Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Must we purify our mind by other means before we can practise ātma-vicāra?

This article is adapted from a series of messages that I exchanged with a friend via WhatsApp.
  1. The only real yātrā (pilgrimage) is the inward one that Bhagavan has shown us
  2. If we have even the slightest inclination to practise ātma-vicāra, we have already gained sufficient citta-śuddhi by other means
  3. To follow this path we must be willing to surrender ourself along with all our cares and anxieties, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears
1. The only real yātrā (pilgrimage) is the inward one that Bhagavan has shown us

My friend had written about a friend of hers who had just returned from a journey to Kedarnath (a temple high in the Himalayas), where she had meditated and met babajis (holy men), and who was excitedly planning a more arduous journey to Kailash and Manasarovar, where she wanted to stay for month living like an ascetic. She said her friend wanted her to accompany her, but that she felt no inclination to undertake such a journey. However, when she compared her simple journey of self-investigation with such arduous undertakings she felt bad, and asked herself whether the spiritual path can really be as simple and smooth as Bhagavan’s path seems to be. In reply to this I wrote:

Outward yātrās [pilgrimages or spiritual journeys] are good at a certain stage of our spiritual development, but sooner or later we need to leave all outward endeavours. Ultimately the only real yātrā is the inward one that Bhagavan has shown us, namely the simple path of self-investigation and self-surrender.

If others are enthusiastic about outward yātrās, we should not discourage them, because perhaps that is what is most appropriate for them now, but we need not follow them, because we have our own yātrā to attend to. Our inward yātrā may not be as glamorous as some outward yātrās, but it is much more fruitful.

Before coming to Bhagavan I had walked to Amarnath, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and other such places, and because I was young and new to India that was all an interesting experience, but if at all I got any enduring benefit from visiting such places it was that my travels eventually brought me to Tiruvannamalai to learn about Bhagavan and his teachings.

2. If we have even the slightest inclination to practise ātma-vicāra, we have already gained sufficient citta-śuddhi by other means

In reply to this my friend wrote: ‘Yes! I do realise that the ultimate yatra is the inner yatra of self-investigation leading to self-realisation. However isn’t Bhakti/Yoga a precursor to doing self-enquiry? Isn’t it necessary to PURIFY THE MIND before we take to Atma-Vichara? In fact Bhagavan had himself mentioned this in the Ramana Gita’. She then attached a photo of verses 8 to 10 of chapter 7 of Śrī Ramaṇa Gītā and asked me to explain the reply that Bhagavan gave there.

In Śrī Ramaṇa Gītā 7.8 it is recorded that someone called Karshni asked Bhagavan, ‘Who is considered fit for this enquiry? Can one by oneself know one’s own fitness?’, and in verses 9 to 11 it is recorded that he replied:
He whose mind has been purified through upāsana [devotional practices] and other means or by merit acquired in past lives, who perceives the imperfections of the body and sense-objects, and feels utter distaste whenever his mind has to function among sense-objects and who realises that the body is impermanent, he is said to be a fit person for Self-enquiry.

By these two signs, that is by a sense of the transitoriness of the body and by non-attachment to sense-objects, one’s own fitness for self-enquiry can be known.
As I explained to my friend, Ramaṇa Gītā is not truly representative of Bhagavan’s teachings. There are a few useful teachings in it, but as a whole it misrepresents his teachings, because it is a selective and biased recording of some of his answers to questions asked by Kavyakantha and his followers, whose aim was not to learn how to eradicate ego but only to get his approval for their own aims, ambitions and beliefs, which included to gain śakti and siddhis in order to restore their idea of vēdic dharma and a vēdic society.

Regarding these particular verses, they are probably not the exact words of Bhagavan, because they seem to exaggerate the degree of vairāgya required in order for one to begin practising ātma-vicāra (self-investigation or self-enquiry). Such a degree of vairāgya will be gained by persistently practising ātma-vicāra, but in order to begin practising we need only a slight degree of it.

However, as these verses imply, in order to practise ātma-vicāra we do need to have a certain degree of vairāgya (freedom from rāga: desire, attachment, passion, liking, interest or concern), and vairāgya comes with purification of mind, which can be achieved to a limited extent by means other than ātma-vicāra. The reason why vairāgya is required is that desire (rāga) is what impels the mind to go outwards, so we will not be willing even to try to turn our mind back within to be aware of ourself alone until our desire to go outwards is reduced at least to some extent. And since likes, dislikes, desires, attachments and so on are the impurities in our mind, purity of mind (citta-śuddhi) and vairāgya are synonymous.

After attaching a photo of these verses my friend asked, ‘Can a person start his journey directly with self-enquiry, that is, even before purifying his/her mind fully? Will Vichara simultaneously aid in mind-purification, removal of vasanas?’, to which I replied:

Yes, certainly, ātma-vicāra is the most effective means to purify the mind. In verse 8 of Upadēśa Undiyār Bhagavan refers to ātma-vicāra as ananya-bhāva (meditation on what is not other, namely oneself) and says that of all it is the best (uttamam), which in the context of the previous five verses means that it is the best or most effective of all means to purify the mind or will.

What are the impurities in our mind that need to be removed? Only viṣaya-vāsanās, our inclinations or desires to experience anything other than ourself. Therefore the direct means to eradicate such impurities is to cultivate the opposite inclination, namely the love to be aware of nothing other than ourself, and we can cultivate such love only by persistently trying to turn our mind back within to be aware of ourself alone.

This is what Bhagavan implies in paragraphs 10 and 11 of Nāṉ Ār?, in which he says that to destroy all viṣaya-vāsanās we must cling tenaciously to ātma-vicāra (or svarūpa-dhyāna, self-contemplation or self-attentiveness, as he also refers to it). In my latest article [namely Like everything else, karma is created solely by ego’s misuse of its will (cittam), so what needs to be rectified is its will] I have explained all of this in great detail.

A certain degree of purity of mind is of course necessary for us even to begin to practise self-investigation, because if our viṣaya-vāsanās are too strong we will not have any inclination or liking to turn our attention back within. Therefore what is the indication that we have acquired the required degree of citta-śuddhi [purity of mind or will] to begin practising ātma-vicāra? If we have a liking to try to practise it, that itself is sufficient proof that we have already gained the required degree of citta-śuddhi.

Therefore though Bhagavan did sometimes concede, as in his reply recorded in these verses of Ramaṇa Gītā, that citta-śuddhi is required in order to follow this path, this should not make anyone feel that they are unfit or unqualified to practise ātma-vicāra. Provided we like to try, we are qualified to do so.

We cannot purify our mind fully by any means other than ātma-vicāra, so it would be ridiculous to wait till our mind is fully purified before trying to practise ātma-vicāra. It will never happen, so we would be waiting for all eternity. Therefore as soon as we have even the slightest inclination to practise ātma-vicāra, we have already gained sufficient citta-śuddhi by other means, so we can confidently leave aside all other practices and dedicate ourself to the simple practice of self-investigation and self-surrender.

3. To follow this path we must be willing to surrender ourself along with all our cares and anxieties, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears

In reply to this my friend wrote, ‘Because Atma-Vichara is so very simple, (sadly) I very often need validation from outside. As I had earlier also mentioned to you, I feel how can I get it so easy, when saints like Tukaram, Mirabai and Christ all went through so many hardships throughout their lives? I keep thinking all these hardships and perseverance are a precursor to self-enquiry. I’m sorry if I keep asking you the same question, even after you have explained it so well earlier. But somehow the doubt keeps coming back and I need an external push’, to which I replied:

We are extremely fortunate, because having been caught in the web of Bhagavan’s grace we now have a seat on a super luxury express train, so all we have to do is set aside our luggage and travel at ease till the train takes us to our destination. We just have to be willing to set aside our luggage. That is, to surrender ourself along with all our cares and anxieties, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears.

If we let him, he will carry all our burden for us. Even if we don’t let him, he will do so nevertheless, but we will suffer unnecessarily. So leave all your cares to him. That is all he asks of us.

- - - - -

My friend replied to this and ended by saying, ‘I shouldn’t judge or even try to decide what I should do. Let it all happen by itself’, to which I replied:

Yes, it is all happening perfectly by his grace. We just have to stop interfering, which means stop rising as ego.

170 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael,
Speaking from my own perspective do you think it is correct to also say that because Bhagavan has manifested in my awareness and because his teaching is (self investigation / self surrender) the very fact he has manifested means I am ready for his path? If I were not he may manifest as a different guru and give me a different teaching that is more appropriate to my level of spiritual development? In other words the very fact he found me so to speak means I am ready to practise what he teaches?

Thank you very much.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our inward yātrā may not be as glamorous as some outward yātrās, but it is much more fruitful

Michael writes in this article, ‘Our inward yātrā may not be as glamorous as some outward yātrās, but it is much more fruitful’. It is so very true. It takes a while to understand that our spiritual yatra (journey) can be so simple, easy and without any fanfare.

We can quietly undertake our inner journey, and even our spouse may not fully understand that we are on a special journey. All our outward yatras (pilgrimages) do attract considerable attention. Such pilgrimages may be needed for some, but physically this may take a heavy toll if one is not very fit. Moreover, some of these yatras instead of reducing egos may inflate it: ‘I am a great devotee. I have been to this and this yartas, and next I plan to go here and here’.

However, we do not know what is good for different individuals. Bhagavan knows our needs. He may want us to take some external yatras before he brings us to the real yarta – the yatra which takes us within and within and within, until there is no return. So obviously this will be our last yatra.

Anonymous said...

You guys sure like to write pulp.

On one hand you denounce glamorous yatras, but on the other hand, you cannot resist calling your inner journey as special. You, of all people, should be able to see your egos, but you are indeed essentially blind.

Why do you guys have to compare yourselves with others in order to show yourselves as 'better'?

If people go around having glamorous yatras, what is it to you? Egos are inflated because of egos; not because of yatras.

All I see here is your inflated egos resting on the soft cushions of the 'recognition' of a 'superior' understanding.

You make a lot of noise about 'quietly undertaking' your inner journey; I know for a fact that the voice of that contradiction is suffocating between your egos' bottoms and those cushions.

Preachers and scholars; where would we be without them, huh?!

Michael James said...

Anonymous, in reply to your comment of 17:00, yes, certainly, the fact that Bhagavan has come into our life and attracted us to his teachings means that his path of self-investigation and self-surrender is meant for us and we are meant for it.

We are ready if we are willing. If we did not have at least a certain degree of willingness we would not have been attracted to his path, so our attraction to it shows that we are ready for it.

Padmasambhava said...

Sanjay Lohia,
I will never forget my arduous journey to Tibet, Mount Kailas and Lake Manasarovar in the year 1993. But at that time I could not dive much deeply inside. When I sat alone - on that day for some hours without the usual obligatory guarding by Chinese guardians - in a snow shower very near in front of the famous and truly breathtaking south face of Mount Kailas the Lord sent shivers of cold and heat up and down my inner being and I became in fact completely purified ...for some time.
Seven years later for the first time I came to Arunachala...

By the way, Michael talks about 'yātrās' not yartas.

Anonymous said...

That greatest pilgrimage is to bow down to the Lord. Even to merely think it conjures an inner joy. What does "bow down to the Lord" mean? It is to remain as you are, to cease "rising up and going out", to cease being lost in concepts.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Padmasambhava, Bhagavan once clarified that Mount Kailash is the abode of Shiva, but Arunachala is Shiva himself.

Yes, it should have been yatra. Thanks.

Padmasambhava said...

Sanjay Lohia,
then I was highly content with Siva presence in his majestic abode Kailasa.
Since 2000 I am infatuated with Arunachala.:-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your reply (25 September 2018 at 20:56) and reassurance Michael.

M said...

Dear Anonymous,

I don't think you've understood what Michael is trying to say when he says that the ultimate yatra is the inner yatra. In fact he has said that we SHOULD NOT DISCOURAGE ANY ONE FROM TAKING EXTERNAL YATRAS as for that person, at that point of time on his/her spiritual journey, it may be the best thing to do. He has in fact explained to his friend that she shouldn't feel that Atma Vichara being a very simple and straightforward technique for self realises is any less than taking external YATRAS.

Secondly if you feel that Michael and the others on the blog are writing pulp then you shouldn't be here on thus chat.

Dear Anonymous, this blog is like a SATSANG, where we all share our experiences on this path and all of us can gain from the other . If we are at the same frequency we will feel tuned in and will agree with the OTHER, if not we can always question Michael or any other person and try to understand what they are saying.
At the end of the day there's no real right or wrong. It's all about what phase of the spiritual journey each one of us is. So let's be SILENT (& civil) and try to follow Bhagawan's path asking ourselves the question to whom does this anger arise? To whom does this confusion arise.

May Bhagawan guide us on the correct path.

Please put your burden down and travel light.

Thank you .��

Anonymous said...

Dear M,

You are allowed to most conveniently ignore the ego and contradictions of your teachers and friends.

Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

It is not a matter of giving up our desires one by one; it is a matter of giving up all gradually-gradually

As long as we rise and stand as ego, we cannot completely give up our desires and attachments. By thinking to ourself, ‘All is happening according to Bhagavan’s will; he knows what is best’, we can slowly-slowly reduce our desires. So it is just not a matter of giving up one desire at a time. Firstly, we cannot give up any of the desires completely. If we give up one desire, another desire will take its place. So it is a matter of slowly-slowly weakening the hold that these desires and attachments have on us.

However, in fact, the desires are not holding us but we are holding these desires. Because we hold on them, we say that we are under their sway, or we are ruled by them. For example, we may embrace a tree and say this tree is not ready to let go of me. It is not the tree that is holding on to us; it is we who are holding the tree. These are our desires – it is we have these desires. They seem to have a hold on us because we are not ready to let go of our hold on them.

