Monday, 18 September 2017

What creates all thoughts is only the ego, which is the root and essence of the mind

In a comment on one of my recent articles, If we choose to do any harmful actions, should we consider them to be done according to destiny (prārabdha)?, a friend called Salazar wrote, ‘Robert Adams, a Jnani, said that the mind cannot create thoughts. Frankly, I believe rather him than any ajnani’, so since Bhagavan taught us that all thoughts are created only by the ego, which is the root and essence of the mind, I am writing this in an attempt to clear up this and certain other related confusions.
  1. In Nāṉ Yār? Bhagavan says unequivocally that the mind creates or projects all thoughts
  2. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18: though the term ‘mind’ can refer to the totality of all thoughts, what the mind essentially is is just the ego
  3. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 5 and 8: the ego is the original thought, being the thought that is aware of all other thoughts, so without it no other thought could exist
  4. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 4: because it is aware, the ego has the power to create the appearance of everything in its awareness
  5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: the ego is the first cause, being the sole cause for the appearance of everything else, so if the ego does not exist nothing else exists
  6. The consciousness in which all thoughts appear is the mind, which is a mere semblance of real consciousness, so without the mind there could be no thoughts
  7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 14: other thoughts are second and third persons, which depend for their seeming existence on the ego, the first person
  8. Nothing else can seem to exist unless perceived by the ego, so the ego is the root cause or creator of everything
  9. Bhagavan’s body and mind are created only by our ego, but the actions of his mind, speech and body are controlled only by grace
  10. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 15: grace in the form of guru saves us from the ego without actually doing anything
1. In Nāṉ Yār? Bhagavan says unequivocally that the mind creates or projects all thoughts

Firstly, Salazar, are you sure that Robert Adams actually said that the mind cannot create thoughts, and if so where is it recorded that he said so, and in what context did he say so? If he had understood and followed Bhagavan’s teachings as well as many people seem to believe he had, I find it hard to believe that he would have expressed such an idea when it is so contrary to the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings. However, if he did so, whom should we believe, either him or Bhagavan, whom he acknowledged to be not only a jñāni but also his guru? Since from all accounts he was a humble and sincere devotee of Bhagavan, I assume that he would advise us to believe Bhagavan rather than himself if he ever inadvertently contradicted any of the core principles of Bhagavan’s teachings.

If what you wrote is correct, Robert Adams said that the mind cannot create thoughts, whereas Bhagavan wrote in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti. adu sakala niṉaivugaḷai-y-um tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), which means ‘What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. It projects all thoughts [or makes all thoughts appear]’. ‘தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu) is the present third person singular form of தோற்றுவி, which is a causative verb that means ‘cause to appear’, ‘make appear’, ‘project’, ‘produce’ or ‘create’ (being the causative equivalent of தோன்று, which means to appear, arise, spring up, come into existence, come into view or seem to be), so if Robert Adams or anyone else claims that the mind cannot create thoughts, they are directly contradicting what Bhagavan wrote here.

In the same paragraph Bhagavan goes on to explain that excluding thoughts there is no such thing as mind; that thought alone is therefore the nature (svarūpa) of the mind; that the world is nothing but thoughts; and that the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself, just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself. Thus he explained unequivocally that everything other than ourself (all phenomena, everything that appears and disappears) is just a thought, and that the creator of all thoughts is the mind.

2. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 18: though the term ‘mind’ can refer to the totality of all thoughts, what the mind essentially is is just the ego

Here it is important to understand that Bhagavan uses the term ‘mind’ in two slightly different senses. That is, sometimes he uses it to refer to the totality of all thoughts, and more frequently he uses it to refer to the root and creator of all thoughts, namely the ego, which is the primal thought called ‘I’, as he explains in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
எண்ணங்க ளேமனம் யாவினு நானெனு
மெண்ணமே மூலமா முந்தீபற
      யானா மனமென லுந்தீபற.

eṇṇaṅga ḷēmaṉam yāviṉu nāṉeṉu
meṇṇamē mūlamā mundīpaṟa
      yāṉā maṉameṉa lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal.

அன்வயம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். மனம் எனல் யான் ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. maṉam eṉal yāṉ ām.

English translation: Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called mind is ‘I’.

Elaborated translation: Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [the ego or root-thought called ‘I’].
That is, though the term ‘mind’ is often used to refer to the totality of all thoughts, among all the thoughts that constitute the mind, the only one that is constant so long as the mind endures is the primal thought called ‘I’, which is the ego, so Bhagavan says that this is the root of all thoughts, and that it is therefore what the mind essentially is. Therefore whenever he uses the term ‘mind’ we have to understand from the context whether he is using it in the sense of the totality of all thoughts or (as he generally did) in the sense of the one root thought, namely the ego, which is the subject that projects and perceives all other thoughts.

3. Nāṉ Yār? paragraphs 5 and 8: the ego is the original thought, being the thought that is aware of all other thoughts, so without it no other thought could exist

Though the ego is just a thought, it is fundamentally different to all other thoughts, because it is the only thought that is endowed with awareness, so whereas no other thought is aware either of itself or of anything else, the ego is aware both of itself and of all other thoughts. Therefore since all thoughts are just illusory appearances, and since no illusory appearance could seem to exist if there were not something in whose view it seemed to exist, all other thoughts depend for their seeming existence upon the seeming existence of the ego, in whose view alone they seem to exist, as Bhagavan states categorically in the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா.

maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā.

Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought [the primal, basic, original or causal thought]. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [the ego or primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.
What he says in the first of these sentences he repeats in the eighth paragraph:
நினைவே மனத்தின் சொரூபம். நானென்னும் நினைவே மனத்தின் முதல் நினைவு; அதுவே யகங்காரம்.

niṉaivē maṉattiṉ sorūpam. nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē maṉattiṉ mudal niṉaivu; adu-v-ē y-ahaṅkāram.

Thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or actual nature] of the mind. The thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought of the mind; it alone is the ego.
In both these passages he says that the ego or thought called ‘I’ is ‘முதல் நினைவு’ (mudal niṉaivu), ‘the first thought’, in which the word முதல் means not only first but also primal, original, root, basic, fundamental or causal, so by using this word he emphasises that no other thought can appear prior to the appearance of the ego, and that the ego is therefore the root cause for the appearance of all other thoughts.

In one of your earlier comments you wrote, ‘According to Bhagavan the ego/mind is just a bunch of thoughts. […] 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’, but this is confusing the two senses in which Bhagavan used the term ‘mind’. He did say that the mind, in one sense, is a bundle of thoughts, but he never said that the ego is a bundle of thoughts. On the contrary, he made it clear that the ego is just one thought, namely the primal thought called ‘I’, and that when the term ‘mind’ is used in the sense of this one original thought, namely the ego, it is what creates all other thoughts.

4. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 4: because it is aware, the ego has the power to create the appearance of everything in its awareness

Other thoughts have no inherent power, as you say, because whatever power they seem to have they derive only from the ego, but the ego does have inherent power, because as Bhagavan explains in verse 24 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, it is cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot formed by the entanglement of awareness with an insentient body, binding them together as if they were one, so though it is not real as such, it does contain an element of reality, namely awareness (cit), from which it derives its seeming power. The entire power of creation lies only in the ego, because it alone creates the appearance of everything else, as Bhagavan explains very clearly in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது. நினைவுகளை யெல்லாம் நீக்கிப் பார்க்கின்றபோது, தனியாய் மனமென் றோர் பொருளில்லை; ஆகையால் நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம். நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது.

maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti. adu sakala niṉaivugaḷai-y-um tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu. niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām nīkki-p pārkkiṉḏṟa-pōdu, taṉiyāy maṉam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ illai; āhaiyāl niṉaivē maṉadiṉ sorūpam. niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagam-um illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagam-um uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉṉiḍamirundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉam-um taṉṉiḍattilirundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum. āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu .

What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. It projects all thoughts [or makes all thoughts appear]. When one looks, excluding [eliminating or setting aside] all thoughts, solitarily there is not any such thing as mind; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or fundamental nature] of the mind. Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind projects the world from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear.
Everything other than ourself appears only in the view of ourself as this ego or mind and not in the view of ourself as we actually are, so as long as we are aware of the appearance of anything else, we are aware of ourself only as the ego and not as we actually are. Therefore we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are so long as we are aware of anything else, and we could not be aware of anything else if we were aware of ourself as we actually are.

5. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: the ego is the first cause, being the sole cause for the appearance of everything else, so if the ego does not exist nothing else exists

Therefore what creates the appearance of everything else is only the ego, so all other things are just an expansion of the ego, and without the ego they could not exist, as Bhagavan explains in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

ahandaiyuṇ ḍāyi ṉaṉaittumuṇ ḍāhu
mahandaiyiṉ ḏṟēliṉ ḏṟaṉaittu — mahandaiyē
yāvumā mādalāl yādideṉḏṟu nādalē
yōvudal yāvumeṉa vōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr.

அன்வயம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், அனைத்தும் இன்று. யாவும் அகந்தையே ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே யாவும் ஓவுதல் என ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, aṉaittum iṉḏṟu. yāvum ahandai-y-ē ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē yāvum ōvudal eṉa ōr.

English translation: If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Hence] the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything.
The ego is the first cause, the cause of all other causes, and the cause of the entire web of cause and effect, because cause and effect seem to exist only in duality, and the appearance of duality is caused only by the rising of the ego, whose nature is to be aware of things other than itself. As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]’, so the ego and everything else that appears are all just illusory fabrications (kalpanās), and since all fabrications seem to exist only in the view of the ego, Bhagavan says that if the ego comes into existence, everything else comes into existence, and if the ego does not exist, nothing else exists.

The ego seems to exist only so long as we are looking elsewhere, that is, at anything other than ourself, so if we (this ego) investigate what we are by looking keenly at ourself alone, the ego will cease to exist, and hence everything else will cease to exist along with it. Therefore in order to be able to investigate this ego keenly enough to see what we actually are, we must be willing to give up everything, including ourself as this ego, as Bhagavan implies in the final sentence of this verse.

6. The consciousness in which all thoughts appear is the mind, which is a mere semblance of real consciousness, so without the mind there could be no thoughts

In the same paragraph in which you wrote that Robert Adams said that the mind cannot create thoughts, you also wrote, ‘In all of my practice I never have ever encountered a mind, just thoughts appearing in consciousness’, but the consciousness in which all thoughts appear is only the mind, which is not real consciousness (cit) but only a semblance of consciousness (cidābhāsa). Thoughts appear only in the mind because the mind is essentially just the ego, and it is only in the view of the ego that thoughts seem to exist, so other than in the mind, where else could thoughts appear?

Moreover, though the mind is in essence just the ego, it expands as all other thoughts, so in its expanded form it is nothing but a bunch of thoughts, as you say. That is, in its essential form the mind is just the ego, the root of all other thoughts, but in its expanded form it is the totality of all thoughts, so no thought can exist independent of it, and hence whenever you encounter any thoughts or see ‘thoughts appearing in consciousness’, you are thereby encountering the mind. And you who are encountering it are the ego, which is its root and essence.

Therefore you cannot deny the seeming existence of either the ego or the mind so long as you are aware of the appearance of any thoughts, and since according to Bhagavan all phenomena (this entire world and any other world that may appear) are just thoughts, so long as you are aware of any phenomena you are encountering the mind and are aware of yourself as the ego, the subject (the first person) who is aware of those objects (the second and third persons).


7. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 14: other thoughts are second and third persons, which depend for their seeming existence on the ego, the first person

The fact that all other thoughts, which are second and third persons, depend for their seeming existence on the seeming existence of the ego, the first person, is clearly implied by Bhagavan in verse 14 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
தன்மையுண்டேன் முன்னிலைப டர்க்கைக டாமுளவாந்
தன்மையி னுண்மையைத் தானாய்ந்து — தன்மையறின்
முன்னிலைப டர்க்கை முடிவுற்றொன் றாயொளிருந்
தன்மையே தன்னிலைமை தான்.

taṉmaiyuṇḍēṉ muṉṉilaipa ḍarkkaiga ḍāmuḷavān
taṉmaiyi ṉuṇmaiyait tāṉāyndu — taṉmaiyaṟiṉ
muṉṉilaipa ḍarkkai muḍivuṯṟoṉ ḏṟāyoḷirun
taṉmaiyē taṉṉilaimai tāṉ
.

பதச்சேதம்: தன்மை உண்டேல், முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தாம் உள ஆம். தன்மையின் உண்மையைத் தான் ஆய்ந்து தன்மை அறின், முன்னிலை படர்க்கை முடிவு உற்று, ஒன்றாய் ஒளிரும் தன்மையே தன் நிலைமை தான்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉmai uṇḍēl, muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tām uḷa-v-ām. taṉmaiyiṉ uṇmaiyai-t tāṉ āyndu taṉmai aṟiṉ, muṉṉilai paḍarkkai muḍivu uṯṟu, oṉḏṟāy oḷirum taṉmaiyē taṉ nilaimai tāṉ.

English translation: If the first person exists, second and third persons will exist. If the first person ceases to exist [by] oneself investigating the truth of the first person, second and third persons will come to an end, and the taṉmai [reality or true ‘selfness’] that shines as one [undivided by the appearance of these three persons] alone will be oneself, one’s [real] state.
Here Bhagavan uses the word தன்மை (taṉmai), which etymologically means ‘selfness’, in two different senses. In the first three occurrences of it in this verse it means the first person, the subject or ego, ‘I’, whereas in the fourth and final occurrence it means our real nature, which is the one infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, other than which nothing exists. Other things (second and third persons) seem to exist only so long as we seem to be this ego (the first person), but if we investigate the truth of this ego keenly enough, it will cease to exist, and hence everything else will cease to exist along with it.

8. Nothing else can seem to exist unless perceived by the ego, so the ego is the root cause or creator of everything

Therefore the fact that the ego alone is what creates all other thoughts or phenomena is one of the most fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, and it was explained and emphasised by him in so many ways, so anyone who believes that the ego or mind cannot create thoughts has not really understood his teachings at all. To whom do all thoughts or phenomena appear? In whose view do they all seem to exist? They all appear only to the ego, so they seem to exist only in its view. This is why he says in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, referring to the ego as ‘mind’, which he describes as ‘an extraordinary power that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the real nature of oneself]’: ‘அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (adu sakala niṉaivugaḷai-y-um tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘It projects all thoughts [or makes all thoughts appear]’.

As he often explained, there is no creation independent of our perception of it, because whatever is created is just an illusory appearance that seems to exist only in the view of the ego, who alone perceives it. This is what is called dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi vāda, the contention (vāda) that seeing or perception (dṛṣṭi) is the sole cause of creation (sṛṣṭi), or more precisely that perception is itself creation, and hence it is also called vivarta vāda, the contention that both the perceiver (the ego) and whatever it perceives are just an illusory appearance (vivarta), and yugapat sṛṣṭi, simultaneous creation, the contention that perception and creation occur simultaneously. Therefore since the ego alone is what perceives all thoughts (and hence all phenomena, since according to Bhagavan all phenomena are just thoughts), dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi vāda clearly implies that the ego creates all thoughts by its mere perception of them.

If the ego or mind could not create thoughts, as you contend (and as you claim Robert Adams also contends), that would mean that thoughts are somehow created by some means or cause other than the ego’s perception of them, so such a contention would be a form of sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi vāda, the contention that creation occurs prior to or independent of perception. Such a contention may be suitable for an immature mind that is unwilling to accept that nothing exists independent of our perception of it, but it is not suitable for anyone who is seriously intent on following Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation, because if we believe that anything other than our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa) exists or is created independent of the ego’s perception of it, that would be attributing reality to something other than ourself.

Why should we believe that any thoughts or phenomena exist independent of our perception of them? In a dream we perceive thoughts and phenomena, but on waking we recognise that they did not actually exist but seemed to exist only because we perceived them. It is the nature of the ego or mind to believe in the reality of its own creation, as it does while dreaming, but if we consider this subject critically, it is clear that we have no adequate evidence — and never could have any adequate evidence — that anything exists independent of our perception of it. It is only because we perceive thoughts or phenomena that they seem to exist.

If we deny that all thoughts seem to exist only because we perceive them, we are thereby denying the core principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, according to which the ego is the root of all thoughts, and therefore the only way to eradicate all thoughts (and hence the entire appearance of duality, multiplicity and otherness) is to investigate the ego and thereby see that it does not actually exist. The ego seems to exist only because we attend to other thoughts instead of to ourself alone, and thoughts seem to exist only because we (as this ego) perceive them. They have no independent existence, so if we eradicate the ego by investigating what we actually are, they will cease to exist along with it. This is what Bhagavan taught us, and if Robert Adams denied that thoughts are created only by the ego’s perception of them, as you claim he did, he had clearly failed to understand the very core of Bhagavan’s teachings.

In the same comment that I referred to at the beginning of this article you wrote: ‘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’. The ‘I’ who had this strange experience is the same ‘I’ that experiences any other thoughts or phenomena, namely the ego, so what you mean by saying ‘And then “me” came back’ is not clear, because how can ‘me’ be other than the ‘I’ that was already present there to have that experience?

As Bhagavan often made very clear, such as in the final sentences of the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? and in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (which I cited above in the third and fifth sections respectively), what appears first is only the ego, so only after it appears does anything else appear, and hence without it nothing else can exist. As he says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), ‘If the ego does not exist, everything does not exist’, and as he says in verse 7 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam, ‘இன்று அகம் எனும் நினைவு எனில், பிற ஒன்றும் இன்று’ (iṉḏṟu aham eṉum niṉaivu eṉil, piṟa oṉḏṟum iṉḏṟu), ‘If the thought called ‘I’ does not exist, even one other [thought or thing] will not exist’. Therefore the root cause of everything is only the ego, which is the core and essence of the mind.

9. Bhagavan’s body and mind are created only by our ego, but the actions of his mind, speech and body are controlled only by grace

In some later comments you discuss where Bhagavan’s thoughts came from, but since Bhagavan had no ego or mind, he had no thoughts and also no body. His body, mind and thoughts, and consequently his actions and words, seem to exist only in our view, so they are all only our thoughts, and hence they are created only by ourself as this ego. Then what use are his teachings to us? If they are just our own mental projection, like everything else, what truth can there be in them?

Though this whole world is created by us as this ego, it is controlled not by us but only by our destiny (prārabdha), and our destiny is determined by the power of grace, which is the infinite love that we as we actually are have for ourself as we actually are, so the power of grace, which has selected our destiny for our own spiritual development, has also given us the outward form of Bhagavan and his teachings in order to prompt us to turn our mind back within to see what we actually are.

