Thursday, 13 July 2017

Pure self-awareness is not nothingness but the only thing that actually exists

A friend recently wrote to me asking, ‘What is the difference between nothingness and complete self-awareness? I understand the destruction of the mind is the ultimate goal of the practice, but does that mean we aim to just be nothing at all?’, but then added, ‘Obviously this question arises from an ego that is afraid to not be, but I am curious’. The following is adapted from my reply to him:

Pure self-awareness is what we actually are, so unless you can deny your own existence it is not nothing, and hence not nothingness either (as I explained in much greater detail in one of my earlier articles: Self-knowledge is not a void (śūnya)).

Pure self-awareness is ‘nothingness’ only in the sense that it is devoid of phenomena, but phenomena are actually nothingness , because they are illusory appearances that seem to exist only in the view of the ego, which is itself not real, so they do not actually exist.

Therefore pure self-awareness is actually devoid of nothingness. It alone exists, so it is the only thing, and hence it is everything, because there is nothing other than it. It is absolute fullness — the fullness of infinite, indivisible, immutable and eternal sat-cit-ānanda: being (sat), awareness (cit) and happiness (ānanda), which are one and the same thing.

This is why Bhagavan concluded verse 12 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (the meaning of which I discussed in detail in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 12: other than the real awareness that we actually are, there is nothing to know or make known) by saying that since it shines without any other to know or to cause to be known, what we actually are is real awareness, and it is not nothingness or a void:
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 itself] is actually aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. That which knows [or is aware of anything other than itself] is not real aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. Since it shines without another for knowing or for causing to know [or causing to be known], oneself is [real] aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. It is not a void [or nothingness]. Know [or be aware].
The absence of any phenomena seems to be nothingness only in the view of the ego (which is the false awareness that he refers to here as ‘அறியும் அது’ (aṟiyum adu), ‘that which knows’, meaning that which knows or is aware of things other than itself), because we seem to be this ego only when we are aware of phenomena, so awareness of phenomena is the very nature of the ego. It appears and co-exists with the ego in waking and dream, and disappears with it in sleep.

Since the ego does not exist in sleep, in its view sleep seems to be a state of nothingness. However, though the ego does not exist then, in sleep we exist and are aware of our existence, and hence after waking we know ‘I slept’.

The ‘I’ that existed and was aware that it existed in sleep is not the ego but what we actually are. However, since we now experience ourself as this phenomena-knowing ego, we seem to be not aware of ourself as we actually are, and hence we do not have a clear impression of what we were actually aware of in sleep, which is nothing other than the pure self-awareness that we actually are.

All this will become clear to us to the extent that we practise being keenly and persistently self-attentive, because the more keenly and persistently self-attentive we are, the more familiar we will become with self-awareness in isolation (or at least relative isolation) from all phenomena.


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rope-dancer said...

I did not even have neither savikalpa nor nirvikalpa samadhi. How can I experience them ? Which efforts or prerequisites are necessary to stay in one of the mentioned samadhis ?

venkat said...

rope-dancer, my suggestion is not to worry about attaining samadhi. It becomes a goal for the ego. Just follow Bhagavan's atma vichara.

rope-dancer said...

thanks for replying. Yes, as you say the ego is longing for overwhelming impressions.
Get overcome with or by complete annihilation of the ego is the better way.
Kind regards.

Salazar said...

venkat, if I should have an experience of any Samadhi I would not denigrate that experience or see it as non-significant. However I am not desiring these manolaya states and most certainly are they not my goal. If they happen as a by-product of atma-vichara I am open to them and hopefully I won't get attached.

According to Bhagavan it depends on our past life activities, so some may experience i.e. Savikalpa Samadhi on their path to the natural state and some don't.

Hector said...

Hi Roger

I am glad you liked that Nisargadatta quote, he was a feisty character!! His words have been a huge help to me personally along with Bhagavan's and many others.

Niasargadatta used different terms and words but I think there is a lot of commonality between him and Bhagavan. One thing he did say that always got me confused is the supreme / Parabrahman does not know it is. Whereas Bhagavan said it is the only thing that exists and is aware of it's own existence (ie) self aware. This does make more sense to me I must admit. But I am not going to throw all Nisargadatta's teachings away !!! Plus I believe they are both the same teacher.

Roger you said:

[I also do a significant amount of looking just inwardly or predominately inwardly. I try being inwardly focused all the time, driving a car is a great meditation time as is walking, but also meditating lying down, sitting with eyes closed, or eyes open for a long time. Or switching back and forth between 30 minutes sitting and then doing jobs around the house and then back. The more effort I put into it the more results. Can I maintain the same inward focus in activity as with eyes closed sitting? No... but it is the intent.]

(lol)!! It feels like I wrote that as my practise is basically the same! This is self investigation / vichara, with differing periods of intensity. We are on the same page.

I look forward to your future posts about your practise.

Thank you for posting those verses from "The Philosophy of Consciousness Without An Object" by Franklin Merrell-Wolff. I have always meant to look into him in more detail.
so this was a good cue thank you very much!!

With regards Michael's understanding of Bhagavan's teaching. I must admit Michael has been a huge help to me and he certainly does know a thing or two about Bhagavan's teaching !!! But I don't agree with every thing he says and I am sure he won't lose any sleep over it! But I must admit most of what he says does make sense to me. His heart is certainly in the teaching that's for sure.

With regards commenting on other peoples practise and spiritual beliefs I think the below is so true.

