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.
  1. If there were a shortcut that effectively bypasses the need for long and persistent practice, why did Bhagavan teach us that such practice is necessary?
  2. Nāṉ Yār?: Bhagavan’s answer to question 19 in the 30-question-and-answer version was that it is necessary for each one of us to attain liberation only by our own effort in following the path that guru has shown
  3. We should never call off the search for our real nature, because this search is necessary so long as we rise and stand as ego, and when ego is thereby eradicated, no one will remain either to continue the search or to call it off
  4. Nāṉ Ār? paragraphs 6, 10, 11 and 12: until ego is eradicated forever we need to continue this practice of trying patiently and persistently to turn within to attend to ourself alone
  5. Why did Bhagavan say even God or guru cannot of their own accord make us merge in liberation?
  6. Grace and effort are both necessary, because grace works by igniting within us the love that drives us to make the effort needed to face ourself and thereby to see what we actually are
1. If there were a shortcut that effectively bypasses the need for long and persistent practice, why did Bhagavan teach us that such practice is necessary?

The idea that Poonja could somehow give people an experience that bypassed the need for long, patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender is perhaps the most misleading aspect of the way in which his guidance deviated from the teachings of Bhagavan, and it is expressed by David in the following two portions of this video. Firstly from 13.31 to 15.14 David said:
Papaji thought that you get a direct experience by holding on to the ‘I’, finding out where it comes from, and watching it disappear. In that sense he was preaching from the same hymn sheet as Bhagavan, his guru. But he had a slightly different take on it. Ramana Maharshi used to recommend it as a rather intense, vigilant practice that took place over a long period of time. Papaji was more interested in showing you who you were in that particular moment with him, through making you focus on this ‘I’ and actually helping you to take this ‘I’ back to its source, and then revealing to you the experience that was already there once this ‘I’ disappeared. So, Papaji wasn’t saying, ‘Go off and make this a long continuous practice’. He would say:
Sit in front of me, right now, and tell me who you are. Who is this ‘I’ who is asking me the questions? What is this I? Look at it. Focus on it. Watch it, hold on to it and see what happens to it.
Now that there was something incredibly powerful about that man’s presence. If you took his advice, and if you looked at yourself, at this I-thought, sitting in front of him, with him looking at you, as often as not it would go back to its source and disappear. So in a sense, you were getting a free lunch. You didn’t have to put in all the hard yards of practice to get that experience.
And later from 17.00 to 18.04 he said:
And simply through the power of his presence he could make your ‘I’ thought disappear, and he could give you the experience that countless decades of practice sometimes never did. In that I think he was almost unique. I know of no other teacher in modern times at least who had the ability to take almost complete strangers, park them in front of him and say, ‘Look at your ‘I’, tell me where it goes’, and have them eradicate their ‘I’ temporarily and wake up to a direct but temporary experience of the self. That was his trick, his technique. That’s what he could do all his life, and wherever he went in the world, he had this capacity to make people be aware of themselves. It didn’t last in the vast majority of cases, but in a few cases it did last. He had this capacity to wake people up, and he had this capacity to make people happy. That was his double trick.
This seems to imply that Poonja did not consider long and persistent practice to be necessary, and that he believed that what he was offering was a shortcut that somehow bypassed the need for such practice, but if any such shortcut (or ‘free lunch’, as David called it) was actually possible, why did Bhagavan teach us that we need to practise self-investigation and self-surrender for as long and as persistently as necessary to eradicate ego?

2. Nāṉ Yār?: Bhagavan’s answer to question 19 in the 30-question-and-answer version was that it is necessary for each one of us to attain liberation only by our own effort in following the path that guru has shown

