Sunday, 7 October 2018

When Bhagavan says that we must look within, what does he mean by ‘within’?

Last month a friend wrote me an email in which he asked me to clarify certain aspects of Bhagavan’s teachings, including what he means by ‘within’ when he says that we must look within, and whether the source of the individual self can be within that same individual self, so this article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Everything other than ourself (including not only our body and breath but also all our thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, memories, beliefs, desires and so on) is external to ourself, so what is ‘inside’ or ‘within’ is only ourself. When we attend to anything other than ourself we are looking away from ourself, so we need to turn back 180 degrees, so to speak, to look at ourself alone. This is what Bhagavan means by turning within or looking inside.

There are not two selves, a real Self and an individual self, because we ourself are one. However, so long as we experience ourself as Kevin, Michael or any other person, we are not experiencing ourself as we actually are. What you refer as ‘the Self’ is ourself as we actually are, which is pure self-awareness, ‘I am’, uncontaminated by even the least awareness of anything else, but when we are aware of ourself as if we were a person, that mixed and contaminated self-awareness, ‘I am this person’, is what is called ego, which is what you refer to as the ‘individual me’ or ‘individual self’.

What you refer as ‘the Self’ is what Bhagavan generally refers to as ātma-svarūpa, which literally means the ‘own form’ or real natural of oneself, or just as svarūpa, meaning one’s own real nature. Our real nature is ourself as we actually are, whereas ego is ourself as we seem to be. These are not two different things, just as a rope and the snake it seems to be are not two different things.

The rope is not a snake, but the snake is nothing other than a rope. Likewise, our real nature is not ego, but ego is nothing other than our real nature.

If we see an illusory snake, how to see what it actually is? All we need do is to look at it very carefully, because if we look at it carefully enough we will see that it is just a rope. Likewise, if we look at ourself, this ego, carefully enough we will see that we are just pure self-awareness, uncontaminated by even the least awareness of anything else.

When we look at what seems to be a snake, what we are actually looking at is only a rope, even though it continues to look like a snake until we look at it carefully enough to see what it actually is. Likewise, when we look at ourself, who now seem to be this ego, what we are actually looking at is only our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), even though we continue to seem to be ego until we look at ourself carefully enough to see what we actually are.

What is the source of the illusory snake? It is only the rope. And where is it? It is inside the snake, metaphorically speaking. Therefore if we look deep inside the snake, we will see its source, the rope.

Likewise, what is the source of ego? It is only our real nature. And where is it? It is inside ego, metaphorically speaking. Therefore if we look deep inside ego, we will see its source, our real nature.

Our real nature is pure self-awareness, which is what we always experience as ‘I am’. Ego is the adjunct-mixed self-awareness ‘I am this body’ or ‘I am this person’. Within this adjunct-mixed self-awareness, ‘I am this body’, is pure self-awareness, ‘I am’. All we need do is remove all adjuncts, because what will then remain is only this pure self-awareness, ‘I am’. It is so simple.

How can we remove all adjuncts? As ego we attach ourself to these adjuncts (everything that makes up whatever person we currently seem to be) by projecting them in our awareness (just as we do in a dream), so to remove them we must try to be aware of ourself alone. This is why Bhagavan said that attention is the key. By attending to anything other than ourself we rise as ego, and by attending to ourself alone this ego will dissolve and cease to exist, and what will then remain is only pure self-awareness, our real nature.

As Bhagavan says in verse 16 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
வெளிவிட யங்களை விட்டு மனந்தன்
னொளியுரு வோர்தலே யுந்தீபற
      வுண்மை யுணர்ச்சியா முந்தீபற.

veḷiviḍa yaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉantaṉ
ṉoḷiyuru vōrdalē yundīpaṟa
      vuṇmai yuṇarcciyā mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

அன்வயம்: மனம் வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṉam veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

English translation: Leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena], the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].
‘வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு’ (veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu), ‘leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena]’, means ceasing to attend to anything other than ourself, and ‘மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தல்’ (maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdal), ‘mind knowing [or investigating] its own form of light’, means mind attending only to its own fundamental self-awareness. Just giving up attending to external phenomena is not sufficient, because we do so whenever we fall asleep, so what is required is just that we attend only to ourself, that is, to our own fundamental self-awareness, because if we do so we will thereby give up attending to anything else.

Since our fundamental self-awareness, ‘I am’, is what now seems to be ego, the false awareness that is aware not only of itself but also of other things, in order to attend to our own fundamental self-awareness all we need do is attend keenly to ego, because when we seem to be attending to ego, what we are actually attending to is only ourself.

When we mistake a rope to be a snake, what we are actually seeing is just a rope, but with the added belief ‘this is a snake’. This added belief is like the adjuncts that we as ego mistake to be ourself. This added believe can be removed only by our looking at the snake carefully enough to see that it is actually just a rope. Likewise, all the adjuncts that we as ego mistake to be ourself can be removed only by our looking at ourself, this ego, carefully enough to see that we are actually just pure self-awareness.

Our aim is to experience and just be the pure self-awareness that we actually are, but in order to do so we must investigate ego. Since we now experience ourself as ego, we cannot attend to ourself except as ego, just as when we see a rope as a snake we cannot look at it except as a snake. However, by looking at the snake, we see that it is actually just a rope, and thereafter we can never again mistake it to be a snake. Likewise, by keenly attending to ego, we see that we are actually just pure self-awareness, and thereafter we can never again mistake ourself to be ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’.

Therefore when Bhagavan says that we should look within, what he means is that we should look only at ourself, this ego (the subject who perceives all objects, the one who is aware of everything else), because when we look at ourself keenly enough we will see that what we actually are is not the ego that we seemed to be but only pure self-awareness.

256 comments:

1 – 200 of 256   Newer›   Newest»
Aham said...

All we need do is remove all adjuncts, because what will then remain is only this pure self-awareness, ‘I am’. It is so simple.

Yes, I AM....it is so simple!

You Are. All else is an add-on.

* * *


In your view Mr James, how extreme should we take our practice?

If for example one enjoys a daily cup of tea with sugar, it is ego rising up, clinging to an object and strengthening itself, isn’t it!

Should the ego turn away from its daily cups of tea?
Or perhaps one can have their daily cup of tea, but remain Self-aware at the same time?

What is your view please?

Michael James said...

Aham, your daily cup of tea with sugar is not an issue, because a cup of tea cannot come between you and yourself.

What is an isssue is our liking for, desire for, interest in, concern for or attachment to such things, because any such liking, desire, interest, concern or attachment draws our attention away from ourself towards other things. So long as we have even the slightest desire for or attachment to anything other than ourself, we are not yet sufficiently willing to surrender ourself, this ego who has such desires and attachments.

To overcome all such likings, desires, interests, concerns and attachments the most effective means is to cling as much as we can to being self-attentive at all times and in all circumstances, even while having a cup of tea or whatever.

Josef Bruckner said...

Michael,
"What is an iss(s)ue is our liking for,...".
There I have a problem because for instance I allow me to enjoy a shower to the full or drinking my water/coffee/tea or eating a good meal just in the moment of enjoying.
Even though I do not feel to thus breeding/cultivating an attachment which could prove to be a hindrance/an obstacle to my "career" of surrendering this ego.
Rejecting any form of relish or enjoyment of life I - as this ego - do not consider as a necessary step to get the required attention to my/our own fundamental self-awareness.
Could not perhaps just deliberate cultivating complete neutrality/indifference towards wordly pleasures be more detrimental to that issue ?

Aham said...

So then,

When destiny serves tea, drink with impartiality (Self-attentiveness).
To LIKE tea, is to strengthen ego.


.

Dragos Nicolae said...

Sometimes these descriptions are so confusing....
Isn't "looking carefully at what is aware of thoughts" a much more clear cut description of the practice?!

Thank you,
Dragos :)

Josef Bruckner said...

Aham,
why switch off our senses ?
Because tea is neither tasteless nor odourless/scentless I definitely like its taste and smell I do not at all per se consider the perception of sense impressions as pleasant as strengthen ego. There are quite surely more dangerous experiences in the scale of sense impressions which may cause/arouse/excite/provoke certain longings or desires...
Nevertheless, as Michael unambiguously points out: to cling as much as we can to being self-attentive at all times and in all circumstances is our overriding concern and urgent matter of priority.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is responsible for our outward life, but we are responsible for our inward life

Many of my friends here believe that since Bhagavan is taking care of our worldly life, he is also taking care of our inward life. In other words, he is responsible for our sadhana. According to them, we just need to understand that Bhagavan is taking care of everything and once it is understood, our sadhana is over. To support this view, they quote Bhagavan’s note for his other.

They also often talk about a verse by Sadhu Om in which he supposedly says that once we understand that Bhagavan is taking care of us and that his love for us is greater than our love for us, our job is over. However, they have clearly misunderstood Sadhu Om. If he said any such thing, he is clearly talking about our life in this world. If we recognise that Bhagavan is making everything happen in this world, why should we be worried about anything in our outward life? However, they have taken it to mean that Sadhu Om believes that our sadhana is also over after this understanding dawns on us.

I think many of our friends have converted Bhagavan’s teachings into some sort of philosophy. That is, they feel that if we clearly understand certain things, our job is over. Bhagavan’s teachings are no doubt simple, but it is not that simple. I think many of my friends have not internalised the message contained in Ulladu Narpadu, Upadesa Undiyar and Nan Ar?. We will have a half-baked understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings if we do not read, reflect on and assimilate the message of these three texts.

We need to experience ourself as we really are by destroying our ego and only then our job is over. To do so we need to repeatedly turn within, need to go deeper and deeper within ourself, until ego is destroyed. These devotees completely overlook his fact. Until and unless we have even a single desire or attachment, we need to practise self-investigation. This practice is completely under the jurisdiction of our will, but these devotees conveniently pass on even this responsibility to Bhagavan. They believe since they have surrendered to Bhagavan, their work is now over.

They have completely missed the point of Bhagavan’s teachings. They overlook what Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 12 of Nan Ar?:

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown.

They fully accept the first part of this statement, namely ‘God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken’.

However, they are not interested in its second half, namely ‘nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly along the path that guru has shown’. They feel Bhagavan will walk unfailing on their behalf. However, if they think so they will surely be disappointed. Bhagavan has shown us the way, and now it is our job to tread this path with love and perseverance. There is no other shortcut here.



Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"..., so those who have been caught in the glance of guru’s grace will surely be saved by him and will never instead be forsaken’."

Could one ever exist at all without the guru's grace ?


By the way, you mean "note for his mother"...

Michael James said...

Sanjay, to the extent that we surrender ourself to Bhagavan, he will certainly take care of all our needs, both spiritual and material (and even when we do not surrender ourself to him he is still taking care of all our needs in spite of us obstructing him and delaying his work of grace). The only reason it seems to be necessary for us to make some effort is that we have not yet surrendered ourself entirely to him.

As you say, he ends the twelfth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? saying, ‘எனினும், குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்’ (eṉiṉum, guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi tavaṟādu naḍakka vēṇḍum), ‘nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown’, but what is the path that he has shown us if not complete self-surrender? So long as we rise as ego, we must try our best to surrender ourself to him by being keenly and persistently self-attentive, as he implies in the first sentence of the next paragraph.

Therefore it is true that he will take care of all our spiritual needs if we surrender ourself to him, so if anyone sincerely believes this we should not say anything to discourage them or undermine their trust in him. However, surrender is complete only when we do not rise as ego even to be concerned about our spiritual needs, so until then we do need to persevere in our effort to surrender ourself completely.

Aham said...

Dear Josef,

why switch off our senses ?

I doubt that we can. But instead of letting ego crave delicious tea, attention need be shifted to fundamental Beingness whilst drinking delicious tea.

So I think you are right,

.....as Michael unambiguously points out: to cling as much as we can to being self-attentive at all times and in all circumstances is our overriding concern and urgent matter of priority.

Aham said...

it is true that he will take care of all our spiritual needs if we surrender ourself to him


I believe Sri Ramana uttered the words, "Thy will be done" when He first arrived at Arunachalesvara Temple.

Vichara asks us to turn attention towards Self, which is a non-conceptual version of "Thy will be done".

But I wonder if it is also useful to have the mental attitude "Thy will be done"?

Josef Bruckner said...

Aham,
accepting the consumption of delicious tea modestly and with equanimity i.e. without craving for more will not bind us attached to such pleasure.

Josef Bruckner said...

Aham,
...to turn attention towards Self, which is a non-conceptual version of "Thy will be done"... well expressed

"But I wonder if it is also useful to have the mental attitude "Thy will be done"?".

In the most matters/affairs/situations, if not in all, that mental attitude will be appropriate to spiritual aspirants.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I agree. Bhagavan has also said that grace is the beginning, middle and end of sadhana. However, he has also repeatedly emphasised the need for effort. He says, for example, in the 10th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘Is it possible to dissolve so many vāsanās and be [or remain] only as svarūpa [my own actual self]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness.

So when some of our friends give talks emphasising that only grace is enough, we may have to sometimes present the other side of the picture. In the beginning, we have to be like baby money. It has to cling to its mother. However, later on we become like a kitten that is held by her neck by her mother. So without clinging to Bhagavan – that is, without being tenaciously self-attentive – how can we surrender to Bhagavan?

When young Kitty was taking leave of Bhagavan, she asked him, ‘Bhagavan, will you remember me?’ Bhagavan replied, ‘If Kitty remembers Bhagavan, Bhagavan will remember Kitty’. So we have to first remember Bhagavan before his grace consumes us.

However, I completely agree with your views. We should not discourage devotees who believe that grace will do everything for them. I never argue with such devotees. As you say, ‘to the extent that we surrender ourself to Bhagavan, he will certainly take care of all our needs, both spiritual and material […] Our lives are a testimony to this fact.

I had written in my comment, ‘They also often talk about a verse by Sadhu Om in which he supposedly says that once we understand that Bhagavan is taking care of us and that his love for us is greater than our love for us, our job is over’. What exactly did he say, and in what context did he say this? What can we understand from this, especially if he said 'our job is over'? Thanks.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Before we are separated from our possessions, let us discard them

Kyrzayda Rodriguez, the famous fashion blogger, died a few days ago from stomach cancer. I recently received a whatapp message which mentioned her words in her last days:

“I have a brand new car parked outside that can’t do anything for me. I have all kinds of designer clothes, shoes and bags that can’t do anything for me. I have money in my account that can’t do anything for me. I have a big well-furnished house that can’t do anything for me. […]

“So do not let anyone make U feel bad for the things you don’t have – but the things U have, be happy with those. If you have a roof over your head, who cares what kind of furniture is in it […]”

Reflections: I often wonder how people feel when they know they are not going to live long. It could be that they have cancer and doctors have told them that they just have a few more months. What goes on in their mind? I think it must be horrifying to them if they are too attached to their family, possessions and so on.