This can be understood more clearly with the help of an analogy. We all know that whatever we dream is our own mental projection, but while dreaming we generally seem unable to control the world we have created. The reason for this is that while dreaming we do not experience ourself as the one who has projected the dream, but as one of the people in the dream world that we have projected, so since we experience ourself as one of the projected phenomena, we seem to be a creature rather than the creator. As the creator we projected it, but as a creature we are just one among the projections.

Since Bhagavan taught us that our present state is just a dream, everything that we experience in this dream is just our own mental projection, but instead of experiencing ourself as the creator of this world, we now experience ourself as a small part of this creation. Therefore most of the rest of this creation seems to be beyond our control. If a fierce hurricane is approaching, for example, and leaving widespread destruction in its wake, we cannot stop it at will, because by projecting ourself as a person in our creation, we have thereby lost the power to control what we have created. The power to create and control all this lies somewhere deep inside us, but so long as we are looking outwards, we do not have the subtlety and acuity of mind required to turn within and see what it is.

The ultimate power within us is the power of grace, but when we misuse this power by rising as an ego and projecting all this, that power seems to be the power of māyā. However, though we as māyā (the ego or mind) have created all this, we have lost control of it, and therefore we as grace have taken control of it, allotting the destiny of this ego, and when it is ready giving it teachings that will prompt it to investigate what it actually is. With our outward-facing and therefore blunt intellect we can never adequately understand this working of grace, and how it is all being done by ourself alone, and though our intellect will be refined and sharpened if we practise trying to face ourself to see what we actually are, our ego and everything else will thereby be destroyed before our intellect can become clear and sharp enough to comprehend the mysterious workings of grace.

However, that need not concern us, because our sole aim should be to see what we ourself actually are, and when we see what we actually are we will see that we alone exist, and that grace is just our own love for ourself, which never actually does anything, because doing is possible only in a state of duality or multiplicity, which does not actually exist. What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa (the real nature of ourself), so all multiplicity is just an illusory appearance that seems to exist only in the view of the ego, which itself does not actually exist.

10. Nāṉ Yār? paragraph 15: grace in the form of guru saves us from the ego without actually doing anything

How grace seems to do everything without actually doing anything is explained by Bhagavan in the fifteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
இச்சா ஸங்கல்ப யத்நமின்றி யெழுந்த ஆதித்தன் சன்னிதி மாத்திரத்தில் காந்தக்கல் அக்கினியைக் கக்குவதும், தாமரை மலர்வதும், நீர் வற்றுவதும், உலகோர் தத்தங் காரியங்களிற் பிரவிருத்தித்து இயற்றி யடங்குவதும், காந்தத்தின் முன் ஊசி சேஷ்டிப்பதும் போல ஸங்கல்ப ரகிதராயிருக்கும் ஈசன் சன்னிதான விசேஷ மாத்திரத்தால் நடக்கும் முத்தொழில் அல்லது பஞ்சகிருத்தியங்கட் குட்பட்ட ஜீவர்கள் தத்தம் கர்மானுசாரம் சேஷ்டித் தடங்குகின்றனர். அன்றி, அவர் ஸங்கல்ப ஸஹித ரல்லர்; ஒரு கருமமு மவரை யொட்டாது. அது லோககருமங்கள் சூரியனை யொட்டாததும், ஏனைய சதுர்பூதங்களின் குணாகுணங்கள் வியாபகமான ஆகாயத்தை யொட்டாததும் போலும்.

icchā-saṅkalpa-yatnam-iṉḏṟi y-eṙunda ādittaṉ saṉṉidhi-māttirattil kānta-k-kal aggiṉiyai-k kakkuvadum, tāmarai malarvadum, nīr vaṯṟuvadum, ulahōr tattaṅ kāriyaṅgaḷil piraviruttittu iyaṯṟi y-aḍaṅguvadum, kāntattiṉ muṉ ūsi cēṣṭippadum pōla saṅkalpa-rahitar-āy-irukkum īśaṉ saṉṉidhāṉa-viśēṣa-māttirattāl naḍakkum muttoṙil alladu pañcakiruttiyaṅgaṭ kuṭpaṭṭa jīvargaḷ tattam karmāṉucāram cēṣṭit taḍaṅgugiṉḏṟaṉar. aṉḏṟi, avar saṅkalpa-sahitar allar; oru karumam-um avarai y-oṭṭādu. adu lōka-karumaṅgaḷ sūriyaṉai y-oṭṭādadum, ēṉaiya catur-bhūtaṅgaḷiṉ guṇāguṇaṅgaḷ viyāpakam-āṉa ākāyattai y-oṭṭādadum pōlum.

Just as in the mere presence of the sun, which rose without icchā [wish, desire or liking], saṁkalpa [volition or intention] [or] yatna [effort or exertion], a crystal stone [or magnifying lens] will emit fire, a lotus will blossom, water will evaporate, and people of the world will engage in [or begin] their respective activities, do [those activities] and subside [or cease being active], and [just as] in front of a magnet a needle will move, [so] jīvas [sentient beings], who are caught in [the finite state governed by] muttoṙil [the threefold function of God, namely the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world] or pañcakṛtyas [the five functions of God, namely creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and grace], which happen by merely the special nature of the presence of God, who is saṁkalpa rahitar [one who is devoid of any volition or intention], move [exert or engage in activity] and subside [cease being active, become still or sleep] in accordance with their respective karmas [that is, in accordance not only with their prārabdha karma or destiny, which impels them to do whatever actions are necessary in order for them to experience all the pleasant and unpleasant things that they are destined to experience, but also with their karma-vāsanās, their inclinations or impulses to desire, think, speak and act in particular ways, which impel them to make effort to experience pleasant things and to avoid experiencing unpleasant things]. Nevertheless, he [God] is not saṁkalpa sahitar [one who is connected with or possesses any volition or intention]; even one karma does not adhere to him [that is, he is not bound or affected by any karma or action whatsoever]. That is like world-actions [the actions happening here on earth] not adhering to [or affecting] the sun, and [like] the qualities and defects of the other four elements [earth, water, air and fire] not adhering to the all-pervading space.
As Bhagavan says in the twelfth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘கடவுளும் குருவும் உண்மையில் வேறல்லர்’ (kaḍavuḷ-um guru-v-um uṇmaiyil vēṟallar), ‘God and guru are in truth not different’, so what he says about God in this paragraph applies equally well to guru, and since grace is the very nature of guru, guru is nothing but grace and grace is nothing but guru. Therefore in this paragraph Bhagavan clearly implies that grace does not actually do anything, but by the power of its mere presence in our heart we are drawn back to our source, the pure self-awareness that we always actually are.

Bhagavan is ātma-svarūpa, our own real nature, and his grace is the infinite love that he has for himself, so since nothing is other than himself, by his merely being love he draws us back to himself. Therefore, though the life of his body and the teachings given through that body are part of the world, all of which is mere thoughts projected and perceived by our ego, by the mere presence of his love in our heart his life and teachings have been formed in such a way as to push us from outside to turn back within to see what we actually are, while the same love shining in our heart attracts us and thereby pulls us from within.

In this way Bhagavan, who is love itself, pushes and pulls us to turn inwards and thereby melts us as love in himself, as he taught us to pray in verse 101 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:
அம்புவி லாலிபோ லன்புரு வுனிலெனை
      யன்பாக் கரைத்தரு ளருணாசலா.

ambuvi lālipō laṉburu vuṉileṉai
      yaṉbāk karaittaru ḷaruṇācalā
.

பதச்சேதம்: அம்புவில் ஆலி போல் அன்பு உரு உனில் எனை அன்பா கரைத்து அருள் அருணாசலா.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ambuvil āli pōl aṉbu-uru uṉil eṉai aṉbā karaittu aruḷ aruṇācalā.

English translation: Arunachala, like ice in water, lovingly melt me as love in you, the form of love.
Until we thus melt as love in Bhagavan, the form of love, we will continue to rise as this ego, and whenever we do so we will project thoughts and thereby create the appearance of an external world, and thus we will make it necessary for him to draw us back within to melt in himself. The means by which he gradually draws us back will vary according to the strength and intensity of our desires and attachments, but when by his grace he has purified our mind to a sufficient extent he will appear outside in the form of guru to give us teachings that will direct and encourage us to turn our mind back within to see what we actually are. However he saves us from ourself (this ego) in this way without actually doing anything but merely by being the infinite love that he is.

164 comments:

taṉmai said...

Michael, thank you for this new article.
Section 8.,
Creation of thoughts only by the ego's perception of them sounds to me a bit illogically because I assume that I can only perceive what is already present there - at least in chronological order/sequence/succession.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that a thought occurs first and it is only upon asking to whom it occurs that the ego rises to say “to me”. That is, the very attempt to locate or identify the source of the thought creates the ego. There IS no primal or root thought, it is created when sought for and that seems contrary to what Sri Ramana taught. I realize this blog is dedicated to Maharishi’s teachings so please excuse if out of line.

kurnda mati said...

Anonymous,
please do read carefully Michael's article.
Perhaps your assumption about what was prior - any thought or the root thought - would be changed.
Which experience does support your claim or inference that there is no primal root thought, the ego, ?

taṉmai said...

Michael,
"Therefore since the ego alone is what perceives all thoughts (and hence all phenomena, since according to Bhagavan all phenomena are just thoughts), dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi vāda clearly implies that the ego creates all thoughts by its mere perception of them."
At present I endeavour to obtain the understanding and appreciation of the above statement which you say that it expresses the very core of Bhagavan's teachings.
I have high hopes that it trickles at least gradually in my comprehension because my clear wish and firm will do not intend to fail to understand what Bhagavan taught us.

Salazar said...

Of course did Robert say that thoughts are coming from the mind. But he also added that the ego doesn’t exist and that something what does not exist cannot create thoughts. It is an optic illusion. He mentioned the chit-jada granthi and when people started asking questions about that knot he said that this is all BS, because there is no heart-knot. He insisted that there is no difference between a Jnani and ajnani and the worse someone can do is to believe that.

I.e. he said and I quote, “It makes no difference if the thoughts are good or bad, they're both impostors. In reality there are no good thoughts, there are no bad thoughts. We're not trying to replace bad thoughts for good thoughts. We're trying to leave the thoughts alone, not to do a thing about them.” –

And: “Practice this right now. Allow the thoughts to come, whatever they are. Do absolutely nothing. It makes no difference what the thoughts are. Let them come, no matter how much they seem to frighten you, no matter how powerful they appear to be, let them come. Where do the thoughts come from to begin with? They come from nowhere. They do not come from consciousness. They do not come from pure awareness. They do not come from the Self. Where do the thoughts come from? From nowhere. They're an optical illusion. They do not exist. They're like the appearance of the sky on top of the mountain. The sky appears to be resting on top of the mountain, but it's an optical illusion. Thoughts do not exist, whatsoever. Therefore you ask yourself: "Who's thinking?" and you will find out, the ego is thinking. So here's another point. When the thoughts slow down, so does the ego. The thoughts and the ego are synonymous. As the thoughts slow down, the ego slows down, and begins to also disappear with the thoughts. When there are no thoughts, there's no ego. When there's no ego, there's nobody left to think. Then the question you will ask is: "How do I function without thinking?" As I mentioned in the beginning, the sage's thoughts are like a burnt rope. They appear to be real, but they're not. In other words, your thoughts are not real. They are false. How do you function without thoughts? Very well, thank you. Many of you still believe you have to have thoughts to function. You think you'll become a vegetable, but you will be spontaneous without thoughts. You'll be motivated by the Self. You will know what to do, where to go, whom to speak to, whom not to speak to, much better than you do now, much, much better. Things will happen to you spontaneously.”

Continued on next comment ............

Salazar said...

Continuation........

Michael, you make a flawless presentation of Bhagavan’s teaching but it is, even coming from Bhagavan, simply concepts. What is exactly “chit” or “cidhabasa” unless it is directly experienced, until then it is as much an imagination as everything else. Funny, Papaji said that there are no two consciousness’, only one, possibly because chit and cidhabasa are as real or unreal as the ego? We only will know after realization.

Originally I am coming from a Buddhist background and one of the first things one learns there is that all scripture or teachings are makeshifts. They are mere pointers, terms like “chit” and “cidabhasa” or chit-jada-granthi etc. As best they can give an idea how things apparently “work” in the phenomenal world and that’s it. The danger however is when one starts clinging at these pointers and presents them as the truth.
There is a Buddhist saying which is, “if you meet the Buddha, kill him!” Robert would certainly have agreed and I dare to say, Bhagavan too.

Also let us not forget that Bhagavan’s main teaching was silence, to focus intensely on his concepts as some do must certainly not have been his intention.

Huang-Po said in regards of the potential for enlightenment that there is fundamentally no difference between someone who has “practiced” for a hundred of life times and someone who has not at all. And he didn’t say that so people would not practice but to shatter certain beliefs which are simply not true.

Mouna said...

Salazar, greetings

"Michael, you make a flawless presentation of Bhagavan’s teaching but it is, even coming from Bhagavan, simply concepts. "

As everything you wrote in the two postings above.

Be well,
m

Anonymous said...

So in deep sleep, are you saying thoughts arise?

Salazar said...

Hi Mouna,

yes of course. I believe in one of my first comments on this blog I said that all these comments here are mere concepts. What is the point to describe apparent functions in the phenomenal world? How does that bring anybody closer to Self? It can't be but an imagination.

Let's not forget that also Bhagavan said that we are already Self. He did not say that we will be Self or that we are not Self when the imagined ego has risen.

The ego apparently rises and simultaneously with it rises time and the seeming search for freedom. All these ideas about the ego within time and what it is supposed to do is a fantasy. Bondage is sustained by the very belief that there is an "ego" which has to free itself. Freedom is only possible now, not in two minutes nor in two years or two life times. The belief alone that one will attain freedom sometime in the future is sustaining bondage.

Be well too.

Mouna said...

Salazar,

"What is the point to describe apparent functions in the phenomenal world?"

You were able to write all you wrote and understand all you understood after reading Robert Adams, Michael James, Huan-Po, Papaji, Bhagavan, etc. That's the point.

Salazar said...

There is no point. That we know "more" after reading Bhagavan is part of the fantasy script that there is a flawed ego who has to "improve" itself. That thought should not believed anymore.

Anonymous said...

These have been my experiences so far. I have complete control over my thoughts even though i know thoughts dont arise from 'me' . Eg. If i am stressed out more thoughts automatically arises and when i recognize my stress and calm down thoughts disappear. So the cause for thoughts are vasanas. And vasanas belong to whom? To 'me' since vasanas is present due to the misleading concept of 'separation'. Vasanas according to me are just emotions arising due to desires. Desires arise due to the thought 'i am a separate' entity. The first desire being the need to establish the separateness to myself. So in this whole process, thoughts can be considered as some sort of display/activity of energy. Where does energy come from? Nowhere. It is just there either as it is(which is self) or it appears as 'thought' when there is 'separateness' . Do you agree with what I have written above?

Mouna said...

Point or not point, shoulds and should-nots, all is well Salazar, all is well...

Good luck my friend. (if there is such thing as luck...)

...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friend, I thank Michael for this article. I think the most important portions of this article are its section 9 and 10. In this comment, I will try and rewrite (whatever I have been able to understand) what Michael is trying to say in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th paragraphs of section 9:

This whole world has been created by our ego, but once it creates it, it is no longer in-charge of its own creation. We hand over the management of our creation to God or grace. Thus grace ordains our destiny, and at the appropriate time it also appears to us in the form of our guru to give us his teachings. In this way grace works overtime, as it were, to see that we get back to our original resting place, but it will not force us to return. However, it will keep cajoling us to do so by its regular supply of love.

Why are we not able to alter or change our creation at our will? It is because once we have created ourself, we no longer experience ourself as the creator but a creature within our own creation. Thus we forget that it is all our projection. As a creature we feel that some power outside of ourself has created this world, and therefore we have no role to play it its creation. However, this is all because of the power of maya.

In the end I have to quote Michael: ‘The power to create and control all this lies somewhere deep inside us, but so long as we are looking outwards, we do not have the subtlety and acuity of mind required to turn within and see what it is’.

Anonymous said...

"As the thoughts slow down, the ego slows down, and begins to also disappear with the thoughts"

I think it is other way. When ego slows fown, thoughts slow down.

taṉṉai viḍādiruttal said...

Salazar,
you display your doctrines of which you have grown very fond.
After staging the dogma "That we know "more" after reading Bhagavan is part of the fantasy script that there is a flawed ego who has to "improve" itself. That thought should not believed anymore."
may I ask you what you would then suggest to us to believe at all ?

boundless grace said...

Salazar,
when you say

1. "I said that all these comments here are mere concepts. What is the point to describe apparent functions in the phenomenal world? How does that bring anybody closer to Self? It can't be but an imagination." and
2. "Let's not forget that also Bhagavan said that we are already Self. He did not say that we will be Self or that we are not Self when the imagined ego has risen."

How can anybody come closer to self when one is just already self ?

atma-prakasa said...

Anonymous,
you ask "So in deep sleep, are you saying thoughts arise?"
In dreamless deep sleep there is no mind to think.
Therefore thoughts cannot and do not arise in deep sleep.

Anonymous said...

Ramesh Balsekar had great regard for Sri Ramana. Here he says..
__________________
How to differentiate between ego and mind?
You can’t. They are the same. The thinking mind and the ego are the same. In the ordinary body-mind organism mind can be both working mind and thinking mind. In the case of the sage it is only the working mind.
Is the body-mind organism like the programme in a data machine that produces thinking?
The thinking happens according to the way the body-mind organism has been programmed. Why does a thought occur? It occurs because that is supposed to produce an output. So the equation E = mc² was there all the time, but only that body-mind organism named Einstein was programmed to receive the equation, that got that thought.
The term ‘‘bodymind organism’’ means body and, in the case of an ordinary person, both the working mind and the thinking kind, but only the working mind in the case of the sage.
The wanting to know is the individual sense of doership. Ramana Maharshi repeatedly said, ‘‘If the question arises, find out who wants to know.’’ If you really go into ‘‘who wants to know”, the ‘‘who’’ will disappear because there is truly no ‘‘who’’.
The arising of the question is not in your control, or whether you take delivery of that question and get yourself horizontally involved. It is a vertical happening. Getting involved in that question is a horizontal involvement. So the horizontal involvement is avoided with this question: ‘‘Who wants to know?’’

Anonymous said...

