Wednesday, 8 March 2017

There is only one ego, and even that does not actually exist

A friend recently wrote to me asking various questions about what I had said in some of the videos on my YouTube channel, Sri Ramana Teachings, and also about several other related topics, so this article is adapted from my reply to her.
  1. We who are aware of this world are the only ego
  2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: investigating what this ego is is giving up everything
  3. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28: when everything else ceases to exist, what remains is only beginningless, infinite and undivided sat-cit-ānanda
  4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12: we are not nothingness but pure awareness
  5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 31: the jñāni is aware of nothing other than itself, so our mind cannot grasp its perspective
  6. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 33: the ‘I’ that rises to say ‘I have seen’ has seen nothing
1. We who are aware of this world are the only ego

All questions can ultimately be resolved only in silence, but to enable us to experience the silence that we actually are, Bhagavan gave us teachings in words, so until we lose ourself in absolute silence, his words are our guide.

He taught us that everything that we experience other than ourself is just a dream, and that just as in dream there is only one ego who projects and perceives the dream world and all the people in it, in this dream that we now mistake to be waking we are the only ego who has projected this world and is perceiving it.

This teaching is called ēka-jīva-vāda (the contention that there is only one jīva or ego), and once when Bhagavan was explaining it, one of the devotees who was present there asked him, ‘Which one of us here is the one jīva?’, to which he replied, ‘You are that’. Then another devotee asked, ‘What about me?’, and to him also Bhagavan said, ‘You are that’.

What should we understand from this? When we are dreaming we seem to be just one among many people in the dream world, and we assume that each other person is a jīva or ego just like us and that each of them is therefore perceiving the world just as we are. However, as soon as we wake up, we understand that all those other people we saw in our dream were just our own mental projections and that none of them were actually perceiving or aware of anything. Likewise in our present state all the other people we see are just our own mental projections, so it is only in our view that they seem to be perceiving the world just as we are.

This is why if we ask Bhagavan who is the one jīva, he will always say ‘You are that’, because though we cannot know whether anyone else is actually aware of anything, we know that we are aware of this world, so we must be the one jīva or ego that he was talking about.

2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: investigating what this ego is is giving up everything

This ēka-jīva-vāda is clearly implied in so many of his teachings. For example, in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he says:
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.
Which ego is he referring to here? The one and only ego there is, namely ourself, so we are that.

However this one ego is not what we actually are, but only what we seem to be, so if we investigate ourself keenly enough, we will see what we actually are and hence this one ego will vanish forever, since it does not actually exist, just as an illusory snake would vanish if we were to look at it carefully enough to see that it is actually just a rope. Therefore, since the seeming existence of everything else depends upon the seeming existence of ourself as this ego, and since this ego will cease to exist if we investigate it keenly enough, Bhagavan says, ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும்’ (ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādalē yāvum ōvudal), which means, ‘Therefore, investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

3. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 28: when everything else ceases to exist, what remains is only beginningless, infinite and undivided sat-cit-ānanda

However, what he means by ‘everything’ in this context is all phenomena, and when the ego and all phenomena cease to exist what remains is only ourself as we actually are, which is anādi (beginningless), ananta (endless, limitless or infinite), akhaṇḍa (unbroken or undivided) sat-cit-ānanda (being-awareness-bliss), as he says in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தனாதியல் யாதெனத் தான்றெரி கிற்பின்
னனாதி யனந்தசத் துந்தீபற
      வகண்ட சிதானந்த முந்தீபற.

taṉādiyal yādeṉat tāṉḏṟeri hiṯpiṉ
ṉaṉādi yaṉantasat tundīpaṟa
      vakhaṇḍa cidāṉanda mundīpaṟa
.

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

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

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

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

English translation: If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] beginningless, endless [or infinite] and undivided sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss].
Therefore what remains when everything ceases to exist is not nothingness but the infinite fullness of sat-cit-ānanda, which is what we actually are and what alone is real, even when other things seem to exist.

