Tuesday, 5 September 2017

If we choose to do any harmful actions, should we consider them to be done according to destiny (prārabdha)?

In the comments on my previous article, The ego is a spurious entity, but an entity nonetheless, until we investigate it keenly enough to see that it does not actually exist, several friends have been passionately engaged in a discussion about whether we should consider that all our actions, including our making ethical choices such as whether or not to eat meat, are determined solely by prārabdha (fate or destiny) or whether free will plays any role in the choices we make and actions we do.

The discussion began with two comments in which Sanjay Lohia paraphrased something I had said about jñāna, karma, prārabdha and free will in the video 2017-07-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on the power of silence, to which Salazar wrote a reply in which he said: ‘Prarabdha goes on in every second of our lives, every scratch, every little thing is prarabhda, and no outward action is determined by the ego. If we are vegetarian or eat meat, that’s prarabhda too. So if anybody of Bhagavan’s devotees still eats meat, don’t beat yourself up, that’s as much destiny as if a Hindu eats beef what may create inner turmoil unless one does atma-vichara. So we seem to be a puppet, at least what happens to the body, however we are not victims of prarabhda because we can transcend prarabdha with atma-vichara. The actions of the body will go on as destined, but the inward identification loses its hold’. This triggered a series of other comments in which various friends expressed their understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings in this regard, and during the early stages of this discussion Sanjay wrote an email to me asking me to clarify whether the type of food we eat is decided by our destiny, so this article is written in response to this.
  1. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19: the dispute about which prevails, fate or free will, is only for those who have not seen the non-existence of the ego
  2. Fate and free will each prevail in their own domain, so they are not opposed to each other
  3. Using our free will we must cultivate sat-vāsanā and thereby curb and eventually eradicate all other vāsanās
  4. We have no control over our fate, so it need not concern us, but we do have control over how we use our free will, so we should be concerned about what use we make of it
  5. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 2: the cause of bondage is not fate but vāsanās, which belong only to the domain of free will
  6. Bhagavan’s note for his mother: only what is destined to happen will happen, and though that cannot be changed we are free to try to change it
  7. Those who recorded what Bhagavan said in reply to questions about fate and free will often failed to grasp all the nuances in his replies
  8. Our prārabdha is tailor-made to suit both our vāsanās and our willingness not to allow ourself to be swayed by them
  9. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 10 and 11: being self-attentive requires vairāgya, which entails not being swayed by our viṣaya-vāsanās
  10. The best use we can make of our free will is to choose to be self-attentive, but even when we attend to anything else we should choose at least to avoid doing harmful actions
1. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 19: the dispute about which prevails, fate or free will, is only for those who have not seen the non-existence of the ego

In one of his comments Sanjay referred to me as ‘the higher court’, implying that I should adjudicate on this discussion, but the supreme court is Bhagavan, and he has already given his final verdict on all such disputes in verse 19 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
விதிமதி மூல விவேக மிலார்க்கே
விதிமதி வெல்லும் விவாதம் — விதிமதிகட்
கோர்முதலாந் தன்னை யுணர்ந்தா ரவைதணந்தார்
சார்வரோ பின்னுமவை சாற்று.

vidhimati mūla vivēka milārkkē
vidhimati vellum vivādam — vidhimatigaṭ
kōrmudalān taṉṉai yuṇarndā ravaitaṇandār
sārvarō piṉṉumavai sāṯṟu
.

பதச்சேதம்: விதி மதி மூல விவேகம் இலார்க்கே விதி மதி வெல்லும் விவாதம். விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை உணர்ந்தார் அவை தணந்தார்; சார்வரோ பின்னும் அவை? சாற்று.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): vidhi mati mūla vivēkam ilārkkē vidhi mati vellum vivādam. vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai uṇarndār avai taṇandār; sārvarō piṉṉum avai? sāṯṟu.

அன்வயம்: விதி மதி மூல விவேகம் இலார்க்கே விதி மதி வெல்லும் விவாதம். விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை உணர்ந்தார் அவை தணந்தார்; பின்னும் அவை சார்வரோ? சாற்று.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): vidhi mati mūla vivēkam ilārkkē vidhi mati vellum vivādam. vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai uṇarndār avai taṇandār; piṉṉum avai sārvarō? sāṯṟu.

English translation: Only for those who do not have discernment (vivēka) of the root of fate (vidhi) and free will (mati) [namely the ego] is there dispute about which prevails, fate or free will. Those who have known themself [the ego], who is the one origin [cause, root or foundation] for fate and free will, have [thereby] discarded them. Say, will they thereafter be connected with them?
Neither fate nor free will exists independent of the ego, whose fate and free will they are, so they are both only as real as the ego, and without it neither of them would exist. So long as the ego exists, it has a will of its own, and by misusing its will in its attempt to achieve whatever it desires and to avoid whatever it fears or dislikes it does āgāmya (fresh karma driven by free will), the fruits of which are stored in its sañcita (the vast heap of accumulated fruits of past actions that have not yet been experienced), from which God or guru selects which fruits are to be experienced as the prārabdha (fate or destiny) of each lifetime or dream. Therefore both fate and free will are operating at every moment of the ego’s seeming existence.

The ego is just the false self-awareness ‘I am this body’ (in which ‘this body’ refers to whatever body we currently mistake ourself to be), which is an idea superimposed on our real self-awareness, ‘I am’, just as what seems to be a snake is an idea superimposed on the form of a rope, so it is what we seem to be only so long as we are not aware of ourself as we actually are. Therefore if we investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are, the ego that we now seem to be will thereby be eradicated, just as the illusory snake would be eradicated if one were to look at it carefully enough to see that it is just a rope, and since fate and free will seem to exist only for the ego, they will cease to exist along with it.

Therefore since the ego is what Bhagavan refers to here both as ‘விதி மதி மூலம்’ (vidhi mati mūlam), ‘the root [base, origin or source] of fate and free will’, and as ‘விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை’ (vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai), ‘oneself, who is the one origin [cause, root, foundation or base] for fate and free will’, and since it will dissolve forever in pure self-awareness when we investigate it keenly enough to see that it does not exist as such (because it was actually never anything other than pure self-awareness, just as the snake was never anything other than a rope), what he means by both ‘விதி மதி மூல விவேகம்’ (vidhi mati mūla vivēkam), ‘discernment of the root of fate and free will’, and ‘விதிமதிகட்கு ஓர் முதல் ஆம் தன்னை உணர்தல்’ (vidhi-matigaṭku ōr mudal ām taṉṉai uṇardal), ‘knowing oneself, who is the one origin [cause, root, foundation or base] for fate and free will’, is seeing the non-existence of the ego by being aware of ourself as we actually are.

However, so long as we fail to see that what exists is not the ego or anything else but just pure, infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, we seem to be this ego and consequently we seem to have a will of our own and to experience fate, so we try to understand which of these two prevails, and if we form an opinion on this question and become strongly attached to our opinion, we are liable to get caught up in disputes with those who have different opinions, as we have seen happening in the comments on my previous article. This is what Bhagavan warns us against in this verse.

This is not to say that we should not discuss this or any other aspect of his teachings with our fellow devotees or spiritual aspirants, provided that our aim in doing so is just to understand the subject more clearly for our own benefit, but we should avoid disputes in which some or all of the participants aim to assert egotistically and combatively that their own view is the only correct one. Though we may sincerely believe that our present understanding is more or less correct, we should never assume that we have the final word to say on any given subject, or that those who disagree with us are necessarily wrong. No matter how well we may think we have understood Bhagavan’s teachings, we should always be willing to question our own understanding critically in an open-minded and humble spirit, because that is the only way to deepen and refine it, and because if we do not do so we will get stuck with rigid and dogmatic opinions, which are opposed to the very spirit of investigation that we need to follow this path, and we will be liable to succumb to pride, thinking that we are right and others are wrong.

In the final two sentences of verse 23 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says, ‘நான் ஒன்று எழுந்த பின், எல்லாம் எழும். இந்த நான் எங்கு எழும் என்று நுண் மதியால் எண்’ (nāṉ oṉḏṟu eṙunda piṉ, ellām eṙum. inda nāṉ eṅgu eṙum eṉḏṟu nuṇ matiyāl eṇ), which means ‘After one thing [called] ‘I’ rises, everything rises. Investigate [consider, determine or find out] with a subtle mind where this ‘I’ rises’, thereby indicating that the instrument we need for investigating ourself is (unsurprisingly) ‘நுண் மதி’ (nuṇ mati), a ‘subtle mind [or intellect]’. Such a subtle mind or intellect is required not only for self-investigation but also for understanding his teachings clearly and correctly, because though his teachings are essentially very simple, they are also very subtle and deep, so they cannot be understood clearly by a crude mind that is inflexibly attached to dogmatic beliefs or rigid interpretations.

The more we practise being self-attentive, the more our mind will be purified or cleansed of its desires, attachments, pride and so on, and the more it will thereby become subtle and refined, enabling it to go still deeper within to see what we actually are, which is the source from which this ‘I’ (the ego) rises. As our mind and intellect thus become more subtle and refined, the clarity with which we are able to understand his teachings will also increase and deepen, so what we thought we had understood clearly some years ago (or perhaps just some months or weeks ago) we may now find that we understand more clearly and perhaps even in an entirely fresh light. This will be the experience of anyone who is seriously following this path of self-investigation that he has taught us.

Therefore we should never allow ourself to be too strongly attached to our present understanding or to believe that there are not more subtle dimensions to his teachings that we are yet to understand, and in particular we should not allow ourself to take pride in the idea that we have now understood all that there is to understand and that our understanding is therefore not in any need of further deepening, refinement or clarity. This is particularly true with regard to our understanding of what he taught us about karma and the subject of fate and free will, because though this is not the core of his teachings, it is one of the most subtle and complex aspects of them, and perhaps one that we will never fully understand, because as he indicates in this verse, we cannot understand it completely without knowing the truth of the ego, for whom alone karma, fate and free will exist, and when we know the truth of the ego, it will cease to exist along with all such things.

2. Fate and free will each prevail in their own domain, so they are not opposed to each other

If we consider it carefully enough, we will see that the dispute that Bhagavan disparages in this verse, namely ‘விதி மதி வெல்லும் விவாதம்’ (vidhi mati vellum vivādam), ‘dispute about which prevails, fate or free will’, is a meaningless one, because each of them prevails in its own domain, and since their respective domains are distinct from each other, they are not at all opposed to each other and therefore never actually clash.

The domain over which fate (vidhi or prārabdha) has jurisdiction is whatever we are to experience in each life (or dream, since every life is just a dream), which is a carefully chosen selection of the fruits of actions that we have done by our free will in previous lives (or dreams). In other words, fate is what determines all that is to happen in each of our lives, except within the domain of our free will.

Since certain events or experiences can occur only if our mind, speech or body act in a particular way, the one who has ordained our fate, namely God or guru, will make them act in that way. However this does not mean that all the actions of our mind, speech or body are driven only by our fate, because some of them are driven by our free will, and such actions are what is called āgāmya, the fruits of which are stored in our sañcita until God or guru chooses them to form part of the fate (prārabdha) of a future life. Many of the actions of our mind, speech or body are driven by both our fate and our free will working together in synchronisation, but some actions are driven solely by fate, whereas others are driven solely by our free will, because often what we are destined to experience is not what we want, and what we want is not what we are destined to experience.

However, though it may seem because of this that our fate and our free will are clashing, that is not actually the case, because neither can ever go beyond the boundary of its own domain. That is, however much and in whatever way we may exercise our free will in our present life, we can never thereby change what we are destined to experience in this life, because that is outside the domain of free will, and whatever our fate may be, it can never prevent us from exercising our free will in whatever way we want, because that is outside the domain of fate. Therefore though we may think that our desires and efforts have been thwarted by fate, we think so only because we do not understand the boundary between the respective domains of free will and fate.

The domain over which free will (mati) has jurisdiction is our desires, wishes, hopes, attachments, likes, dislikes, fears, aversions and so on, and consequently whatever efforts we make to achieve, hold on to or avoid whatever we desire, want, like, dislike, fear or feel aversion for. Since such efforts are what is called āgāmya, whatever āgāmya we may do belongs entirely to the domain of free will and not to the domain of fate. Since vāsanās are propensities, inclinations or urges, the formation, cultivation, modification, restraint, control and eradication of all kinds of vāsanās likewise belong only to the domain of free will and not to the domain of fate.

3. Using our free will we must cultivate sat-vāsanā and thereby curb and eventually eradicate all other vāsanās

In the context of Bhagavan’s teachings, the three kinds of vāsanā that concern us most are viṣaya-vāsanās (inclinations to experience particular kinds of viṣayas or phenomena), karma-vāsanās (inclinations to do particular kinds of karmas or actions), and sat-vāsanā (inclination just to be as we actually are by being aware of nothing other than ourself). The first two of these, viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās, are inseparable, like the two sides of a single coin, because they are actually two aspects of the same kind of vāsanā. That is, for every viṣaya-vāsanā there is a corresponding karma-vāsanā, and vice versa, because if we are inclined to experience a particular phenomenon, we will also be inclined to do whatever is required to experience it. For example, a liking for the taste of chocolate is a viṣaya-vāsanā, whereas the corresponding liking to eat chocolate is a karma-vāsanā.

Though other kinds of vāsanā are sometimes mentioned, such as dēha-vāsanā, lōka-vāsanā and śāstra-vāsanā (which pertain respectively to the body, world and books or sacred texts), they are all varieties of viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās. Therefore since our aim is to eradicate all viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās, there is no need for us to analyse them and classify them into further subcategories such as these.

Since viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās are two aspects of the same kind of vāsanā, namely the urge to rise up and go outwards (the vāsanā of pravṛtti or activity), and since sat-vāsanā is the opposite kind of vāsanā, namely the urge to turn back within and subside in our source (the vāsanā of nivṛtti or inactivity), there are actually just two kinds of vāsanā that need concern us. One kind of vāsanā, namely that of pravṛtti, we need to restrain and eventually eradicate, whereas the opposite kind of vāsanā, namely that of nivṛtti, we need to cultivate and strengthen, which we can do only by persistent practice of self-attentiveness.

Since vāsanās belong to the domain of free will, they cannot change what we are destined to experience, nor can they be changed by it. Fate may expose us to situations or experiences that cause certain vāsanās to rise to the surface of our mind, but whether or not we allow ourself to be swayed by those vāsanās is determined only by our free will and not by our fate. If we allow ourself to be swayed by them, we will thereby nourish and strengthen them, whereas if we do not allow ourself to be swayed by them, we will thereby weaken them. The choice is always ours, because it belongs only to the domain of free will.

4. We have no control over our fate, so it need not concern us, but we do have control over how we use our free will, so we should be concerned about what use we make of it

Whatever our fate may be, it is the result of our misuse of our free will in the past, but since it is what we have been ordained to experience in our present life, we cannot change it in any way by our current use of our free will. Therefore we have no control over it, so we should not be concerned about it, but should accept it calmly as the sweet will of God or guru, who has ordained it for our own spiritual development. However, though we should not be concerned about whatever we have been ordained to experience in this life, if we understand and are firmly convinced that it has been ordained for our own good and that we cannot change it in any way no matter how hard we may try, that understanding and conviction will remove a heavy burden from our shoulders (just as a person travelling in a train would be relieved of the burden of carrying his luggage on his head if he understood and was convinced that the train is already carrying it for him) and will make it easier for us to put our free will to good use by trying as much as we can to be calmly self-attentive.

Whereas the domain of fate is not under our control, the domain of our free will is under our control, so we should be concerned about the use we make of it. Our basic choice is whether to try to be self-attentive, thereby withdrawing our attention from other things and consequently weakening our viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās, or whether to allow our attention to continue flowing outwards, away from ourself towards other things. The former is the path of nivṛtti (returning, withdrawing or ceasing), which is otherwise called the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and the latter is the path of pravṛtti (going outwards or being active).

Whenever we allow our attention to go outwards, we experience ourself as a body and mind, and hence we experience whatever actions are done by our mind, speech and body as actions done by ourself, and we therefore cannot distinguish to what extent each of our actions are driven either by our fate or by our free will. Therefore we have to accept moral responsibility for whatever choices we make and whatever actions we seem to do through these three instruments, and hence we should try as far as possible to abide by certain simple niyamas (restrictions or restraints) such as ahiṁsā (avoiding causing harm to any living being) and mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama (the restraint of consuming only sattva-conducive food in moderate quantities), concerning which Bhagavan wrote in the final sentence of ninth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
எல்லா நியமங்களிலுஞ் சிறந்த மித ஸாத்விக ஆகார நியமத்தால் மனத்தின் சத்வ குணம் விருத்தியாகி, ஆத்மவிசாரத்திற்கு சகாய முண்டாகிறது.

ellā niyamaṅgaḷilum siṟanda mita sātvika āhāra niyamattāl maṉattiṉ satva guṇam virutti-y-āhi, ātma-vicārattiṟku sahāyam uṇḍāgiṟadu.

By mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama, which is the best among all restrictions, the sattva-guṇa [the quality of ‘being-ness’, calmness and clarity] of the mind will increase and [thereby] help will arise for ātma-vicāra [self-investigation].
Though we have a moral responsibility to abide by restrictions such as ahiṁsā and mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama, morality is not the principal reason for adhering to them if our aim is to turn within to see what we actually are, because we will be able to turn within only to the extent that our mind is free from viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās and therefore has the vairāgya to resist being dragged outwards by them, and adhering wholeheartedly to such restrictions (niyamas) can be an effective means not only to curb and weaken these vāsanās at least to a certain extent but also to strengthen our vairāgya. This is why Bhagavan says that by means of mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama ‘மனத்தின் சத்வ குணம் விருத்தியாகும்’ (maṉattiṉ satva guṇam virutti-y-āhum), ‘the sattva-guṇa of the mind will increase’, because these vāsanās are what obscures the sattva-guṇa that always exists deep in our heart.

If it were not within our power to choose and at least try to abide by this simple restriction of consuming only mita sāttvika āhāra (sattva-conducive food in moderate quantities), it seems unlikely that Bhagavan would have recommended it so unequivocally as an aid for ātma-vicāra. Therefore even if we believe that all our actions are determined only by prārabdha, as some aspirants seem to believe, it would be unwise of us not to try to follow his clear advice in this regards, because we cannot know beforehand what our prārabdha will be, and hence we should not assume that it will impel us to eat meat or any other type of food that causes harm (hiṁsā) either to others or to our own mind and body.

5. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 2: the cause of bondage is not fate but vāsanās, which belong only to the domain of free will

However, if we believe that all our actions are determined only by prārabdha, that shows that we have not understood the concept of prārabdha correctly, because it is not the only karma but one of three karmas, and it consists of karma-phala, the fruit of actions that we have done in the past of our own volition (namely āgāmya). Of the three karmas, sañcita is just a store of karma-phala that have not yet been selected by God or guru for us to experience, so it is never an active karma, and hence the only two karmas that are active are āgāmya and prārabdha, and they are always active so long as the ego seems to exist.

So long as we allow our mind to face outwards, away from ourself and towards other things, we cannot avoid having likes and dislikes, so we will naturally try to experience phenomena that we find pleasant and to avoid experiencing those that we find unpleasant. We may try to curb our likes and dislikes and thereby reduce the pravṛtti or outward-going flow of our mind, and in this way we can reduce to some extent the amount of āgāmya we are currently doing, but we cannot avoid doing āgāmya altogether except by turning our attention inwards in order to be aware of ourself alone.

To the extent we allow our mind to flow outwards, to that extent we will be doing āgāmya of one kind or another, because an outward-facing mind will always wander under the sway of its viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās, which are the seeds that give rise to āgāmya. However, since doing āgāmya belongs to the domain of free will and not to the domain of fate, whatever āgāmya we may do will not in any way change whatever we are destined to experience, and whatever we are destined to experience will not force us to do any āgāmya that we do not choose to do.

The results of any āgāmya we do are of two kinds: the fruit, which are what we later experience as prārabdha (though prārabdha is never the fruit of āgāmya done in the present life but only the fruit of āgāmya done in previous lives), and the seeds, which are karma-vāsanās, and it is these seeds that keep us immersed in the great ocean of karma by impelling us to doing further āgāmya, as Bhagavan explains in verse 2 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
வினையின் விளைவு விளிவுற்று வித்தாய்
வினைக்கடல் வீழ்த்திடு முந்தீபற
      வீடு தரலிலை யுந்தீபற.

viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivuṯṟu vittāy
viṉaikkaḍal vīṙttiḍu mundīpaṟa
      vīḍu taralilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினையின் விளைவு விளிவு உற்று வித்தாய் வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும். வீடு தரல் இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivu uṯṟu vittāy viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum. vīḍu taral ilai.

English translation: The fruit of action having perished, as seed it causes to fall in the ocean of action. It is not giving liberation.