Nan Yar? - End of paragraph 19

[All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If [everyone] knew this truth, who indeed would refrain from giving]

This makes so much sense very much like:

[Do to others as you would have them do to you.]

This for me is a golden rule that I try to practise as best as I can. If someone says something I don't agree with or if they upset me or judge my beliefs I do react of course as I am only human! (or maybe not if I trust the sages) But I try to think about what Bhagavan wrote. I have it printed out and on my desk.

So with that said, each to their own and love to everyone including our non human brothers and sisters. We are all on the same path I feel.


rope-dancer said...

quite honestly I do not defend myself to experience any kind of samadhi. I would welcome or at least accept such an encounter even it is said to mean only manolaya.
Of course I have to wakeful not to be satisfied with it.

venkat said...


Apologies for intruding into your conversation, but if I may, you wrote about Nisargadatta:

"One thing he did say that always got me confused is the supreme / Parabrahman does not know it is. Whereas Bhagavan said it is the only thing that exists and is aware of it's own existence (ie) self aware."

I think what he might have meant is that Parabrahman does not "know", in the way that we "know" things. He also wrote (I think in "I am That", or perhaps one of his other books), which is more in line with Bhagavan:

"In the Parabrahman there is no awareness of existence, there is awareness of awareness only. As soon as awareness of existence comes there is duality and the manifestation occurs."

Words are inadequate pointers to what is true, so different teachers point from different angles, to help us along the path.

As an aside, Ganeshan anna, Bhagavan's grand-nephew, went to meet with Nisargadatta. David Godman wrote that Nisargadatta did a full length prostration to Ganeshan anna saying:

"I never had a chance to prostrate to your great-uncle Ramana Maharshi, so I am prostrating to you instead. This is my prostration to him"

Nisargadatta also said to Ganeshan anna that Bhagavan, JK and Nisargadatta were all brothers with the same teaching, just using different languages and pointers.

nivrtti said...

"In the Parabrahman there is no awareness of existence, there is awareness of awareness only. As soon as awareness of existence comes there is duality and the manifestation occurs."

Since I cannot at present join in that statement and examine the correctness of it I prefer to rely entirely on Bhagavan Sri Ramana alone. For me awareness and existence are not at all distinguishable but are one and the same. It is scarcely conceivable that awareness of awareness would not enclose existence - not even in mental terms. Without any disrespect, presumably Nisargadatta has never been in the full experience of Parabrahman.
To my instinct Bhagavan Ramana of Annamalai is a lone voice in the wilderness.
Let us consider that subject in 500 years retrospectively. With a smile.

Salazar said...

venkat, yes I agree, however it just doesn't click with me when I read anything by JK. I enjoyed more Nisargadatta Maharaj, but I really prefer Bhagavan, Papaji, Annamalai Swami and Robert Adams.

My favorite non-Bhagavan related Jnanis are Huang-Po (although when I read his work it feels like Bhagavan is talking, at least for me), the Buddha, Jalal ad-Din or Mevlana, most know him as Rumi.

Interestingly, although I am a "Westerner" I don't feel any attraction to Christianity and their spiritual tradition. In the beginning of my spiritual path I liked Thomas Keating and at that time his first books were published in the eighties.

venkat said...


I may have misunderstood you . . . but Bhagavan said (for me) practically the same as Nisargadatta in Gospel:

"You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness, there is no need to attain or cultivate it. All that you have to do is to give up being aware of other things, that is of the not-Self. If one gives up being aware of them then pure awareness alone remains, and that is the Self."


I guess my preference would be Bhagavan, Nisargadatta, JK and Atmananda. I also enjoyed Huang Po - presumably you have also read Hsin Shin Ming and Lao Tse, which are along the same theme. Meister Eckhart too.

venkat said...

Salazar, sorry I should have added the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and Shankara commentaries. I came to these relatively later, but they are superb.

nivrtti said...

the quoted verses of "The Philosophy of Consciousness Without An Object" by Franklin Merrell-Wolff sound good. But does he show also the way to realize the quintessence of that philosophy ?

nivrtti said...

your quotation
"You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness, there is no need to attain or cultivate it. All that you have to do is to give up being aware of other things, that is of the not-Self. If one gives up being aware of them then pure awareness alone remains, and that is the Self."
is Bhagavan's statement.
Bhagavan does not distinguish between awareness and existence.

nivrtti said...

when Jesus said for instance "Love your next as you self" or "Heaven is in you inside" - Bhagavan Sri Ramana does fully agree with him.
So when you do not feel any attraction to Jesus Christ you seem to have not grasped the core essence of his teaching. That the Christian religion or church of Rome did or does not follow him entirely is another matter.

Salazar said...

nivrtti, I was talking about preferences. So you can judge from a comment (which was more interpreted into by you than there really is) what I have grasped or not? LOL

Roger said...

Hi Nivrtti,
regarding: did FMW show the way to realize his philosophy?

Only you can answer that question.
If you are asking: did he teach Atma Vichara in the style that Bhagavan does?... then no.

FMW studied math and philosophy at Stanford and Harvard (the best universities in the U.S.) and taught math at Sanford briefly before leaving to devote himself to the possibility of enlightenment.

Did he teach in the style of vedanta etc..?
No, as a mathematician and philosopher he put the experience entirely in his own words. Very rare.

Certainly he is teaching how to realize his philosophy... but whether or not his style resonates with you is the question. Isn't that the case with all the Jnanis? We have to find one that resonates.

