Friday, 19 April 2019

Can there be any viable substitute for patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender?

As I wrote in the introduction to my previous but one article, Is it possible to have a ‘direct but temporary experience of the self’ or to watch the disappearance of the I-thought?, in which I adapted a reply that I had written to a friend who had asked about a portion from 13.31 to 18.04 of a video that David Godman made about ‘Papaji’ (H W L Poonja), there was another issue raised in that portion that I did not specifically discuss in that article but that I said I would discuss in a later one. That issue is the idea that Poonja could somehow give people an experience that bypassed the need for ‘a rather intense, vigilant practice that took place over a long period of time’, which David acknowledged (at 13.53) was what Bhagavan used to recommend, so this is the issue that I will discuss in this article.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Whatever jñāna we believe we see in anyone else is false

In the introduction to my previous article, Is it possible to have a ‘direct but temporary experience of the self’ or to watch the disappearance of the I-thought?, I had written that in my next article I would discuss the idea that Poonja could somehow give people an experience that bypassed the need for ‘a rather intense, vigilant practice that took place over a long period of time’, but I have not yet finished writing that article, and in the meanwhile I have written this article in response to one of the comments on my previous article, so I am posting this one now and and will post the other one later.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Is it possible to have a ‘direct but temporary experience of the self’ or to watch the disappearance of the I-thought?

Last year a friend wrote to me saying that it seems distortions and misinterpretations of Bhagavan’s teachings are inevitable, and that nowadays the internet is sadly inundated with misinformation and confused ideas about them, and concluding, ‘I suppose this is the nature of mind’, to which I replied:
Yes, the mind is māyā, so its nature is to distort and confuse, making what is simple seem complicated, what is clear seem clouded, what is plain seem obscure, what is obvious into something mysterious and what is subtle into something gross. The only way for us to overcome this natural tendency of the mind is to persistently turn within to see what we actually are, which is not this mind but just the clear light of pure and infinite self-awareness.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

What is the relationship between the ‘I-thought’ and awareness?

Recently a friend wrote asking me to ‘clarify the relationship between the I-Thought and Awareness’, and after I replied to him he wrote asking some further questions on the same subject, so this article is adapted from the two replies I wrote to him.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Thoughts and dreams appear only in the self-ignorant view of ourself as ego, not in the clear view of ourself as we actually are

A few months ago a friend wrote to me asking about a passage attributed to Annamalai Swami, but which I later found was a misquoted version of a passage from the book Annamalai Swami: Final Talks (perhaps because it had been translated from English into some other language and then back into English again), so I first replied regarding the wording of the misquoted version, and after finding the original passage I wrote another reply more appropriate to that wording. This article is adapted from these two replies.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

What is the correct meaning of ‘Be in the now’?

A friend recently wrote to me asking whether Bhagavan’s teachings can be compared to those of Zen masters such as ‘Be in the now’, ‘Mindfulness’ and so on, which he said seem to have ‘similar meaning and understanding, because when we’re in the now and here we don’t have thoughts flowing and hence remain in the self’, and he added that he thinks Bhagavan addressed this in verse 15 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

In a dream there is only one dreamer, and if the one dreamer wakes up the entire dream will come to an end

A friend recently wrote to me:
I understand that there is one ego, which creates the illusion of many people and a world. If one person in this illusion, i.e. you or I, becomes realized, how is that going to destroy the ego as a whole? When Ramana became realized, this didn’t stop the world appearing for me. I know Ramana when asked about others said there are no others and if all is a dream of course he is correct, but others myself including continue to dream we exist despite Ramana becoming enlightened. Is realization a gradual breaking down of the ego individual by individual?

My second question: What is Shakti? I have looked it up and it seems to say it is energy which creates and that it is part of who we naturally are. This seems contradictory to how I now see realization as being. I now see realization as a kind of nothingness, not dissimilar to deep sleep. Can you remind me is this correct? Is shakti the same as ego and the cause of illusion?
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to her:

Thursday, 31 January 2019

To understand consciousness can we rely upon the observations and theories of neuroscience?

Recently a friend wrote to me saying that he was caring for his mother, who was in the final stages of dying because of a brain tumour, and that for a year he had been watching the effect it had on her: ‘I followed every moment of her conscious disappearance and with all her reports about that till three days ago when she fell into a terminal coma, just breathing. [...] Layer by layer I observed her fading away: abstract reasoning, language, sight, taste, calculation, self-perception, memory, emotions, equilibrium, movement, then faces recognition, space time comprehension, till the sleeping mode during the day, sudden change of mood, personality, then fear, sorrow, and now coma, tomorrow death’.

He also wrote about the connection between the changes that had been taking place in his mother’s perception, behaviour, understanding, character, response to stimuli and so on and the parts of her brain that were progressively affected by cancer cells, and what neuroscience says about such things, including the idea that ‘consciousness is only an emergent property of the brain’. He wrote that therefore ‘I have to surrender to the hard fact of the causal relation between brain and consciousness’, and asked what Bhagavan’s teachings have to say about such matters. The first section of this article is adapted from my reply to this, and the second section is adapted from my reply to what he wrote in response to my first reply.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

What is deluded is not our real nature but only ego

In my previous article, How to be self-attentive even while we are engaged in other activities?, I adapted a reply that I had written to a friend. In another email the same friend asked ‘How did the ego come about?’ and wrote:
Am I correct to say the following? At the beginning, there was only true self. Then, somehow or other, it deluded itself and believed it to be the ego — which is the root of everything. Then, the ego got reborn over and over. What we are trying to do now is to turn what seems to be the ego within and in so doing, the ego dissolves, revealing true self that it always has been — and thus, ending all our sufferings.

My question is: If our true self is always only aware of itself, how did it delude itself at the very beginning? The “I thought” arises only if one looks outside, correct? So, if our true self is only aware of itself, how does it delude itself to begin with?

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

How to be self-attentive even while we are engaged in other activities?

A friend recently wrote to me asking how one can practise self-attentiveness while doing other things, so this article is adapted from the reply that I wrote to her.

The Tamil and Sanskrit terms that Bhagavan used to describe the practice mean or imply not only self-attentiveness but also self-investigation. In any investigation the primary tool is observation, but in self-investigation it is the only tool, so self-investigation and self-attentiveness mean the same and are therefore interchangeable terms. We investigate ourself by observing or attending to ourself.