But slowly-slowly we have to be willing to be ready to let go of them. It is not a matter of giving up our desires one by one; it is a matter of giving up all gradually-gradually. By being concerned to know ourself, we can give up our desires by turning our attention within more and more. The more we cultivate the love by turning within, the weaker our desires will become. So this is a path of surrender.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-09-23 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on the practice of self-surrender (1:05)

(I will continue this in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

Reflections: What is the path of surrender? What exactly do we surrender? The path of surrender entails giving up our desires and attachments, but we cannot give them up all at one go. So, as Michael says, ‘it is a matter of slowly-slowly weakening the hold that these desires and attachments have on us’. There are three principal means to practise surrender:

One: By our devotional practices – even if it is anya (treating God as someone another) but niskamya-bhakti (desireless devotion). The more we are devoted to a particular name and form of God, the more our desires and attachments for other things are weakened.

Two: By constantly reminding ourself that Bhagavan is taking care of everything in this world. By reminding ourself that why should we desire anything when Bhagavan is doing and will do whatever is spiritually best for us?

Three: By self-investigation, which is the most powerful and quickest way of surrendering our desires and attachments. Not only that, only self-investigation will enable us to destroy ego, the root of all our desires.

So as Michael has explained, ‘Our devotional practices lead to self-surrender, and self-surrender leads to self-investigation’.

Who has these desires? Obviously, it is we who have these desires. So ego is like the owner of a business and this owner has many employees, these desires and attachments. However, these employees have become quite unruly. They do whatever they want and the owner seems helpless. However, if the owner wants it can tighten things up and discipline his employees. He can ask a few extremely bad ones to leave.

Though it may seem that we are under the sway of our desires, we can control this sway. We cannot plead helplessness by saying that ‘it is my vasanas which is making me do these things’. If our vasanas are making us do things it is because we have left our vasanas to dictate terms to us.

Therefore, slowly-slowly we can weaken and destroy all our vasanas by the practices of devotion, self-surrender and self-investigation. These practices support and seamlessly merge with one another.

M said...

Dear Anonymous,

We need to first ignore our own ego before trying to ignore other's ego.�� just chill dear friend. Enjoy the journey. Ultimately all of Bhagawan's followers are moving towards same goal of eradication of the false ego. Michael is doing a wonderful job of keeping up this blog . Bhagawan is very much guiding it. So let's try and keep it simple and enjoy the journey. Take care and let's all learn from each other.

Sanjay Lohia said...

M, as you say, ‘Michael is doing a wonderful job of keeping up this blog. Bhagavan is very much guiding it’. I couldn’t agree more.

Sanjay Lohia said...

When we ask questions such as ‘who am I?’ we must ask with love to know what we actually are

A friend: Can we ask the question ‘who am I’ is a devotional way?

Michael: The questions themselves are not self-investigation. Such questions can be an aid to turn our attention within, back towards ourself, and that can be done only with love. If we don’t have love to turn within, our desires and attachments will pull us outward. So devotion is an absolute must – it’s an essential ingredient.

Since we cannot turn within without love, when we ask questions such as ‘who am I; who is aware of these thoughts; to whom do all these things appear’, we much ask them with love to know what we are. Only if ask with love will our attention turn within. Otherwise, these are just thoughts like any other thought.

Edited extract from the video 2018-09-23 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on the practice of self-surrender (1: 54 to 1: 58)

Anonymous said...

"We need to first ignore our own ego before trying to ignore other's ego."
It seems Michael and especially Sanjay can learn something from the above statement.


"Michael is doing a wonderful job of keeping up this blog."
You misspelled Google.


"Bhagawan is very much guiding it."
OK. Like everything else in the world.


"So let's try and keep it simple"
Again, something for Michael and Sanjay.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We can worship jivas by rendering appropriate service to them, such as by alleviating whatever suffering we can or by adhering strictly to the principle of ahiṁsa

The practice of self-surrender usually starts with our trying to surrender ‘mine’ and then gradually moves on to the surrender of ‘me’, and only then the surrender is complete. The practice of self-investigation starts with directly trying to surrender ‘me’, but in the process, we do not stop surrendering ‘mine’ whenever we can. So self-surrender and self-investigation are two sides of the same sheet of paper.

Today, I read the following saying by one Jaya Row:

A mother forgoes a chocolate to give it to her child because the emotional joy is greater than the physical satisfaction of eating the chocolate.

I think this is an example of self-surrender. The mother sacrifices her chocolate to give it to her child without expecting anything in return. In other words, she acts purely out of love. This is how our self-surrender begins. Then gradually the circle of our surrender may enlarge. Instead of loving only our child, we may now start loving our neighbours. If they, for example, are short of food we may share our food with them without expecting anything in return. This circle may become larger and larger and may eventually encompass our whole country and even beyond.

Mahatma Gandhi was willing to sacrifice anything for his beloved India. He devoted his entire life trying to bring about India’s independence. He never expected anything in return, such as any political position. He was also willing we do whatever he could to improve the conditions of the poor. In short, Gandhi was walking on the path of self-surrender. He had surrendered his personal likes and dislikes in order to take care of the likes and dislikes of the entire country.

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 5 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Worshipping [anything] thinking that all things [in this or any other world], [which is composed of] eight forms [or thought-forms], are forms of God, is good worship of God.

Michael has explained this verse in his article: Can we experience what we actually are by following the path of devotion (bhakti mārga)? as follows:

[Worshipping] means following, adhering to, adoring or treating with reverence, and in this context can mean either worshipping ritually or rendering appropriate service. However rendering appropriate service can be applicable only to jīvas (sentient beings) and not to any of the other seven forms, so if we want to worship God in any other form [..] we can do so only ritually. In the case of jīvas, we can worship them either ritually or by rendering appropriate service to them, such as by alleviating whatever suffering we can or by adhering strictly to the principle of ahiṁsa (avoiding causing harm to any sentient being). Thus in this verse Bhagavan gives us a very broad and inclusive definition of ‘good worship of God’.

If we worship in any of the aforesaid ways without expecting anything in return that is what self-surrender is all about. We are surrendering our time or money or effort or personal comforts or whatever for something greater than ourself. If this is done with love, in due course, such surrender will culminate in self-investigation because this is the last point in self-surrender.




Roger Isaacs said...

Let me see if I understand this.

"The ONLY real pilgrimage is the one Bhagavan has shown us".
As Bhagavan has left the physical form, Michael James is the only one, the only best interpreter, who teaches the only real pilgrimage.
Of all the spiritual teachers for millennium, Michael James teaches the only real pilgrimage.

Yes, why go to the Himalayas to meet holy men when the ONLY holy man is right here! now! in the form of Michael James!

We are caught in the web of Michael James grace and now have a seat on his super luxury express train.

This is nothing but ego.

Neither Michael James nor his predecessors were realized.
If Michael James actually believed all that he teaches he would withdraw into silence and practice what he preaches till he attains the goal.
Michael James is a salesman who doesn't use his product. The ultimate hypocrite.
Just another supremely egotistical preacher.

Salazar said...

Roger, it is certainly not beneficiary for Michael ('s ego) to let himself worship by his groupies on this blog. Is he discouraging these indiscriminate expressions of admiration? Not at all. Is he categorically asking to refrain from acts like these and especially not to confuse him as a sage? Not at all.

In fact, some here are so deluded that they take his response (when inquiring by email 'if he is a Jnani') that "he is nothing" as a proof that he, indeed, must be a sage. How amazingly naive. There is no reason to believe that Michael (or anybody else) deserves any more respect than any other jiva on this world. These specific "picks" of certain jivas like Michael and to put them on a pedestal is a disease, a mental disorder. It shows a great amount of ignorance and confusion.

But it doesn't end with the sickening worship of a jiva, in addition other jivas get attacked if they are not inclined to share this hypnosis.

That fact in connection with the fact that he gives public lectures puts him in the same category of "teachers" like Gangaji, Mooji, and the rest of this ilk.

Most people here react the same way to criticism of Michael as any follower of Gangaji or Mooji, is doing when their idol is criticized. The same dysfunctional relationship has developed here on this forum as it has at all of the other "ashrams" of this world where people follow the blind "teacher".

As Nisar. very categorically said, ONLY a sage has the authority to teach, anybody else will fall prey to their ego when they do.


Jack Clapham said...

Some people here speak in feverish delirium - like a Pharao after being bitten by malaria mosquitos. Quick, quick, give them some antipyretics.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Salazar,
Exactly.
Some men lust for political power, or monetary wealth, or sexual indulgence, the list is endless.
Claiming special religious insight (or special translation skills) and the subsequent fame is just another type of ego delusion.

Every time Michael James says things like "I have the ONLY way to God" there is a tremendous ego boost for Michael. Isn't he special? And... there is a tremendous attraction for those who are looking for an authority.

But... Michael James knowledge is only intellectual, he does not speak from the realized state so he has fallen prey to his ego and consequentially he corrupts the teaching.

Michael is actually selling a belief system where he is the only dispenser of truth.
He has said this on a number of occasions "What you must believe is....."
People think that Michael is "scholarly".
No, this is a "faith based" system he is peddling.
MJ says for example that the ONLY way to realize God is using a type of meditation where the body and world disappear from awareness.
If this were a scholarly environment we could entertain the views of others like Sankara AND Bhagavan (from other works of Bhagavan that Michael tells us to avoid) who speak out against relying on this type of meditation alone and investigate this in our experience. But no: this is a faith based system with one authority.
People get really agitated when we challenge Michael because we are challenging their belief system.
The environment here is very similar to a church... only the material is different.

In a christian church it is difficult to challenge some premises. For example when we're told "give me your money, faith, interest and then Jesus will save you after you die" this is difficult to dis-prove?

But here it's easy. Michael says he has the ONLY way to God.
If so... why hasn't he taken it?
IF this were true... he would be sitting in a cave somewhere practicing his meditation endlessly while seeking the highest.
Anything less is is hypocrisy. He doesn't even believe in his advice, only in his authority.
How incredibly hypocritical to say "I have the ONLY way to God" and to not be able to demonstrate it.
The truth is that Michael James prefers the adulation and ego stroking that he gets from being a religious leader and this is much more preferable to him than taking the discipline required to realize God. Regarding "discipline" I'm thinking of Annamalai Swami who invested in years of discipline, or Nisargadatta who says he spent years in "I AM" as much as possible.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa on Scholarship

"What is there in mere scholarship? God can be attained by crying to Him with a longing heart. There is no need to know many things.

"He who is an Āchārya has to know different things. One needs a sword and shield to kill others; but to kill oneself, a needle or a nail-knife suffices.

"One ultimately discovers God by trying to know who this 'I' is. Is this 'I' the flesh, the bones, the blood, or the marrow? Is it the mind or the buddhi? Analysing thus, you realize at last that you are none of these. This is called the process of 'Neti, neti', 'Not this, not this'. One can neither comprehend nor touch the Ātman. It is without qualities or attributes."

(Source: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 7, The Master and Vijay Goswami)

Wigbert Winterbottom said...

One wonders why some of you come here. I guess Roger is consistent.

Salazar however, the phrase 'a snake in (one's) bosom' springs to mind.


venkat said...

Thanks Samarender. That is wonderful quote.

Have you read kaivalya navaneeta, that Bhagavan recommended? It complements aparokshanubuthi.

Just read this:

“19. Disciple: “How then can the wise, liberated while alive, exhaust their prarabdha if their mind has lost itself in Brahman and become one with It? Is it not done only by experiencing its results? Such experience would certainly require the mind. There cannot be any kind of experience in the absence of the mind. If the mind persists, how can they be said to be liberated? I am confused on this point. Be pleased to clear this doubt of mine, for I cannot be liberated unless all my doubts are cleared away.”

“20. Master: “The annihilation of the mind is of two grades: namely, of the mind pattern and of the mind itself. The former applies to sages liberated while alive; the latter to disembodied sages.”

“25. The Perfect Enjoyer is he who partakes of anything that comes his way without discriminating whether it be tasty or not, clean or unclean, healthy or unhealthy, like a blazing fire consuming all that lies in its way. He whose mind is crystal clear, unaffected by passing phases, great or small, good or bad, his own or others’, is the Perfect Renouncer. A liberated sage is strictly an exemplar of these three virtues (united).”

This is a different to Michael’s interpretation of no world being seen on liberation. The broader vedantic context, and his talks (whatever the shortcomings) and that of his direct disciples, as well as other realised sages, I think helps in interpreting bhagavan’s aphoristic written works.

by Jove said...

Do we need at all any quotes of sages ?
Is not our inner heart the nearest and best source and help for getting ahead spiritually ?

D Samarender Reddy said...

Venkat,

Yes, I, too, find it difficult to accept some views of Michael, though most of his other interpretations and teachings are quite good. The views that I don't accept are:

1. Upon self-realization the world disappears for the self-realized. I know there are some arguments advanced to support that claim, but I do not find them persuasive.

2. In deep sleep, ONLY the Self exists, and there is no trace of any ego/mind even in its seed form, that is, there is no causal body (ignorance) also in that state. Again, different arguments are presented in support, but I do not find them persuasive.

3. Nisargadatta Maharaj, Papaji and J. Krishnamurti have taught something contrary to what Bhagavan taught, and so there is nothing that can be gained from reading them. I think this stems from Michael's particular interpretation of what he sees Bhagavan as saying.