He considered pure mathematics and philosophy excellent training... which may be a warning :-)
I read his work VERY slowly and have never read it all.

A quote from FMW involving Bhagavan and possibly mentioning the "happiness of being" and Kundalini (the "current" mentioned by Bhagavan)

The second occasion occurred somewhat less than a year ago. I had been reading with deep interest a book by Paul Brunton in which, among other experiences, he told of his contact with a certain Sage in Southern India [Sri Ramana Maharshi?]. I felt a sympathetic rapport with this Sage and repeatedly read His words with profound attention. Once, while thus engaged, it suddenly dawned on me that Nirvana is not a field or place where man enters and is enclosed, as in a space which envelops bodies, but I Recognized that “I am Nirvana.” In other words, the Real Self is not other than Nirvana, never has been other, and never will be other. All that the individual man achieves is Recognition of this eternal fact. With this Transition in consciousness Joy was realized. Even at that time I sensed It as a current, though in modified form as compared with the more recent Recognition. I once spent a whole day immersed within It; and, for a period, within certain limits, I could invoke It.

I like FMWs aphorisms (partial post early) because for me it clarifies Michael's teaching such as "the non-existence of the ego, body and world ... in manonasa is permanent". Michael's statement does not make much sense at face value for me, but taken with FMWs aphorisms it sort of fits in there somewhere imprecisely.

Roger said...

Hi Rope-Dancer, Venkat, Salazar,

I think you have exactly the right question: "How may I experience them (samadhis)? Which efforts or prerequisites are necessary?"

Great question. Don't let anyone dissuade you from the question, ever. Or... if you prefer replace the word Samadhi with Atma Vichara and the question is still perfect. It is exactly the same question.

Michael James says that Atma Vichara is Self Attention.
Samadhi is also Self Attention but expressed in a different language and there is more history associated with it. Bhagavan used these sanskrit words, so considering them maybe useful? Of course if someone is not interested then there is no need.

To condemn the word "samadhi" is like saying: I like an infrequent beer but will not consider cerveza (spanish for beer).

Venkat says "rope-dancer, my suggestion is not to worry about attaining samadhi. It becomes a goal for the ego. Just follow Bhagavan's atma vichara."

I don't doubt that some have made samadhi an ego goal, but the same has happened with Atma Vichara. What's the difference?

If our style is: hearing, contemplating and then realizing the truth in meditation... then whatever is heard is just potential contemplation.

I like using the sanskrit words from Talks and Godman etc... because they approach the issue (self inquiry) from a different angle. For example:
I have only heard Michael teach that "when the ego dies, the body and world die...", "the world is the ego" etc...

The sanskrit words Nirvikalpa Samadhi (no changes: no body, no world) and savikalpa samadhi (with changes: transcendence while in the world) clearly point out two different states. But I have only heard Michael discuss the first (no body, no world). Michael's teaching seems to preclude the second (transcendence while being aware of the world and body). And since we spend a significant amount of time in the world perhaps the second (transcendence in the world) might be useful.

Salazar, samadhi is Self Attention, is it NOT manolaya anymore than Atma Vichara is manolaya.
Of course, there is a state which Michael explains "no body, no world in awareness" where one may loose attention and enter manolaya (nirvikalpla samadhi but without awareness), but this is common to both Atma Vichara and Samadhi.

Salazar said...

Roger, you are wrong re. samadhi .... but I give up. Believe what you want. Since you go wrong with such a vital point, no further dialog between us would do any good. I sensed that about 20 of your comments ago and now it is quite obvious.

How did you come up with that nonsense to equal atma-vichara with samadhi? Actually don't tell me, because I am done reading your confused comments...................

venkat said...


I am slightly confused when you say Bhagavan does not distinguish between awareness and existence. They are the same. I don't think Nisargadatta would say otherwise.

To have awareness must necessarily mean 'something' (sorry words aren't adequate) exists that is aware. And something can only exist if there is awareness of that existence. This is the Sat Chit of advaita.

Or you mean by existence, the body-mind-world exists in awareness?

venkat said...


You FMW quotes (great quotes by the way) has the response to your assertion on samadhi. Samadhi is what FMW calls nirvana, the consciousness of the absence of objects (not dissimilar to sleep).

When consciousness of objects is born,
then, likewise, consciousness of absence of objects arises.
Consciousness of objects
is the Universe.
Consciousness of absence of objects
is Nirvana
Within Consciousness-without-an-object
lie both the Universe and Nirvana,
yet to Consciousness-without-an-object
these two are the same.

This last quote is the key to why samadhi is said to be a distraction and not the same as liberation. Liberation is when we simply are what FMW calls "Consciousness without an object", or what Bhagavan calls "pure consciousness" or Nisargadatta calls Parabrahman. Consciousness of an object, and consciousness of the absence of objects (samadhi / sleep) are experiences / states that move across the substratum / screen of pure consciousness. As experiences they are not real, and as FMW say, they are the same.

venkat said...


Sorry, having re-read the Nisargadatta quote, "there is no awareness of existence", I see what you are getting at. By this, he would have meant existence of the subject / object. For Nisargadatta, the Parabrahman state, is awareness that is not aware of itself; it cannot know itself, because there is nothing to know (it would be a duality if there is knowledge); it just is. It is a state of potential.

In GVK, Murugunar / Bhagavan writes:
1232: Know that the consciousness which always shines in the heart as the formless and nameless Self, 'I', [and which is known] by being still without thinking [about anything] as existent or non-existent, alone if the perfect reality.

