually are, we are aware of ourself alone, because nothing else exists for us to be aware of. It is only when we rise as this ego that other things seem to exist, and so long as they seem to exist, we can either know or be ignorant of each particular one of them.

Therefore knowledge and ignorance of other things is possible only for us as the ego and not for us as we actually are, because for us as we actually are there is nothing else either to know or not know. Therefore what Bhagavan refers to in the first sentence of this verse as ‘அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்றது’ (aṟivu aṟiyāmaiyum aṯṟadu), ‘that which is devoid of knowledge and ignorance’, is our actual self (ātma-svarūpa), which he says is actually knowledge or awareness, thereby implying that it alone is real knowledge or awareness.

Awareness of anything other than oneself is what Bhagavan called சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu), which literally means ‘pointing’ or ‘showing’ awareness and which therefore implies transitive or object-knowing awareness. Therefore what he implies in this first sentence is that real awareness (aṟivu) is only pure intransitive awareness — that is, intransitive awareness that is devoid of any transitive awareness and hence of any transitive ignorance (that is, awareness and non-awareness of anything other than oneself).

To emphasise this point, in the kaliveṇbā version of this verse he extended this first sentence by adding at the beginning of it the intensified adverb அறவே (aṟavē), which means completely, utterly or entirely, and which qualifies அற்றது (aṯṟadu), ‘that which is devoid of’. Thus the extended form of this sentence is ‘அறவே அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்றது அறிவு ஆமே’ (aṟavē aṟivu aṟiyāmaiyum aṯṟadu aṟivu āmē), which means ‘That which is completely devoid of knowledge and ignorance is actually knowledge [or awareness]’, and which therefore implies that real awareness or knowledge is completely devoid of any knowledge or ignorance (awareness or non-awareness) of anything other than itself, because nothing other than itself actually exists for it to be either aware of it or not aware of it (as he says in the third sentence, which we will consider in more detail below).

Then in the second sentence he says, ‘அறியும் அது உண்மை அறிவு ஆகாது’ (aṟiyum adu uṇmai aṟivu āhādu), which means ‘That which knows is not real knowledge [or awareness]’. In this context what he implies by ‘அறியும் அது’ (aṟiyum adu), which means ‘that which knows’ or ‘that which is aware’, is ‘சுட்டறியும் அது’ (suṭṭaṟiyum adu), ‘that which is transitively aware’ or ‘that which knows things other than itself’. Since what is transitively aware (that is, aware of anything other than itself) is only the ego, the implication of this sentence is that the ego is not true knowledge or real awareness. That is why it is called cidābhāsa, a semblance, likeness, reflection or false appearance of awareness.

The fact that pure intransitive awareness alone is real awareness is emphasised by Bhagavan even more explicitly in the third sentence: ‘அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும்’ (aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum), which means ‘Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know, oneself is [real] knowledge [or awareness]’. That is, as we actually are we alone exist, so nothing else exists for us to know or for us to cause to know, which implies that what causes the ego to know other things is not our actual self but only the ego’s own self-ignorance. Indeed, since nothing else exists in the clear awareness that we actually are, there is not only nothing else to know but also nothing else — no ego — to know anything else or to be caused to know anything else.

However, though the real awareness that we actually are is completely devoid of any knowledge or ignorance of anything other than itself, including any ego to know or be ignorant of any other things, Bhagavan says it is not a void. What is void or non-existent is only the ego and all the other things that seem to exist only in its view, because what we actually are is the infinite and indivisible fullness of sat-cit-ānanda — being, awareness and happiness — since it alone exists and shines eternally as it is.

17. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 13: what is aware of multiplicity is not real awareness but only ignorance

Since nothing other than real awareness actually exists, it is not aware of anything other than itself, as Bhagavan explains in the third sentence of the previous verse: ‘அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும்’ (aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum), ‘Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know, oneself is [real] knowledge [or awareness]’. Therefore what is aware of anything other than itself is not real awareness but only ignorance, as he implies in verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
ஞானமாந் தானேமெய் நானாவா ஞானமஞ்
ஞானமாம் பொய்யாமஞ் ஞானமுமே — ஞானமாந்
தன்னையன்றி யின்றணிக டாம்பலவும் பொய்மெய்யாம்
பொன்னையன்றி யுண்டோ புகல்.

ñāṉamān tāṉēmey nāṉāvā ñāṉamañ
ñāṉamām poyyāmañ ñāṉamumē — ñāṉamān
taṉṉaiyaṉḏṟi yiṉḏṟaṇika ḍāmpalavum poymeyyām
poṉṉaiyaṉḏṟi yuṇḍō puhal
.

பதச்சேதம்: ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய். நானா ஆம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம். பொய் ஆம் அஞ்ஞானமுமே ஞானம் ஆம் தன்னை அன்றி இன்று. அணிகள் தாம் பலவும் பொய்; மெய் ஆம் பொன்னை அன்றி உண்டோ? புகல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey. nāṉā ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām. poy ām aññāṉamumē ñāṉam ām taṉṉai aṉḏṟi iṉḏṟu. aṇikaḷ tām palavum poy; mey ām poṉṉai aṉḏṟi uṇḍō? puhal.

English translation: Oneself, who is jñāna [knowledge or awareness], alone is real. Knowledge [or awareness] that is many is ignorance. Even ignorance, which is unreal, does not exist apart from oneself, who is knowledge [or awareness]. All the many ornaments are unreal; say, do they exist apart from the gold, which is real?
As Bhagavan implies in the first sentence of this verse, there is only one thing that is real, namely ourself, and what we actually are is only jñāna, which in this context means awareness, but since we alone are real, we are awareness that is aware only of itself and not of anything else whatsoever, because what is real can know only what is real, and what is unreal can be known only by what is unreal. Since awareness of anything else entails at least two things, namely a subject (that which is aware of that other thing) and an object (the other thing of which it is aware), Bhagavan refers to such awareness as ‘நானாவாம் ஞானம்’ (nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam), which means ‘jñāna [knowledge or awareness] that is many’.

What is aware of more than one thing is only the ego, so both it and its awareness of other things are what Bhagavan describes here as ‘நானாவாம் ஞானம்’ (nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam), ‘awareness that is many’, which he says is ignorance (ajñāna), thereby implying that it is not real awareness (jñāna or cit) but only a semblance of it: cidābhāsa.

In an earlier version of this verse, which is now verse 12 of Upadēśa Taṉippākkaḷ, instead of ‘நானாவாம் ஞானம்’ (nāṉā-v-ām ñāṉam), ‘awareness that is many’, Bhagavan used the term ‘நானாவாய் காண்கின்ற ஞானம்’ (nāṉā-v-āy kāṇgiṉḏṟa ñāṉam), which means ‘awareness (jñāna) that sees as many’ and which therefore clarifies that what he meant by ‘awareness that is many’ is ‘awareness that sees as many’, and he says that ignorance (ajñāna) is nothing other than that. The ‘awareness that sees as many’ is the ego, and what it sees as many is only ourself, who are pure awareness, because nothing other than ourself actually exists for it to see as many.

Thus in these two verses (verse 12 of Upadēśa Taṉippākkaḷ and verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) Bhagavan says unequivocally that what is real is only ourself, who is jñāna (awareness), and that what sees this one real thing as many is therefore not real awareness but only ignorance. In saying this so clearly, he leaves no room for us to doubt the fact that according to him what is aware of multiplicity (everything other than the one real awareness that we actually are) is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as this ego that we now seem to be.

18. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 31: when the ego is destroyed by tanmayānanda, what remains is not aware of anything other than itself

The fact that as the real awareness that we actually are we are not aware of anything other than ourself is also clearly implied by him in verse 31 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
தன்னை யழித்தெழுந்த தன்மயா னந்தருக்
கென்னை யுளதொன் றியற்றுதற்குத் — தன்னையலா
தன்னிய மொன்று மறியா ரவர்நிலைமை
யின்னதென் றுன்ன லெவன்.

taṉṉai yaṙitteṙunda taṉmayā ṉandaruk
keṉṉai yuḷadoṉ ḏṟiyaṯṟudaṟkut — taṉṉaiyalā
taṉṉiya moṉḏṟu maṟiyā ravarnilaimai
yiṉṉadeṉ ḏṟuṉṉa levaṉ
.

பதச்சேதம்: தன்னை அழித்து எழுந்த தன்மயானந்தருக்கு என்னை உளது ஒன்று இயற்றுதற்கு? தன்னை அலாது அன்னியம் ஒன்றும் அறியார்; அவர் நிலைமை இன்னது என்று உன்னல் எவன்?

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉṉai aṙittu eṙunda taṉmaya-āṉandarukku eṉṉai uḷadu oṉḏṟu iyaṯṟudaṟku? taṉṉai alādu aṉṉiyam oṉḏṟum aṟiyār; avar nilaimai iṉṉadu eṉḏṟu uṉṉal evaṉ?

அன்வயம்: தன்னை அழித்து எழுந்த தன்மயானந்தருக்கு இயற்றுதற்கு என்னை ஒன்று உளது? தன்னை அலாது அன்னியம் ஒன்றும் அறியார்; அவர் நிலைமை இன்னது என்று உன்னல் எவன்?

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): taṉṉai aṙittu eṙunda taṉmaya-āṉandarukku iyaṯṟudaṟku eṉṉai oṉḏṟu uḷadu? taṉṉai alādu aṉṉiyam oṉḏṟum aṟiyār; avar nilaimai iṉṉadu eṉḏṟu uṉṉal evaṉ?

English translation: For those who are [blissfully immersed in and as] tanmayānanda [‘happiness composed of that’, namely our real self], which rose [as ‘I am I’] destroying themself [the ego], what one [action] exists for doing? They do not know [or experience] anything other than themself; [so] who can [or how to] conceive their state as ‘it is such’?
Though in this verse Bhagavan uses the plural forms தன்மயானந்தர் (taṉmayāṉandar), which is a personal noun formed from tanmayānanda and which therefore means ‘those who are tanmayānanda’ or ‘those who are blissfully immersed in and as tanmayānanda’, அறியார் (aṟiyār), which means ‘they do not know’, and அவர் (avar), which means ‘they’ but which in this case is used in the sense of ‘their’, he does not use them in a plural sense but as honorific singulars, as is customary in Tamil, because when the ego is destroyed what remains is only the one real self-awareness, which (as he indicates in the second sentence of this verse) is never aware of any other, since it alone actually exists.

What enjoys tanmayānanda, which literally means ‘happiness composed of that’ (in which tat or ‘that’ refers to brahman, which is ourself as we actually are), is nothing other than tanmayānanda itself, because tanmayānanda is our real nature, which is pure self-awareness or sat-cit-ānanda. Though infinite tanmayānanda is what we actually are, it seems to be obscured so long as we experience ourself as this finite ego, so Bhagavan describes it here using the relative clause ‘தன்னை அழித்து எழுந்த’ (taṉṉai aṙittu eṙunda), which means ‘which rose destroying oneself’, in which ‘தன்னை’ (taṉṉai), ‘oneself’ or (in this case to match the plural form but singular sense of taṉmayāṉandar) ‘themself’, refers to the ego.

When the ego is destroyed by seeing itself as tanmayānanda, what remains is only tanmayānanda, and for tanmayānanda there is nothing to do, because there is nothing other than itself, so in the first sentence of this verse Bhagavan asks rhetorically: ‘தன்னை அழித்து எழுந்த தன்மயானந்தருக்கு என்னை உளது ஒன்று இயற்றுதற்கு?’ (taṉṉai aṙittu eṙunda taṉmaya-āṉandarukku eṉṉai uḷadu oṉḏṟu iyaṯṟudaṟku?), ‘For those who are [immersed in and as] tanmayānanda, which rose destroying themself, what one [action] exists for doing?’

In the second sentence, which is the most significant one in the context of this article, he says unequivocally: ‘தன்னை அலாது அன்னியம் ஒன்றும் அறியார்’ (taṉṉai alādu aṉṉiyam oṉḏṟum aṟiyār), which means ‘They do not know [or are not aware of] anything other than themself’. In this context ‘they’ refers directly to ‘those who are [immersed in and as] tanmayānanda’, and therefore by implication it refers to brahman, which is our own real nature or actual self (ātma-svarūpa), because tanmayānanda is the nature of brahman, and what experiences brahman is only brahman itself, as Bhagavan implies when he says in verse 26 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தானா யிருத்தலே தன்னை யறிதலாந்
தானிரண் டற்றதா லுந்தீபற
     தன்மய நிட்டையீ துந்தீபற.

tāṉā yiruttalē taṉṉai yaṟidalān
tāṉiraṇ ḍaṯṟadā lundīpaṟa
     taṉmaya niṭṭhaiyī dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தானாய் இருத்தலே தன்னை அறிதல் ஆம், தான் இரண்டு அற்றதால். தன்மய நிட்டை ஈது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): tāṉ-āy iruttal-ē taṉṉai aṟidal ām, tāṉ iraṇḍu aṯṟadāl. taṉmaya niṭṭhai īdu.

அன்வயம்: தான் இரண்டு அற்றதால், தானாய் இருத்தலே தன்னை அறிதல் ஆம். ஈது தன்மய நிட்டை.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): tāṉ iraṇḍu aṯṟadāl, tāṉ-āy iruttal-ē taṉṉai aṟidal ām. īdu taṉmaya niṭṭhai.

English translation: Being oneself alone is knowing oneself, because oneself is not two. This is tanmaya-niṣṭha [the state of being firmly established as tat, ‘it’ or ‘that’, the one fundamental reality called brahman].
That is, by being ourself we are knowing (or being aware of) ourself, and by knowing ourself we are being ourself, so what is aware of ourself as we actually are is only ourself as we actually are. Therefore the ātma-jñāni (the one who is immersed in and as tanmayānanda) is not a person but only our own actual self (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure self-awareness (prajñāna), so when Bhagavan says in this verse (verse 31 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), ‘தன்னை அலாது அன்னியம் ஒன்றும் அறியார்’ (taṉṉai alādu aṉṉiyam oṉḏṟum aṟiyār), ‘They [those who are immersed in and as tanmayānanda] do not know [or are not aware of] anything other than themself’, he clearly implies that what we actually are is not aware of anything other than itself.