Earlier, you and some others have tried to argue against the above (and some other such) claims but have not been successful. By and large I have chosen to stay clear of these debates because I found that ultimately it seemed to be boiling down to what one believes is the case and which authorities one places one's trust in. Of course, from the position we are in we can only accept what strikes our individual intellects as reasonable to believe in because we do not obviously "know".

So, overall, I am content to believe in what I do on some matters, knowing that Michael subscribes to a different viewpoint on those issues, because in the final analysis, those views are somewhat peripheral to the journey on the spiritual path. What finally determines one's success on the spiritual journey is the extent to which one is able to let go of all the stories that the mind tells and would have us believe because as Kena Upanishad says "That which the mind cannot understand, but because of which the mind understands, know that alone to be Brahman, and not this that people worship here." Ultimately, if we keep the perspective that ONLY Consciousness exists, and the world we see around and ourselves in it, including our minds, are nothing but appearances or mere names and forms of that One Consciousness, then we are home free. That perspective will also put us in harmony with others and everything else in the universe because the "I" that we are now taking ourselves to be in our state of ajnana is nothing but a mere name and form, much like the other "I"s that others are believing themselves to be, and actually speaking there is no reality or truth in the plural. As Erwin Schrodinger, of Schrodinger's equation fame in quantum physics, put it: "Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. How does the idea of plurality (emphatically opposed by the Upanishad writers) arise at all? ... the only possible alternative is simply to keep the immediate experience that consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; that there *is* only one thing and that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing produced by deception (the Indian maya) - in much the same way Gaurisankar and Mt. Everest turn out to be the same peak seen from different valleys." (From: What is Life), as quoted here https://www.endlesssearch.co.uk/science_scientistmystics.htm

Anonymous said...

wigbert winterbottom, jack clapham, by Jove [I like that one :) !], and others,
are the same person

a light interlude I suppose

D Samarender Reddy said...

Osho says ...

Deprive yourself of all possible relationships, and see what you are. Suppose you are not a son to your parents, nor the husband to your wife, nor the father to your children, nor a relative to your kindred, nor a friend to your acquaintances, nor a citizen to your country, and so on and so forth – then you get you-in-yourself.

Just disconnect. Some time once a day, sit silently and disconnect yourself of all connections. Just as you disconnect the phone, disconnect yourself of all connections. Don’t think any more that you are a father to your sons – disconnect. You are no more a father to your son, and you are no more a son to your father. Disconnect that you are a husband or a wife; you are no more a wife, no more a husband. You are no more a boss, no more a servant. You are no more black, no more white. You are no more Indian, no more Chinese, no more German. You are no more young, no more old. Disconnect, go on disconnecting.

A thousand and one connections are there – just go on disconnecting all the connections. When you have disconnected all the connections, then suddenly ask: Who am l? And no answer comes – because you have already disconnected all those answers that would have come.

Who am I? And an answer comes, “I am a doctor” – but you have disconnected with the patients. An answer comes, “I am a professor” – but you have disconnected yourself from your students. An answer comes, “I am Chinese” – but you have disconnected it. An answer comes, “I am a man or a woman” – but you have disconnected it. An answer comes, “I am an old man” – but you have disconnected it.

Disconnect all. Then you are in yourself.

(Excerpt from Zen: The Path of Paradox, V.2, Chapter Three)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi D.S.R.,
Thanks for your post from Ramakrishna but "neti neti" has been determined to be ineffective per his holiness MJ.
In order to ‘practise’ neti neti, we must think of the body, mind and other adjuncts that we wish to reject as ‘not I, not I’, but by this very act of thinking that they are not ‘I’ we are continuing to give them reality and to attach ourself to them. Michael James 20 Nov 2008.

Stand by, you will now receive an avalanche of doctrine from Sanjay to correct your thinking.

Regarding your comment
3. Nisargadatta Maharaj, Papaji and J. Krishnamurti have taught something contrary to what Bhagavan taught, and so there is nothing that can be gained from reading them.

The situation is far worse than that.
MJ relies on the few works from Bhagavan that he translates.
The larger portion of Bhagavans works such as "Talks" are also forbidden just as Nisargadatta etc...
So MJ while using Bhagavan for advertising is actually in direct conflict with Bhagavan.
"Talks" is transcriptions of actual teaching sessions and is very liberal. Bhagavan on multiple occasions teaches that people have different temperaments and require different approaches and that many different styles such as Bhakti, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Kundalini Yoga etc... all may lead to the goal.
This teaching would destroy MJ's reliance on "ONLY WAY" and so it must be forbidden.
https://selfdefinition.org/ramana/Talks-with-Sri-Ramana-Maharshi--complete.pdf

DSR, I appreciate your attitude, Thanks,
it's soon time for me to disappear.

Anonymous said...

In rejecting other teachings, including 'neti, neti' (as has been suggested in the comment above by RI), Michael James has been carrying out his own version of 'neti, neti'.

"Not this teaching, not that teaching".

Sanjay carries out his own sub-classed version - "Not this devotee, not that being".

My ajnani mind finds that incredibly funny.



MJ is trying to be extremely, 100% efficient in finding the BEST way to reach realization. So engrossed are he and his favorite devotee in this quest, that they have forgotten to focus on the goal of realization for years. Working towards it is difficult; lets work on what's easy for us both - preaching. That way we will have name, fame and money, all the while we can pretend to not care about them.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We were roaming about in the world seeking worldly pleasures, but somehow Bhagavan has given us that little bit of desire to merge in him

Edited extract from the video: 2018-09-08 Holland Park: Michael James discusses verse 2 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padigam (0:09 – 0:23)

Arunachala, the form of love, [after] taking possession [of me] does it befit [you] to ruin me [by] not granting your love [love for you] to me, who do not have love in which one melts, softening like wax in fire thinking of you in [one’s] heart? O happiness born [ripened or grown] in love, O satiating [or enduring] ambrosia, which wells up in the heart of devotees, what to say? Your iṣṭam [will, wish, desire or liking] is my iṣṭam; that is happiness for me, Lord of my soul [or life].

Bhagavan is constantly praying to Arunachala to take possession of him. When we surrender to Arunachala, we become the possession of him. So to the extent to which we surrender he takes possession of us, and to the extent, he takes possession of us we are surrendering to him. But Bhagavan will never force himself on us. It is expressing the practice of self-investigation in different ways using poetic and metaphorical language. So when the ego merges back into its source we become the possession of Bhagavan – Bhagavan being our real nature.

As in Aksaramanamalai there are elements of bridal mysticism here. What Bhagavan is alluding to is that if a man takes a woman as his own but does not marry her, he is ruining her (as it was thought of in traditional societies). Bhagavan says is it befitting you if you are a real gentleman, if you are really a man of honour, to ditch this girl? There is so much depth of meaning, and there is so much allusion here.

Devotional poetry is often written in the form of bridal mysticism, as Bhagavan writes in Aksaramanamalai because in human terms the greatest love we experience is between man and woman. They want to unite and become one but… The devotee considers himself or herself to be a girl. So as a devotee we as a girl come to the Lord seeking marriage. Like Bhagavan prayed for marriage with Arunachala. Marriage is a metaphor for that immutable union.

Aksara means ‘impressible’ and mana means ‘marriage’. Marriage is a metaphor for that immutable union. So one of the meanings of Aksaramanamalai is the ‘garland of immutable union’. Aksara also means ‘letters’ because Bhagavan composed Aksaramanamalai in alphabetical order. So it can also mean ‘garland of the letters’. So the same bhava (feeling) is expressed in this verse of Padigam.

If you don’t give me love, I will just become rotten like an overripe fruit. In Aksaramanamalai Bhagavan says, ‘O Arunachala, what is the use of the fruit when it is overripe’. ‘Come and take me when I am ripe’ is the implication there. That is, if a man takes a woman into her possession but doesn’t marry her, he lets her become old, and so she loses all her beauty. What is the use of her then? She is like an overripe fruit. So again there are so many allusions here.

In one verse of Aksaramanamalai Bhagavan sings, ‘Me who had no love, you gave me the desire for you, do not disappoint me’. That is, we were ordinary people roaming about in the world seeking worldly pleasures, but somehow Bhagavan has given us that little bit of desire to merge in him. He will not disappoint us, but in order for us to have that infinite love that we are seeking we need to surrender ourself to him.












Anonymous said...

Just look at Sanjay's analogies:

"That is, if a man takes a woman into her possession but doesn’t marry her, he lets her become old, and so she loses all her beauty. What is the use of her then? She is like an overripe fruit. So again there are so many allusions here."

It is such a "nice refreshing breeze" of an idea where he thinks of a woman as 'object to use'? Is this how you think of your wife? I am amazed that the guy is married and has a daughter. And I know in exactly what sense you think about using a women. Sanjay, you are approaching 60. At least NOW have some shame.

I am sure that none of the followers of the duo will find this offensive.

"Women, huh?! Lets show them their place" - Sanjay Lohia (supported by MJ).

Sanjay, don't reflect. Just translate and copy-paste. You are not doing India any good.

Anonymous said...

Bloody hell, Sanjay and Michael!

I dare you to say what you people believe about women on an open forum in front of the internet facing a camera.

What are you? Neanderthals? Sexually frustrated but pretended to be not?

And Michael still would not speak a single word to Sanjay. How could he? He is in the same boat as Sanjay?

D Samarender Reddy said...

Hi Roger,

Yes, I, too, do not agree with Michael's rigid insistence that Talks etc. are not reliable. I think Michael is a purist when it comes to Bhagavan's teachings and seems to be unduly cautious, more to his own detriment than anyone else's in my opinion.

I do feel for you that you did not get the requisite level of understanding, support and encouragement you were seeking for your method of "neti, neti", because all of us on this blog, which is a kind of Sangha, do look out for such understanding, support and encouragement because it is difficult to journey alone. If it is any consolation, all you have to do is look at the very first 2 questions of "Who Am I?" to see that the method of neti, neti has been employed (of course, it will be pointed out here that it was not Bhagavan who wrote that but was interpolated later by Sivaprakasam Pillai. Be that as it may, since Bhagavan did not find the need to delete it, it can be seen as an endorsement of it by him because if it was something contrary to what he wanted to say, then he surely would have got it deleted) to arrive at the truth that one is "Pure Awareness". You may well ask, if the Truth was thus established in the very first 2 Q&A of "Who Am I?", where was the need for the rest of the book. I think the reason for that is, we are not easily convinced beyond doubt that we are not the body and mind through only reasoning, and we require some other practices for our all too weak intellects. It is only the rare individual who can stop with those 1st 2 Q&A of "Who am I?" If you were to read John Wheeler, you would see that he emphasizes only those 2 Q&A as being sufficient in and of themselves to arrive at the Truth. But, as I said, it is almost like "spirit is willing, but flesh is weak" or to paraphrase that "reasoning is good but the mind is weak".

Aham said...

D S Reddy,

in which of the sources considered reliable does Sri Ramana reject the practice neti neti?

It has always puzzled me that He would reject neti neti. I wonder if He actually did?

For those against neti neti I believe the argument goes along the line of, the aspirant remains only at the intellectual level with such an approach. But is that true?

I suspect neti neti begins intellectually, then slowly mind becomes clear and still, neti neti falls away.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Aham,

You ask "in which of the sources considered reliable does Sri Ramana reject the practice neti neti?" I never said he did. I merely implied that Michael did not endorse the "neti, neti" approach based on his own interpretation of Bhagavan's writings.

Aham said...

D S Reddy

I did not intend to imply that you said so, rather I simply wanted to know if you knew of such a source.

That said, Sri Ramana endorsed "who am I?" at the preliminary stage, and also apparently said any thought can be traced to its source. Logically then, neti-neti is included.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Aham,

Ok.

I do not think Bhagavan anywhere denounced the neti-neti approach. As a matter of fact, he indirectly endorsed it because the various Avasthatraya (the three states of waking, dreaming, deep aleep) arguments he uses in the Talks only seek to show that you cannot be the body and mind, which are nothing but support for neti-neti disavowal.

Aham said...

Thank you D S Reddy.

Neti-neti must surely be akin to preliminary mental questioning "Who am I?"

Both drop off in time, Stillness remains.

Sanjay Lohia said...

To the extend we turn within, to that extend amrita will well up in our heart

Bhagavan: O happiness born [ripened or grown] in love, O satiating [or enduring] ambrosia, which wells up in the heart of devotees, what to say?

Happiness is ripened in love; happiness is born in love. In advaita happiness and love are one and the same. Only when we know our real nature will we experience true and infinite love.

In mythology amrita is the mystical substance which all beings – particularly Gods and demons – are seeking. If drunk it will make one immortal. In Greek mythology ambrosia is the food for Gods – it had made the Gods immortal.

But here Bhagavan is referring to Arunachala as ambrosia. This amrita will last forever. We will be ever satisfied if we are able to drink this amrita. It is only by turning within that we get amrita in our own heart. So to the extent we turn within to that extend amrita will well up in our heart.

However, to turn within we need to surrender all our desires to go outwards. Until we are willing to surrender, Bhagavan cannot give us the love to turn within. Man cannot serve two masters. We cannot have love for the world and full love to turn within.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-09-08 Holland Park: Michael James discusses verse 2 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padigam (23:00)

Reflections: I never realized there is so much depth of meaning in these verses. The beauty of this particular verse is breathtaking. What love! How much hidden meaning! Pure amrita.

Salazar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Isaacs said...

Thanks DSR,

Self Inquiry is discouraged in an environment which is authoritarian and autocratic. If outer inquiry is suppressed... how can inner inquiry flourish? If you say "the outer is not important" then why do we speak on this forum and look for insight?

