Wednesday, 28 June 2017

There is absolutely no difference between sleep and pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna)

After I wrote the reply that I reproduced in the article I posted here yesterday, namely Māyā is nothing but our own mind, so it seems to exist only when we seem to be this mind, the friend to whom I wrote it replied, ‘Thank you, Michael, but I assume ‘realisation’ is not quite the same as deep sleep?’, to which I replied:

In one sense ‘realisation’ (ātma-jñāna: self-knowledge or true self-awareness) is exactly the same as sleep, and in another sense it is not. From the perspective of ourself as this mind, sleep seems to be an imperfect state, firstly because we come out of it sooner or later, and secondly because it seems to be a state of darkness or nescience, so from this perspective sleep seems to be quite unlike ātma-jñāna.

However, according to Bhagavan sleep is not what it seems to be when viewed from the perspective of the mind or ego, because the mind was not present in sleep, so in waking and dream it cannot recall what was actually experienced in sleep. However, though we were not present in sleep as the mind, we were present as we actually are, which is just pure self-awareness, so we can clearly recall that we slept, but we cannot clearly recall what sleep was like.

The fact that we can recall having slept means that we must have been aware of ourself being in that state, so there can be no doubt that we were aware during sleep, even though we were not aware of anything other than ourself. If we were not aware while asleep, we would not be aware of having ever experienced any state other than waking and dream, but we are aware that we experience frequent gaps between waking and dream, and those gaps are what we call sleep. That is, we are clearly aware that we are sometimes in a state in which we are not aware either of being awake or of dreaming — a state in which we are in fact not aware of any phenomena whatsoever.

In order to be aware of having been in such a state, we must have been aware of being in it while we were in it, and in order to have been aware of being in it we must have been aware of ourself, the one who was aware of being in it. Therefore according to Bhagavan sleep is not a state of self-ignorance but of pure self-awareness, as he pointed out, for example, in an answer recorded in the first chapter of Maharshi’s Gospel (2002 edition, page 9):
Sleep is not ignorance, it is one’s pure state; wakefulness is not knowledge, it is ignorance. There is full awareness in sleep and total ignorance in waking.
Since they are both states of pure self-awareness, there is absolutely no difference between sleep and ātma-jñāna, and they are not actually two states but just one — the only state that actually exists (which is what is sometimes called jāgrat-suṣupti, ‘wakeful sleep’, turīya, ‘the fourth’, or turīyātīta, ‘beyond the fourth’), as Bhagavan says in verse 460 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai:
கனாநனாக் கட்குத்தான் காரணமா நின்ற
அனாதிமல வாதனைபோ யற்றால் — இனாத
கதிபடரக் கூட்டும்பாழ்ங் கண்ணுறக்க மூடம்
அதீததுரி யாவத்தை யாம்.

kaṉānaṉāk kaṭkuttāṉ kāraṇamā niṉḏṟa
aṉādimala vādaṉaipō yaṯṟāl - iṉāda
gatipaḍarak kūṭṭumpāṙṅ kaṇṇuṟakka mūḍam
atītaturi yāvattai yām
.

பதச்சேதம்: கனா நனாக்கட்கு தான் காரணமா நின்ற அனாதி மல வாதனை போய் அற்றால், இனாத கதி படர கூட்டும் பாழ் கண்ணுறக்க மூடம் அதீத துரிய அவத்தை ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): kaṉā naṉākkaṭku tāṉ kāraṇam-ā niṉḏṟa aṉādi mala vādaṉai pōy aṯṟāl, iṉāda gati paḍara kūṭṭum pāṙ kaṇ-ṇ-uṟakka mūḍam atīta turiya avattai ām.