Is going into who you are, a horizontal activity?
Asking the question, ‘‘Who wants to know?’’ is the working mind. Arising of the question is vertical, the involvement of the thinking mind is horizontal. the working mind is not horizontal. The working mind is the present moment. So in the present moment the working mind asks the question ‘‘Who wants to know?’’ and if the thinking mind doesn’t come in try to answer the question, then the ‘‘who’’ disappears.
There are two aspects. One is the monkey mind – the thinking mind which asks questions, provides answers, and asks further questions of those answers and goes on and on. Then another aspect, the working mind, is only focused with doing what needs to be done at the moment in the circumstances. It is not concerned, not even with whether the work that is being done is necessary or not. Nor is it concerned with the consequences. It is only focused on doing the job that is being done, and it is not concerned with ‘‘who’’ is doing the job.
It is the thinking mind that says, ‘‘I’m doing this work, and ‘i’ must find out what the consequences are going to be.’’ So the thinking mind always thinks about the consequences in the future. The working mind is not concerned with the future.
The ‘‘one’’ who is concerned with the consequences of the future is the thinking mind, the ego. In the working mind there is no individual, no ego. So in the working mind if there is no individual doing the work, then ‘‘who’’ is to worry about the consequences? In the working mind there is no individual worker – the work is just being done.
The individual ‘‘doer’’is the thinking mind wanting to know: After the work is done, what is going to happen to me? The ‘‘me’’ is the thinking mind, ego. The ego is the identification with the name and form as an individual with the sense of doership – whatever happens to this body ‘‘i’’ am doing it, and ‘‘i’’ am the one who is going to suffer the consequences.

nuṇ mati said...

Anonymous,
differentiating between working and thinking mind and between horizontal involvements and vertical happenings/activities seems to be unnecessary but does not really clarify anything.
When you quote Ramana Maharshi saying "... because there is truly no ‘‘who’’ " we should be aware that as long we experience us a separate ego the investigating 'who' is quite well necessary as the instrument that we must use to scrutinise and know our essential self which is the source from which our rising 'I' or ego has (seemingly) arisen.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Friends, the following are some important extracts from the 9th and 10th section of this article. I will also share my manana on these portions:

Michael: However, though we as māyā (the ego or mind) have created all this, we have lost control of it, and therefore we as grace have taken control of it, allotting the destiny of this ego, and when it is ready giving it teachings that will prompt it to investigate what it actually is.

My note: We have created this world by our extraordinary power of imagination (atisaya-shakti), and after creating it we have lost control, and have become badly entangled in our own creation. Thus we as grace have to become active, and it becomes active by ordaining our prarabdha, and also by appearing as our guru (whenever we are ready) to give us its teachings.

However, if we do not rise as this ego, we will not be caught in this seemingly unending web of maya, and therefore grace need not act to save us. So by foolishly rising as this ego we are unnecessarily troubling Bhagavan – he has to keep running after us in order to save us.

Michael: Bhagavan is ātma-svarūpa, our own real nature, and his grace is the infinite love that he has for himself, so since nothing is other than himself, by his merely being love he draws us back to himself. Therefore, though the life of his body and the teachings given through that body are part of the world, all of which is mere thoughts projected and perceived by our ego, by the mere presence of his love in our heart his life and teachings have been formed in such a way as to push us from outside to turn back within to see what we actually are, while the same love shining in our heart attracts us and thereby pulls us from within.

My note: Our life is an unceasing battle between pure love and all our desires. When we rise as this ego, Bhagavan as pure love has to seemingly become active and has to entice us to return back within.

Grace forms itself as our sadguru in order to give us his teachings. This teaching motivates us to turn within. Our sadguru as pure love also constantly pulls us from within. We need both these forces to work, because without guru’s teachings we would not turn within, and without the ever present pull from within we would not stick to atma-vichara.





nuṇ mati said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"So by foolishly rising as this ego we are unnecessarily troubling Bhagavan – he has to keep running after us in order to save us."
The thought that Bhagavan would be troubled by our crazy ideas and run after us seems to me quite abstrusely mistaken. The madness of us fools may be indeed pitiful but does not really affect Bhagavan.
However, as you further say : Grace in form of useful right teaching might constantly pull us from within to pursue the appropriate way of continual purification of the mind.

atma-prakasa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"However, if we do not rise as this ego, we will not be caught in this seemingly unending web of maya, and therefore grace need not act to save us."
Thus you touch on the crucial question which we should try attending to especially every morning at awakening: How can we prevent us from rising as the ego ?

Anonymous said...

Nun mati, thank you for your response.

Any practice or master who will slow down one's mind is a great gift, in my opinion. How to cut down on unnecessary thinking is the central issue.

Sorry if it sounds elementary but that is all I have understood.

kurnda mati said...

Anonymous,
"There IS no primal or root thought, it is created when sought for and that seems contrary to what Sri Ramana taught. I realize this blog is dedicated to Maharishi’s teachings so please excuse if out of line."
You may also read carefully Michael's article of 11 September 2017 How to find the source of 'I', the ego ?
Strictly in confidence : Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi is the most trustworthy sage. We can trust him with all our heart.

Sanjay Lohia said...

nun mati, ‘So by foolishly rising as this ego we are unnecessarily troubling Bhagavan – he has to keep running after us in order to save us’, was used as a figure of speech or metaphor, and therefore should not be taken too literally. However, I was doing a brilliant copy-paste job when I wrote, ‘he has to keep running after us in order to save us’. I had heard Michael say this phrase in one of his videos, and I just used it here.

When Michael said that Bhagavan has to run after us in order to save us, he was talking about the seeming actions of grace, but this is not the original form of grace. Grace is what we actually are, and it does not ever do anything, but just is.

However, when we rise as this ego, we seem to be engaged in various outward directed actions, and therefore to counter these actions grace has to also seemingly work. It acts by ordaining our destiny, and most importantly by appearing to us as the form of our sadguru in order to give us its teachings.

However, when we experience ourself as we really are, we will know that grace and maya never acted in any way and therefore all their actions were only in our (ego’s) view. As I said real grace never acts, because it is actually atma-svarupa, and therefore the immutable reality. It is like the sun, whose mere presence makes things happen.

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-prakasa, yes, every morning when we get up, we should not let the ego rise or at least keep it in check, but we should try and maintain such check during our entire waking hours. As Bhagavan says in the 11th paragraph of Nan Yar?:

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone [will be] sufficient.

So Bhagavan makes it clear that this is a practice which we should ideally be doing unceasingly – during our entire waking and dreaming time. It is not a practice which we do for some time in the morning, and for some time in the evening.

Regarding your question how can prevent the ego from rising? We can prevent it from rising only by vigilant self-attentiveness. There is no other better way to keep it in check and to eventually destroy it. Bhagavan says that this is the direct path for all.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Hope all is well.
You say:

[There is no point. That we know "more" after reading Bhagavan is part of the fantasy script that there is a flawed ego who has to "improve" itself. That thought should not believed anymore.]

Obviously I can't speak for everyone but I don't think many here do believe that or are trying to improve the ego as you say (lol)!

Most of us are trying to turn our attention within and investigate our self (atma vichara) to see what we are. If we do with enough intensity and focus our attention whole heartedly we will see there is no such thing as ego all there is atma swarupa, which is what we actually are. Plus there is no we or everyone just self conscious nonduality.

But it doesn't seem that way at present, at least from my perspective anyway. I take myself to be a body experiencing a world which is separate from me (duality).

Which is why I practise vichara, I don't want to improve myself.

Cheers.
H

Salazar said...

Hector, hello and nice to hear from you again.

What I meant with "improving the ego" is, i.e., to believe that there is the need for a certain diet. The need to follow a certain set of moral codes, to be "nice" instead to be "rude". To "work" on one's behavior in any other means than atma-vichara or summa iru. To "try" to be self-less, to be humble or whatever the ego would like to be.

From the comments I've read many here are trying to do that ;-)

taṉmai said...

Hector,
if you allow to jump in,
you say " I take myself to be a body experiencing a world which is separate from me (duality)."
Can an inert body actually experience anything ?
You say further "Which is why I practise vichara, I don't want to improve myself."
The reason why you practise atma-vichara seems to be that you are not satisfied with your world-experience.
What may be the result of your practice ? Is not your aim to experience nonduality instead of duality an improvement over your present ego's view ?

atma-prakasa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
regarding your statement that we can prevent the ego from rising only by vigilant self-attentiveness I would remark:
To prevent the ego from rising for instance at the moment of awakening in the morning requires outstanding if not even (nearly) superhuman vigilance.
How can one contrive to do/exercise it ?

Michael James said...

Taṉmai, regarding the comment in which you write, ‘Creation of thoughts only by the ego’s perception of them sounds to me a bit illogically because I assume that I can only perceive what is already present there’, it is not at all illogical, because when you dream you perceive a dream world, but that doesn’t mean that that world was already present there for you to perceive it. It seems to be there only because you perceive it, and if you didn’t perceive it, it would not be there at all.

Likewise, if you mistake a rope to be a snake, that does not mean that the snake was already present there. There is actually no snake there at all, so it seems to be there only because of your misperception of the rope, and hence it is created only by your perception of it.

Where are thoughts created? Only in our awareness or perception of them. Therefore they do not exist independent of our perception of them, so our perception of them and their creation occur simultaneously (which is why it is called yugapat sṛṣṭi, simultaneous creation). In fact, our perception of them is their creation, so creation is nothing but perception (or rather misperception, because when we perceive any phenomenon we are misperceiving what is, which is only pure self-awareness).

According to Bhagavan, other than pure self-awareness whatever we perceive is just a thought, because nothing exists independent of our perception of it, and we perceive other things only when we perceive ourself as this ego or mind, which is the first thought and the root of all other thoughts. Therefore if we investigate ourself keenly enough to see that what we actually are is not this ego or mind, this ego or mind will cease to exist, because it was just a misperception of ourself, and along with it all other thoughts (all phenomena) will cease to exist.

These two simple facts, namely that the ego creates the appearance of everything by its misperception of what actually exists, and that the ego will cease to exist if we investigate it (because it is itself just an appearance, a misperception of ourself), are the cornerstones of Bhagavan’s teachings, and being firmly convinced of them is therefore the key to understanding his teachings correctly.

Michael James said...

Salazar, regarding the comment in which you say that Robert Adams said (in your words) ‘that the ego doesn’t exist and that something what does not exist cannot create thoughts’, obviously something that does not exist cannot create anything, but though the ego does not actually exist, it seems to exist, and by seeming to exist it creates all the thoughts or phenomena perceived by it. Thoughts or phenomena are no more real than the ego, but they seem to exist so long as we seem to be this ego. This is the fundamental principle on which all of Bhagavan’s core teachings are based, but you make it appear that Robert Adams somehow did not accept or had not properly grasped this simple principle.

You also make it appear that Robert contradicted himself, because previously (in your comment to which I referred at the beginning of this article) you wrote that he said that the mind cannot create thoughts, and now in this comment you say that of course he said that thoughts are coming from the mind. In what way is thoughts coming from the mind different to their being created by the mind?

If they come from the mind, they do not exist independent of it, so the mind is what makes them appear or seem to exist, as Bhagavan says in the second sentence of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (adu sakala niṉaivugaḷai-y-um tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘It [the mind] causes all thoughts to appear’. Therefore, since thoughts do not actually exist but merely seem to exist, they are created only by whatever makes them seem to exist, and since they seem to exist only in the view of the ego or mind, it alone is what has created them.

The ego or mind is what makes thoughts seem to exist because they seem to exist only in its perception. If they were not perceived by it, they would not seem to exist at all, because to whom else do they seem to exist? To no one and to nothing. The ego or mind is what perceives them, and by perceiving them it creates them.

You quote Robert as saying that thoughts are ‘an optical illusion’ (though I assume that in this context he used the adjective ‘optical’ by mistake, because an optical illusion is an illusion seen by physical eyes), but in conceding that thoughts are an illusion, he is indirectly conceding that they are created by the ego or mind that perceives them, because an illusion is a misperception, so it is created only by whatever perceives it. An illusion does not exist independent of the perception of it, so it is created by the perceiver through its act of misperception. If we mistake a rope to be a snake, the snake is an illusion, and it is created only by our mind, which is what perceives it to be a snake.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Salazar:

You also make it appear that Robert contradicted himself in another way when you first write that he said (in your words) ‘that thoughts are coming from the mind’, but later in the same comment you quote him as saying: ‘Where do the thoughts come from to begin with? They come from nowhere. They do not come from consciousness. They do not come from pure awareness. They do not come from the Self. Where do the thoughts come from? From nowhere’. If thoughts come from the mind, they do not come from nowhere, and if they come from nowhere, they do not come from the mind.

But how can anything come from nowhere? If something comes, it must come from somewhere, so what does it even mean to say that thoughts come from nowhere? When it is said that thoughts ‘come’, it means that they appear, and if they appear they must appear from somewhere. To claim that thoughts come from nowhere shows a lack of adequate analysis or investigation. If we consider or investigate even a little, it is clear that thoughts come only from me, the one who thinks and perceives them, and this ‘me’ is only the mind or ego.

To claim that thoughts come from nowhere (which implies that they are not caused or created by the mind or ego, as you wrote in an earlier comment that Robert claimed) is not at all useful, because if they came from nowhere, we would have no means to prevent them coming, and hence self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), self-surrender and all other forms of spiritual practice would be of no use whatsoever. On the other hand, to maintain that they come only from the ego or mind, as Bhagavan teaches us, is extremely useful, particularly when we consider it in the light of what he has taught us about the nature of the ego, namely that it seems to exist only when we attend to other thoughts (that is, to phenomena of any kind whatsoever), but it will dissolve and disappear if we (as this ego) attend only to ourself, because this means that thoughts will continue to appear so long as we attend to them, but if we try to attend only to ourself, they will cease, because the ego that perceived them will itself cease.

This is why Bhagavan taught us that the ego is the root of all other thoughts. If we cut this root by self-investigation, the whole tree of thoughts will perish instantaneously. This is a truly useful and practical teaching, unlike the spurious claim that thoughts come from nowhere.

taṉmai said...

Michael,
many thanks for your comment into which I must first think my way.

venkat said...

Salazar

When you write:

"What I meant with "improving the ego" is, i.e., to believe that there is the need for a certain diet. The need to follow a certain set of moral codes, to be "nice" instead to be "rude". To "work" on one's behavior in any other means than atma-vichara or summa iru. To "try" to be self-less, to be humble or whatever the ego would like to be.

From the comments I've read many here are trying to do that ;-)"


It seems to go against what Bhagavan / Murugunar / Sadhu Om have written:

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.

Or Bhagavan's translation of the Bhagavad Gita verse:

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.

Could you perhaps explain how I reconcile Bhagavan / Murugunar's advice relative to your dismissal of striving to live by a moral code, etc

Anonymous said...

Kurnda Mati, you have stated,

"Strictly in confidence : Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi is the most trustworthy sage. We can trust him with all our heart."

Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it.

boundless grace said...

venkat,
can we expect that Salazar undertakes suddenly a far-reaching change of mind ?
More likely he will give again one of his hair-raising eccentric whimsical ego-biased accounts.
But do not sometimes happen things which are bordering on the miraculous ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Venkat, I agree with your recent comment addressed to Salazar. We should take heed to what Bhagavan, Sri Sadhu Om and others say, and try and control our urges to think, speak and act in all sort of ways - many of such impulses our harmful, and therefore need to be kept in check. This is ABC of spirituality.

Sadhu Om (as quoted by you): 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.

It would be wise to pay heed to such advice. These are coming from people soaked in Bhagavan’s teachings. Likewise we should pay heed to Michael when he writes in section 9 of his article: If we choose to do any harmful actions, should we consider them to be done according to destiny (prārabdha)?

Michael: 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.

Some of us erroneously believe that whether or not we get swayed by our vasanas is decided by our destiny. They need to revisit this belief. Every moment we do have urges to do this or that; to experience this and that; to avoid experiencing this or that; and to speak this or that. Should we give free reign to all such inclinations? It would be unwise to do so, because we know that we can keep many of our urges in check.

It takes a dhira (a brave one) to control his urges. However, we also know that we do frequently succumb to our unwanted urges, but we should definitely endeavour to keep these in check, because this is possible - may be not 100% but to a large extent. We would be doing ourself a favour if we practise self-control, to whatever extent possible.


jagad-dristi said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Michael: 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."
It requires much will-power and costs me a great effort to not allow to be swayed particularly by sexual desires.
Regrettably I do not overcome always such overwhelming challenges. But the most time I stand as firm as a rock.

Sanjay Lohia said...

jagad-dristi, as long as our ego is alive, we cannot be 100% successful in not being swayed by our urges or desires. But slowly and steadily we should try and keep them in check.

jagad-drsti said...

Sanjay Lohia,
that problem is indeed caused by the fact that the ego - as the delusive awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are - is still alive.
My hope is walking further at a steady pace and progressing steadily in making every endeavour to keep the mind free from wrong awareness, imaginary creations and illusory appearances. May continuous investigation into the nature of the mind transform it into that to which the 'I' actually refers and that is according Bhagavan Ramana, the sage of Arunachala Hill, in fact the self.

Hector said...

Hi Taṉmai
Please feel free to jump in.
I am not sure if my answers to your questions will be much help or provide any clarity but I will try to answer them never the less.

[Can an inert body actually experience anything ?]

My understanding is no because it is jada. But when the ego projects and identifies with a body (Chit-Jada Granthi) it experiences things other than itself (duality) through the 5 senses of that body it takes to be I.

[You say further "Which is why I practise vichara, I don't want to improve myself."
The reason why you practise atma-vichara seems to be that you are not satisfied with your world-experience.]

I practise atma vichara as advised by Bhagavan because I want to know what I really am.

[What may be the result of your practice ? Is not your aim to experience nonduality instead of duality an improvement over your present ego's view ?]

The result of atma vichara is to discover what I am, then there will be no improvement or declination. Triads and dyads are only seem to exist because the ego seems to exist. When I experience myself as I really am triads and dyads (duality) and all karma will vanish along with the ego (wrong knowledge of what I am) because they all coexist together (Maya) .

So no my aim is not to improve my present ignorant view or situation it is simply to experience myself as I really am.

Anything that seems to happen or change through my investigation is a just a by product of that investigation not the purpose of that investigation.

All the best Taṉmai
Hector

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Thanks for your reply.
I do personally believe using what free will we have (open to debate I know) to practise Ahimsa for example is beneficial and will help us with our practise (atma vichara) as it will help purify the mind and help us turn within.

But I do appreciate we don't agree on this and I do respect your opinion.
My belief about how much actual free will we have could be wrong.
Cheers.
H

taṉmai said...

Michael,
sorry, I used before the wrong article's comment box
I easily comprehend the applicability of the given example of the perception of a dreamworld in dream to the subject of creation of thoughts :
If in a dream I did not perceive a dream world, that dream world would not be there at all.
Likewise I understand that the seeming snake is created only by my misconception of the rope.
If I look for instance into a mirror and see (perceive) the reflection of my face that reflection seems to be there only because I perceive it.
According Oxford Dictionary of English a thought is an idea or opinion produced by thinking, or occurring suddenly in the mind.
What you impart in the paragraph beginning with "Where are thoughts created ?..." particularly yugapat sṛṣṭi, simultaneous creation, and also the next two paragraphs I begin to understand at least mentally.
At the present moment however I am lacking still the required firm conviction
of the emphasized "simple facts" which you call the cornerstones of Bhagavan's teachings and therefore the key to understand them correctly.
Hence I pray to Ramana-Arunachala that the penny may begin to drop.
Oh Arunachala, how can you bear to withhold the necessary conviction from me by remaining motionless ?
At the next opportunity I will again study this article with great carefulness and meticulousness.

