Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Why do viṣaya-vāsanās sprout as thoughts, and how to eradicate them?

A friend wrote to me recently:
Through self-inquiry every vasana comes up to the surface. Sometimes I am really lost, sometimes I am cool.

I try to practise self-inquiry with every thought that comes up in my mind, but they are getting more and more.

Is it true that vasanas want to go, when they are on the surface?

The best thing is, I will not give up to practise, but I want to do it in the best way.
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to him:

Vāsanās (propensities, inclinations or urges) have no will of their own, so they do not want anything. They are our desires, so the question is: what do we want? As this ego we are not yet willing to die, so we project phenomena (which are all thoughts), because it is only by grasping phenomena that the ego seems to exist, as Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

uruppaṯṟi yuṇḍā muruppaṯṟi niṟku
muruppaṯṟi yuṇḍumiha vōṅgu — muruviṭ
ṭuruppaṯṟun tēḍiṉā lōṭṭam piḍikku
muruvaṯṟa pēyahandai yōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும், உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை. ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum, uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai. ōr.

அன்வயம்: உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும். ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum. ōr.

English translation: Grasping form the formless phantom-ego comes into existence; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows abundantly; leaving form, it grasps form. If it seeks, it will take flight. Investigate.

Explanatory paraphrase: [By] grasping form [that is, by projecting and perceiving the form of a body (composed of five sheaths) as itself] the formless phantom-ego comes into existence [rises into being or is formed]; [by] grasping form [that is, by holding on to that body as itself] it stands [endures, continues or persists]; [by] grasping and feeding on form [that is, by projecting and perceiving other forms or phenomena] it grows [spreads, expands, increases, ascends, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form [a body that it had projected and perceived as itself in one state], it grasps [another] form [another body that it projects and perceives as itself in its next state]. If it seeks [examines or investigates] [itself], it will take flight [because it has no form of its own, and hence it cannot seem to exist without grasping the forms of other things as itself and as its food or sustenance]. Investigate [this ego] [or know thus].
What Bhagavan refers to here as ‘உரு’ (uru) or ‘form’ is phenomena of any kind whatsoever (that is, anything that appears and disappears), and according to him all forms or phenomena are just thoughts or mental phenomena, as he implies when he says in the fourth and fourteenth paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு.

niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyamāy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagam-um illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagam-um uṇḍu.

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.

ஜக மென்பது நினைவே.

jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē.

What is called the world is only thought.
Though he says that the ego comes into existence, stands, feeds itself and grows by grasping ‘form’ or phenomena, he does not mean that forms exist independent of it or when it does not exist, because as he says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும். அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum. ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), ‘If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence. If the ego does not exist, everything does not exist’. Therefore the ego grasps forms (thoughts or phenomena) by projecting them or making them appear in its awareness, as he says in fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘It [the mind or ego] makes all thoughts appear [or projects all thoughts]’.

Viṣaya-vāsanās (propensities, inclinations or desires to experience phenomena) are like seeds, and the phenomena (viṣayas) that we project are the plants that sprout from these seeds. That is, as this ego we project phenomena because we desire to experience them. Since we desire to experience them in order to survive, we are willing to experience even unpleasant or painful phenomena rather than to die.

When Bhagavan says that whatever thought may arise we should investigate to whom it has arisen, we should remember that according to him all phenomena (everything that appears or disappears), including any world that we may perceive, are just thoughts, so he means that whatever may appear in our awareness we should investigate to whom it has appeared.

You say that more and more thoughts come up in your mind, but since all phenomena are thoughts how can we quantify or measure them? Moreover in the sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār? he says:
எத்தனை எண்ணங்க ளெழினு மென்ன? ஜாக்கிரதையாய் ஒவ்வோ ரெண்ணமும் கிளம்பும்போதே இது யாருக்குண்டாயிற்று என்று விசாரித்தால் எனக்கென்று தோன்றும். நானார் என்று விசாரித்தால் மனம் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற்குத் திரும்பிவிடும்; எழுந்த வெண்ணமு மடங்கிவிடும். இப்படிப் பழகப் பழக மனத்திற்குத் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற் றங்கி நிற்கும் சக்தி யதிகரிக்கின்றது.

ettaṉai eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙiṉum eṉṉa? jāggiratai-y-āy ovvōr eṇṇamum kiḷambum-pōdē idu yārukkuṇḍāyiṯṟu eṉḏṟu vicārittāl eṉakkeṉḏṟu tōṉḏṟum. nāṉ-ār eṉḏṟu vicārittāl maṉam taṉ piṟappiḍattiṟku-t tirumbi-viḍum; eṙunda v-eṇṇamum aḍaṅgi-viḍum. ippaḍi-p paṙaga-p paṙaga maṉattiṟku-t taṉ piṟappiḍattil taṅgi niṟgum śakti y-adhikarikkiṉḏṟadu.

However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has occurred, it will be clear: to me. If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; the thought which had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, for the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase.
Therefore no matter how many thoughts may arise (or how many phenomena may appear), all we need do is investigate to whom they are all appearing. In other words, we should try to look only at ourself, the ego, the one who is aware of all phenomena, and thereby avoiding looking at any phenomena whatsoever. This is the best and only way to investigate who or what we are.

That is, to know what we actually are we must observe only ourself, because what we actually are is only pure self-awareness — awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself — and because therefore so long as we observe or are aware of anything else we seem to be this ego, which is the transient and hence false awareness that is aware of things other than itself.

Since the nature of the ego or mind is to cling to things other than itself, we will not be able to free ourself of viṣaya-vāsanās so long as we seem to be this ego. Therefore in order to eradicate all viṣaya-vāsanās we must eradicate their root, namely the ego, and in order to eradicate the ego, which is the false adjunct-bound self-awareness ‘I am this body’, we must be aware of ourself as we actually are.

This is why Bhagavan taught us that self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), self-attentiveness (svarūpa-dhyāna) or self-remembrace (svarūpa-smaraṇa) is the only means to eradicate not only the ego but also all its viṣaya-vāsanās. As he says in the tenth and eleventh paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:
தொன்றுதொட்டு வருகின்ற விஷயவாசனைகள் அளவற்றனவாய்க் கடலலைகள் போற் றோன்றினும் அவையாவும் சொரூபத்யானம் கிளம்பக் கிளம்ப அழிந்துவிடும். அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும். ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு பாபியாயிருந்தாலும், ‘நான் பாபியா யிருக்கிறேனே! எப்படிக் கடைத்தேறப் போகிறே’ னென்றேங்கி யழுதுகொண்டிராமல், தான் பாபி என்னு மெண்ணத்தையு மறவே யொழித்து சொரூபத்யானத்தி லூக்க முள்ளவனாக விருந்தால் அவன் நிச்சயமா யுருப்படுவான்.

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

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

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

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

As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist within the mind, so long is the investigation who am I necessary. As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or keen self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise. Not attending to anything other [than oneself] is vairāgya [dispassion or detachment] or nirāśā [desirelessness]; not leaving [or letting go of] oneself is jñāna [true knowledge or real awareness]. In truth [these] two [vairāgya and jñāna] are only one. Just as pearl-divers, tying stones to their waists and submerging, pick up pearls that lie at the bottom of the ocean, so each one, submerging [beneath the surface activity of one’s mind] and sinking [deep] within oneself with vairāgya [freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than oneself], can attain the pearl of oneself. If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone will be sufficient. So long as enemies [namely viṣaya-vāsanās] are within the fort [namely the mind], they will continue coming out from it. If one continues cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] be captured.
Whatever phenomenon (viṣaya) may appear in our awareness is just the rising of a viṣaya-vāsanā to the surface of our mind in the form of a thought. Just as a series of motionless pictures projected in rapid succession on a screen creates the illusion of a moving picture, phenomena are projected by the ego in such rapid succession that they create the illusion of a world in which we seem to exist as a body.

These phenomena are the enemy coming out of the fort of our mind or heart, and we can destroy or cut them all down as and when they appear only by being keenly and persistently self-attentive. As Bhagavan says in the above two paragraphs, ‘தொன்றுதொட்டு வருகின்ற விஷயவாசனைகள் அளவற்றனவாய்க் கடலலைகள் போற் றோன்றினும் அவையாவும் சொரூபத்யானம் கிளம்பக் கிளம்ப அழிந்துவிடும்’ (toṉḏṟutoṭṭu varugiṉḏṟa viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ aḷavaṯṟaṉavāy-k kaḍal-alaigaḷ pōl tōṉḏṟiṉum avai-yāvum sorūpa-dhyāṉam kiḷamba-k kiḷamba aṙindu-viḍum), ‘Even though viṣaya-vāsanās, which come from time immemorial, rise [as thoughts or phenomena] in countless numbers like ocean-waves, they will all be destroyed when svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness] increases and increases’, and ‘நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற அப்போதைக்கப்போதே அவைகளையெல்லாம் உற்பத்திஸ்தானத்திலேயே விசாரணையால் நசிப்பிக்க வேண்டும்’ (niṉaivugaḷ tōṉḏṟa-t tōṉḏṟa appōdaikkappōdē avaigaḷai-y-ellām uṯpatti-sthāṉattilēyē vicāraṇaiyāl naśippikka vēṇḍum), ‘As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or keen self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise’.

To do so requires strong vairāgya [freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than oneself], just as a pearl-diver needs to tie a stone to his waist in order to sink deep into the ocean to harvest pearls, and the degree of our vairāgya is proportional to the degree of our love (bhakti) to be aware of ourself as the pure self-awareness that we actually are. Now our bhakti and vairāgya may seem hopelessly inadequate for the superhuman task we have undertaken, but if we tenaciously persevere in trying to be self-attentive as much as possible, they will definitely grow and eventually swallow all our other desires (viṣaya-vāsanās), thereby breaking the ego’s hold on phenomena and allowing it to dissolve effortlessly and forever in the infinitely clear light of pure self-awareness.

As Bhagavan also says in the above two paragraphs: ‘சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும்’ (sorūpa-dhyāṉattai viḍā-p-piḍiyāy-p piḍikka vēṇḍum), ‘it is necessary to cling tenaciously to svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness]’, and ‘ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும்’ (oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum), ‘If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone will be sufficient’. Therefore clinging firmly and tenaciously to self-attentiveness or self-remembrance is all that we need do, because doing so is not only necessary but also sufficient, since it alone can and will take care of the dissolution of the ego along with all its viṣaya-vāsanās.

127 comments:

false awareness said...

Michael,
clinging fast to uninterrupted svarupa-smarana can be done only when one has adequate bhakti and vairagya which I hope they will grow and eventually swallow all my other desires and thus dissolve the ego along with all its visaya-vasanas.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Why we have to say that the ego is absent in sleep? It is because the ego is a wrong knowledge of ourself – the ego is only this mixed self-awareness ‘I am this body’. But in sleep, we do not experience ourself as ‘I am this body’, so there is absolutely no ego in sleep, and therefore there are no kosas in sleep.

When I say ‘I am Michael’, I am ignorant of what I actually am. So self-ignorance is there. Therefore, all these five sheaths come and go together. They are inseparable – we can’t separate one from the other.

Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd June 2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, you write in this article: ‘Whatever phenomenon (viṣaya) may appear in our awareness is just the rising of a viṣaya-vāsanā to the surface of our mind in the form of a thought’.

What about the phenomena that appear in our awareness as a result of our destiny (prarabdha-karma)? According to my understanding, these phenomena are not a result of the rising of our visaya-vasanas. Is this correct? If it is, then all the phenomena that appear in our awareness are not the rising of only our visaya-vasanas but are also the result of our prarabdha-karma.

Would you mind clarifying this? Thanks and regards.

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Therefore, all these five sheaths come and go together. They are inseparable – we can’t separate one from the other."
Therefore we may conclude that whith the death of our gross body all the other four sheaths die together.
On the basis of the fact that the ego is formless the picture of a next world (the hereafter) and of the ancestor cult seems to be completely unfounded and only fantasy. Do you agree ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Though we can understand why Bhagavan says self-knowledge is so easy, but it seems difficult to us. Why? It is because we are not ready to let go; we are not yet ready to surrender ourself to Bhagavan. We still love ourself as a person. We still value our life as this person, because as this person we enjoy so many things – we enjoy tasty food, beautiful sights, discussion with friends – we enjoy doing this, we enjoy doing that. Of course, we also suffer along the way.

However, we are not yet ready to let go even when we are faced with death. We still cling to life, and because we cling to life we take birth again and again and again.