English translation: If the beginningless filthy vāsanās [propensities or inclinations to be aware of anything other than oneself], which stood as the cause for dream and waking, are completely eradicated, the [seemingly] dull [or nescient] state of sleep, [which was considered to be] a void that leads one to suffer in a state of misery, will [turn out to] be atīta turya avasthā [the transcendent ‘fourth’ state].
Our propensities (vāsanās) will be completely eradicated only when their root, the ego, is eradicated, and then we will find that sleep, which previously seemed to be a dull state of ignorance, is actually our natural state of pure self-awareness, which is called the ‘fourth’ state but is actually the only real state, as Bhagavan points out in verse 32 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham:
நனவு கனவுதுயி னாடுவார்க் கப்பா
னனவு துயிற்றுரிய நாமத் — தெனுமத்
துரிய மதேயுளதாற் றோன்றுமூன் றின்றாற்
றுரிய வதீதந் துணி.

naṉavu kaṉavuduyi ṉāḍuvārk kappā
ṉaṉavu tuyiṯṟuriya nāmat — teṉumat
turiya madēyuḷadāṯ ṟōṉḏṟumūṉ ḏṟiṉḏṟāṟ
ṟuriya vatītan tuṇi
.

பதச்சேதம்: நனவு, கனவு, துயில் நாடுவார்க்கு, அப்பால் நனவுதுயில் ‘துரிய’ நாமத்து எனும். அத் துரியம் அதே உளதால், தோன்றும் மூன்று இன்றால், துரிய அதீதம். துணி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): naṉavu, kaṉavu, tuyil nāḍuvārkku, appal naṉavu-tuyil ‘turiya’ nāmattu eṉum. a-t-turiyam adē uḷadāl, tōṉḏṟum mūṉḏṟu iṉḏṟāl, turiya atītam. tuṇi.

English translation: For those who experience waking, dream and sleep, waking-sleep, [which is] beyond [these three], is called turya [or turīya, the ‘fourth’]. Since that turya alone exists, [and] since the three [states] that appear [or seem to exist] do not exist, be assured [that turya is actually] turya-v-atīta [turīyātīta, beyond the ‘fourth’].
Just as our one real state seems to be a ‘fourth’ state only so long as the three states of waking, dream and sleep seem to exist, sleep seems to be a third state only so long as waking and dream seem to exist, but when the ego and its ‘beginningless filthy propensities’ (anādi mala vāsanās), which give rise to the appearance of waking and dream, are eradicated, what will remain is only sleep, which will be found to be the one real and all-transcending state called turīya, the ‘fourth’.

It is only from the perspective of ourself as the ego or mind in waking and dream that sleep seems to be transitory and imperfect, and hence different from ātma-jñāna. From this perspective the most serious defect in sleep seems to be that sooner or later we invariably come out of it, so we cannot remain in sleep forever. But who comes out of sleep? Obviously only the mind (the ego). Therefore coming out of sleep is an issue for us only so long as we mistake ourself to be this mind, but are we this mind? And if we are not this mind, is there any such thing as ‘mind’ at all?

If we investigate this mind (the ego) keenly enough, we will find that there is no such thing at all, as Bhagavan says in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
மனத்தி னுருவை மறவா துசாவ
மனமென வொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற
      மார்க்கநே ரார்க்குமி துந்தீபற.

maṉatti ṉuruvai maṟavā dusāva
maṉameṉa voṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
      mārgganē rārkkumi dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: மனத்தின் உருவை மறவாது உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): maṉattiṉ uruvai maṟavādu usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. mārggam nēr ārkkum idu.

அன்வயம்: மறவாது மனத்தின் உருவை உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. இது ஆர்க்கும் நேர் மார்க்கம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṟavādu maṉattiṉ uruvai usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. idu ārkkum nēr mārggam.

English translation: When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], anything called ‘mind’ will not exist. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone.
Since no mind (or ego) actually exists, it never comes out of sleep, so sleep, which is the state in which we are completely free from the mind, is actually our real state, and hence it is exactly the same as ātma-jñāna. We seem to have come out of sleep now only because we are looking at things other than ourself, but if we turn back to look at ourself keenly enough, we will see what we actually are, which is just pure, eternal, infinite and immutable self-awareness, and thus we will find that we have never come out of sleep.

Even now we are happily immersed in eternal sleep, as we would see if we were to look at ourself keenly enough, and this sleep in which we are eternally immersed is the sleep of pure and absolutely clear self-awareness or ātma-jñāna.

42 comments:

Noob said...

Mind has only 2 states: waking and dream, which are essentially one and the same.

Noob said...

BTW, gaps they we call sleep, may also be just a part of this delusion.

Anonymous said...

I can not honestly say that I had gaps that we call sleep. Only way to prove that I had what we call as sleep is by doing an MRI.

I am permanent said...