Bhagavan says something like: "if you have the experience of blazing inner light, then inquire 'who is having this experience?'"

This is an example of inquiry, but it is also an example of "not this-not this".
"not this" is the aspect of noticing that attention went off of Self and became outwardly involved with the experience of light. You could say that in order to return to Self or "Who am I?" you MUST notice that your attention was diverted... and this noticing is "Not this". Although if you say you prefer a pure silent wordless "who am I?" then I won't object. It's just a slightly different focus.

But you see there are many many more subtleties than just the neti-neti versus atma vicara paradigm. For example inner energy is one of my favorites which Bhagavan discusses in depth. One thing may work for a person at one time and another later as experience deepens or another for someone else as Bhagavan clearly repeats multiple times in Talks.

In an authoritarian environment the open and free flow of ideas and insight is blocked. Here, Michael James in his blogs and posts suppresses all view points different from his own, he even suppresses Bhagavan's works.
In meditation, the idea is to LOOK & SEE and not to impose some authoritarian expectations. Here, MJ teaches a rigid authoritarian way which will just have to be unlearned later. Inquiry is actually a highly personal, sensitive, individual process, not an autocratic one.

There is a beginner level of "who am I?" where one might actual intone the words silently. But this becomes subtler and inquiry is eventually entirely silent with no movement of thought.

There is a beginner level of "neti-neti" where one might learn about all things that we are not: not body, not emotions, not bone, not blood. And perhaps silently intone "not this" to some rising internal disturbance.
Seems like I saw Annamalai Swami recommending "not me... not me...". Same thing: negation.
There is a more advanced practice where what is silently "negated" is whatever illusion is arising in the current moment, it's just effortlessly noticing and then turning automatically to Self. And if there is nothing to negate... there is just vigilant attention. Neti-Neti is the broom that sweeps attention clear of debris... but only if/when there is debris to clear.

Aham said...

Here, Michael James in his blogs and posts suppresses all view points different from his own,

Mr Isaacs, you are freely posting.

---------------------

And, do you respect Sri Ramana's Teachings? Please do not be offended, I ask because I do not know. If yes, what do you make of this?

The cause of your misery is not in the life without; it is in you as the ego (as thought). ~ Maharshi's Gospel

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Aham,
Do I respect Sri Ramana's teachings?

Of course.
But Michael James is not Sri Ramana.

But you may be asking a trick question: I doubt that Sri Ramana would take what is called "his teachings" too seriously (unlike Michael). Spirit cannot be codified and is subtler than concept. Certainly the presence of Bhagavan overrides all written teachings. We are too look within FIRST before being a slave to doctrine? Right? And the meaning assigned to the teachings has often been distorted through various egos before being presented. So my "respect" is conditional.

Or you may be asking another trick question: who is this "I" that is claiming respect?

regarding: The cause of your misery is not in the life without; it is in you as the ego (as thought). ~ Maharshi's Gospel

When attention becomes confined to an object then (so called) misery may result. To say it other ways: when attention/ego takes ownership of an object or attention/ego claims doership etc...

The practice of holding attention inward on "I" or "I AM" or some other aspect of the subtler layers (such as subtle energy, compassion etc) gradually removes misery because the truth that "I" am free from objects is revealed. And then attention is no longer falsely confined to an object. When I understand experientially (experientially, not just intellectually) that "I" exist independent of objects... how can objects cause misery or have any affect on "I" at all?

This probably sounds impossible but it can be done gradually. And finding teachers who match your style may be essential.

Of course, all possible action should be taken on the material layer to remove misery. I really should get that dental problem fixed...

The phrase "(as thought)" is troublesome.
"Thought" is not precisely the binder (ie that which binds consciousness to form).
When Sri Ramana wrote... he used hands, fingers, eyes, and brain with the... thoughts... of what was written? Could Sri Ramana have been thinking? OMG! Nisargadatta somewhere notes that he had thoughts arise... but pays no attention to them.
So it is not "thought" that is the issue. It is when attention is confined to a thought(s) while loosing attention on "I" that misery results.

The term "ego" is used constantly but can anyone define what it is and is not?
I have not seen a practical definition of this anywhere. And then there are all these other terms vasanas, karma, prarabdha....
All the terminology is imagination and perhaps just more useless baggage.
One possible key is: If you can locate "I" with your attention (numerous possible descriptions and alternatives, "I" is short at least) and avoid loosing "I" in arising thought and emotion... that's all.
It does not matter if you call the pressure behind rising thoughts and emotions ego, or karma or whatever, the philosophy doesn't matter and may be a hinderance.... if attention on "I" can be maintained in the presence of stimulus then you are done... except for infinite repetition as your system is purified.

I do not think this is necessarily different than Bhagavan's teaching such as in Talks but it is in different words.
It is VERY different than Michael James teaching. Michael insists that the world is the ego, until the world disappears ego is present. Therefore, Michael James can not teach about how to be free in the world as Bhagavan and Nisargadatta were. Michael can not really teach how to practice Atma Vicara during activity because his whole plan is to make the world disappear. What happens if you're driving your car and practicing Atma Vicara and the world disappears?

I'm sure that I have rambled on too long...

D Samarender Reddy said...

Hi Roger,

I agree with your nuanced and subtle views on neti-neti and self-enquiry.

Salazar said...

Roger, you said and I quote, "Thought is not precisely the binder."

Yes, both - Annamalai Swami and Papaji - said that thoughts are not the problem itself, it is the interest or attention we give them. As I understand it that doesn't work with Michael since he has his own ideas about ego/mind/thought.

Robert Adams warned that we should not in any way suppress or fight thoughts, that makes the ego/mind only stronger.

By the way, re. the "origin" of thought. Michael insists it is the ego, however others had a different opinion about it. And guess what, I am just reading Ulladu Narpadu, the English version with the commentaries by Lakshmana Sarma (only available in India) and he said in one of the commentaries that thoughts come from Self.

It's the Lakshmana Sarma who got personally tutored by Bhagavan and he reviewed the entire book.

I wonder what the rationalization is now why Lakshmana Sarma must be wrong, I guess it's a translation issue :)

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
when ego comes from self so one can perhaps say that finally even thoughts come from self.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Aham, regarding the practice of neti-neti, here are my views. It entails repeating to oneself (like a japa) ideas such as ‘I am not this mind or body; I am brahman’. Bhagavan never recommended this as a practice. However, he did concede that this can be an aid for some.

However, he did encourage it as part of our manana (musings). Such manana is is an intellectual analysis to convince ourself that we cannot be this body and mind because we exist without any body and mind in sleep. If I were this body or mind, I could never have experienced myself without these. If I am not this body and mind, who am I? Such manana is a helpful precursor to self-investigation.

Bhagavan has given his views about this practice in verses 29 and 32 of Ulladu Narpadu:

29: Not saying ‘I’ by mouth, investigating by an inward sinking mind where one rises as ‘I’ alone is the path of knowledge. Instead, thinking ‘not this, I am that’ is an aid; is it investigation?

32: When the Vēdas proclaim ‘That is you’, instead of oneself knowing oneself as ‘what?’ and being, thinking ‘I am that, not this’ is due to non-existence of strength, because that alone is always seated as oneself.

So to go on repeating such formulas is due to lack of proper viveka (discrimination). Do we need to repeat ‘I am a man; I am a man’? No, because we have no confusion in this matter. Likewise, why should we repeat 'I am brahman' or 'I am pure-consciousness' and so on? We are clearly aware of consciousness shining within us as ourself. There is no other brahman apart from this consciousness.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my previous comment addressed to Aham:

However, we do not experience this awareness as it really is because we are confusing it with our body and mind. Self-investigation entails attending more and more to our inner awareness until we experience it without any body and mind. The practice of neti-neti cannot help us here. In fact, we need to give us all our thoughts and turn our entire attention within.

Repeating neti-neti is just repeating some thoughts in our mind, so beyond a point it becomes a hindrance. This practice cannot destroy our mind; however, our aim is to destroy our mind and intellect and only self-investigation can help us in this. Bhagavan has made this clear.

The practice of repeatedly asking the question ‘Who am I?’ is not the actual self-investigation, but it can help some as a reminder to turn within. But the actual self-investigation begins when we turn within. The practice of neti-neti is not a direct or immediate aid, but the question ‘who am I?’ can be a direct and immediate aid to turn within.

Commenting on these practices (neti-neti and ‘who am I’) you say, ‘Both drop off in time, Stillness remains’. However, to achieve this stillness we need to surrender and destroy ego, and only self-investigation can do this. So self-investigation is the only practice which Bhagavan recommended wholeheartedly.


Sanjay Lohia said...

O hero who wants to conquer this world, have you conquered your own mind?

We are like this hero. We want victory over others, but have we defeated our own mind? Our first and foremost task is to defeat our own desires and attachments. If this is done we have conquered the whole world, because there is no world outside our mind. How to conquer our mind? It is by destroying the root of the mind, namely ego. How to destroy ego? By looking at it closely and keenly and finding that it does not exist.

Aham said...

The practice of holding attention inward on "I" or "I AM" or some other aspect of the subtler layers (such as subtle energy, compassion etc) gradually removes misery because the truth that "I" am free from objects is revealed. And then attention is no longer falsely confined to an object. When I understand experientially (experientially, not just intellectually) that "I" exist independent of objects... how can objects cause misery or have any affect on "I" at all?

I agree Mr Isaacs. Yes, the wordless "I", devoid of all that changes, is the natural state. Let us cease contracting into concepts, and effortlessly abide as "I Am".

========================================


Repeating neti-neti is just repeating some thoughts in our mind, so beyond a point it becomes a hindrance. This practice cannot destroy our mind; however, our aim is to destroy our mind and intellect and only self-investigation can help us in this.

....to achieve this stillness we need to surrender and destroy ego, and only self-investigation can do this


Yes Mr Lohia. The question "Who am I?" (and even the statement "Not this!") will segue into Self-investigation; which is to remain still, to remain as you are, as I Am.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 35

Since this world of dyads and triads appears only in the mind, like the illusory ring of fire formed [in darkness] by whirling the single point of a glowing rope-end, it is false, and it does not exist in the clear sight of self.

Reflections: Children often play with crackers. They think these are real and are fascinated by all the lights, sounds and colours produced by these crackers. We are like these children. We think this world is real and so we enjoy all its lights, sounds and colours.

However, when we come to Bhagavan he says, ‘Enough of your childish games. You have had enough of this world. It is nothing but maya. Give up your interest in it and take interest in what is real’. We can ignore it most effectively by attaching ourself to what is real, namely atma-svarupa.

To the extent we go within to that externt we ignore this world, and to the extent we ignore this world to that extent we go within. Bhakti helps vairagya, and vairagya helps bhakti.

Salazar said...

Hello Joseph, your explanation is as good as any other, and it does not need to be backed by some quote of a sage. Frankly, it is not really that important for me since thoughts are, in my personal experience, ephemeral objects which appear and disappear [to I am].

Self and the first thought "I" or "I am" are [in my opinion] identical. Of course Michael and a few others here may cry foul but what do they know? Nothing. They take their conceptual knowledge from some text and make it the reality. But it is not, it is an imagination.

I.e. there is the concept of a knot and it seemingly explains a connection between the Absolute and the ego/mind but that is an imagination too. And that is not me saying but a number of sages said that including Bhagavan.

Now anybody can approach the path to liberation the way they like it, but it turns awry if one tries to squeeze out the truth from conceptual texts even by Bhagavan. I can not emphasize enough that these are all pointers. This permanent talk about vasanas is silly, seriously.

Nobody needs to be told about vasanas, just with a little meditation background one is quite familiar with ones likes and dislikes, harping about vasanas is redundant. It is a poor attempt of the mind to grasp "meaning".

One concept here what is so readily accepted and I categorically deny is that "because the ego rises and we find this world for real - it is real". That is BS. And nothing could persuade me to believe and to base my path to liberation on that.

All the best.







Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
as it is said the world seems to be real only in the view of the ego.

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
sometimes it seems to be better to know "nothing" than to know something.:-)

The knot you spoke about is not between the Absolute and the ego/mind but according to Bhagavan Ramana between the body and the self.

Salazar said...

Joeseph, what is the difference between the Absolute and Self (they are synonyms), and then the ego/mind and the body? Without an ego/mind there is no body, in fact the body is a gross manifestation of the mind. So basically the same, unless one wants to get off from some imaginative sub-definitions which are entirely useless.

As I said, let's not get into a particular set of concepts and especially to determine what is exactly the "knot". It is an IMAGINATION. What benefit can we gain from imagining the structure or composition of an imagination? None at all.

Bhagavan did not mention the knot so we idly speculate or even think about it!

Tell me, where is that "knot"? Let me know when you have found it. But I won't hold my breath waiting for your answer. :)


Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
I am not exactly a scholar. Michael certainly could tell you where in Ramana scriptures the "knot" is mentioned, even although you (in a comment on the previous article) yesterday declared not having any respect for him.

Regarding imaginations: Let us look whether our own opinions having ready are not just imaginations. Therefore let us be on our guard - particularly when one likes to often sense traps everywhere.

Salazar said...

Joseph, you seem to not understand me, the last thing what I need, or what anybody needs is an explanation of the "knot" or a hint where one can find it mentioned in "Ramana scriptures". It's irrelevant.

Dear Joseph, you last paragraph is BS, sheer ignorance I am afraid. I loath these indirect and inane comments like "let us be on guard, especially when one likes to sense often traps everywhere."

Why do you not fucking say, YOU Salazar, the one who sense traps everywhere must be imagining things? Why this fake and insincere indirect accusation? So you can say, "oh, I didn't mean you, how do you get this idea?" Either say it direct to my face or shut the hell up! So tired of this fake spiritual jargon here.