But sooner or later we have to let go everything, but how to let go everything? Bhagavan has said in v. 26 of Ulladu Narpadu: Since everything comes into existence only when the ego comes into existence, and since the ego will subside only when we investigate it, investigating what is this ego is giving up everything.

~*~ Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd June 2017

My note: As Michael correct says, we see many people on their death bed, but they are still not ready to give up. They surely know that death is knocking at their doors, but they still try to hold on to their life with all the strength at their command.

I have seen this happen in the case of my father, and I am seeing this happen in the case of my maternal uncle at present (he is extremely ill). They just try to hold us to their attachments until their very last breath. Of course, our most subtle and strong attachment is our attachment to the person we take ourself to be.

Perhaps this story may repeat in our case also, perhaps not, who knows? However, if we are following Bhagavan’s path with all sincerity and earnestness, perhaps we will surrender before we breathe our last. However for this to materialize, we should try practising being attentively self-aware as much as possible, here and now. Who knows when our life will come to end, and therefore we should be always prepared for our body's death.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, yes, when our body dies we do give up all our five sheaths, because after death our mind rests in manolaya for a while before it takes up another body. In manolaya since there is no ego, there are also no five sheaths. However, when we again start dreaming (that is, take another birth), though we have a new body and fresh prana, but the underlying self-ignorance and some of the elements of vijnanamaya-kosa and manomaya-kosa remain the same.

Yes, the ancestor cult (all the shraddh ceremonies and so on) are indeed unfounded and just misconceived fantasy. A personal secret: my wife and I have written a small will, which is as follows:

Everybody dies, so why grieve…

There should not be any kind of condolence meet (baithak) at any place, any sort of shraddh ceremony, Haridwar visit and so on after my body dies. My near and dear ones may dispose of this body in whatever way they feel fit.

Nothing unusual has happened
.

Usually, one doesn’t share one’s will; however, since the topic of shraddh ceremonies have cropped up, I thought there is no harm sharing this here.


Sanjay Lohia said...

1) If we want space in the room, you have got to throw out all the rubbish first – all the furniture. Space is already there, you just have to remove the clutter. Likewise, clarity is already there in our mind, we just have to remove the clutter – other preconceived ideas and beliefs.

We need to throw out all our old ideas, and we need to view Bhagavan’s teachings with completely unprejudiced eyes. We have to become like simple and little children for understanding Bhagavan’s teachings.

Bhagavan’s teachings are not for great intellectual geniuses, for brilliant academics or any of these people. It’s for very-very-very simple people, who are ready to concentrate on that, to look within to see very clearly what is the truth, and Bhagavan’s teachings are very-very simple concepts to help us in that inward journey.

2) Summa Iru means just being. The very rising of the ego is contrary to summa-irpppadu. The nature of the ego is rising and knowing things other than itself. When we turn our attention away from ourself towards our source, there is no movement from ourself to ourself. There is no space to move there. So when we turn within, the mind subsides within and what remains is the state of just being - summa-iruppadu.

In many Tamil texts it is said that summa-irupaddu is the highest upadesa.

Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd June 2017

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
if it is true what you say in your recent comment "...but the underlying self-ignorance and some of the elements of vijnanamaya-kosa and manomaya-kosa remain the same." then you come into conflict with your former statement "when our body dies we do give up all our five sheaths".
Perhaps "the underlying self-ignorance and some of the elements of vijnanamaya-kosa and manomaya-kosa" survive after death of the five sheaths actually in manolaya.

prajna said...

Sanjqay Lohia,
"Bhagavan’s teachings are not for great intellectual geniuses, for brilliant academics or any of these people. It’s for very-very-very simple people, who are ready to concentrate on that, to look within to see very clearly what is the truth, and Bhagavan’s teachings are very-very simple concepts to help us in that inward journey."

However, would not our practice go on much easier when we are attended by a clear intellectual concept of the based philosophy ?

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
sorry I misspelled your name in my last comment.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, you say, ‘Perhaps "the underlying self-ignorance and some of the elements of vijnanamaya-kosa and manomaya-kosa" survive after the death of the five sheaths actually in manolaya’. No, this is not correct. Bhagavan has explained that our sleep is a state of pure knowledge or of pure self-awareness, whereas our waking is a state of complete self-ignorance. Bhagavan has also that that our sleep and our death are essentially the same.

What do we make out from all this? If our states of sleep and of death are not different, and if sleep is a state of pure self-awareness, then the ego doesn’t exist in sleep, and therefore without the ego no kosas can remain in sleep or in death. It is because no kosa can remain independent of our ego. Moreover, Bhagavan says in v. 5 of Ulladu Narpadu:

The body is a form of five sheaths. Therefore all five are included in the term ‘body’. Without a body, is there a world? Say, leaving the body, is there anyone who has seen a world?

Do we experience our body in sleep? No, we don’t, and therefore no other sheaths can exist in sleep because all five sheaths appear together and disappear together.

Yes, clarity about Bhagavan’s teachings helps us in our practice but Bhagavan’s teachings are quite simple, and therefore there is actually not much to understand. We just need to read the small set of principles embedded in his teachings over and over again to deepen our understanding of the same. In other words, we don’t need more and more information but need more and more deepening of whatever we know.

We should not try to become pandits by reading more and more of the ancient texts, because jnana is within us and not in those texts. So our primary task is to turn back within and stay turned within, and when we are not able to do this, to read and reflect on Bhagavan’s teachings, especially his three main texts - Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Yar? and Upadesa Undiyar.


Mouna said...

Sanjay,
”Bhagavan’s teachings are not for great intellectual geniuses, for brilliant academics or any of these people. It’s for very-very-very simple people, who are ready to concentrate on that...”

I am not sure if those are the exact words of Michael in the video and I also know that he is a very compassionate person, but I would interject the word “only” after “Bhagavan’s teachings are not only for great intellectual geniuses...”, otherwise the statement seems a little limited to a certain kind of people... there are intellectual geniuses (actually Michael is one of them!) and brilliant academics who are ready to concentrate in Bhagavan’s teachings...

Just a quick thought...
Thanks
M

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia, regarding your today comment of 08:40,
what do you mean in saying "...though we have a new body and fresh prana, but the underlying self-ignorance and some of the elements of vijnanamaya-kosa and manomaya-kosa remain the same." ?
If I understand you correctly you seem to imply that the words "remain the same" refer to the (same) sheaths of the previous body and mind and herewith supposing the continuation of "underlying self-ignorance and some of the elements of vijnanamaya-kosa and manomaya-kosa". Presumably "resting in manolaya for a while" cannot go off without any subtle substance or sheath.

"Bhagavan has also said ("that") that our sleep and our death are essentially the same."
Yes, but did Bhagavan explain that statement anywhere in more detail ?

On the other hand I have no objection to your appeals "we don’t need more and more information but need more and more deepening of whatever we know." and "our primary task is to turn back within and stay turned within..."


prajna said...

Mouna, greetings,
good objection.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, I do not disagree with your interjection. Yes, Bhagavan teachings are for everyone. As Bhagavan says in verse 17 of Upadesa Undiyar:

When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], anything called ‘mind’ will not exist. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever.

However, I think what Michael was trying to say is that it may be more difficult for one to turn within if one is passionately engaged in intellectual or academic pursuits, or even for that matter in scientific pursuit.

For example, if one is a scientist, one assumes that the world they see is real, because otherwise one will not be motivated to find out more and more about the world. Thus their very belief will make it that much difficult for them to ignore the world and turn within.
Likewise, if one is passionately interested in literature, one would like to read more and more literature and so on, and therefore their very interest in such pursuits may make it difficult for them to read and appreciate the simple but profound teachings of Bhagavan.

However, these are not absolute truths, because we never know when we are drawn by the grace of Bhagavan. The more interest we take in Bhagavan teachings and in practicing self-investigation, the more all our other interests will start waning.

It was difficult for even Ganapathi Sastri to turn within and practise Bhagavan’s path because he was greatly attached to his other spiritual practices, like japa and so on. Bhagavan once remarked about him to the effect: 'it is not possible for Ganapati Muni to experience jnana because he has so much interest in other paths'.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, when we die we remain in manolaya for a while, before our ego rises again and projects another body. Our vasanas gets transferred to our new body. However, our ego or any of its kosas were there in our death, but our ego and its vasanas reappear in our new body. It shows that our underlying or basic anandamaya-kosa (darkness of self-ignorance) and some of the elements of vijananamya and monomaya kosa somehow gets carried forward to our new body.

Yes, Bhagavan clearly says that sleep and death are alike. For example, he says in Talks (no. 64, dated 6th July, 1935):

News of someone’s death was brought to Sri Bhagavan. He said, “Good. The dead are indeed happy. They have got rid of the troublesome overgrowth – the body. The dead man does not grieve. The survivors grieve for the man who is dead. Do men fear sleep? On the contrary, sleep is courted and on waking up man says that he slept happily. One prepares the bed for sound sleep. Sleep is temporary death. Death is longer sleep […]”

Sanjay Lohia said...

Once a visitor came to the ashram and was asking, ‘Where is Ramana? Where is Ramana?’ Someone said he is in the kitchen and he went into the kitchen, and there he saw a person doing pots and pans, and the visitor asked him, ‘Where is Ramana?’ That man pointed to a big brass vessel and said, ‘There is Ramana’, and then the visitor said, ‘What do you mean?’ The people there said, ‘Bhagavan, why are you misleading him?’ Bhagavan said, ‘The name Ramana is written on the vessel, but no such name is written on this body’.

So by all this Bhagavan was teaching us ‘I am not what you mistake myself to be; I am not this body’. So it’s only in our view that Bhagavan seems to be a body and that body answers questions, so we infer that there is a mind in that body. We think ‘otherwise how could Bhagavan have written Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Yar? and Upadesa Undiyar? How did he answer so many questions?’ Therefore he must have a mind, but that is just an assumption.

Because we take ourself to be a body and mind, we take Bhagavan to be a body and mind, but Bhagavan experiences himself as anadi, ananta, akhanda sat-chit-ananda - nothing else.

~ Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 22nd July 2017

My note: We experience ourself as a body and mind. I take myself to be this body which has a name ‘Sanjay’. Who has given this name to this body? It may seem to us that our parents have given us our names, but actually, it’s only our mind which has given us both, our body and our name. My mind projects a body and considers it to be itself, and at the same time, this mind also gives this body a name.

However, if we investigate our mind and discover that we were never this body, we will also discover that we were never this name. So actually we give ourself a name, and we ourself erase that name from our consciousness. What a wonderful leela?

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
so it seems to suggest itself that our vasanas before getting transferred/carried forward to a new body or before their reappearance in a new body are somewhere stored.
Maybe this "place of storing" is considered generally as the place where the alleged existing "life hereafter" happens to occur. Incidentally instead of "vijananamya and monomaya" we should read "vijnanamaya and manomaya" kosa.
In view of the length of sleep death could be called also temporary sleep.
Regarding sleep we do not even know exactly who is sleeping or who is to be called the sleeper. Therefore instead of merely to state "Death is a longer sleep" one should give more precise details of that statement.
Sri Bhagavan assured us that we as our consciousness survive the death of the body.
I admit that I am also interested in informations about if there is actually a "world of the "souls" or "spirits" of the "dead persons" and if so where and how they live now. "Spiritual mediums" claim to be in contact with the spirits of the dead and to communicate between the dead and the living.

die without dying said...

I am quite well aware of the earthly/mortal transience.
Nevertheless I want to know: Has the human body a genetic code which is stored as hereditary disposition in our chromosomes ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, you wonder, how does our vasanas reappear in our new body? One may likewise ask how our ego projects a new body. All these are beyond our human comprehension, and there is not much use analysing these issues too much. We know that we exist now, so who or what exactly is this ‘I’? This is all we have to find out.

You say, ‘Regarding sleep, we do not even know exactly who is sleeping or who is to be called the sleeper’. When you wake up from your sleep, don’t you know that you were asleep sometime back? So it was ‘you’ who was sleeping, for sure. This is the real you, but when you wake up, you superimpose an illusory ‘you’ over and above this real you, and this illusory you is the ego. This ego is confused about the state of sleep because it was not present in sleep.

Bhagavan says in v. 13 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Dissolution [cessation or complete subsidence of mind] is [of] two [kinds]: laya and nāśa. What is lying down [or dissolved in laya] will rise. If [its] form dies [in nāśa], it will not rise.

Both death and sleep are states of laya (also called manolaya). Though in any sort of laya, our mind remains completely submerged or subsided within, it will rise again because it has not been destroyed. Whereas if our mind is destroyed it is called nasa or manonasa, and subsequently it will not rise again. Bhagavan has greatly simplified these things.