Salazar said...

venkat, true these quotes of FWW sound great but these are just mind products of a highly intelligent philosopher. Is he a Jnani? Highly unlikely and therefore he is just intelligently conceptualizing things in a nice prose. Since he did not actually experience that what he describes it is just fluff for beginners.

The same with Alan Watts. He was one of the most eloquent philosophers out there and one could, as a beginner, believe that he "got it". But there are worlds between Bhagavan and any Jnani to those brainy pundits, no matter how elaborate they parrot what they have read somewhere.

Because that's what FWW and Watts did, they read extensively and then regurgitated that what they have read in their own, granted highly eloquent, words.

venkat said...


To be clear, I only really value Bhagavan and Nisargadatta. However that is not to say that others may or may not be jnanis.

Whereas Alan Watts wrote in the 60s / 70s in the height of New Age, FMW wrote in the 1930s, where there would have been very limited access to Bhagavan (apart from Secret Path) or the various translations of the Vedantic scriptures, and Sankara's commentary thereon, that are now available. He also writes that he had a realisation event, which on reading Shankara, made it click into place, and deepened it. He attributes his realisation to Shankara and Vedanta, rather than something he conjured up himself. And his words, from the 1930s, has a uniqueness that does not suggest to me parroting.

In any event, I'm not invested in proving whether he was or was not a jnani. As I said elsewhere, we can never know.

Salazar said...

venkat, sounds good for me. There are many who proclaimed to have had an "awakening experience", but was that manōnāśa? Probably not in most cases.

Hector said...

Hi Venkat

Please do intrude and replace intrude with join !!

Thank you very much for your thoughts on Nisargadatta if you are right I must admit that would make lot more sense to me.

My thinking is if there is only one self aware being call it what you like etc if it is conscious it has to exist and know it exists. As Bhagavan said "satchit" both are one you can't have one without the other this does make sense to me personally. One nondual self aware being that is aware of nothing other than itself.

However I haven't read all Nisargadatta's books just "I am that" and the 3 edited by Jean Dunn.

Yes I read about Nisargadatta doing a full length prostration to Ganeshan anna I think it was in a David Godman article? Very interesting.

If Nisargadatta said that his and Bhagavan's teaching were the same expressed in different ways this would account for my confusion. As far as I could see their teachings are extremely similar and the aspects that don't seem congruent could be down to their different use of words.

Very helpful thank you Venkat.


nivrtti said...

Roger Isaacs,
as a transcendental philosopher Franklin Merrel-Wolff seems to have been quite remarkable. Thank you for introducing me to him. But hearing his pithy aphorisms does not spare me to try to be self-attentive all day long.

nivrtti said...

okay , I am happy that you quite well did grasp the core of Jesus Christ's teachings.

nivrtti said...

as you assume the given quote of Nisargadatta refers obviously to objective knowledge
because direct knowledge is not duality but non-dual.
Regarding Muruganar's GVK, chapter 59. The Perfect Reality:
all the verses 1230-1236 are precious pointers of truth.

Roger said...

Hi Nivrtti,
yes, I like your comment: "But hearing his pithy aphorisms does not spare me to try to be self-attentive all day long"

I look around for sections of interest in books without reading the whole thing, or occasionally just open them up at random. Effort is better spent looking inward. If something is valuable... it should be said concisely.

In addition to FMW's book, there is another book I like: "The Transcendental Philosophy of Fraklin Merrell-Wolff" by Ron Leonard.

Ron Leonard is/was also a professor of philosophy and was FMW's grand-son-in-law. I read that Leonard is "the foremost FMW scholar, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Franklin's philosophy as the most important subject he could find."

In this excellent book I skipped directly to the section "Introception - method". This quote hit me as just a different definition of Atma Vichara: ("introception" is FMW's made up word which I supposed could be translated to "self inquiry".)
This is Leonard Speaking with FMW's comments in quotes:
"...practical instruction concerning its attainment: His professed method involves isolating "the subjective factor in consciousness" while "permitting the objective consciousness to continue through its own automatism."

"Permitting the objective activity to continue" is different than what Michael seems to recommend which is to exclude everything from awareness including all activity, body and world. But for me these are just the two poles, one may prefer one or the other or both.

Salazar said...

venkat, speaking of fake Jnanis, there is this guy Ed Muzika ("Edji") who runs his own blog and he poses as an enlightened guru and he commented on his blog that Sahaja Samadhi is just another dead end path. "He" had experienced all of that including "Christ Consciousness" but now he is beyond all teachings. However he stresses that the most important thing in life is to have somebody to love [can you believe that poppycock?].

He criticizes Bhagavan and Nisargadatta Maharaj and proclaimed that his teaching is superior to all of them. He even went so far to say that Nisargadatta Maharaj went secretly to prostitutes and that Robert Adams (who was his teacher) was a notorious womanizer. And then he "explained" that both, Nisargadatta Maharaj and Robert Adams, were trying to overcome periods of emptiness or boredom.

I can only say wow!

And then there are a few who consider him as their sat-guru! A friend of mine was into him for a while before he realized that he'd fallen for an impostor. I told him in the very beginning to question this guy but to no avail until recently.

Salazar said...