4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12: we are not nothingness but pure awareness

This is why Bhagavan says 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: What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance [about anything other than oneself] is actually knowledge [or awareness]. That which knows [anything other than oneself] is not real knowledge [or awareness]. Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know [or causing to be known], oneself is [real] knowledge [or awareness]. It is not a void [or nothingness]. Know [or be aware].
Therefore you need not have any fear about ‘total and complete nothingness’, because no such thing exists, and because when the ego ceases to exist there will be no one left to experience even a seeming nothingness, since what remains then is only what we actually are, which is pure and infinite self-awareness (awareness that is not aware of anything other than itself). (In this connection you may find it useful to read a more detailed article I wrote on this subject: Self-knowledge is not a void (śūnya).)

5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 31: the jñāni is aware of nothing other than itself, so our mind cannot grasp its perspective

Regarding your question about my remark that in the view of the jñāni he alone exists, though we mistake the jñāni to be a person, it is not actually any such thing. As Bhagavan often used to say, jñāna alone is the jñāni, which means that pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) alone is what is aware of itself. Since nothing other than pure self-awareness exists in its view, our outward-facing mind is unable to comprehend it adequately, which is why Bhagavan says 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’?
As you rightly point out, there is no person remaining there to say what the perspective of the jñāni is, so if we want to know what its perspective actually is, we must turn within to see ourself and thereby to merge in and as the pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna) that we actually are.

6. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 33: the ‘I’ that rises to say ‘I have seen’ has seen nothing

Regarding the people whom David Godman interviewed in some of his videos, who you say ‘were smiling and talking about their wonderful experiences as when their ego was destroyed’, there is a saying in Tamil, ‘கண்டவர் விண்டில்லை; விண்டவர் கண்டில்லை’ (kaṇḍavar viṇḍillai; viṇḍavar kaṇḍillai), which means ‘those who have seen do not say [or open their mouth]; those who say [or open their mouth] have not seen’. And as Bhagavan says in verse 33 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
என்னை யறியேனா னென்னை யறிந்தேனா
னென்ன னகைப்புக் கிடனாகு — மென்னை
தனைவிடய மாக்கவிரு தானுண்டோ வொன்றா
யனைவரனு பூதியுண்மை யால்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: Saying ‘I do not know myself’ [or] ‘I have known myself’ is ground for ridicule. Why? To make oneself an object known, are there two selves? Because being one is the truth of everyone’s experience.
Therefore we should be very sceptical about anyone who claims ‘I have known myself’ or ‘I have experienced what remains after the ego is annihilated’. As you rightly point out, if the ego has been eradicated, who remains there to say ‘I’ have experienced anything? Whatever ‘I’ makes such claims can only be the ego, because what we actually are is infinite self-awareness, other than which nothing actually exists, so how could it make any such claims, and to whom could it make them? Therefore as Bhagavan says, all such claims are ‘ground for ridicule’.

However, we need not concern ourself with the seeming self-ignorance or egotism of others, because those others seem to exist only in the outward-turned view of ourself as this ego, so all we need be concerned with is investigating ourself in order to find out what we ourself actually are and thereby free ourself from the clutches of this self-ignorant ego that we now seem to be.

25 comments:

shiba said...

>This teaching is called ēka-jīva-vāda (the contention that there is only one jīva or ego), and once when Bhagavan was explaining it, one of the devotees who was present there asked him, ‘Which one of us here is the one jīva?’, to which he replied, ‘You are that’. Then another devotee asked, ‘What about me?’, and to him also Bhagavan said, ‘You are that’.

This portion is very interesting. I have never read this portion. Could you tell me in which book or article this conversation recorded?

shiba said...

Could you ask some more questions which don't relate to this article?

In Paragraph Four and Thirteen of "who am I" there are following passages,

>What is called ‘mind’ is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary or wonderful power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [our actual self].

>Since one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all activities [everything that happens in this world], instead of yielding to it why should we always think, ‘it is necessary to act in this way; it is necessary to act in that way’?

What is the relation between two sakti? same or other or part? The word "sakti" is confusing for me.

shiba said...

"could I ask" is right... sorry

jacques franck said...

Michael,

The only difference between Bhagavan and the others is : Bhagavan never said I have realised. the others said I have realised.
So if other peoples expose their view without saying "I have realized" can we conclude that they have realized or rather that they have completely destroyed their ego? (manōnāśa)

Thank you :) Jacques Franck

Michael James said...