So we should work hard in removing our attachments when it seems there is time, but who knows how much time we have. Bhagavan has given us a sure and quick way to reduce and finally destroy all our attachments. The way is by practising self-investigation. The more we practise, the deeper we go within, the sooner we will reduce and destroy all our attachments.

The root of all attachments, ego, has to vanish in order to make us free of all our desires and attachments.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan used a remarkable technique to tackle evil – he didn’t recognise evil

The following is an extract from an article titled: Sri Bhagavan and Ahimsa by V. Krithivasan. This has appeared in the journal SRI RAMANA JYOTHI October 2018 issue:

The test of non-violence comes when unprovoked violence is directed against us. Sri Bhagavan used a remarkable technique in tackling evil – he didn’t recognise evil! He ignored evil is such a manner that the opportunity for conflict did not arise at all, at least from his side. When one offers no resistance whatever, the conflict never materializes. Being a perfect jnani, he remained a witness to everything that happened around him.

Reflections: I think it is a great lesson for all of us. We face evil and violence of all sorts – often unprovoked. Bhagavan has given us an excellent weapon to tackle these. Just ignore evil. Easier said than done, but one can clearly see that is the best method of tackling violence. Counter violence with non-violence!

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you mean of course "baby monkey" instead "baby money" :-)

Josef Bruckner said...

Michael,
referring to your reply to Sanjay
"However, surrender is complete only when we do not rise as ego even to be concerned about our spiritual needs, so until then ...".

I do not understand the clause "even to be concerned about our spiritual needs" in the given context. Could you please paraphrase it or give an example for its meaning ?

Aham said...

Dear Sanjay

What would you do if a loved one were being physically attacked?

I think it is a case of Self-abidance, whilst taking the necessary worldly actions.

That is, one may have to physically step in and apply physical force when someone is being physically attacked, all the while attending to Self.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Josef, thanks. Yes, it should have been 'baby monkey'.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Aham, you ask, ‘What would you do if a loved one were being physically attacked?’ I cannot categorically answer this question. However, we are indulging in unceasing violence and are a recipient of violence which is not as extreme as this. If someone looks at us angrily that could be violence by look; if someone abuses us that could be violence by speech; if someone does some acts will are intended to show us in a bad light that could be violence by action.

So when we talk about non-violence we are basically talking about ‘what should be our reactions in such situations?’ Should we react - indulge in tit for tat - or just bear all such violence calmly without reacting? In such situations, we should try to remain as calm and composed as possible. As it was written in the article that I quoted, ‘Bhagavan just ignored evil is such a manner that the opportunity for conflict did not arise at all, at least from his side. When one offers no resistance whatever, the conflict never materializes’. I think this is a brilliant response - no response is the best response in such situations.

However, if somebody is trying to physically harm us or our friends or our family members, then the situation becomes different. Our response will depend on the situation. We may just to flee the scene to escape being hurt, or we may even have to hit back and use physical force to resist the act of violence. This is acting is self-defence and cannot be considered an act of violence. In what manner we hit back will depend on the situation we find ourself in.

Unknown said...

You guys who are taking your egos and your dreams so seriously to be real, naturally will be reborn into the dream illusory as it may be.

Aham said...

Mr Lohia,

The ideal of non-violence is a beautiful one. But difficult to live up to in reality.

I believe Sri Ramana said only the one remaining as Self is non-violent.
The rest are violent (killing Self).

Thank you for your reply.



.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more one practises being self-attentive, the more it will help in the recovery of one’s mental illness

The following comment has been posted by blueskythinking83 under Michael’s latest video:

Dear Michael, I recently had a bout of severe ill health which also affected my mental stability. I could no longer even remember what self-inquiry was. It was all due to a simple change in the brand of my medication. I think self-inquiry and liberation wouldnt be possible without His blessings because something so trivial could affect the mind, the very tool we use to reach the Self.

I have replied to her/ him as follows:

Dear Blueskythinking83, as you rightly say, ‘self-inquiry and liberation wouldnt be possible without His blessings’. However, can one practise self-investigation (self-enquiry) if one is mentally unstable? It may be difficult in extreme cases, but even in such cases if one already has sufficient sat-vasana (inclination to attend to oneself due to one’s past practice), it could be possible to turn within.

However, if our mental condition is not that bad, we can definitely practise turning within. In fact, the more we practise turning within, the more it will help in the recovery of whatever mental illness we may have. The more we practise being self-attentive, the more the sattva-guna (the quality of equilibrium and calmness) of our mind increases, and this will greatly help our recovery.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramana Maharshi on Sense of Doership, Karma and Karma Yoga - Part 1

The present difficulty is that the man thinks that he is the doer. But it is a mistake. It is the Higher Power which does everything and the man is only a tool. If he accepts that position he is free from troubles; otherwise he courts them. Take for instance, the figure in a gopuram (temple tower), where it is made to appear to bear the burden of the tower on its shoulders. Its posture and look are a picture of great strain while bearing the very heavy burden of the tower. But think. The tower is built on the earth and it rests on its foundations. The figure (like Atlas bearing the earth) is a part of the tower, but is made to look as if it bore the tower. Is it not funny? So is the man who takes on himself the sense of doing. (Source: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 63)

Visitor: Our work-a-day life is not compatible with such efforts [for Self-realization].
Ramana Maharshi: Why do you think that you are active? Take the gross example of your arrival here. You left home in a cart, took train, alighted at the Railway Station here, got into a cart there and found yourself in this Asramam. When asked, you say that you travelled here all the way from your town. Is it true? Is it not a fact that you remained as you were and there were movements of conveyances all along the way. Just as those movements are confounded with your own, so also the other activities. They are not your own. They are God’s activities. (Source: The Core Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Roy Melvyn)

The feeling “I work” is the hindrance. Enquire, “Who works?” Remember, “Who am I?” The work will not bind you. It will go on automatically. Make no effort either to work or to renounce work. Your effort is the bondage. What is bound to happen will happen. If you are destined to cease working, work cannot be had even if you hunt for it. If you are destined to work you cannot leave it; you will be forced to engage in it. So leave it to the Higher Power. You cannot renounce or hold as you choose. (Source: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 268)

In the seventh chapter, Arjuna asks if Karma is a method (sadhana). Krishna answers that it is so if done without the sense of doership. So also are Karmas approved by scriptures which deny Karma. The Karma disapproved by them is that which is done with the sense of doership. Do not leave Karma. You cannot do so. Give up the sense of doership. Karma will go on automatically. Or Karma will drop away from you. If Karma be your lot according to prarabdha, it will surely be done whether you will it or not; if Karma be not your lot, it will not be done even if you intently engage in it. (Source: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 41)

What does the Gita say? Arjuna refused to fight. Krishna said, “So long as you refuse to fight, you have the sense of doership. Who are you to refrain or to act? Give up the notion of doership. Until that sense disappears you are bound to act. You are being manipulated by a Higher Power. You are admitting it by your own refusal to submit to it. Instead recognise the Power and submit as a tool. (Or to put it differently), if you refuse you will be forcibly drawn into it. Instead of being an unwilling worker, be a willing one.
“Rather, be fixed in the Self and act according to nature without the thought of doership. Then the results of action will not affect you. That is manliness and heroism.” (Source: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 58)

(Continued below in Part 2)

D Samarender Reddy said...


Ramana Maharshi on Sense of Doership, Karma and Karma Yoga - Part 2

Visitor: So Karma yoga is kartrtva buddhi rahita karma – action without the sense of doership.
Ramana Maharshi: Yes. Quite so. (Source: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 643)

Question: Without the sense of doership — the sense ‘I am doing’ — work cannot be done.
Ramana Maharshi: It can be done. Work without attachment. Work will go on even better than when you worked with the sense that you were the doer.
Question: I don’t understand what work I should do and what not.
Ramana Maharshi: Don’t bother. What is destined as work to be done by you in this life will be done by you, whether you like it or not. (Source: Day by Day with Bhagavan, 3-1-46 Afternoon)

If one keeps fixed in the Self, the activities will still go on and their success will not be affected. One should not have the idea that one is the doer. The activities will still go on. That force, by whatever name you may call it, which brought the body into existence will see to it that the activities which this body is meant to go through are brought about. (Source: Day by Day with Bhagavan, 9-10-45 Afternoon)

If you are not the body and do not have the idea ‘I-am-the-doer’ the consequences of your good or bad actions will not affect you. Why do you say about the actions the body performs “I do this” or “I did that”? As long as you identify yourself with the body like that you are affected by the consequences of the actions and you have merit and demerit. (Source: Day by Day with Bhagavan, 20-6-46)

What exactly did Lord Krishna tell Arjuna? He told him, the deed will get done according to the ‘doing’. I am the ‘doer’ watching the whole thing from above. Why do you worry? It is your body which does the killing of your relatives. Are you the body? No! Why then this bondage for you? Renounce the idea, He said. This means that He asks Arjuna to do the thing but to give up the feeling that it is he that is doing it. That is personal effort. The feeling that one is, or is not, the body, comes from one’s own ignorance. One only has to give up that feeling; that which one has, one must oneself reject. Who else can do it? If by personal effort that bondage is removed, action, under the orders of the ‘doer’, Ishwara, goes on of its own accord. Every one has his work allotted to him and he will do it automatically. Why should one worry? Arjuna, when he felt that it was not proper to kill his relatives, was only told to give up the feeling that he was the ‘doer’, yet it was Arjuna himself who ultimately fought. By listening to the Gita, he lost the feeling of being the ‘doer’ and the doubt he had had was no longer there. The work had to be done with that particular body, and it was done. Even Duryodhana was like that. Not that he was not aware of the correctness or otherwise of what he was doing. He knew that what he was doing was not right, but some force was leading him on to that work. What could he do? That work had to be done in that way by that body, and it was done. He is reported to have said so at the time of his death. Hence it is clear that some Force is making all people to do things. Getting rid of the feeling that ‘I myself am doing’ is personal effort (purushakaram). All spiritual practices (sadhanas) are towards that end. (Source: Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 184. The Doer and the Doing)

Josef Bruckner said...

Unknown,
therefore we are looking forward to meet you again in our next dream.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more one practises being self-attentive, the more it will help in the recovery of one’s mental illness – continuation

In response to my reply to her, Blueskythinking83 asked me a question:

@Sanjay Lohia thanks for trying to explain. May be I have not understood what looking within is. Can u pls explain it to me? How do I know if I'm doing it right?

I replied to her as follows:

Blueskythinking83, co-incidentally Michael James’ latest article is titled: ‘When Bhagavan says we must look within, what does he mean by ‘within’? You can visit his website www.happinessofbeing.com and go to its blog section to read this article. The following is an extract from this article:

Everything other than ourself (including not only our body and breath but also all our thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, memories, beliefs, desires and so on) is external to ourself, so what is ‘inside’ or ‘within’ is only ourself. When we attend to anything other than ourself we are looking away from ourself, so we need to turn back 180 degrees, so to speak, to look at ourself alone. This is what Bhagavan means by turning within or looking inside.

To answer your second question, you cannot go much wrong if you try looking within. You need to turn your attention away from everything else and try to be attentively self-aware. You are always aware of yourself whether or not you are aware of other things. However, you should not try to concentrate on any particular point in the body but just look deep within. We learn by practice, just as we can learn cycling only by trying to cycle.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is slowly-slowly cooking us – making us fit to be consumed by him

Most people believe that the world continues when we are not seeing it, but how can we be sure of this? Why should we believe what we don’t see? People say it is foolish to believe in God because we don’t see God. So by the same logic, it is equally foolish to believe that the world exists when we don’t see it.

Why don’t we see God? It is because seeing God means becoming food to God and we haven’t become food, so we have not seen God. If we want to see God we have to pay the price – we need to become his food. We say, ‘I haven’t seen God; therefore, there is no God’.

We are not that tasty for God because we have not yet become pakva. We have to become fully ripe and the ripeness is our willingness to surrender ourself. Bhagavan will not eat us until we are willing to be eaten by him. So our life is a process of marination. Bhagavan is slowly-slowly cooking us – making us fit to be consumed by him.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-10-07 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 21 (1:11 to 1:14)

Reflection: Bhagavan is slowly but surely cooking us and making us pakva (ripe). Such ripeness makes us develop vairagya. We can clearly see that there is nothing worthwhile in this world. This world-show is like a Broadway Show - extremely attractive till it lasts, but we soon know that it is all make-believe.

Therefore we now start loving God because we can’t stay without love. So Bhagavan induces us to make effort to merge in Bhagavan. What a wonderful play of grace! Can any Broadway Show match Bhagavan’s leela (the drama played out by Bhagavan)?

Roger Isaacs said...

"Bhagavan is slowly cooking us":
Bhagavan is a cannibal?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi DSR and Aham below,
Your topic is very interesting: can one practise self-investigation (self-enquiry) if one is mentally unstable?

Is there anyone among us who is entirely stable? We have all experienced arising thoughts and emotions taking us away? This is just a matter of degree?

There are types of meditation that have been researched as effective for those in prison and with mental health challenges.
Research has been done on T.M. for example.
Pure Atma Vicara or attention on "I" is abstract and often not easily attained initially and so adjuncts are often very useful if not required and styles which have careful instruction in the basics can be useful.
Atma Vicara practice seems to require experience and a significant degree of self sufficiency.
And Bhagavan in Talks says repeatedly that no single approach works for everyone, there are different stages and people have different temperaments.
If using something like T.M. which is mantra based... then when there is inward attention without distracting thoughts and no need to introduce the mantra... then this is atma vicara. And of course they don't tell you this, they'd rather sell you more expensive techniques.

Aham, you ask about liking the daily cup of tea... is it ego?
And Michael responds: a cup of tea can not come between you and yourself.

The answers here are intellectual and promote atma vicara.
But atma vicara is not just thinking about atma vicara.

How do we know if Aham's cup of tea is taking him out of inward attention?
How do we know if Aham is attaining sustained inward attention at all?

Rather than asserting an intellectual idea of atma vicara...
Aham, do you or have you ever experienced sustained inward attention? Some decrease in mental activity and increase in inward attention and stillness for at least a brief period of time (a minute?) It's a sinking within into increased attention and stillness. The increased inward attention is like a pressure that tends to keep thoughts out.
For some... it may be best to find this sitting... and then after it can be located with reduced sensory stimulation... then find the same inward attention during activity.
Aham, IF you knew the experience of sinking within into increased inward attentiveness then it would be clear in your experience if various activities took you out of it.

If you don't like my description fine but how would you describe it?

How do we distinguish between thoughts about atma vicara and the actual practice?

morrison said...
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morrison said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Morrison,
sorry, i am the dim-wit:
T.M. is Transendental Meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
A system of mantra meditation etc.. a modern version of raja yoga.

morrison said...

thanks Roger
sorry about the name misspelling.