Paraphrased translation: The fruit of action having perished [remains] as seed [and thereby] it causes [one] to fall in the ocean of action. [Therefore] it [action] does not give liberation.
‘வினையின் விளைவு விளிவு உற்று’ (viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivu uṯṟu) means ‘the fruit of action having perished [died or ceased]’, and refers to the fact that just as a fruit will cease to exist when we eat it, the fruit of any past action will cease to exist when we experience it as part of our prārabdha. However each āgāmya that we do produces not only a fruit but also a seed, so even when the fruit of a particular āgāmya has been experienced and has therefore ceased to exist, the seed produced by it will remain and will prompt us to do the same type of āgāmya again and again, as Bhagavan explains by saying ‘வித்தாய் வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும்’ (vittāy viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum), which means ‘as seed it causes to fall in the ocean of action’.

The seeds that are produced by āgāmya are karma-vāsanās (and their corresponding viṣaya-vāsanās), which impel us to do such actions again and again, so āgāmya is self-perpetuating, just as plants are self-perpetuating because of the seeds that they produce. Therefore no matter how much prārabdha we may experience in life after life (dream after dream), we can never exhaust all the fruits of our past āgāmya, because while we are experiencing some of their fruit, our karma-vāsanās will be causing us to do more āgāmya, thereby producing more fruit to be added to the huge heap of fruit that are already stored in our sañcita waiting to be experienced as prārabdha in some future life.

Since karma is therefore self-perpetuating, Bhagavan says ‘வீடு தரல் இலை’ (vīḍu taral ilai), ‘it does not give liberation’, and in the Sanskrit version of this verse he says even more emphatically, ‘गति निरोधकम्’ (gati nirōdhakam), ‘it obstructs liberation’. That is, karma does not give liberation because it is self-perpetuating, and it is self-perpetuating because of its seeds, namely karma-vāsanās. Therefore the cause of bondage is not fate (prārabdha) but only vāsanās, over which fate has no jurisdiction, because they belong only to the domain of free will.

Since all vāsanās come under the sole jurisdiction of our free will, we can use our free will either to cultivate, nourish and strengthen our viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās by allowing our mind to go outwards and engage in karma though the three instruments of mind, speech and body, or to starve and weaken them and simultaneously cultivate, nourish and strengthen our sat-vāsanā by directing our mind back within to be aware of ourself as we actually are, namely as pure self-awareness — awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself.

Therefore free will alone is the cause both of bondage (the seeming existence of our ego) and liberation (the eradication or permanent dissolution of our ego). If we misuse our free will by allowing our mind to go outwards, away from ourself towards other things, it will sustain our ego and thereby bind us in the web of karma, whereas if we use it wisely by turning our mind back within to face ourself alone and thereby to see what we actually are, it will dissolve our ego and mind forever in the absolute clarity of pure self-awareness. The misuse we make of our free will is called desire, whereas the wise and correct use of it is true love — love for what alone is real, namely pure self-awareness or ātma-jñāna.

6. Bhagavan’s note for his mother: only what is destined to happen will happen, and though that cannot be changed we are free to try to change it

So long as we are bound in the web of karma, fate and free will are operating side by side in our life, each in its own domain, as implied by Bhagavan in the note that he wrote for his mother 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.
Whatever is destined to happen in our life as this ego will happen, and whatever is not destined to happen will not happen. However, this does not mean that our free will has no role to play in the actions that we do by mind, speech and body, as Bhagavan clearly indicates by saying ‘என் முயற்சிக்கினும்’ (eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum), ‘whatever effort one makes’, and ‘என் தடை செய்யினும்’ (eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum), ‘whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does’.

That is, though we are not free to make anything happen that is not destined to happen, or to prevent anything that is destined to happen, we are free to want and to try to do so, and until we surrender our will entirely along with its root, our ego, we will inevitably want and try to do so to a greater or lesser extent. However, our trying or even wanting to do so is a misuse of our free will, so we should try to avoid misusing it by using it only to turn our attention within in order to merge and dissolve forever in our source, which is ātma-svarūpa (our real nature), the pure self-awareness that we actually are.

Some people who have not considered the meaning of this note carefully enough contend that since Bhagavan said that what is destined to happen will certainly happen and what is not destined to happen will certainly not happen, he implied that we have no free will, or at least that we have no freedom to act as we want to. Such a contention is tantamount to claiming that in all that we think, say or do (including all the choices and efforts we make) fate will always prevail over free will, which is one of the two opposing contentions in the dispute about which prevails, fate or free will, so since Bhagavan disparaged this dispute in verse 19 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu by saying that it is only for those who are unable to discern the root of both fate and free will, namely the ego, this is clearly not what he intended us to infer. Indeed, by twice referring to the ego as the root, foundation or base of fate and free will in that verse, he clearly implied that fate and free will are both as real as the ego, for whom alone they exist.

If all that we think, say or do (including all the choices and efforts we make) were determined only by fate and not by free will, that would mean that we have absolutely no freedom to do any spiritual practice by our own volition, and that any spiritual practice that we might do would therefore be driven only by fate and not by our free will. If this were the case, we would never be able to attain liberation, because fate (which is what is otherwise called prārabdha) is one of the three karmas, and no karma can give liberation, as Bhagavan explains in verse 2 of Upadēśa Undiyār.

Free will is the basis of all karma, because it is only by our free will that we do āgāmya, and the other two karmas, namely sañcita and prārabdha, consist just of the fruits of āgāmya that we have done in the past. Therefore without free will there would be no fate (prārabdha), so if we claim that there is only fate and never any free will, that would be like claiming that a child exists but its mother never existed.

Free will is the basis not only of all karma but also of liberation from all karma, because when we use our free will to face outwards, we thereby rise as this ego, which alone does āgāmya and therefore experiences prārabdha, whereas when we use our free will to face inwards, we thereby subside and dissolve this ego back into the pure self-awareness from which it arose. Therefore we are free to choose whether to face outwards and consequently do āgāmya and experience prārabdha, or to face inwards and thereby remain silent, without rising to do or experience anything.

If we carefully consider all that Bhagavan wrote in this note for his mother, we will be able to see that he is not denying the existence of free will but is actually emphasising the importance of using it correctly, because only when we do so will we thereby avoid misusing it as we generally do. In the second and third sentences of this note he wrote: ‘என்றும் நடவாதது என் முயற்சிக்கினும் நடவாது; நடப்ப தென்றடை செய்யினும் நில்லாது’ (eṉḏṟum naḍavādadu eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum naḍavādu; naḍappadu eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum nillādu), which means ‘What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does’. நடவாதது (naḍavādadu) literally means ‘what will not happen’, which in this context implies ‘what is not to happen’, and நடப்பது (naḍappadu) literally means ‘what will happen’, which in this context implies ‘what is to happen’, so what he implies here is that whatever is destined to happen will happen and whatever is not destined to happen will not happen.

That is, what is determined by prārabdha is whatever we are to experience so long as our attention is facing outwards, away from ourself. However, in order for us to experience whatever we are destined to experience, there are certain actions that we must do by our mind, speech and body, so prārabdha will impel us to do those actions, as Bhagavan explained in the first sentence of this note, namely ‘அவரவர் பிராரப்தப் பிரகாரம் அதற்கானவன் ஆங்காங்கிருந் தாட்டுவிப்பன்’ (avar-avar prārabdha-p prakāram adaṟkāṉavaṉ āṅgāṅgu irundu āṭṭuvippaṉ), which means ‘According to their-their prārabdha, he who is for that being there-there will cause to dance’, and which implies that according to the destiny of each person, he who is for that (namely God or guru, who ordains their destiny) being in the heart of each one of them will make them act.

However, this does not mean that all the actions we do by our mind, speech and body are driven solely by prārabdha, as he indicates in the next two sentences by saying ‘என் முயற்சிக்கினும்’ (eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum), ‘whatever effort one makes’, and ‘என் தடை செய்யினும்’ (eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum), ‘whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does’. That is, though our mind, speech and body will be made to do whatever they are destined to do, we are also free to make effort through these three instruments to make what is never to happen happen and to prevent what is to happen, even though such efforts will definitely fail, because what is destined never to happen will not happen, and what is destined to happen will happen. ‘இதுவே திண்ணம்’ (iduvē tiṇṇam), ‘This indeed is certain’, as he says in the next sentence.

The efforts we make to make certain things happen, even though they are destined not to happen, and to prevent certain other things happening, even though they are destined to happen, are driven by our free will. However our free will also drives us to make efforts to make certain things happen that are anyway destined to happen, and to prevent certain other things happening that are anyway destined not to happen, so in some cases our free will drives us to make efforts that are opposed to prārabdha and in other cases it drives us to make efforts that are in accordance with prārabdha.

Since we can never be truly content or satisfied with our life as a finite ego, our free will is constantly impelling us to make effort of one kind or another. If any effort impelled by our free will is directed towards anything other than ourself, it is āgāmya and consequently it produces fruit (karma-phala) and seeds (karma-vāsanās), so such effort is a misuse of our free will. The only correct use of our free will is to turn our mind back within to be aware of ourself alone, because facing towards anything else (bahirmukham) will nourish and sustain our ego and its sense of doership, whereas facing towards ourself (ahamukham) will make it subside and dissolve back into its source, namely pure self-awareness, which is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa).

This is what Bhagavan implies in the final sentence of this note, ‘ஆகலின் மௌனமா யிருக்கை நன்று’ (āhaliṉ mauṉamāy irukkai naṉḏṟu), which means ‘Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good’. So long as we attend to anything other than ourself, we are thereby feeding our ego and sustaining its seeming existence, so since the rising and activity of the ego is the very antithesis of real silence (mauṉa), which is our real nature, we can be truly silent only by being keenly self-attentive, thereby curbing the rising and activity of our ego.

If we had no free will, we would not be free to choose or to make effort to turn back within and be self-attentive, but since we do have free will we can choose and make effort to do so, as Bhagavan implies in this note. If on the other hand we choose not to do so, we will wander outside under the sway of our vāsanās, and though we can choose to limit the extent to which we allow ourself to be swayed by them, they will inevitably impel us to do āgāmya to a greater or lesser extent.

How then does this apply to ethical issues such as whether or not we should choose to eat meat? Even if we claim to believe that such choices are all determined only by prārabdha, if we are honest with ourself we will have to admit that we seem to have a choice. That is, we seem to be able to choose whether or not to eat meat, whether or not to commit murder, and whether or not to do numerous other actions. So long as we seem to have such choices, we have a moral responsibility to choose to act ethically, which entails trying as far as possible to avoid causing any harm to any other living being.

So long as we have a sense of doership (kartṛtva buddhi) we cannot deny such responsibility for our actions, and so long as we experience ourself as this ego, which always mistakes a body and mind to be itself, we cannot deny that we have a sense of doership. It may be our destiny to do a certain action, but so long as we experience ourself as the body or mind that does that action, we will experience it as if we were doing it, and if we have any desire or liking to do it or to experience its result, it is being driven not only by our fate but also simultaneously by our free will.

7. Those who recorded what Bhagavan said in reply to questions about fate and free will often failed to grasp all the nuances in his replies

In this connection people often quote (as did an anonymous friend in one of the comments on my previous article) what Devaraja Mudaliar recorded Bhagavan saying to him in reply to his question about whether even trifling actions in our life are predetermined. He actually recorded this in two places, firstly in Day by Day with Bhagavan and subsequently in My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. What he recorded in Day by Day (4-1-46 Afternoon: 1989 edition, page 78; 2002 edition, pages 91-2) is:
With reference to Bhagavan’s answer to Mrs. Desai’s question on the evening of 3-1-46 [namely ‘What is destined as work to be done by you in this life will be done by you, whether you like it or not. […] It is true that the work meant to be done by us will be done by us. But it is open to us to be free from the joys or pains, pleasant or unpleasant consequences of the work, by not identifying ourselves with the body or that which does the work. If you realise your true nature and know that it is not you that does any work, you will be unaffected by the consequences of whatever work the body may be engaged in according to destiny or past karma or divine plan, however you may call it. You are always free and there is no limitation of that freedom’], I asked him, “Are only important events in a man’s life, such as his main occupation or profession, predetermined, or are trifling acts in his life, such as taking a cup of water or moving from one place in the room to another, also predetermined?”

Bhagavan: Yes, everything is predetermined.

I: Then what responsibility, what free will has man?

Bhagavan: What for then does the body come into existence? It is designed for doing the various things marked out for execution in this life. The whole programme is chalked out. ‘அவனன்றி ஓரணுவும் அசையாது’ [avaṉ-aṉḏṟi ōr aṇuvum asaiyādu] (Not an atom moves except by His Will) expresses the same truth, whether you say அவனன்றி அசையாது [avaṉ-aṉḏṟi asaiyādu] (Does not move except by His Will) or கர்மமின்றி அசையாது [karmam-iṉḏṟi asaiyādu] (Does not move except by karma). As for freedom for man, he is always free not to identify himself with the body and not to be affected by the pleasures or pains consequent on the body’s activities.
In My Recollections (Chapter 4: 1992 edition, pages 90-1) he recorded the same conversation as follows:
One summer afternoon I was sitting opposite Bhagavan in the old hall, with a fan in my hand and said to him: “I can understand that the outstanding events in a man’s life, such as his country, nationality, family, career or profession, marriage, death, etc. are all predestined by his karma, but can it be that all the details of his life, down to the minutest, have already been determined? Now, for instance, I put this fan that is in my hand down on the floor here. Can it be that it was already decided that on such and such a day, at such and such an hour, I shall move the fan like this and put it down here?”

Bhagavan replied “Certainly”. He continued: “Whatever this body is to do and whatever experiences it is to pass through was already decided when it came into existence”.

Thereupon I naturally exclaimed: “What becomes then of man’s freedom and responsibility for his actions?”

Bhagavan explained: “The only freedom man has is to strive for and acquire the jnana which will enable him not to identify himself with the body. The body will go through the actions rendered inevitable by Prarabdha (destiny based on the balance sheet of past lives) and a man is free either to identify himself with the body and be attached to the fruits of its actions, or to be detached from it and be a mere witness of its activities”.
Since the wording of these two recordings of the same conversation is so different, what Devaraja Mudaliar recorded in each of these books is not Bhagavan’s exact words but only the gist of them, so we cannot be sure what exactly he said on that occasion. Though Devaraja Mudaliar wrote ‘I am sure I have made no error in transmitting as above the gist of the conversation that took place between Bhagavan and me’ (My Recollections, page 91), and though he would no doubt have recorded faithfully what he remembered Bhagavan saying, he would have been able to remember it only as far as he was able to understand it, so if his understanding was not subtle enough, he would have failed to grasp all the nuances in Bhagavan’s reply, which seems to have been the case here.

What he recorded in both books corresponds to a certain extent with what Bhagavan wrote in his note for his mother, namely that we will be made to do whatever we are destined to do, and that what is not destined to happen will not happen no matter how much effort we may make, and what is destined to happen will not stop no matter how much we may try to prevent it. To the extent that what Devaraja Mudaliar recorded is in agreement with this, it may accurately reflect the gist of whatever Bhagavan said on that occasion, but many people understand what he recorded to mean more than this, namely that we have no freedom whatsoever to do any actions or make any outwardly directed efforts by our own will or volition, which is clearly not what Bhagavan would have meant, because if that were the case it would firstly contradict the clear implication of the clauses ‘என் முயற்சிக்கினும்’ (eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum), ‘whatever effort one makes’, and ‘என் தடை செய்யினும்’ (eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum), ‘whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does’, in his note for his mother, and secondly it would mean that we can do no āgāmya (fresh karma driven by our free will), which would render the karma theory as taught by Bhagavan meaningless, because according to this theory whatever we experience as prārabdha is the fruit of āgāmya that we have done in previous lives.

This wrong interpretation is largely due to the sentence ‘The only freedom man has is to strive for and acquire the jnana which will enable him not to identify himself with the body’, which Devaraja Mudaliar recorded in My Recollections, page 90. Logically this cannot be the only freedom we have, because if we are free to strive for and acquire jñāna (knowledge or awareness of our real nature) and thereby not identify ourself with any body or mind, we must equally well be free to choose not to do so. What Bhagavan actually said on many occasions in this regard is that the only correct use we can make of our free will is to try to turn within and thereby surrender our ego (which is what obscures our real nature, which is jñāna or pure self-awareness), so what he said on this occasion would probably have been something to this effect.

The fact that striving for jñāna is not the only freedom we have is implied by the next sentence in My Recollections, in which Devaraja Mudaliar records that Bhagavan said: ‘a man is free either to identify himself with the body and be attached to the fruits of its actions, or to be detached from it and be a mere witness of its activities’. The choice is ours: we are always free to choose either to turn within to try to see what we actually are and thereby eradicate our ego, which is the false awareness ‘I am this body’ (dēhātma-buddhi), or to allow our mind to continue to dwell on phenomena, which are all external to ourself, and thereby to sustain our dēhātma-buddhi and experience all ‘the pleasures or pains consequent on the body’s activities’ (as Devaraja Mudaliar records Bhagavan saying in the above passage in Day by Day).

This is the fundamental choice we have: whether to try to be self-attentive in order to see what we actually are, or whether to attend to other things in order to experience the trivial pleasures (and consequent pains) that we can derive thereby. The choice to be self-attentive is single and simple, whereas the opposite choice is multifaceted, because if we choose to attend to other things we are then faced with countless other choices: whether to attend to or to do this, that or the other.

Though Bhagavan generally emphasised the fact that we are always free to turn our attention inwards in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are, which is the only means by which we can avoid experiencing ourself as the body and mind and thereby identifying their actions as actions done by us, he did so because this is the only correct use we can make of our free will, and not because he intended us to infer that we cannot use our free will to do (or at least to try to do) any actions by mind, speech or body.

As he often pointed out whenever he was asked questions such as whether there is free will, or whether we have any freedom to do as we choose, all spiritual teachings and moral instructions are premised on the fact that we have free will and can therefore choose what we want to do and try to do it, and if we did not have such freedom all such teachings and instructions would be worthless and futile. For example, in section 426 of Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi (1978 edition, page 393; 2006 edition, page 409) it is recorded that in reply to someone who asked whether a person has any free will or whether everything in one’s life is predestined he said something to the following effect:
Free-Will holds the field in association with individuality. As long as individuality lasts so long there is Free-Will. All the sastras are based on this fact and they advise directing the Free-Will in the right channel.

Find out to whom Free-Will or Destiny matters. Abide in it. Then these two are transcended. That is the only purpose of discussing these questions. To whom do these questions arise? Find out and be at peace.
If the only freedom we had were either to face outwards and thereby experience whatever prārabdha has been allotted to us or to face back towards ourself, all śāstras (spiritual, religious and moral texts) would instruct us only to turn back within, but this is not the only instruction they give, because the authors of those texts knew firstly that most of us are not yet willing even to try to turn within, and secondly that so long as we are facing outwards we can make other choices, such as whether or not to eat meat or do numerous other morally significant actions, and the choices we make determine the purity or impurity of our mind (which depends on the relative strength and intensity of our viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās), so since only a relatively pure mind will be willing to try to face inwards, they advise us to choose to do actions that will tend to purify our mind and to avoid those that would tend to make it less pure.

8. Our prārabdha is tailor-made to suit both our vāsanās and our willingness not to allow ourself to be swayed by them

Some people’s understanding of prārabdha is that it is just like sitting in a cinema watching a film, over which we have no control except to close our eyes and ears, whereas in fact it is more like playing a deceptive computer game in which we seem to have control over the actions of one of the characters, even though all that happens in the game is already predetermined. While watching a film we may eagerly want certain characters to succeed and others to fail in their endeavours, but we are clearly aware that we can do nothing to influence anything that happens in the film because it is all predetermined. If we play a computer game, on the other hand, we may seem to have a certain amount of control over what is happening by our being able to direct the actions of one of the characters, but if the game has been carefully programmed by someone who knows what choices we are most likely to make in each situation, it will give us the impression that our choices are influencing what is happening, even though in fact it is all predetermined.

Our life as a person is like playing such a cleverly programmed computer game, which has been tailor-made to suit our viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās, which influence the choices we make and actions we try to do. Our prārabdha is like the programming of the game, and the one who has programmed it so skilfully is what we generally call God, guru or Bhagavan, and what Bhagavan referred to as ‘அதற்கானவன்’ (adaṟkāṉavaṉ), ‘he who is for that’, in his note for his mother.

Just as the person playing such a tailor-made computer game is free to make choices and to try to control or influence what is happening, we are free to make choices and to try to control or at least influence what is happening in our life, and just as the game has been programmed to give the player the impression that his or her choices and efforts are actually controlling or influencing to some extent what is happening in the game, our prārabdha has been predetermined in such a way as to give us the impression that our choices and efforts are actually controlling or influencing to some extent what is happening in our life, because it has been predetermined by one who knows all our vāsanās and therefore what choices we are most likely to make in each particular situation.

This does not mean that all our choices and efforts have been predetermined. Some of them may have been predetermined, because they may be necessary for the outcome of our prārabdha, but not all of them have been predetermined, and even those that have been predetermined are likely to coincide with the choices and efforts that we anyway happen to make by our own free will. For example, if we eat meat, it must be our destiny to do so, but if our destiny is such, we almost certainly have vāsanās that incline us to do so, in which case we will like to eat meat and will enjoy doing so, and hence our eating meat is impelled not only by our fate but also by our free will.