Anonymous,
(how) can a picture of a physiological process of the gross body (brain matter) made during sleep which you may assess in waking produce any proof of awareness consciousness ?

iduve tinnam said...

Anonymous, do you need any proof that you are alive ?

Anonymous said...

How else can we say that we had deep sleep and not just dream filled sleep?

I am permanent said...

Anonymous,
did you never at awakening have the impression that in the previous period of sleep there was an era of non-experience of anything at all which was taken over by periods of dream ?
Another question: What certainty or proof do you have that you now are wake and not dreaming ?

Anonymous said...

did you never at awakening have the impression that in the previous period of sleep there was an era of non-experience of anything at all which was taken over by periods of dream ?

No.

Another question: What certainty or proof do you have that you now are wake and not dreaming ?
No proof. I feel I am awake.

I am permanent said...

Anonymous,
to get a more complete picture of sleep you may read for example the following articles of Michael James:
1. Wednesday, 16 March 2016
We are aware of ourself while asleep, so pure self-awareness alone is what we actually are
2. Sunday, 30 November 2014
How to experience the clarity of self-awareness that appears between sleep and waking?
3. Sunday, 15 June 2014
Why do we not experience the existence of any body or world in sleep?
4. Thursday, 5 June 2014
Self-investigation, effort and sleep
5. Friday, 20 June 2008
The true nature of consciousness can be known only by self-enquiry
6. Monday, 19 March 2007
The 'unconsciousness' that we seem to experience in sleep
7. Sunday, 18 March 2007
The consciousness that we experience in sleep
8. Saturday, 10 March 2007
The transcendent state of true self-knowledge is the only real state
9. Saturday, 3 March 2007
The Nature of Reality - additions to chapter 4 of Happiness and the Art of Being

Noob said...

From the logical point of view: the mind cannot be aware of deep sleep (Self) therefore he cannot remember it. Self has no memory (Memory is about the time, there is no past for the Self) as its a feature of the mind, therefore what we seem to remember is not from Self. Therefore whatever "gap" we remember it has nothing to do with the sleep.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I am permanent said...

for your effort at compiling the dates for Michael's blogs feeling with the subject of sleep. I usually do not miss reading Michael's blogs. Michael's blogs are long as he includes a lot of repetition to improve the clarity. I will re-read at leisure.

I have seen some say as proof that they had deep sleep 'I feel very relaxed. I slept like a baby. I did not know anything'. I think a relaxed sleep is possible even with dreams, especially if they were sweet dreams.

Many times, I do not remember my dreams. But, if I try hard as soon as I wake up, I am able to recollect sometimes. So, just because I could not recollect my dreams, does not mean I had dreamless sleep.

I know scientifically it has been found that dreamless sleeps are possible. I just do not agree we can recall having them.

I do not want to belabour the point about sleep. The most important thing to do is to focus on what we actually are.

iduve tinnam said...

Noob,
when you say "Therefore whatever "gap" we remember it has nothing to do with the sleep." you overlook that just the gap between two waking periods is what we call sleep.

I am permanent said...

Anonymous,
yes, we cannot recall the content of dreamless sleep in the mind because it was subsided in sleep. But because we were then present as mindless awareness we experienced our consciousness of our own being 'I am ' as our real self.

Noob said...

While we are mind we cannot know our real self, whatever impression we get its just a part of the delusion.

iduve tinnam said...

Noob,
you say "While we are mind we cannot know our real self,..."
thinking that we are the mind is just the most disastrous delusion.
Besides, instead of "its" you mean "it is" or "it's".

antam-ilā kaṇ said...

Michael,
"Even now we are happily immersed in eternal sleep, as we would see if we were to look at ourself keenly enough, and this sleep in which we are eternally immersed is the sleep of pure and absolutely clear self-awareness or ātma-jñāna."
Should we not draw a clear distinction between "sleep" as it is usually used in common sense as a temporary state of consciousness and that above mentioned "eternal sleep of atma-jnana" by using another term for the latter ?

Ravi said...

Ellam Onre is a gem of a little book recommended by Sri Bhagavan.
Chapter 2,Paras 5 & 6 may be referred for the topic under discussion.
http://www.cosmicharmony.com/EllamOndre/EllamOndre.htm

Noob said...