So long as we are aware of ourself as this finite ego, whose nature is to be constantly aware of things other than itself, our view is thereby limited, so we cannot adequately conceive or comprehend the state of the ātma-jñāni, who is aware of nothing other than itself, and hence Bhagavan concludes this verse by asking rhetorically: ‘அவர் நிலைமை இன்னது என்று உன்னல் எவன்?’ (avar nilaimai iṉṉadu eṉḏṟu uṉṉal evaṉ?), ‘Who can [or how to] conceive their state as ‘it is such’?’

However, though we cannot grasp or comprehend what the state of the ātma-jñāni actually is, we can at least understand the simple fact that the ātma-jñāni is not aware of anything other than itself, as Bhagavan states categorically in this verse, and that by implication our own actual self (ātma-svarūpa), which is what the ātma-jñāni actually is, is therefore not aware of anything other than itself.

19. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 14: second and third persons do not exist except in the view of the first person, the ‘I’ who is aware of itself as a body

So long as we experience ourself as if we were this ego, in relation to everything else we experience ourself as the first person (the subject) and everything else as second and third persons (objects), and as Bhagavan says in the portion of the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? that I cited in section 7, ‘தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா’ (taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā), which means ‘Only after the first person [the ego] appears do second and third persons [all phenomena] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist’. Likewise, in verse 14 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he says:
தன்மையுண்டேன் முன்னிலைப டர்க்கைக டாமுளவாந்
தன்மையி னுண்மையைத் தானாய்ந்து — தன்மையறின்
முன்னிலைப டர்க்கை முடிவுற்றொன் றாயொளிருந்
தன்மையே தன்னிலைமை தான்.

taṉmaiyuṇḍēṉ muṉṉilaipa ḍarkkaiga ḍāmuḷavān
taṉmaiyi ṉuṇmaiyait tāṉāyndu — taṉmaiyaṟiṉ
muṉṉilaipa ḍarkkai muḍivuṯṟoṉ ḏṟāyoḷirun
taṉmaiyē taṉṉilaimai tāṉ
.

பதச்சேதம்: தன்மை உண்டேல், முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தாம் உள ஆம். தன்மையின் உண்மையைத் தான் ஆய்ந்து தன்மை அறின், முன்னிலை படர்க்கை முடிவு உற்று, ஒன்றாய் ஒளிரும் தன்மையே தன் நிலைமை தான்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉmai uṇḍēl, muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tām uḷa-v-ām. taṉmaiyiṉ uṇmaiyai-t tāṉ āyndu taṉmai aṟiṉ, muṉṉilai paḍarkkai muḍivu uṯṟu, oṉḏṟāy oḷirum taṉmaiyē taṉ nilaimai tāṉ.

English translation: If the first person exists, second and third persons will exist. If the first person ceases to exist [by] oneself investigating the truth of the first person, second and third persons will come to an end, and the taṉmai [reality or true ‘selfness’] that shines as one [undivided by the appearance of these three persons] alone will be oneself, one’s [real] state.
The Tamil term for the first person is தன்மை (taṉmai), which literally means ‘selfness’ and also means nature, essence, reality, state, condition or manner, so though the first three occurrences of this word in this verse refer to the first person (the ego), the final occurrence of it in the last clause, ‘ஒன்றாய் ஒளிரும் தன்மையே தன் நிலைமை தான்’ (oṉḏṟāy oḷirum taṉmaiyē taṉ nilaimai tāṉ), which means ‘the taṉmai that shines as one alone is oneself, one’s [real] state’, refers to the one reality that we actually are.

In the kaliveṇbā version of this verse Bhagavan extended the first sentence by adding at the beginning of it the relative clause ‘உடல் நான் என்னும்’ (uḍal nāṉ eṉṉum), which literally means ‘which says the body is I’ but implies ‘which is called ‘the body is I’’, and which can be interpreted to mean ‘which is appears as ‘the body is I’’ or ‘which is aware of itself as ‘the body is I’’, followed by the demonstrative particle அ (a), which means ‘that’, so the extended form of the first sentence is ‘உடல் நான் என்னும் அத் தன்மை உண்டேல், முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தாம் உள ஆம்’ (uḍal nāṉ eṉṉum a-t-taṉmai uṇḍēl, muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tām uḷa-v-ām), which means ‘If that first person called ‘the body is I’ exists, second and third persons will exist’. Thus what he implies in this sentence is that if the ego, the false adjunct-bound self-awareness ‘I am this body’, exists, everything else will also exist, as he later says again in the third sentence of verse 23, ‘நான் ஒன்று எழுந்த பின், எல்லாம் எழும்’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu eṙunda piṉ, ellām eṙum), which means ‘After one ‘I’ rises, everything rises’, and in the first sentence of verse 26, ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum), ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence’.

In the second sentence of verse 26 he says, ‘அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), which means ‘If the ego does not exist, everything does not exist’, and he likewise implies this in the first two clauses of the second sentence of this verse (verse 14), ‘தன்மையின் உண்மையைத் தான் ஆய்ந்து தன்மை அறின், முன்னிலை படர்க்கை முடிவு உற்று’ (taṉmaiyiṉ uṇmaiyai-t tāṉ āyndu taṉmai aṟiṉ, muṉṉilai paḍarkkai muḍivu uṯṟu), which means ‘If the first person ceases to exist [by] oneself investigating the truth of the first person, second and third persons will come to an end’.

Thus the clear implication of both verses 14 and 26 (and to a lesser extent verse 23) is that everything other than ourself (all phenomena or second and third persons) seems to exist only when the ego (the perceiving subject or first person) seems to exist, and that nothing other than ourself seems to exist when the ego does not seem to exist. Why should this be so? For the simple reason that what perceives or is aware of the seeming existence of everything else is only ourself as this ego, so when we do not rise or stand as this ego, nothing else seems to exist at all.

If anything other than ourself could ever be perceived by ourself as we actually are, it could seem to exist even in the absence of our ego, but since Bhagavan says that if the ego does not exist nothing else exists, what he clearly implies is that nothing other than ourself is ever perceived by ourself as we actually are. What actually exists is only ourself as we actually are, but when we seemingly rise as this ego by projecting and grasping the form of a body as ourself, we simultaneously project in our awareness the appearance of numerous other forms, so what we are seeing as all these forms or phenomena is only ourself, even though we are actually not many but only one.

This is why he said in verse 13: ‘ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய். நானா ஆம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம்’ (ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey. nāṉā ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām), ‘Oneself, who is awareness, alone is real. Awareness that is many [that is, awareness that sees this one reality as many forms] is ignorance’. However, since we alone are what is real, even this ignorance could not exist independent of us or as other than us, as he says in the next sentence, ‘பொய் ஆம் அஞ்ஞானமுமே ஞானம் ஆம் தன்னை அன்றி இன்று’ (poy ām aññāṉamumē ñāṉam ām taṉṉai aṉḏṟi iṉḏṟu), ‘Even ignorance, which is unreal, does not exist apart from oneself, who is awareness’.

That is, since awareness of multiplicity is ignorance (ajñāna), and since ignorance is unreal, it does not actually exist, even though it seems to exist in the view of the unreal ego, so its seeming existence is entirely dependent on the actual existence of ourself, who alone are real. However, though we are the sole reality underlying and supporting the unreal appearance of ignorance (awareness of multiplicity), this ignorance does not seem to exist in the view of ourself as we actually are but only in the view of ourself as this ego, the first person, who rises and stands as ‘I am this body’, because if our actual self were aware of multiplicity it would be ignorance (ajñāna) and hence not real awareness (jñāna), which is one and indivisible.

20. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 18: for the jñāni, what is real is not the world as such but only its formless ādhāra

Though Bhagavan sometimes said that the world is real even for the ātma-jñāni, he explained that what he meant by this is not that the jñāni sees the forms of the world as real, but that what we see as the world is what the jñāni sees as the one formless reality, which is what we and everything else actually are. As he says in verse 18 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உலகுண்மை யாகு முணர்வில்லார்க் குள்ளார்க்
குலகளவா முண்மை யுணரார்க் — குலகினுக்
காதார மாயுருவற் றாருமுணர்ந் தாருண்மை
யீதாகும் பேதமிவர்க் கெண்.

ulahuṇmai yāhu muṇarvillārk kuḷḷārk
kulahaḷavā muṇmai yuṇarārk — kulahiṉuk
kādhāra māyuruvaṯ ṟārumuṇarn dāruṇmai
yīdāhum bhēdamivark keṇ
.

பதச்சேதம்: உலகு உண்மை ஆகும், உணர்வு இல்லார்க்கு, உள்ளார்க்கு. உலகு அளவு ஆம் உண்மை உணரார்க்கு; உலகினுக்கு ஆதாரமாய் உரு அற்று ஆரும் உணர்ந்தார் உண்மை. ஈது ஆகும் பேதம் இவர்க்கு. எண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ulahu uṇmai āhum, uṇarvu illārkku, uḷḷārkku. ulahu aḷavu ām uṇmai uṇarārkku; ulahiṉukku ādhāram-āy uru aṯṟu ārum uṇarndār uṇmai. īdu āhum bhēdam ivarkku. eṇ.

அன்வயம்: உணர்வு இல்லார்க்கு, உள்ளார்க்கு உலகு உண்மை ஆகும். உணரார்க்கு உண்மை உலகு அளவு ஆம்; உணர்ந்தார் உண்மை உலகினுக்கு ஆதாரமாய் உரு அற்று ஆரும். ஈது இவர்க்கு பேதம் ஆகும். எண்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uṇarvu illārkku, uḷḷārkku ulahu uṇmai āhum. uṇarārkku uṇmai ulahu aḷavu ām; uṇarndār uṇmai ulahiṉukku ādhāram-āy uru aṯṟu ārum. īdu ivarkku bhēdam āhum. eṇ.

English translation: To those who do not have knowledge and to those who have, the world is real. To those who do not know, reality is [limited to] the extent of the world, [whereas] to those who have known, reality pervades devoid of form as the ādhāra [support, substratum or foundation] for the world. This is the difference between them. Consider.
The உணர்வு (uṇarvu), knowledge or awareness, that Bhagavan refers to in the first line of this verse when he says ‘உணர்வு இல்லார்க்கு, உள்ளார்க்கு’ (uṇarvu illārkku, uḷḷārkku), ‘to those who do not have uṇarvu [knowledge or awareness] and to those who have’, is self-knowledge (ātma-jñāna), which is clear awareness of oneself as one actually is, so what he means by ‘to those who do not have uṇarvu and to those who have’ is ‘to the ajñāni and the jñāni’. For both of them, he says, ‘உலகு உண்மை ஆகும்’ (ulahu uṇmai āhum), ‘the world is real’.

However, what he means by saying this is explained by him in the next two sentences: ‘உலகு அளவு ஆம் உண்மை உணரார்க்கு; உலகினுக்கு ஆதாரமாய் உரு அற்று ஆரும் உணர்ந்தார் உண்மை’ (ulahu aḷavu ām uṇmai uṇarārkku; ulahiṉukku ādhāram-āy uru aṯṟu ārum uṇarndār uṇmai), which means ‘To those who do not know, reality is [just] the extent [or measure] of the world, [whereas] to those who have known, reality pervades devoid of form as the ādhāra for the world’. That is, for the ajñāni, who sees the world as a vast conglomeration of forms (phenomena) of various kind, reality is limited to the extent or measure of those forms, whereas for the jñāni, who sees nothing but formless self-awareness, which alone is real, reality shines devoid of form and hence without any limit as the infinite ādhāra (support, substratum or foundation) for the illusory appearance of the world.

A rope is the ādhāra for the illusory appearance of a snake, because it is the base that supports (enables and sustains) that appearance, since without it no snake would seem to exist there. Likewise pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna), which alone is real, is the ādhāra for the illusory appearance of the world, because if we (this ego) were not self-aware, we could not be aware of the seeming existence of all the forms that constitute whatever world we may see.

However, since our real nature is formless, if we were aware of ourself as we actually are, we would not be aware of any forms, so all the forms of this world seem to exist in our view only because we have limited our self-awareness to the form of whatever body we currently experience as ourself. Since we alone are what is real, whenever (whether in waking or in dream) we experience the form of a body as if it were ourself, it seems to be real, and since it is a part of the vast conglomeration of forms that constitute whatever world we then perceive, all the other forms of that world also seem to be real. However, though this body and world seem to be real (in the view of ourself as this ego), what is actually real is only the pure formless self-awareness that we actually are.

Since the jñāni is nothing other than formless self-awareness, it is not aware of any forms, so what we see as the forms of this world is what the jñāni sees as formless self-awareness, just as what a deluded person sees as a snake is what an undeluded person sees as a rope. If the deluded person says, ‘See, this snake is real’, the undeluded person may agree, saying, ‘Yes, it is real’, but what the undeluded person means when they say that is not that the snake is real as a snake, but only that it is real as the rope that it actually is. Likewise, when Bhagavan agrees with us, saying that in his view also the world is real, what he means is not that it is real as the world (that is, as all the forms that we see it to be), but only that it is real as the formless self-awareness that it actually is. This is what he implies when he says here: ‘உலகினுக்கு ஆதாரமாய் உரு அற்று ஆரும் உணர்ந்தார் உண்மை’ (ulahiṉukku ādhāram-āy uru aṯṟu ārum uṇarndār uṇmai), ‘To those who have known, reality pervades devoid of form as the ādhāra for the world’.

21. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 54: seeing with the infinite eye of sat-cit-ānanda, the jñāni can see nothing other than that

This is also explained clearly by Bhagavan in verse 54 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai:
சேட்டையற லாற்சச் சிதானந்த மாத்தீர்ந்த
நாட்டமுறக் காணுமெய்ஞ் ஞானிக்கு — நாட்டமுறும்
கண்ணலாற் காட்சியிலாக் காரணத்தா லன்னதே
திண்ணமா யிவ்வுலகுந் தேர்.

cēṭṭaiyaṟa lāṯcac cidāṉanda māttīrnda
nāṭṭamuṟak kāṇumeyñ ñāṉikku — nāṭṭamuṟum
kaṇṇalāṯ kāṭciyilāk kāraṇattā laṉṉadē
tiṇṇamā yivvulakun tēr
.