Mouna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mouna said...

Friends, greetings
Within the scope of the subject presented in this posting by Michael, I just stumbled upon some interesting very new philosophical/technological positions of these days that are somehow watered down in these two videos and parallel in a strange way Bhagavan’s teachings about ego projecting “reality” as “we" know it:

Is Reality Real? The Simulation Argument

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d9i_0Ty7Cg”>Are you in a simulation?</a>

(for some unknown reason, this last link may not be active here in the blog and you will need to copy and paste the address to watch it)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In his recent three comments, Michael has explained the concept of yugapat srsti (simultaneous creation). I would like to discuss this concept, as I understand from Michael’s three comments:

The theory of yugapat srsti says that only because we perceive things that they seem to exist, and therefore our perception of things and their creation happens simultaneously. This we can understand from our dream experience. The dream was not there before we perceived it, and therefore our perception of the dream brings about its simultaneous creation. As we know, the dream becomes non-existent when we stop perceiving it.

Likewise, it is our misperception of the rope as a snake that gives rise to the snake. The snake was never there, but it seemingly comes into existence only because we somehow see a snake instead of what is (a rope). We see a snake there, but someone else from a different angle may see the rope as the rope. So our ego's misperception causes the snake to appear in our view.

Likewise, we create this world by misperceiving what is. What is is what we actually are, but we misperceive it as the world in front of us. Therefore, this world is created by our mere perception of it. Similarly we create thoughts only when they appear in our awareness, and they cease to exist when we are not aware of them.

Similarly our ego is a misperception of ourself. Since everything grows out of our ego, if we can destroy our ego we will destroy the entire web of misperception, and the only way to destroy it is by looking carefully at it. Since it is an illusion, it won’t be able to withstand our close scrutiny and will therefore cease to exist.







Salazar said...

Hello Hector, first, “practicing” ahimsa is trying to improve the ego. It is the ego who believes it is doing ahimsa with the goal of an improvement of sorts. So in fact you try to improve the ego, what else could you (try to) improve? It appears you seem to be confused since you seem to be saying that you are not trying to improve your ego what you apparently do.

Now let me put it that way: The actions of your body in this life is predetermined by your prarabdha, you cannot do anything to change that. However you have the free will to turn within and dissociate from the belief to be a body and mind.

In addition your mind, being on a spiritual path, can use its free will to form desires to adhere to a certain advice from spiritual figures you admire. I.e. one of the principal advice is to not get attached to sense pleasures. However if your prarabdha has in store for this life that you in fact shall indulge in sex and food, all that good advice you'd like to adhere to cannot and won't work. So the mind struggles against prarabdhda and feels miserable. Bhagavan recommends to stay away from sex but you keep having sex with multiple partners. “I [seem to be] am a bad devotee!”

There is no reason to feel bad about any actions of your body, it is not you who are performing it (your ego just believes it is doing it what is false). It is just things from the past playing out to which you for sure do not want to identify with since then you will be never free.

However your mind's desire to build your spiritual life on a solid foundation has to manifest in one of your future lives. Your free will (as in “wanting” to practice ahimsa or getting non-attached etc.) is adding “good” vasanas to “bad” vasanas. So eventually down the road of a hundred or more life times your habit will have changed from indulging in sense pleasures to refrain from being enticed by them.

But that does not make you free, it just seems easier to follow a spiritual path. Adding good vasanas or good karma is not helping in the long run, we want to transcend both, good and bad.

That's why only inward attention like atma-vichara or summa iru will get us to the seeming goal. Outward “good” actions seem to be an aid, but only for beginners (who have no idea what atma-vichara is supposed to do) and that's why sages make these comments, to bring the beginner on to the right path. But in order that outward desires of a mind will fully manifest it will take quite a few life times.

Using “free will” for outward actions will delay freedom because they add new karma. Only when the mind is directed inwardly, new karma can be prevented and simultaneously everything else will fall into play without the need for any outward directions/actions.

Anyway, that's my understanding and that's what I believe are the sages saying too.

venkat said...

Salazar

"Outward “good” actions seem to be an aid, but only for beginners (who have no idea what atma-vichara is supposed to do) and that's why sages make these comments, to bring the beginner on to the right path"

A few observations.

First Bhagavan never differentiated between seekers - beginners or advanced - and gave the same advice.

Second, if, as you say, the sages believed that "outward 'good' actions could bring the beginner on to the right path", then that would seem to imply some belief by sages in free ill? And in any event, given such a belief in the benefits of good actions, why do you dismiss or dissuade people on this blog who try to follow the sages' / Bhagavan's advice?

Finally who is a beginner and who is advanced? If someone thinks s/he is advanced (and therefore does not need to try to follow the sages advice on living rightly), then surely that is simply the ego puffing itself up that it is advanced, whilst others are mere beginners.

Anonymous said...

"So the mind struggles against prarabdhda and feels miserable."


The struggling of the mind IS prarabdha and it is unavoidable. It is not just physical suffering but mental suffering also that is predetermined.

There is no escape except to turn within, if that is really possible, ie NOT predetermined. Maharshi Ramana assures us it is possible.

Salazar said...

venkat, are you actually reading my comments or are you deliberately trying to misunderstand them? I clearly said that there is free will, however apparently different than you would like it to have. Your free will cannot change the actions of your body in this life time. But you still can exercise it, wisely inwardly, foolishly outwardly.

And, Bhagavan did NOT give the same advice to everybody. Excuse me but that is BS. He gave advice according to the apparent maturity of the seeker, on the same day he gave one advice to a certain person, and then later the opposite advice to another one, seemingly contradicting himself. And still he saw only Self looking at them.

When will it dawn to you that these are all POINTERS? If you cling at the meaning at a certain verse in GVK then you'll stay in delusion forever. At some point you've to let go of Bhagavan's concepts and be on your own.

Anonymous said...

From above..

"First Bhagavan never differentiated between seekers - beginners or advanced - and gave the same advice."

Not true, he himself said that his explanations were suited to the needs of the questioner.

Salazar said...

Michael, yes – Robert Adams made very often contradicting comments as did Papaji and other sages. Since they are coming from Self that would make sense since Self encompasses both poles of duality and when they try to explain the “truth” it can only be in seemingly contradicting concepts.

Anyway, I don't believe that we can capture the mystery of Self-realization with logic, in fact in the Buddhist tradition the first thing one learns is to break through the duality of mind. I love the Hsin-Hsin Ming: Verses on the Faith-Mind with the translation by Richard Clarke. That is great description of enlightenment, the best one can put in concepts.

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
according Bhagavan thought alone is therefore the nature (svarūpa) of the mind and the world is nothing but thoughts.
Can a thought be composed also from matter ?
For example : Today I bodily was on the way in my hometown with public transport that are the underground railway and used also some passenger lifts/elevators and escalators.
May I put the perhaps naive question whether also my body, the earth, the railway carriage, the underground sations with their elevators and elevators, all the people I have seen on this day have to be considered as only thoughts ?

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
sorry about typos:
please read "stations with their elevators and escalators"...

mudal niṉaivu said...

Michael,
sections 1., 2.,and 3.,
"excluding thoughts there is no such thing as mind;... thought alone is therefore the nature (svarūpa) of the mind;... the world is nothing but thoughts;"
"...everything other than ourself (all phenomena, everything that appears and disappears) is just a thought...".
"...totality of all thoughts,
... the root and creator of all thoughts, namely the ego, which is the primal thought called 'I',... "
"Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called 'I' alone is the root."
"the ego is the original thought, being the thought that is aware of all other thoughts, so without it no other thought could exist"
"Though the ego is just a thought, it is fundamentally different to all other thoughts, because it is the only thought that is endowed with awareness, so whereas no other thought is aware either of itself or of anything else, the ego is aware both of itself and of all other thoughts. Therefore since all thoughts are just illusory appearances,..."
"Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called 'I' alone is the first thought [the primal, basic, original or causal thought]. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise."
"Thought alone is the svarūpa [the 'own form' or actual nature] of the mind. The thought called 'I' alone is the first thought of the mind; it alone is the ego."
"In both these passages he says that the ego or thought called ‘I’ is ‘முதல் நினைவு’ (mudal niṉaivu), ‘the first thought’,..."

In order to avoid any misunderstanding it is evidently important to define the term "thought".
May I ask you Michael please to try to paraphrase the essential features of this term.

Anonymous said...

@Salazar

Everything written here is useless.

We are trying to understand ramana teachings and look at him like he is some god.

This is wrong.

And won't matter when one gets self realized.

All that matters is to practice self inquiry and get self realized.

Arguments on what he really said and what not is useless.

One does not even have to follow Ramana.

There are plenty of other self realized yogis that by self inquiry got self realized.

In fact, why should one follow Ramana who got in 1 moment self realized???

I rather follow a yogi who for a couple of years practiced self inquiry and then got self realized as he knows what to watch out from during the journey and might have a roadmap of experiences to provide.

Everyone is wasting their times including me writing this post.

Everyone should just practice and shut up or else it's just spiritual entertainment.

PS: I doubt Michael James hold the believe that other yogis are self realized... I get the impression he only believes Ramana is the only one that got ever self realized and is a far off imagination goal to achieve.

atisaya sakti said...

Anonymous,
you believe to be a particularly wily customer.
You are right in saying that Ramana Maharshi is not like some god.
He is the beginningless, limitless and undivided wholeness, the one self-substance (Siva-svarupa), which is our own being and our real nature.
The "plenty of other self realized yogis that by self inquiry got self realized" might give you the required or at least desired roadmap to set you on your imagined journey.
Of course everybody is free to follow his choosen belief.
Good luck !

mudal niṉaivu said...

Michael,
section 4.,
"...therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or fundamental nature] of the mind."
Again : to correctly understand this sentence we should know the content and the significance of the term "thought".
Or do I attach too much importance to the meaning of that term ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you wrote in your recent comment addressed to Hector: ‘Hello Hector, first, “practicing” ahimsa is trying to improve the ego. […] There is no reason to feel bad about any actions of your body, it is not you who are performing it (your ego just believes it is doing it what is false). […] Outward “good” actions seem to be an aid, but only for beginners […]'

If we regularly indulge in acts of himsa (violence towards other sentient being), it definitely shows a strong ego. It shows at attitude of ‘I care only for myself’ or of ‘only my happiness matters, and therefore others who do not contribute to my happiness can be done away with’.

An attitude of ahimsa should be our natural attitude towards others, because basically we are all sentient being, and therefore are exactly like each other. However, when we indulge in acts of himsa, it shows that we have alienated ourself from them, and this makes our ego fat and strong.

We should treat others as we would like others to treat us. However, this is not possible (at least not totally possible) as long as we experience ourself as an ego. However, by consciously trying to practise ahimsa, we try to bring down the gap between ourself and others, and to that extent we are letting our ego subside.

It would be useful if you read Michael’s article: Why are compassion and ahimsa necessary in a dream? to further understand as to why we should have compassion towards others. The following are based on his ideas in the article:

Because we (Salazar or Sanjay) seem to be real, all other people seem to be also as real as we are, and therefore their suffering should matter to us, just like our suffering matters to us.

We should act in this world as if it is real, although inwardly we should doubt the reality of the world.

If we practise self-investigation and thereby weaken our attachments to the person that we now experience as ‘I’, our sense of distinction between ‘I’ and ‘others’ will also begin to dissolve, so we naturally feel compassion when see others suffering.

As long as we experience ourself as a person, our first priority should be to investigate ourself to find out who we actually are. However, we simultaneously also have to act in this world in order to arrange resources for our food, clothing and shelter, and while we do so, we should be careful not to cause any intentional or unintentional harm to others.

In fact, we should try and alleviate the suffering of other sentient beings whenever we come across such suffering, because by helping others we are helping ourselves.

As Sri Ramana says at the end of the nineteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? (Who am I?):

All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If [everyone] knew this truth, who indeed would remain without giving?

So now I will directly respond to the statements made by you:

You say: ‘practicing ahimsa is trying to improve the ego’. I will not call it trying to ‘improve the ego’, but rather I would say ‘practising ahimsa is trying to weaken our ego’.

You say, ‘There is no reason to feel bad about any actions of your body, it is not you who are performing it (your ego just believes it is doing it what is false)’. We should definitely feel bad if, intentionally or even unintentionally, we indulge in any sort of violence (either mental, vocal or physical) towards others. We would recall how Bhagavan repented, when he accidentally disturbed the hornets’ nest.

You say; ‘Outward “good” actions seem to be an aid, but only for beginners […]’. Our good actions are an aid, irrespective of whether we consider ourself to be a beginner or an advanced practitioner. We cannot just ignore the principle of ahimsa at any stage of our practice. In fact if we have not yet given up himsa, it would be a reliable indicator that we have not progressed far in our practice.
















atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
section 4.,
"...so though it is not real as such, it does contain an element of reality, namely awareness (cit), from which it derives its seeming power. The entire power of creation lies only in the ego, because it alone creates the appearance of everything else..."
In the face of the gigantic power of creation could one not be satisfied with being aware of only the ego ?
Someone with a provocative temperament could ask : What is the need or gain when atma-svarupa shines ?
Lets weigh up the pros and cons ! What is the advantage of being aware of ourself as we actually are ?
Let us be satisfied when the world appears ! We can't complain - Why should we refuse to accept that we are aware of ourself not completely as we actually are but only of anything else ?

Salazar said...

Anonymous, to dismiss entirely this blog is going to the extreme. I am certain that it can be helpful for those who feel so inclined. Even though I mentioned that eventually one has to let go of Bhagavan's concepts, that was in no way to diminish the great value of Bhagavan's teachings. Furthermore to dismiss or criticize Bhagavan is everybodies prerogative but I'd be cautious about that. If he'd be in his body today I'd prostate in front of him in full length acknowledging him as the sat-guru. And that would be not just some meaningless gesture, it would come from the depth of my heart.

Furthermore if he'd bless me with any instructions, I'd follow them in full. Even if my mind seems to believe otherwise because he'll always better know than I ever could.

I don't believe that Michael believes that Bhagavan is the only one who got Self-realized but he has chosen his guru and sticks with him and I applaud him for that.

I concur that going inwardly is better than to comment or discuss, but it appears that our prarabdha is letting us make comments on this blog. But one can also do atma-vichara while posting comments or discussing.

Thangakkai said...

Salazar,
"If he'd be in his body today I'd prostate in front of him in full length acknowledging him as the sat-guru. And that would be not just some meaningless gesture, it would come from the depth of my heart.
Furthermore if he'd bless me with any instructions, I'd follow them in full. Even if my mind seems to believe otherwise because he'll always better know than I ever could."
We are blessed already with instructions. But are we ready to understand them correctly and follow them unconditionally ?
Permit me to make a remark:
To like calling out unctuous or rapturous exclamations I feel somehow superfluous and hypocritical.

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
since I put today the perhaps naive question "...whether also my body, the earth, the railway carriage, the underground stations with their elevators and escalators, all the people I have seen on this day have to be considered as only thoughts ?" at 00:52
I would reply to me according section 8.:
What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa (the real nature of ourself), so all multiplicity is just an illusory appearance that seems to exist only in the view of the ego, which itself does not actually exist.
Or would you intend to still add something ?

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, I disagree with almost everything in your last comment. Your whole comment shows that you do not grasp where I am coming from.

Just one example: I said to not feel bad about the actions of your body. Very important! Now that doesn't mean to endorse any wrong doing like i.e. slapping somebody. It means to realize that there is no do-er even when seemingly the ego has risen. That is the whole purpose of atma-vichara.

If you want to run around feeling like a sinner with the need to atone then you really have not understand Self-realization at all. And I just realized that you won't get that yet and therefore I won't try to "explain".

I have no problem with your belief and please do what you feel is right. I do not share the "spirit" of your last comment at all. You are missing quite a few things here and I suppose that can't be grasped with the mind or any "manana".

I think your best asset is your sincere desire. Blessings.

Salazar said...

Thangakkai, there is a difference if you receive instructions directly from the sat-guru than to take a saying from a book. Because the sat-guru knows exactly where you are and where you are stuck and he gives you the best advice which is necessary AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME! The same advice could be totally wrong a year before or after.

The only instruction from Bhagavan which is valid at any time and for everybody equally is to do atma-vichara or summa iru. Other instructions may good for one person but bad for another one.

Re. you last sentence: So you are calling me a hypocrite? You can look into my heart and see if I am sincere or not? :-)

Thangakkai said...

Salazar,
our sat-guru has not vanished. Is he not dwelling in our heart ?
Do we need any other instruction than atma-vichara which is necessary till all ignorance is blown away ?
Of course, my assumption regarding sincerness is certainly unfounded. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you write in your comment addressed to Anonymous, ‘If he'd [Bhagavan had] be in his body today I'd prostate in front of him in full length acknowledging him as the sat-guru. And that would be not just some meaningless gesture, it would come from the depth of my heart’.

I appreciate your sentiments, but Bhagavan is very much there in our heart, and therefore we can and must prostrate to him as often as we can. How to do so? Bhagavan has made this clear in the 13th paragraph of Nan Yar?:

Being completely absorbed in ātma-niṣṭhā [self-abidance], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any thought other than ātma-cintanā [thought of oneself or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God.

So ‘being absorbed in atma-nistha [self-abidance]’ is the most direct and simple way to prostrate to Bhagavan. Why do we need him in a physical body in order to prostrate to him?

You further say, ‘Furthermore if he'd bless me with any instructions, I'd follow them in full. Even if my mind seems to believe otherwise because he'll always better know than I ever could’. But he has already given us his written instructions in his works like Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Yar and Upadesa Undiyar.

These instructions have been given in very simple terms, and therefore are very clear. Why do you again want him to appear in body to repeat his instructions? If you want to follow his instructions, why do you disagree with may for his fundamental principles of his teachings?

• You do not think that we should try changing our diet, whereas Bhagavan insists that we consume (or at least try to consume) a vegetarian diet

• You do not think that we should bother about the ego, whereas Bhagavan’s entire teachings are based on the fact that ego does seem to exist

• You do not believe that we can do any outward directed actions using our free will, whereas Bhagavan has taught us that we create our destiny only by misusing our free will

He has told us whatever needed to be told.

