Sunday, 13 May 2018

The ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things

In a comment on one of my recent articles, The ego does not actually exist, but it seems to exist, and only so long as it seems to exist do all other things seem to exist, a friend called Salazar wrote, ‘Did anybody on this blog wonder who is perceiving the thoughts which come into awareness? That what is aware of thoughts cannot be the creator of these thoughts, because a thought is an object apart from that “observer”’. This article is written in reply to this comment and another one written by him.
  1. According to dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, perception is not only the cause of creation but is itself creation
  2. The awareness in which and to which phenomena appear is not real awareness but only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa)
  3. This semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa) is the ego or mind, which is what causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear
  4. The ego or mind causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear only from itself, so it alone is their source or origin
  5. A cause and its effect can occur simultaneously, but logically the cause comes first and the effect comes only after it
  6. Since the ego has created all that it perceives, why does it have so little control over what it has created?
  7. Thoughts come only from ourself, the ego, the one who perceives them, so we alone are the root of all thoughts
  8. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: everything depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of the ego, so when we investigate the ego keenly enough to see that it does not exist, that is giving up everything
1. According to dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, perception is not only the cause of creation but is itself creation

Salazar, what Bhagavan means by the term ‘thought’ is a mental phenomenon of any kind whatsoever, and since according to his teachings all phenomena are mental phenomena, everything other than our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure self-awareness, is just a thought. This is why he says in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை’ (niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam-eṉḏṟōr poruḷ aṉṉiyamāy illai), ‘Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world’, and in the fourteenth paragraph, ‘ஜக மென்பது நினைவே’ (jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē), ‘What is called the world is only thought’.

Therefore when you write, ‘That what is aware of thoughts cannot be the creator of these thoughts’, that implies that what is aware of phenomena cannot be the creator of those phenomena, or what is aware of the world cannot be the creator of it, but is this what Bhagavan taught us? What did he teach us about creation? Did he teach that creation occurs prior to or independent of perception, which is what we all generally believe, and which is what is called sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi-vāda, the contention (vāda) that creation (sṛṣṭi) precedes and is the cause of perception (dṛṣṭi)?

No, he asked us to question whether anything other than ourself exists independent of our perception of it, and he taught us very explicitly and emphatically what is called dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, the contention that perception (dṛṣṭi) is the sole cause of creation (sṛṣṭi), or more precisely, that perception itself is creation. Phenomena seem to exist only because we perceive them, so our perception of them alone creates their seeming existence. In other words, we, the perceiver, create phenomena merely by perceiving them.

We can understand this by considering our experience in dream. In dream we perceive a world consisting of phenomena of various kinds, including people, just like the world that we now perceive, and just as we now perceive ourself as a person in this world, in dream we perceive ourself as a person in that world. Why does that dream world seem to exist? Only because we perceive it. It does not exist prior to our perception of it, nor independent of our perception of it. Why? Because it does not exist at all except in our perception. It appears only in our awareness, so it would not exist at all if we were not aware of it.

According to Bhagavan any state in which we are aware of phenomena is just a dream, so the world we now perceive is a dream world. This is why he says in Nāṉ Ār? and elsewhere that the world is nothing but thoughts. Do thoughts exist independent of our perception of them? No, they seem to exist only because we perceive them, so they are created only by our perceiving them.

Thinking is a process of forming thoughts and perceiving them, but the formation (creation) of thoughts and the perception of them are not two processes or even two parts of one process, but are one and the same process, because thoughts are formed in our awareness, so they are formed by our being aware of them. Our perception of them is itself the formation or creation of them. In other words, dṛṣṭi is itself sṛṣṭi. There is no creation (sṛṣṭi) other than perception (dṛṣṭi), because there is no existence (sat) other than awareness (cit).

What actually exists is only awareness, so whatever seems to exist seems to exist only because of awareness. Therefore it is only by awareness that anything is created. Without awareness there could be no creation.

Creation is not real but just an illusory appearance, and nothing can appear except in awareness. Appearance requires perception or awareness of it, because if it were not perceived, to whom or to what could it appear? Whatever appears seems to exist only because it is perceived. In other words, whatever seems to exist seems to exist only in awareness, only to awareness, only by awareness and only because of awareness.

2. The awareness in which and to which phenomena appear is not real awareness but only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa)

However, the awareness in which, to which, by which and because of which all things seem to exist is not real awareness (cit), but is only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa), because real awareness is never aware of anything other than itself. This semblance of awareness, in whose view alone all thoughts or phenomena seem to exist, is not real, because it arises and subsides (appears and disappears) along with all the phenomena of which it is aware, as Bhagavan says in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உலகறிவு மொன்றா யுதித்தொடுங்கு மேனு
முலகறிவு தன்னா லொளிரு — முலகறிவு
தோன்றிமறை தற்கிடனாய்த் தோன்றிமறை யாதொளிரும்
பூன்றமா மஃதே பொருள்.

ulahaṟivu moṉḏṟā yudittoḍuṅgu mēṉu
mulahaṟivu taṉṉā loḷiru — mulahaṟivu
tōṉḏṟimaṟai daṟkiḍaṉāyt tōṉḏṟimaṟai yādoḷirum
pūṉḏṟamā maḵdē poruḷ
.

பதச்சேதம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் பூன்றம் ஆம் அஃதே பொருள்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum pūṉḏṟam ām aḵdē poruḷ.

அன்வயம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் அஃதே பூன்றம் ஆம் பொருள்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum aḵdē pūṉḏṟam ām poruḷ.

English translation: Though the world and awareness arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by awareness. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the place for the appearing and disappearing of the world and awareness is the substance, which is the whole.

Explanatory paraphrase: Though the world and awareness [the awareness that perceives the world, namely the ego or mind] arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by [that rising and subsiding] awareness [the mind]. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the place [space, expanse, location, site or ground] for the appearing and disappearing of the world and [that] awareness is poruḷ [the real substance or vastu], which is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa].
The world shines by this semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa), which appears and disappears, because it is perceived only by it and therefore seems to exist only in its view. Therefore though the world and this awareness appear and disappear simultaneously, it is only by this awareness that the world is created or brought into seeming existence. In other words, this awareness is the cause and the appearance of the world is its effect. Whenever this awareness appears, the world appears along with it and because of it, and whenever this awareness disappears, the world disappears along with and because of its disappearance.

3. This semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa) is the ego or mind, which is what causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear

This semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa) is what is otherwise called the ego or mind, and as Bhagavan says in the first two sentences of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது.

maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti. adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu

What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. It makes all thoughts appear.
The verb that Bhagavan uses in the second of these two sentences is தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது (tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), which is the third person singular present tense form of தோற்றுவி (tōṯṟuvi), which is the causative form of தோன்று (tōṉḏṟu), a verb that means to appear, rise, come into existence or seem to be, so தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது (tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu) literally means ‘it causes to appear’ or ‘it makes appear’, but in this context it is often translated as ‘it projects’ or ‘it creates’, which is what it implies. Therefore by saying that the mind ‘causes all thoughts to appear’ or ‘makes all thoughts appear’, he implies unequivocally that the mind is what creates the appearance of all thoughts.

As he points out in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār, the term ‘mind’ is used in two distinct senses. In a general sense it is a term that refers to the totality of all thoughts or mental phenomena, but since the root of all thoughts is the ego, the primal thought called ‘I’, what the mind essentially is is only the ego, and hence in a more specific sense ‘mind’ is a term that refers to the ego. The ego is the root of all other thoughts because it is the subject, the perceiving thought, whereas all other thoughts are objects perceived by it.

In the first two sentences of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, cited above, the term ‘mind’ refers to the ego, so when Bhagavan says that it ‘causes all thoughts to appear’ or ‘makes all thoughts appear’ he means that the ego (the subject or perceiver) is what causes all other thoughts to appear. However in the next two sentences, in which he says, ‘நினைவுகளை யெல்லாம் நீக்கிப் பார்க்கின்றபோது, தனியாய் மனமென் றோர் பொருளில்லை; ஆகையால் நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம்’ (niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām nīkki-p pārkkiṉḏṟa-pōdu, taṉi-y-āy maṉam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ illai; āhaiyāl niṉaivē maṉadiṉ sorūpam), ‘When one looks, excluding [removing or putting aside] all thoughts, solitarily there is not any such thing as mind; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or very nature] of the mind’, the term ‘mind’ refers to the totality of all thoughts, namely the ego and all phenomena perceived by it. Therefore whenever Bhagavan uses the term ‘mind’ we need to understand from the context whether he is using it to refer specifically to the ego or more generally to all thoughts.

What Bhagavan teaches us in the second sentence of this paragraph, namely that the mind (in the sense of ego) is what ‘causes all thoughts to appear’, is further emphasised by him later on in the same paragraph by means of an analogy:
நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது.

niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagamum illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagamum uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉ-ṉ-iḍam-irundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu.

Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind also makes the world appear [or projects the world] from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself.
Here again he uses the same causative verb, தோற்றுவி (tōṯṟuvi), which means ‘cause to appear’ or ‘make appear’ and which implies ‘project’ or ‘create’, saying ‘அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது’ (appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu), ‘in that way the mind also causes the world to appear from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself’. Therefore in this paragraph Bhagavan emphasises very strongly and categorically that the mind or ego is what causes all other things (all thoughts or phenomena) to appear.

4. The ego or mind causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear only from itself, so it alone is their source or origin

Since the ego or mind alone is what causes all thoughts or phenomena to appear, from where or from what does it cause them to appear? ‘தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து’ (taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu), ‘from itself’ or ‘from within itself’, says Bhagavan. Since the world is nothing but thoughts (mental phenomena of a particular kind, namely sensory perceptions), when he firstly says, ‘அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘It [the mind] causes all thoughts to appear’, and subsequently says, ‘மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து’ (maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu), ‘the mind also causing the world to appear from within itself’, he clearly implies that the mind or ego causes all thoughts (or all phenomena) to appear from itself.

Therefore Bhagavan teaches us very clearly and unambiguously that the mind, which in this context means the ego, is the source or origin from which all thoughts or phenomena appear, and this accords perfectly with our own experience. From where else could our thoughts come if not from ourself? Thoughts or phenomena appear only in our perception and only because of our perception of them, so their source or origin is only ourself, this ego.

5. A cause and its effect can occur simultaneously, but logically the cause comes first and the effect comes only after it

In the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he says:
இந்தத் தேகத்தில் நான் என்று கிளம்புவது எதுவோ அஃதே மனமாம். […] மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா.

inda-t dēhattil nāṉ eṉḏṟu kiḷambuvadu edu-v-ō aḵdē maṉam-ām. […] maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā.

What rises in this body as ‘I’ [namely the ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’], that alone is the mind. […] Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought [the primal, basic, original or causal thought]. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [the ego, the primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.
When Bhagavan says here that the thought called ‘I’ (the ego) is the first thought and that only after it rises do other thoughts arise, this may seem to contradict what he says in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, namely that the world and awareness (which in this context means the ego, the spurious awareness that appears and disappears) arise and subside simultaneously, but there is actually no contradiction here, because when he says that they arise simultaneously he means at the same time, whereas when he says that the ego is the first thought and that only after it rises do other thoughts arise he is not referring to a chronological sequence but to a causal sequence.

In terms of chronological sequence, a cause must either precede its effect or be simultaneous with its effect, but even when it is simultaneous with its effect, in terms of causal sequence it precedes it, because a cause is what gives rise to an effect, so logically the cause comes first and its effect comes only after it. Consider the example of a moving billiard ball hitting a stationary one. The hit causes some of the momentum of the moving ball to be transferred to the stationary one, as a result of which it begins to move. The hit is the cause, and the movement of the stationary ball is the effect. Both occur simultaneously in time, but in terms of the causal sequence the cause comes first and the effect follows on from it. That is, the hitting comes first, and only after it occurs does the stationary ball begin to move.

It is in this sense that Bhagavan says: ‘நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா’ (nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā), ‘the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [the ego, the primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist’. That is, though the ego (the thought called ‘I’) and other thoughts arise simultaneously, in the sequence of cause and effect the rising of the ego comes first, because it is the cause, and the rising of other thoughts comes only after that, because it is the effect.

In an earlier comment you wrote, ‘the ego and thoughts appear and disappear simultaneously. To imply that one of these concepts were there before the other one is rather fishy, I believe that the question what is first, the ego or a thought falls under the category of what is first, the chicken or the egg?’ but this seems to be fishy only if we fail to distinguish causal sequence from chronological sequence. Bhagavan did say (as in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) that ego and other thoughts appear and disappear simultaneously, referring to chronological sequence, but he also said (as in the final four sentences of the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?) that the ego is the first thought and that only after it rises do other thoughts rise, referring to causal sequence.

Therefore when Bhagavan says that the ego (the first person, the thought called ‘I’) is the first thought to appear and that only after it appears do other thoughts (second and third persons) appear, he does not mean that there is any lapse of time between the appearance of the ego and the appearance of other thoughts or phenomena, but is merely emphasising that the appearance of the ego is the cause and the appearance of all other things is its effect. The ego is the first cause, the cause of all other causes, so all chains of cause and effect begin only after the ego has appeared.

The analogy of the chicken and egg that you mention is not appropriate in this context, because chickens and eggs are links in a long chain of cause and effect, whereas the ego is the beginning or origin of every chain of cause and effect. Like both a chicken and an egg, every cause (or potential cause) is an effect of another cause, except the ego, which is the only cause that is not an effect of any other cause. It is the causeless cause, the uncaused cause, because nothing precedes it, whereas it precedes everything.

A chicken is the cause of an egg, which is in turn the cause of another chicken, and so on ad infinitum, but all such chains of cause and effect seem to exist only in the view of the ego, so they can appear only when the ego has appeared, and they must disappear as soon as it disappears. Therefore the ego is the cause and origin of all other causes and effects. This is why Bhagavan says that it is the first thought, and that all other thoughts (including chickens and eggs and all other chains of cause and effect) arise only after it has arisen.

6. Since the ego has created all that it perceives, why does it have so little control over what it has created?

You conclude that earlier comment by writing, ‘Anyway, I do not think that any clarity of that topic can be found in Bhagavan’s texts, I still favor Robert’s comment and I believe that he is in unison with Bhagavan on this matter’, but there is actually abundant clarity on this topic that we can found in his texts if we know how to look for it. The fact that the ego alone is the root cause for the appearance of everything else is one of the fundamental principles of his teachings and is therefore emphasised by him unequivocally in so many ways in his original writings, particularly in Nāṉ Ār? and Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, and also in many of the records of his replies to questions that he was asked.

Earlier in the same comment you asked, ‘Now I am wondering, since the ego cannot control these thoughts which it is supposedly “creating” how can it be the creator of thereof?’ but why do you assume that the creator should necessarily be able to control what it has created? When we dream, is the creator of our dream anyone other than ourself, the dreamer, namely this mind or ego?

Since perception is itself creation, we who perceive a dream are the one who is thereby creating it, but are we able to control all that we perceive in a dream? No, we cannot, and the reason for this is simple: when we create a dream world, we create ourself as a person in that world, and it is only as that person that we perceive that world, so though we are the creator of that world, we experience ourself as a creature in it, and by being a small part of our creation we have to a large extent lost control over it. The same is the case with this world and all that we perceive in it, including all the thoughts that arise in the mind of the person whom we now seem to be.

You are creating this world from moment to moment, but since you experience yourself as a person called Salazar, and since Salazar is a creature in the world you have created, as Salazar you have lost control of most of your own creation. This is the wonderful power of māyā (self-deception or self-delusion), which according to Bhagavan is nothing other than the ego or mind. We have created this world, but we are deluded by our own creation, so we are unable to control this demon that we have conjured up.

This is why in Hindu mythology the first three divine functions, namely creation, sustenance and dissolution, are each attributed to a different deity. According to this allegorical way of expressing the truth, Brahma has created this world, but he is unable to control or sustain it, nor is he able to destroy it, so it is sustained by Vishnu and destroyed by Siva. Of these three forms of God, which two are most highly revered? Only Vishnu and Siva, because creation is not a worthy function, so Brahma, the creator, is not worshipped in any temple, but only in Vedic rituals that are performed for the fulfilment of desires.

Suppose we have an irrational fear or an obsessive desire. That fear or desire is just a thought and it is created only by us, but we have become so caught up in our own creation that we are carried away by it and seem to be unable to control it.

This is not to say that we have absolutely no control over what we think or over other phenomena. We may have some degree of control, but that degree is limited, and the more we are deluded by our own creation, the less control we have over it. However if we patiently and persistently practise self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), our viṣaya-vāsanās (outward-going inclinations, urges or desires) will be gradually weakened, and our mind will thereby be purified. To the extent that it is purified it will be clear, and the clearer it becomes the less dense will be its delusion, so the extent to which we are able to keep a tight rein on our viṣaya-vāsanās, which are the seeds that give rise to thoughts, will increase correspondingly.

7. Thoughts come only from ourself, the ego, the one who perceives them, so we alone are the root of all thoughts

In a later part of the comment whose first paragraph I quoted at the beginning of this article you wrote, ‘So where are thoughts coming from? If patiently investigated one will discover that they come out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere’, but how can anything come out of nowhere? Nowhere does not exist except as an idea or thought, so from where does the idea of nowhere arise? Something cannot come out of nothing, because nothing does not exist, so whatever appears must appear from something.

In the next paragraph of that comment you wrote, ‘it is absolutely clear that they [thoughts] cannot come from the observer of these thoughts’, but from where else could thoughts come if not from ourself, the one who perceives or observes them? Thoughts appear only in the mind, and the source from which they appear is the root thought, the ego (which is why Bhagavan calls it the mūlam, the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause of all other thoughts). The ego rises or appears only out of ātma-svarūpa (the real nature of oneself), and all other thoughts rise or appear only out of the ego, so the ego is the immediate source and foundation of all other thoughts, and ātma-svarūpa is their ultimate source and foundation.

From what does the illusion of a snake appear? It cannot appear from nowhere or nothing, so it appears from something that (in terms of this analogy) actually exists, namely a rope. However it could not appear from a rope without the intervening medium called ego or mind, because it appears to be a snake only in the view of the ego. Therefore the immediate cause for the appearance of the snake is the ego, in whose view alone it appears, and the ultimate cause of it is the rope, because without the rope there would be nothing to be seen as a snake.

This is just an analogy, so there is a limit to the extent to which it accurately represents the truth to which it is analogous, but what it is intended to illustrate here is that the ultimate source, substance and foundation of the ego and of all thoughts or phenomena perceived by the ego is only ātma-svarūpa, but that the immediate source, substance and foundation of all thoughts or phenomena is only the ego, because it is only in the view of the ego that everything else seems to exist.