Josef Bruckner said...

presumably you spoke about Transcendental M.

Aham said...

Dear Roger,

I am not exactly sure where you are leading. However I believe the conclusion about tea (or any desire for that matter), is that one should remain inwardly Still, whilst drinking tea, rather than contracting into likes, dislikes etc.


.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Aham,
I am trying to move the discussion out of an intellectual "what should happen" to something useful which is: what are you actually experiencing? It's not useful if these questions stay on just an intellectual philosophical analysis which fails to be reflected in your practice.

You are asking about the experience of drinking tea. Michael is saying that tea cannot come between you and yourself. But Michael is making a philosophical presumption and ignoring your actual experience.

Aham, IF you could tell us that your inward attention was lost (or not) while drinking.. then probably you KNOW what inward attention is!
BUT since you are asking the question, apparently you are not settled in atma vicara / inward attention?

Then the question becomes: how can you become settled increasingly in inward attention and then you can tell US about your actual experience of drinking and it's no longer intellectual speculation!

D Samarender Reddy said...

Hi Roger,

You addressed a comment to me @ 9 October 2018 at 19:22; correct me if I am wrong, but I am not part of that thread of comments. Perhaps you mistook someone else's comment as mine because I posted only 2 comments above regarding Bhagavan's views on Sense of Doership, Karma and Karma Yoga.

That said, I do agree with your point that different methods/techniques will work for different people and a one-size-fits-all approach can be counterproductive.

Aham said...

Dear Roger,

Mr James is correct when he says "tea cannot come between you and yourself", for drinking tea and desiring tea are both mere imagination.

Now in terms of attempting to assess where I am at, or not at, regarding vichara, you are not going to be able to do it. But rest assured, despite any imaginings we indulge in, yours and mine, we remain as Self only.

You may wish to object that all of this just intellectualising.....for you maybe it is.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi DSR,
Sorry, that was Sanjay's post in-between yours.
But thanks for the Karma Yoga and doership comments.

Aham said...

Humility is vichara of sorts isn’t it.

When humble, ego is not rising up and going out.
It is resting and weakening.


.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s path is not a life-rejecting path; it is a life-affirming path

Bhagavan’s path may seem to be a life-rejecting path, but what is real life? This body is a walking and talking corpse. When we leave it, it is just doing to be like a log of wood. They will bury or burn or dispose of it in some way. They will dispose it off as quickly as possible because it is going to start smelling.

So the life of the body is not real life. The real life is pure-awareness that we actually are. So Bhagavan’s path is not a life-rejecting path; it is a life-affirming path. The people who run after the world are rejecting life.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-10-07 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 21 (1:09 to 1:11)

Reflection: We will be in this body only for a short time. That is, this body will die sooner or later. Anything which is not permanent cannot be real ‘I’. So what is real ‘I’? It is pure self-awareness. This is what we really are, and this can never leave us.

So we should try to reject this body like a corpse and cling tenaciously to ourself. Even when the body seems to be alive, it is nothing but a corpse - as Michael says, it is a walking-talking corpse.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay,
"So we should try to reject this body like a corpse and cling tenaciously to ourself. Even when the body seems to be alive, it is nothing but a corpse - as Michael says, it is a walking-talking corpse."
Unfortunately experience shows that the body is prone to illness. In the event of serious illness or writhing in pain the body will draw almost the whole attention to its recovery. Then it will not care about whether we do reject it as a corpse or not.
Nevertheless, as you say, we should try to cling tenaciously to ourself as pure self-awareness.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Hi Michael,

A doubt on Ulladu Narpadu

I have got from Sri Ramanasrama the English version of Lakshmana Sharma's commentary in Tamil on Ulladu Narpadu. I was wondering if this is the authentic version that Bhagavan approved, or should I try to get hold of English translation of the Sanskrit version of Lakshmana Sharma?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Aham,
In the recent article section 46 MJ says "Self-investigation is not imagining, which is a mental activity, but the cessation of all mental activity".

You say "drinking tea and desiring tea are both mere imagination".

When you are holding the cup in your hands and drinking... how is this an imagination? Excuse me, but are you making any sense? Please explain yourself.

Advaita teachings may suggest that the world is an unreal. But in order to discover this as a reality the way is to cease all imaginations.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ego is rising - it is doing; we are just being

Being is our real nature – we just are. But ego is not being, it is rising, it is doing. There is activity so long as there is rising and doing. That is, our attention is facing outwards. If we want to return to the state of just being, our attention should not be on the things other than ourself, it should be on ourself alone. So long as we are rising and attending to things other than ourself, we are feeding ego. Therefore, we are not in a state of just being.

Because Tinnai Swami was fully ripe that one word from Bhagavan - iru - was enough to bring about that final 180 degrees turn, and he was swallowed by Bhagavan. ‘Becoming food is seeing’ – so he became food to Bhagavan. He remained in the state of just being, which is otherwise called ‘seeing oneself’ or ‘seeing God’.

Doing is not our real nature because we are not always in a state of doing. Only in waking and dream we ‘do’, so ‘doing’ cannot be our real nature. If ‘doing’ were our real nature, we would always be doing. However, in sleep we are not doing anything, we are just being.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-10-07 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 21 (1:04 to 1:08)

Reflection: Why are we exhausted after a hectic day’s work? It is because all activities are unnatural to us. It makes us exhausted. Our nature is peace and rest – ‘just being’. ‘Just being’ can never make us tired because when we just are, we are not expending our energy. Hence, in such a state we are ever full of energy.

It is said that Bhagavan never actually slept. Even when he seemed to be relaxing with his eyes closed, he was alert to even a small noise nearby. Bhagavan is eternally in a state of just being. He is making things happen by just being.



Rob P said...

Egomania
Alan Jacobs
The Mountain Path March 2012

It would be good if one could write a perfect verse
Of Truth; a poem which expresses the reverse
Of falsity and delusion. Man is trapped in illusion.
Vast populations dwell in chronic confusion,
Because of a dire disease called egomania,
Stretching from Greenland right down to Australia.
Symptoms of egomania obscure Real Being,
The Knowledge of True Self without really feeling,
The pure bliss of consciousness awareness grace;
Realising ‘That’ as one’s own original face,
Not the one we see in the silvered looking glass,
That idolatry is one through which we must pass.
The way to achieve this more blessed sacred state,
Is by Self Enquiry, before it is too late.
We enquire within through attention ‘Who Am I?’,
And persist resolutely before we die.
Then the perfect Poem is unveiled, to be you,
Ones own pure loving Self.’That’ alone is really True!


Aham said...

.
Dear Roger,

Excuse me, but are you making any sense? Please explain yourself.


In a relative sense of course we can say "someone is drinking tea."
But in an absolute sense there is no such thing!

Take a new born, yet unable to conceptualise, is there anyone drinking tea for them?
In deep sleep, when you are unable to conceptualise, there may be someone right beside you drinking tea. But for you there will be no such thing.

There will only be Existence, Beingness.


.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Aham,
Apparently you are speaking from an advaita philosophical perspective: "there is only existence, beingness".
But this is my complaint or inquiry with you:
There is the theoretical advaita philosophical perspective. And then there is our actual experience.
The advaita sayings may be useful for contemplation.

But I am suggesting that we must be as honest as possible about our experience and NOT go into imagination. We must not go into advaita imaginations because imagination is just more thinking (per H.H. Michael James).

So if you experience only Being then you must be Self Realized?
So the question still is: when drinking tea... what do you experience? That's the key for me. Of course you may prefer to keep your experiences private.
If we imagine advaita sayings... the imaginations are just thinking or assumed beliefs and can prevent settling into self awareness.

Aham said...

So the question still is: when drinking tea... what do you experience? That's the key for me.

Where are you headed with this Mr Isaacs? Why so much interest?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Aham,
My passion is the practice of atma vicara (by whatever name or variation). That is my interest, both what the practice is and what is not it.

As MJ says above (feels weird to quote MJ in support of my argument, LOL)
"how can we remove all adjuncts?"
And as MJ said in the prior article: section 46
"atma vicara is not imagining, which is a mental activity, but the cessation of all mental activity"

Imagining is NOT self inquiry. Seems to me that virtually all of advaita discussion I've ever heard from those who claim some inspiration from Bhagavan is imagining!

Aham, you asked the question "if one enjoys a cup of tea...?"
I am applying MJ's observations to your question and the subsequent dialog.
If you find my questions to be too personal or irrelevant then there is no need to go further.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhakti means love: sometimes we can express our love through actions, but the actions themselves are not bhakti

The path of bhakti leads to the path of jnana so it has its place. However, what is necessary at one stage becomes unnecessary at a later stage. But just because these things may be unnecessary for us now, it doesn’t mean that they are unnecessary for others. However, once we are attracted to Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation and self-surrender all other practices become unnecessary.

For ordinary people going to a temple or church every week may be bhakti. For them breaking a coconut, putting some coins in the hundi, reciting the name of God a few times is bhakti. But bhakti means love. Sometimes we can express our love through actions, but the actions themselves are not bhakti. However, we are not here to judge people. These things may be right for them in their current level of spiritual development.

Ultimately, it is all a matter of what we want. As long as we want worldly things, we will continue praying for worldly things. There comes a time when we are dissatisfied with all these things. We have experienced wealth and health and all these things, but we know none of them last. They come and go. If we have millions, how long will it last? Just for a few years. One day the body is going to die and all our name, fame, money will go along with it. So what is the use of all these worldly achievements?

Slowly-slowly we come to the state of vairagya. Many things seemed important in the past but now seem trivial. That is the nature of the path of spiritual development.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-10-07 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 21 (0:53 to 0:59)

Reflections: I must confess, I sometimes look down upon my family members, relatives and others who are still doing these preliminary bhakti rituals. However, I should try to understand that these may be necessary for them in their current level of spiritual development. I should try to be more accepting.

NN said...

Mr. Michael says: "For ordinary people going to a temple or church every week may be bhakti."

Wow, Mr. Michael. I did not know that you are so extraordinary. It must be such a burden to live, truly believing yourself to be extraordinary, while at the same time pretending to be not.


Mr. Lohia's reflection is undiluted, concentrated ego-poison. He says he should be more accepting, etc. etc., yet he is not. He can't even accept other enlightened beings. Typical scholar. Talks the walk. I want a SouthPark episode to be developed based on these two.

Mr. Lohia, preliminary bhakti rituals are needed even for you - you are not supposed to judge the rituals either ways. You say you judge it wrongly, then say that one should judge is 'correctly'. But your 'super-devotee' mind can't grasp the notion of NOT JUDGING.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in the last paragraph of your comment of 8 October 2018 at 08:26 you wrote: “I had written in my comment [of 7 October 2018 at 17:47], ‘They also often talk about a verse by Sadhu Om in which he supposedly says that once we understand that Bhagavan is taking care of us and that his love for us is greater than our love for us, our job is over’. What exactly did he say, and in what context did he say this? What can we understand from this, especially if he said ‘our job is over’?”

Can you tell me which verse of Sadhu Om your friends are referring to? Without knowing that I cannot give you a precise answer, because I would need to know exactly what words he had used in order to do justice to them.

However, if he did say something to the effect ‘once we understand that Bhagavan is taking care of us and that his love for us is greater than our love for us, our job is over’, we would need to understand what he meant by ‘understand’ in this context. Obviously he would not have been using this word in the usual sense of a superficial conceptual understanding, because mere conceptual understanding is just the beginning and not the end of spiritual practice.

He often used to say, for example, that if we had truly understood that happiness is our real nature and therefore can be found only within ourself and not outside, our mind would have ceased going outwards. Therefore so long as our mind continues to go outwards we have not yet understood this teaching deeply and clearly enough.

Conceptual understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings can be obtained by means of śravaṇa (hearing or reading) and manana (reflection and reasoning), and that is a necessary starting point, but in order to be so keenly self-attentive that we merge forever in our source, our understanding needs to be much deeper and clearer than anything that can be achieved by such means alone. The only means by which we can gain the depth and clarity of understanding required is nididhyāsana (deep contemplation), which means the practice of keen self-attentiveness.

Therefore if Sadhu Om did say ‘once we understand that Bhagavan is taking care of us and that his love for us is greater than our love for us, our job is over’, what he would have meant by ‘understand’ in this context is the depth and clarity of understanding that can come only from keen and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender — sufficient depth and clarity of understanding to enable us to forever cease rising as ego, because only when we have once and for all ceased rising as ego is our job over.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
you state quoting Michael: "That is the nature of the path of spiritual development."

Some questions in that context may arise:
Who develops what ? Who is the developer ?
Note: The verb 'develop' has both sorts transitive and intransitive.
What is developed at all ?

Unknown said...

Keep dreaming about Self Realization in this life. Only a dhira like Bhagavan (ONLY BHAGAVAN SRI RAMANA) who voluntarily faced death and extinction could attain it and deserved it. As for all of you chattering egos, pundits and scholars another physical body is already waiting to grab and adorn and make a mockery of Self-realization in your next life all over again. Even Cow Lakshmi is offering her utmost sympathies to all of you rascals from the realm of Sat-Cit-Ananda.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I have asked my friend to let me know this exact verse by Sadhu Om (along with the name of the work and verse number). She replied that she would be able to do so by this Sunday. I thank you for clarifying this supposed saying by Sri Sadhu Om. I thought you would be aware of this verse.

As you imply in your reply, our depth and clarity of understanding can blossom only if we practise self-investigation and self-surrender. If our understanding develops to a sufficient extent, we will have an unshakeable conviction that Bhagavan is taking care of all our needs. Therefore we should give up all the concerns about our material and spiritual needs because he knows them better than us. He is providing us with all the yogashema.

We can almost directly see or feel Bhagavan’s overflowing love and protection towards us. We may even start believing that Bhagavan has special love for us. However, since he is love itself, his love is absolutely equal for all. He gave us an inkling of the impartiality of his love while he was in his body.

If we develop such depth of clarity and understanding, we will be most willing surrender ourself along with all our desires and attachments. So our job then will be over. I think this is what you were trying to explain. Am I correct?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael,
"Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world." Sri Ramana

I read Sanjay's post above, at first I thought it was Sanjay speaking.
Michael, you are a priest speaking about enlightenment and the way to realize. BUT you are not speaking from the realized state so the message is increasingly ineffective. Your speech is often egoic rambling.

A "priest" is someone who teaches about the ultimate reality (think of Christian priests) but priests do not know, they do not have the direct experience and so the message is weak and over time becomes misleading.

You are always saying you have the ONLY way.
Well why don't you go into seclusion, give up this egoic teaching, and actually become realized?
Otherwise you message is hypocritical.
Why would you be content to be a priest when you could revolutionize the world like Bhagavan and Nisargadatta?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Josef, Michael said, ‘Slowly-slowly we come to the state of vairagya. Many things seemed important in the past but now seem trivial. That is the nature of the path of spiritual development’. You ask, ‘Who develops what? Who is the developer? What is developed at all?’