Whatever we experience apart from ourself is our dream, and therefore all your interest in the world of souls or spirits, spiritual mediums and so on is just a part of your dream. Things such as these are unnecessary distractions from our primary and, according to Bhagavan, only worthwhile task, which is to investigate and find out the truth of oneself.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Devotee: Are the ego and self-awareness one and the same?

Michael: OK, are the snake and the rope one and the same?

Devotee: Not really.

Michael: Well, they’re the same. There’s only one thing there. What’s there is only the rope but it seems to be a snake. So the actual thing is one, but what it seems to be is a problem. So there is only self-awareness, now that self-awareness seems to be an ego. So pure self-awareness is what we actually are, the ego is what we seem to be when we mistake ourself to be anything other than pure self-awareness.

That’s why Bhagavan said it’s sufficient for us just to investigate this ego. Investigating the ego is like looking carefully at the snake. What happens when you look at the snake carefully enough, you will see it’s a rope. So also if we look at this ego carefully enough, what we’ll see is that this ego is actually just pure self-awareness, and it has never risen as ‘I am this person’.

+ slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 22nd July 2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more love we have to know what we actually are, the easier it will be for us to be attentively self-aware even in the midst of a battlefield. It is because although all sorts of calamities are happening around us, we are all aware ‘I am’ – it’s my house that’s on fire; it’s my family who is facing problems; it’s my bank account which is empty.

So whatever problem you can conceive, it’s a problem for whom? It’s a problem for me. Who is this ‘I’? Since we are the centre of all problems, instead of looking out at the problem and worrying about them, we should remain centred in ‘I’.

It is because, according to Bhagavan, we cannot change anything in the external world. What is to happen is going to happen, what is not to happen is not going to happen, however much effort we make to make it happen.

*i* Modified extract from Michael’s video dated 20th July 2017

My note: Yes, life is certainly a battlefield, and we need to practise being attentively self-aware even in the midst of this battle. Bhagavad Gita beautifully illustrates this point. Sri Krishna asks Arjuna to fight the battle remaining calm and composed, remaining without attachments towards friends and foes.

In other words, Arjuna was being told to fight his battle while remaining attentively self-aware. Sri Krishna may not have stated this so explicitly or has he stated this, I am not sure, but this is clearly implied in Gita. Any inputs on this point is most welcome.

To win this worldly battle we need to keep Sri Krishna on our side, and we can do so only if we remember him unceasingly, and we can remember him most directly by nirantara svarupa-smarana (incessant self-remembrance).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Devotee: Michael, what is your inner experience? Are you always practising self-investigation?

Michael: Well, there is no point to ask about me. For you to ask about me is anatma-vichara - which means enquiring about what is not your self. Whether I am able to attend to self all the time or not is nothing to you. Because I am able to talk about Bhagavan’s teachings people assume I am a jnani. People write to me and say, ‘you must be a jnani, why don’t you admit?’

Let’s say just for argument sake that I am a jnani, what is it you? And by saying ‘I am a jnani, what is it to me?’ But the fact is I am just in the same boat as everyone else. I am trying to follow Bhagavan’s teachings imperfectly because I still have vishaya-vasanas. I still have desires and I still like to experience things other than myself. My mind is still an outgoing mind to a large extent.

* Modified extract from Michael’s video dated 20th July 2017

My note: We should learn humility from Michael. His outer clarity (in his writings, videos etc.) reflects his inner clarity. Of course, as Michael himself says, it’s futile to debate whether or not he is a jnani.

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I agree, to find out the truth of oneself is the most important, primary and only worthwhile task.
Your statement "Whatever we experience apart from ourself is our dream" is certainly true because (it is said that) we are actually only one (pure awareness).
Therefore, all is in me. If there is a world of spirits at all, it cannot be or exist separated from me. Therefore knowing what I actually am includes of course knowledge of the awareness of all fellow men and their ancestores. Therefore having no knowledge of the real nature of humanity cannot be ever to my complete satisfaction.
Why did Bhagavan Ramana show any interest in the entombment of the mortal remains of his earthly mother's body and in erecting the "Mother's temple" over that grave if he would not know any facts worth knowing about the whereabouts of her consciousness ?
The same question one can put regarding the mortal remains of the cow Laksmi.
Why did the people (of Sri Ramanasramam) erect a grave over Bhagavan's mortal remains if there would be no relevant connection between the continued existence of his awareness and us devotees ? The same one may ask about the tombs of Muruganar, Sadhu Om and others.
Regarding your remarks about sleep:
You say "When you wake up from your sleep, don’t you know that you were asleep sometime back? So it was ‘you’ who was sleeping, for sure. This is the real you,....."

The subject who is waking up from sleep is certainly not the same that slept.
Because in deep sleep there was no ego at all it could not awaken from sleep.
Why should the "real I" sleep at all ? Such an assumption is at best only the view of the illusory ego.

devoid of two said...

In which relationship work karma/predetermination/predestination and heredity together `?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, you say, ‘Therefore knowing what I actually am includes of course knowledge of the awareness of all fellow men and their ancestors’. This is not literally true because when we know ourself as we actually are we know only ourself, and therefore no awareness of all fellow men and their ancestors can remain in our true state.

Bhagavan’s name and form and all the incidents in his life is part of our dream. Even the present Sri Ramanasramam is part of our dream. However, though the name and form of Bhagavan and his teachings is part of our dream, his teachings bring about our awakening, and that awakening is real.

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I assume that there is only one pure self-awareness. If my assumption is true all what is anyhow aware is included in that one atma-svarupa. Nothing can be outside of atma-svarupa.
When you imply that all is 'part of our dream' by 'dream' you seem to understand unreality or mere mental imagination. Seen from an "absolute" viewpoint I accept this without argument.
I would say more accurately: Bhagavan's teachings alone do not bring out 'awakening'. Only clear understanding of them together with steadfast being persistent in continuing to practise his teachings may us bring in the state of preparedness for 'awakening' to undivided self-awareness. Yes, awakening to the real substance is to be called 'real awakening'.

meyyin iyalbu said...

Freedom from any desire is vairagya. How is it to achieve ?
Presumably by keeping silence which is said to be my real nature.
So keeping silent is what I should try, again, again and again.
As Michael said, existing 'in the heart' without thought means
being without the ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, I agree when you say, ‘Bhagavan's teachings alone do not bring out 'awakening'. Only clear understanding of them together with steadfast being persistent in continuing to practise his teachings may us bring in the state of preparedness for 'awakening' to undivided self-awareness’.

However, I would like to change one word in this statement of yours – instead of ‘may’ I would use ‘will’. That is, Bhagavan’s teachings will bring in the state of preparedness for awakening …’. As Michael recently said, Bhagavan's path is an infallible means to experience ourself as we really are. Why? It is because the supreme light of consciousness itself is our guide. We just have to follow this guide with complete trust. This light will eventually swallow us. That is the end of this game - end of this seemingly unending game of samsara.

Sanjay Lohia said...

How the world shines? How the world seems to exist? It shines only by the mind. So as Bhagavan says, is there a world apart from a mind? Only be that mind – the reflected light of consciousness – the world seems to exist. The world that stands in front of us, the world we perceive directly, it appears with the mind and disappears with the mind.

Bhagavan says that the world stands of us that could be taken to imply that the world is actually there in front of us. That is not what Bhagavan means here. According to Bhagavan, any state that we perceive other than ourself is just a dream. So just like the world we perceive in a dream, whatever state we perceive either in this state or in any other state is merely a mental projection, and therefore does not exist independent of our perception of it.

Therefore, this world or any other world we perceive seem to stand in front of us so long as we perceive it, and hence seems to be outside of ourself, it’s actually just an illusory appearance, and therefore it doesn’t actually exist outside of ourself. The world exists only in our own mind.

When we are dreaming the dream world seems to be outside of us – we limit ourself as a body in that world – all the other objects of that world seems to be outside of us. But as soon as we wake up we understand that both the body which we took to be ourself and the world we perceived through that body all existed only in our own mind. All were just our mental projection.

** Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 5th August, 2017


Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan said what our body, speech, and mind are destined to do it will be made to do. In his note to his mother, he said, ‘according to the destiny of each person he who is for that being there-there (means in each place, it implies in the heart of each one of us), God or guru, will make them dance.

So our body, speech, and mind will be made to do whatever they are destined to do, but we will be aware of it only if we allow our attention to move outward. We don’t have to allow our attention to go outwards.

Bhagavan said, ‘It is not necessary to think at all’. He gave a beautiful example of a passenger travelling on a train. When you are travelling on a train you know that everything on the train is carried by train. We don’t have to put our luggage on our head and suffer. We can simply put our luggage beside and we can sit back and relax. So also we don’t have to concern ourself with anything about this external world.

We don’t even have to think about the external world. We don’t have to think about where our next meal will come from. If we want to follow the path of self-surrender that Bhagavan has taught us, which is actually not different from atma-vichara, we don’t actually have to think of anything else.

If we have so much faith in Bhagavan… Bhagavan is the train which is carrying our entire burden. We can put our luggage beside, set aside all our concerns about the world and we can turn our attention within.

^ Extract from the video dated 5th August 2017

My note: Bhagavan path is not only about self-investigation but is also about complete faith or trust in Bhagavan. He is carrying all our burdens, so, as Michael says, why to even think. He is even doing the thinking for us.

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"So our body, speech, and mind will be made to do whatever they are destined to do, but we will be aware of it only if we allow our attention to move outward. We don’t have to allow our attention to go outwards."
The ability to steer/direct/control all our attention to look within one first must have developed.
"Bhagavan is the train which is carrying our entire burden. We can put our luggage beside, set aside all our concerns about the world and we can turn our attention within."
"Therefore, this world or any other world we perceive seem to stand in front of us so long as we perceive it, and hence seems to be outside of ourself, it’s actually just an illusory appearance, and therefore it doesn’t actually exist outside of ourself. The world exists only in our own mind."
To have so much faith in Bhagavan that I could believe it I would be perfectly happy. Unfortunately at present I am yet not firmly convinced by that statements because it is not my direct experience. So I can only hope to come to this point soon.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, yes, we do not yet have the direct experience of ourself as we actually are, and therefore, as you say, our faith in Bhagavan and his teachings are not very strong, but the more we practise being attentively self-aware, the more our faith in Bhagavan and his teachings will grow, and eventually this faith will consume us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I think President Trump is not a very good President. I am sure I can do a much better job than him. So I can try and become the President of America and try as hard as I like, but it’s not going to happen, but I am free to try. So we are all aspiring for things, we all have hopes and fears. We try to avoid certain things.

So we are constantly seeking certain things and trying to avoid certain things. So long as our mind is going outward, so long as we are aware of the world, we cannot be free of likes and dislikes. We can lessen our likes and dislikes by accepting everything as the will of Bhagavan – whatever happens, happens due to Bhagavan’s grace for my own good.

However, pain follows pleasure, pleasure follows pain. Our life is a constant oscillation between pleasure and pain. But these pleasures and pains, all these things happen if we allow our mind to go outwards. Bhagavan says, ‘you don’t actually have to allow your attention to go outwards’.

Even if we feel, ‘Oh, I have a family I need to support, I need to pay all these bills and everything’. If it is the destiny of this body and mind that you take to be yourself to earn, to pay the bills, to look after your family, that body and mind will be made to do it. Even if you are constantly turning within, these outward actions will go on.
That has to be said so long as we take the world to be real, but actually, a dream appears only when we see it. So only if we allow our attention to come out that any of these things happen.

+ Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 5th August 2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sivaprakasham Pillai’s mind was very well attuned to Bhagavan. Bhagavan came to teach a very-very simple path of ‘who am I?’ and the very first question that Sivaprakasham Pillai asked Bhagavan was: who am I? So he was a perfect disciple, and he was an exemplary person.

Even after so many years when he again came to Bhagavan, everyone knew about Nan Yar? and Sivaprakasham Pillai. He would come into the hall and if one didn’t know who he was, people will think some simple villager has come. He would come with folded hands and sit in the far corner of the hall. Such a humble person he was, and he truly followed Bhagavan’s path.

When the news, the telegram was received by Bhagavan that Sivaprakasham Pillai has passed away, Bhagavan said, ‘Sivaprakasham has become the light of Siva’. That was Bhagavan’s way of saying, ‘he has merged back into the source – Siva’, which is Bhagavan himself.

~ Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 5th August 2017

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
to forbid the mind to go outwards requires great ripeness. Much more maturity is necessary to actually prevent the mind (from) going outwards. In my experience sensual desires constantly defy my efforts and keep on insisting on getting satisfied. Only Arunachala can and hopefully will save me from the clutches of endless samsara.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Prajna, yes, only Arunachala can save us, but what is the real form of Arunachala? It is ourself as we actually are. So only we can save ourself from our own self-ignorance. How? By practising self-attentiveness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Everything is centred in consciousness, everything is seated in consciousness. Nothing exists except in consciousness, except in awareness. So how can consciousness have a seat anywhere? Consciousness is the seat of everything.

The seat of the world is mind, which is a relative form of consciousness. What is the seat of mind? Ourself. That’s why Bhagavan often used the word idam. Idam means the ‘place’. Bhagavan often used the word 'place' as a metaphor for what we actually are.
So what is the seat of consciousness? You are the seat of consciousness, because you are consciousness.

*~* slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 5th August 2017

prajna said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you seem to imply Arunachala Hill as "unreal" form. Even when its "real" form shines as our real consciousness Arunachala Hill cannot be considered as an "unreal" form of pure-selfconsciousness which is also called Siva. How could I be attracted to it moving from Europe to South India if it was not more than an illusory appearance ? At present I don't know whether I start the day after tomorrow again to Arunachala more of my mind's own accord or more due to Bhagavan's grace for my own good.
At the moment I am in no position to say what really happens. Quite honestly, whether the world - inclusive Annamalai - exists only in my mind I cannot assess. Therefore one cannot rule out that I misjudge all the world appearance which is said to be just our mental projection.
May Bhagavan Arunachala-Siva carry the entire burden of my self-ignorance and support/promote the process of turning my attention within by preventing the mind from going outward.

meyyin iyalbu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you quote Michael saying "You are the seat of consciousness, because you are consciousness."
Consciousness of what ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Meyyin Iyalbu, we are pure self-consciousness which is aware of nothing other than itself. Michael describes our pure self-consciousness as intransitive consciousness – that is, this consciousness is conscious only of itself.

meyyin iyalbu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
can one assume or even (put one's) trust in that "pure self-consciousness which is aware of nothing other than itself" includes all what really exists ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

I very recently came to know about the idiom: enough to sink a ship. Can we imagine how much weight it takes to sink a ship? It takes a lot of weight. Our intensity, while we turn inwards, should be like this extraordinary weight to sink the ship – our ego.

This ship – that is, our ego – will not go down that easily, because it is floating on the extremely deep water of our vishaya-vasanas. So we need tremendous about of inward push to pierce through this highly dense and stubborn vishaya-vasanas. It may be very difficult in the beginning but we can pierce through it by constant and intense self-investigation.

So, yes, we do need enough to sink a ship or enough to sink our ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is very-very clear about the goal he recommends. He does not force anything on anyone. If people want to have other goals, he is not going to stop them, but he makes it very-very clear: if we are wise we will try to return to our home, which is where we merge in God – merge in the place from which we arose.

# Extract from Michael’s video dated September 16, 2017

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding the comment in which you query my statement, ‘Whatever phenomenon (viṣaya) may appear in our awareness is just the rising of a viṣaya-vāsanā to the surface of our mind in the form of a thought’, since according to your understanding some phenomena appear in our awareness as a result of our destiny (prārabdha), there is no contradiction here for the following reason:

All phenomena (viṣayas) of any kind whatsoever are just thoughts or mental phenomena, and they are therefore all just an expansion or projection of our viṣaya-vāsanās (our desires to be aware of phenomena). This means that the entire world we perceive in this or any other dream is just a projection of our viṣaya-vāsanās, but it does not mean that this projection is under our control, because we now experience ourself as a body, which is part of this projection. By taking ourself to be one of the projected phenomena (a creature), we (the creator) lose control over what we have projected (created).

Therefore what is it that determines which viṣaya-vāsanās are projected as phenomena at each moment? It is our prārabdha, which has been ordained by Bhagavan and is therefore what is most favourable for our spiritual development. However, though our prārabdha determines which phenomena are to appear in our awareness, we are always free to choose whether to attend to those phenomena or to try to turn our attention back within to see what we actually are.

The fact that prārabdha is what determines which phenomena are to appear in our mind is indicated by Bhagavan in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam when he says that ‘நிகழ்வினை சுழலில்’ (nikaṙviṉai suṙalil), ‘in the whirl of destiny’, series of subtle shadowy thoughts are seen on the mirror of the mind-light as a shadowy world-picture both inside and outside.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this clarification. Yes, things seem to be clearer now. With regards.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The general view of most scientists and most modern philosophers is that the mind is something within the brain. But where is the brain, where is this whole world? It’s within the mind, isn’t it?

So long as we are taking this material, physical world to be the primary thing, we are looking in the wrong direction. To whom does this material world seem to exist? When did the material world seem to exist? It is only when we see it. So what comes first: the material universe or consciousness that is aware of the material universe?

According to Bhagavan, they arise and subside simultaneously, but it is only by the mind that the world shines. Neither the mind nor the world is real. That from which they arise, that is, that from which they appear and into that they disappear, that is porul, that is the reality. Bhagavan wants us to see that, and to see that we have to turn within.

# Slightly modified extract from Michael’s video dated 16-09-2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

Everything happens in the present but not in the precise present moment. It happens in the relative present, the flow from past to future. So if we want to go beyond all happenings, we have to go into the exact present moment, between the slightest past moment and the slightest future moment. What is the exact present moment?

For that, we have to investigate with a sharp and subtle mati (intellect or mind). What is the present-ness of the present moment? How can we have that sharp and subtle intellect? It is by atma-vichara.

+ Slightly modified extract from the video dated 16-09-2017

Anonymous said...

Sanjay I really do not understand why you made Slighty modified, why not to put the exact extract and after that put your slighty modified extract.... yes of course if I want I am free to listen the original, but some people have some difficulty to understand and prefer to read... and thank to you we can read some extract... but the slighty modified it makes me a little.... you know I can trust Michael one hundred percent... It is like a slighty modified translation of the writings of Ramana....

It is just my feeling...

Thank you to you :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, yes, as you say, we can and should trust Michael 100%, because his knowledge and understanding of Bhagavan’s life and teachings is second to none. In fact, whatever little I know about Bhagavan’s teachings is mainly due to him.

Why I ‘slightly modify’ my extracts? I just change a few words here and there, or remove one or two sentences from the original transcript or add one or two lines. So in a way I just edit them, but I try to be as accurate to his original words as possible.

Anyway, whatever extracts I reproduce are mainly for my own reflections, and therefore I do not feel that these extracts need to be verbatim. I sometimes copy down whatever he says and then try to reproduce it in my own words. In the process, I may modify or edit his original words, but as I said, I do not modify or edit his ideas.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay : you said "but I try to be as accurate to his original words as possible"... to be as accurate to his original as possible is to put them like you hear them...

When you take a extract from his blog your copy like Michael has said in his blog like this one :
Sanjay Lohia said...
Sir, you write in this article: ‘Whatever phenomenon (viṣaya) may appear in our awareness is just the rising of a viṣaya-vāsanā to the surface of our mind in the form of a thought’.

Because if you don't take the exact word Michael would say that it is not what he said... I understand your manana, but from my point of view you should write the own word of Michael, even if after you made you own reflexion...

you said that you reproduce mainly for your own reflexion, It seems that you need some regards about your reflexion... if you said no, so what to put them in public... why do you not put them on your own blog if you have one...

I do not desagreed about you own reflexion, but just that you do not put the real word... may be people like to read you (your reflexion on the basis on the Writings of Michael)

One thing that I like about Michael is his perfection to make in english what Ramana said, and I think when he translated Ramana, he doesn't change the original sanskrit, even if after he gives more details but all are on the basic of the original....

And I will said that I can read Michael with no doubt about his translations and certainly you read them without doubts, but you read Michael directly, but do you read someone who will said Michael has said approximatively some thing not exactly his own word?

thank you


Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, I thank you for the extra advice that you have given me through your latest comment. I will keep your suggestions in my mind, but I am not sure if I can implement it 100%. Anyway thanks.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael: People used to ask Bhagavan: ‘How to know who is a jnani? Is this person a jnani, is that person a jnani?’ Bhagavan used to say, ‘there is one jnani, and you are that’.

When we don’t recognize ourself as a jnani, how can we recognize others as jnanis? So first see the jnani in yourself and then you judge if others are jnanis, if afterwards others remain to be seen.

Devotee: If strengthens your perseverance if you know that someone has succeeded…

Michael: If you want to know if someone succeeded, Venkataraman succeeded in dying. So long as we are looking for encouragement from outside, our attention is outside. We need to look within.

Bhagavan says, ‘You are already that’. What more encouragement can be said? You are already brahman, you are already a jnani. Just see yourself. If Bhagavan said this person is a jnani, that person is a jnani, he is just taking our attention away from ourself.

Enquiring if others are jnanis is anatma-vichara. Bhagavan wants us to do atma-vichara.

^ Slightly edited extract from Michael’s video dated 16th September, 2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael: How can you be sure that Michael is not like someone whom you met last night in your dream? He seemed to be real so long as you were talking to him, but when you wake up, you find that he was just your own mental projection.

So according to Bhagavan, there is only one ego. When that one ego rises, everything else appears. So who is this one ego? You are that. You are also brahman, but it now appears as the ego. So in order to dissolve the ego back into yourself, the ego needs to look at itself, and then it will see that it is brahman and it was always brahman.

Devotee: Right, there is one ego, so if Michael wakes up, why don’t I wake up with him?

Michael: When you are dreaming, how can the people in your dream wake up? OK, if they are sleeping, they can wake up. But that is not really waking. They can’t wake out of your dream, can they?

Devotee: But when I wake up it brings about their dissolution.

Michael: Yes, so that’s why we are all waiting for you to wake up so that you bring about our dissolution. We are all bound in bondage. Everyone is in bondage. So it all depends on you. That’s why we are all waiting for you to get realised to solve our problems, because our problems exist only in our own view. So please try harder.

*~* Slightly edited extract from Michael’s video dated 16th September, 2017

My note: Yes, Bhagavan is also telling us in so many ways, ‘Please try harder. Why are keeping me waiting for so long? I am awaiting your return to your home, which is myself’.

Anonymous said...

Good day

In as few words as possible could someone describe the term "non-duality"? In the spiritual sense of course......

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, you write in your last comment: ‘Therefore what is it that determines which viṣaya-vāsanās are projected as phenomena at each moment? It is our prārabdha, which has been ordained by Bhagavan and is therefore what is most favourable for our spiritual development’. […] You have explained here is that what determines which visaya-vasanas are projected as phenomena at each moment is our prarabdha.

However, do we not project some phenomena as a result of our free-will? Say, for example, I may not be destined to be the Prime Minister of India, but I am free to try to become one, and therefore may act by my body, speech and mind to try to become the Prime Minister of India. I may visit various places in India, indulge in sorts of gimmicks, make a lot of false promises and so on. Of course, I will not succeed in becoming the P.M. because it is not in my destiny.

But by my all these efforts do I not create a set of phenomena – namely, do I not create all the cities I visit, all the speeches I give and so on? Presumably, this effort was not part of my prarabdha; nevertheless, I did create some phenomena by my efforts driven by my free-will. Of course, I will experience only that which I am destined to experience – that is, I will never become the P.M. because this is not in my destiny.

So it seems that our agamya also does create some phenomena, although all our experiences – the outcome of our actions – are only according to prarabdha. What do you think? With regards.

Mouna said...

Anonymous, greetings.
”In as few words as possible could someone describe the term "non-duality"? In the spiritual sense of course...”

Divisionless.

I think that is as few words as possible a definition!
Allow me to unravel a little bit that word in “the spiritual sense” as you requested.
Is there a division between water and wave? Could you separate the water from the wave, or the cloud or the block of ice? Aren’t they only H2O? Or can we separate the wood from the trunk of a tree, or the gold from earrings or the clay from pots? Evidently not because there is no division between name/form of an object and it’s essential substance.
The same principle applies to our sensations, perceptions, thoughts and emotions (which actually are our only “connection” with an inner and outer “world”). Can we separate those from our existence and consciousness/awareness? Evidently not because we need to exist and be conscious in order to be aware of any phenomena through our sensations, perceptions, thoughts and emotions. So then, there is no division between our sensations, perceptions, thoughts, emotions and our existence/awareness.
The world we “see and feel” out there and the one we experience “in here” (on this side of the skin!) is not separate from our awareness and existence which are its essential nature as H2O is for ocean, clouds and ice.