Without the ego could any other thought or phenomenon appear? It could not, because the ego is that to which and from which all other thoughts or phenomena appear. Likewise, without ātma-svarūpa could the ego appear? It could not, because ātma-svarūpa is that from which (but not to which) the ego appears.

This is why in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? Bhagavan says, ‘மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும்’ (maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum), ‘When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears’, meaning that ātma-svarūpa is the source from which the mind or ego appears, and in the previous sentence said, ‘[…] அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது’ (appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu), ‘[…] in that way the mind also causes the world to appear from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself’, meaning that the mind or ego is the source from which the world and all other thoughts appear.

If other thoughts or phenomena did not originate from the ego, that would mean that they originate from something else, in which case they would be able to exist independent of the ego, which is contrary to all that Bhagavan taught us. Why should we believe that anything exists independent of the ego, or that anything originates from any source other than the ego? Since everything is perceived only by the ego, we do not have any adequate reason to suppose that anything exists independent of it or comes from anything other than it. This is why Bhagavan repeatedly emphasised that the ego (which is what he often referred to as ‘the thought called I’) is the first thought and the root of all other thoughts.

8. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: everything depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of the ego, so when we investigate the ego keenly enough to see that it does not exist, that is giving up everything

Since the ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things, in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan wrote:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

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

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

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

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

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

English translation: If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. The ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this is alone is giving up everything.

Explanatory paraphrase: If the ego comes into existence, everything [all phenomena, everything that appears and disappears, everything other than our pure, fundamental, unchanging and immutable self-awareness] comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist [because nothing other than pure self-awareness actually exists, so everything else seems to exist only in the view of the ego, and hence it cannot seem to exist unless the ego seems to exist]. [Therefore] the ego itself is everything [because it is the original seed or embryo, which alone is what expands as everything else]. Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything [because the ego will cease to exist if it investigates itself keenly enough, and when it ceases to exist everything else will cease to exist along with it].
In the kaliveṇbā version of this verse Bhagavan extended the first sentence of this verse by adding a relative clause to describe the ego, namely ‘கருவாம்’ (karu-v-ām), which means ‘which is the embryo [womb, efficient cause, inner substance or foundation]’ and which therefore implies that the ego is the embryo that develops into everything else, the womb from which everything is born, the efficient cause (nimitta kāraṇa) that creates or produces everything, the inner substance of all phenomena, and the foundation on which they all appear.

Since the ego seems to exist only so long as we are aware of anything other than ourself, it will dissolve and cease to exist only when we try to be so keenly self-attentive that we are aware of nothing other than ourself. And since all other things seem to exist only in the view of the ego, if we keenly investigate this ego in order to see what we actually are, not only will the ego cease to exist but everything else will cease to exist along with it.

This is why he concludes this verse by saying: ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்’ (ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr), ‘Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

This is the core and essence of his teachings, so it is essential for us to understand very clearly that the ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things (all thoughts or phenomena). Everything originates from the ego and depends upon the ego for its seeming existence, so if we eradicate the ego we thereby eradicate everything.

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Wittgenstein said...

Is free will an illusion? [Part 1 of 5]

Bhagavan introduces the general framework of his teaching about dyads and triads in verse 9 (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.in/2017/10/ulladu-narpadu-tamil-text.html#un09”) verse of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. Specific examples of dyads and triads appear in various other verses. One such dyad is fate-free will that appears in verse 19 (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.in/2017/10/ulladu-narpadu-tamil-text.html#un19”>verse. The teaching of Bhagavan is that, of the two, fate has free will as its immediate basis. That is, for fate to operate, free will should have gone before it, as all that is experienced as fate now was once done out of our own free will. This should be so because our nature is absolute freedom and now that we have risen after apparently distorting it as this ego, we have limited freedom, which is the beginning of karma. Hence fate presupposes free will and the basis of both is the ego. Unlike other teachings where the beginning of karma are given ambiguosly, in Bhagavan’s teaching everything including the universe begins and ends with the ego verse 26 (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.in/2017/10/ulladu-narpadu-tamil-text.html#un26”>verse of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) .

If freedom is our true nature and we are striving to regain our true nature, does it have meaning to say our free will is an illusion? Are we chasing an illusion? From what Bhagavan teaches, both fate and free are as real as the ego. As long as we are ego, fate and free will be present side by side. As long as we are ego, we cannot also claim ego an illusion, as the claim itself is made by the ego.

Most of what we need to understand about fate and free will is contained in the note to his mother (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2017/06/concern-about-fate-and-free-will-arises.html#dec98note”), discussed several times by Michael. From this we should be clear about what comes under free will and fate. All our desires and aversions and consequently the attempts to accordingly fulfil and avoid them come under free will, irrespective of what actually happens to us, which comes under fate, which in turn is the fruits of actions performed out of our own free will in the past, arranged now in a sequence by God.

Wittgenstein said...

Is free will an illusion? [Part 2 of 5]

These two domains of fate and free will are not interacting. But they should glide down side by side throughout the course of our life, with a common context at every point in life. For example, desiring a job and consequently making all attempts to get it are all related to free will while we get it or not is related to fate, both having the common context of the job. Since God alone is responsible for fixing our fate and we have no control over it, in order to fix it, he needs to make us desire and act in certain ways and since he has the knowledge of all our desires (vāsanās), he alone can chalk out the course of our life. This is the reason why in his note Bhagavan says God makes us act as per our fate. It would be a great mistake if we thought God makes us act according his desire, as that is what some people mean whey they say ‘as per the will (or wish) of God’. We should remember from paragraph fifteen of Nāṉ Yār? that God does not have any intentions. God, as he desires only himself and not bound by anything, would want us to desire only ourself, as we are completely free and absolutely happy only when we remain as we are. As parents we desire for our children whatever we desire as their good and would bring them happiness. Since we mistake absolute happiness and freedom can be got from external objects, we carry over such mistakes in the case of our children. But God (our parent) is not mistaken. He is completely happy and desires only complete happiness for us (his children).

From all this we gather that God could have arranged the fruits of our past actions (fate) only with the desire of us overcoming our own vāsanās, because to the extent we overcome vāsanās, to the same extent we would remain as we are. That is to say, we are talking about a malevolent God here. The ‘fate’ we talk about is not all that bad, as we construe normally. The link between overcoming vāsanās (desirelessness) and remaining as we are (jñāna ) is clearly brought about in paragraph eleven of Nāṉ Yār?. The same theme is repeated in verse 16 (http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.in/2017/09/upadesa-undiyar-tamil-text.html#uu16”> of Upadēśa Undiyār when ‘leaving aside external phenomena’ (desirelessness) and ‘mind knowing its own form of light’ (jñāna ) is spoken of related to practice of ātma-vicāra. Therefore, we need to be acutely aware of the vāsanās bubbling up in our awareness and ‘continue destroying [or cutting down] all of
them’ as in paragraph eleven of Nāṉ Yār?, by remaining as we are. An active battle is meant here, not simply dis-identifying from vāsanās (whatever that means), as some neo-advaitins would have us believe.

Wittgenstein said...

Is free will an illusion? [Part 3 of 5]

As per the defective teachings of neo-advaita, our vāsanās are not in our hands and appear from nowhere and there never was someone desiring it. Bhagavan teaches exactly the opposite of this. He says vāsanās are our own doing and hence undoing them is also in our hands and they come under the regime of free will. He also says they come from us (the ego), as we are the basis of free will. Just because the ego is not located as an object in the field of awareness, we cannot declare there never was an ego, as that declaration itself exposes its presence.

If there never was an ego and we should only cancel the belief that there is an ego, according to this defective creed of neo-advaita, we should remember the very cancellation is done by the ego. If there never was an ego, why practise ātma-vicāra, as ātma-vicāra is by the ego and for the ego? That is, if there never was an ego, there never was a need or possibility of ātma-vicāra either. But the members of this creed anyway proceed with ātma-vicāra and give a new name to it – ‘disidentifying from vāsanās’. That is, vāsanās continue to be there, except that we have disidentified with it. Can this really be done? Can we be aware of vāsanās as if they were someone else’s? Whose vāsanās are they? Our vāsanās. Therefore, in talking about disidentification, we talk about our identification with it. Otherwise we will not be able to talk about it at all.

It is not disidentification with vāsanās, despite their presence, but uprooting them all that is spoken of by Bhagavan. That is ātma-vicāra. If the seeds of vāsanās are desires (will) stored in the causal body, then it is the ‘denial of will’ that is spoken of. That is, every time they bubble up, we need to deny them and stay firm as we actually are, irrespective of whatever happens to us. This denial and staying firm are one and the same act, as staying firm is needed only as long as we are tempted by vāsanās (first sentence of paragraph eleven of Nāṉ Yār?). This denial of will belongs to the domain of free will and taught by Bhagavan. If not possible, why would he have taught it? Whatever happens to us in our life belongs to fate and it has got nothing to do with ātma-vicāra. Why concerned about it then?

A good grasp of the theory of karma taught by Bhagavan would lead to the proper practice of ātma-vicāra. Without knowing the proper domains and functions of fate and free will, we will not be in a position to make use of the free will in the way taught by Bhagavan.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I think Bhagavan (or more accurately Venkataraman) had as much luggage as all of us. None of us is young actually – the body may be young but the luggage is old. If you see a small child, at what age the personality starts manifesting in the child? If a mother has six children, she will tell very early on that each child has its own personality since we can’t say when. It is because we all come with the baggage – the baggage of countless previous lives.

So young Venkataraman had all that baggage, but he also had the baggage of the spiritual practice which he had done in his previous lives. In Tamil there is a saying, ‘what was left undone was resumed’. So he had very nearly reached the point in his previous birth, but because there was a divine purpose, he was born again to live another 16 years in a state of seeming ignorance. This was because that body was destined to be the guru for all of us.

So in Bhagavan’s view, children and old people all have an equal amount of baggage, all have same problems. It is not that you are wise because you are old or unwise because you are young. We are wise if we have learnt to free our minds from its attachments, if not we are foolish. I think most of us will be happy to admit, we are very-very foolish.

So that’s the difference between Bhagavan as a 16-year-old and us. He was actually much older in terms of maturity that we are, and so it all happened in a moment. For us, we still got to tread the path which he would have trodden in his previous lives to reach that point of maturity, in which point he can just swallow us, as he was swallowed.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 9th June, 2012

Note: Yes, we have this baggage which we have been carrying on our heads since countless lives, but what is this baggage? This baggage is our vishaya-vasanas - our liking or propensity to enjoy certain objective phenomena. It is our inclination to act in certain ways. All our likes, dislikes, fears, aversions, attachments and desires are part of our baggage.

How can we remove this baggage? We can do this most effectively by accumulating another kind of baggage, namely the baggage of sat-vasana, which is the love just to be. If we garner more and more of sat-vasana, it will destroy all our vishaya-vasanas, and eventually, we will experience ourself as we actually are. However, this takes time and therefore we need to patient. Bhagavan would say:

Patience and more patience; perseverance and more perseverance.


Wittgenstein said...

Is free will an illusion? [Part 4 of 5]

If we are still apprehensive about the fact that vāsanās can be created, strengthened or destroyed by us and only by us, as they come from nowhere and we can watch them only from a distance, we need to consider some plain facts from everyday life. We have all sorts of vāsanās, as they are ‘time immemorial’ (paragraph ten of Nāṉ Yār?), which is the reason we identify them in others. Only we have this in relative strengths. They show up in proper circumstances, dictated by fate. If a group of people are exposed to alcohol or pornography, the extent to which each one takes them up depends on the relative strength of these vāsanās they have already in them. Having taken up, they can become addicts, depending on the attention they give them (attention is the fuel that keeps them burning) or weaken them by shifting attention to something else or attending to themself alone (thereby destroying them). Since not all vāsanās are of equal strength in us, it is clear that the difference in their strengths is due to difference in the attention we give them. Hence it follows that we can strengthen them or eradicate them. If we are ‘zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness’, we can ‘dissolve’ them all (paragraph ten of Nāṉ Yār?).

Neo-advaitins are fond of quoting the work of Benjamin Libet, who was a researcher in the physiology department of UCSF who experimentally investigated consciousness, initiation of action and free will. In an experiment he found that the freely voluntary acts were preceded by a specific electrical change in the brain (the ‘readiness potential’, RP) that begins 550 milliseconds before the act. His subjects became aware of intention to act 350 to 400 milliseconds after the initiation of RP. From this he concluded that the volitional process is initiated unconsciously. This is quoted by the neo-advaitins for the lack of control in volitional acts and hence we have no control of thoughts and desires, as they come from nowhere (presumably ‘nowhere’ is their interpretation of the ‘unconscious’ of Libet). Therefore, the only thing we can do is to ‘disidentify’ from thoughts and emotions.

This is only part of the story, as Libet found that becoming aware of the intention occurs 200 milliseconds before the motor act, which is conveniently neglected by neo-advaitins (assuming they read the paper). Based on this, Libet (‘Do We Have Free Will?’, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, No. 8–9, 1999, pp. 47–57) himself concludes: “[…] the conscious function could still control the outcome; it can veto the act. Free will is therefore not excluded. These findings put constraints on views of how free will may operate; it would not initiate a voluntary act but it could control performance of the act”. Therefore, Libet himself would not endorse the interpretations of neo-advatins.

Wittgenstein said...

Is free will an illusion? [Part 5 of 5]

It is doubtful if neo-advaitins read the source they are quoting, including the works of Bhagavan. Although Libet’s own interpretation has its rivals among the scientific community, we can understand these results in the light of Bhagavan’s teachings: what Libet calls as ‘unconscious’ is the causal body where the seeds of desire (will) are stored. When they make their appearance, we still have a choice to go with them or not.

In the quoted paper, Libet says, in continuation with his interpertations, “[…] this kind of role for free will is actually in accord with religious and ethical strictures. These commonly advocate that you ‘control yourself’. Most of the Ten Commandments are ‘do not’ orders”. This is good thinking on part of Libet, as he seems to be asking why wise men should give us strictures if we cannot follow them. In our context, if free will is an illusion, how are we to practise ātma-vicāra, which is not yielding to desire, thereby being attentively self-aware (verse 16 of Upadēśa Undiyār), which ‘in truth are only one’ (paragraph eleven of Nāṉ Yār?)?

Michael James said...

Incidentally, in case anyone is interested to read it along with this article, in September 2017 I wrote another article on this same subject in reply to Salazar, namely What creates all thoughts is only the ego, which is the root and essence of the mind, which is the article he refers to in the earlier of the two comments I reply to in this article.

Anonymous said...

Talk 609, 18th January 1939

...Extract

D.: Relatively speaking, is not the sleep state nearer to Pure
Consciousness than the waking state?

M.: Yes, in this sense: When passing from sleep to waking the ‘I’
thought must start; the mind comes into play; thoughts arise;
and then the functions of the body come into operation; all these
together make us say that we are awake. The absence of all this
evolution is the characteristic of sleep and therefore it is nearer to
Pure Consciousness than the waking state.

But one should not therefore desire to be always in sleep. In the
first place it is impossible, for it will necessarily alternate with the
other states. Secondly it cannot be the state of bliss in which the
Jnani is, for his state is permanent and not alternating. Moreover,
the sleep state is not recognised to be one of awareness by people,
but the sage is always aware. Thus the sleep state differs from the
state in which the sage is established.
Still more, the sleep state is free from thoughts and their impression
to the individual. It cannot be altered by one’s will because
effort is impossible in that condition. Although nearer to Pure
Consciousness, it is not fit for efforts to realise the Self.

The incentive to realise can arise only in the waking state and efforts
can also be made only when one is awake. We learn that the thoughts
in the waking state form the obstacle to gaining the stillness of sleep.
“Be still and know that I AM God”. So stillness is the aim of the seeker.
Even a single effort to still at least a single thought even for a trice goes
a long way to reach the state of quiescence. Effort is required and it
is possible in the waking state only. There is the effort here: there is
awareness also; the thoughts are stilled; so there is the peace of sleep gained. That is the state of the Jnani. It is neither sleep nor waking
but intermediate between the two. There is the awareness of the
waking state and the stillness of sleep. It is called jagrat-sushupti.
Call it wakeful sleep or sleeping wakefulness or sleepless waking or
wakeless sleep. It is not the same as sleep or waking separately. It is
atijagrat 1 (beyond wakefulness) or atisushupti 2 (beyond sleep).
It is the state of perfect awareness and of perfect stillness combined. It lies between sleep and waking; it is also the interval between two successive thoughts. It is the source from which thoughts spring;
we see that when we wake up from sleep. In other words thoughts
have their origin in the stillness of sleep.
The thoughts make all the
difference between the stillness of
sleep and the turmoil of waking.
Go to the root of the thoughts and you reach the stillness of sleep. But you
reach it in the full vigour of search, that is, with perfect awareness.
That is again jagrat-sushupti spoken of before. It is not dullness; but
it is Bliss. It is not transitory but it is eternal. From that the thoughts
proceed. What are all our experiences but thoughts? Pleasure and
pain are mere thoughts. They are within ourselves. If you are free
from thoughts and yet aware, you are That Perfect Being.
...

Reply

Salazar said...

Dear Michael, thank you for your very thoughtful article and it is very helpful for me to clarify my obvious misunderstanding regarding the origin of thoughts and I'll re-read this article several times to let it sink in. Just from reading it one time no objections are coming up to any of your statements.

Thank you again, I really appreciate it!

Salazar said...

Wittgenstein, I do not know if your several comments about "free will" were directed at me but I do not say that we have no free will.

What I said, and I stand behind that, that our free will cannot influence the actions of our body (in this life). But we can use our free will to turn within and "resist" desire in form of atma-vichara. The Ten Commandments are a nice set of ethic rules, but will they by themselves yield liberation? Of course not. They are just, when sincerely followed in form of a mental desire, "good karma" creators which will lead, hundreds of life times later, into a spiritual path and maybe the acquaintance of a sage.
So if I won't steal or not is entirely determined by karma, but my desire (as in free will) to stop stealing must manifest in a future life as good karma and stealing is all but a history.

So ethics is the first step but that still transpires in duality, to be truly free even concepts like ethics have to be let go.

I have used the Libet argument too but even reading the "full" story, things seem to be a bit murky. I rather go with various quotes by Bhagavan.

Mouna said...

A thought on the recent and not so recent discussion.

What people call free will is a direct result of the sense of doership, one of the pillars sustaining the illusion of being a “person” (aka body-mind), which in turn is a projection of ego (maya) which identifies with and feeds on it.
What people call fate or predetermination is a direct result of the working of the universal mechanism (genes and environment according to atheists) or the working of god distributing fruits according to karmas of the past (in religious language), both of which are creations and projections of ego, which feeds and identifies with.
As long as we do not grasp the nature of ego we will continue to believe in the preponderance of one over the other and/or try to explain one or the other, creating all kind of intellectual conundrums which in turn continue to feed the mind, producing even more phenomena.
Who really cares if there is free will, or everything is predetermined, or is a little bit of both or none?... investigate “that one” to verify if it holds the Turin test of being real.
Results of such investigation could be astonishingly interesting...