Ego develops vairagya (non-attachment) and viveka (deep understanding) by its practice of self-investigation and surrender. However, the power behind our practice is only the grace of Bhagavan.

Aham said...

.


If you find my questions to be too personal or irrelevant then there is no need to go further.

Thank you Mr Isaacs.
At this moment I cannot think of anything worth adding. My mind is blank.

* * *

The only means by which we can gain the depth and clarity of understanding required is nididhyāsana (deep contemplation), which means the practice of keen self-attentiveness.

Thank you Mr James.
So True. It is wonderful to read.

* * *

Keep dreaming about Self Realization in this life.

Thank you Mr Unknown.
You make a valid point. We take our concepts too seriously. They are all empty.


.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The following is in continuation of my discussion with blueskythinking83:

@Sanjay Lohia thank u so much Sanjay. It's quite an abstract thing, this Self, or so it seems

@blueskythinking83, self may seem to be an abstract thing if we do not know that self is what we actually are. Are you not aware of yourself? Do you not know that you exist? You are always aware of yourself whether or not you are also aware of other things, aren’t you?

In fact, metaphorically speaking, we are the most ‘solid thing’. We are pure self-awareness, but now his awareness seems to be mixed up its adjuncts – the adjuncts being our body and mind. Therefore now we are not aware of ourself as we actually are, but we are nevertheless aware. This awareness is self or ourself. How can it be an abstract thing?

Aham said...

.

Very Good Mr Lohia,

That Self Awareness is always here, it is the closest of the close and it is effortless.
Yet the habit of "rising up and moving out" veils what is most obvious and the simplest.

As Sri Ramana states, we need only remain as we are, no more is required.

.

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay ,
you mean "but now this awareness seems to be mixed up with its adjuncts"(instead of "but now his ...mixed up its adjuncts").:-)

Josef Bruckner said...

Aham,
"As Sri Ramana states, we need only remain as we are, no more is required."

'Remaining as we are' sounds easy but means not rising as ego.
But is not true though that just that is the greatest feat ?

Aham said...

.

Dear Josef,
No doubt, the vasanas are strong.
The natural state though is the easiest, the most simple, the most obvious.
The difficulty is ceasing to contract into concepts.

.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Josef, yes, it should have been, ‘but now this awareness seems to be mixed up with its adjuncts’. Thanks.

Michael James said...

Josef, in reply to your comment of 8 October 2018 at 19:21, in which you ask me to explain what I meant when I wrote ‘even to be concerned about our spiritual needs’ in the last sentence of my comment of 7 October 2018 at 19:53, ‘However, surrender is complete only when we do not rise as ego even to be concerned about our spiritual needs, so until then we do need to persevere in our effort to surrender ourself completely’, unless we rise as ego we cannot be concerned about our spiritual needs or anything else, because what is concerned about anything is only ego and not our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is just pure self-awareness.

Since surrender is complete only when we do not rise as ego, and since we can be concerned about our spiritual needs only when we do rise as ego, being concerned about our spiritual needs is not compatible with complete self-surrender. Therefore if we want to surrender ourself completely, we need to give up being concerned even about our spiritual needs, because in order to be concerned about them we need to rise as ego. This is what I meant when I wrote that we should ‘not rise as ego even to be concerned about our spiritual needs’.

Does this make the meaning of that clause any clearer?

Sanjay Lohia said...

How are you Mr Ego

Ego is me. It is not my possession. It is not something apart from me. It is the perceiver, knower, witness, first person or subject, which is aware of all phenomena or objects. However, in the following conversation I have created an imaginary separation between ego and myself:

Sanjay: How are you Mr Ego?

Ego: I am not ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ – I am beyond gender.

Sanjay: Ok. So tell me more about your background?

Ego: My ‘back’ and ‘ground’ is atma-svarupa. I come from there, and I have to eventually return there.

Sanjay: But why are you here?

Ego: Only to give you all sorts of troubles! [Laughs]

Sanjay: Bhagavan talks a lot about you. You seem to be quite an important fellow.

Ego: Don’t take Bhagavan’s name in front of me. He has revealed all my secrets to the world, and he has also given you all a brahmastra (the supreme weapon) to kill me. He simply wants me dead.

Sanjay: Michael has recently written the following about you:

Ego is neither pure self-awareness nor any adjuncts, but just a confused mixture of both, so it is a spurious entity that borrows the properties of both but has no properties of its own.

Is it a correct assessment of your true nature?

Ego: He is spot on. I must confess that he knows quite a lot about me.

Sanjay: So you fear him also?

Ego: Yes, obviously.

Sanjay: Ok, tell me, why you don’t just leave us and go? Bhagavan teaches us that you are the root of everything; hence, you are the root of all my problems, miseries, desires, attachments, fears and so on. Why do you want to continue staying here?

Ego: It is because you are pampering me in so many ways. You are catering to all my whims and fancies. So I am enjoying my stay in you. As the McDonald’s slogan says, “I’m lovin’ It”.

Sanjay: I must tell you, you have a good sense of humour. Good Night. I am feeling sleepy.

Ego: Good night. See you tomorrow morning!

D Samarender Reddy said...

Sanjay,

Good one @ 12 October 2018 at 17:43. I enjoyed reading it and I like your sense of humour. Keep it up.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Samarender, thanks.

Josef Bruckner said...

Michael,
thank you for your clearing explanation. Could you please additionally tell me which (kind of) 'spiritual needs' you were looking at (and give an example for them) ?

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

To all the Egos seeking whatever that you are seeking.

Yes, Mr. and Mrs. EGO whomever you are, please do keep up your good and bad works and be ready for another body in another life and play the PRETEND GAME once again that you will realize absolute Self Awareness-Consciousness-Bliss unlike Bhagavan Sri Venkata Ramana and Cow Lakshmi who ACTUALLY DID it by fearlessly facing voluntary ego death and extinction.

Mr.and Mrs.Ego are you ready to DIE and become EXTINCT this very moment to everything you know and ARE as you are now as EGO, PERSON, BREATH, MIND, BODY and WORLD?

Sanjay Lohia said...

I am losing the attraction I had for Bhagavan

Yes, I am losing the attraction I had for the name and form of Bhagavan, but instead, I am becoming more and more attracted to the inner Bhagavan. I still love his name and form, but I know that this is not real Bhagavan.

If we are merely attracted to the name and form of Bhagavan, we are his devotees. However, if we also start practising his teachings we become his followers. By doing so we do not stop being devotees, but we become his devotee-follower.

Aham said...

Yes, I am losing the attraction I had for the name and form of Bhagavan

Very good Mr Lohia. And then the intellectual Teachings will lose their luster. For what are the verbal and written Teachings? Only a lure for the ego. And a weak imitation.

D Samarender Reddy said...

from http://sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2008/06/narayana-iyer.html

Once a few very learned Sanskrit scholars were sitting in the old hall, discussing portions of the Upanishads and other scriptural texts with Bhagavan. Bhagavan was giving them proper explanations and it was a sight to remember and adore! At the same time I [Narayana Iyer] felt genuinely in my heart, ‘Oh, how great these people are and how fortunate they are to be so learned and to have such deep understanding and be able to discuss with our Bhagavan. Compared with them, what am I, a zero in scriptural learning?’

I felt miserable. After the pundits had taken leave, Bhagavan turned to me and said: ‘What?’, looking into my eyes and studying my thoughts. Then, without even giving me an opportunity to explain, he continued: ‘This is only the husk! All this book learning and capacity to repeat the scriptures by memory is absolutely no use. To know the truth, you need not undergo all this torture of learning. Not by reading do you get the truth. Be quiet, that is truth. Be still, that is God.

Then, very graciously he turned to me again, and there was an immediate change in his tone and attitude.

He asked me: ‘Do you shave yourself?’

Bewildered by this sudden change, I answered, trembling, that I did.

‘Ah, for shaving you use a mirror, don’t you? You look into the mirror and then shave your face; you don’t shave the image in the mirror. Similarly, all the scriptures are meant only to show you the way to realisation. They are meant for practice and attainment. Mere book learning and discussions are comparable to a man shaving the image in the mirror.’

From that day onwards the sense of inferiority that I had been feeling vanished once for all.

One more assurance from Bhagavan which also he gave as a personal instruction is of absolute value for me in my sadhana. I cried to him that I knew nothing about Vedanta nor could I practise austerity, being a householder; so I prayed to him to help me by showing the reality or the way to it. I also frankly admitted that Bhagavan’s own method of self-enquiry was too hard for me.

He then graciously said: ‘You know Ulladu Narpadu [Reality in Forty Verses]. It imparts pure truth, deals with it and explains it. Go on reading it verse by verse. The words of the verses will, in course of time, vanish and pure truth [sat] alone will shine, like the snake relinquishing its skin and coming out shining.’ This is now my sadhana.

One day I was sitting near Bhagavan’s couch. I felt puzzled by the ancient teaching that everything that appears in the world is maya or illusion. I wondered how it could be when I saw Bhagavan, the couch on which he sat, the barrier separating me from Bhagavan and myself. How could all these be false? I asked Bhagavan, explaining my doubt.

‘Bhagavan, can all of us be unreal and non-existent? Please enlighten me.’

Bhagavan laughed and asked me whether I had had any dreams the previous night. I replied that I saw several people lying asleep.

He said: ‘Suppose now I ask you to go and wake all those people in the dream and tell them they are not real, how absurd it would be! That is how it is to me. There is nothing but the dreamer, so where does the question of dream people, real or unreal, arise? Still more of waking them up and telling them that they are not real? We are all unreal, why do you doubt it? That alone is real.’

On another occasion he said: ‘There is no jnani [realised man], jnana [knowledge] alone is.’

About the jivanmukta, realised while still living, Bhagavan said: ‘The jivanmukta is one without any thoughts or sankalpas [inherent tendencies]. The thought process ceases completely in him. Some power makes him do things. So he is not the doer but the one, who is made to do.’

Sanjay Lohia said...

Samarender, as you have reproduced, it is recorded that Narayana Iyer had the following conversation with Bhagavan:

‘I also frankly admitted that Bhagavan’s own method of self-enquiry was too hard for me.

‘He [Bhagavan] then graciously said: “You know Ulladu Narpadu [Reality in Forty Verses]. It imparts pure truth, deals with it and explains it. Go on reading it verse by verse. The words of the verses will, in course of time, vanish and pure truth [sat] alone will shine, like the snake relinquishing its skin and coming out shining”. This is now my sadhana’.

I had heard this before, but could mere repetition of Ulladu Napadu make the ‘pure truth [sat]’ shine forth, as Bhagavan had supposedly said? This cannot be literally true. He may have said this to Narayana Iyer to suit his then level of spiritual development. Since Narayana Iyer found self-enquiry too hard, maybe Bhagavan suggested, ‘OK, start with sravana and manana of Ulladu Narpadu. The nididhyasana will follow in due course when your mind is purer’. This may have been Bhagavan’s line of thinking.

We know Bhagavan had to dilute his teachings on many occasions to suit the limited understanding of the devotees. This could be one such occasion. If Ulladu Narpadu is to be believed one cannot experience pure truth until and unless we turn within. So eventually, one has to leave behind the sravana and manana of even Ulladu Narpadu if one wants to experience oneself as one actually is.

We can read verse 22 of Ulladu Narpadu to understand this point:

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

So it is only by ‘turning the mind back within, completely immersing it in God’ can we know God or guru or truth or self or whatever. Bhagavan uses different terminology in verse 21 of Ulladu Narpadu to stress this same point:

If one asks what is the truth of many texts that say ‘oneself seeing oneself’, ‘seeing God’: Since oneself is one, how is oneself to see oneself? If it is not possible to see, how to see God? Becoming food is seeing.

What does ‘Becoming food is seeing God’ mean? Michael has explained this means ‘the ego being swallowed and consumed entirely by the infinite light of pure self-awareness’. So we have no other option but to turn back within if we want to be swallowed by God. Bhagavan’s teachings make this clear.

So whatever was said to Narayana Iyer was applicable only to him at that particular time. It cannot be taken as one of the core principles of his teachings.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Samarender, Bhagavan also told Narayana Iyer the following:

Ah, for shaving you use a mirror, don’t you? You look into the mirror and then shave your face; you don’t shave the image in the mirror. Similarly, all the scriptures are meant only to show you the way to realisation. They are meant for practice and attainment. Mere book learning and discussions are comparable to a man shaving the image in the mirror.

This makes it clear that Bhagavan’s didn’t literally mean mere reading or even repeating Ulladu Narpadu unceasingly can help one to experience the truth. As Bhagavan says scriptures are meant to show the way. So Ulladu Narpadu and other scriptures can only show us the way. As Bhagavan further implies without practice we cannot attain the truth.

So without turning within we cannot experience ourself as we really. This practice has to be relentless. A man who is madly in love with his beloved will always be thinking of her. Likewise, we have to constantly keep our attention on Bhagavan, who is our beloved shining within us as ‘I’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Self-attentiveness is the only door through which we can enter the kingdom of heaven

The following is extracted from an article called Narayana Iyer published in David Godman’s blog on June 26 2008:

‘I [Narayana Iyer] once asked him: ‘Bhagavan, it is said that all roads lead to Rome. All religions lead to the same goal. How, can it be said that the quest “Who am I?” is the only way and the direct way?’

‘He replied: ‘Yes, all roads lead to Rome. But, on reaching Rome, you have to go to the citadel – the sanctum. What I say is just that’.

Reflections: Some of the devotees are offended when we tell them that self-investigation is the only way if we want to experience ourself as we really are. Some of them insist that all paths are equally efficacious. They argue that it not important which path we choose, what is important is the sincerity with which we practise the chosen path.

However, Bhagavan confirms to Narayana Iyer that ‘the quest “Who am I?” is the only way and the direct way’. As Bhagavan explains, we can reach Rome through many roads. But once we are there we need to go to the citadel or sanctum because that is our purpose of visiting Rome. So if we want to reach the citadel or sanctum of our ultimate experience, we need to practise self-investigation.

So self-attentiveness is the only door through which we can enter the kingdom of heaven. Bhagavan’s teachings are clear and unambiguous.

Roger Isaacs said...

regarding: "Who am I is the only way and the direct way":

"Self attentiveness" is NOT something that could ever be trademarked by any religion and must be present to some extent in teachings by all realized beings. Nor can Self Attentiveness be reduced to a single conceptual teaching, guru or culture because it is subtler than concept.

"I" is not the only perspective as Bhagavan in his death experience describes it as "current of energy": the awakening gave me a continuous idea or feeling that my Self was a current or force.
As Bhagavan says in Talks, people have different temperaments and no single teaching works for everyone.