Is it possible for anyone other than ourself to enable us to eradicate ego without our having to patiently and persistently practise self-investigation and self-surrender? The answer to this is clearly implied in the answer that Bhagavan gave to one of the questions Sivaprakasam Pillai asked him, namely ‘கடவுளாலும் குருவாலும் ஒரு ஜீவனை சிவமாக்க முடியாதா?’ (kaḍavuḷālum guruvālum oru jīvaṉai śivam ākka muḍiyādā?), ‘Is it possible for God and guru to make a jīva [soul] become śivam [liberation, the ultimate state in which God exists as pure awareness]?’ This was question 19 in the 30-question-and-answer version of Nāṉ Yār? (the most complete printed record of the teachings that Sivaprakasam Pillai received from Bhagavan, which was published at least three or four times between 1924 and 1936), and Bhagavan’s answer to it was:
கடவுளும் குருவும் முக்தியை யடைவதற்கு வழியைக் காட்டுவார்களே யல்லாமல், தாமாகவே ஜீவர்களை முக்தியில் சேர்க்க முடியாது. ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து முத்தி யடைய வேண்டும். தன்னைத் தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்ணால், தானே யறிய வேண்டும். அல்லாமல், பிறரால் எப்படி யறியலாம்? இராமனென்பவன் தன்னை இராமனென் றறிவதற்குக் கண்ணாடி வேண்டுமா?

kaḍavuḷum guruvum muktiyai y-aḍaivadaṟku vaṙiyai-k kāṭṭuvārgaḷē y-allāmal, tāmāhavē jīvargaḷai muktiyil sērkka muḍiyādu. o-vv-oruvarum tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu mutti y-aḍaiya vēṇḍum. taṉṉai-t taṉṉuḍaiya ñāṉa-k-kaṇṇāl, tāṉē y-aṟiya vēṇḍum. allāmal, piṟarāl eppaḍi y-aṟiyalām? irāmaṉ-eṉbavaṉ taṉṉai irāmaṉ-eṉ ḏṟaṟivadaṟku-k kaṇṇāḍi vēṇḍumā?

God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti [liberation], but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti. It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking [or proceeding] in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown. It is necessary for oneself alone to know oneself by one’s own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness]. Instead, how can one know [oneself] by someone else? For a person called Raman to know himself as Raman is a mirror necessary?
In order to eradicate ego we need to be aware of ourself as we actually are, and in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are we need to turn our entire attention back withing to face ourself alone. So long as we are aware of anything other than ourself, we are aware of ourself as ego and hence not aware of ourself as we actually are, so we need to attend to ourself so keenly that we are aware of nothing other than ourself.

How can we see what we actually are unless we ourself look at ourself keenly enough? No one else can do so for us. This is what Bhagavan implied when he said, ‘தன்னைத் தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்ணால், தானே யறிய வேண்டும். அல்லாமல், பிறரால் எப்படி யறியலாம்?’ (taṉṉai-t taṉṉuḍaiya ñāṉa-k-kaṇṇāl, tāṉē y-aṟiya vēṇḍum. allāmal, piṟarāl eppaḍi y-aṟiyalām?), ‘It is necessary for oneself alone to know oneself by one’s own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness]. Instead, how can one know [oneself] by someone else?’ What he refers to as ‘தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்’ (taṉṉuḍaiya ñāṉa-k-kaṇ), ‘one’s own eye of jñāna [awareness]’, is one’s own inward-facing attention, so what he implies is that unless we ourself turn our attention within to face ourself alone, no one else can do so for us.

Since the nature of ourself as ego is to attend to things other than ourself, to turn our attention within and to look at ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are requires patient and persistent effort, which is why he says: ‘ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து முத்தி யடைய வேண்டும்’ (o-vv-oruvarum tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu mutti y-aḍaiya vēṇḍum), ‘It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown’.

The effort required to eradicate ego and thereby attain mukti is not just a one-off effort, because in order to look at ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are we must have overwhelming love to be aware of ourself alone, and having such love entails being willing to let go of everything else, so we need to cultivate such love and willingness (bhakti and vairāgya) by patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender, which will gradually wean our mind away from its desire for and attachment to things other than ourself. That is, though in order to see what we actually are we need to look at ourself keenly enough for just a single moment, because that is all that is required to eradicate ego forever, we will not be willing to look at ourself keenly enough until we are wholeheartedly willing to give up completely and forever being aware of anything else.