Mouna said...

The illusion of having free will as a person is a little bit like the sunset/sunrise illusion. Although we “know” that the sun does not revolve around the earth, that fact doesn’t prevent us to enjoy the “beautiful sunset”, and sometimes saying goodbye or welcoming Surya.
In the same manner, the “knowing” of free will being a “person’s” illusion shouldn’t prevent us to act according to our best understanding of what actually “take us closer” to self-realization, or in other words, the thinning of the illusory misplaced sense of awareness or ego, knowing quite well that we are already That and action doesn’t bring in itself realization.

Salazar said...

Mouna, firstly no action in itself takes us closer to liberation. It is the mental attitude or desire to "better" ourselves. Because you have no influence whatsoever what your body is doing - Full Stop.
And secondly that mental attitude or desire won't manifest in this life time since the prarabdha karma of your body has already been allotted by the Divine. So you got to wait for one of your next lives to "reap" the benefits.

Thus it is a timing thing. One can go on with the beginner's way of wanting to "improve" oneself which certainly will result into benefits a number of life times down the road, or one can drop that detour and do instead vichara/surrender what has an immediate affect.

As I said before, instead of wasting one's time to find a way to use less a cellphone one can just drop that impulse and look for that who wants to improve itself in doing vichara.

From my own personal experience: I had a normal diet in my twenties, then I got the idea to eat more healthy and stopped eating first pork and then no meat at all. Then I looked for good quality veggies with a high nutritional value.
Did I had to use an immense amount of "willpower" to do that? Not at all. It just happened by itself. Why? Apparently I must have gone though this in many previous lives where I developed the desire to eating healthy and stop eating meat. And finally I am reaping the results without any effort, by just following an upcoming idea.

I was drinking alcohol until my late thirties, I enjoyed high quality drinks like Single Malt Whiskeys, XO Cognac, and high quality wine and beer. Then, without even noticing, I stopped drinking hard liquor and never had it again. There was not even the idea or intention to do so. I kept drinking wine and beer and then I read an article that alcohol is having a tamasic affect what is easy to notice. I thought better to stop drinking wine and beer and that took a little longer and then again, suddenly I stopped drinking wine and a little later beer. Did I agonize about stopping drinking alcohol? Not at all. I felt casual about it and didn't see it as a problem at all. And then it was gone.

My point is, let's say I kept drinking alcohol then of course there would be the desire to stop it what must manifest later. But instead to intentionally "work" on changing that habit it is much smarter to do vichara instead. Vichara itself is the best antidote to all sensual pleasures with much faster results. The former is within duality and is creating more karma (and leaves vasanas alone), the latter is transcending duality and doesn't create any karma at all but destroys vasanas.

Let's climb out of that slow sailing boat and enter the Mach 6 jet to liberation :)




Mouna said...

Salazar,
"firstly no action in itself takes us closer to liberation.”

Turning mind inwards, which is an action initiated by the person, does.

Abidance in the fruits of this “action", with the help of Grace, is what gives realization.

Ergo, no action in itself, grants liberation, but it does take us closer, because it thins the veil of ego (in vedantic terms, purifies the mind) so it makes Grace’s pull towards the Heart easier (figuratively speaking of course).

Salazar said...

Turning mind inwards is no action in the common sense, yet I find no reason to discuss about semantics. I agree of course with your comment. Ah grace, we do one step, Bhagavan does 10 steps, thank God otherwise we'd spend another few kalpas on this forsaken world.

Wittgenstein said...

Salazar,

When I read some of your comments I did find some resemblance to neo-advaitic jargon. I remembered my earlier reading of neo-advaitins (such as disidentification, which I don't remember you wrote) and the comments that I wrote were directed only at neo-advaitins and I do not think you are a neo-advaitin. I also was not aware you wrote about Libet experiments (might have missed it). Anyway, just to share with you: scientific theories are not needed to explain Bhagavan's teachings, as the investigation is much deeper and questions the very foundations of science, as most of us here would recognize.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Wittgenstein, in your comment addressed to Salazar, you mentioned ‘neo-advaitic jargon’. I wanted to know what does ‘neo-advaitic mean. I found the following on the net:

The bird’s eye view of the neo-Advaita outlook is this:

* Since only the Self (Awareness) is real, and everything else is illusory, there is no need to do any spiritual practice, any learning, any growth, and, of course, any enlightenment. Because you are inherently That, there is no need to study, learn, grow or transcend anything.

* All forms of spiritual practice, education, devotion, are regarded simply as illusions of the ego. All you need to do is to hear this enlightening news, drop the belief that there is something more to do, something to achieve, something wrong with you, call off the search, and rest in the Self.

* “Right and wrong”, “good and bad” are all illusory concepts, so there is no expectation of ethical behaviour from the teaching.

* The fact that you have egotistical thoughts, emotions, and suffering does not prevent you from being the Self, because the ego is an illusion, and the Self is real.

(I will continue this reply in my comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my comment in reply to Wittgenstein:

Is this what neo-advaita teaches? If yes, it is similar to what many modern gurus have been teaching. This is clearly a half-baked philosophy. It says ‘call off the search, and rest in the Self. Isn’t it absurd? How can one rest in self by calling off the search? We can rest in self only by ‘searching for’ or attending to oneself.

This philosophy says, ‘there is no need to do any spiritual practice’. However, Bhagavan says in the 6th paragraph of Nan Yar?:

If [one thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [the innermost core of one’s being, which is the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought which had risen will also subside. When [one] practises and practises in this manner, to the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase [that is, by repeatedly practising turning our attention towards our mere being, which is the birthplace of our mind, our mind’s ability to remain as mere being will increase].

Bhagavan says ‘When [one] practises and practises in this manner, to the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase’. However many gurus say that we do not need any spiritual practice, because we are already that (self). Whom should we believe? We should obviously trust and believe Bhagavan, because he seems more logical and trustworthy.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 2:

O Arunachala, the form of love! Having taken (me) as your own, does it befit (you now) to ruin me by not bestowing love for you upon me, who am devoid of (such) love by which I would think of you in the heart, soften and melt like wax in fire? O bliss resulting from love! O unsatiating ambrosia welling up in the heart of (your) devotees! What (is there for me) to say? Your will is my will; that (alone) is happiness for me, O Lord of my life!

Reflections: In my above quote, I have replaced many of the words starting with capital letters by lower case characters. This is what Michael prefers these days, and obviously it looks much neater. However, I have not changed anything else.

As Bhagavan sings, Arunachala is the form of love, and it is only because it is love that we are attracted to it. Bhagavan sings to Arunachala, ‘O bliss resulting from love!’ Happiness and love are directly related to each other. We love ourself because our essential nature is happiness, and we are happy when we experience love within. In fact, as our essential nature, these two – happiness and love – are absolutely identical.

Our ego will ‘soften and melt like wax in the fire’ as it goes on attending to itself, and as the culmination of this process, the ego will be completely consumed by the fire of jnana.

Bhagavan ends this verse by saying ‘Your will is my will; that (alone) is happiness for me, O Lord of my life!’ We should certainly have this attitude and therefore try to accept whatever we experience as being part of Bhagavan’s will. This is what is meant by partial-surrender. If we are not even able to surrender our will, how can we surrender the one (the ego) who has this will? So such partial-surrender is a prerequisite to our complete and final surrender.



Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, well said. Now right and wrong ARE illusory concepts but that is realized only by Jnana. When somebody asked Robert Adams 'since right and wrong is illusory I can rob a bank and all is fine' Robert answered, you are welcome to do so but unless you have really transcended the dual notions of right and wrong you'll have to suffer the consequences.

Of course it is entirely up to karma if you rob a bank or not. It appears your karma is fraught with a strong desire to do "right" and be "ethical" what is fine. Just don't forget, there is no right or wrong in Self nor ethical behavior. These are mental concepts which eventually have to be let go.

Also, suffering really does not prevent us from being Self, we are always Self. Bhagavan always pointed to look for the sufferer. We are always Self, even with the deluded objectifying consciousness. But we have to remember that with vichara, vichara is nothing else than a tool to remember what we are. We REMEMBER and do NOT DISCOVER Self since we ARE Self!


Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, yes, we are self and nothing but self. Bhagavan makes this clear. However, at present, we do not experience ourself as we really are, and therefore it appears that in the end, we will discover ourself. This is a path of investigation, and there is a discovery or conclusion at the end of every successful investigation.

In this sense, metaphorically speaking, we will discover ourself at the end of our self-investigation. At present, we are ignoring ourself by being more interested in attending to things other than ourself. In self-investigation, we try to ignore everything else by being attentively self-aware. In the end, only this self-awareness will remain. According to Bhagavan, this will be our direct experience.

Inveterate Questioner said...

To Salazar

You said in your comment to Mouna dated 13 May 2018 at 21:29 that "Because you have no influence whatsoever what your body is doing - Full Stop."

My question: who has the influence on what our body is doing?

Salazar said...

Hello Inveterate Questioner, if I understand Bhagavan correctly then the actions of the body are entirely influenced by pararabdha karma and the body is animated by the shakti of Ishwara (and not by a thought of the mind even if it seems like it).

Now this is all not totally clear cut since we are talking about a transitory phenomenal world and according to Sadhu Om, prarabdha karma can be changed by Bhagavan/Self (it seems to be a rare event though). I believe Bhagavan never favored much talk or discussions about these kind of concepts, he very much preferred people looking at the source of all of these concepts.

Sanjay Lohia said...

For those who are interested, Michael has very recently posted four new videos on his YouTube channel: Sri Ramana Teachings. I am in the process of watching these videos. Some thoughts occurred to me while watching these videos:

If we want to see the greatest infatuated lover, we should look at Michael and no further. He sees nothing beyond Bhagavan and his teachings.

However, Michael’s infatuation is not a short-lived, passing passion, as infatuations are considered to be, but is an enduring love story. It is the most lovely and passionate love story I have seen. It seems the story of Romeo and Juliet and other such such stories have found a match in the love story of Bhagavan and Michael.

We also need to emulate Michael's passion for Bhagavan’s teachings, because only such passion will save us.

Brahman-killer said...

Salazar,
"But we have to remember that with vichara, vichara is nothing else than a tool to remember what we are. We REMEMBER and do NOT DISCOVER Self since we ARE Self!"
1. Remember is only another word for discover.
2. What is the use of being self if we are not aware of that fact ?

Salazar said...

Brahman-killer,

1. No, remembering implies a recall of something already known, discovering implies the discovery of something new and not previously known.
2. You (or what you really are) are aware of the fact, your ego is not. Your argument automatically starts with the presumption that you are not aware. But is that true? That very belief comes from the ego and is the source of feeling "I am not aware". When these thoughts drop (via vichara), Self shines by itself without any effort. The seeming effort is to prevent the I to attend to all adjuncts like i.e. "I am not aware of that fact". If you can drop that adjunct and all others, Self remains.

Inveterate Questioner said...

Hello Salazar

As I understand the karma theory taught by Bhagavan, the actions of our body are influenced by only freewill. For, as fate (prarabdha karma) is nothing but a collection of the fruits of actions done in a previous dream using freewill, freewill is antecedent to fate. Therefore, logically it is correct to conclude that all actions are ultimately influenced only by freewill (whether by freewill exercised in a previous dream or in the present dream). Needless to add, freewill exercised in the present dream will not affect to the least degree what is fated to happen in the present dream, but will nevertheless get added up to the store of actions done by freewill (sanchit karma) to be experienced in a future dream.

Salazar said...

I concur with the exception that desires (as in free will) in this dream/life cannot change the actions of the current dream, that is entirely based on past lives, however as you said, desires (as in free will) in this life will accrue more karma to be experienced in a future dream/life.

So, my original comment is in alignment with the above. Prarabdha karma is not some mysterious "power" which will affect us in unforeseen ways, it is entirely coming from the countless likes and dislikes and desires stored up from [our] past lives.

So we ought to stop adding to the dream and use that "free will" only for attending to the first person and no other shenanigans like (trying to) improving the ego which will just add more karma.

Salazar said...

Of course prarabdha karma in each life is only a small portion of past accumulated karma chosen by Lord Ishwara himself to give us good and bad experiences to further our spiritual development the best possible way.

Therefore anything what happens to us, good or bad, is helping us to realize Self. Maybe to come finally to the conclusion to ignore the bad and good happenings and just attend to the first person.

Brahman-killer said...

Salazar,
you say "When these thoughts drop (via vichara), Self shines by itself without any effort. The seeming effort is to prevent the I to attend to all adjuncts like i.e. 'I am not aware of that fact'. If you can drop that adjunct and all others, Self remains."

1. The self shines by itself without any effort always undisturbed, undimmed and unrestricted - not only when these thoughts drop via vichara.
2. The effort to prevent the I from attending to all adjuncts like i.e. 'I am not aware of that fact' is to be done actually not only seemingly.
3. Self remains anyway, independently of whether one can drop all adjuncts.

Salazar said...

Brahman-killer, sounds like you changed your tune with your last comment and went from one extreme to the other :)

Yes, Self shines always undisturbed as above, but is that your experience? Not when I look at your first comment. Because you cover up Self with your attention to all of these adjuncts. So unless one directly experiences Self we should keep focusing on the first person alone.

"I" turned inwardly is Self, turned outwardly it is ego/mind.

Brahman-killer said...

Salazar,
your recommendation/appeal made to us "So we ought to stop adding to the dream and use that 'free will' only for attending to the first person and no other shenanigans like (trying to) improving the ego which will just add more karma." is only describing the improvement of the ego in other words. Moreover the improvement of the ego is never tantamount to shenanigans and can add at most good karma.

Salazar said...

Brahman-killer, no reason for me to argue about that. However, even "good" karma is not desirable because it must and will create further incarnations. So it is indeed shenanigans, we want moksha, not another life enjoying "good" karma.

Do you grasp what transcendence means, to go beyond duality?

Brahman-killer said...

Good karma leads to moksha.

Salazar said...

Absolutely not!

It appears that your knowledge about Bhagavan's teachings is on a rudimentary level and I'd like to stop our dialog with my best wishes for you.

Good bye.

Brahman-killer said...

Salazar, please don't let me disturb you in your apparently all-embracing understanding.
Fasten your seat belt. Best wishes to you too.:)

Salazar said...

And here comes the sarcasm :)

Brahman-killer says, "good karma leads to moksha". Well we must tell that the many celestial beings who have incarnated (due to their immense amount of good karma) on a heavenly realm with a life span of several thousands of years to just spend their life enjoying themselves. And yet, none of them attained moksha and in order to do so they need to incarnate on this planet which is comparatively more hell than heaven. These celestial beings are stuck with their good karma.

Moksha is attained when good and bad karma and all of the dyads have been transcended. There is no other way.

Brahman-killer said...

So, so you are at any rate familiar with the many celestial beings...
Kind regards.

nimitta karana said...

Michael,
section 8, Explanatory paraphrase,
"...[Therefore] the ego itself is everything [because it is the original seed or embryo, which alone is what expands as everything else]. Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything [because the ego will cease to exist if it investigates itself keenly enough, and when it ceases to exist everything else will cease to exist along with it]."
Therefore I live in constant existential fear of losing my entire existence when I would (start to) investigate what this ego is. How can I get rid of that fear ?

nimitta karana said...

Michael,
section 7, last paragraph,
"...Why should we believe that anything exists independent of the ego, or that anything originates from any source other than the ego? Since everything is perceived only by the ego, we do not have any adequate reason to suppose that anything exists independent of it or comes from anything other than it. This is why Bhagavan repeatedly emphasised that the ego (which is what he often referred to as ‘the thought called I’) is the first thought and the root of all other thoughts."
Perhaps the idea that we are pure awareness exists possibly also only in the view of the ego ?

nimitta karana said...

Michael,
section 7, second paragraph,
perhaps the idea that our real nature is more than a thought appears only in the mind - as all other thoughts appear only in the mind.

Divit said...

Hello Salazar,

Just an observation.

Michael has written quite a few articles now addressing your misunderstanding of Bhagavan's teaching. So how do you think it sounds when you reply to people correcting their misunderstanding? Or just criticise them? For example:

"It appears that your knowledge about Bhagavan's teachings is on a rudimentary level and I'd like to stop our dialog with my best wishes for you."

But is not your own understanding rudimentary?

Just a thought.

Feel free to insult me.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 3:

Having by the rope of your grace drawn me, who did not have (the least) idea to think of you, the Lord, you stood (determined) to kill (me) without (leaving even) a little life. What wrong have I, (this) poor wretch, done (to you)? What little obstacle now (remains to prevent you from destroying me completely)? Why to torture me thus, keeping (me) half-alive? O Arunachala, who are the Lord! Fulfilling (your) intention (to destroy me completely), may you live for long aeons (for all eternity) as the (only existing) one!

My note: Why are we drawn to Bhagavan? It is because of his limitless grace, more than anything else. How could we have known about Bhagavan expect by the attracting power of grace? He has attracted us to himself because he wants to completely destroy us. So Bhagavan is a very dangerous guru, and we should therefore be we wary of him. He is ever waiting to pounce on us and devour us completely!

However, why has he not consumed us yet? It is because we are still struggling; we are not yet willing to surrender ourself completely to him. Though we want to surrender, our efforts are half-hearted. We love Bhagavan, but at the same time we also desire many things of this world. These desires are keeping us half-alive, and such a state can only be a torture. We are like a prey in the jaws of the tiger. Because this prey is struggling, its torture continues and it is still alive. We are no different to this prey.

Bhagavan sings to Arunachala, ‘may you live for long aeons (for all eternity) as the (only existing) one!’ This means that when our ego is destroyed, only Bhagavan or Arunachala will remain as the one without the second. We would thereafter exist as and in Bhagavan. This is the only worthwhile goal.



Salazar said...

Divit, to grasp that one has to transcend the dyads is essential for a complete understanding. To simply plain out state, "good karma will lead to moksha" is simply wrong. Now it doesn't hurt to have good karma but that is not the point.

When I said that Brahman-killer has only a rudimentary level of understanding I stated a fact based on my observation. That was not a criticism. Why that is seen as a criticism beats me, maybe you Indians are a sensitive crowd, who knows? Also, B-killer approached me with questions (and not the other way around) and I answered them, I do not claim to be a teacher nor do I approach somebody to "teach" them. Neither does Michael by the way.

Feel free to see me as an ignorant fella who just boasts his stupid comments on this blog, apparently that seems to be the impression of most of the Indian community here.
Your comment "feel free to insult me" is quite offensive by the way. What is that supposed to mean? What label have you created in your mind?

Anybody is free to ignore my comments and I rather have that than to have to read comments like the one by Divit. Just remain in the shadows and let "others" alone. I did not approach you, you DID as all of the others I "criticized". Thank you.