Michael James & Sanjay would lecture Krishna, Sankara, Buddha, Jesus, Mahavira ( on and on....) that MJ teaches the ONLY way to God. They should all line up behind Michael James!!! After all, none of these people could be Realized as they did not practice Atma Vicara, the ONLY way, as taught by Michael James. Ridiculous.
Religious superiority has been the cause of more murder, torture & wars than anything else?
But Michael James and Sanjay are playing the religious superiority game.

Rob P said...

Secret of a happy life

If a person overlooks the faults of others, and sees only their merits, and thus keeps his mind serene, his whole life will be happy.
To be unconcerned in all things, with the mind cool, free of desires and without hate, is beautiful in a seeker.

from Gems

NN said...

For Mr. Michael and Mr. Lohia, it is more important to expound knowledge about practicing vichara than to practice it. Mr. Michael's livelihood, and Mr. Lohia's social reputation depend on hammering the world with their undigested regurgitation of bookish knowledge.

They will use anything and everything available in this world to show Ramana as a 'topper'.

"Buddha, Mahavir, Krishna, Jesus? Hmmmf... amateurs! I do not understand Buddha's teachings. That surely implies that his teachings are inferior to MY Ramana's teachings. After all, I am an EXPERT and a SCHOLAR."


These two are eager to pilot a jumbo jet, but all they have under their belt, as practical experience, is 30-40 years worth of training on nothing else but a flight simulator. They haven't even flown a measly Cessna out of the simulator. The pilots are also drunk with the liquor of self-righteousness. The jet passengers giddily strap themselves to the seats, excited that these two will surely get them to their destinations safely.


These two, old as they are, have been associated with Ramana for 30-40 years each, I guess. A total of 60 years between them - an entire lifetime for some individuals. And all they have to show for that time is their tendency to abuse other teachings/teachers/beings in the servitude of their 'master'. Everything is just and fair when it is used to appease the (image that they have in their minds of the) master.

One of Mr. Lohia's many tactics: Use Ramana's teachings to show David Godman in poor light. Then, turn about, and use David himself to show Ramana's teachings in good light. All that Mr. Lohia has done is being defensive, when Ramana does not need any defense. But Mr. Lohia's ego, his 'knowledge', his identity as a Ramana scholar (after all he has written books and named businesses after Ramana) needs protection.

These two give the 'one-guru' tradition an extremely perverse spin. If one is not enlightened even after 40 years of sadhana, it behooves one to take a good look at oneself, and make changes, even if drastic, in order to achieve the one goal that matters.

But these two, they have placed all their eggs in the basket of their next lives.



Buddha was indeed a fool, who left his princely life style, in an urgent search for the truth, without relaxing in the comfort of next lives. He was unfortunate enough to be born at a time when Mr. Michael's and Mr. Lohia's teachings did not resound through the internet.

Buddha was also quite stupid, since it took him about 6-7 years. And of course, 6-7 years (spent eradicating teachings which were roadblocks) is too much time compared to the 30-40 years that Mr. Michael and Mr. Lohia have spent on what they claim as the ONLY way to reach God.

And how dare does Buddha teach others when he clearly spent more time than the two of us, and we are being called out for spending ONLY 30-40 years each?




I am pretty sure that Mr. Lohia will come up, at least in his mind, with arguments which will be in SUPPORT of Buddha, just so he could defend his ego. And that's the game being played here - defend the ego by hook or by crook.

Roger Isaacs said...

More commentary on the issue of "atma vicara is the ONLY way":

An elephant was enjoying a leisurely dip in a
jungle pool when a rat came up to the pool and
insisted that the elephant get out.

"I won't" said the elephant.
"I insist you get out this minute" said the rat.
"Why?"
"I shall tell you that only after you are out of the pool."
"Then I won't get out."
But the elephant finally lumbered out of the pool, stood in front of the rat, and said, "now then, why did you want me to get out of the pool?"
"To check if you were wearing my swimming trunks" said the rat.

Moral: An elephant will sooner fit into the trunks of a rat than God will fit into your notions of him.

Anthony De Mello "The Song of the Bird".

D Samarender Reddy said...

Ramana Maharshi on Different Paths to Self-realization

(from Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, No. 159, 29th November, 1947)

Enquiry is not the only way. If one does spiritual practice (sadhana) with name and form,repetition of holy names (japa), or any of these methods with grim determination and perseverance, one becomes THAT. According to the capacity of each individual, one spiritual practice is said to be better than another and several shades and variations of them have been given. Some people are a long way from Tiruvannamalai, some are very near; some are in Tiruvannamalai, while some get into Bhagavan’s hall itself. For those who come into the hall, it is enough, if they are told as they step in, ‘Here is the Maharshi’, and they realize him immediately. For others they have to be told which route to take, which trains to catch, where to change, which road to turn into. In like manner, the particular path to be taken must be prescribed according to the capacity of the practiser (sadhaka). These spiritual practices are not for knowing one’s own Self, which is all-pervading, but only for getting rid of the objects of desire. When all these are discarded, one remains as one IS. That which is always in existence is the Self — all things are born out of the Self. That will be known only when one realizes one’s own Self.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Self-attentiveness is an art; by practising it we perfect this art

The practice of self-attentiveness is extremely simple – we just need to take one step back to ourself by looking inside. How do we know all the objects of this world? How do we know our thoughts and feelings? We know them because we attend to them. So if we want to know ourself, we have to attend to ourself. We are the subject, the most subtle thing of all. We are not an object; we are that which is aware of all objects. So attending to ourself is quite different from attending to other things.

What is the first thing that we are aware of? Before we are aware of anything else, we are aware of ourself (‘I’). So that self-awareness is the basis of everything else we are aware of. So because we are aware of ourself, we can attend to ourself. So this is a very subtle use we are making of our power of attention.

The more we try to attend to ourself, the more our power of attention will become subtle and sharp. So as we practice, we will become more and more familiar with what is meant by self-attentiveness. However, we have still not understood what perfect self-attentiveness is because one moment of perfect self-attentiveness will destroy ego forever. By following this path we come closer and closer to discovering what self-attentiveness is.

So this is an art. By practising we perfect the art. I am still experiencing myself as ‘I am Michael’ so I haven’t yet distinguished ‘I am’ from ‘Michael’. However, the more I try to attend to myself, the clearer this distinction will become. Eventually, when my power of attention becomes sharp enough, I will be able to attend to myself so keenly that I will be aware of myself alone, in complete isolation from everything else.

When I become aware of myself thus, I will know what I actually am. The deeper we go within, the clearer this way become.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-07-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on thought and self-investigation (1:47)

Aham said...

.

I am still experiencing myself as ‘I am Michael’ so I haven’t yet distinguished ‘I am’ from ‘Michael’.


‘I am’ from ‘Michael’.

This captures our situation nicely. Very well stated Mr James.

.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Michael & Sanjay,
I found this blog a few years ago. I was researching "neti-neti" also called "not this - not this".

My first comment to Michael James was that his blog on neti-neti lacked understanding.
Michael doesn't understand the process of neti-neti. I told him this, he arrogantly told me that neti-neti could never lead to Realization and that I should follow him instead.
Michael showed absolutely no interest and no ability to consider an opinion different than his own translations.
So I will repeat my message here after a few years of contemplation.

Michael, Sanjay, so imagine that you are practicing Atma Vicara, Self Inquiry... and suddenly you realize that your thoughts are occupied with a large plate of desserts, vanilla pudding, pastries, ice cream etc... (I'm of course speaking from some experience, I can meet you at my favorite Mexican Food Buffet all you can eat dessert bar if you'd like).

On noticing that your thoughts have drifted... you bring attention back to self inquiry. NOT THIS distraction by a plate of desserts.

You see where I am going? How can you practice atma vicara without some aspect of performing "not this" when your mind drifts off self attention?
If one places emphasis on the negation aspect... it is called neti-neti from Jnana Yoga, but attention on self IS the whole idea why "not this" is used.
If one places emphasis on the aspect of inquiry into self... simply a different aspect of the process is emphasized.
AND I honor that "self inquiry" as a process and as a teaching must have it's own uniqueness independent from "not this".
I also benefit by placing attention on the subtle inner sensation and inner energy experienced as a side effect of "not this". AND of course "I AM" or "I" is there in the energy as a reality that is entirely different than any mental concept of "I".
All this is beyond conceptual description, there could never be any definitive single description.

I have a natural preference for the negation aspect: "not this" while others certainly might prefer "self inquiry".
And certainly I'd expect that there could many numerous other angles such as the devotional perspective and I look forward to hearing about them.
You see: hearing perspectives that differ from our own has the enormous potential benefit of furthering our own perspective.
Where as arrogantly proclaiming that our understanding is the "ONLY WAY" simply reinforces the ego and invites conflict with others.

This is why I recommend with all sincerity: Michael James your teaching has a strong component of ego: the arrogance of "the ONLY way, the ONLY teaching". If you really believe what you teach... then it is time to withdraw into solitude and put your teaching to the test. You are advancing in years, the opportunity is time based. If YOU with all your study are unable to Realize... then the teaching of Sri Ramana as you understand it is dead.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s message for Chinnaswami: Let anything happen, he has only one duty – that is, to retain his peace of mind

Bhagavan will always give us enough; he will never give us too much. When Chinnaswami was constructing the temple for his mother, he was always short of money, had unending problems with the workers and such things.

Chinnaswami was terrified of Bhagavan. He called Bhagavan ‘that’. So when Sadhu Om came to Bhagavan, Chinnaswami told Sadhu Om, ‘Be careful of that; that is fire’.

When Chinnaswami had difficulties he was afraid to go to Bhagavan so he would send someone on his behalf. Once he had a lot of difficulties and he believed that if these were brought to the notice of Bhagavan, these would be solved. So this person came to Bhagavan and narrated all the difficulties that Chinnaswami was facing. Bhagavan listened patiently and replied, ‘Tell Chinnaswami, let the temple be built or not be built, let the money come or not come, let anything happen, his duty is to retain his peace of mind’.

Through this message, Bhagavan gave an excellent teaching. Nothing matters in this life because everything happens according to destiny. We have only one duty – ‘to be happy’.

2018-10-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? Paragraph 11 (1:42)

Reflections: One of Bhagavan’s devotees was living a life of a recluse. That is, he was hardly interacting with others, was hardly going out of his house and so on. His relatives were not happy. They thought he was just wasting his life instead of doing something ‘constructive’. When Bhagavan heard about this, he simply said, ‘What matters is peace. If he is happy and peaceful leading that sort of a life, he is happier than most of you’, or something to this effect.

Bhagavan doesn’t advocate unnecessary actions. He knows that our interest in our actions is what is keeping us bound. So if someone is trying to restrict his activities, it is good. Bhagavan taught us in verse two of Upadesa Undiyar:

The fruit of an action having perished, [remaining] as a seed [a karma-vāsanā or propensity to do the same kind of action] it causes [one] to fall in the ocean of action. [Therefore] it [action] does not give liberation.

So why should we be addicted to actions or want others to act? We should be in peace and let others also be in peace.

Aham said...

How can you practice atma vicara without some aspect of performing "not this" when your mind drifts off self attention?

Dear Roger,

The true vichara is not interested in thoughts. Vichara is to abide in Stillness, Beingness.

In contrast, practitioners of neti neti tend to keep churning the thought "not this", "not this". Some may slip into Beingness via this path. But most (perhaps) will simply keep churning the thought, "not this".

Roger Isaacs said...

Aham,
Are you listening to me? Obviously not!
You declare what the practice of "neti neti" is BUT you don't practice it, and you aren't considering my experience.

Both Atma Vicara and Neti Neti have begining phases which may start from thought.
"Atma Vicara" at a begining phase might start by introducing the mental thought "Who am I?"
And "neti neti" might include the mental thought "I am not this..."

BOTH of these are at the beginning phases.
Atma Vicara eventually becomes an inquiry into self which is subtler than thought.
Neti Neti becomes the effortless observation that one has become engaged with thought or emotion or some other distraction and this observation stops the distraction so that we are back on Self.

How can you practice atma vicara without some component of neti neti being present?
When you drift from self attention, it is "not this", the effortless observation that you have drifted, that brings you back.

It may be true that there are teachers who say that "neti neti" is a mental repetition.
BUT there are also those that consider "who am I?" to be an mental repetition.
BOTH of these view points are only the initial teachings which eventually may evolve beyond thought.

Atma Vicara and Neti Neti are different.... and are intimately linked.

NN said...

The end result of vichara IS the practical experience that I am not this, not this, not this.

If you suddenly experienced the self without any adjuncts, for the very first time in your life, you would immediately experiential-ly realize, among other things, that this body is not mine, that 'you' are inside something 'foreign'.

Mr. Michael and Mr. Lohia are so deeply engrossed in their love for words, their love for the image of their master, their love for their own images as super, humble devotees, they have forgotten to love and practice the practice.

Josef Bruckner said...

NN,
"...are so deeply engrossed in their love for words, ...they have forgotten to love and practice the practice".
Hey you, obviously by a sudden experience you forgot to write the verb 'practise' correctly. Or rather you seem to be so deeply engrossed in your love for writing words incorrectly.:-)

Roger Isaacs said...

The word practise is a variant spelling for the verb practice. American English spells both the noun and verb forms practice. For the Brits, the noun form is still spelled practice, but the verb is practise.

didn't we settle this in the 1700's with the revolutionary war?

Salazar said...

NN, the ‘end result’ of vichara is not the practical experience of ‘I am not this’ but simply “I AM!”. And that is not an experience.

There is no “you” who could experience self without adjuncts ...

Josef Bruckner said...

Roger, oho, then NN is quite correct and I was indeed mistaken. Thanks for your language instruction!

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
if “I AM!” is not an experience how can you know it (what it is )?
Must there not be in any case an experiencing subject/ consciousness ?

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Josef,
I was perplexed about this: it seems one spell checker, gmail for example prefers practise... and another spell checker practice. Ha!

Salazar said...

Who could/would experience “I am”? There are no two selfs, as in a ‘you’ who experiences “I am”. An experience (any experience) is a movement of mind, an adjunct. An experience or an adjunct can never be self.

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
if you like call it ("I am") as awareness. Can awareness be without any knower ?

Salazar said...

Who would be the knower of awareness? Awareness or self is not an object, it cannot be grasped nor experienced or [conceptually] known, it just IS. To know that "I" without any adjuncts "I-I" exists is inherently known without the thought of a "knower" or "experiencer" what could be only mind and as such an adjunct.

Roger Isaacs said...

Salazar says To know that "I" without any adjuncts

WITHOUT any adjuncts may suggest the state the MJ has discussed: sit in meditation, atma vicara, then awareness of the body and world are lost with only "I" remaining. In ancient terminology: nirvikalpa samadhi. This is the state of Bhagavan eyes closed with attention inward.

There is another state: "I" WITH adjuncts but "I" not limited by, attached to identified with the adjuncts. This is the state of Bhagavan acting in the world but free. Savikalpa Samadhi.
Apparently Michael James does not teach about this state because it is not described in any of the works he translates.
And there's all this weird teaching: Bhagavan did not actually exist in the world, only in the minds of those present.

