Saturday, 13 May 2017

How to avoid following or completing any thought whatsoever?

A friend recently wrote to me:
I have a question on self-investigation:

I clearly understand that I do not have to complete any of my thoughts when they arise, but, as you explain in your book, have, instead, to use my rising thoughts to remind myself of my thinking mind, that is ‘I’, which in its turn should remind me of ‘I am’.

But I have a problem: when some useful thought (in my opinion) rises, I lose my strong intention to not complete it and just use it as a reminder of everything that it has to remind me. When some thought that I think to be good or useful rises, I try to use it as a reminder, but unsuccessfully and the idea given me by that thought continues living in my mind. That is, usually I do not tend to just stop such thoughts and cannot help completing them.

Could you please tell me what you do in such cases? Sri Bhagavan says that we should not complete any of our thoughts, and as I understand he means exactly what he says: any of our thoughts. He calls them ‘enemies’ that must be destroyed. What does the situation which I describe should look like ideally? How can I ignore such thoughts in a sense of treating them as well as all other thoughts? Please give me an explanation based on your own experience and understanding.
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to her:
  1. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 10 and 11: we should cling to self-attentiveness so firmly that all other thoughts are annihilated as and when they appear
  2. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 4 and 14: what Bhagavan means by ‘thoughts’ is phenomena of any kind whatsoever
  3. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 5: thoughts appear only because we have appeared as this ego
  4. We can surrender and eradicate our ego only by giving no room to the appearance of any thought other than self-attentiveness
  5. We must gradually wean ourself away from our attachment to thoughts or phenomena
  6. There is never any real need for us to think about or attend to anything other than ourself
  7. Bhagavad Gītā Sāram verses 27 and 28: we must gently and gradually wean our ego off thinking by persistently trying to fix our attention on ourself
  8. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 6: it does not matter how many thoughts appear so long as we persevere to turning our attention back to ourself, the one to whom they all appear
1. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 10 and 11: we should cling to self-attentiveness so firmly that all other thoughts are annihilated as and when they appear

Yes, you are correct in saying that Bhagavan referred to thoughts as ‘enemies’ and said that we should therefore try to attend to ourself so keenly and steadily that we do not complete any of them, because this is what he taught us very clearly in the tenth and eleventh paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:
தொன்றுதொட்டு வருகின்ற விஷயவாசனைகள் அளவற்றனவாய்க் கடலலைகள் போற் றோன்றினும் அவையாவும் சொரூபத்யானம் கிளம்பக் கிளம்ப அழிந்துவிடும். அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும். ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு பாபியாயிருந்தாலும், ‘நான் பாபியா யிருக்கிறேனே! எப்படிக் கடைத்தேறப் போகிறே’ னென்றேங்கி யழுதுகொண்டிராமல், தான் பாபி என்னு மெண்ணத்தையு மறவே யொழித்து சொரூபத்யானத்தி லூக்க முள்ளவனாக விருந்தால் அவன் நிச்சயமா யுருப்படுவான்.

toṉḏṟutoṭṭu varugiṉḏṟa viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ aḷavaṯṟaṉavāy-k kaḍal-alaigaḷ pōl tōṉḏṟiṉum avai-yāvum sorūpa-dhyāṉam kiḷamba-k kiḷamba aṙindu-viḍum. attaṉai vāsaṉaigaḷum oḍuṅgi, sorūpa-māttiram-āy irukka muḍiyumā v-eṉṉum sandēha niṉaivukkum iḍam koḍāmal, sorūpa-dhyāṉattai viḍā-p-piḍiyāy-p piḍikka vēṇḍum. oruvaṉ evvaḷavu pāpiyāy irundālum, ‘nāṉ pāpiyāy irukkiṟēṉē; eppaḍi-k kaḍaittēṟa-p pōkiṟēṉ’ eṉḏṟēṅgi y-aṙudu-koṇḍirāmal, tāṉ pāpi eṉṉum eṇṇattaiyum aṟavē y-oṙittu sorūpa-dhyāṉattil ūkkam uḷḷavaṉāha v-irundāl avaṉ niścayamāy uru-p-paḍuvāṉ.

Even though viṣaya-vāsanās [inclinations or desires to be aware of things other than oneself], which come from time immemorial, rise [as thoughts] in countless numbers like ocean-waves, they will all be destroyed when svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness or contemplation on one’s own form] increases and increases. Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘Is it possible to dissolve so many vāsanās and remain only as svarūpa [my own form or real nature]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to svarūpa-dhyāna. However great a sinner a person may be, if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ he completely rejects the thought that he is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in svarūpa-dhyāna, he will certainly be reformed [transformed into what one actually is].

மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும். நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற அப்போதைக்கப்போதே அவைகளையெல்லாம் உற்பத்திஸ்தானத்திலேயே விசாரணையால் நசிப்பிக்க வேண்டும். அன்னியத்தை நாடாதிருத்தல் வைராக்கியம் அல்லது நிராசை; தன்னை விடாதிருத்தல் ஞானம். உண்மையி லிரண்டு மொன்றே. முத்துக்குளிப்போர் தம்மிடையிற் கல்லைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு மூழ்கிக் கடலடியிற் கிடைக்கும் முத்தை எப்படி எடுக்கிறார்களோ, அப்படியே ஒவ்வொருவனும் வைராக்கியத்துடன் தன்னுள் ளாழ்ந்து மூழ்கி ஆத்மமுத்தை யடையலாம். ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும். கோட்டைக்குள் எதிரிக ளுள்ளவரையில் அதிலிருந்து வெளியே வந்துகொண்டே யிருப்பார்கள். வர வர அவர்களையெல்லாம் வெட்டிக்கொண்டே யிருந்தால் கோட்டை கைவசப்படும்.

maṉattiṉgaṇ edu-varaiyil viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ irukkiṉḏṟaṉavō, adu-varaiyil nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai-y-um vēṇḍum. niṉaivugaḷ tōṉḏṟa-t tōṉḏṟa appōdaikkappōdē avaigaḷai-y-ellām uṯpatti-sthāṉattilēyē vicāraṇaiyāl naśippikka vēṇḍum. aṉṉiyattai nāḍādiruttal vairāggiyam alladu nirāśai; taṉṉai viḍādiruttal ñāṉam. uṇmaiyil iraṇḍum oṉḏṟē. muttu-k-kuḷippōr tam-m-iḍaiyil kallai-k kaṭṭi-k-koṇḍu mūṙki-k kaḍal-aḍiyil kiḍaikkum muttai eppaḍi eḍukkiṟārgaḷō, appaḍiyē o-vv-oruvaṉum vairāggiyattuḍaṉ taṉṉuḷ ḷ-āṙndu mūṙki ātma-muttai y-aḍaiyalām. oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum. kōṭṭaikkuḷ edirigaḷ uḷḷa-varaiyil adilirundu veḷiyē vandu-koṇḍē y-iruppārgaḷ. vara vara avargaḷai-y-ellām veṭṭi-k-koṇḍē y-irundāl kōṭṭai kaivaśa-p-paḍum.