Divit said...

Salazar,

"good karma will lead to moksha" is simply wrong.

How do you know for sure? Is this not just your opinion?

Was your opinion that "what is aware of thoughts cannot be the creator of these thoughts, because a thought is an object apart from that “observer” "correct or maybe misguided?

What other convictions that you hold so tight could possibly be false?

Will you belief "good karma will lead to moksha" is simply wrong" always be so or might it change when you understanding deepens?

Michael himself has said he would of written his own book differently now because his own deep understanding of the teaching has deepened even more since it was written.

You wrote a while back that the only thing you are certain of is you exist. I concur with that but your subsequent posts seem to contradict this.

You seem to be very sure about a lot things.

Salazar said...

Michael graciously wrote two articles in response to my assertion where thoughts are coming from. Now after re-reading especially the second article a few times I can agree on a conceptual level and I trust Bhagavan (that’s called faith), and Michael’s presentation/elaboration in those articles.

However, it is still in my experience that thoughts come out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere. This apparently incomplete experiential understanding must be due to suttarivu and that’s why it is wise to keep doing vichara/surrender.

I am not satisfied with mere conceptual understanding (and that’s about 100% on this blog) but I’d like to experience directly that what is now merely parroted by most on this blog.

I suppose most here grasp the difference between mere conceptual knowledge/understanding and actual direct experience. Now we obviously can trust Bhagavan or the guru within ourselves, not so much the capacity of our minds/ego ability to truly grasp the truth. It is said that a sattvic or extremely mature mind can grasp the truth but there is no such thing, a sattvic mind is the synonym for ‘no mind’ and Jnana remained.

It is a false understanding to believe that the ego “improves” to the point being Self. If you see the snake instead of the rope, how can the snake become the rope but by dropping that erroneous belief and not trying to transform the imaginary snake since it is just a misperception. Just shine some light on the snake with vichara and the rope will be obvious without having to change the snake/ego at all. Bhagavan said something to this effect laughing about people’s attempts to improve their egos.


Salazar said...

It is quite obvious that good karma cannot lead to moksha because good and bad are dyads and as long as dyads are taken to be real moksha cannot happen.

That is a basic spiritual principle and so obvious that any questioning of that fact is like doubting that 1+1=2.

I have no respect for people who show up here and start a dialog without having thought through, contemplated, and meditated about some of the basic spiritual principles which are inherent in any spiritual tradition. They just spout out some undigested concept and then are offended when they are called out of being rudimentary.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael: So many who were with Bhagavan took him as God. In fact, for the majority of the devotees of Bhagavan, Bhagavan is primarily God and not guru.

Devotee: That’s right.

M: Bhagavan has said that God and guru are not different, but the function of God and the function of guru are different. The function of God is to answer the prayers of devotees; the function of guru is to destroy the ego which makes such prayers. So the function of guru is the ultimate function. This function is grace, which in this context means removal of veiling or ignorance. That’s the function of the guru. So if we take God and guru as two different things, guru is above God.

It is said: ‘Always have advaita in the heart, but never put in into action’. It is because any action is possible only in the state of duality. Bhagavan said that we can have the feeling of advaita with God, but we should never try this advaita with guru.

Bhagavan had swallowed Muruganar; Muruganar was actually one with Bhagavan. But outwardly Muruganar was always the humble devotee. There is a verse in GVK, the import of which is: ‘The husband and wife are one in private, but outwardly, according to Indian social custom, the wife is always subservient to the husband'. Bhagavan uses this as an analogy. So also outwardly we should be always subservient to the guru, but inwardly we should experience guru in our heart as ourself.

So for many devotees, Bhagavan is God. Many people come to ashram just to pray. People do Sri Chakra Puja. What is Sri Charka Puja? It is not going to annihilate the ego. It is for health, wealth and all these material things.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

So many people who are devoted to Bhagavan do not follow his teachings. Bhagavan doesn’t reject those who take him as God. But what have we come to Bhagavan for? Why has God appeared as guru in the human form of Bhagavan? It is only to give us his teachings. So if we want to get the full benefit from Bhagavan, we should at least try to follow his teachings. Bhagavan says in Nan Yar?: ‘it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path shown by guru’.

So do we take Bhagavan as guru or as God? If we take him as guru, we should follow his path. But if we take him to be God and pray for health, wealth and all these things, it may be granted. However, Bhagavan will not claim any doership. The prayers are answered or not answered according to our destiny. But have we come to Bhagavan for all this? Health, wealth and all these things are going to go away.

D: So should we not pray to Bhagavan in difficult external circumstances?

M: Though it is said that first we go for kamya-bhakti and then progress to niskamya-bhakti, but the diving line between them is not clear. We want to surrender to Bhagavan, but sometimes the difficulties of life overpower us.

There is a verse in Aksaramanamalai, and what it means is: ‘I am such an ignorant fellow. Only when overpowered by misery, I pray to you’. So sometimes it is like that. Even though we want to surrender to Bhagavan, we find that many situations are unbearable, and so we may slip to kamyata prayers, sometimes.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 5th May, 2018

gargoyle said...

Salazar

Having followed this blog for some years I have noted patterns whenever you are commenting. It is fairly obvious to me that someone (perhaps more than one person) is having fun (playing games) at your expense. This person(s) changes their handle quite often and sometimes plays the good guy and sometimes places the bad guy.


Of course it is possible that I am completely wrong. Would not be the first time nor the last time. This is only my observation.

gargoyle said...

should read 'sometimes plays the bad guy'

Salazar said...

gargoyle, I had the same idea, because it is always an Indian type of moniker and it basically has always the same topic around "Salazar". Since this comes so frequently it could be just one (or two) person with an obsessive compulsion I suppose.

If somebody asks me a question I suppose that this is a sincere attempt and I genuinely answer. But the responses get often quickly weird and I wonder what kind of game is being played. Any games or attempts of having fun on my expense is deceptive and I am surprised to find this kind of deception and malice on a blog which is frequented by devotees of Bhagavan.

I have no desire to play games, nor any hidden agenda. I am upfront and assertive, but have no problem to admit to a mistake or any other wrong doing. That was not always the case but I discovered that, despite possible negative outward impacts, being open and sincere gives me peace of mind and a stronger connection with Bhagavan which may sound strange.

Whatever the motivation of this person(s), it's obviously some karma coming back at me :) What else can I do but silently bless this person and move on?

Thank you for your thoughtful comment gargoyle. For me you are an asset on this blog.

gargoyle said...

Salazar

Did not Bhagavan have the same issues with some who came only to cause trouble?

Thanks for the kind comment.

Hope all is well with you and yours.

Cordially, and Yours respectfully

boB

(and now I return to my silence)

karu-v-am said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you say "Bhagavan sings to Arunachala, ‘may you live for long aeons (for all eternity) as the (only existing) one!’ This means that when our ego is destroyed, only Bhagavan or Arunachala will remain as the one without the second. We would thereafter exist as and in Bhagavan. This is the only worthwhile goal."

The one without the second does always exist - independently of whether our ego is destroyed or not. Even now in this present moment nothing but Bhagavan does actually exist. 'Before' and 'thereafter' are only terms assumed in view of the ego.

Arjuna said...

Salazar, your protestation of innocence is really charming !

Salazar said...

Arjuna, I have mo idea what you are talking about.

sat-bodha-sukha said...

Anonymous,
thanks for giving the extract of Talk 609, 18 January 1939.
It does quite well shed light on the topic.

Arjuna said...

Salazar,
that fits to you. Do what you like. You are a real blessing. Good wishes and the best of luck to you!

Salazar said...

Arjuna, I do not know what you are implying, apparently not something flattering (good, I do not like flattery!). Your good wishes and best of lucks reek of insincerity considering the rest of your comment.

Stop playing games and flat out say what is your grievance for Peets sake.

Arjuna said...

Salazar,
I have no grievances against you personally. On the other hand I am not your educator.
I simply take notice of the fact that one's own one-sidedness is not seen easily.
For the sake of peace and quiet I do not add anything. After all, nobody is perfect.

Therefore my good wishes and best of lucks are now certainly neither joke nor insincerity nor even scornful laughter.
Goodbye.

Salazar said...

Arjuna, you still speak in riddles. First you keep insinuating about an apparent flaw you perceive, big enough that you feel compelled to share this on this blog. Fair enough. But when I ask you about specifics you back out like a coward with the lame excuse for peace and quiet.

And yes, nobody is perfect. What's your point in mentioning this truism?

Sorry, you have to be either much clearer or not talk at all. You behave like many women in the US who rarely can straight out say what is their problem and somehow expect from their partners or colleagues to be psychic and wait for a remorseful act which will never transpire since they fail to correctly communicate.

Are you a female by any chance?

Arjuna said...

Salazar,
as I already said I don't want to add anything further to what was written up to now. Thanks for your attendance at this exchange of ideas. Goodbye.

Salazar said...

Okay, but then stop talking to me at all. No more innuendos etc. - worry about your own "one-sidedness" (not an English word by the way) and leave others alone.

I did not protest my innocence, that is entirely made up in your mind. I am afraid I am and never was innocent (as this ego), that's the reality when one pays attention to all of these adjuncts.

I am also not 'holier than thou', we all share the main basic flaw and that is the ego. To wallow about the specific perversions of the ego (yours or others) is a waste of time and not worthy to give it any importance, at least for devotees of Bhagavan.

Grow up and make Bhagavan proud :) [That is a joke!]

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 4

What profit did you gain from me (by selecting me) from among (all) the people living in (this) world? Having saved (this) poor wretch (myself) from falling into the void (of worldly delusion or maya), you kept (me) fixed at your feet (or in your state). O Lord, who is the ocean of grace! When I think (of your supreme grace and of my extreme unworthiness) I feel very great shame. Glory to you, O Arunachala! My head bows down praising and adoring you!

Reflections: We may think that we have selected Bhagavan as our guru. We may thereby give all credit to ourselves for selecting such a great guru. However, in reality, we have not selected Bhagavan, but Bhagavan has selected us. Bhagavan has drawn us to himself by his power of grace, which is the power of his infinite love.

However, we should not think that Bhagavan has selected us due to our past good karmas or some other merit we may possess, because if we do so it will be sheer arrogance. Bhagavan doesn’t see our good or bad karmas or doesn’t see our merits or demits, simply because he doesn’t even see us (as this ego) in the first place. If he doesn’t see us, how can he see our karmas or merits or whatever? Therefore it is only Bhagavan’s uncaused and limitless grace which has somehow attracted us to him. We should bear this in mind.

Bhagavan has captured us by his cord of grace and has planted the seed of love in our heart – the seed of love for Bhagavan. It is this seed which has now sprouted as our current sadhana. Therefore our practice of atma-vichara is a precious gift from Bhagavan, and therefore we should cherish it more than anything else.

Bhagavan has saved us ‘from falling into the void (of worldly delusion or maya)’ by keeping us fixed at his feet. Where are his real feet? His real feet are shining in us as ‘I’. Bhagavan has made this abundantly clear. So if we want to worship his feet, we should cling to ‘I’ with more and more firmness. This is the best worship (puja) to Bhagavan. Worship to his name and form are a poor reflection of this real worship.

Therefore the best way to praise and adore Bhagavan is by keeping our egos subsided. He doesn’t need any other praise or adoration.


nimitta karana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"Therefore the best way to praise and adore Bhagavan is by keeping our egos subsided. He doesn’t need any other praise or adoration."
For keeping our ego subsided we inversely need Bhagavan's grace because to become willing to make the good choice to subside, sometimes our will is not sufficiently strong and will be overpowered by egoistic demands. The ego is indeed not exactly of an undemanding nature.

Noob said...

If desires and dislikes are nothing but thoughts, created by us, then they are also predetermined.

Noob said...

Then the question is: is attention also a mere thought?

Salazar said...

Noob, it is not. The knowledge of "I am" doesn't require a thought. To be doesn't require a thought, quite the opposite, a thought covers up being.

"I am" - therefore I think :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

A Frankenstein is a character in the novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818) by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein is a scientist who creates and brings to life a manlike monster which eventually turns on him and destroys him; Frankenstein is not the name of the monster itself, as is often assumed.

We are like this Frankenstein. We create this world and get caught up in our own creation. We become prisoners of our own imagination, because this world is nothing but our own imagination.

Michael writes in section 6 of this article:

Suppose we have an irrational fear or an obsessive desire. That fear or desire is just a thought and it is created only by us, but we have become so caught up in our own creation that we are carried away by it and seem to be unable to control it.

Very true!

Noob said...

Salazar, I never spoke about the knowledge "I am", which does not even require an attention.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 5

O Lord! having brought me (to you) by stealth (unknown to anyone), you have kept (me) till this day at your feet. O Lord! (in reply) to those who ask (me) what your (real) nature is, you have made (me remain) like a head-bent statue (because the nature of God cannot be expressed in words, being beyond the range of the mind, speech and body). O Lord! so that I may not be like a deer (caught) in a net, bring about the destruction of my wearisome suffering! O Arunachala, who are the Lord, who is (this) poor person (myself) to know what (your) will is?

Reflections: Yes, Bhagavan has brought us to himself by stealth, unknown to anyone – in fact, unknown to even ourself. Who knows when we were captured by Bhagavan and made his prisoner? The workings of grace are beyond our understanding.

However, though we have been captured by Bhagavan, we still do not know who the real Bhagavan is. In order to experience Bhagavan as he really is, we need to experience ourself as we really are.

We are suffering because we are in Bhagavan’s prison – who can be happy in any prison? However, Bhagavan’s prison also has a fair amount of enjoyment, and therefore though we are his prisoners and are suffering, we somehow do not want to leave this prison. So basically we have now become willing prisoners.

However, all our sufferings will end only when Bhagavan hangs us in his prison, because that is what we are here for. All sufferings are only for the ego, and these will end only when our ego is destroyed, and the ego can only be destroyed by keen and vigilant self-investigation.

Bhagavan has a plan in place. This plan will finally push us to our own destruction. Thus Bhagavan will be an active abettor in our ego’s suicide. As Bhagavan says in Nan Yar?, we are in the jaws of a tiger, and this tiger is Bhagavan. However, Bhagavan is a gentle and compassionate tiger. He will not kill us without our consent, and we can give our consent by our longing to be eaten by him.

Salazar said...

Noob, then what does it matter if attention is a mere thought or not? It is irrelevant.

kurnda matiyal said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"O Arunachala, who are the Lord, who is (this) poor person (myself) to know what (your) will is?"
Can we dull blockheads and drivellers ever understand your will, oh Arunachala ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Kurnda Matiyal, in one sense we cannot know Bhagavan’s (or Arunachala’s) will, because this is beyond our limited understanding. However, in other sense we know his ultimate will, which is to somehow destroy our ego.

Bhagavan wants us just to be, by not doing anything. However, as long as we experience ourself as this ego, we cannot but act in so many ways, and these very actions obstruct our liberation, as Bhagavan says in Upadesa Undiyar. So we need to align our will with Bhagavan’s ultimate will by remaining still.

kurnda matiyal said...

Sanjay Lohia,
is it not said that Arunachala or Bhagavan is actually in us as our real self ?
If that is true can we ever be lost ?

Salazar said...

"If that is true can we ever be lost?"

It appears we tell ourselves we are. And so we are lost! It is up to us to correct that misunderstanding. Mere affirmations though will have only a very minimal affect.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Kurnda Matiyal, Arunachala, which is Bhagavan in another form, has unambiguously revealed his ultimate will in the very first verse of Sri Arunachala Aksaramanamalai:

O Arunachala, you root out the ego of those who think 'Arunachalam' in the heart.

As Bhagavan often used to say, ‘Here everything is an open secret’. It means that he has not hidden his true teachings from anyone. He has openly broadcast it far and wide and proclaimed that his only aim is to destroy our egos.

Yes, Bhagavan can never be lost, but our egos can and will eventually be lost. We should have no doubts about this. Our egos are clearly living on borrowed times.

nikarvinai suralil said...

The ego makes us thinking "do not worry, you are already the self. There is nothing more to gain than living this flimsy inconsistent vacillating unsafe unreliable uncongenial listless restless sloppy uncontrollable shady immoral simulated inattentive inappropriate indecent remorseless unbalanced immature insincere ill-considered insubordinate dishonest unfathomable unrewarding inexplicable unpleasant unbearable incomprehensible involuntary unwelcome unrefined untrustworthy unrequited fateful unfavourable unnatural life of wild confusion."
I won't stand for it any longer ! To hell with it !

Anonymous said...

I got my laugh for the day...thanks

kurnda matiyal said...

Salazar,
yes, mere affirmations are not exactly a superweapon against misunderstanding.
We rather have to bring up the heavy artillery of atma-vichara.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 6

O supreme reality! Though I have always remained at (your) feet, I am (still like) a frog (remaining) at the stem of a lotus (that is, I am still unable to know your true greatness). If (instead) you make (me) as a flower-bee which drinks the excellent honey of the state of consciousness (the state of true knowledge or Jnana), there will be salvation (that is, I will attain salvation). O light of spreading red rays in the form of a hill! O space of grace (the space of self or atmakasa) more subtle (even) than the (physical) space! (If you let me remain like a frog and do not make me like a flower-bee, and) if (in this condition) I leave (my) life at your divine lotus-feet, it will be forever a standing column of blame for you.

Reflections: Yes, although we are trying to go close to Bhagavan, we are afraid to go too close to him, because if we try to do so we know we will be annihilated. In contrast, we should try to go as close as possible to him, because only such closeness will destroy us. Our only aim is our own destruction.

In this regard, we are like a moth. This moth goes round and round the flame, but is afraid to go to close to the flame. If it wants to die, it has to muster up enough courage to go near the flame. Likewise, if our ego wants to die it needs to go deeper and deeper and deeper within ourself. We need to reach our very bottom. There is no other way the ego can die.


kurnda matiyal said...

Is it within our own power or will to die as the ego ?
Is it within our own power to go deeper and deeper ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Kurnda Matiyal, yes, it is within our power to go deeper and deeper within ourself, and if we go deep enough we (the ego) will die. However what exactly do we mean when we say that we need to go deeper within ourself? This is a metaphorical way of saying that we should cling more and more tenaciously to ourself. As Bhagavan says in the 10th paragraph of Nan Yar?:

It is necessary to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness.

We have the freedom to cling to ourself with the all the power at our disposal, or we can use the same power instead to attend to the things of this world. The choice is ours.

manonigraha said...

Sanjay Lohia and all other readers,
Though I feel that necessity to go deeper and deeper within myself I neglect to do it regularly and tenaciously. I shrink from the effort because I had seldom the feeling of achievement or the experience of success. Although I seek to tune in my inner self particularly when I am in the open countryside or in a natural landscape I apparently give the constant practice of self-investigation (atma-vichara) a wide berth. There seems to be a jinx on me.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Shakespeare speaks through Macbeth:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts* and frets** his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

*Strut: Walk with a stiff, erect, and apparently arrogant or conceited gait.
** Fret: Be constantly or visibly anxious.