Shiba, in answer to your first comment, I do not know whether this has been recorded elsewhere, quite possibly not, but I heard it from Sadhu Om.

The teaching ‘You are that’ (tat tvam asi in Sanskrit or adu nī in Tamil) means in most contexts ‘You are brahman’, but in this context Bhagavan used it to mean ‘You are the one jīva’. Likewise, in Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3.14.1 it is said ‘All this indeed is brahman’ (sarvam khalvidam brahma), whereas in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says, ‘அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām), which means ‘The ego indeed is everything’. If we consider these contrasting views superficially, it may seem that that Bhagavan is contradicting or disagreeing with the upaniṣadic view, but if we consider more carefully, we can see that he is in fact clarifying the teachings of the upaniṣads.

Now we experience ourself as a person, and as such we are an ego or jīva, and since everything that we experience other than ourself is just a dream, we are the only ego or jīva, so if we ask Bhagavan who is the one jīva he will reply ‘You are that’. However, he also advises us to investigate who we, this one jīva, actually are, and he said that if we investigate ourself keenly enough, we will discover that what seems to be an ego (or jīva) is actually just pure and infinite self-awareness (or brahman). Therefore though what we now seem to be is this one jīva, what we actually are is only brahman.

Likewise, since all phenomena are projected and perceived only by this one ego, just like all the phenomena that we perceive in a dream, they are all just an expansion of this ego, and hence Bhagavan says, ‘The ego indeed is everything’. However, this ego and all the phenomena that it perceives seem to exist only when we look elsewhere, away from ourself, so if we look at ourself very carefully to see ‘who am I, who now seem to be this ego?’, we will see that we are not actually this ego but only pure awareness, which is brahman. Therefore what seems to be all these phenomena is only this ego, and what seems to be this ego is only brahman. In other words, the immediate source and substance of everything is the ego, whereas the ultimate source and substance of everything is brahman.

We are already brahman, so we do not need to attain brahman or to become brahman, and hence brahman is not an issue about which we need to concern ourself. However, though we are actually brahman, we now seem to be this ego, and because we seem to be such we face numerous problems and limitations, so this ego is an issue that we do need to be concerned about. Therefore rather than asking us to dwell on brahman, which seems to be something other than ourself so long as we seem to be this ego, Bhagavan advises us simply to investigate what this ego is, because if we look carefully enough at this ego we will see that it is actually just brahman (just as if we look carefully enough at an illusory snake we will see that it is actually just a rope).

Like a skilful doctor who diagnoses the root cause of a disease and then focuses on eradicating it, Bhagavan diagnosed that this ego is the root cause of all problems, so his entire teachings are focused on it and the means of eradicating it, which is simply to investigate what it is.

Michael James said...

Shiba, in answer to your second comment, śakti simply means power, and the ‘extraordinary power’ (atiśaya śakti) that Bhagavan refers to in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? is the mind, whereas the ‘supreme ruling power’ (paramēśvara śakti) that he refers to in the thirteenth paragraph is God.

What we actually are is the one infinite whole, other than which nothing exists, so we ourself are the ultimate and only real power, but when we seem to rise as this ego or mind, we thereby limit ourself and our power, so in our view the unlimited power of our actually self (ātma-svarūpa) appears as God, the supreme power that governs this universe. Neither this mind nor the universe nor God actually exist, so they are all just illusory appearances, as Bhagavan says in the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:

யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே. ஜக ஜீவ ஈச்வரர்கள், சிப்பியில் வெள்ளிபோல் அதிற் கற்பனைகள். இவை மூன்றும் ஏககாலத்தில் தோன்றி ஏககாலத்தில் மறைகின்றன. சொரூபமே ஜகம்; சொரூபமே நான்; சொரூபமே ஈச்வரன்; எல்லாம் சிவ சொரூபமாம்.

yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē. jaga-jīva-īśvarargaḷ, śippiyil veḷḷi pōl adil kaṟpaṉaigaḷ. ivai mūṉḏṟum ēka-kālattil tōṉḏṟi ēka-kālattil maṟaigiṉḏṟaṉa. sorūpam-ē jagam; sorūpam-ē nāṉ; sorūpam-ē īśvaraṉ; ellām śiva sorūpam ām.