You also say, ‘I concur that going inwardly is better than to comment or discuss, but it appears that our prarabdha is letting us make comments on this blog. But one can also do atma-vichara while posting comments or discussing’. Surely, I fully agree with you here.











pearl diver said...

Salazar,
you claim "there is no do-er". What then is at all ?

Salazar said...

Thangakkai, yes - the only instruction we need is atma-vichara. That is what I am saying since my first comment.

But apparently there are many other things people seem to look after here.....

pearl diver said...

Salazar,
instead of complaining about "But apparently there are many other things people seem to look after here....."
you may hence open your windows not outwards but look at yourself inwardly with scrupulous scrutiny. Smile.

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-jyoti, you asked Michael, 'Can a thought be composed also from matter?’ Yes, what appears as matter or non-conscious objects are nothing but our thoughts or ideas.
Whatever phenomena we experience is merely our thoughts or ideas. Bhagavan teaches this in the 4th paragraph of Nan Yar?:

What is called ‘mind’ 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. When one sets aside all thoughts and sees, solitarily there is no such thing as ‘mind’; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or fundamental nature] of the mind. Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as ‘world’.

When we experience any world in our dream, everything in that dream appears to be real. But when we wake up we realize that that dream world was merely our mind’s imagination. Likewise whatever we experience in our so called waking state in also our mind’s imagination.

Therefore, yes, earth, railway carriage, underground stations with their elevators, all the people you see (including the person atma-jyoti) are only your thoughts or mental ideas. Were these things there in you sleep? No, all these only appeared when your mind or ego arose to see these things.

Salazar said...

Sanja Lohia, sigh – alright, “Bhagavan is in our heart” –so what is the problem with my hypothetical prostration? Why are you clinging so much on certain concepts? Why the obsession to denounce a guru in a physical body?
Also my comment did not imply the need for a guru in a physical body; however you seem to think so. It is quite exasperating to deal with all of your assumptions.

Alright let’s humor your assumptions:

Sanjay: “You do not think that we should try changing our diet, whereas Bhagavan insists that we consume (or at least try to consume) a vegetarian diet.”

Salazar: “No, that is not what I said. I said that people can try to change their diet, but if the body is eating that diet is entirely up to prarabdha which may lead to that diet or not and the desires for a different diet will manifest in a future life.”

Sanjay: ”You do not think that we should bother about the ego, whereas Bhagavan’s entire teachings are based on the fact that ego does seem to exist.”

Salazar: “I said we should not bother about the ego because acknowledging the ego is sustaining it. I absolutely do not agree with Michael’s premise that we need to assume an ego to “destroy” it. Why? That is a faulty assumption. Papaji would have had a hearty laugh hearing that.
Bhagavan’s entire teaching is NOT based on the fact that an ego seems to exist. It is based on the fact that we ARE Self and that we erroneously believe to be an ego. That is quite a difference!”

Sanjay: “You do not believe that we can do any outward directed actions using our free will, whereas Bhagavan has taught us that we create our destiny only by misusing our free will.”

Salazar: “Huh? Your last sentence is nonsense. Destiny is created by any “use” of free will, that is the law of karma! The only time no karma is created is when there is no sense of doership. And yes, the mind cannot direct any outward actions of the body unless it is aligned with prarabdha, that is Bhagavan’s teaching and also Papaji’s and Robert Adams’ etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

https://aeon.co/ideas/our-illusory-sense-of-agency-has-a-deeply-important-social-purpose

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Thanks very much for your reply,
I will get back to you about it during the weekend.
Cheers.
H

atma-jyoti said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I try to understand the "practical aspect" of our world appearance which is said to be only illusory.
How can also the transportation of the body be only my thought ?
What is then a thought at all ?
In case that I would have fallen asleep for instance during the flight from London to Chennai can I really claim at my awakening from deep sleep then at the Chennai airport that the entire flight was only my mind's imagination even when I bodily entered the BA - aircraft "actually" in Heathrow-airport as can be proved ?
Could I try then to get back my payment made for the flight ticket if would claim in Chennai that the booked flight has not really happened at all ? Smile. I would rather end up in the loony bin.

Anonymous said...

Talk 116
25th December, 1935

D.: Jiva is said to be bound by karma. Is it so?

Maharshi: Let karma enjoy its fruits. As long as you are the doer so long are you the enjoyer.

D.: How to get released from karma.

Maharshi: See whose karma it is. You will find you are not the doer. Then you will be free. This requires grace of God for which you should pray to Him, worship Him and meditate on Him. The karma which takes place without effort, i.e., involuntary action, is not binding.

Even a Jnani is acting as seen by his bodily movements. There can be no karma without effort or without intentions (sankalpas). Therefore there are sankalpas for all. They are of two kinds (1) one, binding - bandha-hetu and the other (2) mukti-hetu - not binding. The former must be given up and the latter must be cultivated. There
is no fruit without previous karma; no karma without previous sankalpa. Even multi must be the result of effort so long as the sense of doership persists.

Sanjay Srivastava said...

@Sanjay Lohia

"You do not believe that we can do any outward directed actions using our free will, whereas Bhagavan has taught us that we create our destiny only by misusing our free will"

Any reference to Bhagavan's view on free will, will be useful.

From my readings I have come to know at least two occasions where Bhagavan seemingly supported hard determinism (First in his letter to mother, and second in his reply to one devotee). While his reference to free will seem to be more circumspect or at least not as explicit. Some time back Michael had analysed on this blog Bhagavan's letter to his mother showing that Bhagavan did not dismiss free will. However, even then it is obvious to anyone that in Bhagavan's letter to his mother determinism is very forcefully and explicitly mentioned. But allowance for free will is at best implied.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sanjay Srivastava, let us carefully consider Bhagavan’s note that he wrote for his mother, to understand Bhagavan’s view on the respective roles of free will and destiny in our life:

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.

God will make us do and experience whatever we are destined to do and experience, and this is certain. But how has this destiny come about? It has to be the result of our past actions done by our free will, because without such actions, on what basis can God decide our destiny. Bhagavan clearly states this in his note by saying, ‘According to their-their prārabdha, he who is for that being there-there will cause to dance […]’. Thus our prarabdha (destiny) clearly implies our previous agamya (actions done by our free will).

We have freedom to try changing our destiny by trying to act contrary to our destiny. Bhagavan indicates this by saying:

• whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]
• whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]

Therefore whatever is not to happen, will certainly not happen, but we can make effort to make it happen, and this effort to make it happen is the result of our free will. What is to happen will certainly happen, but we can make effort to stall its happening, and this effort to stop what is to happen is again the result of our free will.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my reply to Sanjay Srivastava:

In the last sentence of his note Bhagavan says, ‘Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good’. If we are not free to act, how can we choose to remain silent? Therefore, Bhagavan clearly implies here that we our free not to act by remaining self-attentive, if we so wish. So free will is the very basis of the entire cycle of karmas.

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.

I may make all sort of effort by mind, speech and body to become the CEO of a multinational company, but if I am not destined to become one, all my efforts will fail. However I am free to make all sorts of efforts to become a CEO by exercising my free will.

Of course it is almost impossible to find out which of our actions are driven by free will and which are driven by our destiny. However, as long as our ego is alive, we can be pretty sure that both these forces are operational in our life.









nuṇ mati said...

Anonymous,
regarding your quotation of the talk of 25 th December 1935
we should read "mukti" instead of "multi" (last line).

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-jyoti, you ask, ‘What is then a thought at all?’ Bhagavan has indicated this in the 4th paragraph of Nan Yar:

When one sets aside all thoughts and sees, solitarily there is no such thing as ‘mind’; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or fundamental nature] of the mind. Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as ‘world’. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world.

Therefore a 'thought’ is the svarupa [‘own form’ or fundamental nature] of the mind. When our ego and mind comes into existence, it does so by grasping a form (our body), and it continues grasping (or attending to) more and more objects in order to keep itself alive. Whatever the ego or mind grasps or attends to is a thought or idea. All thoughts are jada (non-conscious) objects.

We can say that a 'thought’ is our attention away from ourself, and such outward directed attention results in all the phenomena we experience. These phenomena can be in form of ideas or images in our mind, or can be in the form of objects which seem to be outside our body.

I would request Michael to correct my above descriptions of what a thought is, because I may not have described it in very clear terms.

In our dream we may witness a flood or a plane crash or someone strangling us with an intention to murder us, and as a result we may have some spine-chilling moments, but when we wake up we find that these were all our imaginations. So our mind has an extraordinary power of imagination, and therefore it is this very power which creates this entire world. This world comes into existence only when we experience it, and ceases to exist when we stop experiencing it.

So, yes, your every objective experience is your imagination, and nothing exists outside of yourself. So your London-Chennai flight, your falling asleep on the BA aircraft, and everything was just part of your dream, and even if you ask for a refund for this flight (because it never actually took place), it will also be part of your dream.

You say, ‘I would rather end up in the loony bin’, implying that if you ask for a refund for this imaginary flight, you will be considered mad and therefore put in mental asylum. As long as we experience ourself as a person (atma-jyoti, Sanjay or whatever) we should not act in this world as if it is unreal. Everything else is as real as atma-jyoti or Sanjay, so we should act accordingly.

However, inwardly we should constantly try to impress upon ourself that everything we experience, including atma-jyoti and Sanjay, is unreal, our imagination.



venkat said...

Salazar

Bhagavan's core advice to all seekers - whether beginners or advanced - was, as you rightly point out, just atma vichara.

However he also gave other advice - like the verses on pursuing humility, desirelessness, folllowing moral codes, etc. I don't think that he ever tempered this advice with: if it is the body's destiny is to not follow these codes, don't worry about it. You may well be correct that this advice was only meant for beginners and not to advanced disciples.

As an aside, the whole of the Bhagavad Gita is about Krishna giving advice to a beginner, Arjuna, who thought that he understood the truth, and so wanted to escape from life's challenges, to become a sannyasin. Krishna taught Arjuna that his was only superficial knowledge, and his desire to become a sannyasin was actually motivated by his ego, and therefore that he first needed to develop a high degree of dispassion and detachment, before he would attain jnana.

I accept that you may be an advanced student. And perhaps that is why you seem to be exasperated by others on this blog, who are discussing these other parts of Bhagavan's teaching. But if Bhagavan / Murugunar / Sadhu Om saw fit to provide this advice, why do you, as an advanced student, seek to berate others, in trying to follow and understand it?

Michael James said...

Mudal Niṉaivu, in reply to the comment in which you quote many passages from the first three sections of this article (most of which are translations of Bhagavan’s writings) and then ask me to define the term ‘thought’, what Bhagavan means by the terms ‘நினைவு’ (niṉaivu) and ‘எண்ணம்’ (eṇṇam), both of which mean ‘thought’ or ‘idea’, is a mental phenomenon of any kind whatsoever.

However, as you can see from the passages you quoted, according to Bhagavan everything other than our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure self-awareness, is just a thought, so all phenomena — everything that appears and disappears — are thoughts. That is, not only all the objects that we perceive but also ourself as this ego, the subject who perceives them, are just thoughts, because what appears and disappears is not only objects (phenomena) but also the subject (the ego).

What Bhagavan means by saying that the ego and all phenomena are just thoughts is that they are all just manōmaya or mental in nature. That is, they do not exist independent of the mind that perceives them, and since the perceiving element of the mind is only the ego, they all seem to exist only in its view. Even the ego itself seems to exist only in its own view, but it seems to exist only when it is looking at objects (anything other than itself), because when it tries to look back at itself, the subject, it dissolves and disappears, being just an illusory phantom (something that seems to exist, but only until one closely examines it).

Michael James said...

Atma-Jyoti, in answer to your question, ‘Can a thought be composed also from matter?’, no, because matter is perceived only by the ego, which is itself just a thought, so we have no adequate evidence to support the assumption that matter exists independent of our perception of it. We suppose that matter exists only because we perceive it, but what we perceive is not actually matter but only a mental impression of matter, so why should we believe that matter is anything other than a mental impression?

Nowadays many philosophers and scientists, particularly neuroscientists, believe that thoughts are just electrochemical activity in the brain, but in whose view do the brain and all its electrochemical activity seem to exist? Only in the view of ourself as this ego. The brain and its electrochemical activity seem to exist only because we perceive them, but as I said above, what we perceive is not any physical phenomena (such as the brain) but only mental impressions of physical phenomena, so the idea that physical phenomena are anything other than mental impressions (thoughts) is not justified by any evidence that we have or ever could have, because how could we ever know that anything we perceive exists independent of our perception of it?

Though you asked the question, ‘Can a thought be composed also from matter?’, the example you gave and subsequent question you asked seem to imply that what you meant to ask was actually the opposite, namely whether matter can be composed only of thought, because what you ask in your subsequent question is: ‘May I put the perhaps naive question whether also my body, the earth, the railway carriage, the underground stations with their elevators and escalators, all the people I have seen on this day have to be considered as only thoughts?’

If our present state is just a dream, as Bhagavan tells it is, and which we have no adequate evidence to disprove, all the phenomena we perceive in this state must be just our own mental projection, as are all the phenomena we see in a dream. While dreaming the world we then perceive seems to be physical, but actually it was all mental, because it was composed only of our own thoughts.

In a dream we perceive numerous phenomena of various kinds, but are any of them anything other than our own thoughts? Likewise, why should we believe that any of the phenomena we perceive in our present state are composed of anything other than our own thoughts?

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Atma-Jyoti:

With the limited faculties of our ego, which is so deluded that it mistakes itself to be one body in this state and some other body in a dream, we cannot prove that this world does not exist independent of our perception of it, but we have no adequate evidence to suggest that it does exist intendent of our perception of it, so in accordance with the judicial principle ‘innocent until proven guilty’ (or its more detailed expression: ‘the burden of proof lies on one who asserts, not on one who denies’), we should not assume that anything exists independent of our perception of it unless we have sufficient evidence to prove that it does, which we can never have.

For example, when scientists first asserted that the universe began with a big bang about 13.8 billion years ago, the burden of proof lay on them, not on others who denied it. They would rightly have been laughed at if instead of showing any evidence to support their assertion they had challenged others to disprove it. Likewise the burden of proof lies on those who assert that the world exists independent of our perception of it, not on those who deny or doubt this assertion.

However, we are each free to believe whatever we want to believe. If we want to believe that phenomena exist independent of our perception of them, we are free to do so, and no one can prevent us, but if we also want to be reasonable, we must at least acknowledge that we have no adequate evidence to support our belief that anything exists independent of our perception of it.

Regarding the question you ask in a later comment, ‘What is then a thought at all?’, you can read the reply I wrote earlier today to someone else who asked a similar question.

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-jyoti, when I was trying to reflect on your question, ‘What is then a thought at all?’, I was clearly struggling with words, because my understanding was not clear in this respect. However, Michael has answered this question most clearly in his recent comment addressed to Mudal Ninaivu. You can read it if you have not already done so.

The extra thing which he has made clear is: ‘That is, not only all the objects that we perceive but also ourself as this ego, the subject who perceives them, are just thoughts, because what appears and disappears is not only objects (phenomena) but also the subject (the ego)’.

Michael also clarified: ‘What Bhagavan means by saying that the ego and all phenomena are just thoughts is that they are all just manōmaya or mental in nature. That is, they do not exist independent of the mind that perceives them’.

The term manomaya (or manomayam am katchi) was used by Bhagavan in verse 20 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Leaving oneself, who sees, oneself seeing God is seeing a mental vision [manomaya]. Only one who sees oneself, the origin [or base] of oneself, is one who has seen God, because oneself, the root, having gone, oneself is not other than God.

We should not confuse this manomaya (which means ‘mental in nature’ or ‘mental vision’) with mana-maya (which means ‘mind which is maya’). Since these are quite similar words, we should be careful not to confuse one term with another.





Salazar said...

venkat, first let me say that I do not diminish the value of humility and no desire, yes they are quite necessary. I was referring to the means to “acquire” these virtues.
And you are quite right, it is not okay to berate others and that is unfortunately a strong vasana which keeps coming up. I am quite aware if it and of course, “I” do not like it and wish I could be as compassionate and wise as Bhagavan/Murugunar/Sadhu Om. Bhagavan said that humility is a clear sign for advancement and if I apply that for myself I cannot be possibly advanced.

Now what I have learned though over the years is that it is quite necessary to be aware of one's shortcomings in order to keep a perspective where one really is, however it is not helpful at all to dwell on it or to “work” on these shortcomings other than to turn within. For reasons I have outlined before but are not as welcomed as I had expected.

What is advancement? How to measure it? I don't think that is possible unless you are a Jnani. I have come across many spiritual seekers and teachers and after awhile it always becomes clear that humility is in very short supply with all of them. True humility is only after realization, before and as long as the ego seems to exist, true humility is impossible. Bhagavan suggested humility but I don't believe that he suggested it with the idea that people are supposed to try to be humble. That can only be contrived.

We can lament over our “bad” ego on this blog and disparage it and make all kinds of announcements aping Murugunar, but that is just fake humility. Humility cannot be cultivated, it is a natural by-product of atma-vichara. It is a waste of time to worry of being humble or not, with atma-vichara we “dive” into the realm of humility naturally and without effort.

Be well venkat.

Yuvaraj said...

"I am a superior sadhak" is a disease I am afflicted with. Found a medicine...in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna...

"Many people think that their opinion alone is right and others' opinions are wrong; that they alone have won and others have lost. But a person who has gone forward may be detained by some slight obstacle, and someone who has been lagging behind may then steal a march on him. In the game of Golokdham one may advance a great deal, but still somehow one's piece may fail to reach the goal."

Here is the Golokdham game board...can spend hours...fascinating!

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/education/games/Snakes&LaddersGameBoard.pdf

and here is an essay on the game...

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Board-Of-Life/articleshow/47931072.cms

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
many thanks for your reply which I am studying only just.
Regarding "but we have no adequate evidence to suggest that it does exist intendent of our perception of it" I am puzzling at the moment over the meaning of the word "intendent" which I cannot find in my dictionary. Is it possibly a typo and should go also as "independent" ?

mudal niṉaivu said...

Michael,
I thank you gratefully for your response which gives me a nasty shock. Not only my physical heart is throbbing - my present conception of the world stands on its head.
I certainly do not mistrust Bhagavan and you. Somehow I feel that even an almost spiritual novice/greenhorn like I should try to comprehend or verify your statement.
Nobody but I self will be able to reliably testify and prove the full correctness of your heart-rending assertion.
I only can turn to the inner Arunachala or Bhagavan Ramana for advice.
I must now try to completely get over and understand what you have written.
Thank you Michael.

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
what you wrote today to me (as mudal ninaivu) stirs me deeply. It moves me to the depths of my soul. Now I must try to assimilate your comment by own practical experience.
Many thanks.

atma-jyoti said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for your comments in reply to my questions which were not without an element of comedy or inexpert grotesque.