Reflections: Yes, this world is all sound and fury, signifying nothing. All deep thinking persons will come to this conclusion. Who is this ‘idiot’ who tells this tale? It is our ego, because this world is nothing but our ego’s creation. Since the ego signifies nothing, how can its projection signify anything?

As Shakespeare says, ‘Life’s but a walking shadow’. Yes, this world is like an inconsequential and ephemeral shadow – here one moment and gone the next moment. Why should we be so attached to this world? Yes, as Shakespeare indicates, we constantly strut and fret for no rhyme or reason, don't we? Aren't we extremely foolish? We certailly are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We certainly are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Manonigraha, you say, ‘There seems to be a jinx on me’. You should investigate the ‘me’ who seems to be having this jinx.

manonigraha said...

Sanjay Lohia,
yes, I will do so.

nikarvinai suralil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
as you say "Certainly we are"; that is the only existing certainty, at least in the present moment.
Because there is, was and will be only the present moment we as awareness (of that present moment) are for ages and for ever and ever. If I am not wrong...

ashamed.ego said...

O Bhagavan, grant me the strength to endure my prarabdha with equanimity.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan didn’t say, ‘I gave liberation to my mother’ or ‘I gave liberation to Lakshmi’. Bhagavan said his mother was liberated, or Lakshmi was liberated. He never claimed any doership.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 5th May, 2018 (afternoon)

Reflections: A jnani can have no doership, and if one has doesrship he or she cannot be a jnani. So, as Michael says, Bhagavan never claimed any doership for anything. Many seeming miracles used to happen in Bhagavan’s presence, and when people wanted to attribute these to Bhagavan, Bhagavan clearly denied his hand in such ‘miracles’. Referring to such incidents, he would often say it is all due to automatic divine action.

In short, there was no ‘I’ (the ego) in Bhagavan, and without this ‘I’ there can be no sense of doership. Only this ego attaches itself to a body and mind and thereby takes their actions to be its action. Since Bhagavan had no ‘I am this body’ idea, he didn’t have even an iota or doership or experiencership.

Bhagavan is pure immutable being so he cannot move in any way, and without some movement no action is possible.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sleep and food can be an impediment to our spiritual practice if we do not try to keep these in moderation. Bhagavad Gita (verses 6.16, 6.17) talks about the necessity of moderation in food, sleep and action:

Verily, yoga is not possible for him who eats too much, nor for him who does not eat at all, nor for him who sleeps too much, nor for him who is always awake, O Arjuna!

Yoga becomes the destroyer of pain for him who is moderate in eating and recreation, who is moderate in exertion in actions, who is moderate in sleep and in wakefulness.

So we should try and regulate our food, sleep and actions but not abstain from these all together, because if we try to do so it will hamper our spiritual progress. It is believed that Buddha practised extreme austerities at the beginning of his sadhana, but he soon realised his mistake and soon kept things in moderation. The following explains this in more detail (taken from the Internet):

Lord Buddha plunged into extreme austerities at the beginning of his spiritual practices. He gave up food entirely. He did too rigorous austerities. He suffered very much. His body became emaciated (very weak). He did not make much spiritual progress. Then he discontinued his severe austerities and adhered to the golden medium. He began to take food in moderation. He regulated his spiritual practices. Only then did he attain illumination. He always taught his disciples to stick to the middle path only. He learnt his lessons from experience.

In one of his recent videos, Michael talks about the relationship between manolaya (or sleep) and our spiritual practices. He says in his video dated 6th May, 2018 (morning):

Manolaya simply means the temporary subsidence of the mind. In manolaya we cannot make any spiritual progress, because spiritual progress is for the mind. In the absence of the mind, it’s like the train stopping at a station - we are not going anywhere. Only when the train starts moving that we are making progress.

In sleep, our vishaya-vasanas cannot be destroyed, and spiritual progress entails reduction or destruction of our vishaya-vasanas. So we should try to eat in moderation, because if we eat in excess we will also tend to sleep more, and no spiritual progress is possible in sleep. We should sleep just enough to rest our tired mind and body and get up as soon as we have had enough rest and continue with our self-investigation.


Sanjay Lohia said...

It’s [self-investigation] a straight and direct path, but it’s not a smooth sailing path, because we are extricating ourself from all these entanglements. So we keep getting sucked down… I mean dragged outwards by these thoughts. But we again turn back within.

Bhagavan says what does it matters however many thoughts appear. However many times our mind goes outwards, at any moment we can choose to turn our attention back to ourself. So the choice is ours.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 6th May 2018 (morning)

Reflections: If we are following Bhagavan’s path with all sincerity, we will have many sleepless nights, both literally and metaphorically. We will have many ups and downs. This is all part of the process. Whatever experiences may come and go, whatever problems may come and go, we are progressing if we are persevering.

Bhagavan used to say that whatever lies within has come out; otherwise, how can these be destroyed? That is, as we go on practising self-investigation, all our good and bad vasanas will be constantly rising to the surface of our mind. However, if we are steadfast in our practice, all these vasanas will start losing its strength, slowly but surely.

Ultimately the fort will come into our possession. Bhagavan explains this in the 11th paragraph of Nan Yar?:

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own actual self], that alone [will be] sufficient. So long as enemies are within the fort, they will continue coming out from it. If [one] continues cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] come into [one’s] possession.

What are these enemies within the fort? They are our vishaya-vasanas. These enemies need to be killed as they try coming out of the fort as our thoughts, and we can kill them only by our practice of self-attentiveness.

Salazar said...

Sanjay, thank you for the comment(s). "Whatever lies within has to come out".

So true. I am dealing now for many months with a huge amount of grief and sadness which is not triggered by any outward circumstances. I am surprised by the intensity of these emotions/thoughts.

nikarvinai suralil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"However many times our mind goes outwards, at any moment we can choose to turn our attention back to ourself. So the choice is ours."
Yes, the choice to turn our attention back to ourself is ours, but unfortunately it is not in our hands whether our attention is sufficiently focussed to reach ourself as we really are.

gargoyle said...

Salazar

For what’s worth, whether it helps or not, relevant or irrelevant I will open up and share this:

In late 2013 when Bhagavan came into my life I went through some trials and tribulations that became more than I could bare. The worst of these was becoming celibate and I found myself crying like a baby not knowing how I could possible take any more. I prayed to God for assistance and before I could finish the prayer help had arrived.

The problem did not go away, but I could now bear what a moment earlier was far more than I could bear. There were several other occasions where I found myself in similar situations and again with tears pouring down my face I prayed to God and the problem became bearable.

I’m not one to talk about myself as I prefer to be private. If I can help someone I will do my best. Earlier today while driving down the road I spotted a tortiose trying to cross the road. The odds of this tortiose making it across the road without being run over was very slim.

My wife was driving and I told her to turn around and go back so I could take the tortiose off the road but she did not want to but finally gave in. Happy story for the tortious is it came home with me and is now roaming somewhere in the woods around my house. I have rescued several snakes in the neighborhood that would have ended up dead as who wants a snake in the their yard? So neighbors now call me when they have a snake problem and I will gladly go and move the snake somewhere else.


Best Regards

Mouna said...

May the Force be with you Salazar...
A heart warm hug to ease whatever is”happening to” you my friend.

M

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, whatever lies within has to come out, and it comes out much sooner and with much greater force if we are practising self-investigation. Michael has explained the reason behind this.

Suppose there is a glass of water and at the bottom of this glass there is a thick layer of dirt. However, this dirt is quite dense and thus it has settled down at the bottom of the glass, and therefore the water is relatively quite clear. However, if we stir this water up, all the dirt which was only at the bottom will rise up and mix with the water. As a result, we will see dirty water instead of relatively clear water.

Likewise, our vishaya-vasanas lies buried deep within our mind. But when we go deep within, we stir up these vasanas, and so these rise to the surface. This rising of the vasanas can be beneficial if we do not get carried away by them, but instead refrain from acting on them. Of course, these urges can be most effectively weakened and destroyed by practising more and more self-attentiveness.

Therefore, when these vasanas rise, we get a golden opportunity to destroy them as soon as they arise. As we know, we can progress in the spiritual path to the extent our vishaya-vasanas are increasingly reduced and our sat-vasana is increasingly increased.

nikarvinai suralil said...

gargoyle,
your narrative was about a tortoise, not tortiose, not tortiuos...
Once I visited the so-called tortoise rock on the eastern slope of Arunachala where Sri Ramana had his second death-experience.

manonigraha said...

Salazar,
chin up, as someone who tries to lead a sincere life you certainly will bear all unkind fate much easier. Do not become disheartened; I subscribe to Mouna's comment to you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Devotee: God can do anything!

Michael: God can’t do anything, because God is just being. But God is all-powerful, because the greatest power is not the power of doing but the power of being. Bhagavan said shanti is the supreme shakti.

Sadhu On used to explain this: If you build a dam, by the stillness of its walls this dam is able to hold all the water in place. Which is the greater power, holding all that water or if the dam is not able to hold all that water and all the water is released? That release of water is due to the deficiency in the power of the dam.

So also by the deficiency in our power, we allow all this to be created. So creation is not a result of supreme power; it’s a result of the weakness of power. What creates the world is not this supreme power or God but only this ego, which is the power of maya.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 6th May 2018 (afternoon)

Reflections: I think, Bhagavan once implied that sadhakas shouldn’t speak much, because by unnecessary speaking their power is reduced. Sadhakas accumulate power by their spiritual practices, but we can let this power leak out by our unnecessary thoughts, words or actions.

The walls of our dam are still weak, and we need to reinforce its strength by more and more self-attentiveness. As Bhagavan would say, thinking is not our nature, and therefore our every thought is going against our nature and weakening this dam. Our path is silence and our goal is also silence – absolute silence.

Salazar said...

gargoyle, mouna, Sanjay Lohia, and manonigraha, thank you for your kind comments.

gargoyle, thank you for opening up, I can relate with each single word of your comment. And yes, I also never asked Bhagavan to take away the burden or even to ease it, just the strength to endure it. So far Bhagavan has granted me the strength and I can still laugh and be relaxed despite the underlying grief (and other challenges).

I am sure everybody who is coming to this blog has their own challenges, we are more alike than we possibly imagine, no matter which ethnicity we are from.

Mouna, you are a kind and compassionate person, may Bhagavan bless you with a speedy trip to stillness.

Sanjay, I believe Sadhu Om said that Bhagavan releases vasanas at a certain time and it can be a lot or just a little depending on the circumstances, however Bhagavan is timing that release perfectly. Of course without our effort Bhagavan cannot do much.

John C said...

Hi Salazar,
I hope these emotions / feelings that are appearing help you turn within and you experience yourself as you really are, eternal happiness. Easier said than done I know !!! We are all on the same boat, we are all brothers and sisters. How lucky we are Bhagavan has appeared for us, how blessed.
My thoughts are with you.
Take care friend :)
John.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Devotee: What is the purpose of the creation of this dream world?

Michael: Ultimately, all this has no purpose. But we are now dreaming to be a person in this dream, so we are in a bit of fix because we are now limited by so many things. So we want to get out of all this. Therefore we can say that the purpose of all this is to prompt us to get out of all this. The purpose of bondage is to seek liberation. From the perspective of bondage that seems correct.

But why should we have bondage in order to get liberated? So ultimately there is no purpose. But so long as we experience ourself as a person, we want to be happy. How to be happy? The cause of all misery is the appearance of this world, and of ourself as the perceiver of this world.

So in order to be happy, we have to return to our original state. We can say that the purpose of all this is to return to our original state. The purpose of the dream is to wake up again.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 6th May 2018

Reflections: Michael says, ultimately there is no purpose of this world. Shakespeare said it slightly differently – ‘this world is full of sound and fury signifying nothing’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We can say that the light and love that was shining through Bhagavan, the clarity of knowledge and wisdom that was shining through the name and form of Bhagavan, that is the reality. The person is not what Bhagavan really is.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 6th May 2018 (afternoon)

Reflections: The name and form of Bhagavan is a subtle maya concealing the reality, but even this maya is not fully successful in concealing the pure light shining through his name and form.

Sanjay Lohia said...

There is an earlier version of verse 16 of Ulladu Narpadu. This is included in Upadesa Tanipakkal as verse 13. What Bhagavan composed originally was:

Except we where is time. Because of not investigating ourself if we think we are a body, time will swallow or devour us.

In the later version, Bhagavan said ‘we will be ensnared [captured or entrapped] in time’. The significance of this is that our days are numbered in this world. Time or death will eventually swallow us. In Sanskrit, the word for time is kala, and kala is also used for Yama, the God of death. Eventually, Yama or death will swallow us – that is, if we are this body.

Then he again asks in the earlier version:

Are we the body? In the present, past and future we are always one. Therefore there is we, we who have swallowed time.

Implying, if we investigate what we really are then we will be the one who will swallow time. We will find that we alone exist.

Death is called kala, whereas Lord Shiva is called kala-kala - death to death. So if we want to conquer death, we have to become Lord Shiva, we have to become kala-kala.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 12th May 2018

Reflections: So there is a competition between death and us. Death and time want to swallow us (our body), but before it is able to do so we want to swallow death and time. In this competition, we are racing against time, because our days are numbered in this world. Let us see who wins.

Salazar said...

Hello John, it is good to hear from you again. What else do we have but to turn within? My whole habit patterns are in dissolution and the only way I can function is to take moment by moment without a thought of the impending future or any other thoughts.

I used to plan everything well ahead and it seemed to work and gave me a sense of security, until Bhagavan added (in my professional life) so many more "duties" that I had only one choice, to either quit (and apparently my karma is not in alignment with that) or to really give Bhagavan the planning and worries how to accomplish the immense workload and, strangely enough (for my ego), it has worked so far.

I do not work more than before but things get accomplished and do not ask me how. It is pretty mysterious. But since I do not think about it, nor try to figure things out anymore, it really doesn't matter.

I guess Bhagavan's promise he'd take care of our duties if we can surrender them to him is true after all.

In addition there are several medical issues which I can only approach in the same spirit to not get lost in needless worries. The attachment to the body is quite obvious, however the attitude that Bhagavan will take care of that too helps to be more dispassionate about what happens. As gargoyle mentioned, the problem does not go away, we just learn to live with it, and a problem is anyway just an imagination. Turned within there are no problems.

Kind regards and be well my friend.

S.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I was recently thinking that since Bhagavan ordains our prarabdha, he does act and therefore this world has to be considered as Bhagavan’s creation. When I tried to confirm this with Michael, he completely refuted this idea. He wrote to me in an email:

No, I do not think it is correct to say that Bhagavan is the creator in any sense. In his role as God, the ordainer of our prarabdha, Bhagavan appears and disappears along with the ego and the world, and the creator of all these three is only the ego, because they seem to exist only in the ego's view. But note that I qualify this statement by saying 'In his role as God, the ordainer of our prarabdha', because this is not what Bhagavan really is, but is just a role that he appears to play. What he really is is only atma-svarupa, which is the source from which these three appear and into which they disappear.

[…] remember what he explained in the fifteen paragraph of Nan Ar?, namely that God plays this role or fulfils this function without actually doing anything, because it all happens due to his mere presence.

Reflections: We cannot easily accept the fact that Bhagavan does not do anything but is just is. Though he doesn’t do anything, everything happens by the power of his presence. Bhagavan, in his true nature, is like the sun, as Bhagavan has himself explained in the 15th paragraph of Nan Yar:

[Things] happen due to nothing but the special nature of the presence of God, […] Nevertheless, he [God] is not saṁkalpa sahitar [one who is connected with or possesses any volition or intention]; even one karma does not adhere to him [that is, he is not bound or affected by any karma or action whatsoever]. That is like world-actions [the actions happening here on earth] not adhering to [or affecting] the sun, and [like] the qualities and defects of the other four elements [earth, water, air and fire] not adhering to the all-pervading space.

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

A man may play the role of a woman in a theatre performance, but he still remains a man. Likewise, Bhagavan may play the role of the ordainer of our prarabdha, but he still remains the immutable and actionless reality.

When we rise as this ego, we create this world and also create a Bhagavan in the role of Ishvara (the supreme ruling power). This world and Ishvara are as true as this ego which creates them. Since we seem to be acting in so many ways, we also imagine that Ishvara is acting in various ways. As one of his functions he seems to ordain our prarabdha.

However, this ego, world and Bhagavan as Ishvara are all part of the same fabric of our imagination. We give reality to all three of them as long as we take ourself to be a body. However, if we keenly look at ourself, we will find that this ego does not exist and has in fact never ever existed. Then we will also find that this world and Ishvara also do not exist and have in fact never ever existed.

What exists is only ourself, but what is our true nature? Bhagavan answers this in verse 28 of Upadesa Undiyar:

If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss].

This is our true nature and this is also Bhagavan's true nature.

nimitta karana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss]."
Obviously Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi did know what the nature of oneself is.
In order to know that, he seemingly recommended "keenly looking at ourself".
At first glance looking keenly inwardly at ourself cannot be difficult.
The real reason that it is (at least for most of us) evidently or actually very laborious to know our real nature is apparently our outwardly directed mind, isn't it ?
Because we cannot work miracles, staying power/stamina, perseverance/persistence is the magic formula.

Govindaraya R said...

The path of vichara is the most direct way of dealing with our vasanas. The natural flow of the mind is to go outwards, towards all these phenomena. So we have a choice: do we face towards these phenomena, or do we face towards ourself?

Of course, in the course of the day-to-day activities, a certain amount of attention needs to be on the outside world. But generally, in the midst of our external activities, we are thinking about so many things unconnected with those activities. Instead of wasting our thoughts on those things which are we can’t change, we should be trying to turn our attention towards ourself.

So every time we choose to turn our attention within even to the slightest degree, we are weakening our vishaya-vasanas, the outward going tendencies of our mind, and increasing our sat-vasana, the inclination just to be. So this is the direct path. This is the path of a dhira, the courageous one, who has the strength to turn within.

Edited extract from the video dated 12th May, 2018

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sorry, I had posted the previoius comment, which has by mistake appeared in the name of Govindaraya R.

sat-bodha-sukha said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"In his role as God, the ordainer of our prarabdha, Bhagavan appears and disappears along with the ego and the world, and the creator of all these three is only the ego, because they seem to exist only in the ego's view. But note that I qualify this statement by saying 'In his role as God, the ordainer of our prarabdha', because this is not what Bhagavan really is, but is just a role that he appears to play. What he really is is only atma-svarupa, which is the source from which these three appear and into which they disappear."

So we (finally) have to forget even Bhagavan along with Arunachala Hill and Siva himself. Oh no ! It can't be; that is the last straw !