That is non-duality, not-two.
Or in other single word:
Divisionless

Be well,
m

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, ‘non-duality’ means ‘not two’. In the spiritual sense, it points to our primal and ever-present atma-svarupa, which is one non-dual reality. All duality – good and bad; beautiful and ugly; happy and sad and so on – is an illusory appearance, but even this illusion is not apart from or other than the one non-dual reality.

Sanjay Lohia said...

‘To seek to know the significance of life is itself the result of good karma in past births. Those who do not seek such knowledge are simply wasting their lives’.

~ Talk 558, 15th October 1938

My note: Going by this criterion, we see many wasting their lives, and I do not entirely exclude myself from this ‘many’. However, why do we pay attention to what others are doing or not doing? If we are practising self-investigation, we should be doing only self-investigation and not be investigating others.

Others exist only when we rise as this ego, and therefore even to see others is a sure sign of our self-ignorance. Also, whatever defects we see in others is merely a reflection of our own defect. We create others and also create all their defects and then proudly claim, ‘Look, they have so many defects. I am so much better off than them’.

Why rise as this ego in the place and create all these defects in ourself and in others? Why not turn within and destroy the very seed of all defects and this seed is our ego.

Anonymous said...

thanks Mouna
certainly glad you didn't leave it at 1 word only I'd still be scratching my head.
One without a second...I see that phrase a lot in Vivekachudamani. I find Sankara's works captivating, and can hardly pull myself away from his teachings.

also thanks to Sanjay

Sanjay Lohia said...

What Bhagavan taught us is the ultimate bhakti, because what is bhakti, what is love? If you love a person, what can you do for that person? Love is not about receiving; love is about giving. The ultimate gift we can give is oneself. So if we have real love for God, we should want to give ourself to God, we should want to dissolve ourself in God.

How to dissolve in God? It is only by giving ourself to God. How to give ourself to God? We must first know what we actually are. See if there is anything to give first. We promise God, ‘I will give you all my love; I will give you myself’. God laughs at us: ‘Where is that self that you are going to give me’. He is not going to be deluded by our false offer, because he knows there is no self for us to give.

In order for us to know that there is no ego-self we must look within, and see that we alone exist and there never was any ego. This is surrendering ourself to God.

# Slightly edited transcript from Michael’s video dated 07/10/2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

Qs: Karma, is it for the ego or the body?

Michael: Karma is only for the ego. Suppose if we have an accident, it is the prarabdha of the ego to undergo that accident. Now the ego feels ‘I am this body’, so when we undergo an accident, we don’t say ‘my body is injured’, we say ‘I am injured’. The body doesn’t feel pain; it’s we who feel pain. The body is Jada. There is something in the body that says ‘I am this body’ and is aware of pains and pleasures of this body – that is the ego.

The prarabdha is for the duration of the body. In this lifetime a certain prarabdha has been charted out for the ego to experience. So if we have to have a heart-attack or cancer or whatever, that is destined and is going to happen. It will seem to happen to the body, but who is the one who says ‘I have cancer’, ‘I had a heart attack’… because we take the body to be ‘I’, so the poor body has to suffer with us.

The body is no more suffering that a piece of wood is suffering. The body is jada, the sentient element in the body is the ego, so the actual experiencer of the prarabdha is only the ego.

^ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated November 4, 2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is dwelling in the hearts of each one of us, slowly-slowly purifying our minds through our experiences, our prarabdha, which will make us dejected with the external world, and therefore eventually we will be willing to turn within.

Bhagavan is infinitely patient, and he will allow us to follow whichever path we want to follow, because he knows when we are ready we will definitely turn back within and practise self-investigation. Only self-investigation can liberate us, and Bhagavan knows that we have to come to this path sooner or later.

Salvation is the annihilation of the ego, and ego is the wrong knowledge of ourself. Therefore, only the correct knowledge of ourself can liberate us, and we can attain such correct knowledge only by turning within. Very-very simple! The philosophy and logic of Bhagavan’s teachings are so very simple.

~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated November 4, 2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

According to Bhagavan, the whole problem is the ego - the ego is the base for knowledge and ignorance - if the ego comes into existence everything comes into existence; when the ego is not everything is not.

The only solution to all our problems is to get rid of the ego – if we cut the root, the whole tree dies. The very first v. of Aksaramanamalai, what Bhagavan says is: ‘Arunachala, you root out the ego…’

Why Arunachala appeared as a column of light between Brahma and Vishnu, and later took the form of the hill? It is only to teach the annihilation of the ego. The same Arunachala appeared as a human form of Bhagavan to teach us the same thing. So Bhagavan’s teachings are all about the root problem – the ego.

In older advaitic texts, they say the root problem is avidya (ignorance), but for whom is ignorance? Bhagavan has simplified everything. Bhagavan says the root problem is not ignorance; the root problem is ‘who has this ignorance’. We as this ego are ignorant, so we are the root problem.

So Bhagavan has simplified and clarified and removed so many confusions which existed in the older advaitic texts.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated November 4, 2017



R Viswanathan said...

"In as few words as possible could someone describe the term "non-duality"? In the spiritual sense of course."

If you will have time and inclination to read this wonderful book by Dr. John Grimes:

Ramana Maharshi, The Crown Jewel of Advaita

The basic principles are beautifully explained, mainly taking references from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi.



Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael: People ask, ‘What is your experience of practising self-enquiry?’ Experiences come and go, and anything that comes and goes is not ourself. People attach a lot of importance to spiritual experiences, but these experiences will always mislead us.

We may get all sorts the wonderful experiences: we may feel oneness with the whole world, we may see divine visions – we may see visions of Shiva or Shakti or Subramanya or Jesus or Buddha, but to whom are all these experiences? Bhagavan says that seeing God without seeing oneself is seeing only a mental image or mental vision. It’s not real. What is real is always present, and what is always present is only self-awareness.

Awareness of anything other than ourself, however blissful it may be, is only ignorance. We may get tremendous peace while we practise meditation, but if that peace goes away, we don’t want such peace. What is the use of such transient peace? Anything which appears will disappear.

Once someone asked Bhagavan, ‘Bhagavan, if God were to appear before you what would you ask?’ Bhagavan said, ‘I will ask him not to appear. I don’t want a God which appears and disappears. I want a God which is with me always’.

People assume that jnana or moksha or nirvana or whatever we are seeking, is something we are going to experience in the future. Bhagavan said, ‘If jnana is something that will come in future, it will also go away in future’. Such a jnana is of no use to us.

Real jnana is what is always present. That is why Bhagavan says in Ulladu Narpadu: ‘Oneself who is jnana alone is real’. Jnana means pure awareness.

~ Edited extract from Michael’s latest video dated 3rd February, 2018 (1:04 to 1:09)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we understand Ulladu Narpadu properly, whatever spiritual questions we may be asked we can answer very easily, because all the answers are given there in seed form. It is also important to understand Nan Yar?, Upadesa Undiyar, Arunachala Stuti Panchakam and other works, but Ulladu Narpadu is the most fundamental and important work of Bhagavan. If we have understood Ulladu Narpadu, we have understood everything worth knowing, as far as spiritual knowledge is concerned.

We can reply to any philosophers, any skeptic or atheist or people of any faith or religion, if we have grasped Ulladu Narpadu correctly and coherently. We are on unshakeable grounds. Of course, Bhagavan has not given us his teachings to go and argue with the world. In fact, he condemns such arguments in the 2nd and 3rd verses of Ulladu Narpadu.

If we have understood Ulladu Narpadu no outwards argument can shake us, and when we are going within, we will have a clear understanding of what we are actually looking for. We are not looking for any objective experience or phenomena when we turn within. Bhagavan has simplified it so much. When people ask, ‘Bhagavan, I can’t find that ‘I’, Bhagavan says, ‘Are there two ‘I’s that one ‘I’ can’t find another ‘I’? You are always there, you just have to see yourself – be aware of yourself as you actually are’.

Once we have understood Bhagavan’s teachings, so many other philosophies seem to be child’s play. Other philosophies may seem to be very complicated, written in a very high language, with so many mind-boggling concepts and everything, but we will understand that many of them are quite gibberish.

^ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd February, 2018

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our sadhana is a wonderful play between the push and the pull

Yes, Bhagavan or pure consciousness pulls us from within ourself, and we need to support this pull by our effort to push ourself within. This is essentially what our practice of self-investigation is.

It is Bhagavan’s pull that initiates us into our sadhana. This pull may seem to be an external event – like the first time we see Bhagavan’s photo or the first time we come across any book on him or the first time we hear his name and so on. Though these all may seem to be some external happening, actually these occurrences should be taken to mean that Bhagavan’s grace has started doing its work on us.

Henceforth, our sadhana depends on how we respond to this grace. We may just ignore this initial dose of grace and continue with our lives as usual, or we may choose to respond to this call of grace by undertaking some sadhana, whatever it may be - japa, dhyana, puja, self-enquiry or whatever. In any case, eventually, we have to come to the practice of self-investigation, because this is the only path which directly leads us out of this samsara.

So once we have started practising self-investigation, we need to sustain the practice by constant and intense push within. However, the real power which enables this push to take place is only the power of the pull - which is the power of grace. As Bhagavan used to say: Grace is the beginning, grace is the middle and grace is the end of our sadhana.

However, our push can only take us thus far, because beyond a point this push is not possible. Why? It is because a stage will come when we as this ego will become so weak and helpless that we will not be able to make any further effort to go within. However, we still have to make effort to stay in that state of intense self-attentiveness. Then, as Bhagavan once said poetically, a power will rise from within and pull us within forever. Actually, we will then be engulfed by the absolute clarity of pure self-awareness, and this clarity will completely annihilate our ego.

So as I said in the beginning, our sadhana is a wonderful play between the push and the pull. Let us enjoy this play by participating in it wholeheartedly.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are always self-aware. There is never a moment when we are not self-aware, but during our waking and dream, we are negligently self-aware. That is, though we are self-aware, we are more interested in attending to things other than ourself, than in attending to ourself.

Why? It is because this life is a very interesting place: we can read the newspapers in the morning; we can watch the news in the evening; things are going on in our office; drama is going on in our family and so on. The whole life is full of drama: we live in the midst of a big drama.

So many interesting things are there – we get pleasure from this, we get pleasure from that. So our attention is constantly going out towards things other than ourself. Therefore, though we are always self-aware, we are usually negligently self-aware. That is, we are not interested in self-awareness; we are more interested in the other things.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd February 2018

My note: We have traps all around. Therefore our sadhana has to be done by ignoring these traps, by ignoring these dramas that we see all around us. If there is a wedding in India, it is usually a one-week affair in rich families – so much of drama and distraction! So our practice of self-investigation should be in the midst of all these distractions and dramas.

That is why it is said that only a dhira (a courageous one) can succeed in his or her sadhana, because a weak one can easily get side-tracked and lose his way – he may start enjoying all these dramas, forgetting the purpose of their life.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are not satisfied by our present condition, but we are still somehow enjoying our present condition. Most of us are not entirely satisfied with our lives but we are still too attached to our lives, and therefore we prefer to continue living and do not think of ending our lives (at least most of the time). We prefer to live in misery than not live at all. This shows how much we are attached to ourself and everything around us.

We are so attached to all the phenomena around us that we love coming back to experiencing these phenomena every day. We know we were perfectly happy in sleep, so why do we come out of sleep every day? It shows how strong our desires and attachments are to things other than ourself. We know that our present waking state does not give us unalloyed happiness, but we still are reluctant to merge back permanently in sleep. We do like to sleep, but only just to rejuvenate ourself and thus make us fit for another round of misery filled wakeful state.

Bhagavan is asking us to reject our belief in all these things, but most of us find it very difficult to do so. However, if we are really following Bhagavan’s teachings we should try to give up our attachment to this person whom we take to be ourself, and to everything that this person holds dear. We cannot merge back into ourself until and unless we give up all out attachments.

Therefore, throughout the day we should try to be self-attentive, should try to remember our fundamental self-awareness. This will purify our minds and make us willing to surrender ourself to Bhagavan.

# Paraphrase of Michael’s ideas extracted from one part of his video dated 3rd February 2018


Anonymous said...

Does Michael have a time machine?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, what exactly do you mean when you ask, 'Does Michael have a time machine?' Could you please expand on this?

Sanjay Lohia said...

1) Someone asked Bhagavan: ‘How to increase awareness?’ Bhagavan said: ‘You are always aware. There is never any deficit in your awareness. The problem is you are aware of things other than yourself. What you need to do is to give up being aware of things other than yourself, and what then remains is pure awareness and that is what you actually are.

2) People ask, ‘OK, if the ego doesn’t exist in sleep, how does it come out in the waking state?’ We may as well ask, ‘How did the ego come into existence in the first place?’