This is why Bhagavan said, ‘கடவுளும் குருவும் முக்தியை யடைவதற்கு வழியைக் காட்டுவார்களே யல்லாமல், தாமாகவே ஜீவர்களை முக்தியில் சேர்க்க முடியாது’ (kaḍavuḷum guruvum muktiyai y-aḍaivadaṟku vaṙiyai-k kāṭṭuvārgaḷē y-allāmal, tāmāhavē jīvargaḷai muktiyil sērkka muḍiyādu), ‘God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti, but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas merge in mukti’. That is, God or guru will never force us to give up ego against our will, so until we are wholeheartedly willing to give it up along with everything else, they will patiently bide their time, waiting for us to cultivate such willingness by following the path of self-investigation and self-surrender for as long as it takes.

Following this path is a journey, a process that take time, patience and persistence, as he implies when he says ‘கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து’ (kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu), ‘walking [or proceeding] in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown’. How long the journey will take us depends on how far along the path we have proceeded already, but we each have to travel for as long as it takes for us to wean our mind away from all its desires for and attachments to anything other than our real nature. As Bhagavan says in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும்’ (maṉattiṉgaṇ edu-varaiyil viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ irukkiṉḏṟaṉavō, adu-varaiyil nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai-y-um vēṇḍum), ‘As long as viṣaya-vāsanās [inclinations or desires to experience things other than oneself] exist within the mind, so long is the investigation who am I necessary’.

3. We should never call off the search for our real nature, because this search is necessary so long as we rise and stand as ego, and when ego is thereby eradicated, no one will remain either to continue the search or to call it off

A documentary made in 1993 about Poonja and with his approval was called Call Off the Search, so presumably ‘Call off the search’ was either an instruction that he often gave or was considered to be an apt summary of his teachings, but it is an entirely inappropriate instruction to be given to anyone, because whenever we are not searching for our real nature we will be searching for happiness elsewhere, since the very nature of ourself as ego is to perpetually seek happiness here, there or somewhere else. Therefore if we call off our search for our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is infinite happiness, we will instead inevitably continue searching for happiness in other places, even though true happiness can never be found in anything other than ourself.

Our inclinations to search for happiness in things other than ourself are what are called viṣaya-vāsanās, a term that means inclinations (vāsanās) towards phenomena (viṣayas) and implies desires to experience or be aware of things other than ourself. Such vāsanās are the very nature of ourself as ego, because we seem to be ego only when we attend to or are aware of anything other than ourself, so for our survival as ego we depend on being aware of other things.

Being aware of things other than ourself is what Bhagavan refers to as ‘உரு பற்றி’ (uru paṯṟi), ‘grasping form’, in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, in which he describes ego as ‘உருவற்ற பேய் அகந்தை’ (uru-v-aṯṟa pēy ahandai), the ‘formless phantom-ego’, and says of it, ‘உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்’ (uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum), ‘Grasping form it comes into existence; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows abundantly’, thereby implying that we rise as ego, seem to exist as ego and flourish as ego only by being aware of things other than ourself. Therefore so long as we are aware of anything other than ourself we cannot eradicate ego, so the only way to eradicate it is to turn our entire attention back towards ourself, away from all other things, as he implies when he says in the same verse, ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), ‘If sought, it will take flight’.

Since we depend for our survival as ego on our being aware of things other than ourself, as ego we are naturally strongly inclined to be constantly aware of other things, so viṣaya-vāsanās are the very nature of ourself as ego. Therefore when Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும்’ (maṉattiṉgaṇ edu-varaiyil viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ irukkiṉḏṟaṉavō, adu-varaiyil nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai-y-um vēṇḍum), ‘As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist within the mind, so long is the investigation who am I necessary’, he implies that so long as we continue to rise and stand as ego and consequently to be aware of anything other than ourself we must continue investigating what we actually are.

In other words, we must not call off the search for our real nature, which is what Bhagavan calls ‘நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணை’ (nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai), ‘the investigation who am I’, until ego has thereby been completely eradicated. However, since what needs to search for its real nature is only ego, and since it will be completely eradicated by this search, when it is thereby eventually eradicated no one will remain either to continue the search or to call it off. Therefore ‘Call off the search’ can never be an appropriate advice to give anyone.