Iduve Tinnam,
I am not thinking "I am the mind" . I am experiencing myself as one at this moment. It does not matter if I think that I am the Mind or if I am thinking that I am the Self. Thinking "this" and "that" will not lead us anywhere. Self attention is what is needed, alas it is not strong enough to disperse the delusion of the mind.

iduve tinnam said...

Noob,
sorry that I misundertood your words "while we are the mind"... of your today comment at 08:44.
Our self-attention may at present not be intense enough. But indeed we do not have any sensible alternative to scrupulous and persistent self-attention.

antam-ilā kaṇ said...

Michael,
regarding my yesterday question of a special term for the 'eternal sleep of atma-jnana' I overlooked that you named already that one real and all-transcending state just in your article: 'turiya'.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramana Maharshi on "Being Still"

Q: Is the state of ‘being still’ a state involving effort or effortless?

Ramana Maharshi: It is not an effortless state of indolence. All mundane activities which are ordinarily called effort are performed with the aid of a portion of the mind and with frequent breaks. But the act of communion with the Self (atma vyavahara) or remaining still inwardly is intense activity which is performed with the entire mind and without break.

Maya (delusion or ignorance) which cannot be destroyed by any other act is completely destroyed by this intense activity which is called ‘silence’ (mauna).

(from Spiritual Instruction, Chapter II, Q. 4)

Michael James said...

Samarender, the translation of Bhagavan’s answer to question 4 of the second chapter of Upadēśa Mañjari (Spiritual Instruction) that you quote in your comment is not sufficiently accurate, as I explain in one of my earlier articles, Just being (summā irukkai) is not an activity but a state of perfect stillness, in which I give a more accurate and less confusing translation of it.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Michael, thanks for pointing that out. But, isn't effort a kind of activity, in that full effort precludes mere indolence or inactivity. The dam example of Sri Sadhu Om is instructive in that the dam is putting the "effort" to stop the water from flowing, so in that sense isn't that effort of the dam a kind of "activity". Although to try to just be or be still is sort of a "negative" activity in that you are putting full effort to be inactive, that is, without thoughts.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

Instead of debating it, may be we should ask members on this group about their experience. How many of us find 'being still' involves efforts vis-a-vis those who find it effortless?
For my part, I find it involving great effort.

Anonymous said...

So there is no difference between deep sleep and pure Self awareness...all are jnanis in deep sleep and have jnana in deep sleep or in other words there is only jnana in deep sleep...it is only on waking up they become ajnanis and there is ajnana.
I was thinking sleep was a state where mind is in laya.

Michael James said...

Anonymous, regarding your comment, yes, from the perspective of the mind in waking and dream sleep seems to be a state in which the mind is in laya, but according to Bhagavan if we investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are, we will find that sleep is actually our real and eternal state of pure self-awareness, in which no mind has ever seemed to exist at all (and hence no laya has ever occurred).

As he often used to say, jñāna (pure self-awareness) alone is the jñāni, so the jñāni is not a person and it never wakes up from sleep, nor does it ever dream. It is only from the perspective of the self-ignorant mind that the jñāni seems to be a person and therefore seems to experience waking and dream.

Being nothing other than jñāna, the jñāni is eternally awake in the sleep of pure self-awareness, because it is never aware of anything other than itself, since in its clear perspective nothing other than itself exists or even seems to exist. Therefore, since it alone exists, tat tvam asi: ‘that you are’.

spinning spider said...

Michael,
unfolding a pessimistic but closely related to life view:
most of us seem not to possess the heavenly gift to investigate ourself so keenly enough to see what we actually are.
Therefore most of us will never find our real and eternal state of pure self-awareness.
Most of us will never have the clear perspective that nothing than jnana itself exists.
So the mahavakya 'tat tvam asi' will be known for most of us only from books or heresay.
So most of us will walk all our life only as mind-controlled zombies.
Unfortunately I seem to be one of most of us.

Salazar said...

spinning spider, you said "most of us will never find our real and eternal state"

How you know, through believing a self-defeating thought? Bhagavan assured that everybody will be realized, eventually.

There is no humility in joining the ranks of those who find themselves seemingly incapable of doing vichara. "Not possible" is not an option for a yogi ;-)

If one believes the concept of reincarnation in order to explain differences of maturity in seekers then it is not far-fetched that even Bhagavan, the Buddha, and all of the other great sages have started the way we have - many, many lifetimes ago. And their mind must have complained as pathetically as we may have at some point of their seeming evolution. And yet they succeeded as we shall all too.

spinning spider said...