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 7

If the (five) elements - space, air, fire, water, earth and (all) material objects, which manifest as the many living beings, are not other than you, the space of light (the space of consciousness or chitakasa), who else am I (but you)? O blemishless one! Since you shine without another in the heart as the space (of consciousness), who am I who come out as another (that is, who am I who rise as I am so-and so)? O Arunachala! placing (your) vast lotus-Feet on his head (on the head of this rising ‘I’, the ego), come out (and manifest yourself as the real ‘I’).

Reflection: Bhagavan says in the paragraph 7 of Nan Yar?:

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

If what Bhagavan says here is true, and we have no reason to disbelieve him, what exists is only atma-svarupa (or siva-svarupa). Therefore, all the five elements – namely, space, air, fire, water and earth - which constitute the world we see in front of us are also nothing but atma-svarupa. These elements and everything else appear and disappear within us, to use Bhagavan’s terms, ‘like the imaginary silver in a shell’.

Since our body is made up of these five elements, we are also one with atma-svarupa. In other words, this body made up of these elements has no real existence, because what exists is only ourself.

Our svarupa shines as one without another in our heart, but we experience ourself as this ‘I’ (the ego) which is limited to the extent of our body, and such limitation brings about many other forms of limitations. We now experience ourself limited in time and space, in knowledge and in happiness. Since our true nature is infinite and unbroken being, awareness and happiness, we are suffocated because of our self-imposed limitations, which come along with this ‘I am this body’ idea.

So we want to break free and regain our original infinite nature. To achieve this aim we need to keenly and repeatedly attend to ourself. This process will eventually culminate in the destruction of the ego, and once it goes all our limitations will go along with it – that is, we will regain our state of infinite happiness. This is Bhagavan's direct path to freedom.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sat-Bodha-Sukha, you say, ‘So we (finally) have to forget even Bhagavan along with Arunachala Hill and Siva himself’. Even if we want to, we cannot forget Bhagavan (or Arunachala), because he is none other than our svarupa. How to forget ourself? Why should we undertake an impossible task?

On the contrary, we need to forget everything else which seems to be superimposed on our svarupa, and if we are able to do so, what will remain is only Bhagavan or atma-svarupa.

John C said...

Hi Salazar,
I hear you. I agree Bhagavan is happy to take all our burdens if we can surrender them to him. It can be hard to have faith to give all our baggage to him and let him take care of our outwardly going life so we can just turn within. We think we have to take care of the body and our life and I'm personally guilty of this, I find it hard to surrender it all to him. I lack faith.

It appears you are surrendering more and more to him and leaving it in his hands which is very wise. I hope the challenges you mentioned regarding your work and health help you keep surrendering more and more.

I must try my best to emulate your faith and surrender more too. The only way to do this is turn within.

You said:

"the problem does not go away, we just learn to live with it, and a problem is anyway just an imagination. Turned within there are no problems."


Yes there is nothing else for us to do.

Take care and I wish you nothing but the best :)

John.

sat-bodha-sukha said...

Sanjay Lohia,
as you say above:"What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [our own essential self]. The world, soul and God are kalpanaigaḷ [imaginations, fabrications, mental creations or illusory superimpositions] in it, like [the imaginary] silver [seen] in a shell. These three appear simultaneously and disappear simultaneously."

Therefore all other than our real substance is unreal and only mind-made imagination (kalpanaigal).
Consequently Bhagavan, Arunachala and Siva are only our mind-born imaginations and as such they appear and disappear with the mind.

Mouna said...

A thought on the Nature of Attachment to the Good

It is very easy to feel relief about the end of our sufferings once the nightmare is over, but is much more difficult to feel that all the positive attachments we have one day will disappear also with the end of the dream. There is the underlying felt understanding that once this dream will end, either by death of the physical body or the extinction of the mind (manonasa), nothing of the present experience will remain, absolutely no trace. Even in theories of reincarnation as many traditions sustain, or simply extinction into nothingness as scientific materialism claims, the memories of the “past dream” will fade into the sea of perpetual oblivion. This is felt as a source of despair by the ego.

Today I entered my youngest teenager daughter’s room, she recently has been remodeling the decor of it. On the walls, I could see images of her future dreams, what she will be aspiring to, even a strong hint of a burgeoning spirituality. A few minutes later, my whole psyche reacted to the fact that all that “future”, all those efforts, dreams to attain and hopes to look forward to on her part, will be completely gone from my awareness in a not so distant future, forever. Terrifying thought for the persona called “me”.

The pains of the aging body, the suffering of many because of the world situation, the injustice and many of the flaws we suffer for the simple fact of being human, that produces no mark in our heart if that would be dissolved, but the thought of our dearest ones disappearing eternally, being family or friends, teachers or companions in the spiritual path is hard to process.

The nature of the ego attachment not only is revealed on what we want to avoid in this lifetime in order to be happy but also in what we want to keep, to enjoy, seemingly forever. That might be the reason why certain religions invented the notion of a paradise where beings will be reunited with their loved ones (as they experienced them while they were alive!) for all times to come. And also the reason of a hell where eternal damnation is a punishment to a life of sin.

But the final analysis is implacable, and terrifying, no more of the bad but also of the good. Attachment makes the error of placing happiness in what is not the actual nature of peace and happiness. And under that angle a ray of light starts to shine. All our loved ones are actually the mirage (or the reflection) of that inner substance that is timeless happiness and peace. According to our teachers realizing our substantial nature with the destruction of the illusory ego and its projected dream called life will certainly reveal the illusory nature of many of our beautiful and cherished moments, and they will be gone forever, but the trade-off is incommensurable even with our wildest expectations.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Mouna, I appreciate your last comment, and it will certainly find an echo in many of us. I share my reflections based on your comment:

Bhagavan once said that our holding on to our ego and all its attachments is like holding on to a one paisa coin (1/100 of an Indian rupee). We latch on to it because we believe that this is the only worthy thing we have. However, in exchange for this coin, Bhagavan is willing to give us the wealth of this entire world. That is, if we surrender this coin, Bhagavan is willing to give us the whole, the purna-vastu in return. But we do not want to exchange our one paisa with this infinite wealth. Aren’t we foolish?

Once someone asked Bhagavan something to the effect, ‘Bhagavan, I have a fear. If I go on practising self-enquiry, I might lose myself’. Bhagavan replied, ‘You will not lose yourself, rather you will find yourself’.

Yes, we do want to hold to our relationships and all the beautiful and cherished moments we have had with our loved ones, but this very attachment is preventing us from experiencing ourself as we really are. Once we experience our true nature, as you imply, all these relationships will fade into insignificance.

Why did Buddha abandon his family? He had a loving wife and a son if I am not wrong. However, he realised that old age, disease and death is inevitable to all, including all his loved ones. So he wanted a find a method to transcend all these things and wanted to share the method of doing so with all, which included his loved ones.

So self-investigation is not abandoning our family, but is a method of destroying our and this entire world’s unhappiness and miseries. How? It is because others and their problems exist only in our view. If our ego is destroyed, all the suffering of this world is wiped out in one stoke. Bhagavan has taught us all this explicitly and at places implicitly.

Bhagavan has taught us that there is only one ego, and this world is nothing but a dream of this one ego. So if we wake up from our dream, we will not only destroy all our nightmares but will also destroy the seeming suffering of all the other beings we experienced in our dream.

All this may seem too radical and difficult to believe. So we have to wait for the outcome of our self-investigation and see what happens thereafter. Till then let us keep our fingers crossed.



sat-bodha-sukha said...

Mouna,
greetings, I would ask you to bear in mind that all our ego's thoughts are plainly delusive and illusory misapprehension. Of course once we must all that - heaven and hell - leave behind. Because the sun is always shining brightly...so refuse yourself to think gloomy thoughts.

manonigraha said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"It is because others and their problems exist only in our view. If our ego is destroyed, all the suffering of this world is wiped out in one stoke. Bhagavan has taught us all this explicitly and at places implicitly."
"Bhagavan has taught us that there is only one ego, and this world is nothing but a dream of this one ego. So if we wake up from our dream, we will not only destroy all our nightmares but will also destroy the seeming suffering of all the other beings we experienced in our dream."
Let's first destroy the ego and then (we will) see what is true. I for myself do not adopt any ideas which are not actually congruent with my own experiences.

Mouna said...

Manonigraha, greetings

"Let's first destroy the ego and then (we will) see what is true. I for myself do not adopt any ideas which are not actually congruent with my own experiences.“

I couldn’t agree more with this thought.
Often time, we speak about these topics like if there were sure facts, based on one’s experience. If that was true, we wouldn’t speaking about them because according to Bhagavan there would be no one to speak about them!
One can only elaborate Bhagavan’s teachings according to one’s own verified experience. To give an example, the teaching says that deep sleep is our substance, where ego is not. That is easy to verify since we all know that in sleep there is only awareness and not objects. But of course, the problem at hand is that ego rises again, proof of that? we are all reading these lines at this moment.

It is true that confidence in the teachings of any teacher, being a spiritual one or an academic one (math, humanities, medicine, etc…) is a must to make progress, since we have to assume that he/she knows more than we do, otherwise we wouldn’t be his/her students. A former philosopher once declare that talking about something one doesn’t know as if one knows it is also lying, even if it’s true!!

manonigraha said...

Mouna,
greetings again,
for a devotee of Sri Ramana confidence in Bhagavan's teaching is quite necessary.
But as you say "One can only elaborate Bhagavan’s teachings according to one’s own verified experience."
Between you and me, to be honest I do not even really know from own experience that in deep sleep there is only awareness ...
But that does not mean anything because I am at best a beginner on the path.
J

Mouna said...

J,
”But that does not mean anything because I am at best a beginner on the path.”

Aren’t we all as long as ego rises?!...

Be well my friend

Salazar said...

Mouna, good buddy, you say "aren’t we all as long as ego rises?!"

Sounds great and it is very egalitarian, however do some [possibly all] not make still distinctions of those who are more "mature" or have a more "refined" ego? If we are sincere we realize (as the ego) that we just can't help it.

True, from the viewpoint of Jnana there are no differences, however as soon as an ego has risen - with it all distinctions have risen too, with that more "advanced" egos etc.

Seemingly there are less refined egos, i.e. murderers, con men, etc, and more refined egos like saints (not realized) and other spiritual figures. But that is as illusive as the ego itself, in fact it is the ego which makes this all up. It had Million of years to "practice" its various imaginations :)

How many people here see themselves truly equal with Michael's ego?


John C said...

Mouna thanks very much for your comment (24 May 2018 at 16:24)
I can relate to what you said.
Best wishes.

John :)

Mouna said...

Salazar, good friend, nice to hear from you.
Couple of points on your comment about my comment commenting another comment which was a comment on my original comment!!!

I do agree with what you say. My point is that as ego rises again and again it feels that we have to start over since there is actually ego, no matter how thin. At the same time it is true that with practice there is this phenomena of cleaning the mirror and reflections get better perceived, Vedanta call it citta-suddhi mind purification, or in Bhagavan terms, unlearning or getting rid of, the opposite of acquiring. Agreed it’s paradoxical because of the fictitious/unreal nature of ego, but within it (maya/ego) it seems to make sense that there is a sort of “evolution” of thinning the veil and that is the aim of a real sadhana as atma vichara.

Another small observation, that you might say is just semantics, but sometimes semantics reveal an inconspicuous confusion. You say: “How many people here see themselves truly equal with Michael's ego?” I don’t have the answer to that question, in fact I don’t understand it but it is a feature that many of us use in time, attributing an ego to the person. In my view this is erroneous thinking, Michael (or Salazar or Mouna) doesn’t have an ego, it’s mainly the other way round, ego has a Michael, a Salazar, a Mouna... all characters interweaved in a dreamily web of relationships without any substance. Again, one might say it is just semantics but perceptually everything changes if one starts to “feel” oneself (the person Mouna in my case) as one of the characters in this big play called Ego. It might clean the way to let the real substance become evident.

Hoping you well brother.
M

Sanjay Lohia said...

In response to a comment by Salazar, Mouna has replied:

Michael (or Salazar or Mouna) doesn’t have an ego, it’s mainly the other way round, ego has a Michael, a Salazar, a Mouna.

This is an important point: the ego creates a person and not the other way round. As soon as we rise an ego, we create a person (Salazar, Mouna, Sanjay or whoever), and through the five senses of this body, we project a world.

All these three – the rising of the ego, the creation of a person and the creation of a world - happen simultaneously, as far as the chronological order is concerned. However, as a chain of cause and effect, one precedes the other. That is, the ego is the cause of a person, and this person is, in turn, the cause of this world.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 8

Having destroyed (in me) the intelligence to know the way of making a living in the world, you have made (me) worthless. If you keep (me) thus (in this condition), it will not be happiness for anyone (for me, for you or for the world) but only misery. Death indeed is better than this (kind of) life. O supreme who have taken the form of Aruna Hill, which shines on earth as the medicine for the madness (of desire for the world)! Graciously bestow upon me who, (in spite of) being possessed by the madness (of love for you), am deprived of the fruit (of jnana), the rare medicine (of your grace) which will unite (me) with your feet (that is, which will make me one with your supreme state of self).

Reflection: Yes, from the worldly perspective, Bhagavan has made us good for nothing. Bhagavan wants us to get out of the rat race which is a part of this world, and therefore he is constantly reducing our worldly ambitions. He wants us to turn towards himself because he knows that there is no happiness in this world.

The more we practise self-investigation, the more our love for Bhagavan will increase; and the more this love increases, the more we will start losing our grip on this world. However, this is generally a slow process. It is a journey in which we are in a midway station. Though we have no intention of going back to our old lifestyle, we have not yet been consumed by Bhagavan. We are neither here nor there and such a state cannot be a happy state.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Are we responsible for our family?

At the face of it, it may look like a stupid question. Of course, if we are not responsible, who else is responsible for them? We have to take care of their needs; we have to be with them through thick and thin. Who can deny this? However, this is true only from the vyavahara (worldly) perspective? But while doing our manana we need to go deep into this topic. Why should we look at things only from the vyavahara stand-point?

Our parents, wife and children come into this world with their respective prarabdha, which is ordained by Bhagavan and is designed for their spiritual advancement. So who are we to take care of them? Bhagavan has been taking care of them from birth after birth. He knows what is best for them. How can we, with our myopic vision, know what is good for them? Moreover, if it is in our destiny to take care of our family, we will be made to do so.

Why should we be attached to our present family? We have had different families in our past lives, and they may be currently part of someone else’s family. So it is a complex web. How can we be responsible for all of our families? So we need to question the need for our excessive attachment to our present family. Yes, we should play a role of a husband, a father and so on, but should also remember that this is not what we really are.

Our family are like the characters is a play. We are currently acting as if we are a family, but this is, after all, a play. Shakespeare says in As You Like It:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.

So we have had many exists (deaths) and many entrances (births) in the past, and so have our other family members. Once this life is over it will be like the end of a play. We will move on – that is, we would change our costume (body) and become an actor in another play. Who knows, in some future birth, our present children may even become our new parents!

Since everything is after all a dream, we should try and treat it as such. It may all sound difficult. However, we do need a care-free attitude in order to practise self-investigation. Our excessive attachment to our family, property or whatever will make our self-investigation difficult. We need a certain degree of vairagya (non-attachment) to even commence our self-investigation.

My wife is currently concerned about our elder daughter’s marriage. Somehow we are not able to find a match for us. However, how is her marriage our responsibility? One, she is an adult, and she is after all her own responsibility. Two, Bhagavan knows what is best for her – he knows when, how and to whom her marriage will take place. It could be that marriage is not in her destiny. Who knows? So we have no option but to let things take their own course.



Salazar said...

Hello Mouna, I see you are stretching your advaita muscles again :)

I have no objections to your comment, and yes it is semantics and it feels for me that you replace one imagination with another one. But if that helps you somehow (to imagine being one of the characters in this big play called Ego) I have no quarrels with that.

I asked, “How many people here see themselves truly equal with Michael's ego?” and I was referring to your response that we are all beginners as long as ego rises. Since Michael’s ego rises too he must be also a beginner according to your statement.

Therefore my previous comment that realistically that is not true since the ego/mind thrives on differences and can’t help it to make distinctions. Therefore your response to manonigraha was a nice exclamation of solidarity but it is not entirely true. Not as long as an ego rises.

By the way, I personally don’t care to make that [imaginary] distinction that A, there is an ego and B, that ego creates a person. Bhagavan often did not make a distinction (between ego/mind/person) too and I fail to see how the conceptual knowledge would be of any help.

All adjuncts are an imagination, why making it complicated and define the various adjuncts which are imaginary anyway? But everybodies path is unique, even as a devotee of Bhagavan. To insist on a particular way would be foolish. We have our tools and that is more than enough.

Be well my friend.

Salazar said...

And yes, I am well aware of the fact that there is only one ego, all other objects including "persons" are projections of that one ego. So technically it doesn't make sense at all to acknowledge other "persons" and yet we do and rightfully so since we are still actors in this dream. We cannot jump [within the imaginations of the mind] from one viewpoint (absolute vs. ego/mind) to the other in our day to day dealings or even in conversations, rather we [should] go within.

Mouna said...

Salazar, brother,

I have a work obligation that will take "my whole time" during today and the weekend.
I'll respond to your comment after that. I have a few objections for Sanjay's last comment on families also (Hi Sanjay!).
This interlude time will allow me to stretch my non-dual muscles even further! Be prepared!!! :)





nikarvinai suralil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"All these three – the rising of the ego, the creation of a person and the creation of a world - happen simultaneously, as far as the chronological order is concerned. However, as a chain of cause and effect, one precedes the other. That is, the ego is the cause of a person, and this person is, in turn, the cause of this world. "

Unfortunately I cannot acknowledge that causal chain from own experience. I presume that you give an account of Bhagavan's teaching. I do not comprehend the importance of the differentiation between ego and person(s), because in the end we see many persons and not the suspected uniqueness of the (one) ego.

nimitta karana said...

Sanjay Lohia,
1. "Our parents, wife and children come into this world with their respective prarabdha, which is ordained by Bhagavan and is designed for their spiritual advancement. So who are we to take care of them? Bhagavan has been taking care of them from birth after birth. He knows what is best for them."

2. "Our family are like the characters in a play. We are currently acting as if we are a family, but this is, after all, a play."

ad 1.
a. Why do you call Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi as an ordainer ?
b. Is it not said that Ishvara is the ordainer of our fate ?
c. Can Bhagavan Ramana correctly be equated with Ishvara ?
d. May one consider Bhagavan really as a caretaker for us ?
e. Is it not said that Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi actually is Brahman itself ?
f. Bhagavan as omnipresent, almighty and omniscient Brahman as our innermost true nature must always be clearly distinguished from Bhagavan Maharishi projected and perceived as a person.

ad 2.
Even though Shakespeare may call our family life as (merely) a play we should be aware that we have to play our role in this play as well as possible.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Nimitta Karana,

a) There is only one reality and it is Bhagavan. Nothing exists apart from this reality. So he is our God, Guru and self. However, when we rise as the ego, we leave behind our natural state of pure self-awareness, and as a result experience ourself as a body and mind. This body and mind seem to act in various ways. All these actions are done by the ego and are only in the view of this ego.