4. Nāṉ Ār? paragraphs 6, 10, 11 and 12: until ego is eradicated forever we need to continue this practice of trying patiently and persistently to turn within to attend to ourself alone

Our search for our real nature is a perpetual battle between on one hand our love to turn within, see what we actually are and thereby surrender ourself entirely, and on the other hand our viṣaya-vāsanās, which are what drives our attention to go outwards to be aware of other things. To succeed in this battle we must persevere in trying to turn our attention back towards ourself whenever our viṣaya-vāsanās drive it out towards anything else, because it is only by persevering in this practice that we can weaken all our viṣaya-vāsanās and will thereby eventually be able to attend to ourself keenly enough to be aware of nothing other than ourself, whereupon we will see what we actually are and thereby ego will dissolve forever in its source, our real nature.

The need for us to continue this practice of trying patiently and persistently to turn within to attend to ourself alone is clearly implied by Bhagavan in the sixth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth paragraphs of Nāṉ Ār?. In the first half of the sixth paragraph he wrote:
நானார் என்னும் விசாரணையினாலேயே மன மடங்கும்; நானார் என்னும் நினைவு மற்ற நினைவுகளை யெல்லா மழித்துப் பிணஞ்சுடு தடிபோல் முடிவில் தானு மழியும். பிற வெண்ணங்க ளெழுந்தா லவற்றைப் பூர்த்தி பண்ணுவதற்கு எத்தனியாமல் அவை யாருக் குண்டாயின என்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டும். எத்தனை எண்ணங்க ளெழினு மென்ன? ஜாக்கிரதையாய் ஒவ்வோ ரெண்ணமும் கிளம்பும்போதே இது யாருக்குண்டாயிற்று என்று விசாரித்தால் எனக்கென்று தோன்றும். நானார் என்று விசாரித்தால் மனம் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற்குத் திரும்பிவிடும்; எழுந்த வெண்ணமு மடங்கிவிடும். இப்படிப் பழகப் பழக மனத்திற்குத் தன் பிறப்பிடத்திற் றங்கி நிற்கும் சக்தி யதிகரிக்கின்றது.

nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇaiyiṉāl-ē-y-ē maṉam aḍaṅgum; nāṉ-ār eṉṉum niṉaivu maṯṟa niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām aṙittu-p piṇañ-cuḍu taḍi-pōl muḍivil tāṉ-um aṙiyum. piṟa v-eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙundāl avaṯṟai-p pūrtti paṇṇuvadaṟku ettaṉiyāmal avai yārukku uṇḍāyiṉa eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum. ettaṉai eṇṇaṅgaḷ eṙiṉum eṉṉa? jāggirataiyāy ovvōr eṇṇamum kiḷambum-pōdē idu yārukku uṇḍāyiṯṟu eṉḏṟu vicārittāl eṉakkeṉḏṟu tōṉḏṟum. nāṉ-ār eṉḏṟu vicārittāl maṉam taṉ piṟappiḍattiṟku-t tirumbi-viḍum; eṙunda v-eṇṇamum aḍaṅgi-viḍum. ippaḍi-p paṙaga-p paṙaga maṉattiṟku-t taṉ piṟappiḍattil taṅgi niṟgum śakti y-adhikarikkiṉḏṟadu.

Only by the investigation who am I will the mind cease [stop, subside or disappear forever]; the thought who am I [that is, the attentiveness with which one investigates what one is], destroying all other thoughts, will itself also in the end be destroyed like a corpse-burning stick [a stick that is used to stir a funeral pyre to ensure that the corpse is burnt completely]. If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have appeared [literally, to whom they have come into existence]. However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has appeared [literally, to whom it has come into existence], it will be clear: to me. If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought that had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, for the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace increases.
In the tenth paragraph he wrote:
தொன்றுதொட்டு வருகின்ற விஷயவாசனைகள் அளவற்றனவாய்க் கடலலைகள் போற் றோன்றினும் அவையாவும் சொரூபத்யானம் கிளம்பக் கிளம்ப அழிந்துவிடும். அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும். ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு பாபியாயிருந்தாலும், ‘நான் பாபியா யிருக்கிறேனே! எப்படிக் கடைத்தேறப் போகிறே’ னென்றேங்கி யழுதுகொண்டிராமல், தான் பாபி என்னு மெண்ணத்தையு மறவே யொழித்து சொரூபத்யானத்தி லூக்க முள்ளவனாக விருந்தால் அவன் நிச்சயமா யுருப்படுவான்.