Can't you see that EVERYTHING is an imagination? I guess not, you are just caught as most here in the persona drama.

I have nothing more to say to you. So talk to anybody else. Thanks.

Josef Bruckner said...

It was my impression that in the past just Salazar could not easily cope with direct criticism of him. Therefore I chose a more indirect language in my recent reply to him.
It is seen not rarely that people do well hand out "beatings" but cannot take/swallow criticism.
So I wish him all the best.

Aham said...

We come here in the hope that the words will satisfy us. But we remain dissatisfied.

At some point if we are lucky, we conclude "to hell with it all, I must go where words cannot, and I must go alone".

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Michael James's thoughts about love, men, women, girl, marriage, the idea of owning a woman, a male devotee approaching the Lord as a girl seeking marriage (his own words) etc. are archaic, ridiculous, childish and in very poor taste. Maybe that is how he feels personally about marriage, sex, man owning a girl or woman, approaching the Lord etc. but then he is speaking as though for all other men and women in general. He did mention traditional societies in his comment in his defense as sort of disclaimer.

Mr.James also mentions that true love can happen only between a man and a woman. In today's world women consider themselves as equals and not as though they are owned by their men and marriage or love is not restricted to just between the opposite genders.

I feel it is time Michael started thinking for himself as a man instead of letting Sri Venkataraman do all the thinking for him.

The same goes for Mr. Lohia also who is convinced that disagreeing on anything with Sri Venkataraman and Mr. James is a sin.

NN said...

@Unknown: Nothing is in poor taste if it is put in the service of Ramana Maharshi, except what Mr. James and Mr. Lohia, as the representatives of Maharshi, themselves decide as distasteful.


It is incredible that an unenlightened being, a mere trader of words, has been uplifted by this world to a functional position reserved only for those truly realized. Someone in my position would choose to disappear from the world, out of immense shame of being regarded as something which I am not. But not Mr. James and not Mr. Lohia.

You should know that they are burdened with the extraordinary task of moving as many souls as possible towards enlightenment. I think they believe themselves to be the captains of the Flying Dutchman (from those popular movies) who are charged with the job of ferrying souls, who die at the seas, to the other side.



@Josef Bruckner: Just because someone is skilled at swallowing criticism does not mean that they are putting it to its correct use. Take Mr. Lohia and Mr. James. Do you think they will learn anything from any criticisms thrown towards them?

The old adage of barking dogs and the elephant is available, as everything else, for the ego too to misuse. Thick skins are also available so that the ego can protect itself.

Without such thick skins, a single word criticism could break the shell of the ego and expose the true path. But that rupture usually causes upheaval in one's life. Not sure if Mr. James, who begs for funds on the Internet, and Mr. Lohia, would want to risk their lives.

Josef Bruckner said...

What do "Unknown" and "NN" expect to achieve by their comments ?
What's this monkey business ?

Unknown said...
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Josef Bruckner said...

Michael,
do you really still want to allow such comments of "unknown" origin ?
"Unknown" has clearly shown his great and admirable abilities.

Unknown said...
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Josef Bruckner said...

Unknown,
for telling the truth about somebody you could be engaged as adviser by earning a huge salary. Would you not like to take on the job ? :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 36

O worldly-minded man who is unable to understand the wise reasoning and the teachings of sages about the supreme knowledge, if properly scrutinized, this big universe of delusion is seen to be nothing but the illusive play of the vasanas [mental tendencies] within you.

Reflections: Very few are attracted to the teachings of Bhagavan. His devotees are plenty, but his real followers are rare. Even those who try to follow his teachings, very few have a clear grasp of his teachings. This is because these devotees do not give up their old ideas and beliefs, but as an add-on to their old beliefs, they try to understand Bhagavan’s teachings. This bhelpuri* will always fail. We use bhelpuri as a metaphor to describe a thing which has too many things mixed up together.

So if we want to understand Bhagavan’s teachings in its purity, we have to give up all our old ideas and beliefs. Bhagavan’s teachings are extremely radical but extremely-extremely simple. If we try to mix other teachings with his teachings, it loses its simplicity.

What is this universe? It is nothing but our thoughts or ideas. These thoughts arise from the seeds of these thoughts, our vasanas (our mental inclinations). The totality of these vasanas makes up our will. So whatever we experience is just a manifestation of our will.

Bhelpuri is a savoury snack originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is made of puffed rice, vegetables, various types of sauce and various types of spice.

Unknown said...

Mr. Lohia

Where do you stand as a devotee of Bhagavan (as you like to call Sri Venkataraman) based upon your comment above. Sir how would you rate yourself?

Aham said...

.




What does not change?

......It is only "I"!




.

Josef Bruckner said...

In contrast to the ego-'I':
Unchanging is only the real eye ('I').

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is Bhagavan’s will?

It is infinite and indivisible love. In order to experience that infinite and indivisible love, we have to become that. Just like to be the ocean, the ice has to melt.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-09-30 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James answers questions about the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana (49:00)

An imaginary conversation:

Devotee: Bhagavan, it is written in Nan Ar? that you have no will and that things happen because of the specialness of your mere presence, is it true?

Bhagavan: Yes, this is true. But you can also say that my will is infinite and indivisible love.

Devotee: Could you clarify. How can you have a will and no will at the same time?

Bhagavan: My will is love because I like to love myself and since I experience all of you as myself, my will is to love all. However, there is no all in view because I don’t see you as you see yourself.

Devotee: Why do I not experience you as really are – that is, why have you kept me away from your infinite love?

Bhagavan: You have kept yourself away from my infinite love because you are more interested in the things of this world. Your worldly desires, which are just a distortion of my love, are preventing you from knowing me as I really am.

Devotee: So I am being foolish by desiring and being attached to all these things because these are preventing me from your true darsana.

Bhagavan: My darsana is not different from svarupa-darsana. See you yourself as you really are - that is all that you require.

Devotee: I need your help.

Bhagavan: It is available in abundance. What is lacking is your love and effort to know yourself.

Devotee: My obeisance to you.

Disclaimer: Since it is an imaginary conversation, I may not have conveyed Bhagavan’s views accurately. In other words, whatever replies Bhagavan gives in this conversation is my interpretation of his teachings.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
may I add a question to your fictitious conversation ?

Devotee: How can I build up/make well up/ make streaming from my heart the required love and effort ?

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Sanjay Lohia said...

Josef, in continuation of the conversation between Bhagavan and his devotee:

Devotee: This is in continuation of our conversation we were having earlier. How can I cultivate the required love and effort?

Bhagavan: By regularly trying to practice self-investigation. The practice entails that you turn your mind away from the objects to face yourself, namely ego. You need to do this as often as possible and, even more important, as intensely as possible. Every little effort will add up. You need indomitable perseverance and an equal amount of patience. You cannot fail if you keep up your practice.

Devotee: Thank you Bhagavan.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you seem to imply that the required "indomitable perseverance and the "equal amount of patience" will come gradually in time. Let's hope you're right!
Arunachala help me.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have started on a very exciting journey

We have started on a very exciting journey – a journey of self-discovery. What can be more interesting, more exciting and more important that this journey? So we have to follow this path with love, with curiosity, with eagerness to know.

It is love that drives us. Bhagavan often said, ‘Bhakti is the mother of jnana’. That is, without true love we can never know what we actually are.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-09-30 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James answers questions about the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana (1:02)

Josef Bruckner said...

venkat,
referring to your comment of 28 September 2018 at 09:55:
my opinion is that in order to know whether a sage sees any world on liberation or not we should not speculate about any description of the state of "the Perfect Enjoyer or Renouncer" but rather take off our ignorance by annihilation of the ego-mind.
Moreover let us investigate to whom the wish to know something about the perfection of a sage arise.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
so inversely jnana is the daughter of bhakti.
If it is love that drives us, that love must be already present in our heart albeit covered or buried under (useless) rubbish.

Roger Isaacs said...

Awareness cannot be taught, and when it is present it has no context. All contexts are created by thought and are therefore corruptible by thought. Toni Packer

Josef Bruckner said...

Because of its presence awareness need not be taught.

venkat said...

Thanks Josef. There is nothing further to converse on then. Good luck to you, and accept my apologies for disturbing your practice.

Josef Bruckner said...

venkat,
as you see I unfortunately at present don't have neither tendency nor ability for long-winded discussions. Therefore I am not a good partner for conversations.
Good luck to you too; you don't have any cause for apology because I felt no disturbance by your comments. Anyway thanks for your well-meant warning of relying on possibly one-sided concepts of Michael. Michael's interpretations of Bhagavan's teaching have not proved false. All the best.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Violence is the weapon of the weak, non-violence that of the strong ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Today is Gandhi Jayanti (birthday). Gandhi symbolises non-violence and truth. He is famous for leading India’s non-violent struggle against the British. What is violence? It is an act done either by our mind, speech (writing) or body which harms or intends to harm others (or even ourselves).

How non-violence helped Gandhi and his followers in their struggle against the British occupation? Firstly, it conserved their energy which they could use to in their non-violent struggle. Gandhi could tap the power of sattva to defeat the forces of rajas and tamas. As a result, the British had to ultimately bow before Gandhi and leave India.

Bhagavan was also dead against any sort of violence. Once when some thieves entered his ashram and his devotees wanted to capture and beat them, Bhagavan prevented them from doing so. He told them something to the effect, ‘we are sadhus, so we should stick to our dharma. They are doing their dharma, let us do ours by remaining silent’.

If we are subjected to any violence, we should think that it is our prarabdha, which is Bhagavan’s will. As Bhagavan teaches us in the 19th paragraph of Nan Ar?: ‘Likes and dislikes are both fit [for one] to dislike’.

When we rise as ego, we are rebelling against the will of God. God wants us to just be, but we defy him by rising as ego. So this is the first violence, and this becomes the root of other types of violence. So if we want to destroy all violence, we need to eliminate its root, our ego.

There is a saying: satyam eva jayate, meaning truth will always triumph. So eventually non-violence will prevail over violence because non-violence is the power of truth.



Sanjay Lohia said...

Is parabrahman beyond ‘I am’?

One of the basic principles of advaita is ‘I am brahman’. So what brahman means is only ‘I am’ – brahman is nothing other than ourself, our real nature. So this term parabrahman is just another term for brahman.

‘Para’ can mean ‘beyond’, so when we say parabrahman it can be interpreted in two ways. The wrong interpretation is to think ‘it means beyond brahman’, and the correct interpretation is ‘it means brahman which is beyond everything’. Brahman appears as all phenomena, but it is not any phenomena.

So anything other than ourself is just an appearance. So parabrahman or brahman cannot be other than ourself. Simple truth is what actually exists is only our real nature – atma-svarupa. It is what we experience as ‘I’. It is pure awareness. That is brahman.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-09-30 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James answers questions about the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana (1:26)

Reflections: Michael has explained elsewhere that nobody has made the teachings of advaita as clear and as simple as Bhagavan has done it. Also, Bhagavan teachings are coherent – that is, there are no internal contradictions in his teachings. The basic principles of his teachings hold together as a logical whole.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sanjay,
Regarding your quotes on non-violence:
How do you reconcile your apparent recommendation for passivity with Krishna's comments to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita?

Krishna told Arjuna to do his duty and fight while being unattached. Do you think all people should be pacifists or withdraw from active life? Would you have personally recommended to Arjuna to lay down his bow and withdraw from activity?

I know that Michael James and Sanjay Lohia would stand up and challenge Krishna and tell Arjuna that Krishna is wrong and instead to realize that Michael James has the ONLY correct way. :-)

Is it possible that the comments of Michael James repeatedly saying that his translations and teaching are the ONLY way, and his criticism of other teachers (ie Nisargadatta, Krishnamurti et al), AND MJ's saying that his translations are the only pure reliable record of Bhagavan's work and all others should be ignored..... could this be a subtle form of violence?

What I am saying: there are numerous varied different approaches to all things. Life is infinitely complex, varied and always changing. There is no single correct way to look at any situation for all people.

Whenever you and Michael say as you do above faced with a certain situation "WE SHOULD THINK... this way"...
This is just delusion. Brainwashing.

How ridiculous that the teaching of Michael instructs people both to NOT think at all and how to think at the same time. The delusion detector is sounding like a fire alarm.

AND you say Also, Bhagavan teachings are coherent – that is, there are no internal contradictions in his teachings. The basic principles of his teachings hold together as a logical whole.

EXCEPT you also say that for example that the largest single work "Talks" is "un-Bhagavan like" and must be avoided. Only the works MJ has translated should be taken seriously.

Live IS contradictory because all situations can be seen from multiple angles. For example one might analyze a situation from the jnana discriminative perspective or the bhakti devotional perspective and see 2 valid perspectives of many.
Michael James attempt to have a single non-contradictory teaching must necessarily tell people to avoid much of Bhagavan's work which embraces diversity.

NN said...

A single word suffices to describe the set of behaviors that Mr. Lohia, Mr. James and their cronies display and support - deceit (kapaṭa in Sanskrit).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Roger, you ask, ‘How do you reconcile your apparent recommendation for passivity with Krishna's comments to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita? Krishna told Arjuna to do his duty and fight while being unattached. Do you think all people should be pacifists or withdraw from active life?’

Mahabharata war was fought between the Kauravas and Pandavas because Kauravas were unwilling to share their paternal kingdom. Krishna tried all means to avert this war, but Kauravas were unwilling to listen to reason. So it was a war of principles for the Pandavas. Being an aggrieved party, it was Arjuna's duty to fight the injustice and dishonour which they were subjected to.