As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist in the mind, so long the investigation who am I is necessary. As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or vigilant self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise. Not attending to anything other [than oneself] is vairāgya [dispassion or detachment] or nirāśā [desirelessness]; not leaving [or letting go of] oneself is jñāna [true knowledge or real awareness]. In truth [these] two [vairāgya and jñāna] are only one. Just as pearl-divers, tying stones to their waists and submerging, pick up pearls that lie at the bottom of the ocean, so each one, submerging [beneath the surface activity of one’s mind] and sinking [deep] within oneself with vairāgya [freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than oneself], can attain the pearl of oneself. If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone will be sufficient. So long as enemies are within the fort, they will continue coming out from it. If one continues cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] be captured.
Viṣaya-vāsanās are the seeds that rise in us as thoughts, and whenever they sprout as thoughts they require the water of our attention in order to survive and flourish. Therefore if we allow our attention to be carried away by whatever thoughts arise we are thereby nourishing and sustaining our viṣaya-vāsanās, just as sprouted seeds are nourished and sustained by water, whereas if we keep our attention fixed on ourself as steadily as possible and turn it back to ourself whenever it is distracted by the appearance of any thoughts, we are thereby depriving them of our attention and thus we are parching and weakening our viṣaya-vāsanās, just as sprouted seeds are parched and weakened when deprived of water. This is why Bhagavan taught us that we should cling to self-attentiveness so firmly and persistently that we avoid being distracted or carried away by whatever thoughts may arise, and this is what he meant by saying that we should continue cutting down all our enemies as and when they emerge from the fortress of our heart.

2. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 4 and 14: what Bhagavan means by ‘thoughts’ is phenomena of any kind whatsoever

However, in order to understand exactly what he meant by the rising or appearance of thoughts, and hence by saying that we should annihilate all of them as and when they appear, it is necessary for us first to understand very clearly what he meant by the term ‘thought’ (நினைவு (niṉaivu) or எண்ணம் (eṇṇam) in Tamil), because according to him everything other than ourself is a thought, including the ego, which is the first thought and the root of all other thoughts. Even the world is nothing but a series of thoughts, as he says in the fourth and fourteenth paragraphs 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.

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.

Excluding thoughts [or ideas], 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.

ஜக மென்பது நினைவே. ஜகம் மறையும்போது அதாவது நினைவற்ற போது மனம் ஆனந்தத்தை யனுபவிக்கின்றது; ஜகம் தோன்றும் போது அது துக்கத்தை யனுபவிக்கின்றது.

jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē. jagam maṟaiyum-pōdu adāvadu niṉaivaṯṟa-pōdu maṉam āṉandattai y-aṉubhavikkiṉḏṟadu; jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu adu duḥkhattai y-aṉubhavikkiṉḏṟadu.

What is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, that is, when thought ceases, the mind experiences happiness; when the world appears, it experiences duḥkha [affliction, pain, sorrow, distress, discomfort, uneasiness, trouble or difficulty].
That is, since the entire world is just a mental projection, like everything we experience in a dream, all phenomena are mental phenomena, and mental phenomena of all kinds are what he means by the term ‘thought’. Therefore what he means by the rising of thought is the appearance of anything in our awareness.

3. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 5: thoughts appear only because we have appeared as this ego

Why do thoughts arise or appear in our awareness? Only because we have risen as this ego, the primal thought called ‘I’, as he points out in the final 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 or primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.
Thoughts (or rather their seeds: viṣaya-vāsanās) are the enemies who have occupied the fortress of our heart, but our arch-enemy is their progenitor and sovereign, the ego, who commands and controls them, and for whom they act as a praetorian guard, ready at every moment to rise up in its defence, and if necessary to fight to the death to protect and sustain it. However, like the praetorian guard of ancient Rome, they also hold sway over their sovereign so long as it depends on them for its survival, so they can and do delude and misguide it. This is why we need to annihilate them as and when they rise.

However, they cannot be eradicated entirely until their parent and root, the ego, is eradicated, because no matter how many of them are cut down, more will continue sprouting from the ego, since it cannot survive without them, so our effort should be directed at eradicating the ego, which we can do only by being keenly self-attentive. The more we practise being self-attentive, the weaker our viṣaya-vāsanās will become, and as they become weaker, their root, the ego, will also become weaker, and thus our ability to be keenly self-attentive will increase, until eventually the ego and all its progeny (all thoughts or phenomena) will be consumed in the infinite clarity of pure self-awareness.

Therefore thoughts will continue to arise so long as we continue to experience ourself as this ego, because we cannot rise or stand as this ego without following or attaching ourself to other thoughts, which in comparison to it are relatively gross, as Bhagavan points out towards the end of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
மனம் எப்போதும் ஒரு ஸ்தூலத்தை யனுசரித்தே நிற்கும்; தனியாய் நில்லாது.

maṉam eppōdum oru sthūlattai y-aṉusarittē niṟkum; taṉiyāy nillādu.

The mind [the ego] stands only by always going after [conforming, attaching itself or attending to] a sthūlam [something gross, namely a physical body, which is just a thought]; solitarily it does not stand.
When the ego rises, it does so by projecting and attaching itself to a body, which it mistakes to be itself, and along with that body it projects and attaches itself to numerous other thoughts. This is the nature of the ego, and it cannot stand without constantly projecting and grasping thoughts.

