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.

98 comments:

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.