Salazar,
let's hope so, of course. I was only in a fit of melancholy to which I said goodbye now, thank God!

Noob said...

If there is no difference between sleep and pure self awareness, then no one in this world has ever experienced either of them.

Noob said...

Otherwise the world would have ceased to exist immediately.

Noob said...

Or seem to exist

Noob said...

Another trap, whenever we say "in perspective" or "relative" we are making statements scientifically, but we really must experience it first hand. For that we must get rid of mind, that writes all this nonsense.

antam-ilā kaṇ said...

Noob,
who says that there is any world ?
Do not the sages say that only atma-svarupa really exists.
How can there be anything other but atma svarupa ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael,
If there is no difference between sleep and self-awareness, then why in Mandukyopanisad III-44 do Gaudapada and Shankara explicitly state that when during meditation the mind becomes inactive in oblivion (susupti / sleep) the mind should be awakened again, just the same as if the mind is distracted. Shankara treats sleep or susputi the same as a distraction:
"This is the warning given against pursuing the Yogic Samadhi as the state of the highest spiritual realization" Nikhilananda's comment.

It seems you teach that sleep is the highest state, your whole teaching is oriented toward this, but Shankara explicitly warns against it.

Salazar said...

Hey Roger, your mind is so busy with "trying to understand" and with comparing teachings..... Give it a rest my friend.

Don't you see that this is keeping you in samsara? Your mind needs to shut up. It will NEVER understand or comprehend!!!

Salazar said...

Roger, you remind me of the classic Zen story of the enlightened master who is pointing with his finger to the moon. Alas many seekers, and that includes you Roger, are focusing on the finger instead to attend to that what is pointed to.

The finger is the metaphor for teachings/practices and the moon is the metaphor for Self.

Identity Appropriator said...

Roger Isaacs,

I reproduce below the first paragraph of Michael's response to the question.

In one sense ‘realisation’ (ātma-jñāna: self-knowledge or true self-awareness) is exactly the same as sleep, and in another sense it is not. From the perspective of ourself as this mind, sleep seems to be an imperfect state, firstly because we come out of it sooner or later, and secondly because it seems to be a state of darkness or nescience, so from this perspective sleep seems to be quite unlike ātma-jñāna.

As is clearly stated, sleep is exactly the same as self-knowledge, but so long as we seem to go in and come out of it, sleep is imperfect. Hence, Adi Shankaracharya treats sleep in this sense, as a distraction.

However, as stated later in the article, Since they are both states of pure self-awareness, there is absolutely no difference between sleep and ātma-jñāna, and they are not actually two states but just one — the only state that actually exists (which is what is sometimes called jāgrat-suṣupti, ‘wakeful sleep’, turīya, ‘the fourth’, or turīyātīta, ‘beyond the fourth’)[...].

As for going in and coming out of sleep, as stated in the article, It is only from the perspective of ourself as the ego or mind in waking and dream that sleep seems to be transitory and imperfect, and hence different from ātma-jñāna. From this perspective the most serious defect in sleep seems to be that sooner or later we invariably come out of it, so we cannot remain in sleep forever. But who comes out of sleep? Obviously only the mind (the ego). Therefore coming out of sleep is an issue for us only so long as we mistake ourself to be this mind, but are we this mind? And if we are not this mind, is there any such thing as ‘mind’ at all?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael & Identity Appropriator,
Thanks for the post, although, as I see the issue it is slightly different.

Michael recommends (from Bhagavan) that one should go to a state where "the ego, body and world are no longer in awareness" which is the same as sleep in a sense.

Mandukyopanisad Shankara III.44 and surrounding verses recommends specifically that if the mind/attention goes into this state that Michael recommends (oblivion = sleep = "no ego, no body, no world") then immediately "awaken it again". So Gaudapada and Shankara specifically say that this "no ego, no body, no world" state that Michael seeks is only a distraction.

So Michael and Gaudapada / Shankara are recommending very different practices.