What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. The world, soul and God are kalpanaigaḷ [fabrications, imaginations, mental creations, illusions or illusory superimpositions] in it, like the [illusory] silver in a shell. These three appear simultaneously and disappear simultaneously. Svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature] alone is the world; svarūpa alone is ‘I’ [the ego, mind or soul]; svarūpa alone is God; everything is śiva-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of śiva, the one infinite whole, which is oneself].

Though the world and God are both unreal, they seem to be real so long as we seem to be this mind, so as this mind we are subject to the supreme ruling power (paramēśvara śakti) of God. Though God seems to be other than ourself, what appears in our view to be God is actually ātma-svarūpa, the ‘own form’ or real nature of ourself, so the power of God works in whatever way is most conducive to ultimately turning our mind back within in order for us to know what we actually are.

Therefore the power of the mind is the power of māyā or self-delusion, whereas the power of God is the power of grace, which is the infinite love that we as we actually are have for ourself as we actually are.

Michael James said...

Jacques, in answer to your question, there is actually no difference whatsoever between Bhagavan and others, because he alone exists, so nothing is other than him.

However, what we generally mean when we talk about ‘Bhagavan’ is the person that he seemed to be, which was the vehicle through which he gave us his teachings, and in that sense the difference between him and others who claim to be ‘realised’ is not just that he never said ‘I have realised’. Though he seemed to be a person in the view of others, he was never actually a person, because he is just pure and infinite self-awareness, whereas all the would-be ‘gurus’ who claim ‘I have realised’ are just ordinary people like you or me.

As Bhagavan says in verse 33 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, it is equally ridiculous to say either ‘I do not know myself’ or ‘I have known myself’, because the ‘I’ that makes either of these statements is the ego, which is the real problem that needs to be dealt with. So long as this ego survives, it does not matter whether we claim ‘I have realised’ or not, because either way we are still a person, and being a person means being self-ignorant.

Therefore just because someone does not claim ‘I have realised’, we cannot conclude that they have ‘realised’ or that their ego has been completely destroyed. When we do not even know what we ourself actually are, how can we reliably conclude anything about the inner state of any others? And why should we concern ourself with questions about whether others are ‘realised’ or not? All that we need to be concerned with is investigating and finding out what we ourself actually are.

All others seem to exist only when we rise as this ego, as Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, and so long as we think about or concern ourself with others we are thereby feeding and sustaining this ego, as he implies in verse 25, so we should leave aside all such concerns and seek only to be aware of ourself as we actually are.

jacques franck said...

Thank you!!!!

shiba said...

Thank you very much for your quick replies.

Well, about my second question...

①unlimited power of our actually self (ātma-svarūpa) - ②the power of māyā or self-delusion → ③God, the supreme power that governs this universe

What is relation between ① and ②? Though ultimately in ajata vada ② never exist so we can say there is no relation ...

God (also the world) is ego's creation but ego is governed by what he created... is it right understanding?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael has very recently loaded his latest video in his YouTube channel called Sri Ramana Teachings. It is titled Sri Ramana Center, Houston, 4th March 2017 Discussion with Michael James on verse 2 of Ulladu Narpadu (Forty verses on What Is) . I reproduce below an extract from this video:

If done with nishkamya bhava, all paths other than atma-vichara are like tributaries, leading into the main river – the main river is the path of atma-vichara, which is leading us to the ocean. We shouldn’t hang around wasting our time in the tributaries; we should boldly jump into the main river. This main river is the river of Bhagavan’s grace, the river of Bhagavan’s love.

David E. said...

Sanjay thanks for your posting. Many times I scroll down and only read Michael's comments but when I do I read yours as well because I find they help in my understanding and clear my confusion not add to it.

Thanks,
David

Sanjay Lohia said...

David, whether or not anybody benefits from whatever I write, I definitely do. It gives me an opportunity to reflect deeply on the topic under discussion.

As Michael regularly says, our sravana, manana and nididhyasana should continue as long as our ego is intact. In a battle, we may have to use many weapons like swords, guns and cannons. Our sravana and manana are like these swords and guns, whereas our nididhyasana is like a cannon fire. A well-directed fire – that is, a well-directed, deep and intense self-attentiveness – and it will decimate our ego.