Salazar said...

Yuvaraj or "Ravi", it never fails but having your judgmental finger pointing at others. Instead to look for the splinters in the eyes of others, why don't you look at that huge log in your own eye?

Michael James said...

Atma-Jyoti, regarding your query about the word ‘intendent’ in the first paragraph of my previous comment in reply to you, I am not surprised that you could not find it in your dictionary because it seems to be a new spelling of ‘independent’ invented by my fingers and not spotted by my eyes.

And all this time I thought I was the doer! Obviously Bhagavan was right and I was wrong.

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
ah, your fingers typed a funny abbreviation, a "t" for "dep". No matter.
I am not really with it: In which point was Bhagavan right and you wrong ?.

Michael James said...

Atma-Jyoti, what I meant was that we suffer from the delusion that we are the doer of whatever actions are done by our mind, speech or body, but Bhagavan says that we are not the doer (or more precisely, he says that what we actually are is not the doer of any actions, but that when we rise as this ego and thereby become aware of ourself as if we were a body and mind, we consequently seem to be the doer of their actions).

For example, while my fingers were typing as directed by my mind, and while my mind was thinking what to type, I seemed to be the one who was thinking and typing. I intended to type ‘independent’, but my mind must have jumbled up the message to my fingers, so they typed ‘intendent’ instead. Nevertheless, it still seems to me that I was the one who typed that reply to you.

So who is correct: Bhagavan, who says that I am not the doer, or me, who claims I am the doer? I have to admit that he is right and I am wrong.

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
does Bhagavan recognize or accept at all that any action has been ever done ?
Does he allow at all the assumption of any doer ?

Anonymous said...

Bhagavad Gita chap 4.16

What is action? What is inaction? As to this even the wise are confused. Therefore, I shall teach thee such action (the nature of action and inaction), by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from the evil (of Samsara, birth and death)

Anonymous said...

Attakari Sutta: The Self-Doer 6.38

Then a certain brahman approached the Blessed One; having approached the Blessed One, he exchanged friendly greetings. After pleasant conversation had passed between them, he sat to one side. Having sat to one side, the brahman spoke to the Blessed One thus:

“Venerable Gotama, I am one of such a doctrine, of such a view: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer.’”[1]

“I have not, brahman, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself [2] — say: ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’? What do you think, brahmin, is there an element or principle of initiating or beginning an action?”[3]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of initiating, are initiating beings [4] clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of initiating, initiating beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer. [5]

“What do you think, brahmin, is there an element of exertion [6] ... is there an element of effort [7] ... is there an element of steadfastness [8] ... is there an element of persistence [9] ... is there an element of endeavoring?” [10]

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“When there is an element of endeavoring, are endeavoring beings clearly discerned?”

“Just so, Venerable Sir.”

“So, brahmin, when there is the element of endeavoring, endeavoring beings are clearly discerned; of such beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer. I have not, brahmin, seen or heard such a doctrine, such a view as yours. How, indeed, could one — moving forward by himself, moving back by himself — say ‘There is no self-doer, there is no other-doer’?”

“Superb, Venerable Gotama! Superb, Venerable Gotama! Venerable Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been turned upside down, revealing what had been concealed, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark: ‘Those who have eyes see forms!’ Just so, the Venerable Gotama has illuminated the Dhamma in various ways. I go to Venerable Gotama as refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to the assembly of monks. From this day, for as long as I am endowed with breath, let Venerable Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge.”

Anonymous said...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an06/an06.038.niza.html

atma-jyoti said...

Anonymous,
regrettably I do not clearly understand the essential content of the given conversation. The terms "self-doer" and "other-doer" don't mean much to me.
So what is the gist of what Venerable Gotama said ?
Is there any doer of action or not ?
If there is any doer, who is the doer ?

Anonymous said...

atma jyoti,

Please look at the link I provided IF you are interested.

Notes
1.
“Natthi attakāro, natthi parakāro.” Some people might have expected the Buddha to have approved highly of this naïve negative doctrine. The fact that he very succinctly and effectively refutes it is extremely instructive and of great significance for gaining a better understanding of the depth, subtlety, and holism of the Buddha’s actual teaching. Although the Buddha taught that there is no permanent, eternal, immutable, independently-existing core “self” (attā), he also taught that there is “action” or “doing”, and that it is therefore meaningful to speak of one who intends, initiates, sustains and completes actions and deeds, and who is therefore an ethically responsible and culpable being. It should be quite clear from its usage in this sutta, and from the argument of this sutta, that kāra in atta-kāra must be an agent noun, “doer, maker”: this is strongly entailed, for example, by the Buddha’s statement: “ārabbhavanto sattā paññāyanti, ayaṃ sattānaṃ attakāro ayaṃ parakāro”, “initiating beings are clearly discerned: of (such) beings, this is the self-doer, this, the other-doer” (AN iii.338). (This is perhaps even clearer than the term hāra in bhāra-hāra meaning “bearer” (“burden-bearer”) in SN 22.22 (Bhāra Sutta: The Burden; PTS SN iii.25). SN 22.22, which describes the “bearer” of the “burden” of the “five clung-to aggregates” (pañc-upādāna-kkhandhā) as the “person” (puggala), is arguably very closely related to AN 6.38 in meaning and implications. See SN 22.22 and also SN 12.61, note 1.) Atta-kāra could mean that one motivates oneself, or that one acts upon oneself; para-kāra could refer to the atta-kāra as seen from a third-person perspective, or to one who acts upon another being or thing. In each one of these cases, there is necessarily an all-important moment of initiation of action (see also footnotes 2 and 3, below). As for the form of the term atta-kārī, which occurs in the title of this sutta, compare the expression: “yathā-vādī tathā-kārī”, “one who speaks thus, one who does thus”; or, in other words, “he does as he says”, “he practises what he preaches” (compare, for example, PTS DN iii.135, AN ii.24, Sn 359).

Divine Madman said...

Salazar

With regards what you typed below:

[it is not okay to berate others and that is unfortunately a strong vasana which keeps coming up. I am quite aware if it and of course, “I” do not like it and wish I could be as compassionate and wise as Bhagavan/Murugunar/Sadhu Om. Bhagavan said that humility is a clear sign for advancement and if I apply that for myself I cannot be possibly advanced.]

Yes I agree.

You also typed later on:

[Yuvaraj or "Ravi", it never fails but having your judgmental finger pointing at others. Instead to look for the splinters in the eyes of others, why don't you look at that huge log in your own eye?]

The pot calling the kettle black.

Michael James said...

Atma-Jyoti, in answer to your two questions, ‘does Bhagavan recognize or accept at all that any action has been ever done? Does he allow at all the assumption of any doer?’, as he says in the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]’, and as he explained elsewhere, ātma-svarūpa is infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, so it never does anything. Therefore in effect he denied that any action has ever occurred.

However, though ātma-svarūpa alone actually exists, in the view of ourself as this ego not only this ego but also all the phenomena perceived by it seem to exist, and since as this ego we always experience a body and mind as if they were ourself, we seem to be the doer of whatever actions are done by this body, speech and mind.

Therefore Bhagavan does not accept that any action ever actually happens, but he does concede that actions (karmas or kriyās) seem to happen and that we seem to be the doer of them, because in our view this seems to be the case. That is, in order to show us the means by which we can escape the delusion of doership (kartṛtva) and action (karma) he must first concede that they seem to exist, at least in our view, but he explains that they are not real, and that if we investigate ourself, who now seem to be the doer, the doer (namely the ego) will dissolve and disappear, and what will then remain is only ātma-svarūpa, which is eternally free from even the slightest doership or action.

This is clearly explained by him in verse 38 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:

வினைமுதனா மாயின் விளைபயன் றுய்ப்போம்
வினைமுதலா ரென்று வினவித் — தனையறியக்
கர்த்தத் துவம்போய்க் கருமமூன் றுங்கழலு
நித்தமா முத்தி நிலை.

viṉaimudaṉā māyiṉ viḷaipayaṉ ḏṟuyppōm
viṉaimudalā reṉḏṟu viṉavit — taṉaiyaṟiyak
karttat tuvampōyk karumamūṉ ḏṟuṅkaṙalu
nittamā mutti nilai
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினைமுதல் நாம் ஆயின், விளை பயன் துய்ப்போம். வினைமுதல் ஆர் என்று வினவி தனை அறிய, கர்த்தத்துவம் போய், கருமம் மூன்றும் கழலும். நித்தமாம் முத்தி நிலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaimudal nām āyiṉ, viḷai payaṉ tuyppōm. viṉaimudal ār eṉḏṟu viṉavi taṉai aṟiya, karttattuvam pōy, karumam mūṉḏṟum kaṙalum. nittam-ām mutti nilai.

English translation: If we are the doer of action, we will experience the resulting fruit. [However] when one knows oneself by investigating who is the doer of action, doership will depart and all the three karmas will slip off. [This is] the state of liberation, which is eternal.

atma-jyoti said...

Anonymous, thank you for giving the notes to the referred sutta.

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
many thanks for your clarifying reply to my two questions put in a previous comment.
When you explain "Therefore Bhagavan does not accept that any action ever actually happens, but he does concede that actions (karmas or kriyās) seem to happen and that we seem to be the doer of them, because in our view this seems to be the case."
you obviously refer to the above mentioned concession which is also recognizable in your English translation: "If we are the doer of action, we will experience the resulting fruit" because with this formulation Bhagavan took up explicitly - by using a conditional clause beginning with "if" - our ego's delusive view .

Salazar said...

Divine Madman, yes that's what I meant, Ravi aka Yuvaraj is calling the kettle back.

My point is that we all have shortcomings, it is safe to say that nobody on this blog is free from anger, arrogance, desires for sex etc. So to keep pointing the finger on other's shortcomings is highly hypocritical especially in the way Ravi is doing that with his schoolmaster-like raised finger quoting texts who seemingly deal with the issue. If he'd spend that energy on himself maybe he actually would become that what he likes to pretend to be ;-)

I never directly and deliberately pointed out somebodies shortcomings here unless it was a direct response to an accusation. And then only to point out that we all are not perfect and never will be. The ego will and can never be perfect and of course it is the ego who is pointing the finger.........

Anyway, Jesus Christ strongly condemned finger-pointing (directly or indirectly) and I wish some here would stop doing that. It is certainly not a sign of humility!

Divine Madman said...

Salazar
I think we should not be concerned with others shortcomings and them pointing the so called finger. If we believe eka-jiva vada as Bhagavan taught then arguing with others is of little help and takes us in the opposite direction to where Bhagavan is pointing to.

If we have to be concerned with shortcomings it is best to start with our own but even that is a waste of time.

When we aren't practising vichara the biblical principle "The Golden Rule" holds true .

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Is eka-jiva vada true? Maybe, maybe not, maybe Bhagavan is doing all in his power to make the world as uninteresting as possible so we lose interest in everything apart form our own fundamental self awareness. Which he encourages us to investigate?

For example if you are an aspiring writer and adopt the eka-jiva vada belief you will lose interest in writing because there is no one to share your writing with and any praise or criticism bestowed to you is only from yourself. If you write a masterpiece in solitude and it is for your eyes only would you be bothered?

Like wise if you adopt the belief that everything is preordained and in truth you are actually not the doer of any action you will lose interest in what happens outwardly.

Maybe all these spiritual principals and beliefs sole goal is to wean our focus from what is perceived to the perceiver?

So the only thing that interests us is to turn within and be what we are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Divine Madman, I agree with almost everything you write in your comment addressed to Salazar. You say, ‘Maybe all these spiritual principals and beliefs sole goal is to wean our focus from what is perceived to the perceiver?’

I would suggest that you remove ‘Maybe’ from this sentence. That is, Bhagavan’s entire teachings – including the fundamental principles behind his teachings – have been given to us with the sole aim to wean our focus away from the things perceived to the one who perceives. There can be no doubt here.

In other words, Bhagavan's entire teaching is solely aimed at inculcating in us vairagya (dispassion or detachment) and viveka (power of discrimination).

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Thanks very much for your reply it was very interesting to read.
However Bhagavan did give advice in Nan Yar like recommending things like a vegetarian diet and compassion (Paragraph 9 &19).

You mention about this being advice for beginners.
But Nan Yar? was written in response to the questions asked to him by Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai. Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai was spiritually mature and Bhagavan said when he was told Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai had left his body that had merged in the light of Shiva. Plus Bhagavan re wrote the questions as an essay himself and left those parts in (ie) specific sections of paragraph 9 & 19. I don't think he wrote Nan Yar? just for beginners.

Plus I know you find Robert Adams helpful like me.
Robert once said that when he was walking Dimitri he witnessed a dog being run over and felt huge compassion for the injured dog. He was also once asked if a jnani could kill or harm another sentient being. He said it was impossible as he loves everything as himself. He also said a sign of progress or spiritual maturity is having nothing but love for everything from humans, animals and the plant and mineral kingdom.

So it seems Robert like Bhagavan also recommends practising ahimsa. Robert was also vegetarian not sure if he was a vegan? And he recommending not eating meat and was involved in animal welfare . So like Bhagavan he recommended following a vegetarian diet and showing compassion to animals.

However I do see where you are coming from Salazar.

You could be right and we have no choice and everything just happens the problem rises when we think we are the conductor or are responsible for what happens. We could just be along for the ride and have no free will of any kind apart from turning within.

But on reflection why do we even have the free will to turn within? You say that is all we can do, but is it?
If everything is pre ordained then it also includes whether we turn within or not.

I personally don't believe this however.

Cheers.
H

mudal niṉaivu said...

Michael,
regarding the paragraph of your reply to me:
"What Bhagavan means by saying that the ego and all phenomena are just thoughts is that they are all just manōmaya or mental in nature. That is, they do not exist independent of the mind that perceives them, and since the perceiving element of the mind is only the ego, they all seem to exist only in its view. Even the ego itself seems to exist only in its own view, but it seems to exist only when it is looking at objects (anything other than itself), because when it tries to look back at itself, the subject, it dissolves and disappears, being just an illusory phantom (something that seems to exist, but only until one closely examines it)."
To refrain from looking at objects (anything other than myself) it is highly necessary to keep the ego on a short leash. First I must learn how to 'look back' at myself in the most effective manner. At carrying out of this exercise I am hopefully guided from my innermost heart which is said to be the dwelling place of Ramana-Arunachala himself.

Salazar said...

Hector, hello. I don't agree with the entirety of your comment and you seem to misunderstand me in the same fashion as Sanjai Lohia. Yes, Robert said that regarding compassion, but he also said that you cannot cultivate that compassion. It comes as a by-product when you have relinquished your ego. It also may manifest [to a certain extent] as a result of past desires to be compassionate. But you cannot become compassionate in form of an outward action in this life time [independent from your prarabdha] - IMPOSSIBLE! That is what Robert said loud and clear at the satsangs he had in Northridge, CA.

Well, feel free to imagine that you have free will in outwards actions, but that belief will keep you in samsara. Papaji would have told you that directly at his satsang [and he did to others]. But then you even may not have believed him either, the mind can be stubborn and clings at certain concepts due to past tendencies.

The Nan Yar diet advice was not directed at Sivaprakasam Pillai (who was already a vegetarian) but for most readers of the upcoming book, most of them beginners. When Bhagavan answered Pillai's question he of course knew that his answers would end up as a book which will be read by many devotees.

But that's enough. Whatever happens is exactly what is supposed to happen, including beliefs. All is well ;-)




taṉmai said...

Salazar,
"Well, feel free to imagine that you have free will in outwards actions, but that belief will keep you in samsara."
As the main reason to be kept in samsara I consider our continuing insistence on experiencing us as a separate entity - not a single belief or imagination.

Salazar said...

tanmai, we are Self. That what we "experience" is nothing but the ego. Experience IS imagination. Who "insists" in experiencing? The ego. The ego cannot stop insisting, the ego cannot do anything but imagine.

Stop imagining [= thinking, attachment to thoughts], just BE. Everything else will fall into place.

Yuvaraj said...

Dear Salazar,

I read my post again and wondered why you beat me up. Don't you think I was following your advice - attempting to look at the huge log in my eye?

Why not read it again?

Best,
Yuvaraj (call me "Ravi" if it pleases you)

Hector said...


Hello Salazar

You are entitle to your opinion of course and I respect it even though I don't agree with it. But your conviction that we have no free will apart from to turn within and my belief that we do have free will to try but unsuccessfully change are destiny will have to go in the end as it will hold us back.

We agree that turning within is the best use of what free will we may or may not have so we are in agreement on this point not that it matters I know.

Cheers.
H

Divine Madman said...

Sanjay,

I am quite happy to remove "Maybe" as you advise and also the question mark?

So my sentence reads:

‘All these spiritual principals and beliefs sole goal is to wean our focus from what is perceived to the perceiver’

But now my sentence is masquerading as a fact which is 100% true. Nothing I write is a fact but just my perspective.

Like saying "The grass is green." compared to "The grass appears green to me."
I prefer the latter.

Bhagavan wrote facts because he is the truth.

atma-jyoti said...

Michael,
reflecting about your comments in reply to Mudal Ninaivu and Atma-Jyoti)
1. according Bhagavan everything other than our real nature (atma-svarupa) is just a thought – manomaya or mental in nature.
2. All objects and phenomena perceived by us (seem to) exist not independent of our perception of it.
3. Also we ourself as the perceiving subject - this ego – are just thoughts because also the ego appears and disappears.
4. The ego and all phenomena are just thoughts, that is, they do not exist independent of the mind that perceives them.

When you mention all perceived phenomena as "mental in nature" you seem to refer to the fact that any sense perception is an occurrence in the subtle realm of awareness. Or what do you mean exactly with the term "manomaya or mental in nature"?

You say "We suppose that matter exists only because we perceive it, but what we perceive is not actually matter but only a mental impression of matter, so why should we believe that matter is anything other than a mental impression?".

When we have to endure sever pain (caused for instance by any cancer or by a car accident or when the body would have been almost completely shattered by a heavy earthquake or we are loose one of our limbs after swimming in the near of a hungry shark or during renal colic or similar occurrences) the "mental impression of matter" might be literally "impressive" and thus extremely painful. In the face of such experiences I have troubles with the understanding of matter as "only" mental impressions of matter. At least from the view of feeling the pain it makes no difference if the cause of pain is called matter or only mental impression of matter.

Salazar said...

Hector, hello again and I am curious, I just re-read your last comment where you say, “[…] and my belief that we do have free will to try but unsuccessfully change are destiny […]”

So what are you saying here exactly?

****You can exercise your free will to change your outward actions like kicking a dog and if you prevent kicking that dog your “free will” was successful and if it was not successful it was because of destiny or prarabdha? *****

Is that what you believe?

Salazar said...

Hector, to be sure I understand you correctly, when you think you have exercised your free will that would be the ego, correct? What else could it be.