4. We can surrender and eradicate our ego only by giving no room to the appearance of any thought other than self-attentiveness

In other words, as he says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, the ego rises, stands, feeds itself and flourishes by ‘grasping form’, which means by attending to thoughts (because every thought is a form, and every form or phenomenon is just a thought), so by attending to anything other than ourself we are nourishing and sustaining our ego. Therefore our aim should be to attend to ourself so keenly and steadily that we give absolutely no room to the rising of any other thought, as he indicates in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம். [...]

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

Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is steadily fixed in oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [thought of oneself or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God.
5. We must gradually wean ourself away from our attachment to thoughts or phenomena

However, though clinging so firmly to self-attentiveness that we thereby give absolutely no room to the rising of any other thoughts is our ultimate aim, since it is the only means by which we can surrender and eradicate our ego, most of us are not yet willing to give up our ego, so we continue to cling tenaciously to thoughts most of the time. Therefore we have to gradually wean our ego away from its attachments to thoughts (forms or phenomena of any kind whatsoever), and this can be done only by gentle but persistent practice of being self-attentive.

Until we are willing to let go of (surrender) our ego entirely, we will not be able to avoid thoughts altogether, but even when we are thinking other thoughts, we never cease to be aware of ourself, so we can be at least partially self-attentive even when attending to other things (which are all thoughts in the sense in which Bhagavan uses the term). That is, whatever else we may be aware of, we are aware of it against a background of permanent self-awareness, but though we are always self-aware, we are usually negligently self-aware, because we are more interested in being aware of other things than in our fundamental awareness of ourself. Therefore whenever we are aware of anything else, our aim should be to be attentively self-aware instead of negligently self-aware, as we usually are.

The more we practice being attentively self-aware even in the midst of activities and other preoccupations, the easier it will become for us to focus all our attention on ourself, thereby withdrawing it from everything else, whenever we recognise that we have no immediate need to think about (or attend to) anything else. And likewise, the deeper we go into being self-attentive whenever we feel no immediate need to think about anything else, the easier it will become for us to hold fast to being attentively self-aware even while being aware of other things.

6. There is never any real need for us to think about or attend to anything other than ourself

Though most of us still feel the need to think about other things most of the time, this feeling is actually just a delusion, because we do not ever need to attend to anything other than ourself. Since we now experience ourself as a person (a living body with a functioning mind), it seems to us that we need to engage in various activities in order to sustain our body (and also in most cases to take care of other people for whom we feel responsible), and that to engage in such activities we need to attend to or think about other things, but according to Bhagavan all the actions that our body, speech and mind are destined to do they will be made to do, whether or not we take any interest in them or pay any attention to them, and any other actions that we may try to do will not in any way change what is destined to happen, as he said clearly in the note he wrote for his mother when she wanted to take him home with her in December 1898:
அவரவர் பிராரப்தப் பிரகாரம் அதற்கானவன் ஆங்காங்கிருந் தாட்டுவிப்பன். என்றும் நடவாதது என் முயற்சிக்கினும் நடவாது; நடப்ப தென்றடை செய்யினும் நில்லாது. இதுவே திண்ணம். ஆகலின் மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று.

avar-avar prārabdha-p prakāram adaṟkāṉavaṉ āṅgāṅgu irundu āṭṭuvippaṉ. eṉḏṟum naḍavādadu eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum naḍavādu; naḍappadu eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum nillādu. iduvē tiṇṇam. āhaliṉ mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu.

According to their-their prārabdha, he who is for that being there-there will cause to dance [that is, according to the destiny (prārabdha) of each person, he who is for that (namely God or guru, who ordains their destiny) being in the heart of each of them will make them act]. What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain. Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good.
Therefore contrary to what we generally believe, there is never actually any need for us to think about or attend to anything other than ourself, so if we are seriously intent on investigating ourself and thereby surrendering our ego we can leave all our other cares and concerns to the care of our destiny, which is what has been ordained to happen by the sweet will of God or guru. Therefore after saying in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? (which I quoted above in section 4) that holding fast to self-attentiveness (ātma-cintana) and thereby giving absolutely no room to the rising of any other thought is alone surrendering oneself to God, in the subsequent sentences of that paragraph he emphasises that instead of thinking about anything else we should leave all the burden of thinking (attending to anything other than ourself) to God, who is already bearing the entire burden of the universe:
ஈசன்பேரில் எவ்வளவு பாரத்தைப் போட்டாலும், அவ்வளவையும் அவர் வகித்துக்கொள்ளுகிறார். சகல காரியங்களையும் ஒரு பரமேச்வர சக்தி நடத்திக்கொண்டிருகிறபடியால், நாமு மதற் கடங்கியிராமல், ‘இப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டும்; அப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டு’ மென்று ஸதா சிந்திப்பதேன்? புகை வண்டி சகல பாரங்களையும் தாங்கிக்கொண்டு போவது தெரிந்திருந்தும், அதி லேறிக்கொண்டு போகும் நாம் நம்முடைய சிறிய மூட்டையையு மதிற் போட்டுவிட்டு சுகமா யிராமல், அதை நமது தலையிற் றாங்கிக்கொண்டு ஏன் கஷ்டப்படவேண்டும்?

īśaṉpēril e-vv-aḷavu bhārattai-p pōṭṭālum, a-vv-aḷavai-y-um avar vahittu-k-koḷḷugiṟār. sakala kāriyaṅgaḷai-y-um oru paramēśvara śakti naḍatti-k-koṇḍirugiṟapaḍiyāl, nāmum adaṟku aḍaṅgi-y-irāmal, ‘ippaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum; appaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum’ eṉḏṟu sadā cinti-p-padēṉ? puhai vaṇḍi sakala bhāraṅgaḷaiyum tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu pōvadu terindirundum, adil ēṟi-k-koṇḍu pōhum nām nammuḍaiya siṟiya mūṭṭaiyaiyum adil pōṭṭu-viṭṭu sukhamāy irāmal, adai namadu talaiyil tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu ēṉ kaṣṭa-p-paḍa-vēṇḍum?

Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear. 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 be always thinking, ‘it is necessary to act in this way; it is necessary to act in that way’? Though we know that the train is going bearing all the burdens, why should we who go travelling in it suffer bearing our small luggage on our head instead of remaining happily leaving it placed on that [train]?
It is natural for us to feel that some thoughts are more important or useful than others, as you say, and we cannot entirely give up feeling so until all our attachments to anything other than ourself are considerably weakened by persistent practice of self-attentiveness. However, whenever we find it difficult to avoid being distracted and carried away by thoughts that we consider to be important or useful, we should remind ourself that Bhagavan has asked us to surrender the entire burden of thinking to God (who is none other than Bhagavan himself), saying that he will bear however much burden we place on him.

Whatever is destined to happen will happen whether or not we take interest in it, attend to it or think about it, so there is actually nothing other than ourself that we ever actually need attend to or think about, so we need not concern ourself at all about what will happen if we focus all our attention only on ourself. However to give up entirely thinking about anything else requires extreme detachment (vairāgya), and we can cultivate such detachment only by patiently and persistently practising being self-attentive as much as possible.

7. Bhagavad Gītā Sāram verses 27 and 28: we must gently and gradually wean our ego off thinking by persistently trying to fix our attention on ourself

That is, though our ego with all its cares and concerns is obviously a huge burden for us, most of us are not yet willing to surrender it entirely by attending to nothing other than ourself. Therefore we need to gradually wean our ego away from its attachments, which we can do most effectively by trying to be self-attentive as much as we can, and this entails turning our attention back to ourself whenever we find it has been distracted away towards anything else, as explained by Bhagavan in verses 27 and 28 of Bhagavad Gītā Sāram (which are his translations of Bhagavad Gītā 6.25 and 6.26):
தீரஞ்சேர் புத்தியினாற் சித்தத்தை மெல்லமெல்ல
நேரச் செயவேண்டு நிச்சலன — மாரதனே
சித்தத்தை யான்மாவிற் சேர்த்திடுக மற்றெதுவு
மித்தனையு மெண்ணிடா தே.

dhīrañcēr buddhiyiṉāṯ cittattai mellamella
nērac ceyavēṇḍu niścalaṉa — mārathaṉē
cittattai yāṉmāviṟ cērttiḍuka maṯṟeduvu
mittaṉaiyu meṇṇiḍā dē
.

பதச்சேதம்: தீரம் சேர் புத்தியினால் சித்தத்தை மெல்ல மெல்ல நேர செய வேண்டும் நிச்சலன. மா ரதனே, சித்தத்தை ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்திடுக; மற்று எதுவும் இத்தனையும் எண்ணிடாதே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): dhīram sēr buddhiyiṉāl cittattai mella mella nēra seya vēṇḍum niścalaṉa. mā rathaṉē, cittattai āṉmāvil sērttiḍuka; maṯṟu eduvum ittaṉaiyum eṇṇiḍādē.

அன்வயம்: தீரம் சேர் புத்தியினால் சித்தத்தை மெல்ல மெல்ல நிச்சலன நேர செய வேண்டும். மா ரதனே, சித்தத்தை ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்திடுக; மற்று எதுவும் இத்தனையும் எண்ணிடாதே.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): dhīram sēr buddhiyiṉāl cittattai mella mella niścalaṉa nēra seya vēṇḍum. mā rathaṉē, cittattai āṉmāvil sērttiḍuka; maṯṟu eduvum ittaṉaiyum eṇṇiḍādē.

English translation: It is necessary by a courage-imbued intellect to gently gently [calmly and gradually] make the mind achieve motionlessness. Great charioteer, fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.

எதுவுந் திரமின்றி யென்றுமலை சித்த
மெதெதனைப் பற்றியே யேகு — மததினின்
றீர்த்தந்தச் சித்தத்தை யெப்போது மான்மாவிற்
சேர்த்துத் திரமுறவே செய்.

eduvun thiramiṉḏṟi yeṉḏṟumalai citta
mededaṉaip paṯṟiyē yēhu — madadiṉiṉ
ḏṟīrttandac cittattai yeppōdu māṉmāviṟ
cērttut thiramuṟavē sey
.

பதச்சேதம்: எதுவும் திரம் இன்றி என்றும் அலை சித்தம் எது எதனை பற்றியே ஏகும், அது அதினின்று ஈர்த்து அந்த சித்தத்தை எப்போதும் ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்து திரம் உறவே செய்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eduvum thiram iṉḏṟi eṉḏṟum alai cittam edu edaṉai paṯṟiyē ēhum, adu adiṉiṉḏṟu īrttu anda cittattai eppōdum āṉmāvil cērttu thiram uṟavē sey.

அன்வயம்: எதுவும் திரம் இன்றி என்றும் அலை சித்தம் எது எதனை பற்றியே ஏகும், அது அதினின்று அந்த சித்தத்தை ஈர்த்து ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்து எப்போதும் திரம் உறவே செய்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): eduvum thiram iṉḏṟi eṉḏṟum alai cittam edu edaṉai paṯṟiyē ēhum, adu adiṉiṉḏṟu anda cittattai īrttu āṉmāvil cērttu eppōdum thiram uṟavē sey.

English translation: Whatever the mind, which is always wavering without any steadiness, grasps and [wherever it consequently] goes, drawing that mind back from that and fixing it in [or on] ātman [yourself], make it be always steady.
This is the practice that we need to do patiently and persistently until we (this ego) have been weaned from our attachment to thinking or being aware of other things to such an extent that we finally become willing to surrender ourself entirely by fixing our entire attention on ourself so keenly and steadily that we see what we actually are and thereby dissolve forever in the perfect clarity of pure self-awareness.

Not allowing our mind to be distracted away from ourself by anything else whatsoever is what Bhagavan means by saying that we should not follow or complete whatever thoughts may arise, and also by saying that as and when they appear we should annihilate all of them in the very place from which they arise (namely ourself). To develop the ability to do so effectively and entirely we must just persevere patiently in our practice of being self-attentive as much as possible.

8. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 6: it does not matter how many thoughts appear so long as we persevere to turning our attention back to ourself, the one to whom they all appear

Ultimately the following of thoughts will cease entirely only when the follower ceases, and the follower (the ego) will cease only when we look at ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are. In the meanwhile, however, thoughts will continue to appear, and whenever we do not cling firmly enough to being keenly self-attentive, they will continue to distract our attention away from ourself. However, this does not matter so long as we persevere in trying to turn our attention back to ourself whenever we notice that it has been distracted by the appearance of any thought (anything other than ourself), as he teaches us in the sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
நானார் என்னும் விசாரணையினாலேயே மன மடங்கும். நானார் என்னும் நினைவு மற்ற நினைவுகளை யெல்லா மழித்துப் பிணஞ்சுடு தடிபோல் முடிவில் தானு மழியும். பிற வெண்ணங்க ளெழுந்தா லவற்றைப் பூர்த்தி பண்ணுவதற்கு எத்தனியாமல் அவை யாருக் குண்டாயின என்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டும். எத்தனை எண்ணங்க ளெழினு மென்ன? ஜாக்கிரதையாய் ஒவ்வோ ரெண்ணமும் கிளம்பும்போதே இது யாருக்குண்டாயிற்று என்று விசாரித்தால் எனக்கென்று தோன்றும். நானார் என்று விசாரித்தால் மனம் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற்குத் திரும்பிவிடும்; எழுந்த வெண்ணமு மடங்கிவிடும். இப்படிப் பழகப் பழக மனத்திற்குத் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற் றங்கி நிற்கும் சக்தி யதிகரிக்கின்றது. [...]

nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇaiyiṉāl-ē-y-ē maṉam aḍaṅgum. nāṉ-ār eṉṉum niṉaivu maṯṟa niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām aṙittu-p piṇañ-cuḍu taḍi-pōl muḍivil tāṉ-um aṙiyum. piṟa v-eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙundāl avaṯṟai-p pūrtti paṇṇuvadaṟku ettaṉiyāmal avai yārukku uṇḍāyiṉa eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum. ettaṉai eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙiṉum eṉṉa? jāggiratai-y-āy ovvōr eṇṇamum kiḷambum-pōdē idu yārukkuṇḍāyiṯṟu eṉḏṟu vicārittāl eṉakkeṉḏṟu tōṉḏṟum. nāṉ-ār eṉḏṟu vicārittāl maṉam taṉ piṟappiḍattiṟku-t tirumbi-viḍum; eṙunda v-eṇṇamum aḍaṅgi-viḍum. ippaḍi-p paṙaga-p paṙaga maṉattiṟku-t taṉ piṟappiḍattil taṅgi niṟgum śakti y-adhikarikkiṉḏṟadu. [...]

Only by the investigation who am I will the mind [whose root and essence is the ego] cease. The thought who am I [that is, the attentiveness with which one investigates what one is], having destroyed all other thoughts, will itself also in the end be destroyed like a corpse-burning stick [a stick that is used to stir a funeral pyre to ensure that the corpse is burnt completely]. If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have occurred. However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has occurred, it will be clear: to me. If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; the thought which had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, for the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase. [...]
Therefore it does not matter how often we fail to avoid being distracted by thoughts so long as we persevere in repeatedly turning our attention back to ourself, the one to whom all thoughts appear, and in trying to cling as firmly, steadily and keenly as possible to being self-attentive, because self-attentiveness will eventually enable us to be aware of ourself as we actually are and thereby eradicate the ego, the root from which all other thoughts sprout.

32 comments:

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
because we have arisen as the ego (thought called 'I' )we all are more or less sinners.
Avoiding "being distracted or carried away by whatever thoughts may arise" does never happen in my practice. On the contrary giant armed forces of enemies seem to have become established in the fortress of my heart. Particularly the department of burning sexual desires is cutting me down in almost regular intervals. Sometimes it is impossible to prevent their arising and thereby nourishing and sustaining these visaya vasanas. For heaven's sake may I never lose this bitter fight. Arunachala forbid !
May Arunachala's boundless grace equip me with infinite perseverance when it comes to parching these sprouted seeds.

jacques franck said...

tane tan(e) said...

I have found this answer in an older post :

regarding your latest comment, in which you say, ‘But while standing under the sway of sexual desire I just cannot at all attentively observe myself’, that could be an insurmountable problem only if you were under the sway of sexual desire at all times. In practice, however, though sexual desire can be a very powerful distraction whenever it rises within us, we are fortunately not constantly under its sway. Most of the time our mind is preoccupied with other thoughts and concerns, so even if we cannot attentively observe ourself when we are being distracted by sexual desire, we can at least try to attentively observe ourself at other times.
So long as we experience ourself as this ego, we cannot be self-attentive all the time. We can try repeatedly and persistently, but much of the time we will fail. However that does not matter so long as we persevere in trying as much as possible. Therefore even if we do sometimes succumb to the distracting power of sexual desire, at least at other times we can persevere in trying to be attentively aware of ourself. Hence rather than worrying about the countless times that we fail to attentively observe ourself (whether due to sexual desire or any other distraction), we should concern ourself only with trying to succeed whenever and as much as we can.
Regarding your later remark in the same comment, ‘Ramana was surely asexual. Therefore in his last “incarnation (1879 till 1950) ” he did never suffer that kind of troubles from own experience’, his asexuality was quite unlike what is normally called asexuality, because other people who happen to be more or less asexual still experience themself as a finite person composed of body and mind, whereas he did not experience himself as any such thing. Moreover, though he never suffered from sexual desire himself, he understood clearly how this and all other desires arise, because the root of all desires is only the ego, which he had thoroughly investigated and understood completely. Therefore he empathised with our predicament as if it were his own, and his empathy was expressed by him in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Navamaṇimālai:
காமாரி யென்றுநீ யன்பரா லென்றுமே கதித்திடப் படுகின்றா
யாமாமெ யுனக்கிது வாமாவென் றையுறு மருணாச லேச்சுரனே
யாமாயி னெங்ஙனத் தீரனே சூரனே யாயினும் வல்லனங்கன்
காமாரி யாகுமுன் காலரண் சரண்புகு கருத்தினுட் புகவலனே.
kāmāri yeṉḏṟunī yaṉbarā leṉḏṟumē kathittiḍap paḍugiṉḏṟā
yāmāme yuṉakkidu vāmāveṉ ḏṟaiyuṟu maruṇāca lēśśuraṉē
yāmāyi ṉeṅṅaṉad dhīraṉē śūraṉē yāyiṉum vallaṉaṅgaṉ
kāmāri yāhumuṉ kālaraṇ śaraṇpuhu karuttiṉuṭ puhavalaṉē.
பதச்சேதம்: காமாரி என்று நீ அன்பரால் என்றுமே கதித்திடப்படுகின்றாய். ஆம், ஆம், மெய். உனக்கு இது ஆமா என்று ஐ உறும், அருணாசலேச்சுரனே. ஆம் ஆயின், எங்ஙன் அத் தீரனே சூரனே யாயினும் வல் அனங்கன் காமாரி ஆகும் உன் கால் அரண் சரண்புகு கருத்தினுள் புக வலனே?
Padacchēdam (word-separation): kāmāri eṉḏṟu nī aṉbarāl eṉḏṟumē kathittiḍappaḍugiṉḏṟāy. ām, ām, mey. uṉakku idu āmā eṉḏṟu ai uṟum, aruṇācalēśśuraṉē. ām āyiṉ, eṅṅaṉ a-d-dhīraṉē śūraṉē āyiṉum val aṉaṅgaṉ kāmāri-y-āhum uṉ kāl araṇ śaraṇpuhu karuttiṉuḷ puha valaṉē?
English translation: Arunachalesvara, you are always described by devotees as Kamari [the slayer of kāma or lust]. Yes, yes, true. [However] doubt arises whether this [name] is suitable for you. If it is suitable, how can that mighty Anangan [Kama, the ‘bodiless one’], though brave and valiant, enter a mind that takes refuge in the fortress of the feet of you, who are Kamari?