In Godman & Talks either state (samadhi with or without the world) is said to be sufficient.

Salazar said...

Roger that is not correct, Bhagavan’s “state” was not Savikalpa Samadhi but Sahaja Samadhi. It was definitely not “I” with adjuncts! You are confusing here something.

But why speculating about samadhis and states of sages? That is not helpful at all. Better to ask, who is the one who is concerned about samadhis and what people teach? If you figure that out then any concerns about teachings and "states" will drop by itself, it won't be an issue anymore. This speculation is futile.

Unknown said...

Anyone else here gets mixed up with words such as practice and practise, who and whom, enculturation and acculturation, I and I (paradox of I), self and Self, I Am and I amness, advaita and neo-advaita etc? This was not meant to be funny.

Unknown said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2014/04/atma-vicara-and-nirvikalpa-samadhi.html

Salazar knows what is correct, knows when others are confused, knows when others are "not helpful" or "futile". Who is it that can judge such things? :-)

Unknown said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

the chapter on Samadhi in Godman "be as you are" is significantly different than MJs view. "be as you are" is available as a free pdf download.

To Salazar especially, this blog post is on looking within and what constitutes looking within. Therefore these topics seem applicable.

Salazar said...

Roger, there is no reason to get personal because someone does not agree with your assumptions. That said, I leave you to your mental fabrications fighting imaginary windmills as the spiritual Don Quixote :)

In order to get settled solidly in self any attention to objects or adjuncts has to stop. That is Bhagavan's and other sages' teachings! That does not mean that the world will vanish, it will be perceived differently. As Bhagavan said, the 'ajnani' believes to be in (or part of) the world, the sage knows that the world is contained in self as an appearance.

In Maharshi's Gospel he suggests to be a sleepwalker, the mind is supposed to go back into deep sleep (through self-inquiry) while in the waking state, since the body is animated by self all actions will unfold and acted out according to prarabdha WITHOUT any mind involvement. Any idea that the "ego" is doing anything is a delusion. It just believes it does it, confusing self with the body.

Anyway, be well.

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
as you imply: to just be there must be anything which just is - awareness.

Unknown said...
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Salazar said...

This talk about Samadhi is a dead end. The only thing what should concern us is the “natural state” or Sahaja Samadhi (aka liberation, mouna, nivana, etc.). Why? Because that is the only “state” which doesn’t change and IS [always] contrary to other states or absorption in self (or Samadhi) which can only be held with effort and therefore end when the effort stops. These states, including Nirvikalpa Samadhi, are not worth pursuing since they are only temporary and are NOT, according to Bhagavan, a prerequisite to liberation.

The natural state is and must be effortless, it cannot be realized nor can it be lost. We all had glimpses of it but neglected to recognize it. The natural state is not some blazing light or some exalted blissful state, it is extremely subtle peace. There is no difference between the awareness of a sage and of an ajnani. The only difference is a seemingly existing mind (with the ajnani) which distorts that awareness and reflects that awareness with its own projections contrary to a non-existing mind of a sage.

By the way, Bhagavan did not “keenly investigate himself” in July 1896, according to himself his mind resolved in self without any effort or doing by Venkataraman Iyer! That is an important fact to be aware of!

There is also talk that Sri Ramana “deserved” to gain liberation. That is a confused understanding; there is no entity that could deserve or gain anything – that must be understood.

That what believes it would be a matter of merit and virtue to gain liberation (the mind) is exactly the cause of a seeming bondage. Any notion of a mind is bondage, including the complaint of the mind to not be able to “experience” Sri Ramana’s "state". That very complaint (and other activities of the mind) is the VERY reason why self is seemingly not attainable.



Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Roger Isaacs said...

MJ says that the ONLY way is when concentration is so focused that the world and body disappear from awareness (right?). This is nirvikalpa. It conflicts with Bhagavan who says or implies that waking state samadhi with eyes open in the world (savikalpa) is also a way AND useful. I mean... how are you going to practice when eyes are open?

Bhagavan in the works MJ translates focuses on "no body, no world in awareness". Other works of Bhagavan are more inclusive.

Michael says above "be aware of our self alone".
This sounds good but is not totally true.
Another way:
With eyes open, one puts attention on Self and this is primary, awareness of the world continues as secondary. This is going directly into the state "bhagavan with eyes open" and the world does not disappear, only it's made secondary while the primary focus is on self.

MJ's whole philosophy is centered around "make the world disappear" and this does not allow the realized being to act in the world.
MJ says above: "what he means is that we should look ONLY at ourself" whereas I'm saying that you have to look at self primarily... but awareness of the world may continue when the eyes are open.

There is a flaw in MJ's work apparently: he says the world is ego, but then how does the realized being function in the world?

Godman "Be as you are":
2. Kevala nirvikalpa samadhi This is the stage below Self realization. In this state there is a temporary but effortless Self awareness, but the ego has not been finally eliminated. It is characterised by an absence of body-consciousness. Although one has a temporary awareness of the Self in this state, one is not able to perceive sensory information or function in the world. When body-consciousness returns, the ego reappears.


BTW I do not agree with the definition of savikalpa "with effort" in Godman because it conflicts with comments elsewhere and is not clear. But I agree when he says:
Abiding permanently in any of these samadhis, either savikalpa or nirvikatpa, is sahaja [the natural state].


Talks 24th January 1935:

D.: Does Maharshi enter the nirvikalpa samadhi?

M.: If the eyes are closed, it is nirvikalpa; if open, it is (though differentiated, still in absolute repose) savikalpa. The ever-present state is the natural state sahaja.


Thanks for the discussion.

Unknown said...
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Salazar said...

Self-inquiry is not a concentration technique. Concentration is not needed to be aware of Self, in fact concentration is detrimental to Self. It is only the mind which must concentrate, but the mind cannot ever abide in Self, its very attempt and action is veiling Self!

Whoever uses concentration is doing anything BUT Bhagavan's Self-Inquiry!

Roger Isaacs said...

The word "concentration" is used in Be As You Are and Talks dozens of times.
Please take the issue up with Bhagavan.

Salazar said...

Roger, if you ask David Godman if Self-Inquire entails concentration he'll tell you "NO". Email him and ask him: david_godman@yahoo.co.uk

The Talks may mention concentration in some context but concentration has NEVER anything to do with Self-Inquiry!

And if you had only grasped a tiny bit of Bhagavan's 'Nan Yar?' then you would not insist on this inane notion. Do you want to be liberated and is your cemented sack of concepts more important for you?

Salazar said...

Furthermore, your answer Roger shows that you have not the faintest idea what Self really is. If you'd know then you'd not insist on concentration. What hogwash!

Unknown said...


In the inquiry Who Am I? if the ego-I is focusing entirely on itself is that not done by the ego-I concentrating entirely on the ego or itself? The true I or the Self does not do Self Inquiry.


The Self-inquiry method is meant for the ego to return to its Source, the Self. This is what has been explained by Mr. James as per his several commentaries here. Mr. James himself is suggesting here to concentrate entirely on the ego or the "false I" parading as the Self.

Salazar said...

Unknown, you posted on October 9, 2018 the following comment on a different blog:

"Mr. Gardner,

Great replies above. Makes complete sense. Thanks. It is a shame you have not been a guest even once let alone several times at BATGAP when mere book translators like David Godman and Michael James have been invited and said nothing substantial of their own direct spiritual experience and knowledge but have only repeated what Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi has said or may have said. The same can be said of 99% of BATGAP guests who have revealed nothing interesting about spirituality and mysticism.

Even that shameless old goat and sexual pervert Ed Muzika has been a guest couple of times and so has been that that neo-advaita Vedantic imbecilic buffoon James Swartz been a guest of BATGAP there three of four times babbling his imagined enlightenment nonsense.

IJ."

************************************

Now you can deny that you are "IJ" on this particular blog and other blogs and that you have posted here as "Anonymous" declaring Michael as a Jnani and Sanjai as a pure sattvic soul. And then you drag them through the mud somewhere else, fraternizing with that nutcase Ron Gardner who sees himself as the "unsurpassed expert in all spiritual traditions".

Why would I seriously answer any questions by you, someone who lies, cheats, has no respect whatsoever to anybody but keeps projecting all of his shit onto others? You are a disgrace to any community.

Unknown said...

Does IJ by any chance be an abbreviation for Infinite Joy? May God bless him whomever it is. Since you have the faintest idea of what Self actually is, maybe you can enlighten us novices here about it.

Unknown said...

Since you are such an honest saint and such a grace to Happiness of Being Ashram visitors, maybe you can elaborate on your own hog wash self inquiry practice. We who have no faintest clue about anything other than your own stinking hog wash that you flood here everyday unasked for are all ears to hear of your faintest idea of the 'Self" as well.

Unknown said...

Since you have grasped the tiny bit of Bhagavan's Naan Yaar, may we have the honor to hear of your hog wash analysis and commentaries of that also that you shamelessly brag to have grasped? Since you are such an ideal and top notch person to be liberated as you arrogantly presume yourself to be then why is it that your own cemented sack of hogwash concepts so important for you?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Why cling to all these transient and ephemeral things: these are like an insignificant coin

According to Bhagavan, the easiest thing is to know ourself, but why does it seem difficult? It seems difficult to surrender ourself because of our unwillingness to do so. Though we have some curiosity to know ourself, this liking is grossly inadequate. Why?
It is because, in order to fully surrender ourself, there is a small price to pay: we have to give up everything else.

However, giving up ego and all the things we hold dear seems to be most difficult. But Bhagavan says it is like sacrificing a quarter paisa coin – a tiny coin those days – in return for all the wealth in the world. We are reluctant to let go of this quarter paisa coin, even though in exchange Bhagavan has promised us infinite wealth. What we need to give up are all transient and ephemeral. This ego, this person and this whole world are transient and ephemeral. They appear and disappear. None of them is real.

These things seem to be valuable because we think that we get happiness from the things outside us. But according to Bhagavan, there is no happiness in anything outside us. Happiness is our real nature, and therefore it is only within.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-10-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 11 (0:00)

Reflections: Bhagavan has emphatically stated that this world is utterly unreal. It is just another dream. He has also unequivocally taught us that happiness lies only within. There is not even an iota of happiness in any of the objects of this world. If we understand these two core principles of his teachings, our practice of self-surrender and self-investigation will become relatively easy.

This ego, person and world is nothing more than a quarter paisa coin. So why is there so much reluctance to throw these away? When Bhagavan landed in Tiruvannamalai, he had a few coins with him, but he threw them all away in the tank of the temple. We should also garner the same degree of vairagya and dispose of our ego as soon as possible.

If we are able to discard ego, we will gain the infinite wealth: unlimited and eternal happiness.


Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
you say "That what believes it would be a matter of merit and virtue to gain liberation (the mind) is exactly the cause of a seeming bondage. Any notion of a mind is bondage, including the complaint of the mind to not be able to “experience” Sri Ramana’s "state".

However, liberation does not occur out of the blue.

You also say "That very complaint (and other activities of the mind) is the VERY reason why self is seemingly not attainable."
May I question the other way round: how is self actually attainable - as fast as possible ?

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay,
you write "We should ... dispose of our ego as soon as possible.
If we are able to discard ego, we will gain the infinite wealth: unlimited and eternal happiness."

How can one discard or dispose something (which is said to be) non existent ?

If unlimited and eternal happiness have ever existed, (how) could they have ever got lost ?

Salazar said...

Josef, as long as your mind believes, "however, liberation does not occur out of the blue", or any other notions HOW liberation is supposedly to "come", you will be bound. Bhagavan made that clear on various occasions.

The mind is the obstacle, that must be understand from every angle. Or better, all the beliefs of how or why or other seeming "problems".

And self is not attainable, you cannot attain what you are. Bhagavan very logically said that something what needs to be attained can also be lost. It is a waste of time to strife for something which could be lost again.

You are self, your mind is obstructing it with every little thought which is coming up.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The real power is the power of silence and peace

Actually, power and peace are one. Sadhu Om has explained this through an analogy. A dam has to be very strong and powerful in order to hold all the water in place. So long as the dam is holding the water in place, it is quiet and peaceful. If the water flows out of this dam under regulation, it can generate so much electricity, it can water so many paddy fields. So the dam is powerful only if it has no cracks.

However, if this dam cracks and its water begins to leak out, the dam loses all its power. Its water is wasted and now it cannot produce electricity, it cannot water paddy fields. Likewise, the appearance of this universe is a result of the loss of our power. The real power is only silence - shanti.

So all these power we see outside – power games between countries or between people – are trivial and insignificant powers. Our true power is in our heart, in our real nature.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-10-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 11 (47:00)

Reflections: Our attention is the greatest power in this world. If it is directed away from itself, it is powerful enough to create this universe. Instead, if we turn our entire attention within, it can destroy the very seed of this universe, namely ego. Our practice of self-attentiveness is like trying to crush ego by force. The greater our force, the easier it will be to crush this ego forever. This is why Bhagavan says in the 10th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

It is necessary to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness.

This tenacious self-attentiveness has great power. This will eventually destroy ego along with all its vasanas, which are nothing but the seeds of this vast universe.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Afterthought: I wrote the following in my preceding comment:

Our practice of self-attentiveness is like trying to crush ego by force. The greater our force, the easier it will be to crush this ego forever. This is why Bhagavan says in the 10th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

We are trying to crush the ego by force but by a loving force. We are yielding to the loving pull from within. We are aiming to suspend our will and by letting Bhagavan’s will overpower us.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Salazar,
What is concentration?
As you have a reaction to the word concentration... why don't we look into it?
Who cares about the personalities involved, let's look at the word shall we?

Some dictionaries defined "concentration" as "attentiveness". That is acceptable?
Certainly there are other meanings that are not so useful.
WHAT is the particular meaning(s) which you think is unhelpful?
Do you deny the definition "attentiveness"?

Are you saying that the translation of Bhagavan below using the word is incorrect?
Frankly, I am not invested in the word or issues related to it. I don't really care... although it would be interesting to understand what you are getting at. What is your investment?

Talk 427.

D.: In the practice of meditation are there any signs of the nature of subjective experience or otherwise, which will indicate the
aspirant’s progress towards Self-Realisation
M.: The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measure to gauge the progress.

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
I used the word "attainable" verbatim from your comment of 15 October 2018 at 22:16.
That we cannot attain what we already/actually are is also my conviction.

Salazar said...

Josef, yes - in that comment I used the word "attainable". It was necessary in that context, however it does not mean that there is actual attainment, just the idea spooks in many minds.

I do not know how to put it but in order to describe spiritual matters sometimes contradictory terms are used, it needs a certain flexibility and intuitive understanding ...