பதச்சேதம்: சேட்டை அறலால் சத் சித் ஆனந்தமா தீர்ந்த நாட்டம் உற காணும் மெய்ஞ்ஞானிக்கு, நாட்டம் உறும் கண் அலால் காட்சி இலா காரணத்தால் அன்னதே திண்ணமாய் இவ்வுலகும் தேர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): cēṭṭai aṟalāl sat-cit-āṉandam-ā tīrnda nāṭṭam uṟa kāṇum mey-ñ-ñāṉikku, nāṭṭam uṟum kaṇ alāl kāṭci ilā kāraṇattāl aṉṉadē tiṇṇamāy i-vv-ulahum tēr.

அன்வயம்: நாட்டம் உறும் கண் அலால் காட்சி இலா காரணத்தால், சேட்டை அறலால் சத் சித் ஆனந்தமா தீர்ந்த நாட்டம் உற காணும் மெய்ஞ்ஞானிக்கு, இவ்வுலகும் திண்ணமாய் அன்னதே தேர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): nāṭṭam uṟum kaṇ alāl kāṭci ilā kāraṇattāl, cēṭṭai aṟalāl sat-cit-āṉandam-ā tīrnda nāṭṭam uṟa kāṇum mey-ñ-ñāṉikku, i-vv-ulahum tiṇṇamāy aṉṉadē tēr.

English translation: Since [the nature of] what is seen cannot be otherwise than [the nature of] the eye that sees, know that for the mey-jñāni [the knower of what is real] who sees with the eye that has ended as sat-cit-ānanda because of the cessation of cēṣṭā [activity or mischief of the mind], this world is certainly only thus [namely sat-cit-ānanda].
In this verse the clause ‘நாட்டம் உறும் கண் அலால் காட்சி இலா காரணத்தால்’ (nāṭṭam uṟum kaṇ alāl kāṭci ilā kāraṇattāl), which literally means ‘since what is seen cannot be other [or otherwise] than the eye that sees’, refers to the principle that Bhagavan stated in the penultimate sentence of verse 4 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, namely ‘கண் அலால் காட்சி உண்டோ?’ (kaṇ alāl kāṭci uṇḍō?), which literally means ‘Can what is seen be other [or otherwise] than the eye?’ Since அலால் (alāl) is a poetic abbreviation of அல்லால் (allāl), which means except, besides, other than or without, this rhetorical question could superficially be taken to mean that what is seen does not exist without or apart from the eye that sees it, but as Bhagavan explained to Lakshmana Sarma and others, what he intended it to mean is that (as Lakshmana Sarma explained in his Tamil commentary on verse 4 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) the nature of what is seen cannot be otherwise than the nature of the eye that sees it. This is also made clear by Muruganar in his பொழிப்புரை (poṙippurai) or explanatory paraphrase for this verse of Guru Vācaka Kōvai, in which he paraphrased the clause ‘நாட்டம் உறும் கண் அலால் காட்சி இலா காரணத்தால்’ (nāṭṭam uṟum kaṇ alāl kāṭci ilā kāraṇattāl), ‘since what is seen cannot be otherwise than the eye that sees’, as ‘காணும் கண்ணியல்பை யன்றிக் காணப்படுங் காட்சி யியல்பு வேறாகாக் காரணத்தால்’ (kāṇum kaṇ-ṇ-iyalbai y-aṉḏṟi-k kāṇa-p-paḍum kāṭci y- iyalbu vēṟāhā-k kāraṇattāl), which means ‘since the nature of the sight that is seen cannot be different than the nature of the eye that sees’.

As I explained in section 2, in this context ‘eye’ is a metaphor for awareness in the sense of what is aware, so if awareness is aware of itself as a form (as is the case with the ego or mind), it will be aware of forms, whereas if it is aware of itself as formless and indivisible sat-cit-ānanda (being, awareness and happiness), it will be aware of nothing other than that. Therefore, since the ātma-jñāni is nothing other than ātma-svarūpa, our own real nature or actual self, which is just anādi (beginningless), ananta (endless or infinite) and akhaṇḍa (unbroken) sat-cit-ānanda (as Bhagavan says in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār), and which is therefore undivided by the appearance of any forms, it cannot see or be aware of any forms but only the one eternal, unchanging, infinite, indivisible and hence formless sat-cit-ānanda, namely itself.

22. Only as this ego, which is not what it actually is, does brahman or ātman see anything other than itself

In another comment, replying to one in which Sanjay wrote that in the view of ātma-svarūpa ‘there is no appearance of this world’, you remarked: ‘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’. Since you agree that in the view of ātma-svarūpa, which is what you call ‘the Self’, there is only itself, and that it therefore sees the world as itself, you are implying exactly what you are trying to contradict, because if ātma-svarūpa alone exists and therefore sees the world only as itself, then in its view there is no appearance of the world as a world (a constantly changing appearance of myriad names and forms), because what we (as this ego that we now seem to be) see as a world of names and forms is what we (as the ātma-svarūpa that we actually are) see as our nameless and formless self.

If we see a rope as a snake, we are not seeing it as a rope, and if we see it as a rope, we are not seeing it as a snake, so we cannot simultaneously see it as a rope (which is what it actually is) and as a snake (which is what it seems to be only in the view of a deluded person who does not recognise that it is just a rope). Likewise, if we see the world as a transitory appearance consisting of names and forms, we are not seeing it as ātma-svarūpa, because ātma-svarūpa is nameless and formless and does not appear or disappear, and if we see it as ātma-svarūpa, we are not seeing it as names and forms, so we cannot simultaneously see it as ātma-svarūpa (which is what it actually is) and as names and forms (which is what it seems to be only in the view of this ego, who is not able to recognise that it is just the one infinite, indivisible and therefore formless ātma-svarūpa).

In a subsequent comment you wrote that ‘the Self’ is ‘aware of everything that goes on, especially since it IS the awareness that comprises the ego (and is knotted to the adjuncts)’, but what is knotted or bound to adjuncts is not ourself as we actually are (namely ātma-svarūpa) but only ourself as this ego, because bondage and adjuncts exist only in the view of our ego and not in the clear view of ourself as we actually are. Moreover, what comprises the ego is not just the pure awareness that we actually are but that awareness seemingly mixed and confused with adjuncts, by grasping which it comes into existence, stands and flourishes.

As a confused mixture of pure awareness and illusory adjuncts, this ego is not our real awareness (cit) as it actually is but is only a semblance or distorted likeness of it, and hence it is called cidābhāsa. Since it is not real but just an illusory appearance, according to the principle stated by Bhagavan in verse 4 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, namely that the nature of what is seen cannot be other than the nature of what sees it, this ego cannot see what is real (namely ourself as we actually are) but can only see illusory appearances (namely forms or phenomena). In contrast, the real awareness that we actually are cannot see any illusory appearances but can only see itself as it actually is, because it alone is what is real.

Therefore, contrary to what you wrote, ‘the Self’ as such is not ‘aware of everything that goes on’. However, though as we actually are we (‘the Self’) are not aware of anything other than ourself, as this ego we are aware of everything other than ourself. That is, since we (as ātma-svarūpa, which is what we really are) alone actually exist, whatever else may seem to exist is in substance nothing other than ourself, so both this ego (which is what sees everything else) and everything that it sees are in reality just ourself as we actually are, as Bhagavan says in the final sentence of verse 1 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘நாம உரு சித்திரமும், பார்ப்பானும், சேர்படமும், ஆர் ஒளியும் — அத்தனையும் தான் ஆம் அவன்’ (nāma uru cittiramum, pārppāṉum, sērpaḍamum, ār oḷiyum — attaṉaiyum tāṉ ām avaṉ), ‘The picture of names and forms [whatever world may be seen], the one who sees [it], the cohesive screen [on which it appears], and the pervading light [of awareness that illumines it] – all these are he [the one original thing], who is oneself’.

However, though the ultimate substance of everything is ourself as we actually are, the more immediate substance of everything is ourself as this ego, as Bhagavan points out in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām), ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Therefore] the ego itself is everything’. Therefore nothing else can seem to exist unless we experience ourself as this ego, because it is only as this ego that we see anything else.

That is, though the ‘நாம உரு சித்திரம்’ (nāma uru cittiram), the ‘picture of names and forms’ (namely whatever world we may see), and the ‘பார்ப்பான்’ (pārppāṉ), the ‘seer’ or ‘one who sees [it]’ (namely the ego), are both in reality nothing but ourself as we actually are, just as an illusory snake is in reality nothing but a rope, it is not as we actually are but only as this ego that we see anything other than ourself. When we remain as we actually are, no picture of names and forms (nāma uru cittiram) appears in our awareness, and nor does any seer (pārppāṉ), because as we actually are we are aware of nothing other than ourself as we actually are, so it is only when we rise as this ego that any picture of names and forms appears in our awareness and that we consequently see ourself as the seer of it. What we actually are is only pure self-awareness, which alone is what is real, so though pure self-awareness is the ultimate substance that appears as both the picture of names and forms and the seer of it, neither the picture of names and forms nor the seer of it are pure self-awareness as it actually is, because they are both mere appearances.

This is one of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, and it is stated, implied and explained by him in so many ways in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and Nāṉ Yār? (as we have seen in the various verses and passages that we have considered in this article) and also here and there in some of his other original writings and in his oral teachings, particularly as recorded in Guru Vācaka Kōvai. Clearly understanding this principle — the principle that what is aware of anything other than ourself (any forms or phenomena) is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as this ego — is extremely important for us in our practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), because we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are so long as we are aware of anything else, so it is only by focusing our entire attention on ourself alone so keenly that we cease being aware of anything else whatsoever, just as we are in sleep, that we can be aware of ourself as we actually are.

In none of the older texts of advaita vēdānta has this important principle been made as clear as Bhagavan made it in his teachings, particularly in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and to a lesser extent in Nāṉ Yār?, and this is one of the reasons why what the correct practice of ātma-vicāra actually is was so widely misunderstood before he came to clarify it, and is still widely misunderstood by those who have not carefully studied his original writings.

In many of your comments, for example, you have quoted passages from an English translation (namely the one that appears in The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharishi, which is not a very satisfactory translation but is unfortunately the only complete one available) of Bhagavan’s Tamil prose translation of Vivēkacūḍāmaṇi that seem to support your belief that ‘the Self’ (ourself as we actually are) is what perceives the world, and it is true that many of the verses of Vivēkacūḍāmaṇi (and also of many other ancient texts) can easily be misinterpreted as implying that this is the case, and for centuries they have been widely misinterpreted in this way. A lot of this confusion arises because of the frequent misinterpretation of the term ātman, which is usually translated in English as ‘the Self’ and which is generally interpreted in a similar sense by most scholars of vēdānta.

What ātman actually means is oneself (and though singular and masculine in form, it can serve as a pronoun referring to a noun of any number or gender, so it can mean myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves or themselves), so in most cases it refers to oneself in general, but in certain contexts it can by implication refer more specifically either to oneself as one actually is (which is sometimes distinguished as paramātman) or to oneself as one seems to be, namely the ego (which is sometimes distinguished as jīvātman). However, since one of the four mahāvākyas or ‘great sayings’ of the Vēdas is ‘ayam ātmā brahma’, which means ‘this ātman [oneself] is brahman’ (Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad 2 and Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.5), many people wrongly take this to imply that the term ‘ātman’ always refers to brahman, which is clearly not the case, because if it were, we could apply the same logic to the mahāvākyaahaṁ brahmāsmi’, which means ‘I am brahman’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 1.4.10), and thereby infer that this implies that the term ‘I’ always refers to brahman, which would be an absurd proposition, because we all know that in most cases it refers to whatever person we seem to be.

Just as in English the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘myself’ (or ‘one’ and ‘oneself’) both refer to oneself without making any explicit distinction between oneself as one actually is and oneself as one seems to be, in Sanskrit ‘aham’ and ‘ātman’ both refer to oneself without making any explicit distinction between oneself as one actually is (namely brahman) and oneself as one seems to be (namely the ego). Therefore, just as it would be wrong in English to interpret the terms ‘oneself’, ‘myself’ or ‘ourself’ in all cases as referring to ourself as we actually are, it is equally wrong to interpret ‘ātman’ in all cases as referring to brahman, which is what we actually are. Since ‘ātman’ functions as a generic pronoun in much the same way as ‘one’ or ‘oneself’ in English, in most cases it refers to oneself in general rather than specifically to either oneself as one actually is or oneself as this ego that we now seem to be.

If you were to replace ‘the Self’ with ‘oneself’ in all the passages from that English translation of Vivēkacūḍāmaṇi that you cited in your comments, you would see that they give quite a different meaning to the one you supposed, because in that version ‘the Self’ is a misleading translation of ātman, which in most cases refers to ourself in general rather than specifically to ourself as we actually are.

Of course we are only one self, and what we (this one self) actually are is only brahman, the one fundamental reality, whose nature is anādi (beginningless), ananta (endless or infinite) and akhaṇḍa (unbroken) sat-cit-ānanda (as Bhagavan says in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār). However, though we are actually brahman, we are now aware of ourself as a person, but this does not mean that brahman is this person whom we now seem to be, or that it is aware of itself as this person. Only when we rise as the ego do we seem to be this or any other person, so what seems to be a person is the ego, and what seems to be the ego is brahman.

However, as it actually is brahman is not aware of this ego or of anything else whatsoever, because it alone exists and shines, infinite and indivisible, and hence without any other. Therefore it is only in the view of ourself as this ego that we (brahman) seem to be this ego, and that we are consequently aware of the illusory appearance of things other than ourself.

Though we now seem to be this ego, this is not what we actually are, so in order to see ourself as we actually are and thereby destroy the delusion that we are this ego, we must investigate ourself by constantly trying to keenly observe or attend to ourself alone, to the complete exclusion of everything else. That is, we must try to be so attentively aware of ourself alone that we cease being aware of anything else at all, because then only will we pierce through and dissolve forever the delusion that we are this ego, the false adjunct-bound awareness that is aware of all these illusory forms or phenomena, both subtle and gross.

134 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that according to Ramana, the Self is unable to see the phenomenal world or any phenomena at all? That implies that the Self is limited in what it can perceive. I’ve generally interpreted Ramana as saying that the Self does see the phenomenal world but does not see it as separate from itself - it sees the world, but does not see it as external forms and objects.

Jeremy

antam-ila kan said...

Anonymous,
the self is not to be considered as a 'perceiver'or a 'seer'.
It is said that self is nothing but pure self-awareness which is aware only of itself as limitless or infinite awareness. Therefore there is no phenomenal world to be seen as 'external forms and objects', as you correctly say.