To be continued

jacques franck said...

In continuation.....

In an earlier comment in which I cited this verse I wrote the following comment on it:
As Bhagavan indicates here, the only refuge where we can escape sexual desire is the fortress of the feet of Aruṇācala, and since his feet exist deep in our heart as our own self, we can take refuge in them only by subsiding within. As soon as we allow ourself to come out as this ego, we are opening the door of our mind to lust, so it can enter us at any moment. That is, so long as we attend to anything other than ourself, we experience ourself as a body, and the nature of animal bodies is to have sexual desire. Therefore the root of sexual desire is our ego, so we can free ourself from it only by destroying this ego by vigilant self-attentiveness.
However, due to our strong outward-going desires, we are often not able to hold on to self-attentiveness (the feet of Aruṇācala), so at such times our only recourse is to pray to him to give us ever-increasing love for his feet, as Bhagavan sings at the end of the next verse of Śrī Aruṇācala Navamaṇimālai: ‘உன்றன் கழல் இணையில் காதல் பெருக்கே தருவாயே’ (uṉḏṟaṉ kaṙal iṇaiyil kādal perukkē taruvāyē), which means, ‘give only increasing love for your two feet’.

from the blog : Trying to distinguish ourself from our ego is what is called self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) Saturday, 15 August 2015

tane tan(e) said...

jacques franck,
thank you for your reply.
During acute attacks of the lusts of the flesh even having recourse to praying is sheer impossible for me. Then even almighty Siva Arunachalesvara who is described as Kamari (the slayer of kama/lust) seems to be beaten by that mighty kama/Anangan.
Certainly only continual resorting to the innermost feet of Arunachala-Ramana will rescue/save me from the clutches of that enemy predicament. Otherwise I obviouisly cannot escape that tyranny. Blessed are all who got that troublesome compulsive desire over and done.

Dragos Nicolae Dragomirescu said...


"mella mella" "gently gently"... how beautiful these words are :), how instructive...

tane tan(e) said...

Dragos,
this instruction however goes completely without saying, because experience shows that even by a courage-imbued intellect motionlessness of the mind is not achievable in a rush.

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 7.,
"To develop the ability to do so effectively and entirely we must just persevere patiently in our practice of being self-attentive as much as possible."
The required patient perseverance itself must be developed simultaneously with the annihilation of whatever thoughts may arise. Or - if "luck" is on our side - is given by grace of God/Bhagavan.

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 1.,
it is said that
1.) we should try to remain only as svarupa, our own form or real nature.
2.) svarupa -dhyana [self-attentiveness or contemplation on one's own form]
will destroy even all visaya-vasanas [inclinations or desires to be aware of things other than onesself] and should therefore increase and increase.
Instead of lamenting and weeping 'I am a sinner ! How am I going to be saved ?' may I ask you how the method of svarupa-dhyana is (to be) correctly practised ?
I put this question because till now I am still aware of things other than myself and therefore I am not really transformed into what one actually is. Presumably due wrong ideas of self-attentiveness I obviously do not contemplate correctly and sufficiently on my real nature.

suttarivu said...

How can we be sure that we really exist and not only seem to exist ?

suttarivu said...

How can there be awareness without any object ?
Is not objectfree or intransitive awareness lacking in content or even empty ?

Mouna said...

Sutarivu greetings,

"How can we be sure that we really exist and not only seem to exist ?"
You can never doubt existence per se because already the fact that there is a doubt presuposes existence in one way or another.
What we can doubt is the reality of the doubter itself because it doesn’t comply with the requirements needed, according to Bhagavan, for something to be real. The doubter changes all the time (waking, dream, sleep) so it is more of a “process than real in itself.

"How can there be awareness without any object ?"
Deep sleep. Awareness/existence without objects.

"Is not object free or intransitive awareness lacking in content or even empty ? "
Yes, empty of phenomena (content) but full of itself.

My two cents,
Be well,
M

suttarivu said...

Because English is not my mother tongue:
Can any one write Michael's words of the last three minutes (from 2:05:00 on till the end) of Michael's new video of 2017-05-13 (RMF UK discussion with Michael James on importance of practice) in clear English ?

suttarivu said...

Mouna, greetings,
1.) your first answer is mind's work. Can we ever trust the mind's mental projection, even when it seems to make a logically consistent remark ?
You speak of some kinds of doubt. But what is the base/proof of your certainty about your real existence ?
2.) Here I refer to what Michael said in his video:
"we are only) awareness - not awareness of anything".
3.) okay, but that full awareness (of awareness) is therefore not at all empty.
As you say that emptiness covers only such one of objects or phenomena.