So, in "your" context the word "attainable" was quite different than the way I did use it. But let's not argue about that, last thing what I desire is a "Aseem-like" approach of argument :)

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Salazar is a cyber-stalking and violent "nutcase" who tries to make himself look like a forgiving saint to impress others.

Beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing. Like he himself has admitted above in his earlier comment, he as Salazar or whatever other mischief-mongering shit-projector that he disguises himself as (NN?) will not get liberated in this sorry hogwash life of his. But the idiot that he is, he keeps dreaming that he will get liberated.

He regularly posts hogwash comments and then when it makes him look like an ass that he really is, he tries in vain to defend his own hogwash comments. This has already happened in his exchanges with Roger and Josef above.

Salazar said...

Roger, it is futile to argue about the inner world of subtleties, either you know or you don't. The mind cannot ever fathom That.

Take the sentence "the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measure to gauge the progress" to a bunch of people and everybody will have a different understanding or interpretation of it.

Alone the term “single thought” can be interpreted in many ways, and yet none will capture what Bhagavan was implying.

Contrary to Michael and the majority of this forum, I maintain that vichara is not done by the mind, it is actually no action and therefore there is no doer who would “do” vichara. Vichara is being. Technically it is “holding” to “I am” but there is nobody who actually holds to "I am”, that notion is a delusion.

I do not expect that people will understand or even adopt that viewpoint, but that is my actual “direct experience” and even 1,000 pages of Michael’s articles quoting the scripture why it must be the ego could not convince me otherwise. There are no two selfs. A self who tries to attain self through “investigating”, and an ego cannot do that, it does literally not exist. People misunderstand Bhagavan’s use of the term ego, and the correct interpretation cannot be grasped by the mind but by intuitive understanding which comes directly from self.

Actually “investigating” is a highly misleading verb, no investigation is needed, that what thinks it is investigating is a mirage. It is an empty husk. Bhagavan’s words that the mind is a marvelous [whatever] is misunderstood too, it cannot create the world on its own, it can only create the phenomenal world WITH self, the Shakti of self is manifesting the subtle thought forms of the mind. Without self there would be no phenomenal world!

All that will come in due course to everybody.

Unknown said...

More of Salazar's hogwash above. Like anyone really cares for his hogwash opinions and hog- poop lectures of his that he delivers from his "imagined hog wash guru pedestal". What a clueless moron he is.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

"16 October 2018 at 20:54"

What a shameless and a superior kind of imagined and bogus Self-discovery from a nincompoopish ass. What a miracle has occurred at Happiness of Being Asharama. Wonder of wonders we have found the new Avatar (bogus) in Guru Maharajji Salazar.

If you follow his advice you will get instant moksha. Mr James, maybe even you should prostrate to this new "bogus guru avatar Salazar" even though he has lost respect for you as he himself said recently. What a vainglorious clown Salazar is.

Tomorrow Salazar "bogus-guru" will say he is mightier than Bhagavan Sri Ramana himself as he has already suggested that Bhagavan's advice is wrong and only what he says is correct

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

"Bhagavan is slowly-slowly cooking us – making us fit to be consumed by him."

This was posted by Mr. Lohia.

I sincerely pray to Bhagavan Sri Ramana to cook this "arrogant rascal Salazar" very, very fast
so that the "liberation concoction" which results from such extremely rapid cooking of bogus avatar and bogus guru Salazar will unfortunately be consumed by the almighty Bhagavan today itself.

Salazar said...

There is only a "Salazar" with a subsequent thought. "Salazar" is an abstract imagination of mind, even more on the net where one cannot even see a body.

It is quite a phenomenon that a mind keeps agitating about a fictitious entity and with that creates misery and suffering for itself. To what end? I am quite puzzled about that.

Who cares what a "Salazar" posts or says on a forum? It is one's own choice if one feels agitated and irritated about that or not. Why not just walk away? Who needs that daily "fix" of an angry outburst?

In fact, there is no Salazar, Salazar is a projection, a mirage, an empty husk.

Noob said...

All the arguments can never bring us any closer to the "knowledge". I just humbly await my death and hope I will have the moment of truth.

Roger Isaacs said...

Salazar you say It is quite a phenomenon that a mind keeps agitating about a fictitious entity and with that creates misery and suffering for itself. To what end? I am quite puzzled about that.

"Misery and suffering" are an illusion that happens at a particular stage of development. It's entirely normal, a necessary stage of evolution, and ultimately not real.
Suffering is just a perspective, it is the awareness identifying with matter, expectation, doership, ownership and feeling gain and loss regarding things of existence.
With sufficient attention on "I" (or by any other term or means) "I" realizes that "I" is not bound by material creation. "I" stands alone beyond influence.
A thought or idea of suffering may bubble up into awareness... but with vigilant awareness or concentration (LOL!) on "I"... "I" no longer buys into the habit of going out into identification with matter. A thought or idea of suffering is just a thought. How can a thought take over awareness?

What is the end or purpose of Salazar? Who cares? Who knows? All that is important is that the illusion is dispelled that awareness is limited by form.

What I am describing here apparently can not happen according to Michael James. He says the WORLD is ego. The world and body must be removed from awareness. Where as what I am saying is that the "ego" part of importance is when awareness gets lost in thought and emotion. When "I" stands alone who cares if the world & body are there? The world and body have no impact on "I".

Salazar said...

Roger, I can only say that the interest in the world and its objects (aka attachments), sentient or non-sentient, is the obstacle which veils self. What happens after all interest has been surrendered through vichara is only known by sages. My interest in speculating how Jnana could “look like” is extremely small.

And it doesn't matter how the perception will be and if there is a world or not, without any interest in the world perception might be entirely gone as much as we even now do not perceive objects that are not important for us; i.e. we perceive very well an attractive woman, but don't even notice a dull and plain woman in the same vicinity. It is as if only the attractive woman exists and the plain one is invisible.

Everybody is different and there are a variety of approaches available, I am confident in my approach of Bhagavan's teachings and am not bashful to share that. Is that the best or most recommended direction? Absolutely not. The longer I am on the path the more I prefer to refrain to give any personal advice to people. Why? Because there is no knowledge where that person is on their path and some well meant advice good be actually bad for that person.

Anyway, keep that world into [your] awareness :)

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Salazar,
Describing experience is an exercise in understanding and articulation. Yes, you're approach and everyone else's will likely be entirely different.

I have been reading PB's notebooks the last couple of days. Very interesting, although, probably forbidden here.
Advanced Contemplation, The Peace within You: https://paulbrunton.org/notebooks/24


Far from the arguments of mind-narrowed men, he will find himself without a supporting group in the end. He is to meet God alone, for all his attention is to be held--so fully that there is nothing and no one else. Thus the three become two, who in turn become the One, which it always is. Truth is no longer needed; its seeker has vanished. The great Silent Timelessness reigns.

Sanjay Lohia said...

By clinging to ourself, we are chipping away at this solid block of vishaya-vasanas

Bhagavan says that if we cling on to self-attentiveness, that alone will be sufficient. That will unfailingly lead us to our goal. Because by clinging to ourself we are chipping away at this solid block of vishaya-vasanas that are there in our heart. We are slowly-slowly dissolving them in the strong acid of self-attentiveness or self-remembrance. And when they are all dissolved, ego will dissolve along with them. What will then remain is svarupa – our real nature.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-10-13 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 11 (0:33)

Reflections: Nice analogy used by Michael:

Because by clinging to ourself we are chipping away at this solid block of vishaya-vasanas that are there in our heart. We are slowly-slowly dissolving them in the strong acid of self-attentiveness or self-remembrance.




Unknown said...

17 October 2018 at 01:15, interesting comment by Noob. Maybe Mr. James can answer that as if it was a question and if such a thing is quite possible. It seems impossible.

Salazar said...

Noob, I believe it is well established that the death of a body has no influence whatsoever on anything. As long as the mind is not resolved in self another body will seemingly sprout and samsara continues.

Salazar said...

Roger, I skimmed PB notebooks a few years ago, strangely I could not feel in there any resonance with Bhagavan. It seems almost entirely like a new teaching. What is fine but I couldn't resonate with it.

I also find his meditation technique suggestions redundant, I am comfortable with vichara, there is no need for anything else. It clearly eludes me what these meditation techniques by PB should accomplish, they are subject-object related and with that inferior to vichara.

Now I love one book by PB and that is "Conscious Immortality". There are very profound teachings in that little book and Bhagavan is oozing in every page.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Salazar,
Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes an author will resonate, other times not. Sometimes with the passage of time things change. I haven't read PB for ages. I will look for Conscious Immortiality. It's probably a repackaging of things from the "notebooks" which are huge: 10,000s of quotes.
Regards,

Salazar said...

Roger, you said that sometimes with the passage of time things change. That is very true! In my early twenties when I started being interested in spirituality and therefore went to bookstores looking for a good book on spirituality I came across a book by Bhagavan from whom I already had heard of and his picture on the front page of that book drew me in.

Alas, I skimmed through that book and almost everything was way over my head. I heard for the first time Bhagavan's "Who am I?" and that was quite puzzling for me. I returned the book to the shelf and bought a book about Zen Buddhism what led me to Shikantaza which I studied with a teacher who resided then in Paris.

After about 20 years of Shikantaza I became interested into the Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta which culminated with Bhagavan. Those books by Bhagavan which had an unexplainable veil in the past are now as clear as the cold air on a Winter morning.

Looking back it is very clear that any circumstances of my past were orchestrated perfectly and it could not have been different as it was. "I" didn't choose anything, "It" as the Zen Buddhists say (or self) was doing the choosing. "Salazar" may have believed at some point that "he" chose, but that is erroneous, the outgoing "I" is a fantasy playing a movie for itself and it takes that movie for real.

In Maharshi's Gospel Bhagavan confirmed that self is veiling self and with that seemingly a mind/ego is born. It underlines that the ego has no power whatsoever. It is a strong case for surrender.

Salazar said...

Roger, one more thing, PB's "Conscious Immortality" is not included in that collection of notebooks one can find online.

I believe PB wrote Conscious Immortality before the notebooks which he started to write in 1952. Conscious Immortality is an account from his stay with Bhagavan in the mid 1930s.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Two verses from Arivu-t-turai, a song by Sri Sadhu Om

In response to one of my questions, Michael replied as follows:

Aṟivu-t-tuṟai is a song of 15 verses, in the first of which Sadhu Om sings, 'You have churned the ocean of learning, [but] has kavalai [cares, concerns, interests, worries, anxiety, agitation, fear or distress] gone? Tell the truth. You have amassed wealth, [but] has satisfaction been achieved? Tell the truth', so this is the general theme of the song.

In the 12th verse he sings: 'More than you, the great one who has kavala [care or concern] for you is Ramana, is it not? If you know this before, all sādhana would end'.

The verb he uses in the conditional clause of the last sentence is uṇar, which means to know, be aware or understand, so what he means is that if we really knew and had fully grasped how much love and concern for us Bhagavan has, we would happily surrender ourself entirely to him, and that surrender is the ending of all sadhana.

We haven't yet grasped this fully, but the more we grasp it the more willing we will be to surrender ourself.

Reflections: These are beautiful verses by Sadhu Om. These verses must be even more beautiful if one could read these in its original, Tamil.

There is never a time when we are free of all problems, concerns, worries, anxieties, fears and so on. However, we can reduce our concerns and worries if we can recollect Bhagavan’s infinite love for us. Even our mother's love pales into insignificance in front of Bhagavan's love. If we can recall this, our worries and concerns can be kept in check.

In the first verse of Aṟivu-t-tuṟai, Sadhu Om teaches us that no amount learning, wealth and such things can give us the complete satisfaction which we all are seeking. In fact, such learning or wealth can become obstacles to our spiritual progress if we are too attached to such things. Can a wealthy man be free of cares and concerns? It is extremely difficult.

Bhagavan is our only real protection. He provides us with this insurance without our having to pay any premium. His protection is free and available to us under all circumstances. Our journey, both worldly and spiritual, will become smooth and comfortable if we can understand this clearly. He is taking care of all our needs. Why should we doubt this?



Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay,
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi told his fellow men that he is not the body.
Bhagavan seems to be a teacher having given us the profound teaching of self-investigation.
Bhagavan proclaimed the non-dual 'Absolute' as self, the 'I am' in each individual life.
Bhagavan has much love and concern for us - according Sri Sadhu Om's song Arivu-t-turai.

Bhagavan was the source of supreme peace.
Bhagavan awakens everyone of us to the dormant divinity and intrinsic immortality and infinity.
His very life was the a practical demonstration of the reality of brahman and the unsubstantiality of the phenomenal world. All is brahman, nothing exists but brahman and the world as brahman is real.
His gospel reveals clearly the oneness of humanity and the indivisibility of the Godhead as the truth of his own experience. To know Bhagavan is to be Bhagavan himself because knowing is being and being is knowing - reality is at once being and consciousness.
Bhagavan's solid silence spoke louder than words at times, and his sublime look was vividly significant at all times. Silence is the true and perfect upadesa.
It is a great privilege to bow down one's ego to the holy feet of our beloved and blessed Bhagavan.
Nevertheless, I might ask who Bhagavan and what Arunachala really are.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Salazar,
thanks, I ordered a copy of Conscious Immortality, ships from India to the US for around $40 USD. There are 2 used copies on Amazon for $500. You could sell yours if you need cash!

Above you profess allegiance to Bhagavan.
When "I" is found substantially the need for outward guidance falls off. Inward guidance takes over.

Salazar said...

Roger, you can get Conscious Immortality here for 10 bucks:

http://avadhuta.com/shop/?sort=bestselling&page=2


"Bhagavan" is for me the synonym for self, the substratum. There is no need to proclaim an allegiance.

When I met Papaji I felt extreme love for that guy, an all-consuming love I did not have had for anybody else. Where did that love come from? Certainly not from that empty husk called "Salazar".

Salazar said...

It is said that all experiences are by mind and that there are no experiences in self. No objection here, however what most people don't realize is that any experience would not be possible at all without the underlying substratum, self.

If that is truly grasped any notion that the ego could do anything must drop. The fictitious ego can only "do" one thing and that is turning inwards to be self. It certainly cannot investigate self, that is by definition a subject-object relationship. The "power of attention" is not coming from the ego, it is solely by self. Without self there could not be even the slightest attention nor anything else.

Josef Bruckner said...

There is no difference between the mind and the self. The mind turned inwards is the self; turned outwards it becomes the ego and all the world. Therefore the mind does not exist apart from the self, i.e., it has no independent existence.
So the self exists without the mind, never the mind without the self.

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

Some here are feeling their oats and desires to become spiritual teachers and gurus before having actually realized the Self and destroyed their individual egos as was actually done by the one and only Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in recent times.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Salazar,

You write in your comment @ 17 October 2018 at 22:40 that "When I met Papaji I felt extreme love for that guy, an all-consuming love I did not have had for anybody else." You lucky guy, so you got to meet a jnani. What is your impression of him? What effect did he have on you aside from what you mention? Did you ask him any questions and what were his replies? What advice or upadesha did he give you? If you can share some of your memories and experiences from that meeting(s) it would be educative for all of us on this blog.