Since we seem to act, Bhagavan also seems to ordain our prarabdha by the power of his mere presence. This prarabdha is the fruit of our actions done by us in our previous lives. So Bhagavan seems to be the ordainer as long as we seem to be this ego.

b) & c) Yes, Bhagavan assumes the role of Ishvara (the power that governs this world), when we assume that we the ego.

d) Yes, Bhagavan is the only real caretaker. However, in order to take care, he does not act in any way.

e) Yes, Bhagavan and brahman are interchangeable terms. They both mean the formless, infinite, unbroken being-consciousness-happiness. It is the adaara (base or foundation) of everything that appears and disappears.

f) Yes, real Bhagavan is what we actually are. It the light of pure wisdom. Whereas Bhagavan which had appeared in the name and form was a temporary manifestation of this pure light.

Yes, we have to play our role as this person as perfectly as possible, but without getting attached to this person or anything else. This may seem contradictory, but it need not actually be. I think, Vashista also said the same to Rama. He said something to the effect:

‘Rama, play your part in the world but do not lose your hold on yourself. Display the needed enthusiasm and other emotions required to do your worldly duties, but do not get attached to these duties’.

Bhagavan would say that action is not the bondage; the bondage in the actor (the ego). So he would say that the best action is where there is no actor. We should let our body and mind act as they are destined to act. But are we this body and mind? We are not, so we should try to isolate ourself from all its actions. This is what we aim to do when we practise self-investigation.




Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 9

O supreme! (I am) the supreme (foremost) among those who do not possess the supreme wisdom to cling to your feet without (having any other) attachment. Make my actions cease, (taking them) as your burden, (for) what will be a burden to you, who sustain (the whole universe)! O supreme! what I have gained by holding this world on my head (that is, by bearing the burden of samsara), having let go of you, is (now) enough (for me). O Arunachala, who are the supreme! do not think hereafter of keeping me away from your feet (or state).

Reflection: Yes, what have we gained from all our attachments and worldly responsibilities? We have just put an unnecessary burden on our head by all such responsibilities. When Bhagavan is taking care of everything, why should we be bothered about anything?

We have still not understood the simple fact that there is no real happiness apart Bhagavan’s two feet. We do not cling to these feet, which exists in the core of our heart, because we are still attached to the things of this world. This world is still an interesting place for us. As Michael once said, there is our morning newspaper; there is the evening TV time – so many things interest us. In the midst of all this, we forget the real task at hand, which is to know ‘what we really are?’

nama-rupa said...

Sanjay Lohia,
please spell "adhara" (not adaara).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Nama-Rupa, Thanks. Yes, it should have been adhara.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Interviewer: are you practising self-enquiry while you are talking to me?

Michael: Well, I wouldn’t say ‘I am practising’, but the mere talking about this subject is drawing our attention towards ‘I’.

Interviewer: True.

Extract from the video: 2013-08-10 Buddha at the Gas Pump interview with Michael James

Reflections: Yes, when we talk or listen or discuss or read about Bhagavan's teachings, these activities draw our attention towards ourself. So we should not underestimate such discussions. These are an invaluable support to our actual practice of self-investigation. Of course, without the actual practice, such talks or listening or discussion or reading is of no or very little use.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The spiritual path is basically a scientific investigation. We have got a hypothesis, and the hypothesis is that we are infinite happiness. Now we are testing that to find out whether it is true or not.

As long as we exist as a finite being, everyone is searching. Even an ant, when it picks a piece of sugar and it carries it, it is searching for happiness. Even a drunkard or a drug-addict, everyone is searching for happiness in one way or another. So we are all seekers; seeking is our very nature. Until we attain the infinite happiness that we really are, we cannot give up seeking.

Edited extract from the video: 2013-08-10 Buddha at the Gas Pump interview with Michael James

Reflection: Yes, we are all seekers. This should be obvious to us if we look around with a keen eye. Who is not seeking the ever elusive perfect happiness? Who is not looking for complete satisfaction, which seems just out of reach? We want a thing and we attain it, but it gives us only a momentary satisfaction, because we immediately have something else to look forward to, and therefore our mind is never at peace.

We, sadhakas, at times, give too much importance to ourselves. We may think that we know the goal of human life and are also working towards it. We may think that others are just wasting their lives. However, everyone is working towards the same goal, namely infinite happiness. Sadhakas may just give some this goal some fancy names – we may call it atma-jnana or self-realisation or whatever.

However, we are no different from anyone walking on the road, because everyone, knowingly or unknowing, is striving for the same thing – complete satisfaction. The difference is, since we have been told that happiness exists only within us, we may be trying to look in the right direction, which is within ourself.

nikarvinai suralil said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"...since we have been told that happiness exists only within us, we may be trying to look in the right direction, which is within ourself."

Because that infinite happiness of being seems to be hidden deep in the innermost depth of us we first must dig it out from a dense stratum of ignorance, blindness and deafness.
We have been told...we have been told...we have been told...
Let's hope that at least we should have been told the pure truth.

ezhuttu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you say "We, sadhakas, at times, give too much importance to ourselves."

On the contrary we give not enough importance to look keenly within.

midnight rambler said...

"Until we attain the infinite happiness that we really are, we cannot give up seeking."

Can a finite being really be aware of infinite happiness ?

It is scarcely conceivable.

Can an infinite being really be aware of infinite happiness ?

It is quite conceivable, even in the limited view of a finite being.

Therefore let us keep seeking it.

Oh Arunachala, do not even for a moment think of keeping us away from your feet.



Sanjay Lohia said...

In a battlefield every soldier will feel, ‘I am not going to die now – maybe tomorrow but not now’. No soldier, whatever great danger their life is in, thinks that he is going to die now. Frankly, most of us do not take death seriously. Most of us live our lives as if death is never going to come. Even when we are on our death beds, we still don’t take death seriously. We still feel ‘I am not going to die now; I have got a little more time’.

That is because we are deathless. So we never feel that we are going to die even when our life is in great danger. We feel we will survive.

Edited extract from 2014-02-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation

Reflections: Death is the greatest mystery. Even though we take ourself to be this body and our body will inevitably die, we live in this world as if we will never die. However, in some weak moments, we fear our death when there is no reason to fear. How can we, who are deathless, ever die?

Bhagavan says in the second mangalam verse of Ulladu Narpadu:

Pure-hearted people who have intense fear of death will take refuge at the feet of God, who is devoid of death and birth, as a fortress. By their refuge, they undergo death. Will those who are deathless be associated with the thought of death?

Therefore to conquer death we need to take refuge at the feet of God, who is devoid of death and birth. God resides in our heart as our innermost core, and therefore if we turn a full 180 degrees within, we will merge in the feet of God. This is the only method to die, but what will die is only our ego. And once this ego dies, we will never have any fear of death thereafter.

So our ego's death will make us deathless!



Sanjay Lohia said...

Did Bhagavan advise sense-control?

Not really, because Bhagavan was more concerned about mind control. He knew that mind control will control everything else, and this includes our senses. In some yogic practices, sense-control is given importance as a precursor to mind-control, but in Bhagavan’s path, sense-control is not that important.

However, Bhagavan was not against sense-control as he was not against anything. Bhagavan was wholeheartedly for the practice of self-investigation but was not really against anything. Obviously, at times sense-control can be beneficial. For example, when we sit for meditation, we may close our eyes or close our ears by an ear-plug. This is sense-control and it may help us. We may decide to watch less TV and so on. So sense-control has its place. Why should we take in unnecessary sensory data? Why should we create more and more vasanas for TV and such things?

However, if we are practising self-investigation, we will automatically reduce our unnecessary activities, and so sense-control is not that important. Bhagavan used to explain this by the following example. If we are sitting inside our room with our eyes closed, it will matter little to us whether this room’s window is open or closed, because in both the cases we will not be able to see what is outside this window. In this example, the person inside the room represents our mind, and the window represents our senses. This illustrates that if our mind is in-turned (closed like the window), it will matter little whether our senses are taking in sensory objects or not. In both cases, our mind is free from experiencing any sense-data.

Therefore Bhagavan never advised us to go to the Himalayas or sit in a cave in order to practise sense-control and mind-control. Sense-control is of very little use without mind-control, and we are able to control our mind, sense-control will be almost redundant.

Bhagavan advised us to practice mind-control wherever we are. He used to say that ultimately a London flat or a jingle hermitage should make no difference to us and that we can practice self-investigation with equal ease at both these places. What is required is earnestness, and for this, we need not look for peaceful surroundings. If we can create peace within, we will extend this peace into our external surroundings.

akshara said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"So our ego's death will make us deathless!"

So who or what will remain at the end of the life of a person or animal as the total deathless victor ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Akshara, the body’s (or the person’s) death means nothing, because as long as our ego is intact, it will create one body after another. What we should aim for is the ego’s death, and our ego will die only when it is investigated. As Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Ulladu Narpadu: ‘If the ego is investigated, it will take flight’. Once it takes flight, we will experience ourself as we actually are. This is the ‘deathless victor’.

ezhuttu said...

Sanjay Lohia,
'body' and 'person' are quite different terms.
When you say "What we should aim for is the ego’s death, and our ego will die only when it is investigated" you imply that it is the task of the many persons to investigate their creator , the unique ego.
Admittedly we are taught that we are that what actually remains when the (seeming) ego took flight for ever, so figuratively speaking the remaining substance/awareness corrected for the (seeming) ego.
Why assuming a superordinate concept of an "ego" which is "higher" than a person ?
For the present I cannot acknowledge an essential practical difference between (the terms) 'person' and the 'ego'.

akshara said...

Sanjay Lohia,
the differentiation of sense-control from mind-control seems to be unnecessary.
Are they not quite the same ?

ekanma said...

Michael,
section 1.
...
"In other words, we, the perceiver, create phenomena merely by perceiving them."

"Our perception of them is itself the formation or creation of them. In other words, dṛṣṭi is itself sṛṣṭi. There is no creation (sṛṣṭi) other than perception (dṛṣṭi), because there is no existence (sat) other than awareness (cit)."

"Whatever appears seems to exist only because it is perceived. In other words, whatever seems to exist seems to exist only in awareness, only to awareness, only by awareness and only because of awareness."

Regarding the statement "dṛṣṭi is itself sṛṣṭi" can one conclude that this correctly applies also for the reversal "sṛṣṭi is itself dṛṣṭi" ?


section 2.
...
"In other words, this awareness is the cause and the appearance of the world is its effect. Whenever this awareness appears, the world appears along with it and because of it, and whenever this awareness disappears, the world disappears along with and because of its disappearance."

section 3.
...
"Therefore in this paragraph Bhagavan emphasises very strongly and categorically that the mind or ego is what causes all other things (all thoughts or phenomena) to appear."

That all takes my breath away...
Am I ready to comprehend that and its consequences fully ?


ekanma said...

Michael,
section 4.
...
"From where else could our thoughts come if not from ourself? Thoughts or phenomena appear only in our perception and only because of our perception of them, so their source or origin is only ourself, this ego."

section 5.
...
"Therefore the ego is the cause and origin of all other causes and effects. This is why Bhagavan says that it is the first thought, and that all other thoughts (including chickens and eggs and all other chains of cause and effect) arise only after it has arisen."

Still I hold my breath...

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, you wrote on May 28, time stamp 14:41, “Bhagavan advised us to practice mind-control wherever we are.”

I do not concur, he did not. He of course suggested practicing atma-vichara wherever we are but that is not mind control - because the mind cannot be controlled (permanently). Atma-vichara is not a form of mind control that is an incorrect definition.


ekanma said...

Michael,
section 6.
...
"However if we patiently and persistently practise self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), our viṣaya-vāsanās (outward-going inclinations, urges or desires) will be gradually weakened, and our mind will thereby be purified. To the extent that it is purified it will be clear, and the clearer it becomes the less dense will be its delusion, so the extent to which we are able to keep a tight rein on our viṣaya-vāsanās, which are the seeds that give rise to thoughts, will increase correspondingly."

The same you told me also in answer to my question about my inability to come deeper in my attempts of self-investigation three weeks ago in London, Golders Green. Thank you again.

ekanma said...

Michael,
section 7.
...
"Since everything is perceived only by the ego, we do not have any adequate reason to suppose that anything exists independent of it or comes from anything other than it. This is why Bhagavan repeatedly emphasised that the ego (which is what he often referred to as ‘the thought called I’) is the first thought and the root of all other thoughts."

section 8.
...
"Since the ego seems to exist only so long as we are aware of anything other than ourself, it will dissolve and cease to exist only when we try to be so keenly self-attentive that we are aware of nothing other than ourself. And since all other things seem to exist only in the view of the ego, if we keenly investigate this ego in order to see what we actually are, not only will the ego cease to exist but everything else will cease to exist along with it.

This is why he concludes this verse by saying:
‘Therefore, know that investigating what this [the ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

This is the core and essence of his teachings, so it is essential for us to understand very clearly that the ego is the sole cause, creator, source, substance and foundation of all other things (all thoughts or phenomena). Everything originates from the ego and depends upon the ego for its seeming existence, so if we eradicate the ego we thereby eradicate everything."

Thank you , hopefully my mind will grasp soon fully the great consequence of the above "mahavakyas".


tad said...

Salazar,
atma-vichara brings about in effect quite well mind-control.

Salazar said...

tad, I do not concur. To connect or relate atma-vichara with mind-control is a misunderstanding. Atma-vichara does not control the mind, properly done it shows its non-existence. "Control" is an illusion.

Salazar said...

"Who" is controlling? There needs to be a controller that controls something. That is duality, in fact it is the mind which believes it controls itself. And of course that will never work.

In order to grasp Bhagavan correctly we have to let go of all dual notions and only vichara/surrender is doing that. So instead of entertaining subtle or not so subtle notions of control (what is samsara) vichara is required. With vichara no notions of "control" can come up and if they do then we have stopped looking inwards and have turned outwards.

tad said...

Salazar,
my understanding is as follows: before we can find the mind's non-existence it must be investigated by keen atma-vichara. By this means the mind becomes gradually purified and simultaneously our vishaya-vasanas get reined. So mind-purification is in this sense mind-control and cannot be bypassed.

tad said...

Salazar,
thus to a certain degree the mind has to control itself. Who else should do this effort ?

Salazar said...

Tad, the mind cannot control itself. What did Bhagavan say in that regard? That would be making the thief the policeman. As much as the mind cannot control itself it neither can kill itself. (Of course there is no "killing", you cannot kill what does not exist.)

It is a paradox, "I" turned within is the Self, the same "I" turned outwards is the ego/mind.

What transpires in the "process" of "gradually" turning within (with subsequent seeming purification) is as much an illusion like everything else. "Purification" is a concept to satisfy the mind, it is samsara as much as sex.

But I am afraid that this is not really what you want to hear. So then keep controlling your mind. It certainly will satisfy your ego :)

tad said...

Salazar,
of course you are free to not giving a damn about mind-purification and be immediately the self:)
You are right, why fiddle about with the samsaric concept of mind-purification in a possibly long-winded way instead of making straight for your goal ?
Be well.

Salazar said...

tad, reading your response it seems you are misunderstanding me.

Again, purification can be a helpful concept, but if the mind clings at this concept with the notion it will be "long-winded" then this concepts has become a trap and has back-fired. Your response is a classical "ego-response": I said that purification is samsara (what it truly is) and your ego, not grasping the full implication, jumps to the extreme and exclaims "Salazar doesn't give a damn and he can be immediately Self".

All concepts incl. "purification" are pointers. They are not the truth. That has to be grasped in its full implication.

The longer I read the comments on this blog the more I realize that there are really different level of understandings. I myself had quite a few adjustments of understanding over the last 35 years. But even that is samsara.

I guess we can agree that the only solution is vichara/surrender. Just for Pete's sake don't entertain the idea it will be a long time. That is a trap according to Bhagavan.

Don't be well, suffer immensely :)

tad said...

Salazar,
indeed we can agree that the only solution is vichara/surrender.
After been trapped in samsara one at worst can keep a way out open:)
By the way, a non-grasper must always suffer:) Why worry about "really different levels of understandings" or at worst be at each other's throats ?

Salazar said...

There seems to be worry about different level of understanding for the same reason as there seems to be worry about anything else. Why worry about purification and control? :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, in one of my recent comments I wrote, ‘Did Bhagavan advise sense-control? Not really, because Bhagavan was more concerned about mind control. He knew that mind control will control everything else, and this includes our senses’. In response, you wrote, ‘He [Bhagavan] of course suggested practicing atma-vichara wherever we are but that is not mind control - because the mind cannot be controlled (permanently). Atma-vichara is not a form of mind control that is an incorrect definition’.

I have to disagree with you, I am afraid. Bhagavan says in the 16th paragraph of Nan Yar:

Since in every [spiritual] text it is said that for attaining mukti [liberation] it is necessary to make the mind subside, after knowing that manō-nigraha [restraint, subjugation or destruction of the mind] is the ultimate intention [or purpose] of [such] texts, there is no benefit [to be gained] by studying texts without limit.

Bhagavan asks us to practise mano-nigraha, which means restraint or subjugation or destruction of the mind. So ‘control’ indeed is one of the meanings of mano-nigraha. However, what we need to control or restraint is the thinking element of the mind. It is very little use controlling the thoughts, whereas if we control the thinker, the thoughts will be automatically controlled. As Tad wrote, the best way to control the mind is by practising self-investigation.

Regarding the analogy of a thief acting as a policeman used by Bhagavan, he said this to illustrate that any sadhana other than atma-vichara cannot adequately restrain and destroy the mind. All other sadhanas presuppose the retention of the mind (which itself is the thief) to carry out those sadhanas, and therefore the mind cannot be destroyed by those practices. However, in atma-vichara we investigate the mind or ego itself and thus sees through it. That is, we directly come to know that there is no such thing as the mind. Bhagavan calls it the direct path for all.

tad said...

Salazar,
because the life in the body is short...:)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 10

I have seen a wonder, (this) magnetic hill which forcibly attracts the soul! Having suppressed the mischievous (mental) activities of the soul who has thought of it (even) once, having drawn (that soul) to face towards itself, the one, and having made it motionless (achala) like Itself, it feeds upon that sweet (pure and ripened) soul. What (a wonder) this is! O souls! Be saved by thinking of this great Arunagiri, the destroyer of the soul (the ego) who shines in the heart!