I forgot to add, he has posted a link to Michael's blog on his blog and is recommending him. He also recommends Sadhu Om's text about Self-Inquiry. That seems quite bizarre since "his" atma-vichara as explained on his blog consists of "feeling" the sense of 'I am' either in the gut or heart area and then "dive" into the various feelings and energetic processes and "explore" those thoroughly until one realizes Self.

It is quite amazing how many people distort not only Bhagavan's teaching but also Self-Inquiry, even on this blog.

Roger said...

I hate to agree with you AGAIN, but remarkably that is the case regarding Edji.

Robert Adams "accepts" that Edji's experience qualifies as enlightenment. But... shortly thereafter Edji is grabbed by a great depression lasting for 3 years caused in part by the death of his favorite cat.

No reason to ever read further. This also draws into question Robert Adams.

Salazar, is there some purpose in grovelling around in this, ah, as you say, BS ?
Such BS is endless and seems to be focusing in the wrong direction: fascination with outward BS is not Self Inquiry.

Salazar said...

Roger, your comment shows again that you have no clue about atma-vichara. Activity of any kind (including fascination with outward “BS”) and atma-vichara are not mutually exclusive.

venkat said...

Salazar, I agree with your observation on Ed Muzika. He doesn't even get the basics of advaita as a philosophy, given the stuff he comes out with.

Salazar said...

I just did a search for "Ed Muzika" on this blog and noticed that he actually posted a comment on this blog in December 2008. ;-)

If you do a search on Muzika's blog you'll see that there are a few comments by David Godman where they have a dialog about gurus etc.

Considering the outrageous claims and comments by Muzika I am surprised that anybody takes this clown seriously.

Salazar said...

venkat, re. Nisargadatta Maharaj, what I don't like about him is that he steadfastly refused to accept that reincarnation takes place. What is fine of course since from the ajata viewpoint he's correct.

BUT - when he was asked why certain people get enlightened and why others not at all he explained it with the term "chemicals", the ones who got enlightened have "pure chemicals" when they were born and the ones who did not get enlightened had "impure chemicals".

If he'd not be a Jnani I'd think his mind is justifying a concept it got attached to (no reincarnation) and replaced it with another concept (chemicals) to give some sort of explanation.

I'd have asked him what happens to the unfortunate ones who die without getting liberated since they will be bound forever since they cannot be born again with "better chemicals" LOL.

Bhagavan's explanation makes more sense since Nisargadatta's has holes in it.

nanavu-tuyil said...

So let us finally settle under the lone tree of wisdom, Bhagavan Sri Ramana from Arunachala, the Hill of the light of jnana.

Hector said...

I came across Ed Muzika many years ago and what he said / taught didn't really help me or make much sense in my personal opinion. However it was through Ed I found Robert Adams, Nisargadatta & Bhagavan. Robert and all his audio recordings have proved most helpful to me over the years and Nisargadatta's teaching makes so much sense to me I must say. However Bhagavan's teaching if I am understanding it correcty makes the most sense and is the most elegantly simple and logical teaching I have come across on my own spirtual journey.

This is only my opinion and this is why I am here.

So I am forever grateful to Ed for being the stepping stone to them and for all the work he does providing food and medical care for the feral cats in Los Angeles.

I wish him nothing but the best.


Salazar said...

Hector, I don't have any ill will re. Muzika, however to pose as a Self-realized master is rather delusional. And, IMO, he's conning all these gullible souls who are attending his "sat-sangs".

But why should he be different than Gangaji, Mooji, and the rest of impostors who pretend to be enlightened? Maybe that's just a phase certain jivas have to go through?

And I don't want to go into the swamp of deranged "spiritual" teachers who have abused their students, quite amazing how often that has happened.

Salazar said...

Hector, I sent an email to my friend who was into Muzika for a while and mentioned your comment about how he provides food and medical care for feral cats.

He answered that this is true and he’s spent an excess of US-$ 10,000 on medical care just for his own cats. Well, if I would live in a poor country like Somalia or even India I’d find it rather strange that somebody spends an enormous amount of money on cats while that same money could save the lives of many starving kids who are also in need of medical care.

He also said that Muzika mentioned that he’d donated a total of about $ 20,000 to Robert Adams in the nineties. However he only mentioned that in context that a student is supposed to donate money to his teacher and then he revealed that he’s in need for money. My friend was rather disgusted by that.

I told him to forget about that guy and just move on.

This whole thing is actually quite amusing, Muzika will probably incarnate as a cat in his next life due to his extreme attachment to them. I remember a story by Bhagavan where a devotee became so infatuated with a deer that he actually was reborn as a deer…..

Hector said...

Hi Salazar.

Sorry if my post came across the way it may of seemed. But with Ed's name being brought up I just wanted to post to quickly express my appreciation for him for leading me to Robert adams, Nisargadatta and Bhagavan.

I haven't visited his site for a very long time as like I said I found what he said to be confusing. So I would never class him as a teacher personally. For me he was a priceless stepping stone and am grateful to him.

However I think you make some very good points Salazar and agree with what you say actually.

Everyone is entitle to their opinion of him of course.


Roger said...

Hi Venkat,
Thanks for your earlier comments on Samadhi. I think differently about it but I appreciate your comments none-the-less as they are thought provoking. I am simply contemplating the issue. I am reading "Be as you are" which has a whole chapter on samadhi, as well as "Talks" (both available as online pdf) I found blog posts of Michael's here about it (which differ with Talks). The most interesting thing is to consider my moment by moment practice. Where is the state or level of my current attention with regard to the classical descriptions?