Can we say that Arjuna was indulging in violence when he fought this war? No, Arjuna was merely doing the duty of a soldier. By fighting this war he was honouring the collective will of all Pandavas. However, he did keep Krishna by his side in this war? This is the message we need to take. We should always have Bhagavan on our side when we are fighting our spiritual or any other battle.

In our context, whatever worldly duties we engage in, we should always do so while in self-remembrance. Also, as Krishna advised Arjuna, we should perform our duties without desire and attachments.



Roger Isaacs said...

thank you Sanjay, I basically agree with your Arjuna comments.

You said above "WE SHOULD THINK... this way"...

Please tell me where Bhagavan EVER told anyone that they should think or believe in a particular way? MJ says "what you should believe is [this]".

Perhaps you may find an isolated quote somewhere. But IMO this "you should think this way..." or "you should believe this..." is NOT the original teaching of Bhagavan but added by MJ and friends.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Poor Mr. James has to take so much criticism from people just for saying what he feels is correct in his own blog. Is there no freedom of speech to post what he feels is right in his own blog?


He is not going to other blogs making a nuisance out of himself as a few here are doing to Mr. James.


Some one even blamed him for asking donations for his blog. What is wrong in that? As far I have seen, most blogs request for the same. If you can't afford to donate then don't.


The complaint was that because someone who contributes to the blog is given a free pass to post comments. I have not seen that to be the case at all.


What about so many people who do not donate and who post utter rubbish which have nothing to with Ramana Maharshi's self-inquiry approach? They have been allowed to post their nonsense also by Mr. James.

People can disagree with Mr. James but they cannot tell Mr. James not to post his thoughts is his own blog. This is ridiculous

NN said...

Calling Mr. James poor is to insult poverty.

- misogynistic views about women,
- divisive attitude towards other translators and sources,
- defensive attitudes towards questions which are posed,
- comparing themselves or their 'gurus' with other realized beings,
- lack of authority to speak from a direct experience of self,
- lack of personal integrity in dealing with their own shortcomings (except brushing them off as ego)

Despite all of this, the world is more than kind to support Mr. James' first world lifestyle, and Mr. Lohia's petty indulgences. The world uplifts them to the level reserved for realized beings, even when they are themselves not realized. Why is Mr. James not crying foul over that?



Give one reason why an enlightened being must care about material needs. What is stopping Mr. James and Mr. Lohia from spending their time in samadhi? As was demonstrated, Mr. Lohia has enough to feed and house both himself and Mr. James for their remaining lives.



Whatever gap Mr. James thinks is left in the world, there are many other sources (Buddha, Ramakrishna, Rajchandra, Nisargdatta, Vivekananda, Shankara, Ramana, Eckhart ...) who, each one on their own, can fill it, thousand times over, with a gigantic leap, power and authority of experience which is categorically lacking in Mr. James.

It would have been still okay if Mr. James and Mr. Lohia recognized the validity of other teachings, but their old egos are anal about it, as if those beings are in a direct competition to Mr. James and Mr. Lohia in this 'business'.

Unknown said...

Above comment of 2 October 2018 at 22:40 was posted by the same person who also posts quite frequently as Salazar.

Unknown said...

The word "Poor" Mr. James was not meant as in poverty. A person who is intelligent would have understood the context correctly.

What does it matter to the understanding of Sri Ramana's teachings if Mr. James or anyone else here is financially rich or poor?

NN said...

FWIW, I am not Salazar. It is not nice to see the followers of Mr. James use him as a scapegoat. This is unfair, but your stupidity is out of my control. Meh.


It is extremely funny to see the petty points which Mr. James' 'intelligent' devotees raise, instead of addressing the more serious issues which were listed down very clearly for them.

Specifically, Unknown's replies demonstrate the 3rd point - that of being defensive about the questions that are posed.


But, I am nothing if not accommodating, so I will reply likewise:

A person who is intelligent would have understood that the authority of teaching rests with someone who is enlightened, not with someone who 'understands' or 'translates' teachings.

A person who is intelligent would know the difference between speaking from experience, and speaking from understanding; this difference is of paramount importance in the realm of spirituality.

Unknown said...

NN, Yes. You are Salazar. There is no use lying. We are not simpletons not to make out that NN and Salazar are the very same person.

Unknown said...

No one said anyone is realized here. If you don't like James, Sanjay or anyone else here then bugger off and get your own Self-realized first like Sri Ramana did instead of expecting others to realize. Why is it that people want others to realize the Self and not themselves?

Rob P said...

However bad other people may appear to be, disliking them is not proper [or appropriate]. Likes and dislikes are both fit [for one] to dislike [or renounce]. It is not appropriate to let [one’s] mind [dwell] excessively on worldly matters.

Josef Bruckner said...

Michael will certainly know whether and when it is time to close the possibility to publish comments on his blog.

Rajeev Mehta said...

Hi Michael ..can you provide quotes by Bhagavan to mention no other yoga is needed before taking self enquiry. I recollect reading in ‘talks’ that he said self enquiry can be undertaken once one is fit, or bereft of vasanas. This question has plagued me for years specially since in hinduism, mind purifying is supposed to be a pre requisite (karma,Bhakti j before Raja yoga..

Sanjay Lohia said...

Those who malign us are cleaning our malam (impurities or sins) with their tongue

निंदक नियरे राखिए, ऑंगन कुटी छवाय।
बिन पानी, साबुन बिना, निर्मल करे सुभाय।।

Kabir says, ‘keep your critics near you; they will clean your nature without even using soap or water’.

Golden words! We do not understand the deep meaning contained in such sayings when we first hear them. However, these become meaningful if we relate them to our life experiences. We want to hear only good things about us, but such good things may inflate our ego. However, if we are criticised or maligned, it can be more beneficial to us. Even though our ego is an extremely strong fellow, each blow it suffers will make it weak.

Each criticism coming our way gives us a chance to check the strength of our ego. If we react or are affected by such criticism, our ego is thick and strong. This is good because at least now we are aware of the solidity of our ego. Bhagavan is giving us an incentive to cling more and more to his feet.

Each time we are maligned, it gives us an opportunity to rectify our will. The more we restrain ourself, the more we are purifying our will. If we react we will be strengthening the pravrtti elements our will (which are desires will impel ego to face outwards). If we, however, control our reactions we will be strengthening the nivrtti elements of our will (which are desires which impels ego to withdraw, subside or refrain from activity).

Sadhu Om was once unnecessarily maligned by some people. When people urged him to react to this he declined and instead wrote a Tamil verse, in which he thanked those who maligned him. He wrote that when he was a baby his mother would clean him malam (filth or excreta) with her hand, whereas those who malign him are cleaning his malam (impurities or sins) with their tongue. What Sadhu Om wrote is similar to what Kabir advised us to, namely to keep our critics near us.

Bhagavan gives us all sort of experience in our journey to self-discovery. He knows what is best for us. So with complete trust in Bhagavan, we should follow the path that he has shown us leaving everything else in his loving hands.



Unknown said...

"Rob P" is another one among Salazar's infinite names to defend his own tasteless shenanigans.

Ridgeway Rob said...
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Ridgeway Rob said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

Talks can be downloaded from here and other places.
It's a PDF so you can download it to your computer and then search on terms.
https://selfdefinition.org/ramana/Talks-with-Sri-Ramana-Maharshi--complete.pdf

Certainly there are places where Sri Ramana says that Atma Vicara is sufficient.
But a key is:
talk 20 M.: What is said is given out to suit the temperament of the hearers.

Sri Ramana's speech and writing and all other guru's speech is relative to the hearer and the gurus temperament. No speech is absolute.

IMO, if you can effortlessly direct attention inward largely without thoughts then you don't need any further instruction. And if not... then how will you accomplish it?

One might ask: well, isn't "I" the essential nature of our character and the most suitable for focus? This has been the argument for a long time but it is not what Bhagavan taught in the larger sense. We are Sat-chit-Ananda, a mix of qualities. If one predominates in ananda... then pure bhakti is the way. Bhakti is not taught here.
There is a page on Godman's site where Sri Ramana describes his death experience as 'I am the current of energy' over and over. Thus kundalini is validated and there are numerous quotes on kundalini in talks. Bhagavan describes his essence as the current of energy, NOT as "I". So for a person with the skill of kundalini... focus on the inner energy is the most direct way.

I love Talk 40 below. M describes exactly what has happened with Michael James work: MJ adhere's to one system and condemns all the others. Then the whole focus becomes a petty egotistical effort to support that one system and criticize others. This is EGO. This is the same mechanism seen in numerous religions such as Christianity.

These quotes DESTROY the work of Michael James. MJ says "there is only one way and I teach it" where as Bhagavan says "There cannot be any instruction en masse".

Teaching must be:
1: according to the temperament of the individual which might be Bhakti, Kundalini etc...
2: teaching must be according to the individual's ripeness.
See talk 107


talk 40
M.: Unless intellectually known, how to practice it? Learn it intellectually first, then do not stop with that. Practise it. Maharshi then made certain remarks:
“When you adhere to one philosophical system (siddhanta) you are obliged to condemn the others. That is the case with the heads of monasteries (matadhipatis)”.
All people cannot be expected to do the same kind of action. Each one acts according to his temperament and past lives.

Wisdom, Devotion, Action (jnana, bhakti, karma) are all interlocked. Meditation on forms is according to one’s own mind. It is meant for ridding oneself of other forms and confining oneself to one form. It leads to the goal. It is impossible to fix the mind in the Heart to start with. So these aids are necessary. Krishna says that there is no birth (janma) to you, me, etc., and later says he was born before Aditya, etc. Arjuna disputes it. Therefore it is certain that each one thinks of God according to his own degree of advancement.

Talk 107.
Later the Yogi asked:
How is the spiritual uplift of the people to be effected? What are the instructions to be given them?
M.: They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and according to the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

talk 251
D.: It seems difficult. May we proceed by bhakti marga?
M.: It is according to individual temperament and equipment. Bhakti is the same as vichara.
D.: I mean meditation, etc.
M.: Yes. Meditation is on a form. That will drive away other thoughts. The one thought of God will dominate others. That is concentration. The object of meditation is thus the same as that of vichara.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sanjay and Michael
You did not respond to my question:
You say "WE SHOULD THINK... [this way]".

Where does Bhagavan says that we are required to think in a certain way?

When did Atma Vicara become about blind faith belief?

Blind faith belief is a mechanism introduced by Michael James and friends to enhance their authority. It has nothing to do at all with Atma Vicara.
Michael James is corrupting Bhagavan's teaching and must retire in solitude to practice what he preaches. Michael, if you are so certain that you know the ONLY way then practice it and become realized.... then speak about it.

Unknown said...
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NN said...

Whatever Mr. Lohia writes is absolutely correct. It is also evident from his behavior that he uses the knowledge, about using criticisms to diminish one's ego, to strengthen one's ego. I also know that Mr. Lohia does not understand what I just wrote. :D

Writing about something and practicing that something are two very different approaches. I give you two guesses to answer which of the two approaches scholars like to follow. :D


Why should I leave this blog? The behavior of unrealized egos, who pretend to be enlightened, who churn out narrow-minded 'teachings', whose responses and practices are shifty and inconsistent with what they preach, is extremely educational to witness.


Again, I am not Salazar. And I have to say that, so that you may direct your self-righteous hatred away from him and towards me, "NN". Don't worry, nobody is trying to rob you of your birth-right to hate.

Unknown said...

"3 October 2018 at 15:39 comment" posted by Roger Isaacs is none other than SALAZAR himself even though that is also not his real name.

Unknown said...

"3 October 2018 at 15:41 comment" posted by NN is none other than SALAZAR himself even though that is also not his real name.

Unknown said...

Mr. Michael James and blog moderator/adminstrator,

Since Salazar (that is not his real name anyway) is abusing you and your website by his cyber-stalking behavior by posting his comments under several usernames, may be you should have the option of "posting comments after moderation" as many websites do.

NN said...

I find it incredibly funny to notice that if Unknown had uttered Ram's name as many times as he has uttered Salazar's name, he'd already be enlightened. :D

Unknown, if you do not take the name of Ram now when you are alive, people will have to do it for you when you are dead - "Ram bolo bhai Ram", "Ram naam satya hai". :D

Unknown said...


Salazar aka NN, how is that you are still not enlightened yourself? Why don't you practice what you preach others?


Unknown said...

Salazar aka NN, Roger Isaacs, Rob P, Ridgeway Rob etc, etc. I find it incredibly funny that Mr. Michael James out of his incredible generosity and compassion even put up with people such as you for so many years. Mr. James is a true follower of Bhagavan in every which way possible. Michael James unlike you practices what he teaches. Salazar, you can only preach others without yourself being enlightened.

Unknown said...

Mr. Michael James and Blog administrators"

Another option to prevent cyber stalkers like Salazar who uses several usernames and posts as different people is to allow only members to post under proper rules and guidelines. Any offending member such as Salazar posting under different usernames and not following guidelines can be blocked from posting in blog.

Unknown said...

Salazar, AKA NN, Roger Issaacs and many others too long to list here,

You poke fun at Michael James, Sanjay Lohia almost everyday for their articles and posts using different usernames as though posted by other people and not you. You ridicule them for not being enlightened and advise them to practice samadhi,atma-vichara etc.

How come you yourself are not enlightened yet and do not follow the very advice you preach them? Does that not betray what kind of a hypocritical person you yourself are?