3) In order to see the picture on the cinema screen you not only need the limited light from the projector, but you also need the background darkness. The limited light of the projector is the mind light, and the background darkness is the mind’s self-ignorance.

It is because of the darkness of self-ignorance that we are able to project this world-picture. Bhagavan also used to say that without the darkness of sleep, we can’t dream. All our dreams are due to this background darkness of self-ignorance. That is the sleep of self-ignorance. We need to destroy this ignorance, and we can do this only by being aware of ourself as we actually are.

^ Edited extracts from Michael’s video dated 3rd February 2018

Sanjay Lohia said...

Devotee: If God is simple being, what is the use of our prayer to God?

Michael: What do we pray for? We pray for the things we like, don’t we? So prayer is nothing but a focusing of our desire. People mostly indulge in kamyata-bhakti. That is, when we are asking God for worldly things, our desire is not for God: God is just a means to our end.

But if we pray to God for God himself, not for anything that we can get from God – just for the love of God himself – such prayer is redirecting our mind from other things towards God. If we pray to God for help to turn within, we are channeling our love to turn within. Such prayers are certainly beneficial.

God doesn’t need our prayers. He doesn’t need us to tell him what we need. He knows better than us what we need and what is good for us. If we pray to God for love, that he will give us in abundance because that’s his very purpose. Bhagavan is extremely selfish: he wants all our love. He doesn’t want us to share our love for him with our love for ourself as this ego. He wants our whole and undivided love.

Devotee: Does that mean God actually doesn’t hear our prayers?

Michael: So long as we take ourself to be a person, we also take God to be a person. Now you have asked me a question. You think there is someone called Michael who is hearing and answering all your questions. But supposing in your dream you ask the same question to a dream Michael, you will also get some answer. When you are dreaming, you believe there is a person there answering your questions, but when we wake up we understand that that person was just a figment of our imagination.

So just like you believe that Michael is hearing your questions, it is equally true that God is hearing our prayers. That is, so long as we rise as this ego and experiences ourself as this body, in effect the world is real, and God is also real as someone other than ourself and other than this world. But when we wake up, we will know that neither the God nor the world as something other was real.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 2nd December 2017

R Viswanathan said...

"In as few words as possible could someone describe the term "non-duality"? In the spiritual sense of course."

Today during the discourse on Arunachala Pancharathnam in Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram, Sri Nochur Venkataraman gave this short definition of non-duality : "no otherness"

Sanjay Lohia said...

Even Bhagavan said self-investigation cannot be explained in words. You have got to find your way into your own home – after all, it’s your own home! There is the bright light within your heart – the light of pure awareness – so if you just follow this light it will take you to your destination. Just turn your attention back towards that light (that awareness) that illumines all this. That is all there is to it. It’s so-so simple. It's an infallible means to our final destination.

# Extract from Michael’s latest video dated 10th February 2018 ~ I have paraphrased his ideas

Sanjay Lohia said...

The ego and self-ignorance are actually inseparable. Sometimes this self-ignorance is described as a sheath, a kosha, but it’s actually inseparable from the ego. It is because the ego is an erroneous self-awareness – it is an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are. That entails not being aware of ourself as we actually are.

# Extract from Michael’s latest video dated 10th February 2018 ~ I have paraphrased his ideas.

My note: The ego is the cause of everything: it is the cause of even its own appearance, and therefore no self-ignorance precedes the appearance of the ego. So the ego and self-ignorance rise and subside together.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Allan: There are so many challenges we face. How do we balance those challenges with our practice of self-investigation?

Michael: Bhagavan is bearing all our responsibilities – he is the like the train which is not only carrying us but is also carrying our entire luggage. So as Bhagavan taught his mother, the supreme ruling power is making everything happen in this world, and even if we want to, we cannot change any of these happenings.

So our only responsibility is to be peaceful and happy, and to be peaceful and happy we have to subside within. We have to stop worrying about the problems of this world, we have to stop taking the problems of the person we seem to be. Let Michael solve Michael’s problems, let Allan solve Allan’s problems, but are we this Michael or Allan?

We have to stop taking their problems to be our problems, because we are not Michael, we are not Allan. We are just pure self-awareness that exists always.

^ Extract from Michael’s video (paraphrased by me) dated 10th February 2018

My note: What a liberating teaching! Sanjay’s problems are not my problems, because I am not Sanjay. I am pure self-awareness, and therefore I have nothing to do with Sanjay or any of Sanjay’s problems.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we go into this subject, we can go deeper and deeper and deeper, but there is a time when we have to stop asking questions – we have to stop even thinking about it. Thinking about it is useful, but ultimately we have to give up everything and turn our attention within.

~ Extract (paraphrased by me) from Michael video dated 10th February 2018

Sanjay Lohia said...

In our present waking state, we may not seem interested in going to the state of sleep, because we are so enamoured by all the phenomena. However, we cannot live without sleep for too long, because it is our real nature. Only sleep can give us rest amidst all this madness – these unceasing activities.

The practice Bhagavan has taught us is trying to experience sleep in the midst of waking – to experience what we experience in sleep here and now. What is present in sleep is only ourself, only pure self-awareness. Sleep is our fundamental state, and waking and dream are mere appearances within the state of sleep. We want to go back to our original state which is sleep.

The more we practise, the closer we get to experiencing pure self-awareness in isolation (this isolation is called kaivalya, and this is a state of liberation). The state of eternal sleep is called jagrat-sushupti or turiya, and this state is exactly the same as our experience in sleep.

Actually, brahman, our real nature, is ever in the state of sleep. As this ego, we can’t recall the pure, infinite bliss we experience in sleep. That is why we need to experience it here and now in the waking state.

Extract from Michael’s video dated 10th February, 2018 (paraphrased by me)

Sanjay Lohia said...

1) All troubles are given by Bhagavan for our own good.

My note: If God wanted, he could have easily given us a trouble-free life, but if he has given us all these troubles, it indicates that these troubles are for our spiritual benefit.

2) You are Bhagavan, but because you rise as this ego you seem to be separate from Bhagavan.

3) Devotee: When you say ‘I am Michael’, Michael is trying to get rid of Michael, trying to experience only ‘I am’. Is this correct?

Michael: It is not Michael who is trying to get rid of Michael, it is the ego which says ‘I am Michael’ that is trying to find out what it really is. Michael is just a phenomenon – it appears in waking and disappears in sleep. However, who is it that has risen and says, ‘I am Michael?’ We have to investigate the ‘I’ which says ‘I am Michael’.

# Edited extracts from Michael’s video dated January 6, 2018

Sanjay Lohia said...

An ardent devotee used to visit Bhagavan when Bhagavan was staying on the hill (either at Skandasramam or Virupaksha Cave). He was a poor devotee, but still he tried to bring to Bhagavan some titbits, like candies or sweets etc. as an offering. Once he was not able to bring an offering, so he was feeling ashamed. When he came in Bhagavan’s presence he said, ‘Bhagavan, sorry, I have not been able to bring anything for you this time’. Bhagavan smiled and said, ‘But you have brought yourself, it is more than enough’.

We offer God or guru many things, but we do not offer ourself. We try to bribe God when we go to temples and other such places by saying: God, please do this for me, and in return, I will offer you this or that. We give donations to temples or to gurus. We offer other puja items to the idols like flowers, garlands, coconuts, incense sticks, fruits and so on, as if we can get whatever we want in return of such gifts. However, can we fool God by such offerings?

Not only material offerings, but we also try to offer to Bhagavan a lot of our mental suffering by saying: Oh, Bhagavan, please remove my suffering. As if God is there only to remove all our problems. God is not there to remove our problems, because whatever problem we encounter has already been written in our prarabdha, and these are all for our ultimate good.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

One may ask, if God is not there to remove our sufferings and problems, and if God is not there to give us what we want, why are these temples and other places of worship for? These places are actually meant to channel our love for Bhagavan, to channel our love for some higher power, in whatever way we may conceive this power. These idols are meant to focus all our love for that Supreme Being, and therefore are meant for niskamya-bhakti, because such bhakti purifies our mind and shows us the way to liberation.

If we ask God to give us this or that, we are just trying to use God to gain whatever things we want. So our bhakti is for those material things and not for God. Such bhakti will not purify our minds, and therefore they are not of much use.

God doesn’t want anything, but he does want ourself – that is, he loves if he is offered our egos. He accepts it with a lot of pleasure and is happy to partake of it. What is the best way to offer ourself to God? It is obviously self-investigation. Bhagavan teaches us this 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.


Sanjay Lohia said...

The present version of the verse 13 of Ulladu Narpadu says: Knowledge that is many (or multiple) is ignorance. It is a very terse and cryptic way of putting it. What it means is only the 'mind', because it is the mind-awareness which becomes many.

To understand what Bhagavan means, it is useful to refer back to the earlier version of this verse, which says: The awareness that sees [the one] as many…. This earlier version makes the meaning more clear. There is only one awareness and that is ourself, but there is some awareness instead of seeing the one as it is, sees the one as many.

This awareness that sees the one as many is the ego or mind, which sees the one reality as all these multiple phenomena, this vast universe – so much history, geography, chemistry, biology, social-sciences, philosophy, and all this vast diversity of knowledge we have. So many different phenomena we are aware of – all this is actually only one thing. That is, all this is just pure awareness, the one substance, one porul or vastu.

We see this pure awareness, which is our real nature, as all these multiple phenomena. According to Bhagavan, the one which sees this multiplicity and all the multiplicity it sees is nothing but ignorance. The awareness of other things is only ignorance.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd February, 2018




Sanjay Lohia said...

I hardly see any comments by our friends. I was curious, what is the matter?

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we read Talks, DBD and other books on Bhagavan, we can find many gems (Bhagavan’s pure and undiluted teachings) here and there, scattered throughout. All these gems are brought together in a concentrated, clear and emphatic form in Ulladu Narpadu.

Bhagavan has written Ulladu Narpadu in poetry, so he has crafted every world with great care. In no other place, Bhagavan has given his philosophy in such a complete and coherent manner as he does in Ulladu Narpadu.

Out of 40 + 2 verses in Ulladu Narpadu, Bhagavan has devoted 4 verses to draw the distinction between the real awareness and awareness of other things. Understanding this distinction is extremely important and is key to understanding Bhagavan’s teachings.

For example, in Nan Yar? the first question Sivaprakasam Pillai asked Bhagavan was ‘Who am I?’, and Bhagavan answered very simply arrive nan, meaning ‘awareness alone is I’. So Bhagavan makes it very clear that only pure awareness is real, and awareness that is aware of many-ness is not real, is only ignorance.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 3rd February, 2018

Anonymous said...

no problem here, I prefer silence. I do read all your postings though.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, thanks. I am glad you read my posts.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We regularly indulge in arguments with others of one sort or another. We argue with our spouses, with our office colleagues, with our friends, with our enemies, with others in public and so on. Ultimately all these arguments are useless, though some may seem unavoidable.

We should try to avoid or minimize these arguments, and in any case, we should not argue with other spiritual aspirants or with those practising other forms of religion. Religious animosity has resulted in many fights among people of different faiths. These fights are mostly verbal and sometimes even turn physical.

Bhagavan has warned us against such vain arguments. He says in Uladu Narpadu:

Verse 2: Instead of the ego arguing whether there is just one fundamental or three fundamentals, standing in the real state of oneself by destroying the ego is best.

Verse 3: The state in which the ego has died by investigating itself, leaving aside the world and all differences and disputes, is agreeable to all.

(I will continue this in my next comment)


Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

We can also see this warning in the following verses of GVK:

Verse 522: Only the ignorant who do not know even a little about the nature of their own [the ego’s] rising and setting will engage themselves in a heated war of words: […]

My note: If we are practising self-investigation, our attention should always be on our ego: that is, we should always keep our ego in check. If we engage in a heated war of words, we are allowing our ego to raise its ugly head.

Verse 524: The very nature of arguments is to veil the truth […] it will delude and confuse the mind. Therefore, no one who has fallen into the dark hole of arguments will see the Sunlight, Self-knowledge.

Verse 526: Do not lend your intellect [buddhi] as a slave to the gymnastics of eloquence [in the form of speech and poetry] and to the jugglery of arguments. Know the truth, Self, by turning the pure sattvic mind within and thereby destroying the illusion of otherness.

My note: We should keep Bhagavan’s advice in mind and avoid ‘the gymnastics of eloquence and to jugglery of arguments’. Our primary and only worthwhile task is to keep quiet under all circumstances.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Shivarati....

Our every night should be sivaratri: that is, whenever we are awake in the night or cannot find sleep, we should be in constant remembrance of Shiva. Shiva is nothing but our fundamental and ever present self-consciousness residing deep within ourself.