This is the case with most actions that we do habitually. Though we are made to do such actions by our prārabdha, we are also prompted to do them by our vāsanās, which are our likes and dislikes, and which are therefore formed by and under the control of our free will. The reason why our vāsanās in such cases coincide with our prārabdha is that our prārabdha has been chosen by ‘he who is for that’ (God, guru or Bhagavan) to match our vāsanās, or at least some of them.

That is, the prārabdha that we are ordained to experience in each of our lives is not just a random selection from the countless fruits of our past actions that have been accumulated in our sañcita, but has been carefully and purposefully selected to promote our spiritual development, which means that it has been chosen by ‘he who is for that’ considering all our vāsanās and the most effective way to help us overcome them as quickly as possible. Since we can overcome and eradicate our vāsanās only by choosing not to be swayed by them when they rise to the surface of our mind, and since particular outward circumstances and experiences prompt particular vāsanās to rise, ‘he who is for that’ has ordained our prārabdha in such a way that what we experience will prompt the rising of those vāsanās that we are now strong enough to overcome and would be most benefited by overcoming. Therefore if we allow ourself to be swayed by certain vāsanās, we should not delude ourself by attributing that to prārabdha, but should recognise that we do have the freedom to choose whether or not to allow ourself to be swayed by them, and that in prompting such vāsanās to rise our prārabdha is giving us the opportunity to make this choice.

Since we have come to Bhagavan’s path and learnt from him the importance of not eating meat, most of us hopefully do not now eat meat, even though we may have been born in a meat-eating family or culture and would therefore have eaten meat in the past. If we did eat meat in the past, we probably had some residual inclination (vāsanā) to do so, so the prārabdha of the early part of our life would have caused us to be a meat-eater, but that inclination was probably not very strong, and hence we were easily able to give it up when we came to understand, either from Bhagavan’s words or by some other means, that it is wrong to do so. Both our eating meat in the past and our not eating it now are according to our prārabdha, but such a prārabdha was chosen for us because of our residual inclination to eat meat and because of our willingness to curb that inclination and therefore give up eating meat as soon as we came to understand that it was wrong.

The fact that the prārabdha of each individual is tailor-made to match certain vāsanās that they have can be understood from the fact that if we habitually do any action we are generally inclined to do it and enjoy doing it. For example, are there any habitual meat-eaters who do not do so willingly and do not derive some pleasure from doing so? There may be a few, but they must be quite rare, and most of those rare cases would be people whose circumstances give them no choice but to eat meat.

Therefore, so long as our circumstances seem to enable us to choose what we eat, after we have come to Bhagavan and learnt from him that eating meat is wrong, both from an ethical and a spiritual perspective, if we nevertheless continue eating meat we should not consider that we do so only according to our prārabdha, but should acknowledge that we still have strong vāsanās to eat and enjoy meat. That is, if we eat meat, it is our prārabdha to do so, but this prārabdha has been allotted to us because we have such vāsanās and are not yet willing to curb them by not allowing ourself to be swayed by them.

9. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 10 and 11: being self-attentive requires vairāgya, which entails not being swayed by our viṣaya-vāsanās

The reason why Bhagavan taught us that everything that happens in our life is according to prārabdha is only to help us give up being concerned with outward matters and turn within to investigate what we ourself actually are. He did not intend this to mean that we should allow ourself to be swayed about by whatever vāsanās rise to the surface of our mind, believing that it is prārabdha rather than our free will that is making us do so, because we cannot turn within so long as we allow ourself to be swayed by them, since any vāsanā other than sat-vāsanā is an inclination or urge to face outwards. Therefore we should not be concerned about whatever prārabdha we are destined to experience, but we should be concerned about not allowing ourself to be swayed by whatever vāsanās may rise in our mind.

The imperative need for us not to be swayed by whatever vāsanās may rise was emphasised by him 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 experience 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 real nature] 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 self-attentiveness, 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.
The most effective way to avoid being swayed by whatever vāsanās rise in our mind is to cling firmly to svarūpa-dhyāna or self-attentiveness, which is the simple practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāraṇā). In practice, however, most of us are not able to be so keenly self-attentive all the time, because our bhakti (love to be aware of ourself alone) and vairāgya (freedom from desire to be aware of anything else) are not yet strong enough, but this does not mean that we must allow ourself to be swayed by vāsanās whenever we are not clinging firmly to being self-attentive. Even when our mind is outward facing, we should try as far as possible to avoid being swayed at least by our grosser and more harmful vāsanās, such as the desire to eat meat.

If we lack the vairāgya even to resist the liking to eat meat, even though we know that eating meat is harmful not only to the concerned animals but also to ourself, how can we expect to have the vairāgya required to cling firmly to self-attentiveness and thereby sink deep within to find the pearl of our real nature? Therefore adopting even simple restraints (niyamas) such as ahiṁsā (avoiding causing harm to any living being) and mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama (the restraint of consuming only sattva-conducive food in moderate quantities) can help to strengthen our vairāgya and thereby enable us to cling more firmly to being self-attentive, which is one of the reasons (though not the only one) why Bhagavan said in the ninth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? that by mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama the sattva-guṇa of the mind will increase, and that this will help is in our practice of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra).

Whenever our mind is facing outwards, we are thereby allowing ourself to be swayed to a greater or lesser extent by our karma-vāsanās and viṣaya-vāsanās, but it is up to us to choose the extent to which we allow ourself to be swayed by them, and which of them we allow to sway us. Some vāsanās are definitely more harmful than others, so we should use our power of vivēka (judgement or discrimination) to decide which vāsanās are most harmful and therefore most necessary for us to avoid being swayed by. Generally our grosser and more selfish desires, such as the desire to eat meat, are more harmful to us than some of our less selfish desires, so in order for us to purify our mind and thereby develop sattva-guṇa, which we require in order to practise ātma-vicāra effectively, we should as far as possible try to curb our more selfish desires.

Trying as much as possible to be self-attentive is of course the most effective way to curb all our karma-vāsanās and viṣaya-vāsanās, both the more harmful and the less harmful ones, but if we are seriously intent on practising ātma-vicāra we must use every weapon in our armoury to weaken the hold that such vāsanās have over us, and this is why certain restraints (niyamas) are prescribed as preliminary requirements not only for the practice of ātma-vicāra but also for any other kind of yōga or spiritual practice. Understanding and accepting the need for such restraints, particularly the restraints of ahiṁsā and not eating meat, are the ABC of any serious spiritual practice, so even if we are now doing PhD-level research, namely ātma-vicāra, we cannot afford to discard such restraints, just as a PhD student cannot afford to discard using the alphabet that he or she learnt while in kindergarten.

As I explained earlier, whether or not we allow ourself to be swayed by our viṣaya-vāsanās and karma-vāsanās is not a matter that comes under the jurisdiction of our fate (prārabdha) but only under the jurisdiction of our free will. Since our prārabdha has been tailor-made to suit both our vāsanās and our willingness not to allow ourself to be swayed by them, if we choose not to be swayed by a particular vāsanā, such as any liking or inclination that we may have to eat meat, in most cases we will find that our prārabdha has been allotted in such a way that it seems as if our choice not to be swayed by that vāsanā makes us refrain from doing the corresponding action.

10. The best use we can make of our free will is to choose to be self-attentive, but even when we attend to anything else we should choose at least to avoid doing harmful actions

In retrospect we can say that whatever has happened is prārabdha, but when faced with a choice of how to act we cannot know what prārabdha holds in store for us, so we should always choose to act in an ethical manner, or at least to avoid as far as possible acting in an unethical manner. Even in retrospect, though whatever has happened was in accordance with prārabdha, we should not try to deny responsibility for whatever actions we chose to do, because most of our choices and actions that are driven by our prārabdha are also simultaneously driven by our free will.

That is, though all our past experiences occurred according to our prārabdha, we wanted many of them to happen and we accordingly made effort by mind, speech or body to make them happen, so in such cases our fate and free will were working in synchronisation. Since both our fate and our free will are functioning side by side in our life, sometimes in harmony and sometimes in opposition to each other, and since we have a sense of doership for all the actions of our body, speech and mind, we cannot accurately distinguish to what extent each of our past actions was driven only by fate or by free will also.

This is why Bhagavan said that engaging in disputes about fate and free will and about which one prevails concerns only those who do not recognise that the root and foundation of both is only the ego, and that our only concern should therefore be to investigate ourself to see whether or not we are actually this ego, for whom alone there is fate and free will. When we look at ourself carefully enough to see what we actually are, we will see that we were never an ego and therefore never experienced any fate nor used or misused any free will.

Until such time, we should try to be self-attentive as much as possible, because trying to be self-attentive is the best way for us to use our free will, and the more keenly self-attentive we are the less room there will be for our ego to rise and use its free will in any other way. Instead of being keenly self-attentive, if we allow our attention to go out towards anything else, we will experience likes and dislikes for whatever prārabdha may throw at us, which will drive us to do āgāmya by trying to achieve or maximise whatever we like and to avoid or minimise whatever we dislike.

To the extent that our attention is directed within, towards ourself alone, we will thereby avoid misusing our free will in any way, and to the extent that we allow it to go out, towards anything else, we will be unable to avoid misusing it in one way or another. Therefore as Bhagavan often explained, the best use we can make of our free will is to turn our attention within and thereby to surrender our ego along with its will.

However, whenever we allow our attention to go outwards, we will experience ourself as a body and mind and therefore we must accept responsibility for their actions, and should therefore choose to avoid as far as possible any actions that could harm others. We may not always be able to avoid such actions, because we may be destined to do them, but we should not use destiny (prārabdha) as an excuse for choosing to do them. So long as we are able to make choices, as we will always be able to do so long as we seem to be this ego, we should try to make the best choices possible.

As far as doing any actions is concerned, the best choice is to try to avoid doing harmful actions, but rather than choosing to do any action at all, the best choice of all is to turn within and thereby dissolve the ego and its will forever in its source, the clear light of pure self-awareness that is ever shining in our heart as the true import of the word ‘I’.

184 comments:

Anonymous said...

The blog writer says in item no 7:
============
In this connection people often quote (as did an anonymous friend in one of the comments on my previous article) what Devaraja Mudaliar recorded Bhagavan saying to him in reply to his question about whether even trifling actions in our life are predetermined. He actually recorded this in two places, firstly in Day by Day with Bhagavan and subsequently in My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. What he recorded in Day by Day (4-1-46 Afternoon: 1989 edition, page 78; 2002 edition, pages 91-2) is:....
In My Recollections (Chapter 4: 1992 edition, pages 90-1) he recorded the same conversation as follows:
================
This is factually incorrect. It was the same question, not the same conversation that Devaraja recorded.
It has been reported that Devaraja Mudaliar asked this particular question in many different ways.
One conversation took place in the summer in Tiruvannamalai, the other took place in winter.
=============
I have no other comment on this blog post, just want to present the facts.

atma-vrtti said...

Anonymous,
you are correct: according my books evidently there were two different conversations but the same question.

Anonymous said...

A devotee writes:
_________________
One day, when Bhagavan was looking into the affairs of the temple building, I approached Him
and asked the following question.

"How can action which is subdued in a state of Mukti emerge
and continue to function?" Bhagavan favoured me with the
following reply:

"The all pervading infinite Self brings about the actions and they are
done through the means of indriya karanas. The person's ahamkara or
the little self is doing nothing. It is also incapable of doing anything. When an
author is writing with a pen, he is so much absorbed in his idea that he forgets
that he is writing with the pen with his own hand. Nor is he aware of his body.
Once his consciousness dawns that he is the person that is writing it, that it is hand and his pen that writes it, the flow of his ideas is arrested.
He comes down from the all-absorbing world of idea and becomes aware of his pen, his hand and his body and he is not able to write any further. The pen, the hand etc., are
separate inanimate objects and the Atma Sakti alone is capable of giving life to them and make them work. Although the indriya karanas are there, yet the time when they are
absorbed in the Atma Sakti, he will not write.

"Therefore, the happiness and sorrow which are the results of actions do not affect the indriya karanas or the Atma, the witness and Karta (doer) of all actions. If a man were to
see his reflection in the boiling water, the heat does not affect his face, nor does it harm in
any way his reflection in the boiling water. So also the results of one's own actions do not
affect the Atman or the ahamkara, "the little self". It is a myth or maya (delusion).
A man bitten by a snake in a dream, does not on awakening attempt to cure himself.
The tiresomeness of the sukshma saria (subtle body) due to over work in dream world, is
not at all felt on his awakening from the dream.

If one, in his own imagination, weaves that he was round the world in a minute, his
physical body does not get tired. We, the embodiment of Atma have no sufferings.
All things appear on account of myth. The lightning produced on account of the clash
of clouds in the sky do not affect the Space. If we, therefore, realize that we are part and
parcel of the big Atmic force, there is no reason why we should falter and get confused in
our lives.

Arunachala's Ramana, Boundless Ocean of Grace,Volume 6. Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.

Ravi said...

Michael/Friends,
Thanks to Michael for clarifying the subject matter of fate vs Freewill based on Bhagavan's teachings...It may perhaps be helpful to view this dialogue between Sri Chandrasekara Bharati Swami (who was the Shankaracharya of Sringeri and a great sage) and his disciple...This is incisive as well as comprehensive...I have posted the link and have quoted excerpts from it a couple of times here...those interested may look up:
http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/articles/The_Riddle_of_Fate_and_Free.htm
Namaskar

nuṇ mati said...

Anonymous,
the quoted book Arunachala's Ramana, Boundless Ocean of Grace, Volume VI has 426 pages.
Which page do you quote ?

After the Contents-Page of this book we read on a decorative page:

Bhagavan's Grace

Devotee: In the books it is stated that
Bhagavan is an ocean of Mercy. Is it a fact ?

Bhagavan: Ocean? An ocean (sagara)has a
limit, a boundary, (or coastline). But the
krupa of Bhagavan has no such limit. It is
limitless. It knows no bounds.
- Krupa, Call Divine. Vol.I,p.165
K.R.K.Murthy

Ravi said...

Anonymous/friends,
We may put it like this...Pain and pleasure affect the body,Happiness and sorrow affect the mind,honor and dishonor affect the ego sense.Atman is free from all these and is ever free.
The mind can detach itself from the pain that the body reports...As children we dread the injection that a nurse/doctor administers and cringe and howl in pain...when we grow up we just go through the process of getting oneself needled...the pain is there but it no longer has the sway...we know it is just the body that through sensation reports the fact that it is being pricked and we just say that it is alright and only momentary...We do not identify ourself with pain and say 'I am in Pain' but when someone asks we just say that 'The pain is there and we are aware of it'...If the mind is in a state of total detachment as in pure awareness,the body may report any degree of pain and yet we shall not say 'I am in pain'.

Pain is programmed in the scheme of things to play a role...it is the way the body signals the mind that there is something inimical to its health...If the head aches we become aware of the head;if the back aches,we become aware of the back,etc...if the body is in perfect health,we must be least aware of its presence...If the mind is in a state of detachment,we are to that degree free from the all the dwantas or pairs of opposites...this is freedom.
Namaskar

Anonymous said...

Nun mati, I found the anecdote in Surpassing Love and Grace, but read that it is also in Vol 6. Here is a link to download pdf...look at pg 100.

https://www.google.co.in/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://muddypractice.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/surpassing-love-and-grace.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwj7vLCOm47WAhXFso8KHYDSCY0QFghfMAk&usg=AFQjCNGPYNXCoVQyvvnwVP-iA8lQHjdRzA

nuṇ mati said...

Anonymous,
thank you for giving the link to the book Surpassing Love and Grace, chapter 11. Reminiscences-II, nr.II -K.R.K.Murthi.
But may I repeat my question to you which page of Arunachala's Ramana Volume VI you have quoted in your previous comment ?

Salazar said...

Thank you Michael for that article. So prarabhda is determining what someone is eating and that this is because of vasanas is not diminishing the very fact.

Now I am not so sure about the “not being swayed by vasanas” concept. The only “tool” we have is atma-vichara but to postulate that besides atma-vichara there is the possibility to do so seem nebulous.

Michael: “Even when our mind is outward facing, we should try as far as possible to avoid being swayed at least by our grosser and more harmful vāsanās, such as the desire to eat meat. […] but it is up to us to choose the extent to which we allow ourself to be swayed by them, and which of them we allow to sway us.”

But who should try? Who is allowing to be swayed or not to be swayed? The “who” is a thought (first as I and then the 2nd and third persons) coming up “I eat meat” and that conflicts with the other thought “I should not eat meat”. Now how can a thought fight another thought? It can’t. It is only an imagination. The only way to believe we could avoid being swayed [other than with atma-vichara] is in form of an imagination, but to what benefit is that? How can an imagination bring us closer to Self? It is just the opposite and that is why only atma-vichara will do, anything else is wishful thinking.


nuṇ mati said...

Salazar,
one thought can very well fight another thought which happens everyday in our life.
How can you come to such an abstruse opinion ?

Salazar said...

nun mati, yes - they seem to fight, but only in your imagination. But "who" is having these thoughts? Nobody, these thoughts itself claim existence again with another thought or better with the very first thought as "I". So who "wins"? A thought. Is that thought real? If yes, explore if that is true. If not, what is the problem? Nobody wins but as an imagination.

My point and why I said that a thought cannot fight another thought is because that would mean that a Fata Morgana can fight a Fata Morgana. Now how ludicrous is that? It is as ludicrous as thoughts fighting each other.

And that is not an opinion but experienced on a daily basis.

Noob said...

Bhagavan said that the world is nothing but a collection of various thoughts and therefore the thoughts are alien to our true nature. Diving deep into thinking what is right and what is wrong is in itself counterproductive to atma vichara. We should try to abandon all thoughts but one and that is thinking of self. When other thoughts attack us we should turn our attention back to thinking of self. Understanding that the world is just another dream should be a great help to us in making sure that we do not take the thoughts seriously. The is my understanding of his words.

Noob said...

Therefore the question is "Are thoughts that we are experiencing at this very moment have been already predetermined and we are destined to experience them?" If thoughts are what the world, i.e. another dream, is made of then logically yes, even the thoughts we are experiencing are destined and predetermined including all of our fears and desires.

Salazar said...

Noob, there is a paradoxical nature to it what confounds the mind. To use the mind for anything but examining "I" is counterproductive as you said. "We" don't have to worry what will happen to the body, prarabhda will take care of that. The only worry is to not identify with the actions of the body and mind via atma-vichara.

The paradox is that there is no cause and effect. That is all an imagination. So there is no jiva who has an evolutionary process and who has to go through countless incarnations. That is as much an idea as everything else. It all happens now. Well, there is no now either, but that goes beyond the comprehension of the mind.

The point is, it is ALL imagination and the only way to break through that imagination is atma-vichara or summa iru. Anything else perpetuates the imagination of the mind, including notions to become a "better" person. Who becomes a better person?

First the jiva imagines to be a bad person. Then he imagines to better himself. Later then he imagines himself to be a good person. But at no "time" he ever went out of that imagination. Self has stayed the same during the whole imaginary process. Did the jiva got closer to Self by imagining himself to be a better person (of course due to strong attachment to the mind he actually thinks to be a better person in eating the "right" foods etc.)? No, of course not!

Ravi said...

Salazar/Freinds,
We may all have our 'My points' and may believe it as our daily experience...If 'others' are not there,who are we discussing with?If we are the Self,why is vichara the 'tool'?If the Vichara is a 'tool',who is handling that 'tool'?...What is Prarabdha and for whom?

Is it not a fact that we are a person?...Or do we think ourselves as something else?..Our Real nature is ever the same whether it is recognized or not...For the person to realize the self,certain modes of living are certainly more conducive than others...To realize his Real nature, the person has to get rid of gross habits that belongs to his animal past and he has been given his intellect for this purpose...and he can certainly use his intellect to this purpose...nothing prevents him from employing it to this purpose except himself...it is only when one employs the intellect that a Fata Morgana cannot keep fighting a Fata Morgana as it is happening in your case here...by your own admission,you wish to believe in bhagavan's advice not to be angry or hate anyone but every now and then that is what you seem to be doing ...is this not a FACT?...to think it is not so is to be living in delusion and denial and that does not carry one anywhere...no wonder you are practising vichara for 30 years and have not realized what you badly wish to believe...please see this simple FACT...I am not saying this to put you down but to show a mirror to you...I know you will not like this but I am not like you who believes that spirituality as Bhagavan has taught, means not to care for people or other creatures which along with the world are dreamy nothings...so,think about it...you have been thinking after all,although you may not like to believe you are!...so,better to think with a discriminating mind, knowing that you very well can think and there is no harm in that.
Namaskar

Noob said...

In my point of view a thought " I want to eat only vegetables" is not better than "I want to eat meat and vegetables". The only way is to cultivate indifference to whatever we experience so that we do not care what we eat, how we are dressed, what other people are thinking of us, and let God sort everything out. The thought "I do not want to eat any meat or I do not want to do any harm" will be followed with an action for a particular goal "to make the mind more sattvik" , but according to my understanding there is nothing to be gained for the mind, it must be just investigated by paying attention to the thought "I" and during this investigation it will be destroyed when the thought process stops and the true nature of ourself will be revealed.