Your motto in life is only others (except you) should get enlightened and behave like sages but you can behave like an unelightened cyber-stalker-abuser and commit all the shenanigans as you may please.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Consuming food in moderation is extremely important

Food is one of the most frequently discussed topics on this blog. The quality and quantity of food we consume have a direct and great bearing on our practice of self-investigation. We can experiment and try adjusting the quality and quantity of food and see its effects.

Though I was consuming sattvika vegan diet (although some days it was less sattvika), but consuming food in excess considering my sedentary lifestyle. So I tried adding mita (moderate quantity) to my sattvika diet, and I can immediately feel the difference. The moderate quantity is keeping me light and alert. When I overate, it made my practice that much more difficult.

We need to chew our food properly for proper digestion. Bhagavan advised that we should avoid constipation. Enough water helps. We need to avoid excess of chillies, salt and sugar.

The golden rule of our diet is to consume fruits and vegetables in good quantity and restrict the consumption of cereals, daals, nuts and so on.

So mita sattvika ahara, as Bhagavan teaches us, is definitely the best amongst all restrictions. Such a diet increases the sattva-guna of the mind and greatly helps our self-investigation.

This is primarily my manana. When I put down my thoughts in writing, it helps me to reinforce these ideas in my mind. Such reflections may also help others, but that is incidental.

Aham said...

Dear Roger,

Where does Bhagavan says that we are required to think in a certain way?
When did Atma Vicara become about blind faith belief?


The true Vichara is wordless, how can you fight what is wordless and ungraspable?


Michael James is corrupting Bhagavan's teaching and must retire in solitude to practice what he preaches. Michael, if you are so certain that you know the ONLY way then practice it and become realized.... then speak about it.

If Mr James is a true aspirant then what effect can insults have? An insult is a mirage, a mere cloud, the sky remains unblemished.

Aham said...

Thank you Mr Lohia. It is a good reminder, "Sattvic food in moderation".

Aham said...

Mr Nobody

4min 24sec



.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Aham,
What is a "true aspirant"?

Michael James is not a realized being.
For years he has proclaimed that he has the ONLY way to God.
THIS is the insult.

Because he is not realized his teaching is an intellectual imagination and drifting further from the truth.

Do you think people should be able to announce "I have the ONLY way to God" and not be challenged?

Aham said...

Dear Roger,

By "true aspirant" I simply mean someone practicing vichara most of the time.


Do you think people should be able to announce "I have the ONLY way to God" and not be challenged?

It depends on what they mean.

Assuming Mr James does claim he has "the ONLY way to God" then I interpret that as meaning the only way to God is for the egoic 'I' to resolve into Stillness, Silence, Being.

If that is what he means, then I agree with him, it is the only way.

For the egoic 'I' cannot simultaneously grab onto objects and resolve into Beingness. It is one or the other.


**Furthermore, vichara goes straight to object-less Beingness. Other practices may also in the end take one to Beingness, but their starting point is to utilise an object: mantra, visualisation, prayer etc. All objects sustain the ego until relinquished.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Atma-vichara is the only means to make the mind subside permanently

Some of our friends are offended when we tell them that, according to Bhagavan, self-investigation is the only means to destroy ego or to experience ourself as really are. However, this is what Bhagavan has repeatedly emphasised in his teachings.

For example, in Nan Yar? he says:

Only by [means of] the vicara [investigation] who am I will the mind subside [or cease to be]; […]

To make the mind subside [permanently], there are no adequate means other than vicara. If restrained by other means, the mind will remain as if subsided, [but] will emerge again.

In verse 885 of Guru Vacaka Kovai he says:

Except [by] the path of investigating the vital awareness [‘I am’], whatever effort is made by other means beginning with karma, one will not attain and enjoy self, the treasure shining in the heart.

In Maharshi’s Gospel (Book 2, chapter 1) it is recorded that he said:

The attempt to destroy the ego or the mind through sadhanas other than atma-vichara is just like the thief assuming the guise of a policeman to catch the thief, that is himself. Atma-vichara alone can reveal the truth that neither the ego nor the mind really exists, and enables one to realise the pure, undifferentiated Being of the Self or the Absolute.

• All the above quotes are taken from the article: The Paramount Importance of Self-Importance (2nd February 1978) by Sadhu Om

However, if one’s goal is not to experience oneself as one really is, then, of course, there are other means to achieve other goals.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Aham, I remember one incident in Bhagavan’s life. Once some people started all sorts of false and derogatory stories about Bhagavan to show him in a bad light. When Bhagavan came to know about this, he was happy. He said something to the effect: ‘O this is good. There are too many people here these days. If people believe these stories, at least some of them will stay away. So this place will become less crowded’. This could have been said as a joke, but this is how a jnani will react to any praise or blame coming his way. He is unaffected by such things.

However, our case is different: we look for praise but dislike if we are maligned. But the more we are stabilised in our true nature, the more any praise or blame will affect us less and less. We will not become too elated if we are praised nor become too depressed if we are maligned. We will become more balanced.

Rob P said...

Thank you Sanjay for your reminder regarding food consumption.

Crime of Excess

Guru Vachaka Kovai - 493

By the crime of excess, even the nectar will become poison. By the crime of excess, many are the evils. Hence once should realize the crime of excess and remove it.

Sri Muruganar: Though it is said that fasting and non-sleep are in a way an aid to spiritual progress, excess of them is certainly harmful. Bhagavad Gita points out: “For he who sleeps more or utterly restrains sleep, and for he who eats more or fasts more, there is no success in yoga.” Sri Bhagavan also used to say that more than fasting, sattvic food in moderate quantities is the proper aid for sadhana.

NN said...

Mr. Lohia, people are not offended by what Ramana said. He said different things to different people.

What is offensive is to see people, who possess mere bookish knowledge about the truth, try and guide the world as if they are the knower of the truth. You yourself are not above criticizing David Godman, Buddha and several others. Whatever you write in your defense, your attempts to 'lower' your ego, they are all actually strengthening your ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 37

Like the illusory yellow seen by a jaundiced eye, the whole world that you see before you is the product of your own mind, which is full of deceptive vices such as desire [anger, lust and so on]. In reality, however, it is the plenitude of pure jnana.

Reflections: This world is like a white canvas. We can give it whatever colour we want by our likes and dislikes, by our desires and attachments. Are these likes, dislikes, desires and attachments, fear, anger, lust and so on part of this world? No, they are part of our will. So if we see any of these things outside, we can be sure that these are only our reflections or mental creations.

This is why Bhagavan never asked to try to reform this world. This world is our reflection, and therefore how can we reform our reflection without reforming the thing whose reflection it is? If we rectify the original, its reflection will automatically be rectified.
If our jaundiced eye becomes normal, all the illusory yellow seen outside will automatically disappear.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 38

Just as ‘yellow’ fades away in the sunlight, the appearance of this world disappears in the light of self-knowledge, and therefore it cannot be a creation of the supreme. It is merely like the beautiful colour designs which appear on a peacock’s plumage; that is to say, it is only the reflection of the vasanas within you.

Reflections: Bhagavan teaches us that this world will disappear in the clear light of self-knowledge. So we have to make a hard choice: do we want this world, or do we want self-knowledge? We cannot have both simultaneously. If we chose this world, we are foolish because this world is a phenomenon which appears and therefore will also disappear. So we cannot enjoy this world forever. However, if we chose self-knowledge, we are wise because once it is experienced we can enjoy it eternally.

As in verse 37, Bhagavan reiterates that this world is nothing but a reflection of our vasanas. So if our ego and all its vasanas are annihilated, this world will disappear along with these. Therefore our aim is manonasa (destruction of mind) or vasanashaya (destruction of our mental tendencies). If one is accomplished, the other will automatically be accomplished.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Correction:

If we choose this world, we are foolish because this world is a phenomenon which has appeared and therefore will also disappear. So we cannot enjoy this world forever. However, if we choose self-knowledge, we are wise because once it is experienced we can enjoy it eternally.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
the world-phenomenon still does appear...at least to me.
Choosing self-knowledge does still not mean enjoying its fruits.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Josef, this world appearance will remain until and unless we are able to destroy ego. When we choose self-knowledge as our goal, this does not mean this world will vanish immediately. It means we have understood that experiencing ourself as we really are is more important than anything else. It means that we will now try to devote our maximum possible time and interest in sravana (studying Bhagavan’s teachings), manana (reflecting on these teachings) and nididhyasana (self-investigation).

We do not try to experience atma-svarupa because we want to enjoy some temporary fruits. Atma-jnana is infinite love, happiness and satisfaction, what more do we want? It is an end in itself.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ira Schepetin on "NonDuality; Steps to Self-Realization"

Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf26-hdtw4A

Sanjay Lohia said...

I am neither fit for this world nor am I ready to surrender myself

The following is an edited extract from the video: 2018-09-27 Battersea Park: Michael James discusses verse 3 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padigam (14:00)

The second half of this verse is as follows:

What little obstacle now [prevents you fulfilling your intention to kill me]? For what [reason or purpose] [are you] tormenting me in this way, making [me] half alive? Arunachala, who are God, fulfilling your intention [to annihilate me completely], may [you] live as the [only] one for all eternity.

Michael: Bhagavan tells Arunachala,'You have the intention of killing me, so what obstacle remains? Why don’t you just do it outright? Don’t delay any longer. I am neither alive nor dead'. That is the implication.

So again Bhagavan is pleading with Arunachala to finish off the task. 'Don’t keep me suspended, I am neither fit for this world nor am I ready to surrender myself. So I am tormented'.

You can watch this video by clicking the following link:



Sanjay Lohia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanjay Lohia said...

Link:

video

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
regarding Arunachala Padigam-video in London-Battersea Park

Bhagavan slipping in the role of a petitioner begging to himself as Arunachala for killing his "ego" sounds funny.
Obviously he puts himself in our position ...for our's sake.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Josef, Bhagavan prayed to Arunachala, which is nothing but Bhagavan, so, in fact, Bhagavan was praying to himself. This is called God’s leela (divine play).

Bhagavan’s entire life was for our sake. He experienced himself as he really is in 1896, but he remained in the body until 1950 – for another 54 years – for whose sake? It is only for our sake. He wrote Ulladu Narpadu, Arunachala Stuti Panchakam and other such works for whose sake? It is again for our sake. He didn’t need his body after 1896, and he certainly didn’t need Ulladu Narpadu, Arunachala Stuti Panchakam and other such works.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 39

This world is a mere illusion seen in the deluded objective sight of the ego, which is simply the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea. In the sight of self-knowledge, however, it is as false as the apparent blueness in the sky.

Why is the sky blue? Scientists say that a clear cloudless sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light. So the blueness of the sky is an illusion.

Likewise, this world is a mere illusion. It seems to be there but it is not there. Not only that, the one who experiences this world, namely ego, also merely seems to be there but is actually not there. So it all seems like a ghost story. Nothing is real but everything seems to be real. We are totally in the grips of maya.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 40

How does this false and villainous vast world that cheats and ravages the minds of all people [except the wise] come into existence? For no reason other than our error in falling away from, instead of clinging to, self-attention.

Reflection: If we put our faith in ‘this false and villainous vast world’, it will inevitably disappoint us. We must have seen many deaths around us, how many of these people say ‘goodbye’ will contentment in their eyes? I have not seen any such people. I think we will all depart uncontended if we place our faith in the world.

So we need to ignore this world, and we can do so most effectively by turning within away from this world. So the practice of self-attentiveness is the only way to destroy all our dissatisfaction. Why? It is because happiness and satisfaction lie only within.

Roger Isaacs said...

You guys are making the words "atma vicara is the only way" as a literal absolute truth when there is NO POSSIBILITY that this could be true.

Various other masters have said such things. For instance Jesus with "no one comes to the father but through me."

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi did this intentionally with TM. He started out with a diverse message... but then switched to making TM the BEST and ONLY. This had the fantastic effect of ENGAGING the egos of followers. Immature followers want to have the BEST and ONLY just like any other product and this promotes sales AND gets more people practicing.
Unknowingly Michael James is doing the same thing: promoting sales by claiming a superior product but at the same time creating many drawbacks by emphasizing a rigid limited egoic authoritarian approach which discourages essential preliminary practices.

What did Sri Ramana really mean by "atma vicara is the only way"?
The statement IS true taken in a broader context.
For example TM does NOT typically lead directly to enlightenment because it focuses on preliminary techniques. If there were many schools focused on preliminary techniques at the time Sri Ramana spoke then this emphasis on technique-less inward attention was an important message.
BUT "who am I?" is not exclusive.
Each school (bhakti, kundalini, raja, hatha, jnana etc...) will have it's own advaita level practices.
Michael James teaches a total reliance on the intellectual idea that "I" is the ONLY way.
But consider Bhagavan's death experience which includes a kundalini perspective:
http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2008/05/bhagavans-death-experience.html
He emphasizes not that he is "I" but that he IS a current of energy.
I felt that there was a force or current, a centre of energy playing on the body, continuing regardless of the rigidity or activity of the body, though existing in connection with it. It was that current, force or centre that constituted my Self, that kept me acting and moving, but this was the first time I came to know it. I had no idea of my Self before that. From that time on, I was spending my time absorbed in contemplation of that current.