I believe, there can be no better way of celebrating sivaratri.

Sanjay Lohia said...

According to Bhagavan, we should not just celebrate sivaratri once in a year, but celebrate it every day and every night. Bhagavan says that we should practise nirantara svarupa-smarana (unceasing self-remembrance).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Generally, we are too much interested in other things. Whatever else we take interest in, they are all transitory phenomena – whatever big problems we face in life, they are all transient: they come and go. We may be facing all sorts of problems in our lives at this moment, but when we go to sleep where are these problems? They vanish. They come back again when we wake up, so they are there only in this state.

According to Bhagavan, all this is just a dream. So none of the problems we face need concern us – nothing in this world need concern us. All that we need to be concerned about is our self-awareness. What is this self-awareness?

Now we have a confused understanding of our self-awareness, because our self-awareness is mixed with this awareness of this body. So we take this body to be ourself. We need to separate these – we need to focus all our attention on only that fundamental self-awareness and not on the body awareness.

Edited extract from Michael's video dated 9th December 2017

Sanjay Lohia said...

I want to kill the snake, but however much I may try to beat it with a stick, it is not going to die, because there is no snake there to be killed:

Michael often gives this analogy while trying to explain Bhagavan's teachings. If we are walking along a path in the night, and if we happen to see a snake in front of us, we may try killing it by beating it with a stick, but we cannot kill it this way. It is because there is no snake there to be killed. What appears as a snake is actually just a rope, so no amount of beating can kill the snake. If we want to ‘kill’ this snake, we just have to look at it carefully enough or look at it from a very close distance. If we do so, we will realize that there was never a snake there.

All sadhanas other the practice of self-investigation presupposes that there is a snake that – that means, all other sadhanas presupposes that there is the ego there, and taking this for granted these practices try to kill the ego. All sadhanas other than self-investigation is done by our ego or mind – that is, we want to get rid of our mind or ignorance or whatever we may call it, by using that very mind or ignorance which we are aiming to kill. Will we ever succeed by those other paths in destroying the ego? Obviously not!

Therefore, as Bhagavan has clearly and emphatically taught us: the only way to ‘destroy’ the ego is to look at it carefully enough. If we do so we will find that like a non-existent snake, there is likewise no ego in the first place to be destroyed. This is the only way to experience ourself as we actually are: anadi, ananta, akhanda sat-chit-ananda. This is such a simple, beautiful and direct path to nirvana.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our clinging to our individuality is the height of foolishness, because this individuality to which we cling with so much attachment is in fact the cause of all our unhappiness, and the only obstacle preventing us from enjoying the perfect happiness that is our true nature. As Sri Ramana used to say, our unwillingness to surrender our finite individual consciousness together with all the petty pleasures and pains that it is constantly experiencing, when in exchange for it we can become the true infinite consciousness, which is the fullness of perfect happiness, is like being unwilling to give a copper coin in exchange for a gold one.

^ Extract from Michael’s book HAB, chapter: The Science of Consciousness – page 329

My note: If I feel like going from Bangalore to Mumbai, what is more important: the reason for my visit to Mumbai, or the money needed for this journey and the decision on the most suitable mode of transport to reach Mumbai? Obviously, it is the ‘reason for my visit to Mumbai’. If the reason is very convincing and compelling, I will somehow find the money for the journey even if I don’t have it with me at present (by begging, borrowing or stealing), and I will also easily decide the most appropriate means of transport to reach Mumbai.

Likewise, if we know the reason why we should experience ourself as we really are, and are absolutely convinced about the paramount need for such an experience, we will somehow find the means to reach our destination. We foolishly cling to our individuality with so much attachment. However, as Michael explains, ‘this individuality to which we cling with so much attachment is in fact the cause of all our unhappiness, and the only obstacle preventing us from enjoying the perfect happiness that is our true nature’.

So our aim is to give up our individuality, and we can give up our individuality only by experiencing ourself as we really are: that is, by experiencing ourself as the infinite being-consciousness-happiness. How to experience ourself as we really are? It is only by turning our entire attention to face ourself alone. There is no other way.

So we should repeatedly impress upon our ever forgetful minds the reason as to why we should experience ourself as we really are. This will make it that much easier for us to practise the correct path to reach our destination.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael writes in his book Happiness and The Art of Being (Chapter: What is True Knowledge? - page 249):

In spiritual literature our own essential consciousness of being is figuratively described as the original light, the light by which all other lights are known, because as physical light enables us to see physical objects, our consciousness of being is what enables us to know all things.

My note: We are the original light, whereas our mind is the illusory reflected light. It is only this reflected light which enables us to see objects which seem to be other than ourself. What is the reflecting medium which reflects this original light? This medium is our body.

Therefore, if we want to experience our original light as it is, we need to turn our reflected light back to face its source. This is the only way to dissolve our reflected light in our original light. Only this original light is the guru, God, and our true self. Therefore, as Bhagavan teaches us in verse 22 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Consider, except by, turning the mind back within, completely immersing it in God, who shines within that mind giving light to the mind, how to fathom God by the mind?

So Bhagavan has made is very clear that if we want to know or experience God as it really is, we have no other option but to turn back within and experience it there.

In spite of such a clear teaching, many still believe that Bhagavan approved of all the paths. Yes, he did let everyone follow whatever path they wanted to follow, but he made it very clear that self-investigation is the only path he recommends if one wants to experience God as it is.

Sanjay Lohia said...

There is nothing to give. Bhagavan cannot give you what you already have. Even Bhagavan is powerless to give you that. All that he can do is say, ‘Look within. It’s there already. You are that!’

Extract from Michael’s video dated 13th January 2018

My note: Many believe that to experience ourself as we really are, we need the presence of a physical sadguru. In other words, they believe that it is only the power emanating from a sadguru that can enable us to dissolve our individuality. However, if one thinks this way one has clearly misunderstood Bhagavan’s teachings.

As Michael explains, we are already what we are seeking. So how can any power which is outside of ourself enable us to 'reach' our own self? The outside guru can only tell us: ‘You are already that – just look within’. We just need to keep looking within with more and more intensity and it will surely be experienced. There is no other way. In any case, no outside being is capable of giving us what we already have. If we do not want it, the guru will not force the experience on us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan has taught us that all these phenomena are just a dream, all the suffering we see in this world is just a dream. But whose dream is it? It’s our dream. So how can we eradicate all the suffering we see in this world? It is by turning our mind within and waking up from this dream. So this turning within is an act of supreme compassion.

But in practice, we are not able to turn within all the time. Because of our desires and attachments, our mind is constantly coming outwards. As long as our mind is going outwards all this seem to be real. So when we are interacting with other people, we have to be kind, caring and compassionate.

Supposing we don’t care about others, but we do care about ourself, don’t we? When we care so much for ourself as this person, we should also care for others, because if we don’t care for others we are only feeding our ego. Why? It is the ego which says, ‘I am this body; this body is important; I have to protect the interests of this body’.

So being kind and compassionate, and caring for others is part of the path of eradicating this ego. Of course, we cannot eradicate the ego by just being kind and compassionate, but so long as our mind is going outwards we should keep it in check by being kind and compassionate. We should keep the ego in control, like keeping a dog on a leash. We don’t let it go too far, but in order to eradicate the mind we need to turn within.

The more we are keeping the ego in check when we are facing outwards, the easier it will be for us to turn within.

Suppose if we want a lot of money, and we get angry with people who come in our way of making money and so on, such a mind cannot easily turn within. Only a pure mind can turn within, and a pure mind is a kind, caring and compassionate mind. Being kind and compassionate is not a spiritual practice, but it comes naturally to those who really want to eradicate the ego.

Bhagavan was the very embodiment of compassion. People often used to come to Bhagavan to tell him their worldly difficulties. Sometimes Bhagavan would shed tears, because he is like a mirror. Whatever comes before Bhagavan, he reflects them.

~ Edited extract from the video: Dialogos con Michael James (1:29)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we want to understand Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation or his teachings as a whole, we need to clearly understand about the ego: What is this ego? How does it come into existence? How can we destroy it? If we do not have a fair understanding of the answers to these crucial questions, we will invariably misunderstand Bhagavan’s teachings and will also be consequently confused about the correct practice of self-investigation. Michael talks about the ego in his latest video: 2018-02-24 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion on the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana with Michael James:

Michael: The biggest problem we face on this path is the ego. All other problems are rooted in the ego. We don’t have to be much concerned about other problems because all our problems are merely symptoms, but the actual disease in the ego. So treating these symptoms is of little use if leave the disease untreated. All our problems are centred around our ego: How this ego has come into existence and how can we get rid of this ego?

So understanding what Bhagavan has taught us about the ego is the key to understanding Bhagavan’s teachings. So long as the ego is there, there will be desires, there will be attachments – all sorts of problems will come one after another. That’s the nature of the ego.

If we are concerned about controlling or removing certain desires, we are letting our attention go away from ourself towards something else. But the real problem lies in in us.

The sense of doership is another integral feature of the ego; the sense of doership is the very nature of the ego. So if we want to free ourself of the sense of doership, we have to root out the ego.

My note: So we have to get rid of the ego, and the only way to get rid of it is to attend to the ego with greater and greater intensity. If we manage to put our whole attention on the ego, it will disappear. If it goes, our sense of doership will also vanish along with the ego, and without this sense of doership, there cannot be any sense of experiencership.

Therefore, the destruction of the ego entails the destruction of all our experiences, all our pleasures and pains forever. This is the state we are aiming to achieve.


Sanjay Lohia said...

If we are a devotee of Bhagavan, should we not follow his instructions wholeheartedly? Should we not do what he asks us to do? Obviously, we should blindly follow his instructions. Though he has not asked us to follow his advice without thinking about it, a true devotee may not even analyze Bhagavan’s recommendations or instructions. He will try to do as his master commands him to do. This is real devotion to one’s sadguru.

What has Bhagavan asked us to do? He has asked us to look within whenever we can or to whatever extent we can, at least to start off with. Of course, he says that, eventually, our practice should be unceasing. So like a true soldier, we should obey our General’s commands. We should go on marching towards ourself without even thinking twice.

If we are true devotees of Bhagavan, we should turn within at every given opportunity. We shouldn’t even bother about our destination. Bhagavan knows that if we keep marching in the direction which he has shown us, we will reach our destination in the shortest possible duration of time.

We should have full confidence in Bhagavan’s guidance because he is the supreme light, he is the supreme intelligence. He is infinite love, and he will never misguide us. He himself is our destination, and he is calling us to himself. Should we not just proceed towards him – step by step, step by step? He will take care of everything else or rather he is taking care of everything else.

Sanjay Lohia said...

In India they have puranas, which are ancient mythological stories. Every culture in the world has myths, which depict the fight between good and evil. We can see this same battle between good and evil in most of our films. We identify with the good and want it to win against the evil. So this is the stuff that myths are made of. Why all these myths speak to us so powerfully? It is because within each of us there is this fight between good and evil.

At an ordinary mundane level, this fight is concerning good actions versus our bad actions. We know we shouldn’t do bad actions, but we are tempted to do it because it will give us pleasure. This is going on within everyone, to a greater or lesser extent.

But the ultimate battle is between our love to turn within and our desire to face outwards. The ultimate good, the supreme good, is turning within. From that perceptive, turning out to do even the so-called ‘good actions’ is bad. The only good is turning within. So this love to turn within and our desire to turn out is represented in our mythological stories as the battle between good and evil.

Every great sage would have faced this inner battle sometime or the other. Even the extremely ripe Venkataraman must have put in a lot of effort in his previous births, and those efforts made it seem that when he turned within, he merged in himself quite effortlessly.

We all have to go through dark times; we all have to struggle with our inner demons. The only effective weapon we have to fight these demons is the love to know who we are, is the love to turn within. That love is the supreme and the highest power of all.

# Edited extract from the video: 2018-02-24 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion on the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana with Michael James


Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael says in his latest Yo Soy Tu Mismo discussion:

If I say, ‘I have followed such and such a path and my ego has dissolved’, that will be a patent lie, because as long as there is an ‘I’ to say that, that ‘I’ is the ego.

My note: Bhagavan clarifies this in verse 33 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Saying ‘I do not know myself’, ‘I have known myself’, is ground for ridicule. Why? To make oneself an object, are there two selves? Because being one is the truth, the experience of everyone.

When we will experience ourself as we actually are, there will be no ego left to claim anything. Our experience will then be that we were never this ego – that is, our experience will not be that there was once an ego, which has now disappeared. So there will be one remaining to claim ‘I have known myself’ or ‘I have followed such and such a path, and my ego has dissolved’ and so on.