In "Talks", Bhagavan acknowledges BOTH states:
Talk 17:
D.: Does Maharshi enter the nirvikalpa samadhi (no ego, no body, no world)?
M.: If the eyes are closed, it is nirvikalpa; if open, it is (though differentiated, still in absolute repose) savikalpa. The ever-present state is the natural state sahaja.


And at other times Bhagavan suggests limitations of the practice of "no ego, no body, no world" that he recommended earlier:
talk 54:
Even if one is immersed in nirvikalpa samadhi for years together, when he emerges from it he will find himself in the environment which he is bound to have. That is the reason for the Acharya emphasising sahaja samadhi in preference to nirvikalpa samadhi in his excellent work Viveka Chudamani.


Note: in the prior statement Bhagavan is taking sides with Shankara (the author of Viveka Chudamani) and confirming that nirvikalpa (no ego, no body, no world) has limitations as detailed in Mandukyopanisad.

So I can find places where Bhagavan takes 3 different positions (all correct as far as I can see):
1: recommends "no ego, no body, no world (nirvikalpa samadhi)",
2: and he speaks out against holding it for a long time (years),
3: AND he says he is in both states.

All of these practices sound reasonable to me for the temperaments of different people at different times.

For me personally, I practice both. During the day, when meditating and during activity, it is natural to practice self-attentiveness but with body and world in awareness. And... after meditating with awareness of body/world, when resting or going to sleep or awakening... it is natural to practice "no ego, no body, no world".

My main reason in highlighting this difference between Michael and Shankara is that I consider Michael's account to be rather inflexible and narrow. Michael's view does not cover all of Bhagavan's positions nor does it include Shankara.

If Michael has a personal preference for nirvikalpa (no ego, no body, no world) then that sounds perfectly fine and agreeable. But... others (such as Shankara) have a different preference. And in fact Bhagavan at times takes a different position than his earlier works and supports Shankara's position. Perhaps we could allow that all the positions are useful for different temperaments.

Thanks, this is useful stimulation for me to read Shankara again. :-)

Identity Appropriator said...

Roger Isaacs,

There is no 'useful stimulation' in taking some verses of revered Philosophical works, and using them out of context in order to argue against an incorrect understanding of someone's translation of and commentary upon Bhagavan's works and teachings.

I suggest that you start a blog/write a book expounding in detail your understanding of spirituality/philosophy, instead of trying repeatedly to force your own disapproving views on the 'inflexible and narrow' account of Michael James's writings.

Identity Appropriator said...

In continuation of my previous comment addressed to Roger Isaacs

You are of course free to comment on this blog, but my suggestion is that it is better to engage your energies in studying intensively and forming a reasonably well-knit understanding of the subject of your study, instead of prematurely and in an incorrect context declaring an account of Bhagavan's teachings as being 'rigid and inflexible'.

You say, and i quote

But... others (such as Shankara) have a different preference. And in fact Bhagavan at times takes a different position than his earlier works and supports Shankara's position. Perhaps we could allow that all the positions are useful for different temperaments.

If our objective is to experience the clear light of self-awareness that we always are, bereft of all confusion and wrong identification, then the means to achieve it is, by the admission of all Sages in unison, very 'rigid and inflexible'. This is quite similar to the 'rigid and inflexible' means of looking directly at the sun with our naked eyes - there is but one way to do so, and no different positions for people having different temperaments.

However, all Sages, Adi Shankaracharya and Bhagavan included, make a concession to our present seeming ignorance, and prescribe various palliatives to reduce the intensity of the symptoms caused by the root cause of all the diseases - namely the ego. However, sooner or later, all these palliatives will cease in their effects; or more precisely, we would sooner or later become dissatisfied with the effects of the palliatives, and begin seeking something better.

Bhagavan does not disapprove of our engaging in various practices whenever we insist on doing them, but he has explicitly stated that the direct means and the best among all practices for everyone without exception, is atma vichara. Though atma-vichara may seem difficult for most of us, this difficulty should not detract from the veracity of Bhagavan's contention.

In conclusion, no one can with reason deny that different practices are useful for people with different temperaments, but when it comes down to the eradication of the root of all problems, only one very 'rigid and inflexible' means exists.

Michael James said...

Roger, I have replied to both your comments (first and second) in a separate article: The non-existence of the ego, body and world in manōlaya is only temporary, whereas in manōnāśa it is permanent.