Jeremy said...

OK, so if we rephrase “see” and “perceive” as “is aware of”, are we saying that the Self is not aware of the phenomenal world, or are we saying that it is aware of it but not as external objects?

Ken said...

Jeremy -

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. 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."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, heart-felt thanks for another beautiful article. It is a great wonder how someone can love Bhagavan and his teachings, like you love, to this extreme! How great is our Bhagavan and his teachings who can inspire such love. Nothing sort of incomprehensible wonder. With regards.

Jeremy said...

Ken,

According to your quote, the Self sees (is aware of) all things. That seems to differ from Michael’s assertion that cit (consciousness) is not aware of any forms or phenomena.

Hence my question: are we saying that the Self is not aware of the phenomenal world, or are we saying that it is aware of it but not as external objects?

I think your quote implies the latter.

antam-ila kan said...

Jeremy,
if we start considering our actual self as being infinite and hence formless awareness how can there be anything separate to be aware of ?
Let us emphasize the meaning of the word "INFINITE". Can there be thought anything outside of it ?

Jeremy said...

antam-ila,

Who said that anything is separate from the Self? My question was: is the Self unaware of the phenomenal world, or is it aware of it but not as external forms and objects (i.e. as itself.)?

Michael James said...

Jeremy, in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? Bhagavan says, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), which means ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa’, so in the clear view of ātma-svarūpa (our own real nature or actual self, which is what you call ‘the Self’) nothing other than itself (no forms, phenomena or appearances) actually exists for it to be aware of.

However, this does not imply that it is limited in any way, as you suggest in your first comment, because it is all that exists, so by being aware of itself it is aware of all. Therefore there is nothing that it is not aware of, because nothing other than itself actually exists.

Since it alone actually exists, what we see as phenomena (that is, all forms or appearances) is actually just ātma-svarūpa, just as what a deluded person sees as a snake is actually just a rope. Therefore ātma-svarūpa sees all that the ego sees, but it does not see it as the ego sees it.

This is the subtle inner meaning (the intended meaning or lakṣyārtha) implied by what Sankaran said in the portion of Vivēkacūḍāmaṇi that Ken quoted in his comment, but he said it in a very nuanced and somewhat oblique manner, which Bhagavan expressed in a similarly nuanced and oblique manner in his Tamil translation, but which is not expressed clearly or adequately in the clumsy and imprecise English translation that Ken quoted.

Please read and carefully consider all the verses and passages from Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, Nāṉ Yār? and Guru Vācaka Kōvai that I have cited in this article, because in them Bhagavan explains very clearly that what sees all forms or phenomena is only the ego, which rises and stands as the false adjunct-bound (form-bound) self-awareness ‘I am this body’, and that what it sees as all these phenomena is nothing other than ātma-svarūpa, which alone actually exists, and which is pure and infinite self-awareness, which shines eternally devoid of any forms and hence free from any adjuncts just as ‘I am’ or ‘I am I’ (that is, ‘I am only I, not anything else at all’).

antam-ila kan said...

Jeremy,
I am happy that Michael James already replyed to your question. Sorry my last answer has referred a bit also to your first comment.

Jeremy said...

Michael,

“Bhagavan explains very clearly that what sees all forms or phenomena is only the ego”

It’s not clear to me. I think he explains that it is the mind or ego that sees (or conceptualises) forms and phenomena as external objects.

I also find it hard to understand how being unaware of phenomena is not a limitation. If I can see the screen on which a film is projected, but I cannot see the light which is projected onto it, is that not a limitation?

A universe in which Brahman is unaware of Maya, and Maya is unaware of Brahman, seems dualistic to me.

antam-ila kan said...

Jeremy,
when you see no light then you also cannot see the screen on which a film is projected.
Why should Brahman be aware of what is not(=maya) ?
Hope Michael will reply to you again.

Ken said...

Jeremy,

I think that the actual non-verbal reality of the Self is something that can include two concepts that seem contradictory to our limited viewpoint. Often such things can be clues that give us a sense of what we are looking for.

For example, Ramana is often quoted to have said "You are the Self; you are already That."

This can be difficult to understand for seekers who have a strong desire to "realize the Self", which verbally would seem to automatically be contradicted by what Ramana has said.

However, when we do Self-enquiry, it can be helpful to know that we are investigating something that has always been there.

====

In regards to your question about awareness of Maya, and duality, the following may be helpful (the Sanskrit Atman is used rather than the English word Self):

"Sankara's commentary on Gaudapada's Karika of Mandukyopanishad, Ch. 2 Verse 33:

33. This (the Atman) is imagined both as unreal objects that are perceived and as the non-duality. The objects (Bhavas) are imagined in the non-duality itself. Therefore, non-duality (alone) is the (highest) bliss.

Sankara’s Commentary:

The reason for the interpretation of the previous verse is thus stated :

Just as in a rope, an unreal snake, streak of water or the like is imagined, which are nonseparate (non-dual) from the existing rope,—the same (rope) being spoken of as this snake, this streak of water, this stick, or the like,—even so this Atman is imagined to be the innumerable objects such as Prana, etc., which are unreal and perceived only through ignorance, but not from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. For unless the mind is active, nobody is ever able to perceive any object. But no action is possible for Atman.

Therefore the objects that are perceived to exist by the active mind can never be imagined to have existence from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. It is therefore this (non-dual) Atman which alone is imagined as such illusory objects as Prana, etc., which are perceived, as well as the non-dual and ultimately real Atman (which is the substratum of illusory ideas, such as Prana, etc.) in the same manner as the rope is imagined as the substratum of the illusion of the snake. Though always one and unique (i.e., of the nature of the Atman), the Prana, etc., the entities that are perceived, are imagined (from the standpoint of ignorance) as having the nondual and ultimately real Atman as their substratum.

For, no illusion is ever perceived without a substratum.

As 'non-duality' is the substratum of all illusions (from the standpoint of ignorance) and also as it is, in its real nature, ever unchangeable, non-duality alone is (the highest) bliss even in the state of imagination, i.e., the empirical experiences. Imaginations alone (which make Prarna, etc., appear as separate from Atman) are the cause of misery . These imaginations cause fear, etc., like the imaginations of the snake, etc., in the rope. Non-duality is free from fear and therefore it is the (highest) bliss."

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

indeed, it is very hard, to recognize that the "pure witness", "observer" etc., is just a desperate attempt of the ego to keep itself in life by grasping objects.
we are heavily conditioned to be the one who experiences, even if it is all an illusion.
but at some point, which could be right now, we can let go of grasping and just be.
that is the radical difference of the direct path of Bhagavan from most gradual, witness based, spiritual paths.

Ken said...

antam-ila kan and Jeremy:

On the subject of "Why should Brahman be aware of what is not(=maya) ?"

The following by Gaudapada and Sankara (earlier in the same work as quoted in the previous comment) explain:

"11. If the objects cognized in both the conditions (of dream and of waking) be illusory, who cognizes all these (illusory objects) and who again imagines them ?

Sankara’s Commentary:

The opponent asks, “If the objects, cognized in the waking and dream states, be devoid of reality, who is the cognizer of these,—objects imagined by the mind, both inside (subjective), and outside (objective)? Who is, again, their imaginer?” In short, what is the support (substratum) of memory and knowledge? If you say none, then we shall be led to the conclusion that there is nothing like Atman or Self.

12. Atman, the self-luminous, through the power of his own Maya, imagines in himself by himself (all the objects that the subject experiences within or without). He alone is the cognizer of the objects (so created). This is the decision of the Vedanta.

Sankara’s Commentary:
The self-luminous1 Atman himself, by his own Maya, imagines in himself the different objects, to be described hereafter. It is like the imagining of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. He himself cognizes them, as he has imagined them. There is no other substratum of knowledge and memory. The aim of Vedanta is to declare that knowledge and memory are not without support as the Buddhistic nihilists maintain."

Ken said...

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

"indeed, it is very hard, to recognize that the 'pure witness', 'observer' etc., is just a desperate attempt of the ego to keep itself in life by grasping objects."

But Ramana, Sadhu Om, and others all agree that the ego is nonexistent. Quote: "when one looks for it, it is found not to exist."

Something that is nonexistent cannot have "desperate attempts". That characterization of the ego is the opposite of what Ramana suggested.

" 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."

Sanjay Lohia said...

manana ~ part one of some of the points in this article:

a) Bhagavan says in verse 4 of Ulladu Narpadu: ‘Can what is seen be otherwise [in nature] than the eye [that sees it]? The [real] eye is oneself, the infinite eye’. The infinite eye here means infinite awareness – our pure, otherless and intransitive awareness – what we really are. Therefore, the ego is our finite eye – adjunct-bound, objective and transitive awareness – what we now seem to be.

b) The ego is the immediate substance of everything we see or perceive – that is, of all the mental phenomena - because everything is just an expansion of the ego. However, the ultimate substance of everything, including our ego, is just our atma-svarupa (our intransitive awareness), because our atma-svarupa is the only substance which really exists, and therefore it is the base and support of everything.

c) While practising atma-vichara, we should not just look at ourself in a tenuous manner, but look within with a keenly focused power of attention. As Bhagavan says in Nan Yar?, we should tenaciously cling to ourself. We use a sharp dagger to kill somebody (our ego), and not use, say, a butter knife, because it can hardly kill.

d) What we see as this world is nothing but a projection of our mind. Our mind goes out through our senses and receives various sensory impressions. These sensory impressions form different images in our mind, and the conglomeration of such impressions makes up our world-picture.

e) The fundamental feature of the ego is the darkness of self-ignorance, and it only this darkness which enables our ego to project and experience all phenomena. Likewise, only the background darkness in a cinema enables the pictures to be projected and viewed by us. The projection of cinema will no longer be possible, if, say, by chance the bright sunlight rushes into the cinema. Likewise, our ego and this world-picture will be destroyed in an instant, when we are overwhelmed by the dazzling light of pure self-awareness.


antam-ila kan said...

Ken,
yes, the ego seems to exist unless it is found that it does not exist.
In other words: the ego seems to exist because we do not seek it sufficiently.
So if we do not seek the ego it continues its assertion to exist or at least it pretends as if exists really. In further other words:the ego in its cheekiness and barefacedness gives the outward and inward impression that it really exists.
Therefore we should not overlook the temporary claim or power of something which to all appearances exists. Otherwise we could not even seek a non-existent phenomenon let alone found its non-existence.
So let us in practical experience know that the ego is not true but only seems to have the quality of originality and authenticity.

Sanjay Lohia said...

manana ~ part two

f) Intransitive awareness is real knowledge; transitive awareness is ignorance. Transitive knowledge entails the ego (cidabhasa) projecting and experiencing the objects other than itself. However, both the ego and its creations (all mental phenomena) are unreal illusions. It is like a phantom (our ego) creating and interacting with more phantoms (myriad phenomena)!

Ego and all its creations are void - they do not really exist, whereas we (ourself as we really are) are fullness of 'what is'. We are infinite, immutable and therefore formless sat-chit-ananda.

g) One of the names for ‘ego’ is cidabhasa, meaning reflection, semblance or distorted likeness of awareness. This cidabhasa is the primal seed of ignorance.

h) When we seemingly rise as this ego, we (the first person) create all the second and third persons, but all these three persons are not real, and therefore even when we experience these what we are really experiencing is only our atma-svarupa, the only existing substance.

When we watch a picture in a cinema, what we are really watching in the background screen. Likewise, even when we witness this myriad phenomena, what we are really witnessing is ourself (atma-svarupa) alone, the eternal screen of this temporary and fleeting world show.

i) In English, ‘I’ (or ‘one’) refers to oneself in general; however, in other contexts it can refer to oneself as we really are, or to oneself as this ego. Likewise, the Sanskrit term atman can be interpreted in similar three different ways. In most cases it refers to oneself in general, but it can also refer to oneself as the ego, and in some cases as oneself as we really are.

However, many people believe that the term atman refers only to brahman (ourself as we really are), but this is clearly not the case.



antam-ila kan said...

Sanjay,
regarding point h):
it does not sound very promisingly or auspiciously to be only a screen.

regarding point i): so one has to be on one's guard in which context the´Sanskrit term "atman" is used. A wrong interpretation can leave us in a state of disastrous bewilderment.

Michael James said...

Ken, in one of your comments you quote Sankara’s commentary on Māṇḍukya Kārikā 2.12, in which (according to Swami Nikhilananda’s translation) he says, ‘The self-luminous Ātman himself, by his own Māyā, imagines in himself the different objects [...] like the imagining of the snake, etc., in the rope, etc. He himself cognizes them, as he has imagined them’, whereas in your previous comment you had quoted his commentary on 2.33, in which he says, ‘Just as in a rope, an unreal snake, streak of water or the like is imagined, [...] even so this Ātman is imagined to be the innumerable objects such as Prāṇa, etc., which are unreal and perceived only through ignorance, but not from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality. For, unless the mind is active, nobody is ever able to perceive any object. But no action is possible for Ātman. Therefore the objects that are perceived to exist by the active mind can never be imagined to have existence from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality’.

If we consider them superficially, in these two passages Sankara seems to be contradicting himself, because in the first he says that ātman itself imagines and cognises objects, whereas in the second he says that objects ‘are unreal and perceived only through ignorance, but not from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality’ and that ‘unless the mind is active, nobody is ever able to perceive any object. But no action is possible for Ātman. Therefore the objects that are perceived to exist by the active mind can never be imagined to have existence from the standpoint of the Ultimate Reality’, thereby implying that objects are imagined and perceived only by the active mind and not by ātman, which is the ultimate reality.

How should we reconcile this seeming contradiction? The answer is simple: the term ‘ātman’ means ‘oneself’ or ‘ourself’, and as we actually are we imagine nothing and are aware of nothing other than ourself as we actually are, which is just pure, infinite and indivisible self-awareness or sat-cit-ānanda, the one ultimate reality, but when we seemingly rise as this ego or mind, as such we project (or imagine) and perceive all objects (everything that seems to be other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are). In other words, as it actually is ātman does not project or perceive anything, so it is only as this ego or mind that it projects and perceives everything.

This is why Bhagavan says in the portion of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? that I quoted in section 5 of this article: ‘Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [ourself as we actually are] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’.

antam-ila kan said...

Michael,
when you say "Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [ourself as we actually are] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’."
does not this wording imply that (atma -) svarupa (which names our eternal pure self-awareness) depends from the world-appearance ?