BTW: Venkat, I still would like to know what you consider to be the classical definition of Jnana Yoga is. I am persistent if nothing else.

"When one has so intensified the power of dhyana (attention) as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part, the meaning, that state is called Samadhi." Vivekananda.

Hector, you said: "So I am forever grateful to Ed for being the stepping stone".
This reminds me of your earlier quote:
Nan Yar paragraph 19: "All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself."

"grateful" is non-attachment in action. I've heard that an attitude of gratefulness for everything is a high level spiritual practice. Gratitude is freeing.

Salazar, you say:
Muzika will probably incarnate as a cat in his next life due to his extreme attachment to them. etc...

Are you placing judgment on Muzika's love for cats calling it "extreme attachment"? If there were attachment there (and sure there probably is) how is it that you can judge that the "attachment" component as being greater than the service and love component? You suggest that his funds would be better spent on starving children in Somalia or India... This is a judgment? Who are we to judge how Muzika should donate and what or who he should serve? Meow!

venkat said...

Your comment about Nisargadatta is resolved by remembering that there is no individual. We are indeed all just chemicals / atoms / energy / consciousness. Therefore to give a concept that in this dream some subset of "pure"chemicals gets liberated whilst others don't is as good or defunct an explanation as any other.

I few really understood and accepted that there is no "I', then the issue of an unfortunate one dying before liberation just doesn't arise.


Jnana yoga is, as you know, simply the path of knowledge. Which means using your mind to take you to the limit, beyond which there is no mind. Atma vichara then is the fundamental approach, since it questions the root of all experience, which is the I-thought. In advaita, jnana yoga is the only final path to liberation - everything else is important but preparatory. It is the only final path because the illusion is due to the erroneous I-thought and only knowledge, logically, can remove that error. But that knowledge is not just intellectual knowledge. You need to feel it with conviction, such that your day-to-day life exemplifies the understanding that there is no separate "I", that you are nothing and you are everything, so that naturally, i.e. without premeditated effort, there is no preference or aversion.

Roger said...

Hi Venkat,

Thanks. So if I understand you: from the Atma Vicara perspective, Jnana Yoga is preparation to do Atma Vichara.

I like the summary of Jnana Yoga on wikipedia which includes qualifications and practices: Sravana, Manana, nididhyasana.

I was intrigued earlier, you mentioned sringeri math. I imagine their conception of Jnana Yoga fits the Jnana Yoga / Advaita model and claims Jnana yoga to be the "only final path".

Hector said...

Hi Roger

For me that quote from Nan Yar paragraph 19: "All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself." is very helpful and I do try but I am not ashamed to admit I constantly fail.

Thank you for your thoughts and insights on gratitude, very interesting.

Yes I do believe being grateful can be very helpful especially for all the teachers that manifest in our life to help us. I do try to be grateful as best as I can but again I often fail miserably too in this regard I am afraid to say.

For example I am not grateful when I wake up from deep sleep I wish I could remain there. But I am grateful I am being shown by Bhagavan and other teachers how to accomplish that very thing.

I hope everything is going well for you Roger.

Salazar said...

Hector, that comment is not from paragraph 19, it may be wildly paraphrased. Furthermore instead to "try" it is far more better to simply do vichara and let play out your karma to be either a "do-gooder" or to be selfish or whatever your karma has in store for you.

Remember, you may use your "free will" to "try" certain things but they will only happen if that aligns with your karma. So instead to try just 'be' without worrying about "others".

Paragraph 19:

There are not two [classes of] minds, namely a good [class of] mind and a bad [class of] mind. Only vasanas [impulsions or latent desires] are of two kinds, namely subha [good or agreeable] and asubha [bad or disagreeable]. When [a person's] mind is under the sway of subha-vasanas [agreeable impulsions] it is said to be a good mind, and when it is under the sway of asubhavasanas [disagreeable impulsions] a bad mind. However bad other people may appear to be, disliking them is not proper [or appropriate]. Likes and dislikes are both fit [for us] to dislike [or to renounce]. It is not proper [for us] to let [our] mind [dwell] much on worldly matters. It is not proper [for us] to enter in the affairs of other people [an idiomatic way of saying that we should mind our own business and not interfere in other people's affairs]. All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If [everyone] knew this truth, who indeed would refrain from giving?

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Thanks for your message.

You say that sentence I quoted:

[All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself.]

Is not from paragraph 19 of Nan Yar? and may be wildly paraphrased.

But it is in the paragraph 19 you included in your comment? I quickly double checked because I posted that from memory and it is in paragraph 19 of the Nan Yar? PDF on Michael's Website. So I am not quite sure what you mean? There might be a different translation that has it phrased differently I am not quite sure on this.

Salazar I agree with what you say about Vichara and karma in your comment and thank you for your advice.

But speaking from my own personal experience and practise I am unable to practise vichara at a high level of intensity all of the time. So the times when my practise is of a lower intensity and I am interacting with the world and others I do personally find the advice Bhagavan gave in the last two sentences of paragraph 19 of Nan Yar? below to be very helpful.

[All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If [everyone] knew this truth, who indeed would refrain from giving?]

But that is just my take on it of course and appreciate you may not agree with me.

Salazar said...

Hector, from your comments I can see that you are a sincere guy who is genuinely looking for the truth. Now I don’t think that it does matter if you do vichara with a high level of intensity or not in order to realize that you don’t have to follow a “moral code”. So instead to fall for the ambiguities of duality I find it much better to surrender to one’s personal happenings and, step by step, recognize that there is no one who makes a decision or is a “bad” or “good” person. That can be quite liberating and is a source of peace.