There have been many enlightened people in history, make your own list so there's no argument. Start with those like: Buddha, Jesus, Sankara, Mahavira, Patanjali on and on.
How many of these people mentioned anything remotely similar to Michael James' Atma Vicara?
Virtually none!!!
So are we to think that Sankara and Buddha either were NOT enlightened or took some sort of long road because they did not mention Atma Vicara? Or that they were just stupid or accidentally left it out of their teachings?
Because of the many enlightened geniuses who did not mention atma vicara.... atma vicara can NOT be the only way.
Language can not transfer essence, language does not transfer experience and people have different temperaments. Thus no single guru, no single conceptual teaching could ever be absolute. Only immature seekers like Michael James who have an egoic need to feel superior see their school as "the best, only, final way etc..."
My comments here join together the works that MJ translates AND the broader works such as "Talks" which are more diverse.
Total reliance on preliminary techniques (such as TM) can be a trap.
But on the other hand total reliance on advanced advaita techniques can also be a trap because without sufficient preliminaries the effortless attention on inward essence is too abstract and can not be accomplished.
Certainly the ego gratification of projecting that "my school is the best, only, most direct" etc is just another ego trap.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I am madly in love, but my beloved has locked herself inside her house and is not willing to open her door

I am standing outside the door of my beloved, but she is just not willing to open her door. I plead and plead, repeatedly ring her bell, even start knocking at her door like a mad fellow but still no response. I become despondent and lose all hope. At this very moment, she opens the door. I go in and she locks the door from inside. We embrace each other, and this embrace continues for a long long time. After a while, even our heartbeats becomes one. Eventually, we become one.

Our practice of self-attentiveness is like this. We are knocking at the door of our beloved, Bhagavan. We need to knock and knock and knock – that is, we need to repeatedly turn within – and at last Bhagavan will open his door and let us in. We surely love Bhagavan but he loves for us even more, so he is extremely eager to open his door. It is only a matter of time before he lets us in. Our task is to keep knocking relentlessly.

Once we are in there will be eternal union. We will be lost forever is the infinite ocean of bliss and love. We can never be separated again.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Sanjay,
Thanks, I like the knock, knock, knock on Bhagavan's heart.
And I also liked your post about moderation with eating.

This is good.
On the other hand, relentlessly knocking us over the head with your precious Bhagavan telling us what we must believe or that your idea of the teaching is the only way for all people for all time hardly feels like bliss & love. I hope to hear less of that.

Palaniappan Chidambaram said...

In one of the David Godman's video, he had highlighted the hierarchy of Bhagavan's teaching:

1. Bhagavan foremost teaching was Silence and in Silence.
2. Bhagavan would assert that your true nature is Self, Consciousness, You are That.
3. But then many could not experience Bhagavan's assertion and ask about "how" to recognize our true nature. Then as a method he would prescribe self - inquiry
4. And if inquiry was not possible, he would suggest, then just surrender at the feet of God or Guru and just be.

Bhagavan also mentioned to Kunju swami once when he asked Bhagavan that he cannot do self enquiry all the time. Bhagavan said, yes, yes the vasanas won't allow you try it and see. So when you are not able to inquiry, keep your mind fixed on japa, prayanam etc.

There is a beautiful saying in sufi - "There are as many paths to God as there are as many souls in earth"

Sanjay Lohia said...

Palaniappan, according to you, David Godman had highlighted the hierarchy of Bhagavan's teachings. According to David, Bhagavan’s foremost teaching and his second highest teaching is as follows:

1) Bhagavan foremost teaching was Silence and in Silence.
2) Bhagavan would assert that your true nature is Self, Consciousness, You are That.

If one is established in egoless silence, one will have no need for Bhagavan’s teachings. Likewise, if one is established in that (brahman) one will again have no need for any teaching. So if we go to Bhagavan, we have to assume that we are not established in egoless silence or brahman.

When we go to Bhagavan he may say ‘you are already brahman’, but that is not a practical teaching. If we are brahman, how to experience ourself as brahman? So his practical teaching starts from here. That is, to experience brahman we have to find out who is this ‘I’ who is brahman. And to do this we have to turn within and investigate ourself.

So, in fact, Bhagavan’s only real teaching is self-attentiveness. This can also be described as the practice of self-investigation, just being, remaining in silence, self-enquiry or self-surrender. However the practice remains exactly the same: that is, we need to turn within and try to attend to ourself alone.

David claims that the 3rd in the hierarchy of Bhagavan’s teachings is ‘But then many could not experience Bhagavan's assertion and ask about "how" to recognize our true nature. Then as a method he would prescribe self – inquiry’. By saying so he implies that one can experience one’s real nature merely by being informed about one’s real nature. However if Bhagavan tells us tat-tvam-asi, he is merely giving us a prior information about our true nature. But just by hearing such a mahavakya one cannot become established in brahman. One has to turn within and attend to brahman in order to experience it as it is.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment)

Sanjay Lohia said...

In continuation of my reply to Palaniappan:

According to David, the 4th in the list of the hierarchy is Bhagavan’s teaching, ‘And if inquiry was not possible, he would suggest, then just surrender at the feet of God or Guru and just be’. I have no problem is accepting this. He did seem to suggest that there are only two paths to our goal: self-investigation and self-surrender. However, he knew that these paths are essentially the same.

Surrender may start with the practice of surrendering one’s desires and attachments, but it can only be completed when we surrender ego, the one who has these desires and attachments. So this is where the paths of self-investigation and self-surrender merge and become one. Bhagavan explains this beautifully in the paragraph 13 of Nan Ar?:

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

So actually Bhagavan has only one real teaching and that is the practice of turning within to find out ‘who am I?’ If ‘I’ is experienced as it is, no other teaching will be required. Other practices may lead to the practice to self-investigation, but no practice other than self-investigation can enable us to reach our final goal of atma-jnana.








Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
regarding your reply to Palaniappan,
you say "So his practical teaching starts from here. That is, to experience brahman we have to find out who is this ‘I’ who is brahman."

Is it not more accurate saying: ...we have to find out who is this 'I' which does not now experience itself as brahman ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Josef, in any case, we should find out the reality of this ‘I’. What is this ‘I’? If we experience this ‘I’ as it is, we will directly know whether it is brahman or something else.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"If we experience this ‘I’ as it is, we will directly know whether it is brahman or something else."
Let me say it in happy anticipation and with a glimmer of hope: "...we will directly know that we are alone brahman and nothing else.":-)

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
...knocking on heaven's door...

referring to your today hopefully statement "...We can never be separated again. "

Have we ever been actually separated ?

Palaniappan Chidambaram said...

I'm wondering if cow Lakshmi did self inquiry and became self realized?

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

Sri Chidamabaram,

Apparently Cow Lakshmi did "self inquiry" in Tamil and got moksha just as Mr.Micheal James and his devotees themselves do every second of their lives even when they post their upadeshas, karikas and thesis.

Any way as per renowned sage David Godman (an unenlightened guy as he himself openly admits but has the uncanny gift to tell you who is enlightened and who isn't) in his You Tube video on Cow Lakshmi,that she was indeed ( allegedly) the reincarnation of Keerai Patti in her previous life who took care of Bhagavan's basic requirements of food water etc. when Sri Ramana was physically younger and in intense Samadhi and neglected even his own basic bodily necessities.


So Lakshmi as cow must have known Tamil from her previous life as Keerai Patti and did Self-inquiry (an absolutely essential requirement as per Mr. James and his hanger-ons) also in her cow shed in Tamil naturally.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Palaniappan, you wonder, ‘I'm wondering if cow Lakshmi did self inquiry and became self realized?’ Self-enquiry doesn’t mean asking some questions like ‘who am I?’ It means turning one’s attention within so fully that the mind disappears forever. According to Bhagavan, this is the only way to experience ourself as we really are. If Cow Lakshmi didn’t turn her mind within, was she given the instruction of tat-tvam-asi?

How do we read a book? We can read it only by opening it and reading it. Likewise, whether we are human or non-human, if we want to experience ourself as we really are, we have to turn within. Cow Lakshmi must have certainly done this before she left her body; otherwise, she couldn’t have experienced herself as she really is. Yes, Bhagavan’s touch and grace must have helped her to turn within, but it was ultimately the triumph of her will to surrender.

What is ‘self-realization’? We can look at this from two perspectives. From the perspective of jnana-marga, we can say that ‘self-realization’ entails the destruction of ego (mind). How can one achieve this? Bhagavan categorically says in paragraph 6 of Nan Ar?:

Only by [means of] the investigation who am I will the mind subside [or cease to exist].

However, from the perspective of bhakti-marga, we can say that ‘self-realization’ entails merging our mind in God. This is just a different way of describing the practice of self-investigation. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 22 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Consider, except by turning [bending or folding] mati [the mind or intellect] back within [and thereby] completely immersing [embedding or fixing] it in pati [the Lord or God], who shines [as pure awareness] within that mind giving light [of awareness] to the mind, how to fathom [or investigate and know] God by the mind?

So there can no doubt that before her death, Cow Lakshmi did turn her mind back within so completely that she became one with Bhagavan. As I said earlier, there is no other way she could have been liberated.



Unknown said...

Cow Lakshmi attained moksha only by Bhagavan's extraordinary spiritual powers and grace since he was Siddha. And so did Bhagavan's mother and a few other devotees with Bhagavan's infinite love and spiritual powers. They could not have realized the Self on their own efforts or bhakti (like many here arrogantly believe they can through the personal efforts of their arrogant egos) whatever the techniques or means even if they really wished for moksha.

Josef Bruckner said...

Instead of looking after "many arrogant egos here"...one should not neglect one's own inadequacy.

Unknown said...

"Bhagavan and Avatar Josef" has so much adequacy that he even realized Brahman from his own egoic efforts. No wonder he can look right through the inadequacies of other people. Such are the miracles at Happiness of Being ashram.

Aham said...

.



Jim McCarthy: NDE/ Advaita themes


.

Josef Bruckner said...

Unknown,
(how) can behaving like a dragon snorting with rage and thus emitting sarcasting and ironic remarks be a promising reaction to comments of others ?

Palaniappan Chidambaram said...

David Godman on Self enquiry....

"...what is inside yourself that thinks your thoughts, what is that entity inside yourself that perceives your perceptions. Don’t give it a name. Don’t call it "I" and go looking for it. Just try to focus attention on that within yourself which is the thinker of your thoughts, the knower of your memories, perceiver of your perceptions. Don’t call it I. Just try to “Be That” entity, “Be” in that place from which all associations and identifications arise. Hold on and rest on that. There is something in me that coordinates all the thinking, my thoughts, my decisions, my choices. It is very nameless, formless, state of being, state of awareness, there is something inside there that has this continuous tendency to extrovert itself, and put / direction attention on things other than itself. All I try to do is to hold on to that inner sense of what is that in me that perceives, what is that in me that thinks, what is that in me that remembers, and hold on to that in exclusion of all other thoughts. "

Michael James said...

Rajeev, in your comment you ask me to ‘provide quotes by Bhagavan to mention no other yoga is needed before taking self-enquiry’, and say that ‘mind purifying is supposed to be a pre requisite’, which seems to imply that you did not read sufficiently carefully what I wrote in the second section of this article, because even the title of that section, ‘If we have even the slightest inclination to practise ātma-vicāra, we have already gained sufficient citta-śuddhi by other means’, indicates that I did not intend to say that purification of mind (citta-śuddhi) by other means is not necessary.

Towards the end of that section I clarified this:

“A certain degree of purity of mind is of course necessary for us even to begin to practise self-investigation, because if our viṣaya-vāsanās are too strong we will not have any inclination or liking to turn our attention back within. Therefore what is the indication that we have acquired the required degree of citta-śuddhi [purity of mind or will] to begin practising ātma-vicāra? If we have a liking to try to practise it, that itself is sufficient proof that we have already gained the required degree of citta-śuddhi.

“Therefore though Bhagavan did sometimes concede, as in his reply recorded in these verses of Ramaṇa Gītā, that citta-śuddhi is required in order to follow this path, this should not make anyone feel that they are unfit or unqualified to practise ātma-vicāra. Provided we like to try, we are qualified to do so.”

You wrote, “I recollect reading in ‘talks’ that he said self enquiry can be undertaken once one is fit, or bereft of vasanas”, but he would certainly not have said or implied that one needs to be bereft of vāsanās in order to undertake ātma-vicāra (self-investigation or self-enquiry), because in the first sentence of the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he wrote: ‘மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும்’ (maṉattiṉgaṇ edu-varaiyil viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ irukkiṉḏṟaṉavō, adu-varaiyil nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai-y-um vēṇḍum), ‘As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist within the mind, so long is the investigation who am I necessary’.

Other means can purify the mind to a certain extent, but in order to eradicate all vāsanās we need to eradicate their root, the ego, and the only means by which we can eradicate ego is ātma-vicāra. This is why he said that ātma-vicāra is necessary until all viṣaya-vāsanās have been eradicated.

Josef Bruckner said...

Michael,
section 3.
Because I evidently have difficulties to carry out your recommendations may I ask the following questions again ?
How to let Bhagavan carry all my burden for me ?
How to be(come) willing to surrender myself along with all my cares and anxieties, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears ?
How to stop rising as ego ?

Michael James said...

Josef, being self-attentive is not difficult. Surrendering ourself is not difficult. They seem difficult only because of our unwillingness to let go.

In order to be self-attentive or to surrender ourself entirely we need to let go of everything other than ourself, and we will let go of them only to the extent that we are willing to do so. Therefore the question you ask is a very pertinent one: ‘How to be(come) willing to surrender myself along with all my cares and anxieties, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears?’

The answer is by patient and persistent practice. As much as we can we must try to be self-attentive and let go of all our likes, dislikes, desires, hopes, fears, cares and anxieties about everything else. To the extent that we are self-attentive, we will thereby let Bhagavan carry our burden, become more willing to surrender ourself along all our cares, anxieties and so on, and stop rising as ego.

Josef Bruckner said...

Michael,
thank you for your reply. I'm afraid I must own up that I am still far away from practising to be patiently and persistently self-attentive.