Noob said...

Ravi, we should not forget that there is only one "Dreamer"

Ravi said...

Friends,
Here are a couple of excerpts from the life of Papa Ramdas and it would be helpful to go over it...we may as well enjoy the humor element as well:

Once, to illustrate the futility of empty, theoretical advaitic knowledge, Papa narrated the following story. He was staying in a small mandir in Jhansi when a man approached him and asked, "Who are you?"
"I am Ramdas," he replied simply.
"No, you speak a lie there," returned his visitor. "You are Ram Himself. When you declare you are Ramdas, you do not know what you say. God is everything and in everything. He is in you and so you are He. Confess it right away.
"True, dear friend," Ramdas replied, "God is everything. But at the same time, it must be noted God is one, and when He is in you and everywhere around you, may I humbly ask to whom you are putting this question?"
After a little reflection, the man could only answer, "Well, I have put the question to myself ".
Papa always stressed the necessity of absolute honesty and sincerity as essential in the great Quest. Better an honest, dualistic bhakti than a hypocritical advaita. Whereas bhakti, however dualistic, will lead ultimately to jnana as jnana mata, the mother of jnana, advaita practised only with the head leads merely to confusion and hypocrisy.

continued....

Ravi said...

Papa Ramdas continued...

When Papa was staying at Mount Abu he was taken to meet a "great saint", Swami Kaivalyananda, a young sannyasin living in a cave, his body completely shaved, but surrounded by a number of books.
Papa approached him and prostrated.
With a look of surprise, the sannyasin asked, "To whom are you offering this salutation?"

"To Ram," Papa replied.

"Who are you?"

"Ramdas. "

"Ramdas. Ramdas, funny, isn't it? There is only one Truth. Why do you assume this false duality?"

"It is Ram Himself, being One, who has chosen to be many. "

"Wrong," retorted the advaitin. "He is always One; many is false, illusion."

"Truth has become God and His devotee for the sake of lila, the divine play," Papa responded.

"Why play?"

"For love and bliss; so when Ramdas prostrates before you, it is yourself who do it in the form of Ramdas," Papa went on.

"Bosh!" cut in the sannyasin. "There is only one, never two." "Then to whom are you talking, dear Swamiji," asked Papa, pulling out his brahmastra.

The sannyasin reflected a while and had to reply, "To myself".

"Exactly. You assume there are two although in the light of absolute Truth there is only one."

"No, no--no realised person believes in duality," maintained the advaitin, getting jumpy. "Here, take this book and read it. You will understand things more clearly, I assure you. It is written by me." He pressed Papa to accept it. Noticing the author's name on the cover, Papa noted that he referred to himself as "Swami Kaivalyananda, M.A."!

Ravi said...

Noob,
"Ravi, we should not forget that there is only one "Dreamer"
If there is only ONE dreamer,is dream possible?...Just consider that you alone are there...what would you think about?...There is nothing to think about as you are the only one...so what would you dream about?
Namaskar

Noob said...

Both bhakti and advaita are just doctrines, and are just part of this dream.

Noob said...

The dreamer is "I". The dream is possible the same way as there is only one I in all of our dreams, regardless of how many objects are present in our dream, there is no one in a dream but "I".

Noob said...

Or do you imply, Ravi, that whatever objects and actions you experience in any in your dreams, is there anyone else there but "You"?

Michael James said...

Anonymous, regarding the comment in which you write with reference to section 7 that what Devaraja Mudaliar recorded in Day by Day (4-1-46 Afternoon) and in My Recollections (Chapter 4) was not the same conversation, what I heard from people who were there in the 1940s and who had asked Devaraja Mudaliar about it is that the conversation he referred to in My Recollections was the same conversation that he had recorded about fourteen years earlier in Day by Day, but that he had wrongly recollected that it took place on a summer afternoon when in fact it was on a winter afternoon (which in south India can be hot enough to warrant a fan, if indeed the reference to a fan was correct). Whatever be the case, this explanation seems more plausible than the idea that it was two different conversations, because what he recorded in both cases was remarkably similar, in terms of both his two questions and Bhagavan’s replies to each of them.

However, whether it was one conversation or two is incidental, because the main point I making about these two recordings is that when Bhagavan answered questions about a subtle subject such as fate and free will, he would always do so in a suitably nuanced manner, but those who recorded such answers often failed to grasp all the nuances, so what they recorded does not do justice to whatever Bhagavan said. The nuances in what he said were needless to say very important, but people’s ability to understand them varied, so this is why different people understood and recollected the same replies in often quite contrary ways.

Ravi said...

Noob/friends,
We all may have our points...but is it not a fact that Bhagavan has always qualified a discerning mind as 'nunmadhi' or 'Koorndhamadhi'...a subtle and discerning mind is essential and indispensable...so the mind has to be fed on satvic food(the food that we eat should be satvic and the company that we keep should be satvik-satsangha)...this is something undeniable...if we differ from this,we should have the honesty and uprightness to say that we do not agree with Bhagavan and this is perfectly okay...but to quote bhagavan for certain things and to duck him on other things that do not serve our self interest is nothing but manipulation...and through such manipulation no vichara can be done and irrespective of what we would like to believe,nothing would come out of that...we may check it out for ourselves....If we are so convinced that Self is the only reality,what prevents us from recognizing it here and now?
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Noob, give it up, you'll not convince Ravi. Let him have his belief.

Ravi, suit yourself, funny, in all of your comments you have it backwards. Yes, by all means, be a "person" ;-)

It's all mind buster, I hope you grasp that eventually.

Noob said...

I am not trying to convince here anyone, I am just trying to affirm myself another time that there is no logical argument against what Bhagavan said about this world being just another dream in which "I" has deeply sunk.

Salazar said...

My mistake and I should have known. Have you ever convinced a "seeker"? LOL

I am afraid that Ravi cannot deal with the paradoxical nature of what we are and what we believe to be. His mind just comes up with platitudes, talking about fanatic advaitins, etc. So what is the point? There are fanatics with every belief system. Bhagavan's teachings happen to resemble advaita philosophy, so what? Who cares?

What matters, do we know what we really are? And that is not a person. To read such nonsense on a blog like this one is excruciating ;-)

Anyway, it is all mind..... it is all mind ....... it is all mind .......

Noob said...

Salazar, thanks! We need everything that helps to turn our attention within :)

Salazar said...

AND for Pete's sake: Ravi you stubborn ^%$#&, it is not about the food we eat, it is about that we have no choice in what we eat or not. Even Michael confirmed that in his article.

I am a vegetarian/vegan since 1987, so it was never about me what seems to be stuck in your stubborn mind, Ravi. And the switch to vegetarian food was as easy as fitting on a glove. So try now to imagine something else, since that's what your mind is doing and can actually only do!

Salazar said...

A dialog between Annamalai Swami and Ravi:

Annamalai Swami (per an excerpt from his book): Never imagine to be this body and mind, always affirm to be Self!
Ravi: What are you saying? I am a person, that is a fact.
Annamalai Swami: You only believe to be a person, in fact you are not.
Ravi: But I get angry and have faults, only a person can get angry and have faults, therefore I am a person.
Annamalai Swami: Faults, anger, and all other adjectives are just imaginations of mind. In all reality there is no anger or faults. Why focusing on faults and affirming a person? Did I not suggest to always affirm Self and not for a minute to believe to be a person?
Ravi: No, your advice is deluded because I get angry and therefore I cannot be Self.
Annamalai Swami: That belief is exactly why you are bound. Stop reaffirming to be a person in acknowledging habits of a mirage. Snap out of it, $%^&*.



Ravi said...

salazar,
Do you ever care to listen?...you are working out a conversation with an imaginary 'Ravi' and an imaginary 'annamalai swami'...The actual Annamalai Swami is a different 'person' altogether and i know that you have never ever met anyone like him...there will not be this sort of a vanity and false knowledge one would be holding onto...'vichara' does not seem to be workking at all...either bhagavan is wrong about vichara or you are not doing using the 'tool'correctly for over 30 years...one of this got to be true,you may 'choose' to believe one of this proposition...ha ha
Namaskar

Ravi said...

Salazar,
"I am a vegetarian/vegan since 1987, so it was never about me what seems to be stuck in your stubborn mind, Ravi. And the switch to vegetarian food was as easy as fitting on a glove."

No...It is not about you per se at all but your whimsical idea that such a choice is determined by an imaginary and speculative 'prarabdha'...that belief is untenable.

Namaskar

Yuvaraj said...

Michael,

I have been a vegetarian all my life. I currently work with poor communities to collaborate with them and overcome their problems in livelihoods. Wanted to share a recent experience...

In a rural, very poor and drought prone region my interaction with communities across led to the conclusion that their dominant source of livelihoods was goat rearing and they wanted help to overcome challenges of high goat mortality and poor health. I had raised their aspirations by offering to help but after that here I was in a situation where the poor village women were pulling me into a domain that went against my ideals.

Dug deep to find answers...finally decided to work with them to overcome their problems and a found a fine veterinarian interested in empowering the village women by rigorously training few smart village women to overcome their problems; and designed a system to setup farm schools run by these trained women across the region.

Right or wrong do not know. But after the decision have not looked back or questioned my decision. My wife was disturbed at first but finally seemed to agree. My parents would not agree so I did not tell them.

I find that it is such situations which force me to put my spiritual lessons to practice. Rightly or wrongly, I do not know. But in a way that finally harmomises with my ethos.

It will be good to have your perspectives, sir.

Yuvaraj

nivṛtti said...

Ravi is completely right in saying "If we are so convinced that Self is the only reality, what prevents us from recognizing it here and now ?".
If there are obstacles (put by us) in our way so we must try to remove them.
In order to experience our true nature there is no other choice and chance.
Therefore let us find ways and means to clarification and purification of our mind, the only tool. So we need to cultivate the urge to turn back within and subside in our source as Michael writes in section 3. of this recent article.

nivṛtti said...

Salazar,
you say "Did the jiva got closer to Self by imagining himself to be a better person (of course due to strong attachment to the mind he actually thinks to be a better person in eating the "right" foods etc.)? No, of course not!"

The imagination of a jiva itself exists only in the mind, but is the mind real ?

Ravi said...

Friends,
An excerpt from The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna:
Parable of the three robbers
"Let me tell you a story. Once a rich man was passing through a forest, when three robbers surrounded him and robbed him of all his wealth. After snatching all his possessions from him, one of the robbers said: 'What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him.' Saying this, he was about to strike their victim with his sword, when the second robber interrupted and said: 'There's no use in killing him. Let us bind him fast and leave him here. Then he won't be able to tell the police.' Accordingly the robbers tied him with a rope, left him, and went away.
"After a while the third robber returned to the rich man and said: 'Ah! You're badly hurt, aren't you? Come, I'm going to release you.' The third robber set the man free and led him out of the forest. When .they came near the highway, the robber said, 'Follow this road and you will reach home easily.' 'But you must come with me too', said the man. 'You have done so much for me. We shall all be happy to see you at our home.' 'No,' said the robber, 'it is not possible for me to go there. The police will arrest me.' So saying, he left the rich man after pointing out his way.
"Now, the first robber, who said: 'What's the good of keeping the man alive? Kill him', is tamas. It destroys. The second robber is rajas, which binds a man to the world and entangles him in a variety of activities. Rajas makes him forget God. Sattva alone shows the way to God. It produces virtues like compassion, righteousness, and devotion. Again, sattva is like the last step of the stairs. Next to it is the roof. The Supreme Brahman is man's own abode. One cannot attain the Knowledge of Brahman unless one transcends the three gunas."

Now there is no point in arguing that all the Gunas are equally ineffective and are on par...Only a Tamasic mind would conclude thus!
It just means that there is a necessary condition but that is not a sufficient condition...and all conditioning has to be transcended through vichara or self surrender...and it is only after that necessary condition is met,vichara or self surrender becomes possible through the grace of God(guru or Self-IswarO Gurur Atmeti,murtibedha vibhaginE-Dakshinamoorthy stotra).

Namaskar

Salazar said...

nivritti, I am not quite sure of the point you are making with your last two comments. Who says that there are no obstacles? Not me. You guys just don't grasp my comments.
And if you haven't gotten it from all of my previous comments, any further comments won't do it.

Re. your last comment: Is the mind real? Of course not, why are you asking this question? Ravi proclaims to be a "person", so with that he affirms reality of the mind and the body. Why don't you ask HIM that question?

Don't you see, from Ravi's and apparent your viewpoint you believe you have to improve yourself with all kinds of things besides atma-vichara. But what thinks that it has to do that? The mind! Is the mind real? Not according to Bhagavan. So something what is not real, something what only imagines and cannot see reality, believes it has to improve itself. Don't you see how ludicrous that is?
The mind is only a bunch of thoughts. And yet Ravi and apparently you believe these thoughts who tell you that you have to improve yourself. Huh? And then you guys proclaim the mind is not real. If it is not real, WHY ARE YOU BELIEVING YOUR MIND?????

Why did Annamalai Swami and all the sages say to never identify with the mind and body?

And, before somebody makes another imbecile conclusion, in order to remove seeming obstacles atma-vichara is required. BUT atma-vichara is NOT for improving the jiva, to make the jiva a "better" person (what nonsense!!!) but to remove false ideas and beliefs. To realize that there is no and never was a jiva. You guys have no f.en clue what atma-vichara really entails. According to David Godman, even Arthur Osborne and some others around Bhagavan had a cloudy understanding of atma-vichara.

Anyway, people here are making big speeches and do copy and paste jobs, chanting "let us blablabla" but besides talking what has been experimentally learned? Looking at these ignorant comments like "I am a person" not much at all.

Ravi said...

Salazar,
Same refrain!...Mind all over and no sign of self!...Other's remarks are imbecile,ignorant...Salazar is the only sane 'person'there is!...ha ha
Forget annamalai Swami or Bhagavan...Why are you parroting what they said?...What are you saying and who are you?...You say that you are not a person...and you are not the Self either although you would like to believe you are that...What a predicament?...ha ha
Namaskar(to the Real Self and not the imagined one!)

Ravi said...

Salazar,
Please Understand that the 'person' is the role that we play here and that is never in conflict with who we really are...You think that unless that role is given up,one cannot realize who one is...you are mistaken...It is enough to know that the Role is just a role and not one's identity...A Homemaker is a cook,a cleaner,a launderer of clothes,etc...She does these multiple roles and still remains a Homemaker(In Tamil She is called illAL,Ruler of the Home)...You seem to think that she has to give up cooking,cleaning the home,etc in order to be the sole Lord of Home...what an imagination!
Spiritual attitude is not to ignore 'others'' but to view them as not apart from oneself...It is not to say that there are no 'others' but to say that 'Others' are not apart from oneself...and only The SElF alone abides...This is compassion and this is what the sages emanated like a perfume...ever smelt this?
Namaskar

Noob said...

The dream objects cannot be "liberated" or "realized" or become a "better person", only the dreamer can stop dreaming, the very subject present in every dream of ours.

Ravi said...

Noob,
To view them as objects apart from oneself is the Dream...To view them as not apart from oneself is the Reality...this is to say that Self alone is although it appears as the many.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Ravi, you keep ass-u-me-ing. Where do I propose to "ignore" others? How do you know what I think? You don't and you keep making wrong assumptions from the comments I make.

Because you don't grasp them.

And please, spare me your patronizing comments about "spiritual attitude". This may find the interest of a beginner, but that you believe that you'd share something new is quite funny.

So keep lecturing.......... I find it rather hilarious, so much self-importance, ha ha.

Ravi said...

Salazar,
"This may find the interest of a beginner".
So you do admit that you are a 'better person' than a beginner...what a bundle of contradiction...All I am saying is to give up this arrogance...become a nobody...you may start with by enrolling yourself in the kindergarden...move with the children there and you will know where you stand...it would help your vichara...ha ha

Salazar said...

Why don't you take your advice yourself. Become a nobody you clown.. ha ha

Salazar said...

There is no better or worse, my comment was on a conceptual mind level which can only function within duality and therefore so-called "differences".

But how can I expect that you'd grasp something like that.....ha ha

Salazar said...

Noob, another parrot-job by Ravi, "to view oneself to be not apart from objects".

So "who" is viewing itself as not apart from objects? "Who" would "do" that? And how is that "who" accomplishing that? In improving an object? To what end? The "improved" object then somehow "changes" its "viewpoint"? LOL

This guy is quite confused.


Ravi said...

Salazar,
I am already a 'nobody' of a person ...my laughter is one of freewill...your ha ha is a compulsive one of prarabdha...an exercise of the muscles to make an impression...you know it...ha ha.
If you are a nobody,no one can make you angry however hard he or she tries...Is it true of you?...All talk of Self is vain...Realize first what it means to have a civil dialogue and a healthy respect for one and all...that would make your vichara a true one...Otherwise it would be a damp squib,although you would believe otherwise.
Namaskar

Ravi said...

Salazar,
Examine how you wish to buy others with your tirade against an imaginary 'Ravi'...Do you see your inadequacy which tries to add numbers/votaries to suit your cause?...Is this not discernible to even a 'beginner'...Stand up on your feet man and have the manliness to see your folly and have the courage to face it...Do you have this Dheerata(courage)?...Think about it.
Namaskar

Noob said...

To view everyone not other than myself is to understand that there is only one consciousness, only one dreamer and whatever we may see us as and see others as, is in the end only one and the same dreamer, in the same way as in your dream there is no one but you, hence whatever "other" people you may see, they are not other than yourself, i.e. consciousness.

Noob said...

Reality comes when the dreaming ends.

Salazar said...

Exactly Noob. Looking at "others" shortcomings is therefore nothing else than one's own shortcoming projected into the imaginary "other".

Salazar said...

Regarding shortcomings Ravi likes to point out in others: Annamalai Swami was in his last life and one can easily say that he was an advanced soul (within duality) and yet he had sexual desires and he had an antagonistic relationship with Chinnaswami which led often into arguments. So there was anger and other emotions involved.

So to judge anybody of shortcomings is like throwing rocks sitting in a glass house. It makes the judge a fool, forgetting that we all will "sin" until realization, that's just how it is. To keep harping about "good" behavior vs. "bad" behavior is an immature approach and is quite hypocritical.

nivṛtti said...

Noob,
reality need not to come because it is never away.

nivṛtti said...

Salazar,
as we see it is the nature of the mind to wander. But it is only transitory whereas we are eternal. If its source is sought, it will vanish leaving the self unaffected.

Ravi said...

Salazar,
" Regarding shortcomingsRavi likes to point out in others"

ha ha...Where did Ravi like to point shortcomings in others?...Ravi only likes to share what he found beneficial with others...he enjoys to share excerpts that would encourage others...He never believes in any mudslinging match but only contests wrong ideas-Like your Primordial juggernaut of Prarabdha.

Forget about Ravi...What do you do here?...Did you notice it?...You imagine that your understanding alone is true and end up calling others as imbecile,fake,ignorant,unprintable words...Is this not FACTUAL?....Just go through your post....Ravi can never do that and will never do that...He is only a 'Beginner' and a nobody!
I have only shown the mirror and you end up seeing my face in it...Man,it is your face that you are seeing in the mirror...Do you realize this...Count the Swear words you have used in all your posts and you will find where you stand...It is all a magnified super ego...Be Factual man.
I have nothing to gain in showing you the mirror ...It is for you to understand where you are and to redeem yourself...I know it is not flattering to your bloated ego to come to terms with it...but then vichara is to unmask and undermine the working of the ego...so,you need to decide whether you wish to make vichara effective.
Namaskar

stray dog said...

Michael James called this kind of discussion as "passionately engaged".
(line 3 of the first paragraph of his new article).
As always he puts it mildly.

Ravi said...

Stray dog,
Apologies for the same...It is one of those not so pleasant things that one gets to do...I am aware that this causes needless ripples here...and I will not allow it to escalate from my end...Thanks very much.
Namaskar

Ravi said...

Friends,
"Annamalai Swami was in his last life and one can easily say that he was an advanced soul (within duality) and yet he had sexual desires and he had an antagonistic relationship with Chinnaswami which led often into arguments. So there was anger and other emotions involved".

Annamalai Swami diligently carried out What Bhagavan had told him...and this put him in opposition to the Ashram manangement who were unaware of Bhagavan's instructions to Annamalai Swami...Swami had to handle this opposition as part of his sadhana...He never defended himself out of self interest or egoistic concerns but was intent on carrying out Bhagavan's orders...It is true he had sexual thoughts but he recognized all these as inimical to sadhana and was absolutely earnest about getting rid of them...He never justified all this and never wished to give any quarter to these vasanas...He approached Bhagavan and followed his advice totally and got rid of them.

It is natural for humans to err but to justify it is harmful for a sadhaka...A Sadhaka is someone who is an unsparing critic of himself.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Ravi, "you ONLY have shown me the mirror".... ha ha

Are you totally blind or what?

You for sure have an answer for everything, the jiva who pretends to be nothing. I wish for you it would be true ;-)

Ravi said...