Please don’t misunderstand me, it is always correct to help and support those people who happen to be in your vicinity, but to expand that in order to “improve” the world would be rather misguided.

However, in the other extreme, you could kill another person and if you do that without the slightest identification with that act there are no karmic repercussions. Of course I do not suggest trying out that one ;-)

Re. paragraph 19, you are correct – for some reason I overlooked that sentence, mind in action ;-)

People talk about “intensity” with their vichara. I do not know what they mean, it is for me mostly a very relaxed event; “intensity” is something the mind makes up with its usual propensity to judge everything. What or who would be “intense”? Being has no attributes of any kind.

I suggest striking the term intensity from the mind ;-)

Roger said...

The most important thing in your life, and my life, is to give thanks for what you have - as often as you are reminded to. I’m talking about giving thanks, not to anyone or anything in particular, but for what you are, what you have.

That may seem difficult … The self doesn’t really know what I’m talking about. The self wants excitement, wants to get something. But I’m talking about acknowledging the good without getting anything - because you already have it.

What are you thanking? What are you grateful to? It seems to be nothing. You can call it ‘God’. But what’s God? Nobody knows. What it is, doesn’t matter. The fact is: I am grateful for what I have. That’s the simplicity of it.

There is no more important thing in your spiritual endeavour than this. For it is the love of God. And there is nothing greater than the realisation: I love it, whatever it is. I am grateful that I am able to love it. I love loving it. And I don’t know what it is!

My constant communion is gratitude. It’s a one-way deal from me to ‘That’. I have so much. I am blessed with so much. What about you?
Barry Long

Salazar said...

Who is grateful? Who is in constant communion? Who loves God? WHO LOVES?????

All these activities are samsara.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Thanks for your message.
I think anyone who visits a blog like this is genuinely looking for the truth we are all in the same boat even if we don't agree on everything 100%. It's good to be here.

You said:

[So instead to fall for the ambiguities of duality I find it much better to surrender to one’s personal happenings and, step by step, recognize that there is no one who makes a decision or is a “bad” or “good” person. That can be quite liberating and is a source of peace.]

I must admit this is great advice and I am sorry to say I am unable at present to do this. I will try but the mind is strong and I am not that spiritually mature.

[Please don’t misunderstand me, it is always correct to help and support those people who happen to be in your vicinity, but to expand that in order to “improve” the world would be rather misguided.]

I agree with you 100% Salazar, I don't personally go out to improve the world or save the world but if something or someone needs help that appears in my field of awareness I will do my best to help.

[However, in the other extreme, you could kill another person and if you do that without the slightest identification with that act there are no karmic repercussions. Of course I do not suggest trying out that one ;-)]

lol!! This reminds me of the Drukpa Kunley the Madman of the Dragon Lineage!
"The Saint of 5,000 Women" Now he didn't kill anyone I think? But he did seem to act spontaneously without the slightest identification with the act or maybe not? Again I am not that ripe or mature !! And I am certainly no Casanova lol!!

With regards intensity of vichara I may of used the wrong word in all fairness.
I mean for example when I lie in bed at night with less outwardly distractions I find I can turn my attention back on to myself more effectively than say if I was receiving change from a cashier in my local supermarket. So my level of practise is not constant throughout the day there are times when I can turn within more deeply compared to other times. But my intent is to keep my attention on myself as much and as deeply as I can.

Again I think the more spiritually ripe and mature one becomes this difference will reduce and reduce until there is a more constant relentless deep inward attention all the time. If your practise is more on these lines I take my hat off to you but I am not at that place yet I am afraid to say.

Thanks Salazar very helpful.

Hector said...

Hi Roger
Thanks for posting that from Barry Long about gratitude it was great to read,
Take care.

Salazar said...

Hector, from what I read you are just doing fine. Of course I cannot know that for sure but then I don't know how well I am doing either ;-)

Is everybody sincere who comes to this blog? I am less optimistic than you are but you might be right, who knows?

Hector said...

Thanks Salazar
We are blessed Bhagavan has come in to our lives and his teaching resonates with us.
Best wishes.

Roger said...

Hi Salazar,
Regarding your comment:
>> Who is grateful? Who is in constant communion? Who loves God? WHO LOVES?????

You are proposing a separation, a duality: you believe that there is some entity experiencing gratitude, communion, love... and that we should search for that entity.

Searching is not necessary, there is no entity, only love.

Salazar said...

Hahaha, that is a good one! You have it backwards my friend. Bhagavan’s “who am I” or the synonym “who loves God” etc. is not the invitation to look for some entity.

I am not so sure what you are up to but it seems almost you just enjoy making provoking comments and watching how people react.

Barry Long’s comment about loving God etc. is duality, the subject Barry who loves the object God. Same with the other ones.

There is only Self.

Salazar said...

What is the point of most of your comments anyway? They don't seem sincere at all for me. Why not conceding your utter ignorance of Bhagavan's teaching? Your previous comment is more than proof of that!

Roger said...

Hi Salazar,

Please see below a portion of Sri Bhagavan's teaching on Bhakti. There are 62 references to Bhakti in "Talks" perhaps you haven't had a chance to read them?

Surely you must say that Bhagavan is in utter ignorance of Bhagavan's teaching?

15th December, 1937: Talk 428.