Only our ego can attribute some special experience to itself. As Bhagavan says, ‘Being one is the truth of everyone’. So there is no one to claim ‘I have known myself’, and there is no one to whom such a claim needs to be made. So if anyone claims that he is ‘self-realised’ or whatever, he is either fooling others or at least he is fooling himself.

Those who know do not say, and those who say do not know. This is famous saying.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Truly speaking no effort is required to attend to oneself, but it seems to require great effort because we have so much love to attend to things other than ourself. Because we have that strong love to attend to those things, and because as this ego we can survive only by attending to other things, to let go of all other things seem to require great effort.

When we say ‘let go’ or ‘hold on to’, we are talking about ‘attention’. We should not think about the things we want to let go because if we do so, we will only prolong or strengthen our attachments to those things. Instead, we are trying to hold only to ‘I’, but holding only to ‘I’ entails letting go of everything else. Attending to ‘I’ seems to be so difficult, because if we let go of everything else, we will dissolve as this ego.

So trying to attend to ‘I’ is a bit like trying to keep your head under water. We have so much urge to breathe that we can stay underwater only for a few moments, but we come up again for breath.

That is, attention to things other than ourself is the food on which the ego depends. It the air the ego breathes. So when we try to put all our attention on ourself, we are depriving the ego of air, so the ego is desperate to have another breath.

In other words, within us there are two conflicting forces. One is the desire to attend to other things in order to survive as this ego, and the other is the desire to look within and see what we really are. We will be able to see what we really are only if we are willing to let go everything else, including the ego.

So this battle is a battle of our own will – a battle within our own will.

• Edited extract from the video: 2018-02-24 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion on the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana with Michael James

Sanjay Lohia said...

When Bhagavan was a young man, once he was roaming on the northern side of the hill, and he saw a tree that he hadn’t seen before, so he started climbing towards it. On the way, his thigh brushed against a bush. In that bush, there was a hornets’ nest (hornet is a big type of highly poisonous wasp). As a result, he disturbed the hornets, and these hornets all came out of their nest. They were angry at being disturbed.

They all settled on Bhagavan’s thigh and started stinging his thigh. Bhagavan stood there until they had finished and then slowly walked his way back to the cave where he lived. The devotees saw his swollen leg and rubbed oil on his leg. The next day when the swelling had gone down a bit, the devotees removed the stings from Bhagavan’s leg, which were left by the hornets.

After some years when Muruganar heard this story, he wrote a Tamil verse in which he asked Bhagavan: ‘When it was an accident, why did you allow those hornets to sting your leg?’ Bhagavan replied: ‘Though it was an accident if one doesn’t feel repentance for such an action, what sort of a mind does one have?’

So what greater compassion is there than that? Any kindness or compassion we may think we have is nothing compared to the kindness and compassion of Bhagavan.

The problem is not our kind and caring and compassionate actions, the problem is our attachment, and the root of all our attachments is only our ego. So though we should be kind, caring and compassionate towards all, but in our heart of hearts, we should try to be free of attachments.

• Extract from the video: 2018-02-24 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion on the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana with Michael James






Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Adi Sankara has given us the same teachings as given to us by Bhagavan Ramana. Sankara says in verse 11 of Vivekacudamani:

Action [karma, which generally means action of any kind whatsoever, but in this context means specifically any action which is performed for spiritual benefit] is for citta-suddhi and not for vastu-upalabdhi [direct knowledge or experience of the reality, the true substance or essence, which is absolute being]. The attainment of the reality [can be achieved only] by vicara and not by [even] ten million actions.

Isn’t it a summary of Bhagavan’s teachings? It clearly is. The following 3 verses (2 from Upadesa Undiyar and 1 from Ulladu Narpadu) clearly corresponds to Sri Adi Sankara's teaching. Bhagavan says:

Verse 2 of Upadesa Undiyar: The fruit of action having perished, as seed it causes to fall in the ocean of action. It is not giving liberation.

Verse 3 of Upadesa Undiyar: Niṣkāmya karma [action not motivated by desire] done [with love] for God purifies the mind and [thereby] it will show the path to liberation.

Verse 27 of Ulladu Narpadu: The state in which one exists without ‘I’ rising is the state in which we exist as that. Without investigating the place where ‘I’ rises, how to reach the annihilation of oneself, in which ‘I’ does not rise? Without reaching, say, how to stand in the state of oneself, in which oneself is that?

ekatma vastu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
on 26 February 2018 at 13:01 you wrote:
"...
What has Bhagavan asked us to do? He has asked us to look within whenever we can or to whatever extent we can, at least to start off with. Of course, he says that, eventually, our practice should be unceasing. So like a true soldier, we should obey our General’s commands. We should go on marching towards ourself without even thinking twice.

If we are true devotees of Bhagavan, we should turn within at every given opportunity.
...".
Unfortunately I made the experience that looking within does not let me achieve my aim.
Sometimes I feel I could try to look within hundred thousand or one trillion years without any success.

musk-deer said...

Sanjay Lohia,
on 26 February 2018 you wrote "From that perceptive, turning out to do even the so-called ‘good actions’ ...".
Certainly we should read 'perspective' instead of 'perceptive'.

musk-deer said...

Sanjay Lohia, relating the above comment,
more exactly: on 26 February 2018 at 15:57...(comment nr.101)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ekatma-vastu, we cannot measure our spiritual progress, because only Bhagavan knows how far we have come or how far we are from our goal. What is in our hands is to persevere in being self-attentive as much as possible.

We should not think about our success or failure, because such thoughts will direct our attention away from ourself, whereas we should give not give even the slightest room to the rising of any thought other than atma-chintana (self-attentiveness), as Bhagavan has explained in the 13th paragraph of Nan Yar?.

Sanjay Lohia said...

musk-deer, I thank you for pointing out my typo. Yes, it should have been 'perspective' instead of 'perceptive'.

ekatma vastu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
your appeal made for practising only atma-chintana is certainly good.
On the other hand feeling of emptiness inside sometimes just during the practice of self-attentiveness is somehow a flat/queasy experience. However, as you say one should
persever in practising self-attentiveness whatever happens. And that is what I try.
Fortunately a few times I felt also some great peace combined with crystal bright clarity from inside but only sporadic.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ekatma Vastu, you say that you feel an emptiness inside. Who feels this emptiness inside? You should try to investigate the ‘I’ which feels this emptiness inside. You also say that ‘a few times I felt also some great peace combined with crystal bright clarity from inside’. Who feels this great peace combined with crystal bright clarity from inside? Investigate the ‘I’ who feels this great peace and clarity?

Bhagavan’s path is quite simple: we need to unceasingly investigate or look at ourself, that is, look at the one who experiences things other than itself, and we need to continue doing so until our objective experiences are completely obliterated, never to reappear again.

ekatma vastu said...

Sanjay Lohia, thank you for your reply.
Through my experience of extreme stale emptiness and wretchedness it became clear to me that I personally are not at all able to overcome my problems resulting from my ignorance by my own efforts alone.
Therefore in my remorse I prayed to the inner presence of Siva to take on the job of tuning my mind in the right mood/direction of the inner presence of Him. In the next days my inner temperament became even and well-belanced. But after two weeks my misery began to resume.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all.

we all said...

Anonymous,
it was a pleasure to us.

Anonymous said...

I am riddled with guilt over my behaviour from 12 years ago.

I was not able to respond to the love of a woman because I (who has forever had the difficulty of expressing myself verbally), believing myself to be a broken and unworthy individual, was under depression and had decided not to marry (I am still single).

For some time, since Feb 2018, I have been feeling awashed with bucket-full of guilt over my behaviour (i.e. my lack of responding to her love) towards her.

I have been praying to Bhagavan to let me take over the burden of her bad karmas (if she has any) and their results. Although that may sound insincerely lofty coming from an ego like me, I am fully willing to bear that burden if that can repay even an ounce of my guilt, and more importantly, if that can ease her pain.

I am unable to forgive myself - she was a kind individual and I hurt her through my inaction.

I am looking for guidance on dealing with this recurring guilt. This phenomenon of guilt has become deeply rooted inside. I am writing on this specific blog post, triggered by the wise comments on love from Michael and Sanjay (not that I am equating love).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, you wrote, ‘I am riddled with guilt over my behaviour from 12 years ago’. So you feel you had sinned about 12 years back. Bhagavan has a solution to your guilt. He says in the paragraph 10 of Nan Yar:

However great a sinner a person may be, if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ he completely rejects the thought that he is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness, he will certainly be reformed [transformed into the true ‘form’ of thought-free self-conscious being].

The only solution to our all problems is to destroy the ego, and this can be destroyed only by steadfast self-attentiveness. Who has this guilt? It is you as this ego has it. So the ego has to go and if it goes your guilt will also go forever. Do you have this guilt in your sleep? Obviously, it cannot be there. It is because in sleep your ego temporarily subsides; however, we need to make it subside permanently. That should be our only aim.






Anonymous said...

@Sanjay, thank you!

Dharampal Chhikara said...

I have gone through the whole post and understood the importance of eradication of ego to realize the self. I thank all my dear Bhagwan devotees who have explained the minute and subtle solutions regarding eradication of ego precisely.My dear James is doing a commendable job in spreading Bhagwan ramana's teachingle in a genuine way.

Anonymous said...

"Devotees have explained the minute and subtle solutions to eradicate the ego. Says somebody.

Really? Have these dear Bhagavan devotees eradicated their own egos via their subtle solutions? How can that be possible? The ego giving minute and subtle solutions for its own eradication actually resulting in its eradication? Really? Can it ever happen in reality? Like Bhagavan said, it is like the thief pretending to be the policeman to apprehend itself. It is not going to happen. Why will the ego or the mind give up its own domain even if it pretends to do so?

Michael James said...

Anonymous, Bhagavan himself has taught us the subtle solution to eradicate the ego, namely self-investigation (ātma-vicāra). He did not say that this is like a thief pretending to be a policeman trying to catch the thief. What he said is that the ego trying to eradicate itself by any means other than ātma-vicāra is like a thief pretending to be a policeman trying to catch the thief (see Maharshi’s Gospel, Book 2, Chapter 1: 2002 edition, page 51).

You ask: ‘Why will the ego or the mind give up its own domain even if it pretends to do so?’ It is not a matter of pretending but of keenly investigating ourself, which cannot be done by pretence. And why will we do so? The answer is bhakti (love to be aware of ourself as we actually are) and vairāgya (freedom from desire to be aware of anything else). That is, when our love to be aware of ourself as we actually are becomes greater than our liking to be aware of anything else, we will at last be willing to surrender ourself entirely by means of self-investigation.

How to develop the required degree of bhakti and vairāgya? By patient, persistent and steady practice of self-investigation and self-surrender. Thus the solution given by Bhagavan is simple, complete and infallible, and it will certainly result in the eradication of ego.

Anonymous said...

Sir Michael James:

I fully concur with what you say above in toto. I sincerely and in all earnestness consider you as the Jnani and Bhakta of the caliber of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi of the present times. You are the living Bhagavan of today in this insane world we live in. My comment of 9 September 2018 at 22:45 was not intended towards either you or Sanjay Lohia. I forgot to mention that earlier in that post. My sincere apologies for not doing that. Best wishes and the best of health to you Sir.

Michael James said...

Anonymous, except insofar as he is the real nature (svarūpa) of each one of us, I am in no way of the calibre of Bhagavan, nor are any of us until our ego is dissolved in him, whereupon nothing other than him will remain. By his infinite grace he has given me a little love for him and his teachings, and this love prompts me to try to follow them and to think about them repeatedly, in spite of the fact that I still have so many other desires and attachments. Therefore please do not think too highly of me, because if you expect me to be anything like Bhagavan you will surely be disappointed. I am in the same boat as you and all the other friends why have been attracted to the path he has shown us, hoping that one day he will make me willing to surrender myself entirely to him.

Anonymous said...

Sir Michael James:

To me you are equal to Jnani, Bhakta, Bhagavan etc. just as you are now and just as Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi is. I see absolutely no difference between the two of you. I will not be disappointed in any way as I do not expect anything from you as you owe me or anyone else anything. Sincerely, earnestly and respectfully said.

Anonymous said...

Sir Micheal James,

Correction:

I meant that you do not owe me anything at all.

Anonymous said...

Sir Micheal James,

By the way I am not the same Anonymous person who is riddled with guilt feelings and who confessed about it earlier on. Lol! That was funny.

pearl-diver said...

Michael James,
what you replied in your two comments to Anonymous is not only well said but also moulded by sincerity.