Salazar,
" I wish for you it would be true ;-)"
Thanks for your good wishes.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

You can shove your fake gratefulness up you know what. What an ignorant hypocrite.

dervish said...

Shall we send our short-tempered guys in the desert ?

Ravi said...

Friends,
In the early part of the discussion in this thread,a question was raised-'How can one thought fight another'?...it was expressed like this-"a thought cannot fight another thought is because that would mean that a Fata Morgana can fight a Fata Morgana. Now how ludicrous is that? It is as ludicrous as thoughts fighting each other."

This is precisely why auxiliary aids are prescribed...This is what Sri Bhagavan says in 'nAn yAr' paragraph 9.

பிரணாயாமம் போலவே மூர்த்தித்தியானம், மந்திரஜபம், ஆகார நியம மென்பவைகளும் மனத்தை அடக்கும் சகாயங்களே. மூர்த்தித்தியானத்தாலும், மந்திரஜபத்தாலும் மனம் ஏகாக்கிரத்தை யடைகிறது. சதாசலித்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் யானையின் துதிக்கையில் ஒரு சங்கிலியைக் கொடுத்தால் அவ்யானை எப்படி வேறொன்றையும் பற்றாம லதையே பற்றிக் கொண்டு செல்லுமோ, அப்படியே சதாசலித்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் மனமும், அதனை ஏதோ ஒரு நாமம் அல்லது ரூபத்திற் பழக்கினால் அதையே பற்றிக் கொண்டிருக்கும். மனம் அளவிறந்த நினைவுகளாய் விரிகின்றபடியால் ஒவ்வொரு நினைவும் அதிபலவீனமாகப் போகின்றது. நினைவுக ளடங்க வடங்க ஏகாககிரத்தன்மை யடைந்து, அதனாற் பலத்தை யடைந்த மனத்திற்கு ஆத்மவிசாரம் சுலபமாய் சித்திக்கும். எல்லா நியமங்களிலுஞ் சிறந்த மித ஸாத்விக ஆகார நியமத்தால் மனத்தின் சத்வ குணம் விருத்தியாகி, ஆத்மவிசாரத்திற்கு சகாய முண்டாகிறது.

Just like prāṇāyāma, mūrti-dhyāna [meditation upon a form of God], mantra-japa [repetition of sacred words such as a name of God] and āhāra-niyama [restriction of diet, particularly the restriction of consuming only vegetarian food] are only aids that restrain the mind [but will not bring about its annihilation]. By both mūrti-dhyāna and mantra-japa the mind gains one-pointedness [or concentration]. Just as, if [someone] gives a chain in the trunk of an elephant, which is always moving [swinging about trying to catch hold of something or other], that elephant will proceed grasping it without grasping anything else, so indeed the mind, which is always moving [wandering about thinking of something or other], will, if trained in [the practice of thinking of] any one name or form, remain grasping it [without thinking unnecessary thoughts about anything else]. Because the mind spreads out as innumerable thoughts [thereby scattering its energy], each thought becomes extremely weak. For the mind which has gained one-pointedness when thoughts shrink and shrink [that is, which has gained one-pointedness due to the progressive reduction of its thoughts] and which has thereby gained strength, ātma-vicāra [self-investigation, which is the state of self-attentive being] will be easily accomplished. By mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama [the restraint of consuming only a moderate quantity of sattva-conducive food], which is the best among all restrictions, the sattva-guṇa [the quality of ‘being-ness’, calmness and clarity] of the mind will increase and [thereby] help will arise for self-investigation.

continued....

Ravi said...

nAn yAr continued...
Thoughts can certainly be marginalized through these auxiliary aids.
How to conquer a harmful thought? By not entertaining it.
How do we stop entertaining it?By entertaining the opposite thoughts of Love,compassion,helpfulness.
How do we entertain Love,compassion and helpfulness?By dwelling on the lives of Saints and sages and seeking their company(Satsangha)

The more and more we do this,the mind's preponderance of satva guna ...and this preponderance is absolutely necessary for Vichara.
Sri Bhagavan says in this paragraph:"Satva gunam vrittiyagi"-Meaning 'Satva guna will increase'.

So,there is absolutely no doubt that one can and must marginalize all harmful thoughts and encourage positive ones ...and this would be the greatest aid in Sadhana.
Namaskar

Ravi said...

Friends,
Swami Ramatirtha was a great sage and his parables are available as 'Parables of Rama' (Poonjaji is the nephew of this great sage)...Here is one parable:
ANGER - The hermit and the shudra (low caste man)
Under the shady trees, there was a neat and clean hut of a hermit by the side of the river, Jamuna. It was decorated with the skins of deer and lions. Ochre coloured clothes were hanging from the pegs in the trees. By chance, a low caste traveller, reached there, and seeing a well-built pucca ghat, he took his bath in the river and washed his clothes. At the moment, the hermit was taking rest inside his hut. When he heard the sound of washing clothes, he came out and saw that his clothes hanging on the pegs were being polluted by the dirty splashes of the washing. Seeing that a man was washing his dirty clothes, he was very much agitated with anger and taking a thick staff, started beating and abusing him. The poor man became unconscious. Even then the hermit continued to kick him, till he himself was tired. After some time, the hermit entered the river to take his bath again.

In the mean time, the shudra (low caste) regained his consciousness, and he also entered the river to take his bath again. By this time the hermit's anger had very much cooled down. . He addressed the poor man and said, 'Why do you take your bath again? Are you not afraid of falling ill or catching cold?'
The man replied, 'You had also taken your bath before. Who do you take your bath again?'

The hermit was annoyed at this retort and said, 'You have the cheek to copy me. I had to take my bath again, because I was polluted by your touch.' The poor man replied, 'I also take my bath again, because I have been touched by a CHANDALA, who is worse than a low caste. I want to purify myself in this river.'
At this reply, the hermit was red with anger. He said, 'What do you mean? You dare abuse me!! Do you mean to call me a CHANDALA?'
The man submitted in a humble tone, 'No Sir. 1 cannot afford to insult you. I have been the victim of your anger. As you already know, this anger is a big CHANDALA. You will please excuse me. I do not mean you, when I say I was touched by a chandala.
On hearing this, the hermit was very much ashamed and he said to himself that the poor man was right in his remarks. I should not have lost my temper.
O dear friend! It is pity that we consider it a pride to indulge in anger, which is, as a matter of fact our worst enemy. It is a wonder that we hate a chandala with much greater intensity than what we regard our anger. Anger is the worst emotion. It makes one mad and destroys one's power of discrimination. When God is everywhere and in everything, is it not an insult to God, if we get angry at or insult someone else?

Namaskar

Sanjay Lohia said...

I thank Michael for this article. I will take a few extracts from this article and share my reflections on these:

Michael: Since vāsanās are propensities, inclinations or urges, the formation, cultivation, modification, restraint, control and eradication of all kinds of vāsanās likewise belong only to the domain of free will and not to the domain of fate.

My note: Our actions if done by our free will leaves behind vasanas, and therefore we are every second adding to the ever growing kitty of vasanas, because we are acting non-stop. It is these very vasanas which impel us to do actions by exercising our free will. Thus these vasanas and its resultant actions are an almost never ending cycle. It is this cycle which forms our bondage.

Michael: Whatever is destined to happen in our life as this ego will happen, and whatever is not destined to happen will not happen. However, this does not mean that our free will has no role to play in the actions that we do by mind, speech and body, as Bhagavan clearly indicates by saying ‘என் முயற்சிக்கினும்’ (eṉ muyaṟcikkiṉum), ‘whatever effort one makes’, and ‘என் தடை செய்யினும்’ (eṉ taḍai seyyiṉum), ‘whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does’.

My note: Whatever effort one makes and whatever obstruction or resistance one does to thwart our prarabdha shows our mistrust in Bhagavan. Since our prarabdha has been carefully chosen by Bhagavan for our own highest good, should we not submit to it without complaining?

Michael: It may be our destiny to do a certain action, but so long as we experience ourself as the body or mind that does that action, we will experience it as if we were doing it, and if we have any desire or liking to do it or to experience its result, it is being driven not only by our fate but also simultaneously by our free will […] For example, if we eat meat, it must be our destiny to do so, but if our destiny is such, we almost certainly have vāsanās that incline us to do so, in which case we will like to eat meat and will enjoy doing so, and hence our eating meat is impelled not only by our fate but also by our free will.

My note: As Michael has explained, most of our actions are driven by both, our destiny and our free will, but when we are engaged in actions we should consider our actions as being done by our free will. In other words, we should not shun responsibility of our actions or of the consequences of our actions.

On a lighter note: Perhaps it was our prarabdha (destiny) to read so many comments (on the last few articles on this blog) which clearly could have been avoided. It could be the case of giving base vasanas a free reign.

rosemary & thyme said...

Sanjay Lohia,
who makes our destiny ?
Is it perhaps only a random result ?

Noob said...

Ravi, I am sorry if I offend you in any way, but you keep claiming that according to Bhagavan it is necessary to to have the predominance of satva guna to be succesful in atma vichara, meaning that only those who have gained so called sattvic mind would ever succeed in atma vichara. In my point of view this completely misleading. According to Bhagavan

"Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘Is it possible to dissolve so many vāsanās and be [or remain] only as self?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness. 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 self-attentiveness, he will certainly be reformed [transformed into the true ‘form’ of thought-free self-conscious being]"

Being completely absorbed in ātma-niṣṭhā [self-abidance, the state of just being as we really are], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any thought other than ātma-cintana [self-contemplation, the ‘thought’ of self, which is what we really are], is giving ourself to God. Even though we place 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 [that is, since it is causing and controlling everything that happens in this world], why should we always think, ‘it is necessary [for me] to act in this way; it is necessary [for me] to act in that way’, instead of being [calm, peaceful and happy] having yielded [ourself together with our entire burden] to that [supreme controlling power]? Though we know that the train is carrying all the burdens, why should we who travel in it suffer [by] carrying our small luggage on our head instead of remaining happily [by] leaving it placed on that [train]?

Just as a person who should sweep up and throw away rubbish [would derive] no benefit by analysing it, so a person who should know self [will derive] no benefit by calculating that the tattvas, which are concealing self, are this many, and analysing their qualities, instead of collectively rejecting all of them. It is necessary [for us] to consider the world [which is composed of these tattvas] like a dream.

Please reflect on this



Noob said...

Who is the judge to say that your mind is sattvik enough to know the truth?

Noob said...

Is it the mind which is drowned in thoughts can ever be able to ... ? Mind works with senses, can it be ever possible to know the truth by senses like a perfume?

rosemary and thyme said...

Noob,
therefore we need purify the mind. A purified mind will sink in its source and thus vanish leaving the self unaffected. According Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi - the sage of Arunachala - there is nothing but the self.

Noob said...

if you think that mind can grasp the self, then it is the same as claiming that a thieve can lead an investigation into the theft that he had done.

Noob said...

there is nothing but the self, but as long as we see the world, atma vichara is necessary.

Noob said...

as long as you keep your attention on the self, ahimsa and everything else will come along with it automatically. There is no anger if your attention is focused on yourself.. attention focused on yourself is repentance...

Salazar said...

Noob, well said, alas people lose perspective of your last comment. Yes, there is no anger if your attention is focused on I am. I am is repentance, nothing else is!

Anonymous said...

June 1, 1946

K.M. Jivrajani: In the early stages would it not be a help
to man to seek solitude and give up his outer duties in life?

Bhagavan: Renunciation is always in the mind, not in
going to forests or solitary places or giving up one’s duties.
The main thing is to see that the mind does not turn outward
but inward. It does not really rest with a man whether he
goes to this place or that or whether he gives up his duties or
not. All that happens according to destiny. All the activities
that the body is to go through are determined when it first
comes into existence. It does not rest with you to accept or
reject them. The only freedom you have is to turn your mind
inward and renounce activities there.

Ravi said...

Noob,
No,there is nothing to be offended by anything whatsoever...you are asking how the mind would know if there is a preponderance of satva...How do we recognize whether we are at peace?...Is peace unrecognizable?...No...It is unmistakeable...so,if our mind is steeped in serenity and peace,it means that satvic preponderance is there...the 'sat' in satva means this only that it is the very nature of 'sat' or the Self... This serenity and peace is the perfume of the Self and is its very nature.

To throw away the rubbish ,we certainly do not need to examine what is the content of it...it is enough to know that it disturbs our peace and equanimity is inimical and has to be discarded like a thorn in the flesh...no analysis or thinking is necessary to understand this...and we jettison such thoughts and actions by not entertaining those thoughts and actions...not allow them room to recur over and over again...This is part of Viveka and Vairagya.

namaskar

Salazar said...

Thanks Anonymous, one should think that the section in bold letters speaks for itself. Bhagavan said ALL activities, that means ALL, eating, killing somebody, stealing, rape, betrayal, deception, etc. ALL determined by birth.

The extend of denial on this blog is quite amazing!

Anonymous said...

Voltaire -

There are persons who, frightened by this truth, admit half of it, as debtors who offer half to their creditors, and ask respite for the rest. " There are," they say, " some events which are necessary, and others which are not." It would be very comic that one part of the world was arranged, and that the other were not; that a part of what happens had to happen, and that another part of what happens did not have to happen. If one looks closely at it, one sees that the doctrine contrary to that of destiny is absurd; but there are many people destined to reason badly, others not to reason at all, others to persecute those who reason.
_______________________
https://history.hanover.edu/texts/voltaire/voldesti.html

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

This is my first comment on this blog, although I’ve been reading it for years. Per Michael’s own description in the ‘About this Blog” section, he has created this blog with the express purpose of “discussing the philosophy and practice of the spiritual teachings of our sadguru, Bhagavan Sri Ramana."

A kind request therefore, to all participants: Please refrain from (constantly) posting spiritual material from other sources and teachings of other Gurus/Enlightened Masters. No one doubts the validity and universality of the material or the enlightenment (in most cases) of the other teachers, and one-off quotes (such as the one from Voltaire) can definitely be helpful. However, when people start "sharing" and continuously posting extracts, links and videos to other sources, it takes away from the flow of the discussion.

By and large we are at the blog (and the comments section!) to clarify our understanding of Bhagavan's teaching, especially Self Enquiry. I would urge enthusiastic spiritual 'sharers' to create their own blog and post their material there. Otherwise, it feels like Michael's site and purpose is being hijacked for other (no doubt noble) purposes and it leaves serious, regular and long-time visitors to the blog frustrated.

rosemary and thyme said...

Dear Anonymous,
your request and appeal take the words out of my mouth !

Sanjay Lohia said...

rosemary & thyme, you ask, ‘who makes our destiny?’ Bhagavan, whom Michael calls the Supreme Court, has given a clear verdict on this. Bhagavan says in the second verse of Upadesa Undiyar:

Karma [action] giving fruit [is] by the ordainment of God [the karta or ordainer]. Can karma be God, since karma is jada [devoid of consciousness]?

Thus it is clear that it is only God who ordaines our destiny. This destiny is not arbitrarily decided by some power, but is carefully selected by God keeping our highest spiritual good in view. God is the supreme and infinite intelligence, and he is also infinite love.

Therefore when God selects our destiny, he uses his entire infinite intelligence to meticulously plan and execute our destiny, and since God is also infinite love, whatever he decides as our destiny is a product of his love. Thus nothing is random or arbitrary.

Sanjay Lohia said...

rosemary & thyme, sorry, the verse I quoted is the first verse and not the second verse of Upadesa Undiyar.

rosemary and thyme said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you say that God is infinitive intelligence and love. So if your statement is correct I can sincerely and humbly derive that I am also included in him or at least my origin/ancestry/pedigree.
And if my conclusion is right then I am actually not separated from God.
But how then can God select my destiny if he is quite well not separated from me ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

rosemary and thyme, yes, we are included in God, and therefore in essence we are one with God. Bhagavan teaches us this truth in verse 24 of Upadesa Undiyar:

By [their essential] nature, which is [being or Ulladu], God and souls are only one porul [substance, essence or reality]. Only [the soul’s] experience of adjuncts is [what makes them appear to be] different.

Yes, as you imply, our ego rises from ourself as we really are (which is God in its true form), and once it comes into existence it considers itself to be other than the whole, essence or reality. Once we experience ourself as this limited entity called the ‘ego’, we do various actions by our free will, and such actions generate its corresponding fruits (good or bad or neutral moral consequences). It is God who decides the appropriate fruits for all our ego's actions, and he also likewise decides when and how we are to experience such fruits.

However when our ego is annihilated by vigilant self-investigation, we will no longer experience ourself as being different from God (our true nature), and thus thereafter we will have destiny.

Sanjay Lohia said...

rosemary and thyme, please read the last paragraph as follows:

However when our ego is annihilated by vigilant self-investigation, we will no longer experience ourself as being different from God (our true nature), and thus thereafter we will have no destiny.

I had forgotten to type 'no' before 'destiny'.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, "[...] we do various actions by our free will [...].

Yes, however one has to add that these actions only come to fruit if they are in alignment with prarabhda. Hence if the "intended" action is not in alignment with prarabhda it cannot happen! So it just seems there is free will since it cannot override prarabhda.

And even though the ego rises, it cannot make any decisions at all, it just seems that way and that is called maya. We should not forget that this all happens within the realm of the imagination of the mind.

Sanjay, you never made the decision to become a vegan, that was already a done deal long before that thought appeared in your consciousness.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
I respect your opinion but what you just said to Sanjay above seems to contradict what Bhagavan taught about free will (i.e) his letter to his mother. I know you have found Robert Adams a big help from previous communication and I have also found Robert helpful. His audio recording are vast and priceless. However when he says everything is pre ordained and the only choice we have is to either turn within or not doesn't make sense to me personally plus it does seem to contradict Bhagavan's teaching. If I had to choose over Robert and Bhagavan then it would be Bhagavan.

However it is a interesting discussion never the less.
Cheers Salazar.
Hector

Salazar said...

Hector, I don't see a contradiction at all, you have to elaborate what you mean. Bhagavan's letter to his mother is actually supporting that. He wrote that letter to tell his mother that he had no choice but to move. His body that is.

Even Bhagavan had no power over the actions of his body. Nobody has. We are already Self and as such how can there be any decisions made but as an imagination of mind? That is Bhagavan's teaching. So everything here including all these discussions and vichara and what not happen only within the imagination of the mind. The so-called rise of the ego is an imagination. To declare that it can make a choice can only be a dream decision.......... It is absolutely imperative to go from the viewpoint of Self and not of the jiva!!!!!!!!!!! Even though one does not believe to be Self to succumb to this nonsense of "as long as an ego rises, blablabla" is perpetuating samsara.
We cannot remove obstacles while believing to be a mind. Impossible.

But no problem, it took me about a decade to fully grasp the ramifications of prarabhda. I see that quite a few on this blog still have to catch up with that ;-)

Bhagavan said...

Salazar,

I observe that the cause of your superciliousness and combativeness is your attachment to your understanding of some concepts. Get rid of your attachment and develop humility if you seek to follow my path of self-attention.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar

Bhagavan's letter to his mother - Michael's translation.

[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.]

On reflection it seems the letter can be interpreted to support either view in honesty do you agree? I wrongly thought it supported my belief and not yours and it seems you think it supports your belief but not mine.

Maybe Robert said what he did to motivate people to just give up and turn within by making them think that is all they can do because everything is pre ordained. Or maybe he is right? I won't question Robert.

But even if we do have free will to try and make effort to change our pre determined destiny then using our free will to turn within is a very wise choice. i think we can agree on that.

Salazar with regards what you said:

[But no problem, it took me about a decade to fully grasp the ramifications of prarabhda. I see that quite a few on this blog still have to catch up with that ;-)]

I appreciate you wrote this tongue in cheek as it may come across as quite egotistical to say that if you really meant it (lol)!

Anyway nice talking to you Salazar.
Cheers.
Hector

Salazar said...

Hey old chap, nice to hear from you. But tell me, "who" is developing humility?

Guys, there is no humility with an ego. There are no stages of humility. That is nonsense. It is an imagination of mind. Is that so hard to grasp?

So keep putting humility on a pedestal. You are just fooling yourself.

When Bhagavan was talking about humility he was talking about 'I am'. He didn't praise humility so silly jiva "strive" for it. He pointed the necessity to realize Self (and with that be natural humble) and not to wallow within the imaginations of mind.

Salazar said...

Hector, I love to sound arrogant, it gets the juices of quite a few here going. Even attachment to a "good" thing like humility will prevent realization. Why? Because it implies an entity who is having that "virtue". There are no entities.

And yes, we have the freedom to turn within, and that should be our only concern. Everything else is postponement.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
You say you love to sound arrogant but from what you said previously you have no choice on how you sound, everything is pre ordained. But I agree our only concern should be to turn within.
Cheers.
Hector

Salazar said...

Hector, before I agree that that letter could be supporting your belief you have to tell me what that is. It was nowhere stated in your previous comment unless I didn't catch something. But that could be easily the case that it supports your belief.