So your ego believes it can manifest the will and power to alter the actions of the body. Not always but when it seems to go your "ego's way" (like not hurting anybody) it is the case.

Is that your belief?

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-jyoti, may I share my reflections on the questions you had asked Michael. When I write ‘my reflections’, I mean this is mainly for my own benefit, and therefore this may not be the definitive or correct answers to your questions.

We constantly perceive phenomena (things that appear and disappear: that is, all the sounds, sights, smells, tastes and tactile sensations), and also perceive thoughts or sensations occurring inside our body, all these are just manomaya - mental in nature.

To understand this, it would be useful to consider what Bhagavan says in verse 6 of Ulladu Narpadu:

The world is a form [composed] of five [kinds of] sense-data, not anything else. Those five [kinds of] sense-data are sensory phenomena [perceptible] to the five sense organs. Since the mind alone perceives the world by way of the five sense organs, say, is there [any] world besides [excluding, if not for, apart from, other than or without] the mind?

Therefore, everything we perceive to be physical are just our mental ideas, and these mental ideas arise because we rise as the ego and cling to various phenomena - this ego will not survive without clinging to phenomena.

As long as we experience ourself as a body and mind, we will experience all the pains and pleasures associated with that body and mind to be our pains and pleasures. In other words, as long as we experience ourself as a person (atma-jyoti or Sanjay or whatever), we will feel pain if unpleasant things are experienced by this person, and pleasure if pleasant things are experienced by this person.

As you rightly say, when we are in extreme pain or when our life is in danger, we cannot convince ourself that that pain or danger is just our mental idea, and therefore we should just ignore it. We will invariably feel pains, pleasures and fears (consequent to cancer, car accident, earthquake, hungry shark eating our limbs or whatever) to be real as long as we feel that these are happening to our body.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar

Hope all is well.

I think I may of already said this in a previous message to you but my belief regarding free will is:

What is destined to happen will happen regardless of how much I try to prevent it from happening, Likewise what is not destined to happen will not happen regardless of how much I try to make it happen. This free will to try and change destiny will be unsuccessful and result in more karma. Therefore the best use of free will is to turn within.

So regardless of the question or the analogy, like for example kicking dogs or hurting people as you mention in your recent messages they can all be answered easily with the above. In terms of what I personally believe that is.

From our previous communication I understand you believe everything is preordained and the only free will we have is to turn within.

You are of course free to believe what ever you want and not only do I respect it but I have no interest to try and prove it wrong. Not that I could anyway and in all fairness neither can you with regards proving my belief wrong. Plus I have no interest to challenge it or try to change your belief in anyway. They are just beliefs at the end of the day and What does it matter.

Cheers.
H

Salazar said...

Hector, you did not clarify my question, you just re-posted what you have posted before. I am not asking you in order to further argue with you, but I'd like to know what the concrete difference is between your point of view and mine.

You said (basically the same comment you did before), "What is destined to happen will happen regardless of how much I try to prevent it from happening, Likewise what is not destined to happen will not happen regardless of how much I try to make it happen. This free will to try and change destiny will be unsuccessful and result in more karma. Therefore the best use of free will is to turn within."

And I fully agree with that.

So, what is then the difference you think there is between your and my viewpoint? Furthermore that comment does not explain by itself the "kicking dog" analogy, you really have to elaborate in a concrete example.

So please don't hide behind something you've read and you just quote here, please explain in your own words your understanding and especially what is the difference between your and my viewpoint.


Hector said...

Hi Salazar
Thanks for your message.
Sorry for reposting what I posted before but I did it because my belief about free will and destiny is the same and hasn't changed since then. I don't think I am trying to hide behind it as you suggest but I do admit I read it and it made sense to me. But beliefs change and I didn't always believe this, will I always believe it? I don't honestly know.

You say you fully agree with my belief as I wrote it:

"What is destined to happen will happen regardless of how much I try to prevent it from happening, Likewise what is not destined to happen will not happen regardless of how much I try to make it happen. This free will to try and change destiny will be unsuccessful and result in more karma. Therefore the best use of free will is to turn within."

And asked why I think there is a difference between mine and your viewpoint, you also asked for an example.

Before I give a quick example the basic difference as I see it like I have mentioned is I believe I have free will to react to my destiny or what I am destined to experience where as you don't.

Example.

I am destined to spend a night in hospital and the nurse looking after me is destined to be my wife.

There's nothing I can do to prevent my stay in hospital but I do have free will on how I react to it. For example maybe I decide to be positive about it and optimistic. I feel determined and confident that all will be O.k and see the funny side.


Or maybe I decide to feel negatively about it and am pessimistic. I feel depressed and get angry with everyone around me. One so called positive reaction and the other a so called negative reaction. I believe I have the free will on how I react to my destiny.

As I am destined to marry the nurse who looks after me it makes no difference how I react towards her she will marry me. For example whether I react to my destined stay in hospital negatively and treat her with contempt and resentment. Or whether I react to my destined stay in hospital positively and make her laugh and sweep her off her feet.

I believe destiny cannot be changed.

However my reaction to it regardless of what it is, whether it is good or bad just creates more karma and is a bad use of my free will. But I don't just have the choice to react outwardly I also have the choice to turn within and be self attentive. This is the best use of my free will.

My understanding from your comments to me and others is our viewpoint differs because you would believe that everything apart from the choice to turn within is preordained. So for example me staying in hospital, what food I eat, what time I eat it, what I think, how I react to the pain and what I say, basically everything is preordained and I have no free will of any kind. It is all a prewritten script and I have no say or choice whatsoever. The only choice I have is to turn outwards or turn within.

So that is why I think our viewpoints differ. Not that it matters of course. You may be right who knows.

Cheers Salazar.
H

Salazar said...

Hello Hector, thank you so much to take the time and elaborate in more detail. I really appreciate it!

That example with the nurse is a very good one, I like it. And yes, you accurately described the difference in our viewpoints. Thanks again for that.

Salazar said...

Recently I posted a comment by Robert Adams that thoughts have no origin and Michael objected and insisted that the ego or “I”-thought is the source.

Well, what about Annamalai Swami who said that the origin of thought is Self? :-)

Annamalai Swami:” When I say, "Meditate on the Self" I am asking you to be the Self, not think about it. Be aware of what remains when thoughts stop. Be aware of the consciousness that is the origin of all your thoughts. Be that consciousness. Feel that this is what you really are. If you do this you are meditating on the Self. But if you cannot stabilize in that consciousness because your vasanas are too strong and too active, it is beneficial to hold onto the thought, "I am the Self; I am everything." If you meditate in this way you will not be cooperating with the vasanas that are blocking your Self-awareness. If you don't cooperate with them, sooner or later they are bound to leave you.”

Now permit me to interrupt Annamalai Swami's comment with another one of Michael's dogmas he's posted recently in an article that “watching thoughts” would be strengthening the ego since the ego grasps on other thoughts. I don't know Michael's experience with meditation besides atma-vichara but one can watch thoughts without to grasp them and with long practice there is the knowledge of a disassociation between consciousness and thoughts. It appears that Michael never experienced that and his statement in his article is just conceptual hearsay. Also his insistence of an “ego-consciousness” is clearly contradicted not only by Robert Adams but also by Papaji and Annamalai Swami. Something must have gone wrong with the conceptual interpretation of Bhagavan's work I guess.
But let's see what Annamalai Swami has to say to that in continuing his previous comment:

“If this method doesn't appeal to you, then just watch the mind with full attention. Whenever the mind wanders, become aware of it. See how thoughts connect with each other and watch how this ghost called mind catches hold of all your thoughts, saying, "This is my thought". Watch the ways of the mind without identifying with them in any way. If you give your mind your full, detached attention, you begin to understand the futility of all mental activities. Watch the mind wandering here and there, seeking out useless and unnecessary things or ideas, which will ultimately only create misery for itself. Watching the mind gives us a knowledge of its inner processes. It gives us an incentive to stay detached from all our thoughts. Ultimately, if we try hard enough, it gives us the ability to remain as consciousness, unaffected by transient thoughts.”

Funny, Robert Adams said the same thing, so did Papaji. What all three have also in common they don't make a distinction with the term consciousness and they are referring to Self and not ego-consciousness, in fact I have never ever read anything by them referring to that.

Anonymous said...

Salazar, there are many points where I have a different view from MJ so I just ignore those points.

My only concern is to make sure I don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

IMHO, Prarabdha puts thoughts into your head and Maya makes you think you thought them.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, yes - that sounds about right.

More by Annamalai Swami:

"You don't need any methods to get rid of the wrong ideas you have about yourself. All you have to do is stop believing them."

"Give up your life-long habit of INVENTING an 'I' which claims all thoughts as 'mine'. Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch all the thoughts come and go."

"If you cultivate this attitude of indifference towards the mind, gradually you will cease to identify yourself with it."

The last one is especially for you Hector, an attitude of indifference towards the mind means to NOT react positive nor negative for being in the hospital. The "decider" is the ego/mind who believes it decides, making a decision is not indifferent at all! To be involved via the mind in any way is cementing the ego.

Anonymous said...

J Krishnamurti June 12, 1962

Questioner: What are the implications of being aware without choice?

Krishnamurti: We must not give too great a significance to that word `aware'. Awareness isn't something mysterious that you must practise; it isn't something that can be learnt only from the speaker, or from some bearded gentleman or other. All that kind of fanciful stuff is too absurd.

Just to be aware - what does it mean? To be aware that you are sitting there and I am sitting here; that I am talking to you and you are listening to me; to be aware of this hall, its shape, its lighting, its acoustics; to observe the various colours that people wear, their attitudes, their effort to listen, their scratching, yawning, boredom, their dissatisfaction at not being able to get from what they hear something to carry home with them; their agreement or disagreement with what is being said. All that is part of awareness - a very superficial part.

Behind that superficial observation there is the response of our conditioning: I like and I don't like, I am British and you are not British, I am a Catholic and you are a Protestant. And our conditioning is really very deep. It requires a great deal of investigation, understanding. To be conscious of our reactions, of our hidden motives and conditioned responses - this also is part of awareness.

You can't be totally aware if you are choosing. If you say, "This is right and that is wrong", the `right' and the `wrong' depend on your conditioning. What is right to you may be wrong in the Far East. You believe in a Saviour, in the Christ, but they don't - and you think they will go to hell unless they believe as you do. You have the means to build marvellous cathedrals, while they may worship a stone image, a tree, a bird, or a rock, and you say, "How silly, how pagan". To be aware is to be conscious of all this, choicelessly; it is to be aware totally of all your conscious and unconscious reactions. And you can't be aware totally if you are condemning, if you are justifying, or if you say, "I will keep my beliefs, my experiences, my knowledge". Then you are only partially aware; and partial awareness is really blindness.

Seeing or understanding is not a matter of time, it is not a matter of gradations. Either you see, or you don't see. And you can't see if you are not deeply aware of your own reactions, of your own conditioning. Being aware of your conditioning, you must watch it choicelessly; you must see the fact and not give an opinion or judgment about the fact. In other words, you must look at the fact without thought. Then there is an awareness, a state of attention without a centre, without frontiers, where the known doesn't interfere; and it is in this state of total attention that the mind can comprehend the unknowable. A petty mind, a mind that is crippled with neurotic ideas, with fear, greed, envy - such a mind may think about the unknowable, about God, about this or that, but it will have very little meaning. Such a mind is not a religious mind at all.

Anonymous said...

Talk 609, 18th January 1939

...Extract

D.: Relatively speaking, is not the sleep state nearer to Pure
Consciousness than the waking state?
M.: Yes, in this sense: When passing from sleep to waking the ‘I’
thought must start; the mind comes into play; thoughts arise;
and then the functions of the body come into operation; all these
together make us say that we are awake. The absence of all this
evolution is the characteristic of sleep and therefore it is nearer to
Pure Consciousness than the waking state.
But one should not therefore desire to be always in sleep. In the
first place it is impossible, for it will necessarily alternate with the
other states. Secondly it cannot be the state of bliss in which the
Jnani is, for his state is permanent and not alternating. Moreover,
the sleep state is not recognised to be one of awareness by people,
but the sage is always aware. Thus the sleep state differs from the
state in which the sage is established.
Still more, the sleep state is free from thoughts and their impression
to the individual. It cannot be altered by one’s will because
effort is impossible in that condition. Although nearer to Pure
Consciousness, it is not fit for efforts to realise the Self.
The incentive to realise can arise only in the waking state and efforts
can also be made only when one is awake. We learn that the thoughts
in the waking state form the obstacle to gaining the stillness of sleep.
“Be still and know that I AM God”. So stillness is the aim of the seeker.
Even a single effort to still at least a single thought even for a trice goes
a long way to reach the state of quiescence. Effort is required and it
is possible in the waking state only. There is the effort here: there is
awareness also; the thoughts are stilled; so there is the peace of sleep
gained. That is the state of the Jnani. It is neither sleep nor waking
but intermediate between the two. There is the awareness of the
waking state and the stillness of sleep. It is called jagrat-sushupti.
Call it wakeful sleep or sleeping wakefulness or sleepless waking or
wakeless sleep. It is not the same as sleep or waking separately. It is
atijagrat 1 (beyond wakefulness) or atisushupti 2 (beyond sleep). It
is the state of perfect awareness and of perfect stillness combined.
It lies between sleep and waking; it is also the interval between two
successive thoughts. It is the source from which thoughts spring;
we see that when we wake up from sleep. In other words thoughts
have their origin in the stillness of sleep. The thoughts make all the
difference between the stillness of
sleep and the turmoil of waking.

Go to the root of the thoughts and you reach the stillness of sleep. But you
reach it in the full vigour of search, that is, with perfect awareness.
That is again jagrat-sushupti spoken of before. It is not dullness; but
it is Bliss. It is not transitory but it is eternal. From that the thoughts
proceed. What are all our experiences but thoughts? Pleasure and
pain are mere thoughts. They are within ourselves. If you are free
from thoughts and yet aware, you are That Perfect Being.
...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, may I share my reflections on your last few comments:

You write, ‘I don't know Michael's experience with meditation besides atma-vichara but one can watch thoughts without to grasp them and with long practice there is the knowledge of a disassociation between consciousness and thoughts’. So you claim that one can watch thoughts without grasping them, am I correct? According to Bhagavan, we grasp thoughts only by attending or watching these thoughts, and therefore grasping thoughts and attending to thoughts mean the same thing.

You also quote Annamalai Swami as saying, ‘Watch the mind wandering here and there, seeking out useless and unnecessary things […] Watching the mind gives us a knowledge of its inner processes. It gives us an incentive to stay detached from all our thoughts. Ultimately, if we try hard enough, it gives us the ability to remain as consciousness, unaffected by transient thoughts’. Did Bhagavan ever recommend watching one’s thoughts as a means of stilling the mind? If he did, please let me know where and in which context did he gave such an advice?

I am not sure if Annamalai Swami said the above, or if he was misquoted? However, Annamalai Swami clearly contradicted Bhagavan’s teachings, if he said that we should watch our thoughts as a form of a spiritual practice. Bhagavan never advised us to watch our thoughts, instead he constantly advised us to watch or attend to thinker (the ego, ‘I’). This is the most important and fundamental principle of his teachings.

By watching our thoughts we will become more attached to those thoughts, whereas our aim is to give up all our external attachments by ignoring all our thoughts. We can ignore all our thoughts (all our desires and attachments) only by turning within, by trying to attend to ourself and ourself alone.

Suppose if I have diabetes and if I am also fond of chocolates, when I go to my doctor, he would obviously advise me to stop eating chocolates, because this will aggravate my diabetes. Would he say that eat a small piece every day, but also try to remember that chocolates are not good for you; or would he say that when you eat try to feel that it is making your diabetes worst, and so on? Obviously if we continue eating chocolates, how can we give up our attachments to them?

So by watching our thoughts as a witness, we would not be able to become detached from them? We have to stop watching them, by taking 180 degrees turn towards ourself.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Salazar:

Annamalai Swami had stayed with Bhagavan and had served him for a long time, but that does not necessarily qualify him to correctly interpret his teachings. We do not doubt his devotion to Bhagavan, but what he said was perhaps never said by Bhagavan.

Why did Bhagavan teach us, ‘If it (the ego) seeks itself, it will take flight’? As
Michael explained in one of his recent comments, the reason why the ego will take flight in this way can be explained in two ways:

Firstly, since the ego is an formless phantom, that comes into existence, stands, feeds itself and flourishes only by grasping or attending to form, if it tries to grasp or attend to itself it will find nothing to grasp and hence it will subside and disappear.

Secondly, since it does not actually exist, like an illusory snake it seems to exist only because of avichara, non-investigation, so if we investigate it by looking at it keenly enough we will see that it does not actually exist, because what seemed to be this ego is actually only pure, infinite, indivisible and immutable self-awareness, just as if we were to look keenly enough at what seemed to be a snake we would see that it is not actually a snake but a rope.

If we are trying to follow Bhagavan's teachings, we should be more concerned about what Bhagavan has taught us, rather than what Annamalai Swami or anyone else had said.



Anonymous said...

"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."-Mark Twain.

Is it not enough not to identify with the thoughts?Is it necessary to be without thoughts? Even a wall does not have thoughts but it is only a wall.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, I respect your argument and you said “Bhagavan never advised us to watch our thoughts”.

How do you know that, because it is not mentioned in Ulladu Narpadu or elsewhere? We actually cannot know since we did not spend 50 years with him in Tiruvannamalai.

Annamalai Swami spent a long time with Bhagavan and, as I understand it, he realized Self applying Bhagavan’s teaching. When he and other Jnanis like Papaji and Robert Adams suggest watching thoughts, I cannot dismiss that because there is no record that Bhagavan has mentioned it. Three Jnanis did mention it (and other sages from other spiritual traditions), people who talked from their own direct experience.

And again, you are just repeating conceptual knowledge without actual direct experience. I can say from my own actual experience that you can watch thoughts without grasping them. Let me take Papaji’s explanation, what is my experience too, he used the analogy of sitting at the edge of a road and watching cars driving by. We are aware of the cars but don’t give them any special attention because we have no interest in those cars and passengers. So there are just passing by, being noticed but also being simultaneously dismissed. Now let’s say there is a car coming which you have seen before and you know the passengers then, because of your interest and past attachment, your attention is peaked and you look at the car, possibly wave at it and you look at the car disappearing and with that you have grasped it. Contrary to the other cars before.

See, the problem is not thoughts per se, it is the attachment or interest we give thoughts as with the car with the passengers we know.

But that is just a conceptual explanation, you can actually verify that yourself. Of course that requires an open mind and not a sectarian-like attitude with a strong attachment of a certain interpretation of Bhagavan’s teaching. That will keep you stuck in delusion.