Reflection: We will be saved only when we are destroyed; isn’t it a unique way to be saved? Bhagavan, the great destroyer, is itching to destroy us as soon as possible. Therefore we should go near him at our own peril.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ari Arunachala Padigam - verse 11

Oh! how many are those who like me have been destroyed by thinking this hill to be the supreme! O people who are wandering about thinking of a means to give up the body, having given up the desire for this (worldly) life due to (its) increasing misery, there is on earth one rare medicine which, when (merely) thought of once in the mind, will kill (the ego) without killing (the body)! Know that it is indeed Aruna hill!

Reflections: Bhagavan will kill us without killing: that is, he will eat our ego without touching our body. He does this because he wants to appear like a gentle and loving guru. He wants to show to the world as if he is innocent and can cause no harm to anyone. When people will blame him for making us useless, in his defence, he will point towards our body and say, ‘See, he is as he was before, so how can you say that he has been destroyed?’ But as I said before, he is the great destroyer. His gentleness is just a deceptive façade, which we should see through and stay away from him.

He will make us like an empty coconut shell. He will eat the edible portion of this coconut, and then quietly join the two halves of the shell together to give it an appearance of any other coconut (which is still intact). This edible portion is our ego, and empty shell is our body. This body may continue to live in the view of others, but it will have nothing inside. So beware of Bhagavan!

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sorry, there was a typo in my previous comment. Its correct heading should have been: Sri Arunachala Padigam - verse 11.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, you incorrectly interpreting Nan Yar, there is no control and Bhagavan does not want us to control the mind.

You fail to grasp that atma-vichara is NOT mind control and I can see that some may get that idea, however it is false and misleading.

So I have to remain disagreed with that particular interpretation of your mind.

Salazar said...

tad, again you don't get my point. Your logic is inconsistent and you apply different standards to congruent concepts.

Another wasted dialog. Like most dialogs on this blog.

tannattam said...

Indeed you great Arunagiri attracted me too by shining in my (the) heart. But you are dilatory in making me motionless like you and in feeding upon my ego. Obviously I am not to your taste. Perhaps I am not sweet, pure and ripened enough but merely pigswill.
Certainly I did not think intens(iv)ely enough of you. So my sins of omission towards you cannot be regarded as your tardiness. So I have a lot of catching up to do. Might you please bear with me a little while longer.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, according to an online dictionary, nigraha does mean restraint or control or coercion. I have created a hyperlink for this. Please check:

nigraha

tad said...

Salazar,
in order to reach the safety of the shore of the raging torrent of the wasted dialog and to protect me from getting sucked into the whirlpool of fruitlessness of our exchange of ideas please tell me
1. from which comment you divert that my logic is inconsistent and
2. in which comment I applied different standards to congruent concepts.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, thank you for that link. Obviously I do not understand Tamil and I understand that one word can has many meanings depending on the context.

So that said I can live (in that context) with restraint or coercion but not control. Of course that is all on a mind level and with that ambiguous at best.

In English "control" means that you have the unrestricted power to direct and use that object. It always implies duality, a controller who controls an object. Even if we assume that the mind could control but that 'control' can not be real control but just some partial imagined control and that is, properly reflected on, absolutely preposterous.

The mind cannot control itself - it is impossible! That is a fundamental concept and it is imperative to grasp Bhagavan's atma-vichara which is free or devoid of a subject-object relation.

Again, vichara is not controlling anything! Extremely important to grasp that. Otherwise one will remain in the darkness of ignorance.

at cockcrow said...

Salazar, I quote:
"The mind cannot control itself - it is impossible! That is a fundamental concept and it is imperative to grasp Bhagavan's atma-vichara which is free or devoid of a subject-object relation."
"Again, vichara is not controlling anything! Extremely important to grasp that. Otherwise one will remain in the darkness of ignorance."

How can you be so sure that you understand Bhagavan's teaching properly ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Salazar, Bhagavan’s path will reveal itself and become clear to the extent we read, reflect upon and above all practise self-investigation. We obviously can proceed only with the light available with us. That is, whatever our current level of understanding is, the important thing is to put this understanding into practice.

So it matters little whether your understanding is correct or my understanding is correct, because understanding is based on mental ideas, and we have to go beyond mental ideas. What matters is direct experience - atma-anubhava (experience of what we really are). We will have to ultimately discard everything else.

Salazar said...

Sanjay Lohia, I wholeheartedly can agree with your last comment.

Salazar said...

cockcrow, it is imperative to grasp the implication of a subject-object relationship and why that must obstruct Self-realization. That is why all other sadhanas but vichara/surrender cannot yield moksha. They are all based on a subject-object relationship as is any notion of "control".

The above is a fundamental principle of Bhagavan's teaching, seemingly often overlooked by seekers.

Regarding the jiva "Salazar" and how he can be sure or not: That is absolutely unimportant and therefore quit your obsession about other jivas and do vichara instead.

If you cannot or do not want to grasp the above then stick with what you like to believe.

we said...

Michael,
section 1.
‘What is called the world is only thought’.

What then is a thought ?

section 2.
'The awareness in which and to which phenomena appear is not real awareness but only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa)'

How can there be a 'semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa)' - apparently in cosy/familiar and simultan coexistence together with real awareness ?
Is it not said that there is only one undivided and unlimited awareness ?




at cockcrow said...

Salazar,
yes, yes, doing vichara instead...
What dares the today's youth ...said the cockerel to his hen.

Salazar said...

tad, I am not sure how to respond to your last comment, more words could create confusion instead of clarity. It is not easy to translate my intuitive perception of your comments into words.

It seems we are not aligned that way and from my experience more words won't improve things.

So let's just agree that we disagree (with a number of concepts) and move on from here.

we said...

Michael,
section 1.
"Phenomena seem to exist only because we perceive them, so our perception of them alone creates their seeming existence. In other words, we, the perceiver, create phenomena merely by perceiving them."

At present I can relive that statement only by considering my experience in dream.

I as the dreaming person and that dream world appear only in my awareness in which I perceive it, so they would not exist at all if I was not aware of it.

That according to Bhagavan any state in which we are aware of phenomena is just a dream, and therefore the world we now perceive (our so-called waking world) would be also just a dream world, I cannot acknowledge from own experience.
However, I do easily understand that thoughts exist not independent of our perception of them but that they seem to exist only because we perceive them.
But I don't and can't assert that they are created only by our perceiving them.

Therefore I find Bhagavan's assertion that the world is nothing but thoughts for the present impossible to comprehend.

"Thinking is a process of forming thoughts and perceiving them, but the formation (creation) of thoughts and the perception of them are not two processes or even two parts of one process, but are one and the same process, because thoughts are formed in our awareness, so they are formed by our being aware of them. Our perception of them is itself the formation or creation of them. In other words, dṛṣṭi is itself sṛṣṭi. There is no creation (sṛṣṭi) other than perception (dṛṣṭi), because there is no existence (sat) other than awareness (cit)."

I do only grasp that thoughts are formed in our awareness. But I would not directly conclude from that fact that they are formed by our being aware of them. So therefore for the time being I cannot comprehend the statements
1. that there is no creation (sṛṣṭi) other than perception (dṛṣṭi)and
2. that what actually exists is only awareness, so whatever seems to exist seems to exist only because of awareness.
3. "Creation is not real but just an illusory appearance, ..."

More easily I understand:
"Therefore it is only by awareness that anything is created. Without awareness there could be no creation."
"Appearance requires perception or awareness of it, because if it were not perceived, to whom or to what could it appear?"
"Whatever appears seems to exist only because it is perceived. In other words, whatever seems to exist seems to exist only in awareness, only to awareness, only by awareness and only because of awareness."

tad said...

Salazar,
thank you for your last reply. Good idea, let us move on from here and let there be peace.

Salazar said...

"Let there be peace", I couldn't agree more.

Farewell my friend.

tad said...

Farewell Salazar, my friend !

Sanjay Lohia said...

My following reflections are based on Michael’s ideas, particularly what he said in his video dated 8th February, 2014:

Our mind subsides partially when our any particular desire is satisfied, and due to such partial subsidence the thoughts to some extent are less, and so we experience peace. If our mind subsides completely, it will not rise again.

This is exactly what happens when we meditate. Since when we meditate our thoughts become, we experience peace. So thoughts are what clouds over our innate peace, and therefore these thoughts need to go along with its thinker, the ego, in order for us to experience absolute peace. However, in meditation our aim is not to be free of thoughts; our aim is to be aware of what we actually are.

Our aim is not to push away or control or replace one particular type of thought with another type of thought, because by these very efforts we would be attending to our thoughts and thereby feeding them. We need to ignore all our thoughts, and we can ignore them by attending to what is not a thought, and that is ourself. That is the only way to be completely free of thoughts, including the root of all thoughts, which is the thought called ‘I’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai - verse 1

Though (Lord Siva is) truly achalan (the motionless one), in that assembly, (at Chidambaram) he dances in front of the mother, (Sakti Devi), who is achalai (the consort of achalan), (in order to bring her dance to an end). (But) know that when that sakti subsides in his motionless form (here in Tiruvannamalai), he shines exalted as Arunachala.

Reflections: Sri Sadhu Om says, ‘The word achalan means the motionless one and is a name of Lord Siva which is used to denote the fact that he is the immutable, supreme reality. The word achalai means the consort of achalan and is a name of sakti, the divine mother’.

This achalan, which is Bhagavan, makes us dance to his tunes by his mere presence. He is like a puppet-master and we are like the puppets. As the puppets have to move as per the wishes of the puppet-master, we have to move and act according to Bhagavan’s will.

However, now we are too tired because of our unending actions which we do by our mind, speech and body. Therefore we now long to stop this frenzied dance, our unceasing activities, and want to become motionless like achalan (Bhagavan). We have had enough of this world; we now want to get back to our real home.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai - verse 2

On considering (the import of the name) Arunachala, which bestows liberation (mukti) when (merely) thought of and which is lustrous (like) red gold, (it is revealed that) the meaning of (the three syllables) ‘A-ru-na’ is not only existence-consciousness-bliss (satya-chit-sukha) but also that (great vedic revelation) ‘that thou art’ (tat-tvam-asi), which denotes the oneness of the supreme and the soul (parajiva aikya), and that the meaning of achala is ghana (firmness, fullness, abundance or greatness).

Note: ‘Therefore the name Arunachala is the mantra which Sri Bhagavan has openly given to the whole world, so if any of his devotees wish to have a mantra they can confidently regard this name to be the mantra given to them by him’, says Sri Sadhu Om.

Bhagavan has given us one more extremely potent and useful matra, and this is repletion of ‘I, I, I’. Bhagavan teaches us this in the paragraph 5 of Nan Yar:

Even if [one] remains thinking ‘I, I’, it will take and leave [one] in that place.

I believe, the repetition of this mantra is particularly beneficial when the thought force is much more than we can handle, and therefore self-investigation is relatively difficult. However as soon as our mind becomes relatively calm, we should get back to self-investigation without the aid of this or any other mantra.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Karma is action, and the root of all actions is the attention we pay to things other than ourself. The actions of the mind are the attention paid to other things, and those lead to the actions of speech and body.

So when we attend to ‘I’, we are withdrawing our attention from activity, at least for that time. Bhagavan says in verse 4 of Atma-Vidya-Kirtanam: ‘If we just be, having settled down without the least action of body, speech or mind - that is the state of self-awareness or self-attentiveness’. It is a state which is devoid of activity or karma. Everything else is a karma.

If you do puja, japa or dhyana, if you meditate on anything other than ‘I’, that is a karma. But to meditate only on ‘I’, that is a state of inactivity, a state of stillness. That is what is meant by the term summa-iru, just be.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 10th May 2014

Reflections: As Michael says, all karmas are begun by the mind, by the attention it pays to things other than itself. The karmas of mind lead to the karmas of body and speech. Karma in this context means both, agamya and prarabdha.

Prarabdha is the fruit of our actions done by our will in our previous lives, but in order to experience such fruit, our mind, speech and body have to engage in some action. So we will be made to do such actions, even though our will is not involved in it. These actions are dictated by our destiny. However, we will still feel that these actions are our actions, because of our identification with our body, speech and mind.

We use the same mind to start all our agamya-karmas - that is, to start the actions done by our will. These actions are also done by the same body, speech and mind, but these are done by our will, and therefore we will have to experience the fruit (god, bad or neutral) of these actions in our future lives. These fruits are stored in sanchita, and God picks and chooses from this sanchita our present destiny.

So if we want to keep a check on all our actions, we need to keep a check on our mind, because the mind is the root of all actions. We have to cut at this root, because, as Bhagavan says in Upadesa Undiyar, actions cause us to do more and more such actions, and thus obstructs our liberation. Therefore we need to cut at the mind, and we can do it most effectively by self-investigation.

The more we practise self-investigation, the more our actions will start reducing, and ultimately they will all stop. When this happens, we will have reached our destination.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai - verse 3

Those (mature souls) who with a mind which always seeks the clarity (of true knowledge or jnana), having given up the liking for the mental delusion of being attached to wealth, country, relatives, caste and so on are longing for the divine grace of the red lotus-feet of the supreme Lord, the embodiment of grace, who abides in Arunachala, will drown in the ocean of bliss, having for ever attained (his) grace, which is like the rays of the rising sun, (their) ignorance having been destroyed in (this very) world (that is, in this very life time).

Reflections: We are still attached to wealth, to our relatives and so on, because we feel that we can get happiness from these things. However, according to Bhagavan, this can never happen because there is no happiness outside ourself. We want to love this world and also except love from this world, but this is like asking for the moon. Such intentions and expectations are bound to fail.

If we want to receive love, we need to turn to Bhagavan because only he is love. Bhagavan is waiting to drown us in pure love and unlimited happiness, but we foolishly ignore his call. We run after this world where there is only misery – disease, bereavement, poverty, wars and so on. Therefore we should not expect any love from this world, but turn within and find real love there.

Bhagavan can give us liberation here and now, but do we want it? No, we seem to be saying to him, ‘Bhagavan, I want to be liberated, but give me some time. I have this and this to complete, and you know only I can do this’. Bhagavan says, ‘OK, come back after you are done with your work. I am waiting here’. And his wait continues...

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai - verse 4

O Annamalai (Arunachala)! Do not think of letting me pine away looking upwards (in despair) like one who has not thought of you. It is not proper (for you to allow me) to perish as earth by thinking the impure body, which is (composed of) earth, to be ‘I’. O beloved, (who are dear) to my two eyes! Without playing any trick (upon me), look (at me) with (your) eyes, which are full of cool (refreshing) compassion. O Lord, whose form is the light (of consciousness), which transcends the forms of female, male and neuter! (Graciously) abide (and shine forth) in my heart (as the all-transcending consciousness ‘I-I’).

Reflections: Yes, we take this impure body which is composed of the earth to be ourself. Why impure? It is because if by chance we are able to open up our body and look inside, we will be appalled by what we will see inside. We will see how filthy and dirty our body is. We eat fresh food and convert it into filth, and then keep this filth inside us until we are able to throw it out. Aren't we like a garbage bin? I think we are. As we throw the garbage out of our house, we need to likewise throw this body out of our consciousness.

Bhagavan sings, ‘O Lord, whose form is the light (of consciousness), which transcends the forms of female, male and neuter!’ Yes, the real Bhagavan should be called 'it' and not 'he'. That is, Bhagavan has no gender. When we address him as ‘he’, we are taking him to be the name and form that Bhagavan seemed to be.

Although that name and form had a gender (male), but Bhagavan is not that name and form. He is the nameless and formless adhara (the substratum or container) of everything. Things appear and disappear in it, but it is not a thing. It is the infinite and immutable pure awareness, other than which nothing actually exists.


Anonymous said...

need recommendation for purchasing Bhagavan Gita book

my primary concern is accurate and easily understood commentary

I have been reading this online with commentary by Swami Mukundananda and I liked the commentary for the most part but wondered if there may be something better for a beginner.

thanks for any assistance

Anonymous said...

sorry: should have read Bhagavad Gita, a natural mistake as I'm hooked on Bhagavan

Anonymous said...

sorry again: first comment should have read Bhagavad Gita
can't get Bhagavan off my mind

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai - verse 5

O Lord, who is the form of consciousness (chit-swarupa) and who shines gloriously as the great sonagiri (Arunachala)! Forgiving all the great wrongs of this insignificant person (myself) and protecting (me) in such a way that I do not fall again into this void (of worldly delusion or ignorance), bestow (upon me) the glance of (your) cloud-like (ever-showering) grace. If (you do) not (do so), I will be unable to reach the shore (or to be freed) from the cruel (ocean of) birth (and death). Tell (me), is there anything equal to the unequalled good which a mother does to (her) child?

Reflections: Bhagavan forgives all our sins because he does not see our sins as sins. His love is ‘blind’. He sees us only as himself, and therefore he sees no egos, no persons, no sins or good-deeds and so on. Bhagavan's very nature is love.

Bhagavan says in the paragraph 5 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].

So we can redeem all our sins by our steadfast self-attentiveness. Our one pointed self-attentiveness will remove all our defects and these defects are our vishaya-vasanas. Once these defects are gone, we will be reformed or transformed into our true ‘form’ of thought-free self-conscious being.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai - verse 6

O Arunachaleswara! you are always praised by (your) devotees as kamari (the destroyer of kama or lust). Yes, yes, (this is) true. (yet) I doubt, is this (name) befitting you? If it is befitting, how can anangan (the bodiless one, kama), though (he is) indeed a brave and valiant person, enter a mind which takes refuge in the fort of the feet of you, who is kamari.

Reflections: Yes, Bhagavan is kamari - the destroyer of all kama or lust. However, as long as we experience ourself as this ego, we cannot give up our sexual inclinations. However, the more our ego starts dissolving, the more our sexual tendencies will also start dissolving and once our ego is annihilated, all our sexual desires will vanish forever.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sri Arunachala Navamanimalai - verse 7

O Annamalai! The very moment you took me as your own, you took possession of (my) soul and body. (Therefore) is there (now) any shortcoming (defect, want or grievance) for me? (Since my shortcomings and virtues cannot exist apart from you) I will not think of them, (my) shortcomings and virtues but only of you. O my life (my real self), whatever be (your) will, do that (alone). O beloved, bestow (upon me) only ever-increasing love for your two feet.

Reflections: We will have unending defects, wants and grievances if we exist apart from Bhagavan, but all these will vanish in an instant if and when we merge in Bhagavan. However, Bhagavan implies here that even if we seem to have these defects and wants, we should not look at them, but should instead investigate the one who has these defects and wants. This is sure of giving up all our defects.

Bhagavan sings, ‘O my life, whatever be your will, do that alone. O beloved, bestow upon me only ever-increasing love for your two feet’. Yes, we should not bother about out outward life. Bhagavan is taking perfect care of it. Our only responsibility is to attend to him, to love him more and more. Only such love with save us; only such love will make us transcend all our defects, wants and grievances.

midnight rambler said...

Sanjay Lohia,
again, "except" is not the same as "expect" - as you wanted to write.

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