From one letter alone one cannot make a conclusion, but there are countless other (and I am not so attached to that concept that I'd take the effort to list them here all) comments by Bhagavan, by Murugunar, Annamalai Swami, Sadhu Om, Robert Adams, Papaji, Huang Po, etc. which, after careful refection, can only lead to one conclusion.

Resistance is futile ;-)

Salazar said...

Hector, when I said I love to sound arrogant it was a figure of speech and it is in our habit to talk within the reference of an object. As long as we roam in the realm of concepts and mind apparent ego-activity happens, and with that apparent choices. But that is part of the imagination. I know, hard to swallow.

The paradox of prarabhda: Any comment or action has already happened, and it is futile to try to logical comprehend it because prarabhda transcends cause and effect and therefore any conclusion re. prarabhda within the [phenomenal] law of cause and effect cannot work.

R Viswanathan said...

"Even attachment to a "good" thing like humility will prevent realization."

Sri David Godman has this to say on humility in his post:http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2008/10/responses-to-comments-on-desire-for.html

"Humility is one of the virtues that Bhagavan stressed, but which few people associate with his teachings. In the final paragraph of Who am I? Bhagavan wrote:
If one rises [as the ego], all will rise; if one subsides, all will subside. To the extent to which we behave humbly, to that extent will good result. If one can remain controlling the mind, one can live anywhere.

In the following three verses from Guru Vachaka Kovai Bhagavan again stresses the importance of humility before going on to make the surprising assertion that God’s greatness is a function of His humility..."

(Guru Vachaka Kovai verses 494, 496, and 497 are translated)

Salazar said...

Viswanathan, yes, and yet if one is attached to humility one cannot realize.

The problem is not humility, the problem is that there is an ego who believes to be or need to be humble. That belief will prevent Self-realization. Because unless that belief is been giving up you maintain the illusion of the existence of an ego.

"Who" is being humble? The ego? Yeah right, show me a humble ego. If you can I give you a 100 laks of Rupees.

R Viswanathan said...

"if one is attached to humility one cannot realize"

Probably, yes, if the attachment for humility is for gaining anything other than annihilation of ego (self-realization), in which case it means that one has greater attachments for other things, pushing the objective of self-realization very much behind. Nevertheless, since Bhagavan stresses humility, I would believe that cultivating the habit of humility may not result in an attachment to it.

Salazar said...

Viswanathan, I do no want to push this to the brink, if someone believes he could cultivate humility then that is a very admirable undertaking.

Humility is the king of virtues, no doubt about that.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it has been said better than this is all the spiritual literature of the world.


Talk 28.

D.: What is the relation between my free-will and the overwhelming
might of the Omnipotent?

(a) Is omniscience of God consistent with ego’s freewill?
(b) Is omnipotence of God consistent with ego’s freewill?
(c) Are the natural laws consistent with God’s free-will?

M.: Yes. Free-will is the present appearing to a limited faculty of
sight and will. The same ego sees its past activity as falling into a
course of ‘law’ or rules - its own free-will being one of the links
in that course of law.

Omnipotence and omniscience of God are then seen by the ego to
have acted through the appearance of his own free-will. So he comes
to the conclusion that the ego must go by appearances. Natural laws
are manifestations of God’s will and they have been laid down.

Gurmeet Singh Insan said...

Salazar,

You have the greatest spiritual maturity on this blog. While many foolish people here try to reduce the violence they engage in (both in deed and thought), you are the only one who correctly realises that all action is due only to fate and that any attempt to reduce any tendency towards violence is tomfoolery and delusional and sure to delay deliverance.

As you illustrated earlier in a comment using a graphic example, even if a man rapes a woman it is due only to prarabdha. Any attempt by that man to reduce or remove his tendency to rape women is delusional. That man should rather practice atma vichara. Even if he finds it difficult to attend only to 'I', he should not restrain any tendency towards violence that comes in him.

You might be aware of what happened to my body-mind. If not, you can google about it. I was convicted of raping two women, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. I told the foolish judge that I was practicing self-attention even while my body was raping women. I told that &^%($@ that it was my fate that my body would rape women, while I - the ever pure Self - was attending to myself. It was the body that raped women. As body is unreal, so too is the rape. But such foolish and deluded egos will never understand.

But I am sure you understand. Be my lawyer when I challenge the judgement later this month. I will pay whatever you will demand. I order you to reply in the affirmative ASAP.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you write: 'Viswanathan, I do no want to push this to the brink, if someone believes he could cultivate humility then that is a very admirable undertaking. Humility is the king of virtues, no doubt about that'.

How can cultivating humility be an admirable undertaking, because, according to you, we don't have any free will. So, according to your earlier stand, we cannot take this 'admirable undertaking' if it is not in our destiny. I believe this should be your logical line of thinking.

Of course, as Bhagavan has emphasised, we should try and cultivate humility, and this I believe can be cultivated by our free will. If destiny is involved here, there is no point in undertaking such a futile undertaking, because if we are humble we are humble, and if we not we are not, we just can't take any steps to change this status quo. I don't think this will be a correct line of thinking.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends, since we have been extensively discussing on the topic of prarabdha, I thought my following correspondence with Michael could be a useful sharing. I wrote an email to Michael sometime in April 2015 and got his following response:

I wrote to Michael:

Revered Sir,

Thank you for your emails. The following two paragraphs need some explanation, especially the portions marked in bold:

However, since we are constantly resisting and rebelling against this will of his [will of Bhagavan], he has to ordain our prarabdha in order to train us to stop resisting. So our prarabdha is not his ultimate will, but becomes his will temporarily only because we are resisting his real will.

In other words, the goal or target of his will is only that we should experience nothing other than ourself, but as a means to this ultimate goal the temporary goal of his will is to allot our prarabdha in such a way as to make us willing to give up experiencing anything other than ourself.

Yes, we know that God decides our prarabdha for our own spiritual benefit, but how exactly does it work […]

Thanking you and pranams,

Sanjay

To this Michael replied:

Dear Sanjay,

I assume that you mean when you say ‘we know that God decides our prarabdha for our own spiritual benefit’ is more or less the same as I meant when I wrote that he allots it ‘in such a way as to make us willing to give up experiencing anything other than ourself’.

What do you mean by ‘our own spiritual benefit’? In what way does our prarabdha contribute to our spiritual benefit? I believe it is to wean us away from our desires and attachments - our liking to experience anything other than ourself - which are what causes us to constantly resist his will.

Therefore what I meant is that God’s real aim is not that we should experience any prarabdha (which is something other than ourself), but only that by experiencing it we should learn that no real happiness lies in anything external, and that we should therefore develop the love to experience ourself alone.

Therefore God does not want us to experience any prarabdha but only to experience ourself alone, so our prarabdha is his will only insofar as it helps to draw us towards his real aim, which is for us to experience nothing other than ourself.

[…]

With love and namaskarams,

Michael



Salazar said...

Sanjay, I said I do not want to push that to the brink because if Viswanathan feels like that, who am I to take away that belief even though I don't agree with him?

Since you are now pushing the issue, no - one cannot cultivate humility or any other virtue other than with atma-vichara or summa iru. That is a delusion of mind.

To the comment of the "rapist": Tough luck guy, you have not grasped that the outside world is irrelevant and if you want to be enlightened you should not plea about what will happen anyway, but instead do atma-vichara. From your name I suppose you are from India and with that you have good chances that your are not even indicted from what I read in the newspapers. India is not a friendly country to women and the police often looks away when women report being raped. India seems to be an ideal country for rapists.

That is the reason why Bhagavan stressed atma-vichara, to realize that there is no "raper", no "doer" of any kind. It is an optic illusion.

Guys, we are turning in circles, I have heard all of these silly arguments and they are all based on the main confusion that you take your body and mind for real. NEVER at any circumstance do that. Refuse to believe that! Stop thinking what you have to do, that is not necessary, all actions will happen if you think or not. But I suppose you do not have enough trust yet that Bhagavan really is managing your affairs.

All cruel and heinous acts on this planet are as much Divine Will as the "good" ones. Drop the habit of mind to judge and transcend the world and don't wallow in it.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I have to object when you write, ‘India is not a friendly country to women and the police often looks away when women report being raped. India seems to be an ideal country for rapists’. I have to say that India is as safe or as unsafe as most of the other countries, and therefore I do not agree with this sort of generalization.

I have to state this because people from many countries read this blog, and they should not form a wrong opinion about my country. What to do, I still identify with my country. As you can see, my ego is alive and kicking.

Identity Appropriator said...

Salazar,

my comment as 'Gurmeet Singh Insan' was sarcastic and deliberately perverse.

I took this sarcastic route as i felt that Michael's article above which addressed a lot of what you commented and implied in the previous article did not affect you to any considerable extent.

Further even this sarcastic approach bounced off your arrogant exterior. You really like touting your understanding of concepts to anybody and everybody and with great deal of condescension added as well.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar

I appreciate you could make an extensive list of comments supporting your belief that everything is preordained and the only free will we have is to turn within.

My belief is what we are destined to experience we will and what we are not destined to experience we won't. But we do have free will to try and change our destiny which we can't and which just results in more karma. So the best use of our free will is to turn within.

I can't be bothered trying to reinforce my belief with evidence plus it would be impossible like with yours. These are just beliefs at the end of the day and each to his/her own.
Your belief is a lot simpler. Is it right? I don't know.

But I still can't see the point of getting the juices going of others in the blog as you say by sounding arrogant on purpose? I just don't see the point? But it doesn't matter and you can of course do whatever you want or maybe not if you are right and everything is preordained.

Cheers Salazar
Hector

venkat said...

An aptly sardonic comment Identity Appropriator.

It is clear that the whole of Krishna's teaching in Bhagavad Gita - where he advises Arjuna to do right action without desire for the personal fruits of such action - is entirely wrong-headed and should be thrown out. Why did Krishna bother teaching Arjuna karma yoga - he obviously could not have been a jnani, a Bhagavan. And Shankara, and all the advaita masters have been deluded in commenting reverentially on the Bhagavad Gita.

Even certain parts of Bhagavan's teaching were clearly deluded and can be safely ignored, for example :

Guru Vachaka Kovai, v573: Let a performer of a deed not perform it in any way he desires, thinking that it will be enough if the end result of that action is fault-free. Even if the end-result is noble, if the means adopted are improper, the action is definitely a sinful act. Therefore, not only should the end result be totally blemishless but also the means by which it is attained.

GVK, v668: If it is conceded that all the actions of the jiva are only Siva's actions then will the jiva be different from Siva? If he exists as different from Siva, you should know that all his actions will cease to be Siva's actions, and he will be considered to be an independent agent.

Murugunar's comment on this verse: This is a very subtle point. When it is conceded that all the actions of the jiva are those of Siva, then jiva and Siva are not different. At that point, the jiva having lost the feeling that he is performing actions, becomes Siva, the Free One. Surrendering in this way is not yielding to the ego, but is the complete destruction of it. HOWEVER THOSE WHO BEHAVE WITH THEIR EGO NATURE SAYING "EVERYTHING IS SIVA'S DOING" HAVE NOT REALLY SURRENDERED.

In Padamalai, Murugunar writes:

(p.173): So long as you have not renounced the belief 'I am the doer' keep in your mind the correct perspective that your responsibilities are yours alone.


Both Advaita and Bhagavan teach nishkama karma, desireless action. The gist of Krishna's and Bhagavan's teaching is that whatever befalls you, you ascribe to fate and surrender; and whatever actions you do, act AS IF you had free will - and therefore strive in your actions for nishkama karma. As long as the ego is there, any BELIEF that free will does not exist and your actions are not your responsibility , is just an excuse for egoistic desires to run free. Murugunar's comments make this very clear.

venkat said...

This verse of Murugunar / Bhagavan is perhaps even clearer.

GVK 826: A heavy building raised on foundations which are not strongly built will collapse in devastation and disgrace. Therefore it is essential from the very outset for aspirants who work hard [on their spiritual path] to adhere strictly and at any cost to the preliminary observances [of devotion and non-attachment].

Sadhu Om's comment: If an aspirant does not from the very outset develop the necessary strength of character by practising control of the senses, when he is taught the advaitic truth by the Scriptures or Guru, he will be shaken by his worldly desire before attaining jnana and will experience a downfall.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I posted the opinion and report of an American newspaper, as all medias they have their own biases. However, the many incidences of abuse of women in India is quite disturbing, you won't find that in that extreme in the Western world.

Salazar said...

Identity Appropriator, I am afraid that Michael did not satisfactorily and convincingly made his point that also outward actions are within the power of the mind. It is not.
In addition he revealed his own bias with the title of this article, “if we choose to do any harmful actions, […]?”

When prarabhda is responsible for all of the actions of the body, then there is no chooser, so to start an investigative article with the presumption that there is in fact a chooser he already declared with that the very fact [and his bias]. So, after reading the title I knew what would be coming and even though I agree with about 90% of the article, 10% of it is quite nebulous and pure speculation.

Even though I respect Michael, but he is not the “last resort” as Sanjai Lohia has put it, i.e. also David Godman does not agree with quite a few things Michael is saying.

Salazar said...

Hector, you say “we are destined to experience we will and what we are not destined to experience we won't. But we do have free will to try and change our destiny which we can't and which just results in more karma. So the best use of our free will is to turn within.”

I agree 100%. But Michael says that we have the free will “to sway” vasanas outwardly” what is not correct. Or the assumption that we could choose our diet, we cannot! That is where I am getting at.
So what is the apparent difference between my and your understanding?

Re. the willful arrogance: That was just a flippant remark. Who cares? We cannot cultivate humility with outward actions, so why to be concerned to sound arrogant? Why fret about one's vasanas? Why judge them? All that is perpetuating samsara.

Here is a nice quote from Guru Vachaka Kovai, the edition by David Godman, page 138:

“300 It is impossible for the jiva who has become a victim of ego-delusion to overcome even SLIGHTLY the force of prarabdha. Therefore, unless he subsides in the Heart by relying primarily on God's grace, he can NEVER, by mere effort, which is the activity of the rising ego, overcome the buffeting momentum of that parabdha, subside by himself [in the Heart], attain Self-realization and be freed from fear-causing delusion.”

(Capitalization by me.)

Salazar said...

venkat, you have it backwards. Who is controlling the senses? That is an imagination of your mind that you could. Murugunar is correct, but the ONLY way to control the senses is through atma-vichara. It is only an excuse if people do not see the underlying vasanas and deny them.

So I do not make any excuses dear Sir, you just do not grasp the ramifications.

venkat said...

Salazar,

Of course there is no ego. Everyone here knows that. But until one truly realises that knowledge, to the extent that one acts in the world, one should strive to do it with an attitude of karma yoga, which complements the atma vichara at other times. You have not appreciated the depth of advaita, and spout neo-adviata nonsense as if you have jnana.

You seem to be unable to read and understand any of the verses and commentary that Bhagavan, Murugunar and Sadhu Om have written on this subject at hand. Murugnar's comment seems to be very clear - but I wonder how you manage to misconstrue a sentence like the following, which goes against all of your diatribe:

"HOWEVER THOSE WHO BEHAVE WITH THEIR EGO NATURE SAYING "EVERYTHING IS SIVA'S DOING" HAVE NOT REALLY SURRENDERED."

Your mind surely works in mysterious ways.

Interesting to note that Poonjaji recounts the story of partition, where he took your attitude, and was not bothered about helping his family migrate. And Bhagavan told him to go to help them.

Finally let's just brush off another bit of your delusion, when you write:

"However, the many incidences of abuse of women in India is quite disturbing, you won't find that in that extreme in the Western world."

Whilst I agree that the treatment of women and so-called lower castes is disturbing in India, let's not delude ourselves that the Western world are saints. Leave aside domestic issues, history shows that the West has been, more than any 'developing' country, extreme in its treatment of other human beings. From the very start of colonialism when countries were plundered, raped and enslaved, through to just the last 50 years when: some 2m people were killed in a colonial war in Vietnam and Cambodia, and those countries devastated; ditto Indonesia and South America; and more recently a war in Iraq which left 1m plus people dead and a civilisation in ruins; ditto Libya, Syria. So please, no lectures on how noble the West is.



Salazar said...

venkat, you don't grasp where I am coming from and you can label what I say with non-advaita nonsense. Fine with me. It is not.

You know, I am done. You guys do believe what you want and we call it a day. Maybe we talk again when you actually have experimentally explored concepts you seem to believe to have understood.

Your Murugunar quote is a good example that you really don't get my point, it has nothing to do with what I am saying here. By the way, I endorse completely that quote.

Re. your India defense. LOL We got a patriot here. Talking about attachment ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think Salazar means something like this...
________________
Free Will Is an Illusion, but You're Still Responsible for Your Actions
By Michael S. Gazzaniga MARCH 18, 2012


http://www.chronicle.com/article/michael-s-gazzaniga-free/131167


Neuroscience reveals that the concept of free will is without meaning, just as John Locke suggested in the 17th century. Do robots have free will? Do ants have free will? Do chimps have free will? Is there really something in all of these machines that needs to be free, and if so, from what? Alas, just as we have learned that the world is not flat, neuroscience, with its ever-increasing mechanistic understanding of how the brain enables mind, suggests that there is no one thing in us pulling the levers and in charge. It's time to get over the idea of free will and move on.

Indian woman said...


As an "Indian woman" reading all these comments about rape and women's safety, I feel rather compelled to add my two cents. Let me just say that as someone who has lived and traveled extensively in both India and the 'West', there is absolutely NO doubt in my mind (and a view shared by most women who have seen the other side) that I feel less safe in my own country.

All these comments about slavery in the West and other horrors of war committed are completely beside the point to this particular discussion. Anyway, two wrongs hardly make a right.

I am currently living in India and enjoying it here and I'd rather be here than anywhere else but let's accept the fact that we have a loong loong way to go before we can claim that it is same as the West in this regard. Let's not get overly defensive when a "non Indian" is pointing it out. Let me stop here ..I don't want to derail the discussion anymore than it already has been.


venkat said...

For the avoidance of doubt, I don't defend India. I think it is rotten, misogynistic and increasingly jingoistic to the core. But I don't believe the West is any better - they provide safety and security for their own citizens, whilst simultaneously destroying the lives of others - and the majority citizens turn a blind eye to their government's overseas adventures, because their own lives are comfortable.

Simplistically looking at one aspect, without holistically grasping that all humanity is corrupt, is the point that I was making.

I suppose that is why Bhagavan, JK, Nisargadatta all advised not to get involved in the world, but to first understand who am I.

And Salazar, of course atma vichara is the only real way to eliminate the ego, to find truth, and that cultivating humanity or virtue is another play of the mind. But that is not a license to give the ego free reign. That is the point of Murugunar and Sadhu Om's comments.

If you believe otherwise, please go back to the 4 GVK / Padamalai quotes and related comments above, and just sequentially explain your understanding of what their intent was.

venkat said...

Salazar, here is another one to consider, from Bhagavan's own pen. He was asked to select and translate into Tamil the most important verses of the Bhagavad Gita. One of the verses he translated, which is similar to one Murugunar subsequently wrote in GVK, is:

He who discards living by the scriptural injunctions and lives instead prompted by the desires and the dictates of the mind following unworthy ways, will never gain the ultimate goal of human life, the peace and happiness of this world or the exalted state of emancipation.


As far as I can see, there is no teaching here which says let the body-mind do whatever it wills, because it is not in its control, it is just its prarabdha. But again, if you believe I have mis-interpreted this, please explain how.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, this is in response to your comment addressed to ‘Identity Appropriator’.

However I would begin by a big 'thank you' to you, because our ‘passionate discussion’ prompted Michael to write his article, If we choose to do any harmful actions, should we consider them to be done according to destiny (prarabdha)?. I am at present reading this article for the 3rd time, and am continuously finding newer and deeper meaning in it.

You write: ‘I am afraid that Michael did not satisfactorily and convincingly made his point […] In addition he revealed his own bias with the title of this article, “if we choose to do any harmful actions, […]?” [...] even though I agree with about 90% of the article, 10% of it is quite nebulous and pure speculation. Even though I respect Michael, but he is not the “last resort” as Sanjai Lohia has put it, i.e. also David Godman does not agree with quite a few things Michael is saying’.

If you found 10% of Michael’s article ‘quite nebulous and speculation’, have you considered starting your own blog? I am sure it would be 100% clear and based on pure facts!

I believe Michael has clearer understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings than all of us (all the current and past participants) put together. Also I consider Michael’s interpretation of Bhagavan’s teachings much more convincing, and therefore much more accurate than David Godman's interpretation.

Of course Bhagavan is the ‘supreme court’, but Michael is above most of us as far his devotion to Bhagavan is concerned.

Venkat quoted the verse from Padamalai, in which Murugunar writes:

(p.173): So long as you have not renounced the belief 'I am the doer' keep in your mind the correct perspective that your responsibilities are yours alone.

Can there be a clearer judgment on our argument than what Muruganar says in this verse? As long as our ego is intact we cannot forgo our responsibilities, and therefore should consider all the actions of our body, mind and speech as actions done by our free will. Some of these actions could be dictated by our destiny, but we have no means of finding it out when we are actually acting.



Anonymous said...

Psychological Revolution Commentaries on Living, Series III, Chapter 11
_______________________
.........