toṉḏṟutoṭṭu varugiṉḏṟa viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ aḷavaṯṟaṉavāy-k kaḍal-alaigaḷ pōl tōṉḏṟiṉum avai-yāvum sorūpa-dhyāṉam kiḷamba-k kiḷamba aṙindu-viḍum. attaṉai vāsaṉaigaḷum oḍuṅgi, sorūpa-māttiram-āy irukka muḍiyumā v-eṉṉum sandēha niṉaivukkum iḍam koḍāmal, sorūpa-dhyāṉattai viḍā-p-piḍiyāy-p piḍikka vēṇḍum. oruvaṉ evvaḷavu pāpiyāy irundālum, ‘nāṉ pāpiyāy irukkiṟēṉē; eppaḍi-k kaḍaittēṟa-p pōkiṟēṉ’ eṉḏṟēṅgi y-aṙudu-koṇḍirāmal, tāṉ pāpi eṉṉum eṇṇattaiyum aṟavē y-oṙittu sorūpa-dhyāṉattil ūkkam uḷḷavaṉāha v-irundāl avaṉ niścayamāy uru-p-paḍuvāṉ.

Even though viṣaya-vāsanās, which come from time immemorial, rise [as thoughts or phenomena] in countless numbers like ocean-waves, they will all be destroyed when svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness, contemplation on one’s ‘own form’ or real nature] increases and increases [in depth and intensity]. Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘So many vāsanās ceasing [or being dissolved], is it possible to be only as svarūpa [my own form or real nature]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to svarūpa-dhyāna. However great a sinner one may be, if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ one completely rejects the thought that one is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness, one will certainly be reformed [transformed into what one actually is].
In the eleventh paragraph he wrote:
மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும். நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற அப்போதைக்கப்போதே அவைகளையெல்லாம் உற்பத்திஸ்தானத்திலேயே விசாரணையால் நசிப்பிக்க வேண்டும். அன்னியத்தை நாடாதிருத்தல் வைராக்கியம் அல்லது நிராசை; தன்னை விடாதிருத்தல் ஞானம். உண்மையி லிரண்டு மொன்றே. முத்துக்குளிப்போர் தம்மிடையிற் கல்லைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு மூழ்கிக் கடலடியிற் கிடைக்கும் முத்தை எப்படி எடுக்கிறார்களோ, அப்படியே ஒவ்வொருவனும் வைராக்கியத்துடன் தன்னுள் ளாழ்ந்து மூழ்கி ஆத்மமுத்தை யடையலாம். ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும். கோட்டைக்குள் எதிரிக ளுள்ளவரையில் அதிலிருந்து வெளியே வந்துகொண்டே யிருப்பார்கள். வர வர அவர்களையெல்லாம் வெட்டிக்கொண்டே யிருந்தால் கோட்டை கைவசப்படும்.

maṉattiṉgaṇ edu-varaiyil viṣaya-vāsaṉaigaḷ irukkiṉḏṟaṉavō, adu-varaiyil nāṉ-ār eṉṉum vicāraṇai-y-um vēṇḍum. niṉaivugaḷ tōṉḏṟa-t tōṉḏṟa appōdaikkappōdē avaigaḷai-y-ellām uṯpatti-sthāṉattilēyē vicāraṇaiyāl naśippikka vēṇḍum. aṉṉiyattai nāḍādiruttal vairāggiyam alladu nirāśai; taṉṉai viḍādiruttal ñāṉam. uṇmaiyil iraṇḍum oṉḏṟē. muttu-k-kuḷippōr tam-m-iḍaiyil kallai-k kaṭṭi-k-koṇḍu mūṙki-k kaḍal-aḍiyil kiḍaikkum muttai eppaḍi eḍukkiṟārgaḷō, appaḍiyē o-vv-oruvaṉum vairāggiyattuḍaṉ taṉṉuḷ ḷ-āṙndu mūṙki ātma-muttai y-aḍaiyalām. oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum. kōṭṭaikkuḷ edirigaḷ uḷḷa-varaiyil adilirundu veḷiyē vandu-koṇḍē y-iruppārgaḷ. vara vara avargaḷai-y-ellām veṭṭi-k-koṇḍē y-irundāl kōṭṭai kaivaśa-p-paḍum.