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

Ken
we are totally in agreement that the ego does not exist.
but, as Ramana says, that is experienced ONLY when you "look" at it.
that is, when only nondual awareness remains, there is of course, no ego.
i would agree that the ego does not exist even in the relative, dualistic awareness, since all thoughts happen spontaneously, without a controller, but anyway the only significance of this debate, in my poor and maybe deluded opinion, is whether we should, in our practice, maintain or abandon the "observer" thought.
the ego is just a thought, agreed, and there is nothing to be attained, agreed.
but that can only be said when one "comes back" from the undefined self aware fullness, and tries to speak on its behalf.
else, when and where there is subject-object relationship, to say that the ultimate reality
becomes a relative observer is an logical contradiction, and to say that the ego is non existent can help us when we devote ourselves to being, but can fool us when we experience the infinite waves of vasanas.

furthermore, we should be aware that the stage of realization of Bhagavan, where all phenomena disolve in pure awareness, once and for all, is rather rare...

Sanjay Lohia said...

antam-ila kan, we find this world too interesting, and a ‘happening place’, and therefore we do not want to look at this boring and ‘non-happening place’: the very core of our being. Let us consider verse 11 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Not knowing oneself, who knows, knowing other things is ignorance; except [that], can it be knowledge? When one knows oneself, the basis for knowledge and the other [ignorance], knowledge and ignorance will cease.

By running after this world, we are chasing nothing but ignorance. But as we go on practising being attentively self-aware to the best of our ability, we will turn the table. What we now find boring, uninteresting and inauspicious, we will one day find to be most enjoyable, interesting, and auspicious.

As Bhagavan says, we are infinite and unbroken sat-chit-ananda, and this is the screen which we are trying to experience in its absolute clarity.

Michael James said...

Ken, in your most recent comment you say that ‘the ego is nonexistent’, but then you wrongly infer: ‘Something that is nonexistent cannot have “desperate attempts”. That characterization of the ego is the opposite of what Ramana suggested’. This is not what Bhagavan intended us to infer, because though he taught us that the ego does not actually exist, he nevertheless conceded that it does seem to exist from the point of view of ourself as this ego, and he explained that everything else seems to exist only because this ego seems to exist, as he says for example in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām), which means ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. The ego itself is everything’.

All of Bhagavan’s core teachings are based upon and centred around the fact that this ego is the root cause of all problems, so we can solve all problems only by eradicating it, and that the only way to eradicate it is to investigate it keenly, because though it seems to exist so long as it attends to or is aware of anything other than itself, it will cease to exist if it keenly attends to itself alone, just as an illusory snake will cease to exist if we look at it very carefully.

That is, just as that ‘snake’ is not what it seems to be but is only a rope, the ego is not actually the finite adjunct-bound self-awareness that it seems to be, but is only pure (adjunct-free) and infinite self-awareness. In other words, though this ego seems to exist, it does not actually exist as such, and hence it will be found to be ever non-existent only if we look at it carefully enough to exclude everything else from our awareness and thereby to see that what we actually are is not this finite ego, whose nature is to be aware of other things, but only infinite and indivisible self-awareness, which is not aware of anything else, because it alone is what actually exists.

Regarding your repudiation of the idea that the ego makes ‘desperate attempts’ to perpetuate its seeming existence by grasping forms (objects or phenomena), such desparate attempts are what Bhagavan implies in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu when he says regarding the ‘formless phantom-ego’ (உருவற்ற பேய் அகந்தை: uru-v-aṯṟa pēy ahandai): ‘உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்’ (uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum), which means ‘Grasping form, it rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows [spreads, expands or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form, it grasps [another] form’.

Quite how desperate are the attempts that we as this ego make in order to perpetuate our seeming existence as such should be clear to any of us who have seriously tried to practise self-investigation, and it is graphically described in a variety of ways in many prayers that Bhagavan wrote for our sake in Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai and other songs of Śrī Aruṇācala Stuti Pañcakam.

antam-ila kan said...

Sanjay Lohia,
how can you be quite so sure that the very core of our being is a boring, uninteresting or inauspicious place ?
As you quote Bhagavan quite correctly our true self is sat-chit-ananda.
I would never yearn for a boring thing. In the contrary I long for the ecstatic state of pure non-dual sat-chit-ananda in which the seeming ego has bowed its head and is dissolved forever -like a doll of salt in the ocean.

Jeremy said...

Michael,

I don’t see a contradiction between Sankara’s comments which are quoted by Ken.

In 2.33 he says that objects which are in reality the Self (Atman) do not have separate existence and are perceived as being real (having separate existence) through ignorance.

In 2.12 he says that the Self (Atman) by the power of his own Maya imagines (creates the appearance of) and is aware of (cognizes) objects. Here (as he says) he is arguing against “Buddhist nihilists” who do not believe in a Self (Atman). Against Buddhists, Sankara says that “the aim of Vedanta is to declare that knowledge and memory are not without support” since the Self (Atman) is “the support (substratum)I of memory and knowledge”.

I don’t think you can argue that in 2.12 Sankara is using atman to refer to “oneself”. Firstly, he uses the epithet “self-luminous” to describe the Self (Atman) of which he speaks. Secondly, the essential difference between Vedanta and Buddhism (as Sankara notes) is that Buddhists deny the existence of a universal Self. Thirdly, he says in 2.12 that the “self-luminous Atman” is the substratum of knowledge and memory, just as he says in 2.33 that the “non-dual and ultimately real Atman” is the substratum of all illusions.

According to Sankara, objects do not have separate existence, and are (in a sense) illusory, but they do have an ultimate reality (substratum) which is the Self (Atman). Speaking figuratively, he says that the Self creates these illusions by “the power of his Maya” and is aware of (cognizes) them.

How can awareness not be aware?

antam-ila kan said...

Jeremy,
why should "the Self create (any) illusions" ?--( by “the power of his Maya”)...
I cannot agree with you on that idea which is born obviously on the bottom of the ego's confused view.

Sanjay Lohia said...

antam-ila kan, I did not mean that the core of our being is a boring and uninteresting place. We just consider it boring and uninteresting as long as our vishaya vasanas (our desires) are too strong, and out sat vasana has not yet developed. But as we go on practicing self-investigation, we will progressively start enjoying our natural happiness. Eventually, we will reject everything other than ourself as mere chaff. This will happen when we become ‘[immersed in and as] tanmayānanda [‘happiness composed of that’, namely our real self]’, as Bhagavan says in verse 31 of Ulladu Narpadu.

antam-ila kan said...

Sanjay,
now I understand what you intended to express.
Yes, we should not allow to get pulled the wool over our eyes. Every moment we have to separate the wheat from the chaff. Only thereby we can reveal our natural happiness tanmayānanda [‘happiness composed of that’, namely our real self].
In soccer we would say: The match is sat vasana against vishaya vasanas.
Kind regards.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, antam-ila kan, ‘the match is sat vasana against vishaya vasanas’, and we cannot lose this ‘soccer’ as long as we keep playing – that is, as long as we relentlessly persevere in our practice of self-attentiveness – because Bhagavan is on our side.

antam-ila kan said...

Sanjay,
hope that Bhagavan will be a "fair" referee - in biased manner namely as our twelfth man on our side, blind to our foul play or other breaches of the rules, - to keep to soccer terms.
On the other hand a harshly given penalty against us may be a salutary experience.
(Hopefully you understand this "technical terminology" because in Karnataka football or soccer is surely not so popular as in Europe. However, I have watched even in Tiruvannamalai children playing soccer and that quite well.)

Michael James said...

Jeremy, in your fifth comment you suggest that not being aware of phenomena is a limitation, but that is like saying that not seeing a rope as a snake is a limitation, because just as no snake actually exists there, no phenomena actually exist. What actually exists is only ourself, who are pure, infinite and indivisible self-awareness, so just as the seeming snake is merely a misperception of the rope, all phenomena are just a misperception of ourself, as also is the ego that sees them.

Can it be correct to say that not misperceiving one thing (our one, infinite, indivisible and formless self) as something else (numerous finite forms or phenomena) is a limitation? Surely misperception is a limitation, and being free of any misperception is freedom from such limitation.

No analogy can perfectly depict the truth, so we should not misapply the cinema analogy given by Bhagavan, as you seem to have done. When he gave this analogy, he did not want us to interpret it to mean that the pictures projected on the screen are as real as the screen itself, because we should consider it along with the rope and snake analogy, and understand that like the illusory snake the pictures projected on the screen represent the illusory projection of the world-appearance on the screen of pure self-awareness.

In a cinema the projection of pictures on the screen requires a background darkness and the limited light shining out from within the projector. Likewise the projection of all the phenomena that constitute this or any other world-appearance requires the background darkness of self-ignorance and the limited light of the mind. Therefore, as Bhagavan says in verse 114 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai: ‘Just as if the small light [from a cinema projector] merges and dies in the vast light [of the sun], the picture-show that appeared in that [small] light will cease, if the mind-light merges and dies in the permanent real light of awareness, the three kinds of false appearance [namely the soul, world and God] will end, cease and die’.

When pictures are projected on the screen, the screen itself is in no way affected, but we who see the pictures are not seeing the screen as the plain white surface that it actually is. Likewise, the pure self-awareness that we actually are is in no way affected by the illusory projection of phenomena, but we (as the ego or mind) who see phenomena are not seeing ourself as we actually are, because what we actually are is what alone actually exists, so in its clear view there is nothing other than itself for it to see.

Regarding your final remark, ‘A universe in which Brahman is unaware of Maya, and Maya is unaware of Brahman, seems dualistic to me’, if there were such a universe it would certainly be dualistic, but there is no such thing, because any universe that may seem to exist is a projection of māyā (the mind), and ‘māyā’ means ‘what is not’ or ‘what does not exist’, so there is actually no such thing as either māyā or any universe. As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), which means ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa’, so since ‘brahman’ is just another name for ātma-svarūpa (our own real nature or actual self), brahman alone exists, so there is no māyā for it to be unaware of, and no universe in which it is unaware of māyā or māyā is unaware of it. This is the ultimate truth (pāramārthika satya), as Bhagavan says in verse 24 of Upadēśa Taṉippākkaḷ.

Michael James said...

Antam-ila kan, contrary to what you imply in one of your comments, the pair of sentences ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [ourself as we actually are] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’ is not what I said but is a literal translation of what Bhagavn wrote in the portion of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? that I quoted in section 5 of this article, namely: ‘ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu).

You ask whether this does not imply that svarūpa depends on the non-appearance of the world (or at least I think this is what you meant), but that is not what Bhagavan intended to imply, because in its own clear view svarūpa (our own real nature, which is pure self-awareness) is always shining clearly as it is, so from its perspective no world ever appears or seems to exist. It is only in the self-deluded view of the ego or mind that any world appears, so it is only in the view of this ego that svarūpa does not shine clearly as it is.

Since svarūpa is immutable and hence never changes in any way whatsoever, it cannot be aware of anything that appears, because if it were aware of any appearance, it would be the perceiver of it when it appears and not the perceiver of it when it does not appear, so it would change from not being the perceiver of it to being the perceiver of it, and then back again to not being the perceiver of it, which would entail it being changeable and hence unreal.

Jeremy said...

Michael,

I think you have to ask in what sense does Maya not exist. It clearly exists for us, in the sense that we live in a world of phenomena and that is the only way that we are able to communicate with each other as we are doing now. However, according to Vedanta it is not ultimately real because it does not have independent existence and it is not unchanging.

So yes, I do think it is a limitation if Brahman is unaware of phenomena. I also think that it is dualistic to suppose that Brahman (non-duality) and Maya (duality) are completely separate and that non-duality does not encompass duality. “Brahman alone exists” (according to Vedanta) because everything - including Maya - is Brahman.

Misperceiving a rope as a snake is certainly a limitation. Not being able to see that the rope looks like a snake is also a limitation.

There are 3D images that look like random dots until you focus on them in a particular way. Once you do that, you perceive the illusion of a 3D image. Most people can do this, but I can’t - and I would say that my inability to see the illusion is a limitation.

I don’t interpret the screen analogy as meaning that the pictures are as real as the screen, as you say. I use the analogy in the same way that Ramana used it - the screen is Brahman and the pictures are Maya. Ramana’s point was that people tend to be unaware of the screen. My point is that if you say that the Self is unaware of phenomena that is equivalent to saying that it is unable to see the pictures.

antam-ila kan said...

Michael,
thank you for your reply to Jeremy in such a clear way.
May Arunachala keep you still a long time with us.
Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, there may be typo in your recent comment (18 January 2017 at 13:35) addressed to Jeremy:

Can it be correct to say that not misperceiving one thing (our one, infinite, indivisible and formless self) as something else (numerous finite forms or phenomena) is a limitation? Surely misperception is a limitation, and being free of any misperception is freedom from such limitation.

I think, ‘not’ has been wrongly typed in the highlighted portion. I know you cannot edit your comments, but I thought you may like to correct the sentence (if there is a typo, by way of another comment) for the benefit of all of us. With regards.

antam-ila kan said...

Michael,
thank you for allaying my sceptical question about the mentioned pair of sentences.
Because I (wrongly) did consider only the clause..."svarupa does not appear" and supposing that our real nature is shining always, I became doubtful and began questioning the correctness of that clause. In the meantime I read (past tense) your clarifying explanation in section 5. of this article about the subject of the immutable atma-svarupa and the ego's self-deluded view.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

phenomena, when we investigate them, are found to be only thoughts.
the "knowing" of phenomena, is also a thought.
the "knower" of them is just a thought.

the "Self" that "knows" is also a thought, a phenomenon.

when no object, there is no subject.
Where is the "Self" that is aware of phenomena, then?
gone with the thought that imagined him.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

"the "Self" that "knows" is also a thought, a phenomenon."

that should read

the "Self" that "knows" "phenomena" is also a thought, a phenomenon.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, antam-ila kan, Bhagavan as God is our referee, and he is not only a ‘fair’ referee, but also a very compassionate one. As God he ordains our prarabdha - the fruits of our actions - keeping our highest spiritual good in mind.

However, Bhagavan is not only our God but, more importantly, also our guru. In his role as our guru he is our coach-cum-captain: guiding us at every step and playing alongside us. We just have to be in his team and contribute a bit, and he will do all the goals for us. In fact, Bhagavan Ramana is the best coach-cum-captain we could have ever got.