Until and unless our ego is destroyed, our battle is never won.

daisilui said...

Hi Sanjay,

same as you and other folk on this blog and elsewhere, i too write because it helps me reflect deeper and such clarify things that seen confusing to the thinking mind [without putting things on paper]. So this is an example/opportunity to do that:

"Until and unless our ego is destroyed, our battle is never won. "

i try to wrap my understanding around this and i come to the conclusion that this effort is just a mind thing, trying to resolve a paradox[that by its nature cannot be solved]. Despite this knowledge, i wallow in mind games. The mind tells me that there is no connection whatsoever between any effort made by the ego against itself [i.e. to destroy itself] in order to get somewhere/obtain the promised eternal happiness and reality of the Self. All the game of the teaching, gurus and disciples, jnanis and ajnanis... happens in the world, in the relative, illusory reality [which is therefore, unreal]. So who is to destroy the ego, and who is to win the battle?! Nobody...

i hear Michael saying we don't have enough love for the Self, and we are more interested in the flashy world phenomena than in reality. While this is true, what has this to do with the Absolute? Nothing...

The entire effort of abandoning the interest in the world in favor of abiding in the absolute may bring benefits to the individual engaged in this effort but won't change the reality of his/her true nature, regardless of successes or failures of the illusory individual engaged in the illusory effort. One may choose to live a worldly life, seeking happiness in material stuff whereas another lives as an ascetic seeking the eternal happiness. One is no superior to the other; different lifestyles for different tastes [and with different consequences], with no relevance to the Absolute.

tan arivu ahum said...

Michael,
section 1.
"This is why if we ask Bhagavan who is the one jīva, he will always say ‘You are that’, because though we cannot know whether anyone else is actually aware of anything, we know that we are aware of this world, so we must be the one jīva or ego that he was talking about."
When for instance I am talking with my wife during breakfast I find it impossible to comprehend why I should doubt whether she is actually aware of anything.
Could you please shed light on that statement ?

svabhāva said...

daisilui,
you are right in saying, that the Absolute is not affected by our struggling to free our internal happiness from the veil of ignorance. But that discovery is not surprising when we consider that nothing but Brahman is real.
Nevertheless our efforts to break the spell of this ego are necessary although we might call them "mind games".

svayam-prakāśa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
must tracing back the source of this ego/I-thought really named a battle ?

Michael James said...

Tan Arivu Ahum, regarding your comment, if you were talking with your wife in a dream, you would see no reason at that time to doubt whether she is actually aware of anything, but as soon as you woke up, you would recognise that the wife in your dream was just your own mental creation and was therefore aware of nothing. Therefore if you see any reason to suspect that perhaps you are now dreaming, you should also doubt whether any of the other people you see in this state are aware of anything.

Now you take yourself to be a person, so since you are aware, you assume that all other people are also aware. But is the person you now take yourself to be actually aware? You are aware, so if this person were actually you, this person would be aware, but is this person actually you? If you are not the person you seem to be, then that person is not actually aware. Only you are aware, and you happen to be aware of this particular person as if it were you.

If the person you now take yourself to be is not actually aware, then you have no reason to suppose that any other person is actually aware. In dream you take yourself to be a particular dream person, so that dream person seems to you to be aware, and hence you assume that all the other people you see in your dream are also aware. But the dream person you take yourself to be is just your own mental projection, so what is aware of the dream is not that dream person but only you, the ego who is projecting and perceiving that dream.

So long as we are dreaming, the dream person we seem to be seems to be aware, and hence all the other people in our dream also seem to be aware. Therefore while acting as that dream person, we have to act as if the dream is real and as if all the other people in it are also aware of it, because whatever actions we do in that dream are no more real that the dream itself. Likewise, while acting as this present person, we have to act as if this world is real and as if all the other people in it are also aware of it, because whatever actions we do in this world are no more real that this world itself.

That is, when Bhagavan taught us that there is only one ego (which is called ēka-jīva-vāda, the contention that there is only one jīva or ‘soul’) and that ‘we are that’, he did not intend us to try to apply this teaching in our outward activities or to behave in this world as if no other person were aware of anything. So long as we are behaving outwardly in any way whatsoever, we do so as a person, so this person seems to be aware, and hence all other people also seem to be aware. Therefore we should behave accordingly.