By the way, what means "msy two cents" ? Is it a phrase or idiom ?

suttarivu said...

Michael,
in your recent youtube video of 13 May 2017 you ask nearly at the end:
"Can we conceive our own non-existence ?" and your answer was: "We cannot".
I assume we can quite well conceive that. We need only have a look to the omnipresent fear in man of his inescapable (bodily) death which we are afraid of to be the end not only of our seeming ego-existence but also of all our complete/real existence.

Mouna said...

Suttarivu, hello again,

"your first answer is mind's work. Can we ever trust the mind's mental projection , even when it seems to make a logically consistent remark ?”
You may doubt the mind’s projection as seemingly real or unreal, but you can never doubt that is happening (existence-sat) or that you are aware of it (awareness-chit) in some form or another.

"You speak of some kinds of doubt. But what is the base/proof of your certainty about your real existence ?”
Can you say, right at this very moment, I don’t exist?…
Doesn’t the fact of saying it or doubting it proves existence in some form?
Do you feel dead?

"Here I refer to what Michael said in his video:
"we are only awareness - not awareness of anything".”

Absolutely, that what we are, when we are aware of some-thing other than ourselves (sensations, perceptions, thoughts, feelings) that is called ego (mind-I-Thought-maya-snake, etc…)

"okay, but that full awareness (of awareness) is therefore not at all empty.
As you say that emptiness covers only such one of objects or phenomena.”

It is full of itself (figure of speech), it is full of awareness and existence, not of phenomena.
Remember words are limited, as our mind capacity to understand what is beyond the illusory itself (mind).
Does the desert is full of mirage water or full of sand?

"By the way, what means "msy two cents" ? Is it a phrase or idiom ? ”
Yes, according to the definition of Wikipedia, my two cents mean: "It is used to preface the tentative statement of one's opinion. By deprecating the opinion to follow—suggesting its value is only two cents, a very small amount—the user of the phrase, showing politeness and humility, hopes to lessen the impact of a possibly contentious statement.”

Now I have have no more cents, I gave them to you on the last posting, so I’ll just say, IMHO (In My Humble Opinion!) :-)
Be well,
M

suttarivu said...

Mouna,
good evening or midday or morning,
thanks for your patient reply. What you say is quite correct.
My mind is now content to a certain degree.
Actually I feel very undead.
But now even my purse too is empty.
Be very well.

Mouna said...

Suttarivu, good morning/afternoon/evening?

"Can any one write Michael's words of the last three minutes (from 2:05:00 on till the end) of Michael's new video of 2017-05-13 (RMF UK discussion with Michael James on importance of practice) in clear English ?
I did what I can, I am not an born english speaker also.
Hope is accurate enough for you to understand the essence of what Michael is saying, that interestingly enough echoes our previous interaction.
Be well,
M

Here is the excerpt:

“(minute 2:05:00) Everything that you are aware of could be an illusion, it could be just your own mental projection. But you who are aware of it cannot be an illusion, so you must exist. But what is doubtful, the fact that you are, is beyond doubt. But what you are is doubtful, because now you seem to be this person, is this what you really are? If you were really this person you should feel ‘I am this person’ even when you are asleep. So this person is something that comes and goes, you are permanent, so you cannot be what you seem to be.
So you definitely exist but you are nt definitely what you seem to be. So who are you? That is what we need to investigate.
When we know what we are we know we alone exist, nothing else exist.
But there can never be a state of ‘nothing exists’, because… So long we take ourselves to be a person we can conceive our own death, we all know this body is going to die one day, it will be cremated or buried or whatever, but can you conceive your own non-existence? We can’t because… Bhagavan said in a battlefield when soldiers see all the comrades dying around them, they never feel they are going to die, they are afraid… death may come at any moment but not this moment. That illusion of… well… is not an illusion, it's because we know we are going to exist, we know we cannot cease to exist, but because we take the body to be ourselves we impose that on the body. How we all live in this world? We accumulate money, we strive for so many things, don’t we? As if all these things are going to be permanent, but one day all these things are going to go away. But what gives this illusory dream a sense of permanent is because we are permanent, so we superimpose our own immortality upon this body and then we don’t think this body is going to live forever, we live as if this body is going to live forever. (end of tape)"

suttarivu said...

Mouna,
good morning/afternoon/evening/night,
many thanks for excerping Michael's concluding words which at first I could not understand clearly.
Yes, we seem to instinctively know our immortality. An episode of my life story :
When I was caught as a 24 years old youngster in the year 1974 to stay on a rock face of brittle/crumbly type of rock, in a extremely dangerous position - without a rope 80 meters over ground, in the face of near death I was mainly afraid of the pain which would bring the unavoidable fall and impact of the body on the rock. But I did not think of "my end" as such. By an act of mercy at last I was saved after 14 hours held only by a tiny tree root.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Recently, somebody shared the following message with me. Since I had not heard this anecdote before and I found it very interesting, I thought it would be an interesting sharing. It contains a deep and profound teaching by Bhagavan.

What is meditation?

This was a question haunting a small boy. Their parents were at wit's end, as they could not explain it in a simple language the boy could comprehend.

Once the family went for a dharshsn to Shri Ramana Maharishi. The boy put forward his question to Ramana Maharishi.

Shri Ramana laughed to himself. Then with smiling face, he asked his devotee to serve the boy dosa from the kitchen.

So, in a plain leaf, dosa was served. Shri Ramana looked at the boy and said,
" Now I will say "Hmm"
Then only you should start eating. Then again I will say "hmm" After that no piece of dosa should be left on your plate."
The boy agreed. He was so excited. Others were watching expectantly. Now the boy was eagerly waiting for the signal by looking at Shri Ramana's face. When he gave the signal "hmm" the boy started eating. Now his attention was on Shri Ramana. He wanted to finish dosa before the signal. The boy was eating dosa in a hurry tearing big big chunks of dosa, keeping his attention on Shri Ramana. The dosa was reducing in size gradually. There was a small piece left. The boy was looking anxiously at Shri Ramana for the second signal. The moment he gave signal, immediately the boy put the dosa in his mouth.

Now Shri Ramana asked him "where was your attention till now? On me or on Dosa?"