Josef Bruckner said...

Unknown,
you must be getting mixed up: Deleting one's comments is still not destroying ego.:-)

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay,
"Bhagavan is our only real protection. He provides us with this insurance without our having to pay any premium. His protection is free and available to us under all circumstances. Our journey, both worldly and spiritual, will become smooth and comfortable if we can understand this clearly. He is taking care of all our needs. Why should we doubt this?"

You describe how Bhagavan is and what he does for us.
Where, what, and who is Bhagavan ? How to meet this interesting entity ?

Josef Bruckner said...

By the way: Why does Google allow anonymous accounts ?

Unknown said...

Josef,

You are an idiot. You bring this trivial matter up again? There is no option to edit mistakes. Capisce? Not everything in life is about the destroying the goddamn ego or the realizing Self. You guys here are brainwashed like hell.

Unknown said...

Why does Google allow anonymous accounts? Take it up with Google for all I care. What does it matter to you if my name is Unknown, Ego, Self, James or Venkataramana? Does that make my ego any real? Does the Self or "I am" have any name?

Unknown said...

You said elsewhere you and all of us are the Self. Then why do you want Bhagavan's protection? What are you afraid of? Death? Yes. You are afraid of poverty, destruction of your body, loss of your family, loss of money, last of all afraid of total extinction of your ego and body.

Then how the hell can you realize your Self if you do not die this very instant, not tomorrow? You should instead pray to Bhagavan to destroy your ego and your body to extinction this very moment. What are you afraid of if you claim to be the Self?

Josef Bruckner said...

Hey you unknown crafty customer,
if you cannot write without a mistake you could simply not publish your faulty comment -
instead of being world the uncrowned champion of comment deleting.:-)

Josef Bruckner said...

Unknown, of course: uncrowned world champion

Unknown said...

Josef,

F.off. I will delete comments if need arises at my own discretion. I don't need your permission to do so.

Unknown said...

Josef,
You yourself made a mistake there in your comment after giving me advice, you buffoon.

Josef Bruckner said...

Unknown,
shame on me, my mistake is really a dreadful misdeed. Can you ever forgive me ?
Yes, good idea, ask my permission before deleting comments ! I promise to give you at any rate an excellent advice.:-)

Unknown said...

Josef,
Hey you minion, instead ask the moderator whomever it is, to delete option to delete comments if it bothers you that much.

Josef Bruckner said...

Unknown,
a good comment-destroyer would show frankness and destroy his comments immediately. Make it as a test of courage and do it ! :-)

Salazar said...

Hello Sam, I suspect that the majority here does not share your sentiment re. Papaji. Also I am not sure how educative my memories could be.

My impression of Papaji? Besides the experience of an all-consuming love in his presence ;) He was a big fellow and he had the most infectious laugh I had ever encountered. I remember laughing a lot through satsang and I had also bouts of intense crying. Strangely I laughed and cried alternatively and it seemed that both emotions were actually the same.

I never asked him a question, I had questions but every time I arrived at his house my mind went blank and I just sat down among the crowd and looked towards Papaji. Actually one could not directly ask him a question but one had to write down a question on a piece of paper which was submitted to a devotee at the entrance. Many wrote long letters in the hope it would be picked up.

So I did not get an advice by him, at least not verbally, but nonetheless it feels I was and am still getting advice on a more subtle level. But that advice is of course not from the body or person Papaji but by self.
For me this whole spiritual path is the “process” of self re-cognizing self. First it veils itself and then it seemingly re-discovers it. All of that is a paradoxical phenomenon which puzzles many souls.

I observed quite a few transformations in others among the crowd, I have not observed that with any other “teachers” I encountered later like Adyashanti, Gangaji, John Wheeler, etc.
One more memory, I am not absolutely sure but I could swear that I have seen the guy who calls himself now “Mooji” among the crowd at Papaji’s satsang.

D Samarender Reddy said...

Thanks Salazar, for sharing your experiences with Papaji.

Josef Bruckner said...

Because our ego's view is from the beginning limited we are thus anyway deceived, presumably there is and was actually neither veiling nor rediscovering of self. Therefore the mind does not really exist and is rather a myth - at least that should be found after keen inquiry.

Roger Isaacs said...

Regarding "Atma vicara is the ONLY way" or as Michael James says frequently: he is somehow frequently able to identify the ONLY correct view.

In the 12th century Zen Master Ta Hui addressed the same issue. From the book "Swampland Flowers" quoted below. Portions of "One Path Pure and Even":

You asked me "please point out the concise essentials of this mind and this inherent nature, of delusion and enlightenment, of turning towards and turning away."
I was silent and didn't answer.
When you asked me again, I laughed and said, "as for the concise essentials, they cannot be pointed out to people. If it could be pointed out, it wouldn't be the essentials."
You said "How can you have no expedient means to enable me to go towards (the path)?"
I said "as for expedients, well then: with mind, there's no delusion or enlightenment; with inherent nature, there's no turning towards or turning away."

But people set up views of delusion and enlightenment and hold to interpretations of turning towards and turning away, wanting to understand this mind and see this inherent nature; thus this mind and this nature immediately flow into wrong paths, following the person's inversions, errors, and confusion. Hence enlightenment is not distinguished from delusion, nor the wrong separated from the correct.
Because they do not fully understand the dreamlike illusions of "this mind" and "this nature", they falsely establish pairs of terms: they consider turning towards and turning away, delusion and enlightenment, as real, and accept this mind and this nature as true. They are far from realizing that whether true or not true, false or not false, worldly or world-transcending, these are merely provisional statements.

Thus Vimalakirti said, "The Dharma cannot be seen, heard, perceived, or known. If you employ seeing, hearing, perceiving, and knowing, then this is seeing, hearing, perceiving, and knowing -- it's not seeking the Dharma". ...

If views of delusion and enlightenment perish and interpretations of turning towards and turning away are cut off, then this mind is lucid and clear and the bright sun and this nature is vast and open as empty space; right where the person stands, he emits light and moves the earth. ...

Even so, it's from lack of any other choice again that I say this: don't immediately consider this as really true. If you consider it really true, then you're ignorant of expedient means, accepting dead words as fixed, multiplying empty falsehoods, producing even more confusion-- there will be no end to it.

Salazar said...

I really do not like the saying "keen" inquiry. In opposition to what, "sloppy inquiry?"
Being is being. There is no sloppy being or perfect or keen being, that is an attribution fabulated by an outgoing mind.

The "quality" of being is seemingly affected by the number of thoughts appearing into that being or awareness. But then how could possibly the outgoing mind, a bunch of thoughts, "reduce" these thoughts and "improve" quality?

Thinking about to reduce thoughts, to keenly be? LMAO I hope that anybody realizes now that thinking cannot reduce thoughts, that is like pouring gasoline into fire. The outgoing mind/ego is the obstacle to vichara, not its proponent.

Self is not an object and therefore it cannot be investigated or focused on.

Bhagavan never suggested to "keenly investigate" self. Why? Because he'd say you cannot investigate that what you are. Does [or can] an eye [need to] investigate it is an eye?

The terms 'keen' and 'investigating' in connection with vichara are adjuncts, a perversion of Bhagavan's atma vichara.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru Vachaka Kovai - verse 41

This life, an illusion based upon likes and dislikes, is an empty dream, which appears, as if real, during the sleep [of ignorance], but is found to be false when one wakes up.

Reflections: If we have no likes and dislikes, we will be free of disappointments, sadness, heartbreaks or whatever. I like things to happen and if it doesn’t, I am disappointed. Likewise, I hope certain things do not happen but if it happens, I am disappointed. I want my business to make a lot of profit but if it doesn’t, I am sad. I want people to behave in a certain way and if they don’t, I am unhappy.

However, if we are able to give up our likes and dislikes, nothing will disappoint us. Let my business make money or close down, let people behave in whatever way it suits them, I should be indifferent to such things. I should be peaceful and equipoised in all circumstances. We should have an attitude of nin ishtam en ishtam – ‘Bhagavan, your will is my will’. We should accept Bhagavan’s will wholeheartedly. This is the only way to remain peaceful.

Sadhu Om sings in the 12th verse of Arivu-t-turai:

More than you, the great one who has kavalai [care or concern] for you is Ramana, is it not? If you know this before, all sādhana would end.

If we still have concern for this or that, if we still like or dislike this or that, we do not trust Bhagavan? We can develop such trust most effectively and quickly by practising self-investigation. The more deeply and consistently we practise it, the more our trust in Bhagavan will blossom. The more it blossoms the more willing will we be to give up all our likes and dislikes.



Sanjay Lohia said...

A sinner is a person with very strong desires and attachments

Bhagavan says that even the worst sinner - a person with very strong desires and attachments – can succeed on this path if they are ready to persevere. That is why in verse 17 of Upadesa Undiyar, Bhagavan says that it is the direct path for everyone.

Why do we have so many desires and attachments? It is because we want to be happy, but we wrongly think that we will get happiness from external things.

Edited extract from the video: 2018-07-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: discussion with Michael James on self-investigation and surrender (1:16)

Reflections: So we are all sinners because we all have desires and attachments. However, if our desires and attachments cause harm to other sentient beings, we are relatively greater sinners. If our desires and attachments only harm us, we are relatively smaller sinners.

For example, Hitler was a great sinner, who would dispute this? He was responsible for world-wars so he was obviously a greater sinner than us. However, if we are addicted to smoking, we are still a sinner. But by this addiction we are only harming ourselves (and others to a limited extent), so, in comparison, we are smaller sinners.

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
regarding "perversion of Bhagavan's atma vichara",
Of course the real self does not complain of ignorance. Is it not the ego in you that so complains ? Therefore you have to investigate the ignorant ego namely to be specific very very keenly !!! Oh sorry, I must apologize to you for that...you do not like the saying "keen" inquiry.
The outgoing mind is just an outgrowth of the primary ignorance.

Josef Bruckner said...

Roger Isaacs,
so reading your given text carefully you can easily find your own defects.:-)

Josef Bruckner said...

Sanjay Lohia,
"the great sinner Hitler" was responsible for the Second World War - in the strong belief that the Wall Street-Jews caused the First World War ...
As such he also seems to have been used by Ishwara as the enforcing power of prarabdha karma of Jewish people.

Roger Isaacs said...

Hi Josef, I frequently proof read.

Salazar said...

Josef, no - the ego is not getting investigated, that is nonsense. Who would investigate the ego? Your other ego??? :)

I am afraid people here got brainwashed [borrowed that term from Roger] by Michael's way of interpretation Bhagavan. Holding to the first thought or "I am" is not and cannot be an investigation as I mentioned before.

I am afraid Josef your mind is just repeating what you have read here, what is your actual experience? That is only what counts! Not what Michael says what he believes it could be.

I am doing vichara and before shikantaza for decades and my experience does not confirm what Michael is writing here. In fact I am surprised that he writes it this way because what is he doing? vichara? It doesn't seem that way but only he could know what is going on with him.

Joseph, I am just voicing my different experience which doesn't line up with Michael's phrasing, however it is in harmony with Bhagavan, Papaji, Annamalai Swami, Robert Adams and others.

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
the first thought is a false one namely 'I am this body'.
Therefore we have to seek the source wherefrom the ego rises.
This we can do only by concentrating the mind on that quest.
As you imply there are not two 'I's in the same person. So the ego-mind can investigate only itself because in vichara there is only the subject without an object.

Salazar said...

Joseph, you are mistaken, the ego/mind is not the subject, self is. The ego/mind as we experience it is the outgoing mind and that cannot investigate self. That would be the subject ego/mind who tries to investigate the object self. That cannot work.

As soon as there is not simply being/vichara and any conceptual notions are introduced like "investigating" etc. one has entered samsara.

Also, the first thought is NOT 'I am this body', it is "I am". 'I am this body' is a secondary or third thought.

That is very important, no wonder that you are confused holding onto your erroneous belief about the first thought. With that erroneous core belief all subsequent beliefs based on that must be false!

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
on the contrary: 'I am' is not a thought. It is the goal and the final reality. To hold on this pure being with effort is vichara. When it is spontaneous and natural, it is (called) realization.

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
you say "That would be the subject ego/mind who tries to investigate the object self."

However, the self cannot be objectified.

Salazar said...

Josef, it seems you have no idea what Bhagavan wanted to convey with the concept of 'first thought'.

Furthermore, you mix truth with superstitions like "keen" and "investigating". Again, WHAT "keenly" investigates or HOLDS pure being? You did not answer that question, you are just repeating concepts you have read somewhere. They may be true, however you have not truly grasped them.

But looking at your last exchange with venkat, I see a lack of understanding of the ontology involved and your last comment to venkat was a revelation of your limited understanding. I could understand why venkat, being exasperated, gave up to further communicate with you.

Let's quit this. I'd prefer if you'd refrain from any more questions or comments directed at me. You are of course free to do so but I very likely will not response.

It appears you have figured it all out for yourself, why even add redundancy to redundancy? ;)

P.S. "I am" are two thoughts, the thought of 'I' and the thought of 'am'. If instead you are referring to self or being then you cannot touch any other notions at all since they must be thoughts. Can you grasp that?

WHAT on earth is "keenly investigating" pure being? That is so hilarious ;)

Josef Bruckner said...

Salazar,
I certainly asserted only that the mind has keenly to investigate from where the ego has arisen. You cannot seriously hang your last sentence round my neck:
"WHAT on earth is "keenly investigating" pure being? That is so hilarious ;)"

I now wave goodbye and give you a concluding remark to take with you: In order to destroy (the illusion of) ignorance the mind has simply to be turned inside.

Salazar said...

Joseph, you said correctly, the self cannot be objectified.

Now, what do think "the mind keenly investigating where the ego has risen' is? It is an OBJECTIFICATION!

I rest my case.

And thanks for giving me the obvious to take with me. Is it obvious for you too? I hardly doubt that since you don't even recognize that you keep objectifying self while being blissfully ignorant and unaware of that fact.

Josef Bruckner said...

Why not try and find out the real nature of the ever present existence ?
Let us enquire whence this 'I' springs and give up regarding as real what is unreal.
Simply being oneself, not knowing anything or becoming anything.

Salazar said...

Josef, are you for real? Can you admit your ignorance instead parroting phrases you have not grasped at all?

Parroting that what you have read on this blog is sheer ignorance. To not be open to well meant suggestions and instead to believe, as it appears, that these suggestions are not necessary is dull-witted.

Josef Bruckner said...

I am happy that I exist because 'I exist' is the only permanent, self-evident experience of every one. Nothing else is so self-evident as 'I am'.
So why denying that brahman exists as 'I' ?

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