How he intended us to apply this teaching is only by turning within to see who am I, this one who is aware of the seeming existence of everything else. When we look within to see who is this ego, even this one ego will dissolve and merge in pure self-awareness, which is what we actually are, so there will be no ego for us to find.

However, so long as we look outwards, we seem to be this ego, and since this ego rises, stands and flourishes only by grasping the form of a person as itself (as Bhagavan indicates in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu), the person we grasp as ‘I’ seems to be aware, and hence all the other people we see also seem to be aware, and each seems to possess an ego or ‘I’. Therefore in the view of the outward-facing ego there will always seem to be many other egos, whereas if the ego turns within to look at itself alone, all it will see is only pure self-awareness (awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself), which is what we actually are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

svayam-prakasa, tracing back the source of this ego, or of this thought called ‘I’ can be metaphorically called a ‘battle’. It is a battle between our vishaya-vasanas (our propensities or likings to attend to things other than ourself) and our sat-vasana (our love to attend to ourself alone).

It is a battle between the power of maya and the power of grace. Though, in essence, both these powers are one and the same, but we can use these two powers in two different ways – like we can use the same knife to murder a person, or to cut vegetables. When our attention is turned outwards, we seem to be under the sway of the power of maya, and when our attention is turned towards ourself, we seem to be under the sway of the power of grace. So we can say that our practice of self-investigation is battle between maya and grace.

However, this ‘battle’ is only from the perspective of our ego, and not from the perspective of ourself as we really are. From the perspective of ourself as we really are, there never was any battle or there never could be any battle, because our true state of just-being is a conflict-free state: there is nobody other than ourself with whom we can fight or even make love. Our true state is a state of perfect rest and repose, and hence the state of perfect relaxation, and therefore beyond all so called ‘battles’.

daisilui said...

svabhāva
i am not contesting that the efforts of the mind are necessary for you and me, as a way [the way of advaita teachings, be it most advanced/efficient way to liberation, humanity has discovered] to get rid of the suffering of living as individuals. i only tried to emphasize that the one i take to be "i" for which this effort is important, has nothing to do with the absolute reality, as the only reality there is.

svayam-prakāśa said...

Sanjay,
thanks, you are right in using that metaphor.

svabhāva said...

daisilui,
even when the ego or the person has "nothing to do with the absolute reality" we should not ignore that it has arisen from the source of Brahman at least seemingly.

tāṉ aṟivu āhum said...

Michael,
thank you for clarification.
As you say the error is always at the outward-facing ego.
To my regret currently I can hardly turn within to look at this ego itself without difficulty. I yet am glad to be to some extent silent. At present I do not succeed in shaking down behaving outwardly.

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

"Our true state is a state of perfect rest and repose, and hence the state of perfect relaxation, and therefore beyond all so called ‘battles’"

beautiful description Sanjay...
this state is perfect rest because it doesn't accept the thoughts as real, neither reject them as illusory. it is beyond acceptance and rejection, beyond evaluation etc.
i think that when Bhagavan says "see to whom this thought arises" he instructs us NOT to "fight the thought" but to see that we are ALREADY beyond identification with thought.
like when you think you are poor and struggling to earn a living, check your bank account, you are rich...

when we are the state of rest, it seems that "something", like our thoughts or feelings or even the perceptions of the world, comes to rest...but after a while the appearance of thoughts becomes irrelevant, and we see that nothing actually "comes to rest".
there is no thing "resting" that can be named or indicated or shown. so the state of rest cannot be disturbed actually, because there is no thing "there" to be disturbed.
not even a mental image of ourself.
not seeking a mental image of resting, we rest. later we can call it pure awareness :)

atma-anusandhana said...

antirobot,
i assume that our pure awareness or just being not even is aware of any thoughts. Therefore in that "state" there are not at all any movements of acceptance, rejection or evaluation of thoughts.

ever-present 'I' said...

Michael,
in your above comment in reply to "tan arivu ahum" you deny that a person is actually aware because aware would be only the projecting and form grasping ego. It is scarcely conceivable that the behaving and actions of a person can happen without any awareness.