The clarity and directness of his teachings are unparalleled. Therefore, the importance of his role as our guru is a thousand time more that the importance of his role as God. As it is said, only a guru can lead us from darkness to light.

antam-ila kan said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you are wrong, there is no typo. Please read again ...saying "not misperceiving"... is in the given context of course not a limitation. Consequently the formulated question "Can it be correct...? is also correct.

Foolish Tenth Man said...

Sanjay Lohia

There is no typo in that extract of Sri Michael's comment.

He was emphasising that contrary to the claimant's contention, not misperceiving our formless self (in other words, perceiving self as it is) is not a limitation; on the contrary, it is the cessation of all limitations - absolute freedom.

Ken said...

Quote: "so there is actually no such thing as either māyā or any universe"

That means there is also no such thing as Ramana Maharshi, Ulladu Narpadu, Shankara, or Advaita Vedanta.

It's the dragon that eats its own tail and swallows itself.

It seems to me that this idea that "the universe must vanish when I realize" is the same idea as "the jnani's body must die when he realizes" - same result just expressed slightly differently.

On this topic, we find:

"Q: It is said that the shock of realization is so great that the body cannot survive it.

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

(From Day by Day with Bhagavan, p. 189-190)

Michael James said...

Jeremy, regarding what you say in your latest comment, of course māyā (which Bhagavan says is nothing other than the ego or mind) and all its products (whatever phenomena may appear in the view of the ego) seem to exist in the view of the ego, but according to Bhagavan they do not actually exist, so they do not appear in the clear view of ourself as we actually are. And of course māyā and its products are not separate from brahman, which is ourself as we actually are, because what actually exists is only brahman, so what seems to be māyā and its products is nothing other than brahman.

However, though brahman is what seems to be māyā and its products, it seems to be them only in the view of the ego and not in its own view, because it always sees itself as it actually is, which one without a second. Therefore it is only the ego that sees it as māyā and its products, because though the ego is nothing other than brahman, it does not see itself as brahman (the one infinite and indivisible whole) but only as a finite subject that sees objects, all of which seem to be other than itself.

As I explained in my previous reply to you, all phenomena are just a misperception of brahman (ourself as we actually are), and what misperceives brahman is not brahman itself but only this ego, which like all the phenomena it perceives is itself just a misperception of brahman.

If you read and carefully consider what Bhagavan explains in all the verses and passages from Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, Nāṉ Yār? and Guru Vācaka Kōvai that I have cited in this article, you should be able to understand for yourself that according to him what perceives all forms or phenomena (everything that seems to be other than pure self-awareness) is only ourself as the ego, and that no forms or phenomena seem to exist in the clear view of the infinite and hence formless awareness that we actually are.

Mouna said...

To understand this discussion we need to continue it in deep sleep, all the definitions, answers, arguments and counter-arguments are there.

antam-ila kan said...

no robot,
at best the ego has gone. Our real self does neither go/move nor think.

antam-ila kan said...

Mouna,
in deep sleep there is surely no store for the named items.

Mouna said...

you got it...

antam-ila kan said...

Mouna,
why do you then send us in that mission impossible ?

Mouna said...

Think about it. It is exactly for that reason!!

antam-ila kan said...

Mouna,
you rascal, now I grasp it...
Good night...

Mouna said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Dear fellow devotees
Perhaps one of you can remember one of Michael's satsang videos, in which he was asked what books he would recommend on Bhagavans teachings. I have gone through many of the videos again but can't find the relevant part.
Thank you
Henrik

misperception of brahman said...

Ken,
your intellectual jump from maya to the death of a jnani's body is just a bit too long. What do you mean ?
Otherwise there would be "also no such thing as" Ken.

antam-ila kan said...

Mouna,
:)

Ken said...

The following may be of help to some.

Lakshmana Sharma spend 20 years with Ramana Maharshi, and under Ramana's personal supervision, translated Ulladu Narpadu into Sanskrit.

Lakshmana Sharma says in Sri Ramanaparavidyopanishad:

"307: The Real Self is real in His own right; this world is not at all real in its own right: thus should be understood the reality of the world and the reality of the Self, who is pure Consciousness.

326: This world is not other than the body; this body is not distinct from the mind; the mind does not exist apart from the Real Self; therefore the Self is all the world.

420: Therefore the sage, established as he is in his natural state, would say that the body, appearing as his body to others, and the world are real. But there is a world of difference in the meaning of what he says. Because the superimposition does not appear as real to the Sage.

421: The outlook of discrimination is enjoined only on the aspirant for deliverance, nor for him that has won deliverance. Confused outlook is possible for the former, not for the latter.

422: The ignorant one, because of his confounding body with the Self, thinks of himself as with form and extensive with that body. The Sage is aware of the Self as infinite, formless being; this is the distinction in the meaning of what is said by these two.

423: What is seen as the 'body' by the ignorant appears to the Sage only as the Self; and he refers to it as 'I',ignoring the body-form through his right awareness.

428: Just as one that has become wise as to the truth of the mirage, may again see the mirage without being deluded, so too the Sage, seeing this world, does not think of it as real, as does the ignorant one."

antam-ila kan said...

Henrik,
Sanjay Lohia is currently resting now in deep sleep. After waking in some few hours (the Indian Standard Time IST is 5:30 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time UTC, it is now 4:12) will readily point out the most important books of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Anonymous said...

antam-ila kan, many thanks for your response.

antam-ila kan said...

Henrik,
in the mean time you may study:

Ulladu Narpadu,
Nan Yar ?
Upadesa Undiyar
Guru Vacaka Kovai

Kind regards.

antam-ila kan said...

Henrik,
yet another way is to look just on the main web-site of Michael James: Happiness of Being under the heading of Translations of the Tamil Writings of Sri Ramana and Books by Sadhu Om and Michael James.

Anonymous said...

antam-ila kan, many thanks again
I am aware of the teachings you mentioned. The reason I brought up the satsang was because I think Michael explained well why some publications maybe better than others ( I wish i could find the right video). There are some fantastic resources such as Michael's site as you mentioned and also one or two others but i'm look for books specifically and some advice there. For instance, 'The Collected Works' has everything you need it seems but if i recall correctly Michael has expressed concern over some translations of those core teachings? I maybe be wrong.

Jeremy said...

Michael,

“Since svarūpa is immutable and hence never changes in any way whatsoever, it cannot be aware of anything that appears, because if it were aware of any appearance, it would be the perceiver of it when it appears and not the perceiver of it when it does not appear, so it would change from not being the perceiver of it to being the perceiver of it, and then back again to not being the perceiver of it, which would entail it being changeable and hence unreal.”

I think this argument presupposes that the Self is within time. If the Self is outside time, it makes no sense to say that it changes from being a perceiver to a non-perceiver.

Jeremy said...

Ken,

“307: The Real Self is real in His own right; this world is not at all real in its own right: thus should be understood the reality of the world and the reality of the Self, who is pure Consciousness.”

That is how I understood Sankara’s commentary, which you quoted earlier.

“420: Therefore the sage, established as he is in his natural state, would say that the body, appearing as his body to others, and the world are real. But there is a world of difference in the meaning of what he says. Because the superimposition does not appear as real to the Sage.”

In effect: the sage sees the world (phenomena) but does not consider them to have separate existence.

Jeremy said...

Michael,

“you should be able to understand for yourself that according to him what perceives all forms or phenomena (everything that seems to be other than pure self-awareness) is only ourself as the ego, and that no forms or phenomena seem to exist in the clear view of the infinite and hence formless awareness that we actually are.”

I understand that this is what you are arguing, but I’m not convinced that it is Ramana’s view or the view of Vedanta generally.

My understanding of Ramana and Vedanta is that the world does exist but it does not exist separately from Brahman. Seeing the world is not a misperception. The misperception is seeing the world as separate objects.

Ken said...

Henrik:

David Godman covers, in great depth, the topic of books about and by Ramana Maharshi (and comes to similar conclusions as Michael) on the following web page:

http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.in/2008/05/authenticity-of-bhagavans-writings-and.html

Ken said...

Jeremy:

Your statement and those of Michael are reconciled in this quote from Ramana:

"D: Can I not remain in sushupti [dreamless sleep] as long as I like and also be in it at will, just as I am in the waking state? What is the jnani’s experience of these three states?

Ramana Maharshi: Sushupti does exist in your waking state also. You are in sushupti even now. That should be consciously entered into and reached in this very waking state. There is no real going in and coming out of it. To be aware of sushupti in the jagrat [waking] state is jagrat-sushupti [the state of wakeful sleep, in which there are no thoughts but in which there is full awareness of the existence-consciousness ‘I am’] and that is samadhi.

The ajnani cannot remain long in sushupti, because he is forced by his nature to emerge from it. His ego is not dead and it will rise again and again. But the jnani crushes the ego at its source. It may seem to emerge at times in his case also as if impelled by prarabdha. That is, in the case of the jnani also, for all outward purposes prarabdha [destiny, the portion of the fruit of one’s past actions which are allotted to be experienced in this lifetime] would seem to sustain or keep up the ego, as in the case of the ajnani; but 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)

Ken said...

The following is just my opinion.

Part of the difficulty is that identity is the core issue of realization.

On the preceding page of the book with the above quote, is the following:

"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. "

Then, as stated in the previous post's quote:

"Ramana Maharshi: ...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."

Sadhu Om has written indicating that the "I thought" is necessary for the activity of a sentient being. So, when someone is realized, and then the body becomes active again, it means that once again, "individuality emanates from the Absolute Self...called the ego." but this time "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."

Whereas previously, the "I thought" became lost in the individual identity as a "person", after realization, the "I thought" that now emanates from the Self no longer loses sight of its identity as the Self.

Sadhu Om uses similar language as Ramana when he says:
"In the body of such a Self-realized One (sahaja jnani), the coursing of the 'I' - consciousness along the nerves, even after the destruction of the knot of attachment, is like the water on a lotus leaf or like a burnt rope, and thus it cannot cause bondage. Therefore the destruction of the knot of attachment is anyway indispensible for the attainment of the natural state
(Sahaja Sthiti), the state of the destruction of the tendencies (vosunakshaya)." - Sadhu Om in Path of Sri Ramana Part One, p. 163

Yes, it can be argued that any description of something that happens in the relative world is just a description of non-existent fictions, and that is true from an Absolute viewpoint.

But, Ramana himself frequently distinguished between a relative viewpoint and an Absolute viewpoint, such as when he said "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 when he said "It is well known and admitted that only with the help of the mind can the mind be killed."

antam-ila kan said...

Henrik,
as I remember Michael has expressed some reservations regarding "Talks" because they may been recorded not always in a reliable manner.
Generally he recommended to study carefully Bhagavan's original writings.
I want to add the books of Sadhu Om:
Sadhanai Saram
The Path of Sri Ramana, particularly Part One.

Jeremy said...

Ken,

Interesting comments, thanks.

I don’t know if this is the view of classical Vedanta, but you’re effectively saying that the view of Ramana and Sadhu Om is that the ego continues to exist (or arise) for a sage as it does for other people, but it no longer clings to its individuality.

Since the source of the ego/mind is the Self, this presumably means that the Self is aware of the ego/mind and of the phenomena that are seen by the ego/mind.

Presumably also, the Self is not limited to human consciousness and is aware of other forms of consciousness (badgers, worms, trees) and their perceptions.

And presumably, other sentient forms have their own ego/minds with which they perceive the world.

antam-ila kan said...

Jeremy,
Michael's remark :"...because if it were aware of any appearance..." is formulated in the form of possibility to express an unreal condition (in grammar: conditional sentence).

Michael James said...

Jeremy, in the comment in which you reply to my argument that svarūpa (our ‘own form’ or real nature) cannot be what perceives any appearance, because it is immutable, whereas being the perceiver of anything that appears or disappears entails changing from not being the perceiver of it to being the perceiver of it, and then back again to not being the perceiver of it, you have unintentionally given another argument in support of this one, because you remarked: ‘If the Self is outside time, it makes no sense to say that it changes from being a perceiver to a non-perceiver’. That is correct, it makes no sense whatsoever, so since svarūpa is beyond the limits of time, it cannot become the perceiver of anything that appears in time.

The appearance of time and the appearance of change are inseparable, because change can only occur in time, and time seems to exist only because of the occurrence of change. In an absolutely changeless state there would be no movement of time, nor would there be any means to perceive or measure it. Therefore since svarūpa is eternally changeless, it is also timeless, and as such it cannot become anything that it is not always.

Since phenomena are by definition things that appear (‘phenomenon’ being derived from the Greek phainomenon, which means ‘thing being shown’ or ‘thing appearing to view’), and since appearance can only occur in time, perception of any phenomenon is necessarily time-bound — that is, it comes and goes, and hence does not endure forever. Therefore whatever perceives any phenomenon must likewise be time-bound, because it must change from the state of not perceiving a phenomenon before it appears to the state of perceiving it when it does appear, and back to the state of not perceiving it after it disappears. How can such a changeable entity be what we actually are (ātma-svarūpa, the ‘own form’ or real nature of ourself), if (as Bhagavan teaches us) what we actually are is timeless and hence eternal and immutable?

misperception of brahman said...

Jeremy,
your remark "My understanding of Ramana and Vedanta is that the world does exist but it does not exist separately from Brahman. Seeing the world is not a misperception. The misperception is seeing the world as separate objects." includes already an erroneous thought. How can one see the world if not "as separate objects" ?
Is that really possible ? Your statement would be more accurate when you replace the word "see" by "being aware" of the world - without the medium of sense-perception.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Henrik, once somebody asked Bhagavan to recommend him some books to read. Bhagavan said something to the effect: ‘Books are outside the panchkosas, whereas you exist within it. Try and read that book as often as possible, and then you can go on reading any book you like’. He was emphasizing that our first and foremost task is to try and attend to ourself alone.

As recorded in Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, under the date 18th August 1946, someone appealed to Bhagavan thus: ‘Please let me have something to commemorate this event and bless this poor soul’. ‘What shall I give?’ asked Bhagavan. ‘Anything you please; just an aksharam (letter) by way of Upadesa’, he said. Bhagavan said, ‘How can I give you which is ‘aksharam’?’

Akshram means ‘letter’, ‘syllable’ ‘sound’ and so on, and in philosophical terms is the opposite of ksara (perishable). Therefore, in the context in which Bhagavan used aksharam, he meant ‘impressible’ or ‘indestructible’.