As long as viṣaya-vāsanās exist within the mind, so long is the investigation who am I necessary. As and when thoughts appear, then and there it is necessary to annihilate them all by vicāraṇā [investigation or keen self-attentiveness] in the very place from which they arise. Not attending to anything other [than oneself] is vairāgya [dispassion or detachment] or nirāśā [desirelessness]; not leaving [or letting go of] oneself is jñāna [true knowledge or real awareness]. In truth [these] two [vairāgya and jñāna] are just one. Just as pearl-divers, tying stones to their waists and sinking, pick up pearls that are found at the bottom of the ocean, so each one, sinking deep within oneself with vairāgya [freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than oneself], may attain the pearl of oneself [literally: attaining the pearl of oneself is proper]. If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone is sufficient. So long as enemies [namely viṣaya-vāsanās] are within the fort [namely one’s heart], they will be continuously coming out from it. If one is continuously cutting down [or destroying] all of them as and when they come, the fort will [eventually] be captured.
And in the twelfth paragraph he wrote:
கடவுளும் குருவும் உண்மையில் வேறல்லர். புலிவாயிற் பட்டது எவ்வாறு திரும்பாதோ, அவ்வாறே குருவினருட்பார்வையிற் பட்டவர்கள் அவரால் ரக்ஷிக்கப்படுவரே யன்றி யொருக்காலும் கைவிடப்படார்; எனினும், குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்.

kaḍavuḷ-um guru-v-um uṇmaiyil vēṟallar. puli-vāyil paṭṭadu evvāṟu tirumbādō, avvāṟē guruviṉ-aruḷ-pārvaiyil paṭṭavargaḷ avarāl rakṣikka-p-paḍuvarē y-aṉḏṟi y-oru-k-kāl-um kaiviḍa-p-paḍār; eṉiṉum, guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi tavaṟādu naḍakka vēṇḍum.

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 look [or glance] of guru’s grace will never be forsaken but will surely be saved by him; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown.
The path that guru has shown us is the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, which are ultimately the same practice, as Bhagavan clearly indicated in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம்.

āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām.

Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is completely fixed in and as oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [‘thought of oneself’, self-contemplation or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God.
To succeed in this path we ourself must patiently and persistently try to turn our attention back within to face ourself alone whenever it is driven outwards by our viṣaya-vāsanās. No one else can do so for us. As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of his answer to question 19 of the 30-question-and-answer version of Nāṉ Yār?: ‘கடவுளும் குருவும் முக்தியை யடைவதற்கு வழியைக் காட்டுவார்களே யல்லாமல், தாமாகவே ஜீவர்களை முக்தியில் சேர்க்க முடியாது’ (kaḍavuḷum guruvum muktiyai y-aḍaivadaṟku vaṙiyai-k kāṭṭuvārgaḷē y-allāmal, tāmāhavē jīvargaḷai muktiyil sērkka muḍiyādu), ‘God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti, but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas merge in mukti’.

The battle to be fought is a battle within our own will between our love to surrender ourself entirely and our viṣaya-vāsanās, so it is a battle that we ourself must fight. This is not to say that guru’s grace will not help us to win this battle. The grace of God or guru is always present, waiting to help us, but it will help us only to the extent that we make the required effort to investigate and surrender ourself. This is why he says in the second sentence of that answer: ‘ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து முத்தி யடைய வேண்டும்’ (o-vv-oruvarum tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu mutti y-aḍaiya vēṇḍum), ‘It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown’.

Until and unless we are willing to surrender ourself entirely we cannot attain mukti, and we will not be willing to surrender ourself entirely until we are close to overcoming all our viṣaya-vāsanās, because they are what makes us unwilling to do so. Therefore unless we are willing to make the effort required to overcome them, they will continue to overcome us, dragging us hither and thither in search of happiness in things other than ourself. So what is the effort we must make to overcome them? It is patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender for as long as it takes for us to wean our mind off its infatuation with anything other than ourself.