The boy replied "On both"

Shri Ramana said "Yes. You were actively involved in finishing dosa, with your attention on me. You were not distracted at all.
Like this When you do your daily activities with your attention or thoughts on God in the back ground is known as meditation."

The two signals "hmm" are birth & death. Within these two events, one can engage in meditation, as demonstrated by Shri Ramana Maharishi. But to understand this we all need divine grace to mellow & mature. We all differ from each other just by the time taken to comprehend this great truth.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following is an extract from a video dated 13-5-2017, in which Michael is seen interacting with other devotees:

Devotee says something to the effect: So how do we function after knowing the truth that this world is nothing but a dream, and that the ego that sees this dream-world is nothing but a non-existent phantom, and so on.

Michael: Why do you want to function? Who is to function? All functioning is done by the ego.

I who ? said...

Sanjay Lohia,
if it is important to "know the truth that this world is nothing but a dream"
is it not necessary to know first what a dream is or to at least to define/identify that term ?

I who ? said...

Sanjay Lohia,
can we in waking know or understand what a dream is ?
Is it not said that waking is just another dream - so what is a dream at all ?

atisaya sakti said...

From Wikipedia:
"Dream
A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.[1] The content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, as well as a subject of philosophical and religious interest, throughout recorded history. Dream interpretation is the attempt at drawing meaning from dreams and searching for an underlying message. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology.[2]

Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable.[3] The length of a dream can vary; they may last for a few seconds, or approximately 20–30 minutes.[3] People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase. The average person has three to five dreams per night, and some may have up to seven;[4] however, most dreams are immediately or quickly forgotten.[5] Dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full eight-hour night sleep, most dreams occur in the typical two hours of REM.[6]

Opinions about the meaning of dreams have varied and shifted through time and culture. Many endorse the Freudian theory of dreams – that dreams reveal insight into hidden desires and emotions. Other prominent theories include those suggesting that dreams assist in memory formation, problem solving, or simply are a product of random brain activation.[7] The earliest recorded dreams were acquired from materials dating back approximately 5000 years, in Mesopotamia, where they were documented on clay tablets. In the Greek and Roman periods, the people believed that dreams were direct messages from one and/or multiple deities, from deceased persons, and that they predicted the future. Some cultures practiced dream incubation with the intention of cultivating dreams that are of prophecy.[8]

Sigmund Freud, who developed the psychological discipline of psychoanalysis, wrote extensively about dream theories and their interpretations in the early 1900s.[9] He explained dreams as manifestations of one's deepest desires and anxieties, often relating to repressed childhood memories or obsessions. Furthermore, he believed that virtually every dream topic, regardless of its content, represented the release of sexual tension.[10] In The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), Freud developed a psychological technique to interpret dreams and devised a series of guidelines to understand the symbols and motifs that appear in our dreams. In modern times, dreams have been seen as a connection to the unconscious mind. They range from normal and ordinary to overly surreal and bizarre. Dreams can have varying natures, such as being frightening, exciting, magical, melancholic, adventurous, or sexual. The events in dreams are generally outside the control of the dreamer, with the exception of lucid dreaming, where the dreamer is self-aware.[11] Dreams can at times make a creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration.[12]"
What can we use of such a description ?

Identity Appropriator said...

Greetings Joseph Brukner. I also like to take on different anonymous identities.

I'm not a robot said...

Appropriator,
are you the appropriate authority to leave a message to anyone ?
Of course, you are free to take on any identity whatever you like.

jeremy lennon said...

Sanjay,
Thank you for that wonderful anecdote about Bagavan and the boy eating his food!

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 5.,
"That is, whatever else we may be aware of, we are aware of it against a background of permanent self-awareness, but though we are always self-aware, we are usually negligently self-aware, because we are more interested in being aware of other things than in our fundamental awareness of ourself."
Spoken from my current viewpoint of ignorance: The reason why we are more interested in being aware of other things than in our fundamental awareness of ourself is in most cases that our fundamental self-awareness seems to be not tangible or concretly available/accessible. Moreover it seems to be not able to be directly experienced.
The difficulty of access actually gives me something to chew on. For years I feel like a soldier who was left outside the gates of his inner town (of awareness).

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 4.,
"When the ego rises, it does so by projecting and attaching itself to a body, which it mistakes to be itself, and along with that body it projects and attaches itself to numerous other thoughts. This is the nature of the ego, and it cannot stand without constantly projecting and grasping thoughts."
In optics projecting projected images on a surface or screen requires a projector (an apparatus that consists of a light source with a system of lenses) and a screen.
Imagining (grasping) forms/thoughts by the ego is said to be similar. In which way can that physical event be applied to the asserted mental projection of the mind/ego-awarenees ?
Presumably there is no other light used than our self-awareness.
Which are the mental lenses and what functions as the mental screen ?

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 4.,
"Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is steadily fixed in oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [thought of oneself or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God."
If I am not very much mistaken there is a significant difference in meaning:
Without any doubt "oneself" in the last part of the sentence('giving oneself to God') means our ego whereas in the other two cases "oneself" ('fixed in oneself') and ('thought of oneself or self-attentiveness'))represents our real nature.

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 3.,
regarding my yesterday comment I have to correct: "When the ego rises, it does so by projecting and attaching itself to a body, which it mistakes to be itself, and along with that body it projects and attaches itself to numerous other thoughts. This is the nature of the ego, and it cannot stand without constantly projecting and grasping thoughts." is mentioned in section 3. not 4.

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 1.,
"As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist in the mind, so long the investigation who am I is necessary. As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or vigilant self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise."
Sometimes I am not even aware that thoughts appear because I seem to be nothing other than a bundle of thoughts which sound like a swarm of bees. At such opportunities - when I become aware of that awkward/oppressive/fatal situation - I make the most of the opportunity and let start immediately scrupulous self-investigation at least for some short time. I hope that this a sensible conduct.

tane tan(e) said...

Michael,
section 3.,
"The mind [the ego] stands only by always going after [conforming, attaching itself or attending to] a sthūlam [something gross, namely a physical body, which is just a thought]; solitarily it does not stand."
How can a gross physical body be "just a thought" ? Do we not experience thoughts as much subtler than the gross body ?