When Bhagavan said: ‘how can I give you which is ‘aksharam’?’, what he meant was how could he give him his true nature, ‘atma-svarupa, because this is the only impressible and indestructible substance. At this moment a devotee present remembered the following ’Ekam Aksharam (also called Eka sloki) verse, which Bhagavan had composed earlier. This was read out loud, it says in Sanskrit:

Ekam-aksharam;
Hrdi nirantaram;
Bhashtey swayam;
Likhyate katham


Meaning: The one imperishable [svarupa] which is in the heart shines by itself, at all times. How to write it or express it in words?

Likewise, how to find in books which is there inside us as our own svarupa? Of course, sravana, manana and nididhyasana (reading, reflecting and meditation) should continue as long as our ego is intact, but eventually we will have to give up all our outside supports, like reading and so on, and dive deep within in order to be permanently swallowed by Bhagavan.



Jeremy said...

Michael,

“The appearance of time and the appearance of change are inseparable, because change can only occur in time” - yes, but you’re assuming that it is not possible to perceive outside of time. An omni-temporal Self may perceive time as a complete whole rather than as fragmentary moments.

One way to view time is to see it as being analogous to spatial dimensions. I can view a landscape and see that it “changes” from hills to woodlands to fields - and I can see this within a single moment. By analogy, omni-temporal awareness may view the four-dimensional landscape of space and time as a timeless whole.

misperception of brahman said...

Jeremy,
again: the self does not perceive anything but is the one without any second.
You may firstly understand that fundmental experience mentally and then internalize it deeply.

Jeremy said...

misperception of brahman,

“again: the self does not perceive anything but is the one without any second”

Yes, Vedanta says that there is nothing outside the Self, but Vedanta also says that phenomena are (in reality) the Self, and that the Self is self-aware. You’re welcome to substitute “is aware of” for “perceive” if you wish.

Ken said...

There is sort of a dance that goes on, where you have:

* Duality in the relative world, "that which sees phenomenon is only Ego"

* Non-duality in the absolute world, "the Self is only aware of itself, the world does not actually exist"

and going back and forth within the same sentence.

I have not done a survey, but from my recollection, Ramana does not do that.

When we say "stop paying attention to thoughts and sense-perceptions, and instead pay attention to the Self", that is a relative world sentence. In that sentence, there is a duality "Self" and "thoughts and sense-perceptions".

The duality "Self" and "thoughts and sense-perceptions" is a practice technique.

On the Absolute level of non-duality, "Self" includes "thoughts and sense-perceptions" because there is no second thing.

Ramana talks about this Relative vs Absolute distinction in this quote from Maharshi's Gospel page 73:

"Q: In that case, how can it be localised in any part of the body? Fixing a place for the Heart would imply setting physiological limitations to that which is beyond space and time.

Ramana Maharshi: That is right. But the person who puts the question about the position of the Heart considers himself as existing with or in the body. While putting the question now, would you say that your body alone is here but you are speaking from somewhere else? No, you accept your bodily existence. It is from this point of view that any reference to a physical body comes to be made.

Truly speaking, pure consciousness is indivisible, it is without parts. It has no form and shape, no ‘within’ and ‘without’. There is no ‘right’ or ‘left’ for it. Pure consciousness, which is the Heart, includes all, and nothing is outside or apart from it. That is the ultimate truth.

From this absolute standpoint, the Heart, Self or consciousness can have no particular place assigned to it in the physical body. What is the reason? The body is itself a mere projection of the mind, and the mind is but a poor reflection of the radiant Heart. How can that, in which everything is contained, be itself confined as a tiny part within the physical body which is but an infinitesimal, phenomenal manifestation of the one reality?

But people do not understand this. They cannot help thinking in terms of the physical body and the world. For instance, you say, ‘I have come to this ashram all the way from my country beyond the Himalayas.’ But that is not the truth. Where is ‘coming’ or ‘going’ or any movement whatever, for the one, all-pervading spirit which you really are? You are where you have always been. It is your body that moved or was conveyed from place to place till it reached this ashram. This is the simple truth, but to a person who considers himself a subject living in an objective world, it appears as something altogether visionary!

It is by coming down to the level of ordinary understanding that a place is assigned to the Heart in the physical body."

mind-polisher said...

Ken,
the mind is always restless and busy with thinking, doubting, questioning and so on.
Let us face that fact and take the countermeasure against that unhealthy and destructive bustling activity by trying to set down the mind in its source.

mind-polisher said...

Jeremy,
Vedanta gives also a practical advice and summarizingly recommends highly to be nothing but the self.
So what are we waiting for ?

avan aham ahum said...

Quote from Sri Ramanasramam:
"EVERY living being longs always to be happy, untainted by sorrow; and everyone has the greatest love for himself, which is solely due to the fact that happiness is his real nature."
Does our real nature remain in hidding ?
Do we keep our real nature hidden ?
Is there a place where our true nature is in hidding ?
However, we should track down our seemingly lost real nature - our nearest and dearest - to its hideout.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Henrik, I have come across another saying of Bhagavan, which shows the limitation of studying texts without limit. I thought it is worth sharing, and reflecting upon this advice of Bhagavan. He says in the sixteenth paragraph of Nan Yar?:

Since in every [spiritual] text it is said that for attaining mukti [liberation] it is necessary to make the mind subside, after knowing that mano-nigraha [restrain, subjugation or destruction of the mind] is the ultimate intention [or purpose] of [such] texts, there is no benefit [to be gained] by studying texts without limit.

ramanargadatta said...

When we know ourself as Awareness, what we see is Awareness. If we think we see more than one, it's because we think we are one, when in Truth, we - Awareness - are not one, not two.

GVK v. 86: Do not ask, "Why does Self, as if confused, not know the Truth that It is Itself, which is seen as the world?" If instead you enquire, "To whom does this confusion occur?" it will be discovered that no such confusion ever existed for Self!

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding the comment in which you say that there may be typo in one of my earlier comments when I wrote ‘Can it be correct to say that not misperceiving one thing (our one, infinite, indivisible and formless self) as something else (numerous finite forms or phenomena) is a limitation?’, as several other friends pointed out to you, in the phrase ‘not misperceiving one thing’ ‘not’ is not a typo, because the implied meaning of this rhetorical question is that it cannot be correct to say that not misperceiving one thing as something else is a limitation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, yes, I got it now. Thank you. I got confused by the double negative used by you: ‘…not misperceiving…’. I remembered, Bhagavan also used double negative in verse 21 of Upadesa Undiyar:

That [one infinite whole that shines thus as ‘I am I’] is at all times [in the past, present and future, and in all eternity] the [true] import of the word names ‘I’, because of the absence of our non-existence even in sleep, which is devoid of [our finite] ‘I’ [our mind or ego].

In the book Upadesa Saram The Complete Version in Four Languages Composed by Sri Bhagavan you have explained this verse as follows:

Here the words ‘because of the removal [separation or absence] of our non-existence’ are a poetic way of saying ‘because we are non non-existent’. The implied double negative is an emphatic way of saying we do exist in sleep. Even though our mind becomes non-existent in sleep, we continue to exist and to know our existence as ‘I am’. It follows that our mind is not real ‘I’ but only an impostor, an apparition or phantom which poses as ‘I’. Our real ‘I’ can only be that which we are at all times and in all states.

With regards.

mind-polisher said...

Sanjay,
the phrase "because of the absence of our non-existence ..." is actually a remarkable, exceptional and funny way of expressing. It reminds me a little of the 'son of a barren woman'. On the other hand one may question whether even the opposite, the presence of our-non-existence, is conceivable or possible.

mind-polisher said...

ramanargadatta,
your saying "If we think we see more than one, it's because we think we are one, when in Truth, we - Awareness - are not one, not two." sounds a bit cryptically to me ?
I become bewildered about that. Is it not be said that we are just one ?
May you give further explanation ? Or do you put us to the test ?

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

he explains it in the next sentence.
being one is a thought. no thoughts in awareness.
so, being one, is an interpretation of awareness by the mind, when it arises from it.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

Ken said...
The following is just my opinion.

Part of the difficulty is that identity is the core issue of realization.

On the preceding page of the book with the above quote, is the following:

"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. "

Then, as stated in the previous post's quote:

"Ramana Maharshi: ...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."


Ken, what you say here is very different from "the Self is the witness".
the ego is always the witness, but in the case of the jnani, the rise of ego doesn't carry the belief "i am the body". it does't invest its happiness in the world.

what seems ambiguous, is how the jnani's mind keeps "attention (lakshya) always on the Source". i don't think he means that part of the attention is on the Source and part of the attention is on the object, but that attention is transformed in a kind of "divine attention" where it is always bathing in the source whatever object it may attend to.
In that case, it would not be an "ego grasping form", but something beyond our capacity to grasp, unless we have that experience.

ramanargadatta said...

From the ego - the thought, "I am this (separate) one" - comes the thought, "there is more than one". Awareness does not know Itself as 'one' because, being infinite, there is not another to know.

The mind - perceptions, sensations, and mentations - as Ramana tells us, is only a bundle of thoughts, and the substance of all thoughts is only the awareness of them. In other words, the substance of all phenomena - which appear as mind - is only formless, infinite, Awareness.

Attention kept "always on the Source" is attention which has come to rest as the Source. The jnani's 'mind', therefore, is only Awareness.

Ken said...

I'm not a robot. what am I?,

Ramana explains "attention always on the Source" in the following quote:

"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)

mind-polisher said...

ramanaradatta,
you say "Awareness does not know Itself as 'one' because, being infinite, there is not another to know."
I'd assume that our pure self-awareness does very well know itself as one. We should not suppose any difference between knowing and being.

ramanargadatta said...

mind-polisher,

Yes, knowing and being are one, but for AwareBeing, that assumption isn't necessary.

mind-polisher said...

ramanarga,
"but for AwareBeing, that assumption isn't necessary."
For the sake of clarity would you please explain more precisely the above statement ?

ramanargadatta said...

mind-polisher,

This time I'll "put you to the test". : )

mind-polisher said...

ramanarga,
quite right, at the latest when thoughts begin to whirl in the head one should resort to stillness.:)

ramanargadatta said...

mind-polisher,

Even Ramana couldn't explain it as well as Stillness.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

Ken

i am familiar with the quote and the theory.
i am more interested in how it happens, and that is not explained.
for us ajnanis, our attention is either still or directed to an object, or somewhere in between.
if the rising attention, which we call mind and ego or I-thought, maintains the direct experience of it self being unlimited and nondual, as it is when it is still, while at the same time has access to illusory duality, then it seems that in the case of the jnani his I-thought gets to be, not dissolved permanently, but to become "informed" of its nature or "transfigurated" permanently.
it may have to do with I-thought recognizing the base-Self at the exact moment of arising.
and maybe thats why Ramana gives importance on practising atma-vichara at the moment we realize that we wake up from sleep.

mind-polisher said...

ramanarga,
let us now reach agreement on stating that stillness/silence is our true nature.
Simply for contemplation:
"Know that the one real 'I' appears to be many 'I's because of the body-outlook[i.e. because of the wrong outlook that each body is an 'I']. But through the outlook of Self, the one eternal existence -consciousness, know them all to be one."(Guru Vachaka Kovai)

mind-polisher said...

Quote from Sri Ramanasramam:

"Realisation is nothing but seeing God literally. Our greatest mistake is that we think of God as acting symbolically and allegorically instead of practically and literally."

ramanargadatta said...

mind-polisher,

We agree. Stillness is what we truly are.

"In every body there is a dream, but the dreamer is the same, the one Self, which reflects itself in each body as 'I am'." - Nisargadatta

Ken said...

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

"Ken

i am familiar with the quote and the theory.
i am more interested in how it happens, and that is not explained."

Go to Michael's web site and at the following link, you will find a free download of the PDF copy of the book by Sadhu Om called "The Path of Sri Ramana Part One". I find that book to be the best explanation of Self-Enquiry.... and.... in Chapter 8 "The Technique of Self-Enquiry", it explains "how it happens":

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

(It is too many words to post the relevant portions here)

Ken said...

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

"Ken

i am familiar with the quote and the theory.
i am more interested in how it happens, and that is not explained."

"How it happens" is explained by Sadhu Om, but it is a little too long to just post here. It is part of a book that I find to be the best book on Self-Enquiry, which you can download in PDF form for free from Michael's site at the following link. The relevant portion is Chapter 8 "The Technique of Self-Enquiry" from Sadhu Om' book "The Path of Sri Ramana Part One". That chapter is even recommended by Nisargadatta disciples. It is at:

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

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

thank you ken,
i had read that chapter, but my attention was more fixed on the part of coming back to the source, than what happens in the case of the jnani.
it is wonderfully explained, and the feeling one gets from it is that whatever terms or
analysis, which are of great value, we use when we practice in order to be clear on it, are unable to describe the attainment.
so, since the feeling "i am the body" or the "knot of attachment" is what gets destroyed by seeing as second person, while "i-consiousness" is still available but not creating bondage, one can say that both the claims are true:

1)the jnani always knows only the Self and no "things" or "objects".
2)the jnani experiences names and forms, but not as "other".

ramanargadatta said...

Even disciples of Christ can appreciate Ch. 8 of The Path of Sri Ramana Part One.

Jesus, the son of God, born of a virgin, dies on the cross...you know the story - and others like it in other religions.

Just the story of a reflected ray of the Sun back to its Source.

Michael James said...

Jeremy, I have replied to the comment in which you said, ‘I don’t see a contradiction between Sankara’s comments which are quoted by Ken’, in a separate article: Like Bhagavan, Sankara taught that objects are perceived only through ignorance and hence by the mind and not by ourself as we actually are.

Anonymous said...

@ Ken, many thanks for the link you provided, I found it very interesting.
@ Sanjay, also many thanks for your wonderful respones, very much taken on board.
best regards
Henrik

"I always am" said...

Michael,
section 11.
"What he means by saying ‘உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும்’ (ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum), ‘the world shines by the mind’, is that the seeming existence of the world is illumined or made perceptible by the mind’s awareness of it, or in other words, that it seems to exist only by being perceived by the mind. Therefore, since it shines by the mind, it does not shine or seem to exist in the absence of the mind. Since it is just an illusory appearance, it does not actually exist, but seems to exist only because we (as this ego or mind) see it."
So - the world does not actually/really exist.
Though that statement might be philosophically a correct insight or realization - it is not much consolation to all living beings/creatures full of suffering.
Imagine for instance a battered child, disregarded and left in the lurch by its parents or somebody who was fallen victim to Holocaust...