I am not proposing to dismiss atma-vichara, but it appears that other methods are recommended too by people who ACTUALLY went all the way and not just interpreting texts.

Robert Adams i.e. recommended watching the gap between two thoughts and the best time to do it is just before falling asleep or just after waking up. You can actually have an experience of Self doing that. Papaji favorite method was also to attend to the gap between two thoughts because that gap is what we really are.

All is well.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, if we are with any thought we will identify with that thought, because without identifying with the thought, this thought will not even seem to exist.

Why is it necessary to be without thoughts? It is necessary because all our thoughts (starting with the thought called ‘I) obscures our pure-awareness, and because of such obscuration we do not experience ourself as we actually are.

In other words, our thoughts imply the existence of the ego, and the existence of the ego means that we misperceive ourself as this body, and our body implies a world in which this body seems to be a infinitesimal part. This is how we get trapped in samsara (a never ending cycle of births and deaths).

As Bhagavan says in the verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu:

If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. [Hence] the ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything.

Why is the existence of ‘everything’ a problem? It is because ‘everything’ includes all our troubles, miseries, dissatisfactions, desires, attachments, fears, likes, dislikes, and everything else. Therefore to give up everything we have to surrender our ego, and we can do so only be self-investigation.

You say, ‘Even a wall does not have thoughts but it is only a wall’. Yes, but our aim is not to become like a wall, because a wall is an insentient (jada) object, whereas we are pure-awareness. Our aim is to experience our fundamental pure-awareness with absolute clarity.


Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, reading your last comment, you sound like a broken record. You must be aware that you just repeat concepts without actually having a clue through any experience by yourself? You are at a point where these arguments are just hollow, like an empty husk.

Anyway, these conceptual arguments are futile, do what you must.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, you say, ‘Robert Adams i.e. recommended watching the gap between two thoughts and the best time to do it is just before falling asleep or just after waking up. You can actually have an experience of Self doing that. Papaji favorite method was also to attend to the gap between two thoughts because that gap is what we really are’.

Yes, Bhagavan also sometimes said that we should watch the gap between two thoughts. He gave us many such clues, but each such clue amounts to being self-attentive, ignoring everything else.

We do exist between the gap between two thoughts, but even when the thoughts are active, we are there as the unchanging substratum of these thoughts. So the more we attend to ourself, the more our thoughts will subside, and the more our thoughts subside the more clearly we will be aware our fundamental self-awareness (the gap).

The best place and time to watch ourself (the gap) is here and now. Why should we wait for the time of just before falling asleep or just after waking? Of course, we can use these favourable times also. Our aim should be self-attentive every moment. This gap is what we actually are, and therefore we should be able to experience it whenever we want to.

We just need to turn a full 180 degrees towards ourself, and this gap will open and remain open forever. Thereafter only this ‘gap’ (pure-awareness) will remain.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous above is a fan of Mark Twain and Pink Floyd and I am one too! Greetings.

Hector said...

Hi Salazar
I was quite sure we had different viewpoints about destiny and free will and was confused why you said you agreed fully with what I wrote previously and asked for a concrete example?.

Thank you for picking that quote from Annamalai Swami just for me as you put it.


"If you cultivate this attitude of indifference towards the mind, gradually you will cease to identify yourself with it."

You then say:

The last one is especially for you Hector, an attitude of indifference towards the mind means to NOT react positive nor negative for being in the hospital. The "decider" is the ego/mind who believes it decides, making a decision is not indifferent at all! To be involved via the mind in any way is cementing the ego.

(Sigh) I thought this might happen Salazar. It is apparent why you asked for a so called concrete example.

You wanted my example so you could belittle it and criticise my understanding. You think you have successfully done this by posting a random quote from Annamalai Swami??? Which seems to contradict my example and thereby reinforce your own understanding that you are convinced is 100% true.

This is why I was reluctant to answer your questions about kicking dogs and hurting people.

By the way I too use to believe that everything was preordained and turning within was the only free will I have just like you. It was when I was listening to all Roberts audio recordings and reading the transcriptions many years ago. Also at the time I was also reading a lot of Nisargadatta.

But now I don't, but beliefs change and are just pointers.

One last thing you believe that everything is preordained and the only free will you have is to turn within. But maybe you are destined to discard it and believe something completely different that contradicts this very belief.

Quite funny when you think about (lol)!.

Anyway I appreciate you believe you have no control of what you think or write in comment boxes and how you treat people, because you think it's all pre ordained.

I don't mind maybe it is helpful for you in some way.

H

Salazar said...

Hector, in no way was my comment geared to belittle you. I am sorry that you are seeing it that way.

Anonymous said...

A quick note to Sanjay Lohia

Sanjay – You are surely kidding yourself by assuming that posting constantly on this forum is some kind of manana. It is evident to everyone on this site that your ego rises just as much as everybody else’s not only when you are defending a certain point of view but also while paraphrasing MJ’s teachings (frankly why you do that is beyond me...others may find it rather patronising). Anyone who has been on this forum long enough has seen how you behavior has changed from eager contributor and sharer to shrill defender of a very narrow point of view.

Why? Oh Why? Why not just dedicate your spare time (which seems rather ample) to Self Attention (attend to I, NOW, Being, Existence, whatever…). Why are you debating points with Roger and Salazar and others who may or may not be arguing just to get a rise out of you?
You are increasingly coming across as dogmatic and often downright puerile. (And No, please don’t look up the dictionary and tell me the meaning of that word when you craft your response. In fact, please don’t respond at all to this comment, but do manana on it instead).

Remember, Bhagavan took the words of an unknown old woman on the hill to heart when she asked him why he was wandering around the mountain (and thereafter ceased this activity). I am not an old woman and you are certainly not Bhagavan, I’ve taken the privilege of anonymity that this blog bestows to tell you what many others on the blog are surely thinking but may be hesitant to point out. Please take what I’ve written in the right spirit and stop wasting so much of your time. Believe me what little benefit you may be getting by frequenting this site is far outweighed by the ego-games one ends up playing and the opportunity cost of wasted time.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, I thank you for your suggestions. These may have some merit, and therefore I have noted these with care. However, it remains to be seen how much I can adhere to these suggestions. As they say habits die hard.

Since you post your comments on this blog, I presume you are also practising self-investigation. If you are sincerely practising Bhagavan’s path, you should not be bothered about what others are doing or not doing, because you should be focusing all your attention only on yourself – that is, on your own study, reflection and practice of Bhagavan’s teachings.

Since you have given me a suggestion, I would also like to give you one. Why don’t you just ignore my comments? So many news items appear any newspaper, but we read only that which interests us. Anyway I thank you once again for your suggestions, which as I said may have some merit.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, you said and I quote: "The best place and time to watch ourself (the gap) is here and now. Why should we wait for the time of just before falling asleep or just after waking?"

When Robert Adams suggested to watch the gap between two thoughts shortly after awakening or briefly before falling asleep he did not say to NOT do that at other times. Who said that we should wait? However, at these two times in a day, it is much easier to experience Self than at other times. And again, I can verify that by my own experience! What about you?

For quite awhile I enjoyed your comments, but that was before I started engaging you with a dialog where it quickly became apparent that you are just parroting Michael's concepts (which are not Michael's but Michael's interpretation of Bhagavan) without having reached any depth because you simply lack experience. Your mind may present memorized concepts in a pleasing way, but alas there is no substance behind it.

Sanjay, you got to loosen up a bit. You seem to be a young guy who is not yet dry behind his ears and that explains the often naive,unseasoned and rigid approach of Bhagavan's teaching. But I guess you have to learn in time and mature as everybody else.

To close: I believe everybody who frequents this blog should heed your advice from your previous comment to Anonymous and ignore your comments. Seriously.



Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, I fully agree with you when you say about me: ‘But I guess you have to learn in time and mature as everybody else’. So at last we are in perfect agreement!

gargoyle said...

Anonomous
I can easily understand your point about Sanjay Lohia. I started reading Michaels blog about 4 years ago and noticed the change in Sanjay. At first I asked myself…who is this guy? For quite some time I simply skipped over his comments and did not care what he had to say.

Time marches on……

I see Sanjay as a very passionate jiva, and very passionate about his love for Bhagavan. His approach seems to irritate some, as it did me back about two years ago but I could not but help seeing the his love for Bhagavan as I read more and more of his comments.

I actually feel guilty for thoughts I had about Sanjay in the past. I would like to purchase some of his passion for Bhagavan, as I seem to be short of passion.

Best Regards

Sanjay Lohia said...

gargoyle, I thank you for your kind words about me. Yes, surely you can ‘purchase’ some of my love or passion for Bhagavan and his teachings. However, Michael has given this passion to me without charging anything, so how I can I charge anything for the thing which I have received as free. So you are most welcome to take whatever love I have, because even if you take it from me, I know I will still have as much love as I now have.

It is said by one of the devotees (in Hindi): Ram naam ki loot hai, loot sake so loot, anth samay pachtayega jab prana jagenye chhoot. Meaning: Lord Rama has offered himself as a free loot, and it is therefore left to us to take his name as much as we want. If we do not take his name now, we will repent in the end when our life (prana) will leave us.

It is our love for Bhagavan and his teachings which puts us sometimes in trouble. However, everything is a learning process. Yesterday I received a few bricks (criticism) and a few bouquets (praise). I think a sadhaka needs both of these. If we receive only criticism we may become diffident, and if we receive only praise our heads may become swollen. This combination should do us good.

atma-jyoti said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thank you for your reply of 27 September 2017.

You wrote in your comment of 29 September 2017 at 17:27 (addressed to Salazar):
"The best place and time to watch ourself (the gap) is here and now. Why should we wait for the time of just before falling asleep or just after waking? Of course, we can use these favourable times also. Our aim should be self-attentive every moment. This gap is what we actually are, and therefore we should be able to experience it whenever we want to."
Instead of saying that we are actually a gap (between thoughts) one should say more accurately that we are the substratum of any such gap. How can a gap exist without a fundamental substratum ? A gap is naturally bounded by something. Hence we as the infinite atma-svarupa can actually never be a limited entity or finite gap.

Salazar said...

atma-jyoti, you are splitting hairs here. That gap between thoughts is not finite at all but that's besides the point. No term can capture the natural state, they can only be pointers. What exactly is a substratum? The answer can only be an imagination.

When the sages are satisfied to talk about a gap between thoughts, why would we think we know better?

I.e. consciousness, there is only one consciousness and the consciousness of a Jnani and Ajnani is identical. Any distinctions made like cidabhasa and chit are mere imaginations, literally.

It is a waste of time to look for accurate descriptions and to dabble too much with all of these concepts. In fact, it is a trap.

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-jyoti, I had used the term ‘gap’ in response to what Salazar wrote. Actually this ‘gap’ is a metaphor for what we actually are. Though in between two thoughts - after one thought subsides and before another rises – there is a gap. However, usually we are not aware of this gap, because, to take an example, this gap could be merely lasting for one hundredth of a second. Therefor, it is beyond our present power of attention to experience this gap.

It is like a gap in between two frames of a film roll. Although we know that there are gaps in between two frames of the film roll, but we only experience a moving film on the screen without any gaps. It is because of the speed at which the film roll moves inside the projector.

Likewise there are gaps in between two thoughts, but we don’t experience these gaps. We just experience a continues stream of thoughts, and this continuous stream of thoughts make up all the perceptual images we experience, and the collection of such perceptual images make up our world.

Yes, we are the unchanging substratum of all our thoughts. We can reflect on verse 7 of Ulladu Narpadu to understand this better:

Though the world and mind arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by the mind. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the base for the appearing and disappearing of the world and mind is poruḷ [the real substance], which is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa].

Therefore, as you rightly say, ‘Hence we as the infinite atma-svarupa [porul] can actually never be a limited entity or finite gap’. To see this porul (the real substance) as it really is, we have to turn within. There is no other way to experience ourself as we actually are.


atma-jyoti said...

Salazar,
you state "That gap between thoughts is not finite at all..." and ask "What exactly is a substratum?"and presume "The answer can only be an imagination."
You may compare the linguistic meaning of the two mentioned terms and take what you like:

A gap is a break or hole in an object or between two objects.
A gap is a space or interval between two things.
A gap is a difference between two situations.
A gap is a break in continuity.

A substratum is an underlying substance.
A substratum is a foundation or basis of something.
A substratum is a feature that is less obvious than other features.

Therefore I can hardly accede to Sanjay's statement "that this gap is what we actually are". To brand my objection as superior attitude is a bit out of place.

Salazar said...

Atma-jyoti, you crack me up. It is good to have a dictionary handy isn’t it? LOL

You took from who knows where and it doesn’t matter the following:

“A substratum is an underlying substance.
A substratum is a foundation or basis of something.
A substratum is a feature that is less obvious than other features”

My friend, all these definitions are objects, created by mind. And looking at your response I don’t expect you to grasp that nor why your answer is the revelation of sheer ignorance on so many levels. Sorry man, if you feel now put down, but I call a spade a spade. What are you doing on a spiritual blog making big speeches without the foggiest clue what you are talking about? Good grief.



atma-jyoti said...

Salazar,
great grief, just my sheer ignorance is the reason why I eagerly attempt to learn from the blazing brilliance of your wisdom. I feel real grief that you suffer greatly by your impact against the dense darkness of my inexperience, don't I ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

atma-jyoti, we were discussing the subject of the gap between two thoughts. Michael has explained this in detail in his book Happiness and The Art of Being in the chapter called The Nature of Our Mind (pages 176, 177). He writes:

Since at any single moment our mind can attend to and know only one thought, it cannot imagine or form more than one thought at the same time. Therefore, our thoughts rise and subside in our consciousness one at a time. Each consecutive thought can rise or be formed only after the previous thought has subsided or dissolved.

However, because each individual thought rises and subsides in an infinitely small period of time, during each second a countless number of consecutive thoughts can rise and subside in rapid succession. Therefore, because of the rapidity with which thoughts thus rise and subside, our surface mind is unable to discern the rising and subsiding of each individual thought, and therefore cognises only the collective impression formed by a series of such individual thoughts.

This is similar to our eye being unable to discern each individual spot of light on a television screen, as a result of which it cognises only the collective impression formed by a series of such spots covering the entire screen in rapid succession. The picture that we see on the screen of a cathode-ray tube television is formed by many horizontal lines of light, each of which is formed by many individual spots of light of varying colours and intensity. These individual spots of light, which are known as pixels (the syllable ‘pix’ standing for pictures, and ‘el’ standing for element), are formed on the screen one at a time by a ray of electrons discharged from the cathode at the back of the tube. Controlled by the steady sequence of oscillations of the magnetic or electrostatic field through which the ray of electrons is sprayed, in a fraction of a second the entire television screen is covered with a series of pixels of varying colours and intensity, thereby collectively forming a complete picture.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment (extract from HAB):

Because each individual pixel is formed only momentarily, and dissolves almost immediately, within a fraction of a second the oscillating ray of electrons is able to form another pixel of different colour and intensity upon the same spot on the screen, and thus in each successive fraction of a second it forms a slightly different picture upon the screen. Because the cognitive power of our eyes is not sufficiently subtle and refined for us to be able to perceive distinctly the rapid formation and dissolution of each individual pixel, or even the slightly less rapid formation and dissolution of each entire picture that is formed on the screen by a single sweep of the ray of electrons, what we cognise is not many rapidly changing individual spots of light but only a complete and continuously changing picture.

Each individual thought that momentarily rises and subsides in our mind is similar to a pixel that is momentarily formed and dissolved on a television screen. Because each individual thought rises or is formed only momentarily, and subsides or dissolves almost immediately, within an infinitely small fraction of a second our mind can form another thought in its place. Because the cognitive power of our mind is usually not sufficiently subtle and refined for us to be able to discern distinctly the extremely rapid formation and dissolution of each individual thought, what we usually cognise is not many rapidly rising and subsiding individual thoughts but only a single but continuously changing flow of thoughts.

However, if we practise being attentive to our infinitely subtle consciousness of being, ‘I am’, our power of attention or cognition will gradually become more subtle and refined, and eventually we will be able to cognise each individual thought as it rises. When by the practice of self-attentiveness our power of attention is thus refined and made sufficiently subtle to be able to detect distinctly the rising or formation of each individual thought, it will also be able to cognise clearly our pure and essential being, which always underlies and supports the formation of our thoughts, and which momentarily remains alone in the gap between the dissolution of one thought and the formation of our next thought.

atma-jyoti said...

Sanjay Lohia,
thanks for your comment and giving the mentioned chapter "The Nature of Our Mind" of Michael's book "Happiness and the Art of Being (HAB)".
Since it is clearly stated that our pure and essential being ...remains alone in the gap between ..." it suggests itself to linguistically differentiate between "remaining in the gap" and "being the gap" itself as such.
So we can leave it at that.

Salazar said...

Bhagavan's contribution to "watching thoughts":

Sri Ramana: "[...] What does it matter if the mind is active? It is only on the substratum of the Self. Hold the Self even during mental activities [...]"

Hold the Self EVEN DURING mental activities................

Well, that is just another description of watching thoughts without being distracted by them.

If people here would actually focus on PRACTICAL experience than to palaver concepts by Bhagavan seen through the red glasses of Michael :-) ..... maybe then it would not be necessary to point to the obvious even though it may not have directly been mentioned by Bhagavan ----> referring to "watching thoughts".

nuṇ mati said...

Salazar,
"Hold the Self EVEN DURING mental activities..." does not in the slightest instruct one to watch thoughts.
The emphasis of this teaching is clearly on the first three words "HOLD THE SELF even during mental activities...".
Of course everyone has to work out his own salvation by having his own interpretation of Bhagavan's instructions ready.

Salazar said...

nun mati, I didn't say that this is an instruction to watch thoughts, what I meant is that holding onto Self even during mental activities is a synonym for watching thoughts without distraction.

I do not know your practical experience but you can hold onto Self while being aware of (or watch) thoughts. It seems to me that you talk from the basis of an abstract imagination than from direct experience.....

Salazar said...

To be clear, watching thoughts without being distracted by them.

nuṇ mati said...

Salazar,
your assumption is correct. I could seldom "hold the self" (even) during mental activities.

Divine Madman said...

Salazar

[I do not know your practical experience but you can hold onto Self while being aware of (or watch) thoughts. It seems to me that you talk from the basis of an abstract imagination than from direct experience.....]

What a load of trash!
Who hangs on to Self, ha ha!!
Who is aware of thoughts?

[To be clear, watching thoughts without being distracted by them.]

Great Salazar keep watching your thoughts while holding on to Self without be distracted by them!! What an accomplishment.

You post comments on this blog with such confidence but you have previously admitted to Venkat that you are not spiritually advanced?

Anyway I will leave you to watch your thoughts and gain practical experience
so you can become spiritually advanced.