Sri Bhagavan has selected 10 stanzas from the famous work of Sri Sankara - Sivananda Lahari - describing devotion (bhakti):

(1) What is bhakti?
Just as the ankola fruit falling from the tree rejoins it or a piece of iron is drawn to magnet, so also thoughts, after rising up, lose themselves in their original source. This is bhakti. The original source of thoughts is the feet of the Lord, Isvara. Love of His Feet forms bhakti.

(2) Fruit of bhakti:
The thick cloud of bhakti, formed in the transcendental sky of the Lord’s Feet, pours down a rain of Bliss (ananda) and fills the lake of mind to over flowing. Only then the jiva, always transmigrating to no useful end, has his real purpose fulfilled.

(3) Where to place bhakti?
Devotion to gods, who have themselves their origin and end, can result in fruits similarly with origin and end. In order to be in Bliss everlasting our devotion must be directed to its source, namely the Feet of the ever blissful Lord.

(4) Bhakti is a matter only for experience and not for words:
How can Logic or other polemics be of real use? Can the ghatapatas (favourite examples of the logicians, meaning the pot and the cloth) save you in a crisis? Why then waste yourself thinking of them and on discussion? Stop exercising the vocal organs and giving them pain. Think of the Feet of the Lord and drink the nectar!

(5) Immortality is the fruit of Devotion:
At the sight of him who in his heart has fixed the Lord’s Feet, Death is reminded of his bygone disastrous encounter with Markandeya and flees away.
All other gods worship only Siva, placing their crowned heads at His feet. Such involuntary worship is only natural to Siva.
Goddess Liberation, His consort, always remains part of Him.

(6) If only Devotion be there - the conditions of the jiva cannot affect him.
However different the bodies, the mind alone is lost in the Lord’s Feet. Bliss over flows!

(7) Devotion always unimpaired:
Wherever or however it be, only let the mind lose itself in the Supreme. It is Yoga! It is Bliss! Or the Yogi or the Bliss incarnate!

(8) Karma Yoga also is Bhakti:
To worship God with flowers and other external objects is troublesome. Only lay the single ower, the heart, at the feet of Siva and remain at Peace. Not to know this simple thing and to wander about! How foolish! What misery!

(9) This Karma Yoga puts an end to one’s samsara:
Whatever the order of life (asrama) of the devotee, only once thought of, Siva relieves the devotee of his load of samsara and takes it on Himself.

(10) Devotion is Jnana:
The mind losing itself in Siva’s Feet is Devotion. Ignorance lost!
Knowledge! Liberation!

Salazar said...

What is your point?

Can you make a point in your own words instead to hide behind quotes by Bhagavan you don't seem to grasp in its entirety?

Before we explore anything else, why don't we focus on your statement that "who am I" denotes the search for an entity. I said that is utter nonsense! So, what is your answer to that? Care to elaborate how you came up with that notion?

I am all ears................

Roger said...

Hi Salazar,

Your passion is defining Atma Vichara and advaita conceptually and then placing them in opposition to all other teachings. Then you defend your imagined position. Michael James does the same thing.

This is a play of the ego: creating an imagined situation with two competing sides (atma vichara versus all others) then taking sides in order to experience for your self (lower case "self"!) the excitement and ego gratification of competition. With grand claims such as "my way is the ONLY way to enlightenment" this ego projection is very seductive.

This is the same game as taking sides in things like: nationalism, racism, sexism, politics, getting emotional about your sports team etc.. But in this case the attachment may be harder to see. It's a "sattvic" attachment: more difficult to overcome.

This game is so obsessive that you even take sides against other teachings of Bhagavan (Talks and the Death Experience etc) and you take positions against Nisargadatta Maharaj and Godman. It's Salazar against the Jnanis! Wow, now that's ego excitement.

If you could actually practice Atma Vichara then over time your attention would move inward and away from this outward obsession with religious superiority. Your heart could potentially open embracing all.

The big risk is that your mental concepts about Atma Vichara & advaita may be so narrow that they may actually prevent the experience of Self Attention. You see this in your earlier comments: you say you "struggle" with Atma Vichara... but your advaita preconceptions don't allow you to even believe in "progress" and you immediately cast judgment on all other techniques that might assist you.

When the rejection of mental activities becomes continuous and automatic, you will begin to have the experience of the Self.
Sri Annamalai

Defense of Atma Vichara against all others, claiming it as the ONLY way to enlightenment, taking positions against even Bhagavan's other work are all certainly "mental activities".

If the practice of Atma Vichara every moment was placed as the highest priority.... how could these thoughts of superiority even arise?

Salazar said...

Roger, are you not just projecting your own issues into others?

Anyway, you jump from topic to topic, ignoring my comments (like the last one) and then cry "religious superiority" or whatever your mind is occupied with....

You accused me of being judgmental and missing with that the irony that your accusation is as judgmental as what you've perceived about me. And by the way, loving a pet is not superior (or to be applauded) to disregarding a pet - that's is just your confused judgmental mind which lectures about duality without noticing how much it is enthralled by it itself.

Frankly, I don't get you and I have no clue about your motivation and what the heck you are doing on this blog?

Are you the Don Quixote of spirituality who has begun a crusade in order to force anybody to "embrace" things according to Roger? I can point out a few windmills you can storm if necessary...... ;-)

Roger said...

t is not good to talk about Zen, because Zen is nothingness... If you talk about it, you are always lying, and if you don't talk about it, no one knows it is there. Robert M. Pirsig

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