"Can I act politically to help bring about such a revolution?"

If one may ask, what do you mean when you talk about acting politically? Is political action, whatever that may be, separate from the total action of man, or is it part of it?

"By political action, I mean action at the governmental level: legislative, economic administrative, and so on."

Surely, if political action is separate from the total action of man, if it does not take into consideration his whole being, his psychological as well as his physical state, then it is mischievous, bringing further confusion and misery; and this is exactly what is taking place in the world at the present time. Cannot man, with all his problems, act as a complete human being, and not as a political entity, separated from his psychological or `spiritual' state? A tree is the root, the trunk, the branch, the leaf and the flower. Any action which is not comprehensive, total, must inevitably lead to sorrow. There is only total human action, not political action, religious action, or Indian action. Action which is separative, fragmentary, always leads to conflict both within and without.

"This means that political action is impossible, doesn't it?"

Not at all. The comprehension of total action surely does not prevent political, educational or religious activity. These are not separate activities, they are all part of a unitary process which will express itself in different directions. What is important is this unitary process, and not a separate political action, however apparently beneficial.

Wittgenstein said...

When Bhagavan teaches us, he expects us to question our experience without any bias and lofty assumptions. For example, even though his experience is ajata, he taught us vivarta vada. While the former says there never was an ego, it would be difficult for us to believe such a statement as it is contradictory to our current experience. It would be a contradiction (or absurdity) because it is like saying, ‘the ego that is now present is absent’. However, it is perfectly possible for some of us to question (or doubt) the existence of ego. For such aspirants he taught vivarta vada, teaching that the ego is an appearance.

Despite this, we find some interpreters talk ajata overlooking our current experience. They say that the idea ‘I am the doer’ is a belief that can be easily got rid of while performing all actions. Of course ‘I am the doer’ is a belief but it is altogether a different belief. Bhagavan says it is the fundamental belief (or thought) which runs through all actions. Had it been some other belief we could have got rid of it. Claiming that we can get rid of this belief while performing all actions is like claiming a building would stand if we remove its foundations, which is absurd.

Being a fundamental thought, it is the ‘first-in-last-out’ thought. That is to say, we can get rid of thoughts linked to this fundamental thought gradually and when deprived of its associations it would sink back into its source, unable to stand alone, as Bhagavan explains in Nan Yar? Therefore, it would be the last thought to go. It cannot be the other way round, which would be like putting the cart before the horse.

These interpreters talk ajata while overlooking our current experience because they say the ego cannot be found. ‘Show me the ego’ is their favorite challenge, in the same sense as ‘show me the object you are talking about by pointing it out’. Of course it is only partially true because it cannot be found as an object. Ego being the subject, how can it be found as an object? We all would agree we are self-aware (mixed with other-awareness). Bhagavan asks us if there can be self-awareness without our essential self? The answer, of course, is no. Since Bhagavan teaches us that our essential self is what appears as ego (in its own deluded view) and as other things, how then can the ego be called absolutely non-existent? Had it been absolutely non-existent, it would not even appear.

The physical eye cannot be seen directly (its reflection is not taken into account here), although it sees all objects. Can we say it is absolutely non-existent then? No, obviously. Therefore, as long as there are objects, there is a subject (ego, or ‘I’, which is our distorted essential self) to whom these objects appear. Similarly, as long as there are actions, there is an actor who performs these actions. Therefore, ‘objects without subject’ and ‘actions without doer’ are fancy ideas which will never help us understand Bhagavan’s teachings in greater depth.

Wittgenstein said...

Bhagavan’s teachings on fate and free will may be understood by means of what we may call ‘analogous logic’, that is, using the logic he taught elsewhere in a seemingly different context.

It is quite normal that most of us develop the idea that everything in life goes our way until some personal setbacks or even tragedies creep in, teaching us that everything actually does not go our way. If we are sensitive we may learn it by observing it happen around us, much earlier in life. Since we can never get rid of the idea of ‘I am the doer’ as long as we act, it gives us the idea that we are acting based on free will. However, these impediments do show free will is thwarted sometimes (or most of the times, depending on the case) quite mysteriously. When we learn this in retrospect, we may be under the impression that we can distinguish between free will and its intervention (called fate) quite clearly in future endeavors by applying this knowledge. However, even such attempts lead us to despair. What we call as free will could be fate and vice versa and there is no any sure way to tell one from the other with our blunt intellect.

An analogous context is that of waking and dream. As long as we dream, it gives us the idea that we are awake. Only upon the end of dream we learn we were dreaming. When we learn this in retrospect, we may be under the impression that we can distinguish between dream and waking quite clearly (and surely) in future experiences. However, such attempts are not successful. What we call waking could be dream and there is no any sure way to tell one from the other with our blunt intellect.

The way out of the dream-waking problem is not to engage in debates about ‘life is a dream’ or ‘life is really real’, but to turn inward to the source of these experiences, namely ourself, as we have these experiences. Analogously, the way out of fate-free will problem is not to engage in debates about ‘everything is free will’ or ‘everything is fate’ but to turn inward to the source of these, namely ourself.

Wittgenstein said...

Bhagavan expects us to be a hero (dhiran or dheeran in Tamil) in solving the riddle of fate-free will. As Sarma explains, Bhagavan taught him ‘dhi’ is derived from ‘buddhi’ (intellect) and ‘ra’ is derived from ‘raksha’ (to protect). Therefore, dhiran is one who protects with a sharp intellect (nun mathi or koorndha mathi) his free will from branching out. He is on the path of denial of his (branching out) will. Everything that is normally considered internal (thoughts, hopes, desires, etc.) will be considered by such dhiran as done out of free will (being true to his experience) compared to what happens to him due to others and external events as fate. Thus he will be responsible for his actions.

A dhiran will gradually find the boundary between self and others expanding. That is, ‘others’ will be considered less of a threat and the distinction between self and others will diminish. He will grow in (relative) freedom as we are actually absolutely free. The expanding boundary is like the expanding boundary of a warrior’s kingdom, except that the warrior here is waging a war with his own vasanas and it is a war whose basis is self-love. In this love and war, unlike the bloody war fought by nations in the history of mankind, everything is not fair, because the means (path) and the end (goal) are same. The path is as peaceful as the goal and the war is fought and won by remaining peacefully as we are. At the end of the war with his vasanas, Bhagavan assures that he will be absolutely boundless (no more boundaries) and the kingdom of heaven will be forever his and what he considered as ‘others’ and the ‘world’ will all be experienced as his own self, the formless self.

On the other hand, if one leads a life deluding himself that there never was an ego, he will not understand the need for atma vichara in the right spirit because atma vichara is precisely taught by Bhagavan to investigate the existence of ego and not to assume its non-existence. His practice of atma vichara will not be in the direction shown by Bhagavan, as atma vichara is done by the ego. He will hence find the boundary between self and others shrinking. He, being an egotist, will find his entire surrounding hostile and will be constantly perturbed. He will be looking for threats and insults when actually there are none and constantly assert his ego, at least until he understands (by an act of grace) he is his own threat and takes up the path of dhira, and this time in the direction shown by Bhagavan. Of course, he will succeed in the end, as Bhagavan assures everyone, on whom his gaze has fallen, will be protected.

venkat said...

Welcome back Wittgenstein. Beautiful explanation. Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Wittgenstein, as Venkat says, welcome back! I agree with everything you write in your three comments, except perhaps when you say, ‘Of course ‘I am the doer’ is a belief but it is altogether a different belief. Bhagavan says it is the fundamental belief (or thought) which runs through all actions’.

I think, to be more accurate, the belief that ‘I am this body’ is our fundamental belief or our fundamental thought, and the belief ‘I am the doer’ soon follows suit to our fundamental belief that ‘I am this body’. That is, we have to seemingly exist before we can seemingly act. Of course the one entails the other, but sequentially the belief that we are this body should precede the belief that we are the doer. As Bhagavan teaches us in verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu: ‘When the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence . . .’

I agree with you when you say, ‘Therefore, dhiran is one who protects with a sharp intellect (nun mathi or koorndha mathi) his free will from branching out. [...] Everything that is normally considered internal (thoughts, hopes, desires, etc.) will be considered by such dhiran as done out of free will […]’

Yes, Bhagavan expects us to be a dhira (a valiant one), and thus fight the battle to regain our spiritual kingdom. Such expectation entails great effort on our part, and great effort entails the existence of free will to make such effort. Therefore we cannot get away from the fact that we have free will, and that therefore we should channel it in the right direction - which is the path of nivrtti(self-attentiveness).

As you rightly say, ‘the warrior here is waging a war with his own vasanas and it is a war whose basis is self-love’.

Wittgenstein said...

Venkat, thanks.

Sanjay, you are right that there should be the idea 'I am this body' (even the mind is treated as body in Ulladu Narpadu) before the idea 'I am the doer'. Probably I should have said the idea 'I am the doer' is the immediate basis of all actions.

Salazar said...

As I said I am done and I am not just looking at things from the ajata viewpoint as Wittgenstein seems to imply. At this point my interest not only to comment here but to read these pointless comments has dramatically sunk. Good new for everybody ;-)

Sanjay Lohia, I believe it is time that you take Michael down from your pedestal. I haven't said anything until now but you come over a bit naive, asking him to be your guru as you shared in your email. You gotta be kidding! How can be someone a guru without having realized? My respect for you went down quite a bit when I read that. You must be young, probably younger than 30 years, that would explain the naivete which comes through when you not just rehashing concepts by Bhagavan.

So I dare to criticize the "revered" guru and I get snippy remarks for that. Sanjay, in lieu of filling up your mind with ever repeating concepts, why don't you find out experimentally if that is really true what Michael and even Bhagavan have said. Your mind can never confirm the truth of that and it will be always confused and in doubt, no matter how much "manana".

And no, there is no interest in creating a spiritual blog. And I won't give public lectures either, both Papaji and N warned about it that only someone who is enlightened should give public lectures.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Wittgenstein, yes, it makes sense to say that the idea ‘I am the doer’ is the immediate basis of all actions. ‘I am the doer’ idea is the one thread with runs evenly through all our actions, and in turn ‘I am the doer’ idea exists only because we experience ourself as the ego.

When by vigilant self-investigation we are able to see through the ego, we will experience ourself as we really are. As a result all our illusory ideas which we had appended to our ego - like ‘I am the doer’ and ‘I am acting through my body, speech and mind' - will also disappear forever.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, when you say, ‘Sanjay Lohia, […] I haven't said anything until now but you come over a bit naïve’. When you call me ‘naïve’, I take it as a compliment. We have to ultimately become naïve and childlike if we want to achieve anything worthwhile spiritually. The jnani is childlike and naïve, because he has no ego. This is not to say that I have no ego.

Naïve is an adjective which means: (of a person) natural and unaffected; innocent; guileless; unworldly; childlike; simple; unpretentious.

I wish I could develop all these qualities. Bhagavan has also said that we should become like a small baby whose ego has not yet sprouted and who is totally dependent on his mother.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Wittgenstein, your take on fate and freewill being analogous to waking and dream is interesting and has another aspect to it apart from the ones elaborated in your comment. Just like fate is just a selection of the fruits of freewill and consequently has as its basis freewill, so also dream has as its basis waking inasmuch as we seem to return to this waking state after experiencing a dream.

Both fate and freewill & waking and dream have as their basis our ego. The practical solution to any problem/dispute relating to these seemingly opposite pairs of entities was aptly stated by you and bears repetition:

The way out of the dream-waking problem is not to engage in debates about ‘life is a dream’ or ‘life is really real’, but to turn inward to the source of these experiences, namely ourself, as we have these experiences. Analogously, the way out of fate-free will problem is not to engage in debates about ‘everything is free will’ or ‘everything is fate’ but to turn inward to the source of these, namely ourself.

With reference to what you wrote about Dhira, I am reminded of what I read somewhere. It was stated that the Dhira considers all his mistakes/vile actions/violence as due solely to his freewill, and all acts of benevolence/charity/compassion due solely to fate (ie, in previous lives people had done good acts to him and thus were repaid by him in this life). In this way the Dhira is saved from being overly attached to his good actions and simultaneously takes full responsibility of all bad actions and perseveres in removing the cause of all actions.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I am glad I could be of assistance.

"Everything that is normally considered internal (thoughts, hopes, desires, etc.) will be considered by such dhiran as done out of free will (being true to his experience) compared to what happens to him due to others and external events as fate. Thus he will be responsible for his actions."

I agree 100%. So if that was used as a counterpoint to what you guys seemingly perceive what I am saying I can only say that you really have not gotten my point.

Indian woman, nice comment and I agree. The Western world has of course its flaws but I'd say that in terms of equality between men and women there is a big gap between USA, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the world.

The disregard to women's rights in the Muslim world, Africa, India, Russia, etc. is prevalent. What about the strange custom of sati? What a cruel custom with the excuse and rationalization of "womanly devotion and sacrifice".

Why not burn the husband when the wife dies? He has no devotion and sacrifice? Past customs like this one explain why India is still rather backwards regards women even today.



Wittgenstein said...

Aseem,

Thanks for pointing out some additional aspects in the comparison of free will-fate and waking-dream.

Yes, I think Sri Sadhu Om had listed the best attitudes we should adopt regarding free will-fate. I will check to confirm this.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Aseem, as you say, it would be a nice if we can think the following way:

With reference to what you [Wittgenstein] wrote about Dhira, I am reminded of what I read somewhere. It was stated that the Dhira considers all his mistakes/vile actions/violence as due solely to his freewill, and all acts of benevolence/charity/compassion due solely to fate (ie, in previous lives people had done good acts to him and thus were repaid by him in this life). In this way the Dhira is saved from being overly attached to his good actions and simultaneously takes full responsibility of all bad actions and perseveres in removing the cause of all actions.

Suppose if I murder somebody, it could be my prarabdha to murder this person, but still I should consider that I have committed the murder by my free-will. It is because after this murder it is likely that either the police will put me in jail, or I will keep running around trying to hide myself from the police (thinking that I might be caught any time). In any scenario I will be in trouble.

Therefore, even if I had committed this murder purely due to my prarabdha, still I must have done some horrible action by my free-will in one my previous births which necessitated such a prarabdha. Thus my prarabdha is just the reactions of my past actions. Therefore if I am jailed after this murder,, I should realise that the actions that I did by my free-will are coming to haunt me in the form of my jail term.


Nebukadnezar said...

Bhagavan,
I agree with your observation regarding Salazar's expressions of his opinions. The same I feel about your appeal to him.

R Viswanathan said...

Sri Sadhu Om Swamigal says this as footnote for verse 3 of Ulladhu Narpadhu Vilakkavurai (p 64): "Sri Maharshi VaiMozhi (fifth edition) p 66 - if you are one who is seeking only the truth, you have no option other than accepting that the world is not true, because unless you get rid off the supposition that the world is true, your mind will go after it. If there exists only one truth, but if one takes the untruth to be true, then one is not going to know the truth. ..."

Ravi said...

Friends,
One day when Bhagavan was climbing the Hill he knocked against a hornets' nest and was attacked and very badly stung on the leg and thigh. He felt remorse for having disturbed them.
Questioned by Muruganar in the form of the following verse:
Sighting an overgrown, green-leaved bush, and
When stepping on it and stung by hornets to have legs swollen,
Venkata, in truth, why was an accidental intrusion
Treated without mercy, just as a wanton transgression?

Sri Bhagavan responded likewise in verse:
When I was stung by hornets in revenge
Upon the leg until it was inflamed,
Although it was by chance I stepped upon
Their nest, constructed in a leafy bush;
What kind of mind is his if he does not
At least repent for doing such a wrong?


Was Bhagavan not free from attachment to 'mind' and its modes like 'repentance'?...or is it that muruganar just saw bhagavan's body doing all that and imagined its response as that of bhagavan?

Namaskar

Salazar said...

The reality in India:

A child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours
More than 10,000 children were raped in 2015
240 million women living in India were married before they turned 18
53.22% of children who participated in a government study reported some form of sexual abuse
50% of abusers are known to the child or are "persons in trust and care-givers"

It seems it is a country of pedophiles who like to rape children.

Aseem Srivastava said...

Wittgenstein, I found the reference in Sri Sadhu Om's The Path of Sri Ramana Part - 2 (in English). In the chapter on karma, he summarised the path of karma yoga as being identical to one considering one's actions as follows:

1. One's doing wrong to others is agamya.
2. Wrongs done to one is prarabdha.
3. The good which one does to others is prarabdha.
4. The good which is done to one is agamya.

As he clarified subsequently in the same chapter, this classification is not necessarily true; however, this attitude helps in purification of the mind.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, who was the real Bhagavan? Was he the body and mind that he seemed to be, or is he the formless and infinite reality without any body and mind? Bhagavan clarifies this most clearly in the 15th verse of the Malyalam version of Upadesa Saram (taken from the book Upadesa Saram: The complete version in four languages composed by Sri Bhagavan):

The form of [his] mind having died, for the great atma-yogi [the person who has united with self], who is seen as a human being because of [his] outward appearance, there is no action whatever to do, because he has attained his own true form or nature.

Michael has explained this verse as follows: It is interesting to note that the clause […] which means ‘who is seen as a man [or human being] by outward appearance’ does not appear in the Tamil, Telugu or Sanskrit versions.

Though the atma-yogi is permanently established as the one non-dual absolute realty, completely devoid of thoughts, material forms and action, in the limited and distorted view of our mind he appears to be a person (a human mind and body) and hence he appears to think, speak and do bodily actions. In truth, however, he never does anything, because in his true experience there is nothing other than himself to think about, and there is no mind or body to do any action.

Therefore, if we take Bhagavan’s form to be real, we have to take all the incidents connected with that body also to be real. So the body and mind of Bhagavan, hornets’ nest, Bhagavan’s accidental intrusion into the nest, Bhagavan’s repentance, and so on were all real or unreal depending upon our point of view. Of course, in our outward directed look all these appeared real, but were they real?

Bhagavan is what we actually are, and the name and form of Bhagavan and all the incidents connected to his life were just a temporary manifestation. Its sole purpose was to turn our gaze within, and to point out to us that he exists in and as ourself, and therefore if we want to be permanently happy we have no other option but to turn within and merge in him.



Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you have given some statistics about ‘The reality in India’, however our main purpose should be to find out ‘the reality in oneself’. India can take care of itself. As far as possible we should try and ignore such anatma-vichara, as Bhagavan said we should, and concentrate on atma-vichara. Discussions about such women issues have a place, but perhaps this is not the right platform to go into it in detail.

In whose view are all these unfortunate incidents taking place? In my view, so who am I?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Viswanathan, yes, as Sri Sadhu Om says, ‘If there exists only one truth, but if one takes the untruth to be true, then one is not going to know the truth’. This message cannot be overemphasised.

Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
This is not to criticize anyone here...Reality in absolute sense is ever as it is...and why do we refer to Bhagavan?...If we deny his humanity,it is as good as denying bhagavan and his teachings.
Affirming the humanity of Bhagavan in no way undermines the Real nature of who Bhagavan is...Reality is not affected by the advent of bhagavan on terra firma...The 'Outer Guru' has a validity that cannot be denied and it is quite in order and beneficial to the seeker to take the outer guru as a person who lived and showed the way for other persons to discover the Reality...All these denials of the mind saying that 'Bhagavan is not a person' etc are contrived and unnecessary.
Ditto with our take on who we are...We certainly are human-beings and it is not at all necessary to dispense with this indubitable fact or deny it, in order to recognize and affirm our Reality.
It is better and simple to take what Muruganar had asked and Bhagavan's response at its face value...and there is beauty in that and much guidance as well.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Sanjay, you are correct - but also let's not forget that trying to "cultivate humility" done other than with atma-vichara is anatma-vichara too.

When the mind is outward facing and is supposed to [according to Michael] "try as far as possible to avoid being swayed at least by our grosser and more harmful vāsanās", isn't that anatma-vichara too?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, yes, I agree ‘The 'Outer Guru' has a validity that cannot be denied’. Who can deny the beauty of the name and form of Bhagavan? Who can say that his impeccable life is not important? In fact, his life and his teachings are one and the same? The only purpose of his life was to give us his teachings.

However, Bhagavan has repeatedly denied the reality of his body and mind. For example he says in the seventh paragraph of Nan Yar?:

What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [our own essential self]. The world, soul and God are kalpanaigaḷ [imaginations, fabrications, mental creations or illusory superimpositions] in it, like [the imaginary] silver [seen] in a shell.

Isn’t he here denying the reality of everything except atma-svarupa? Bhagavan's body appeared to us as part of this world, but he says in the above passage that this world is nothing but our imagination. Therefore, Bhagavan is clearly implying here that his body and all the incidents connected to his bodily life were nothing but our ego’s imagination.

Therefore we can tune into Bhagavan at different levels. For some he is just that beautiful form, but for some he is much more that that form. This is not to deny the importance of his bodily life, but to attach more importance to the real Bhagavan which exists in and as our heart.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, when our mind is outward facing we should ‘try as far as possible to avoid being swayed at least by our grosser and more harmful vasanas’. This isn’t anatma-vichara, but an aid to atma-vichara. When we practise atma-vichara, we are directly trying to keep our vasanas in check by not letting it rise. However, at other times when we are facing outwards, we can keep our vasanas in check by not allowing it to translate into action.