"I always am" said...

Michael,
section 12.
"If we were not aware of ourself as a jaḍa form, we would not be aware of any phenomena, because all phenomena are jaḍa forms, and as Bhagavan asks rhetorically in verse 4, ‘உருவம் தான் அன்றேல், உவற்றின் உருவத்தை கண் உறுதல் யாவன்? எவன்?’ (uruvam tāṉ aṉḏṟēl, uvaṯṟiṉ uruvattai kaṇ uṟudal yāvaṉ? evaṉ?), ‘If oneself is not a form, who can see their forms, and how [to do so]?’ What is aware of ourself as the form of a jaḍa body is not ourself as we actually are but only ourself as this ego, so it is only as this ego that we can be aware of any forms or phenomena — that is, anything other than ourself. As we actually are, we are aware of nothing other than ourself, because we are formless and therefore cannot see any forms.

In order to see ourself as we actually are, we need to turn our mind (our attention) back within and thereby immerse it completely in our source, which is what we actually are, namely pure self-awareness, and which is what Bhagavan refers to in this verse as பதி (pati), Lord or God. When we thereby immerse our mind in pure self-awareness, it will drown and be lost forever, and since it alone is what sees everything, we will thereafter be never be aware of anything other than ourself."
Is that a way out of seeing/being aware of any suffering ?
Is then all suffering eliminated forever ?

"I always am" said...

Michael,

section 13. Guru Vācaka Kōvai verse 114: in the bright light of pure self-awareness, the false appearance of ego, world and God will vanish
"That is, though our actual self (ātma-svarūpa) is the original light of awareness that gives the mind the reflected awareness by which it sees everything, our actual self itself does not see anything other than itself, because being what is real, it can see only what is real, and what is real is only itself as it actually is and not itself as all the illusory forms or phenomena that it seems to be in the deluded outlook of ourself as this ego or mind. Therefore when the reflected light of our mind turns back within to see its own source and thereby drowns and merges forever in the infinite light of pure self-awareness, perception of everything else will cease, just as the appearance of pictures on a cinema screen would disappear if the bright light of the sun were to flood into the cinema, thereby swallowing both the limited light from the projector and the background darkness in which it was shining, as Bhagavan says in verse 114 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai:"
That means that all suffering was and is unreal.
But there is no disputing that suffering was actually felt, irrespective of our judgement whether we name it real or unreal.

"I always am" said...

Michael,
section 14.
"Without this triad of perceiver, perceived and perception, nothing other than oneself could be perceived, so since we as we actually are cannot be a member of such a transitory triad — because we alone are what actually exists and we exist forever, unlike the perceiver, who appears and disappears along with whatever it perceives — it should be clear to us that the perceiver of anything other than ourself can only be ourself as this transitory ego and not ourself as we actually are."
That we as we actually are - the infinite self-awareness - cannot be a member of the mentioned transitory triad and as such had never to suffer from any kind of illness/disease may be a comfort to us.

"I always am" said...

Michael,
section 15.
How I could stand so long not to know the non-existence of the ego remains a complete mystery to me.

Celio Leite said...

If the world will remain...It does not matter.
When I 'fall in Love' with MySELF
there is no other..

Sanjay Lohia said...

Celio Leite, as you say, when we madly fall in love with ourself, we will be least bothered whether or not this world remains. And when we experience ourself as we really are, this world will certainly be destroyed, never to reappear again. As Bhagavan says in seventh paragraph of Nan Yar?:

What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa[our own essential self]. The world, soul and God are kalpanaigaḷ [imaginations, fabrications, mental creations or illusory superimpositions] in it, like [the imaginary] silver [seen] in a shell. These three appear simultaneously and disappear simultaneously. Svarūpa [our ‘own form’ or actual self] alone is the world; svarūpa alone is ‘I’ [our ego, soul or individual self]; svarūpa alone is God; everything is śiva-svarūpa [our actual self, which is śiva, the absolute and only truly existing reality].

What actually exists is only atma-svarupa, even when other things seem to exist. However, as Bhagavan explains in Nan Yar?, everything other than ourself is an illusion, a projection of our mind or maya, and maya means ‘what does not exist’.

Casablanca said...

Celio Leite,
what you are aspiring consciously, is this not an extremely egotistical undertaking ?
When you separate your ego from any world - be it real or unreal - it may be an adventage for you (in the view of your ego), but that seems to be in no way a great help to the remaining brothers and sisters. In your narrow, limited outlook or finite view there may be (remain) no other.
Like an ostrich you are putting your head in the sand and because you do not see then any other you believe that there is no other at all.
Or is my opinion completely wrong ?

venkat said...

Casablanca

No - you are not wrong. It is very easy in vedanta to be escapist, to put your head in the sand.

In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna's advice to Arjuna is to practise naiskama karma - desireless action. And Bhagavan and others have said that after realisation, a Jnani's actions are only for the sake of others and not himself.

VS Iyer, the teacher of the early Ramakrishna monks had this advice:
"The goal of Vedanta is to see the other man’s sufferings as your own. Because in dream all the scenes and all the people are made of the same essence as yourself, they are as real as you are. Do not treat other people as mere ideas but your own self as real. If they are ideas, so are you. If you are real, so are they. Hence you must feel for them all just what you feel for yourself."

Celio Leite said...

I agree. To help and give love to all human beings and animals is the utmost importance.
But to fall in love with your BEING is one of the greatest help for other people we cope with,

Love

Ken said...

Sanjay wrote:

"maya means ‘what does not exist’."

Not according to anyone I have ever read.

Here are a few definitions:

"A magic show, an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem".

"that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal"

Please note that "unreal" "fictional" "imaginary" and "illusion" are not the same as "nonexistent".

From Outline of Advaita Vedanta by D. KRISHNA AYYAR :

" Advaita Vedanta says that in Brahman, there is, as a lower order of reality, a mithya, anivacaniiya entity, called 'Maya'. "

Arvind Sharma writes in "An Introduction to Advaita Vedanta":

"Maya is a fact in that it is the appearance of phenomena. Since Brahman is the sole metaphysical truth, Maya is true in epistemological and empirical sense; however, Maya is not the metaphysical and spiritual truth. The spiritual truth is the truth forever, while what is empirical truth is only true for now. Since Maya is the perceived material world, it is true in perception context, but is "untrue" in spiritual context of Brahman. Maya is not false, it only clouds the inner Self and principles that are real. True Reality includes both Vyavaharika (empirical) and Paramarthika "(spiritual), the Maya and the Brahman. The goal of spiritual enlightenment, state Advaitins, is to realize Brahman, realize the fearless, resplendent Oneness."

Ken said...

Sanjay also wrote:

"And when we experience ourself as we really are, this world will certainly be destroyed, never to reappear again."

You keep saying this, but it is not true. No one says this except you. It is documented that Ramana said otherwise.

Casablanca said...

Celio Leite,
when you say: "But to fall in love with your BEING is one of the greatest help for other people we cope with,..." could you please work out your remark in more detail why you believe that.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ken, Bhagavan had indeed explained consistently and clearly that this world is an illusion, another dream, projected and experienced only by our ego. Therefore when this ego is no more, this dream-world will also be no more. For example, I recently read one of his sayings in which he says:

These names and forms which constitute the world always change and perish. Hence they are called mithya (not true, an illusion). To limit the Self and regard it as these names and forms is mithya. To regard all as Self is the reality.

If this world were true and real, why should he ask us to turn away from this ‘real world’ and experience ourself as really are? He had no need to give us the teaching of atma-vichara, if this world were real. Obviously in his direct experience this world is exactly like a dream, and hence the need to totally reject it by experiencing ourself as we really are.

Michael James said...

Ken, in one of your comments you say that māyā does not mean ‘what does not exist’ according to anyone you have ever read, but Bhagavan himself often pointed out that māyā means yā mā, ‘what is not’ or ‘she who is not’ ( is the feminine form of the Sanskrit pronoun yad, so it means ‘what’ or ‘she who’, and is a particle of negation, so it means ‘not’), as recorded in many books (sometimes with the actual words ‘yā mā’ and sometimes with just an English equivalent such as ‘what does not exist’), such as in Talks sections 144, 263 and 288 (2006 edition, pages 129, 226 and 258) and Day by Day 7-4-46 (2002 edition, page 191).

If māyā actually existed, there would be two things, brahman (ourself) and māyā, in which case non-duality (advaita) would not be the truth, but according to Bhagavan only one thing actually exists, namely ourself, as he says in 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 [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]’. Therefore nothing other than ourself actually exists, so māyā is yā mā, what does not actually exist.

Even though māyā seems to exist, it seems to exist only in the view of the ego, which is itself māyā, so it is a non-existent thing that seems to exist only in its own non-existent view. This is why the ultimate truth (pāramārthika satya) is as stated by Bhagavan in the final sentence of verse 27 of Upadēśa Undiyār, ‘அறிவதற்கு ஒன்று இலை’ (aṟivadaṟku oṉḏṟu ilai), ‘There is not anything for knowing’, and in the third sentence of verse 12 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும்’ (aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum), ‘Since it shines without another for knowing or for making known, oneself is [real] awareness’.

venkat said...

My understanding of Shankara, which explains Bhagavan's teaching, is that all there is is Brahman. Due to ignorance, avidya, there arises an erroneous identification with one part of Brahman, as distinct from the rest. This is the suttarivu, the objectifying consciousness that separates subject from object. This is the "i"-thought that arises and simultaneously 'creates' an external objective world, as distinct / separate from the subject, the body-mind. This is the power of maya.

But the ultimate truth is that there is no subject or object, there is no separation, there is only Brahman.

So jnana, knowledge, removes this ignorance, this superimposition of Self and non-self. Bhagavan's atma vichara, is therefore a means to first clearly distinguish (viveka) the Self and non-self, and understand that the subject-object distinction is not real, does not exist, and through vairagya thereby cease our erroneous and habitual identification with the separate body-mind. And what remains after this superimposed subject-object ignorance is removed, is that which we are.

Ken said...

Sanjay:

Apparently you are reading neither my posts, nor your own posts.

The post that you replied to, mentioned that "real" and "illusion" are not the same as "exists". So, showing how something is unreal and illusory does not show that it is nonexistent.

But then you seem to be agreeing with me when you post Ramana's words:

"These names and forms which constitute the world always change and perish. Hence they are called mithya (not true, an illusion). To limit the Self and regard it as these names and forms is mithya. To regard all as Self is the reality."

How is it that the world, names and forms, can be illusory, and yet part of the Self?

Ramana over and over again gives the example of the movie screen and the images on it. But modern screens are an ever better example, especially since we are all looking at one now.

We look at a picture and it appears be the form of a, say, a mountain, but actually it is just the screen. The "pixels" in the screen change brightness and give us the illusion of looking at a mountain. But it is just the screen.

There is not anything for knowing said...

venkat,
your understanding is quite good.
But:
1. You are speaking about "the power of maya".
2. Then you are saying that "there is no separation" and that "there is only Brahman".
Strictly speaking the second statement is contradictory to your first remark:
How can there be (any power of) maya or ignorance if Brahman alone is ?

commentator said...

Michael,
till now you obviously could not remove the problem with the "preview"-box and "Bad Request Error 400".
May I repeat my just one request as I asked with my comment (nr.75) of 22 November 2016 at 20:51 regarding the Article of 19 October 2016 [As we actually are, we do nothing and are aware of nothing other than ourself].

Michael James said...

Commentator, I have been experiencing the same problem since about the end of October, and it seems to be a widespread problem on many or all blogs hosted by Blogger, as you can see from two discussions on the Blogger Help Forum here and here.

My way of working around this problem is to draft each of my replies in Notepad (as I always did), then copy and paste it into the comment box, click the ‘Preview’ button, read the preview, make any corrections I need to make in the Notepad draft, and when I am satisfied I close the ‘Post a Comment’ page and open a new one, into which I paste my corrected draft and then click the ‘Publish Your Comment’ button.

venkat said...

There is not anything for knowing said...

You are quite right. "Maya" is a provisional explanation for seekers who are looking for a cause.

commentator said...

Thank you Sir Michael James for your answer.
It would be nice if Blogger could solve the problem on their own initiative or without being told to.
Until then your way of working described above is surely practicable.

There is not anything for knowing said...

venkat,
we should not even think of maya. Already the thought of maya is a terrible vision.

Ken said...

On Maya and the World

Here is Ramana Maharshi on this subject. He always says the same thing, no matter which source, which translator, he has said the same thing every time. Here are three different quotes from three different sources:

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

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

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

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

Q: So the world is not really illusory?

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

(From Talks, p. 41, Guru Ramana, p. 65 and Letters, p. 94)

There are justificable doubts as to whether the sources remembered Ramana's statements correctly.

But, seriously, can you really say that S.S. Cohen did not remember the questioner's question correctly? The questioner says "Sri Bhagavan often says that maya [illusion] and reality are the same."

So, what some people are doubting today, was common knowledge in the ashram when Ramana was there.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ken, when something is unreal and illusory, it is non-existent in an absolute sense, though it may seem to exist in a relative sense. Anything unreal and illusory is necessarily projected by our ego, and anything projected and experienced by our ego projects is non-existent. The water in a mirage may seem to be real, but if we go near it we will find that what we saw as water is non-existent. Likewise, our waking or dream worlds are non-existent, though when we experience it it seems real in our deluded view.

In your latest comment you quote Shankara:

1) Bhahman is real
2) The universe is unreal
3) The universe in Bhahman

What it means is this: What exists is only bhahman or atma-svarupa, and therefore when we experience this world full of names and forms, we are merely witnessing an illusion, a projection of our ego. However, when we experience ourself as really are, we will not experience any names and forms, and hence not experience this world as we now seem to experience. What was earlier seen as the world is now seen as brahman or atma-svarupa, because the underlying reality of this world-appearance is only atma-svarupa.

vivarta said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you quote Shankara using a (new) term "Bhaman" which I never heard before.
Or is it only a typo ? (Bahman instead of Brahman)
What means "3) The universe in Bhaman" ?
This sentence seems to be incomplete because it has no verb.
Or should we read "is" instead of "in" ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

vivarta, thank you pointing out my typos. Yes, it should be: 'The universe is Brahman'.