Such deliberate check (even when we are facing outwards) on the manifestation of our vasanas certainly helps our practice of self-investigation.

Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
'nAn yAr' denies the Reality of body and mind ...yes...but it does not negate the validity...in fact it is only with the body and mind that vichara can be done...so,they have their importance and place in the scheme of things as they are constituted... I do not find it necessary to deny it in any way and would rather prefer to say that everything has to be given their due attention and importance.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

Sanjay, I do not agree. That aid is an imagination and is not "destroying" any vasanas.

You may deliberately check with your mind (and that can be called "free will") on the manifestations of the vasanas, however these vasanas will materialize independent of you outwardly checking or not. You cannot stop outwardly any manifestation of your vasanas, if that seems to happen then it is in alignment with your prarabdha. So why checking them in the first place?

To call something like that an "aid" is as much an aid as any "positive" action in the phenomenal world. If you encounter a hungry person on the street and you give him something to eat then you "aid" that person as much as you "aid" with any outward actions including the thought of your mind "I have to check on my vasanas".

Alas that happens entirely in the realm of imagination, contrary to atma-vichara which reverts from that imaginary mind play in turning within and [eventually] dissolving any imagination.

Again, this "aid" is entirely a figment of your imagination.





rosemary and thyme said...

Wittgenstein,
in my perception your yesterday comments are drawn from the well of the waters of clarity. You obviously got some ripeness through your own deep experience. So your statements have a beneficial effect. Thank you.

Zarathustra said...

Ravi,
is there a linquistic reason in Tamil why you use capital letters in the middle of a word ('nAn yAr') ?

venkat said...

Salazar, I just have been watching the news on how the Rohingya muslims have been massacred, by the buddhists (the buddhists!) in Burma.

Salazar, don't you see, your comments about India, are just a source of immense sorrow. That we - human beings - have so much evil in our hearts.

sadly mourned said...

venkat,
the common feature of all so-called "world religions" seems to be that they have become to some degree perverted and corrupted. A sad story.

Ravi said...

Zarathustra,
Yes...it is to say that there is a long vowel there...it should be pronounced as 'naan yaar'...sometimes the capital is used to distinguish consonants ...like the character 'rAvaNa' in the epic 'rAmAyana'(raamaayana)...the 'Na' in 'rAvaNa' is pronounced with a rolling of the tongue over the palate as against just using the tip of the tongue in pronouncing the 'n' in 'naan'...The Google transliterator accepts such a string of English alphabets to convert it into Tamizh(Tamil)...namaskar

Salazar said...

venkat, yes – it is a source of immense sorrow. And one cannot single out any culture or ethnicity, one can find evil anywhere, it is part of the human condition.

Sorrow is softening the heart, it is the catalyst for compassion.

Wittgenstein said...

Aseem,

Yes, this was the list I was talking about. As Sri Sadhu Om says this list is not necessarily true. That is so because the distinction we make between free will and fate is not necessarily true due to our blunt mind (or intellect). This is inevitable as long as there is ego, which is the essence of mind. Therefore the solution is destruction of ego, as it is masking our limitless freedom, which in turn is our own nature.

As the attitude captured in the list assists in the purification of the mind, we may adopt it at times when we are not doing atma vichara (like a karma yogi). However when we practise atma vichara all outbound free will should be held back by exercising our free will to remain as we are (like a dhira), which would lead to destruction of mind and not just its purification, as taught by Bhagavan.

I thank you for your comments and discussion on this topic.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

"Gurmeet Singh Insan said...

...I was convicted of raping two women, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. I told the foolish judge that I was practicing self-attention even while my body was raping women. I told that &^%($@ that it was my fate that my body would rape women, while I - the ever pure Self - was attending to myself. It was the body that raped women. As body is unreal, so too is the rape. But such foolish and deluded egos will never understand..."

@ Gurmeet Singh Insan:

You have not correctly appreciated the implications of determinism. Just as your body/mind was destined to rape the two women, the judge was also destined to sentence your body/mind to twenty years imprisonment. You as I-awareness were free earlier also and will remain free in prison also.

Determinism by itself is a perfectly coherent metaphysical stand that cannot be brushed aside lightly by straw-men arguments. A tiger has no free will. But he turns into a man eater and is therefore killed by humans. His appeal to absence of free will does not exempt him from the consequences of his actions. Just as he was destined to turn into a man eater, he was also destined to be killed by humans who were affected.

Now if it is destined, this argument may convince you of the validity of determinism and that is fine. And if it is destined, that this argument may not convince you of the validity of determinism, a counter argument may come up and that is fine too.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ravi, it was interesting to note the Tamil to English transliteration rules.

You say, 'nAn yAr denies the Reality of body and mind ...yes...but it does not negate the validity’. Yes, our body and mind our valid or useful, but this is only for our ego, because the ego keeps itself alive by attaching itself to a body. However, we not seeking validity, but are instead seeking reality.

As long as we experience ourself as this body and mind, everything else we experience through the portal of our body and mind appears real or ‘valid’, but when we experience ourself without experiencing ourself as this body and mind, do other things remain valid? While we sleep, how useful is our body and other things to us? They do not even exist, so how can they be considered useful or useless.

It would be useful to consider verse 4 of Ulladu Narpadu to understand this better:

If oneself is a form of flesh [a body], the world and God will also be likewise [i.e. will also be forms]; if oneself is not a form, who can see their forms, and how? Can the sight [the seen] be otherwise than the eye [the seer]? Verily, self is the ‘eye’, the unlimited [and therefore formless] eye.

Therefore, as long as we experience ourself as a form, we will experience other forms, and among these other forms we may also experience Bhagavan’s form, and all these forms will appear to us to be real. But are we this form? If we are not, then how can anything else be any use to us?

How can the moon-light remain useful to us once we are under the sun-light?

Let us also consider verse 28 of Upadesa Undiyar at this point:

If [we] ourself know [ourself by scrutinising] thus ‘what is the [real] nature of myself?’ then [we will discover ourself to be] beginningless, endless [and] unbroken sat-cit-ananda [being-consciousness-bliss].

If we are actually this pure, infinite, unbroken and immutable reality, then how can anything else be of any use to us? It is only our ego's desires and attachments which keep us hooked to this illusory world.

You say, ‘everything has to be given their due attention and importance’. Yes, we should give minimum attention and importance to the things of this world. But if our aim is to transcend this world and to experience ourself as we really are, we have to also at times completely ignore this world - at least when we are trying to turn within. If this world is just a dream, which Bhagavan says it is, why should we be overly concerned about this dream-world?






Ravi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
All that I have said is that there is no point in belabouring the poor 'ego' as a 'bad boy out there' ...better to say 'I' and accept full responsibility for what that means to us...and the due importance cannot be maximized or minimized... if we accept total responsibility,it leads to self surrender or enquiry ...they are not two different aspects.
Referring to it as the 'ego' or a 'spurious entity' is a way of avoiding coming to grips with it...and self enquiry is just this coming to grips with it without any sort of scaffolding of a teaching or mediation of any sort.
Namaskar

Salazar said...

There is the danger that outward actions with the goal of "purification" feed the ego than rather diminish it. It could easily outweigh the rather minuscule "positive" benefits of these actions.

The best purifier is suffering, therefore we should invite suffering with open arms.

Salazar said...

People here have to tell me how I can come to grips with the ego. According to Bhagavan the ego/mind is just a bunch of thoughts. Now how to come to grips with a bunch of thoughts? What would do that? The ego/mind? But that would be another thought, right?

But then if the ego/mind IS a bunch of thoughts then these thoughts cannot originate from the ego/mind!? Correct? A thought cannot create a thought, which seems logical. A thought has no inherent power.

So where are thoughts coming from? And since they cannot be created by the mind/ego how can the ego come to grips with itself? Because it can’t! It is a delusion.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Sorry for the late reply and thank you for yours.
You said:

"I agree 100%. But Michael says that we have the free will “to sway” vasanas outwardly” what is not correct. Or the assumption that we could choose our diet, we cannot! That is where I am getting at.
So what is the apparent difference between my and your understanding?"
I do still think there is s a difference in our understand about fate and free will.

For example if I am not destined to be a vegan I might keep trying to be a vegan and resist my destiny. However I can't change my destiny so maybe the vegan diet makes me very ill for example so after repeated attempts I have to give up following a vegan diet. This trying is my free will to try to be something I am not meant to be. I am fighting my destiny but I have free will to do so. However all this action and fighting against the current so to speak just creates more karma. It is best to just go with the flow and turn within.

From what you say you believe the only free will we have is to turn within we have no other free will and everything else is pre ordained. So our whole life is mapped out 100% and the only free will we have is to turn within. So I would never have the free will to try and become a vegan even though it is all in vain.

But in fairness you and Robert Adams may be 100% right.

Regardless all the best Salazar and it was nice talking to you.
Cheers
Hector



Hector said...

Dear Wittgenstein
That was a wonderful comment split into three you posted on the 10/09 about fate and free will. You write with great clarity Wittgenstein and I look forward to reading more of your comments.
Cheers.
Hector

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, this is in response to your last two comments. You say, ‘The best purifier is suffering’. Our suffering could be a purifier, but what are the impurities that it purifies? The impurities are our desires and attachments, or in other words they are our vishaya-vasanas and karma-vasanas. According to Bhagavan, the most effective way to cleanse our mind of these vasanas is by vigilant and non-stop self-investigation.

To understand more about our thoughts and mind we have to carefully consider verse 18 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Only thoughts [are what constitute our] mind. Among all [our countless thoughts], the thought named ‘I’ alone is the mula [root, origin or source]. [Therefore] what is called ‘mind’ is [in essence just the root thought] ‘I’.

Michael explains: We generally use the term ‘mind’ as a collective name that denotes the entire multitude of thoughts we constantly think. However, of all these thoughts, our first thought ‘I’ is the root, the subject that thinks all other thoughts. When the mind rises, it does so by first forming itself as the root thought ‘I’, and only then does it form other thoughts.

Thoughts are devoid of consciousness and they do not know their own existence, whereas our primal thought ‘I’ is endowed with consciousness, and knows its own existence and the seeming existence of all other thoughts.

My note: The thought called ‘I’ is the essence of the mind, and this essence is also called the ‘ego’. Yes, our mind is the bunch of thoughts (which are non-consciousness objects), but it (as this ego) is also the thinker and experiencer of this bunch of thoughts. So thoughts don’t control other thoughts, but the conscious element of the mind (the ego) can control thoughts, or can bypass thoughts by ignoring them and turning within.

Yes, our non-conscious thoughts do not create more thoughts, but our conscious mind (the ego) creates thoughts (by its outward directed attention). Our ego projects our thoughts, and if it so decides to it can stop projecting the same (by focusing its entire attention on itself).

Yes, our thoughts do not have inherent power, but the thinker of these thoughts does have inherent power - the power of consciousness. The thinker (the ego or the root thought ‘I’) can use this power to create thoughts, or can instead use its to stop creating them by turning within.


Salazar said...

Hello Hector, it is nice to hear from you again. This whole destiny thing for sure creates some polarity.

Don't fight your destiny, of course it could be your destiny to fight your destiny ;-)

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, of course is turning within the best purifier, I thought I did not have to add that fact since it is a matter of course. That's one of the things I really don't like on this blog. One has to make a long-winded argument to be sure no smart aleck jumps up and points out the obvious because one has not bothered to mention it.

So our conscious mind creates thoughts? You know that for sure or are you just repeating that was Michael has said? Well that's what it is, you don't know - you just have adopted a belief from a ajnani.

Robert Adams, a Jnani, said that the mind cannot create thoughts. Frankly, I believe rather him than any ajnani. It makes much more sense for me. In all of my practice I never have ever encountered a mind, just thoughts appearing in consciousness.

I even had the strange experience where there was no manifestation at all and then a thought came up (it was not identified or recognized as I since it seemed to happen all in one instance) and simultaneously the world appeared. And there was the instant clarity that this is all imagined, not real at all - no world, no mind. And then "me" came back and it seemed real again. You know, after that people can conceptualize what they want because they really don't know. Do I know? Not really because I cannot believe anymore that there is a mind who could know even though I was sucked back into samsara.




Anonymous said...


We are Lost in Thought

A Response to the 2011 Edge Question
Consciousness Philosophy Science Self Spirituality

WHAT SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT WOULD IMPROVE EVERYBODY’S COGNITIVE TOOLKIT?

I invite you to pay attention to anything — the sight of this text, the sensation of breathing, the feeling of your body resting against your chair — for a mere sixty seconds without getting distracted by discursive thought. It sounds simple enough: Just pay attention. The truth, however, is that you will find the task impossible. If the lives of your children depended on it, you could not focus on anything — even the feeling of a knife at your throat — for more than a few seconds, before your awareness would be submerged again by the flow of thought. This forced plunge into unreality is a problem. In fact, it is the problem from which every other problem in human life appears to be made.

I am by no means denying the importance of thinking. Linguistic thought is indispensable to us. It is the basis for planning, explicit learning, moral reasoning, and many other capacities that make us human. Thinking is the substance of every social relationship and cultural institution we have. It is also the foundation of science. But our habitual identification with the flow of thought — that is, our failure to recognize thoughts as thoughts, as transient appearances in consciousness — is a primary source of human suffering and confusion.

Our relationship to our own thinking is strange to the point of paradox, in fact. When we see a person walking down the street talking to himself, we generally assume that he is mentally ill. But we all talk to ourselves continuously — we just have the good sense to keep our mouths shut. Our lives in the present can scarcely be glimpsed through the veil of our discursivity: We tell ourselves what just happened, what almost happened, what should have happened, and what might yet happen. We ceaselessly reiterate our hopes and fears about the future. Rather than simply exist as ourselves, we seem to presume a relationship with ourselves. It’s as though we are having a conversation with an imaginary friend possessed of infinite patience. Who are we talking to?

While most of us go through life feeling that we are the thinker of our thoughts and the experiencer of our experience, from the perspective of science we know that this is a distorted view. There is no discrete self or ego lurking like a minotaur in the labyrinth of the brain. There is no region of cortex or pathway of neural processing that occupies a privileged position with respect to our personhood. There is no unchanging “center of narrative gravity” (to use Daniel Dennett’s phrase). In subjective terms, however, there seems to be one — to most of us, most of the time.

https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/we-are-lost-in-thought

Salazar said...

Hector, you seem to be interested in Robert Adams, here is a link for the complete satsang recordings and it is free.

It is a must supplement for all people interested in Bhagavan's teachings. It is Bhagavan in the language of a Westerner minus distracting "technical" terms which tend to more confuse than actually help.

http://www.robert-adams.info/

Click on the first link for the complete recorded satsangs.

Ravi said...

Friends,
Mind cannot create thoughts?....mind is a bundle of thoughts only...Strange experience?...for whom?...All just ego excursions...mind has a way to manufacture whatever it strongly believes in...Whatever happened to self enquiry?...Whence did the 'I' arise?...This is the only thing that matters.
Namaskar

Hector said...

Hi Salazar

You said:

Don't fight your destiny, of course it could be your destiny to fight your destiny ;-)

I like that (lol)!!

Thank you for the link but I downloaded all of Robert's audio recordings about 3 years ago and have listened to them all, I use to listen to one in the morning and one at night before bed. I found Robert very helpful indeed.

Now and again I do a random shuffle and listen to Robert. I have only ever found one actual video clip of him speaking (33 min) long, it is nice to put a face to the voice.
I am pretty sure you have seen this Salazar but just in case you haven't I found it on youtbe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yekD7idbf2M

However I predominately read Bhagavan's main written works now as they make the most sense to me, but Robert is also priceless. I know David Godman thought very highly of Robert and the level of his spiritual attainment. According to David Bhagavan himself was fond of Robert and use to visit him often with food and talk.

Cheers.
Hector.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘So our conscious mind creates thoughts? You know that for sure or are you just repeating that was Michael has said?'

If our conscious mind or ego doesn’t create thoughts, what creates thoughts? We as we really are cannot create thoughts, because we are infinite fullness, and therefore there isn’t anything besides our non-dual reality. So there is no space left for us to create thoughts. So do thoughts create thoughts? It will be absurd to think so, because our thoughts are jada, non-conscious objects, and therefore they cannot create or experience either themselves or anything else.

So what creates and experiences our thoughts? It has to be our mind or ego, because that is the only conscious but limited entity - that is, its consciousness is limited to a body. Therefore, it can create and experience things which seem to be other than itself.

Bhagavan has thought us this, for example in the 4th paragraph of Nan Yar?:

What is called ‘mind’ [ego] is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary or wonderful power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [our actual self]. It projects [or causes the appearance of] all thoughts.

Again Bhagavan reiterates this in verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu:

If the ego, the root, comes into existence, all else [the world, God, bondage and liberation, pain and pleasure, etc.] will come into existence. If the ego does not exist, all else will not exist. Verily, the ego is all! Hence, scrutinising ‘What is it?’ [in other words, ‘Who am I, this ego?’] is indeed giving up all. Know thus.

Hence Bhagavan makes it very clear that when our mind (chit-jada-granthi) or ego comes into existence everything else comes into existence. This everything else is nothing but all our thoughts or mental ideas.




Salazar said...

Sanjay, yes - one can see it from that viewpoint. It's a conundrum, mind rises and yet is does not exist. It just seems that way.

Same with thoughts, they are projected by a mind which seemingly has risen, and yet there is no substance in both. It just seems that way.

I wonder where from Bhagavan's thoughts originated when he said something? His mind? :-)



Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you wonder: ‘where from Bhagavan's thoughts originated when he said something? His mind?’ It is also a conundrum. Someone asked a similar question to Bhagavan: ‘Bhagavan you say you have no mind, but then how do you answer all our questions without a mind?’ Bhagavan said, ‘From where the question arises, from there too the answer arises’. I was not sure what Bhagavan meant when he said this, so I requested Michael to clarify this. This is what he wrote to me:

From where does the ego rise? Only from us, so since everything arises from this ego, ultimately everything arises from ourself. This I believe is what he meant.

Moreover, our questions arise from our yearning to return to our source, and this yearning arises from the fact that being an ego is alien to us, so the same yearning which produces our questions also produces his answers.

My note: So, yes, as you imply, Bhagavan had no mind or ego, yet he seemed to spontaneously answer all our questions, and these were the exact answers we needed for our spiritual advancement. However, these answers did not come from the mind of Bhagavan, because he had no mind.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, alright we are making progress. Now Bhagavan’s thoughts must have come from somewhere, right? Since it can’t be the mind it is as Robert liked to say, out of nowhere and back to nowhere. Now Robert however made no distinction of the origination of a thought between Jnanis and ajnanis since they cannot come from a different source.
So the true origination of thoughts is no origination at all. I don‘t believe that our minds could really comprehend that and therefore Bhagavan offered an explanation our minds can be comfortable with and is simultaneously helpful for Self-realization.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, once there was a radio playing in Bhagavan’s hall. Bhagavan pointed to it and said something to the effect: ‘Look, there is all this sound emanating from the radio, but if you open it up you will find no one inside. Likewise, I may be answering your questions, but if you open me up you will find no one inside’.

What Bhagavan meant was that he had no ego or individuality like we have, and therefore whatever he spoke came from some other source. Yes, as you say, our minds cannot easily comprehend this.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, if we open up you, we won't find no one inside too. :-)

stray dog said...

If we open up Salazar, what will we find inside him ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, if you open me up, you would certainly find a stubborn and shameless ego inside me. Why stubborn and shameless? It is because it (the ego) has been clearly told that it is not required there, and that therefore it should move out, but it simply is not ready to leave.

My ego is too clever. When I look at it, it hides itself somewhere in a safe place, and I think that it has left my house. However, as soon as I take my attention away from it, it again resurfaces and starts to do all its usual mischief in my house.

I know I have to look at this shameless fellow hard enough and long enough, and if I do so it would not be able to stand my scrutinizing gaze, and therefore it will leave my house forever.

stray dog said...

Sanjay Lohia,
obviously today you were in the good mood to go to confession. As Michael wrote recently we need constantly examine ourself very closely in order to cultivate sat-vasana.
Cleansing the mind from its visaya-vasanas or outward going inclinations and thereby refining and sharpening our power of attention is our permanent job. Good luck in this endeavour.

Michael James said...

Salazar, I have replied to the comment in which you wrote, ‘Robert Adams, a Jnani, said that the mind cannot create thoughts’, and also some of you other comments in another article: What creates all thoughts is only the ego, which is the root and essence of the mind.

Sinhaka said...

Interesting. There is another guy (Ramesh Balsekar) who used to say that "The brain cannot produce thought since it is inert matter", "it can only receieve thoughts which come from the outside". Never heard Ramana speak like this. Maybe because it just belongs to the realm of concepts/philosophies.

nuṇ mati said...

Why (do we) study "another guys" instead of the one true "guy" ?

Sinhaka said...

Right nun mati. We did. Now we know better :-) Maybe we had to go through them in order to finally arrive "at the end" i.e. with Bhagavan.