Therefore on this path of self-investigation and self-surrender there is no such thing as a shortcut, or ‘free meal’ in the sense that David used the term. As Bhagavan often explained, and as he said emphatically in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār, the path of self-investigation is ‘மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும்’ (mārggam nēr ārkkum), ‘the direct path for everyone whomsoever’, and there can obviously be no shorter cut than the direct way.

When Bhagavan made it so abundantly clear in Nāṉ Ār? and elsewhere that we must unfailingly persevere in making effort to practise self-investigation and self-surrender for as long as it takes to eradicate ego along with all its viṣaya-vāsanās, if anyone else implies that such practice is not necessary or can be by-passed in any way, they are thereby directly contradicting the very heart of his teachings. The need for persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender is not just an optional extra but is the essential import of his teachings, so if Poonja ‘had a slightly different take’ on this, as David said, he had clearly not understood his teachings very deeply or comprehensively, and the alternative he was offering was not actually a viable means to achieve complete and permanent eradication of ego, which is the one goal towards which all of Bhagavan’s teachings are leading us.

5. Why did Bhagavan say even God or guru cannot of their own accord make us merge in liberation?

The 30-question-and-answer version of Nāṉ Yār? was first published sometime between 1924 and 1926, and quite soon after that, either in 1926 or 1927, Bhagavan rewrote his answers recorded in it in the form of an essay, which thereby became the principal version of Nāṉ Ār?. While writing this essay he made many changes, both major and minor, to the wording of the 30-question-and-answer version, including adding an entirely new first paragraph. However, some devotees felt that a question-and-answer version would be more popular than the essay version, so sometime in the early 1930s they complied a hybrid version containing twenty-eight questions and answers by adapting the earlier 30-question-and-answer version and incorporating much of the revised wording from the essay version.

In his essay version Bhagavan did not include the first two sentences of his answer to question 19, but he did include the main implication of the second sentence in the final sentence of the twelfth paragraph. However in the 28-question-and-answer version the answer to question 20 was compiled from a modified combination of his answer to question 19 of the 30-question-and-answer version and the twelfth paragraph of his essay version.

What he said in the first two sentences of his answer to question 19 of the 30-question-and-answer version was:
கடவுளும் குருவும் முக்தியை யடைவதற்கு வழியைக் காட்டுவார்களே யல்லாமல், தாமாகவே ஜீவர்களை முக்தியில் சேர்க்க முடியாது. ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து முத்தி யடைய வேண்டும்.

kaḍavuḷum guruvum muktiyai y-aḍaivadaṟku vaṙiyai-k kāṭṭuvārgaḷē y-allāmal, tāmāhavē jīvargaḷai muktiyil sērkka muḍiyādu. o-vv-oruvarum tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu mutti y-aḍaiya vēṇḍum.

God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti [liberation], but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti. It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown.
So why did Bhagavan not include these first two sentences of his answer to question 19 in his essay version? Presumably he decided not to include them because if they were not understood correctly, they could discourage some aspirants by making them think that God or guru cannot help them to attain mukti. He gave this answer to Sivaprakasam Pillai because he knew that he was mature enough to understand that God or guru will not annihilate us until we are willing to surrender ourself entirely to him, but that if we make the required effort to follow the path shown by guru, namely the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, his grace will certainly give us all the help we need.

Though these two sentences may seem to be discouraging to those of us who recognise the weakness of our love to investigate and surrender ourself and therefore understand that we cannot succeed in this path without the help of grace, Bhagavan does not actually say in these sentences that God or guru cannot help us. What he says is that our effort is necessary, and that God or guru cannot by themselves or of their own accord make us attain mukti. The key word in the first sentence is தாமாகவே (tāmāhavē), which means ‘by themselves’ or ‘of their own accord’, and the reason he said, ‘தாமாகவே ஜீவர்களை முக்தியில் சேர்க்க முடியாது’ (tāmāhavē jīvargaḷai muktiyil sērkka muḍiyādu), ‘it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti’, was to emphasise the imperative need for us to be willing to surrender ourself entirely by making the required effort to eradicate ego along with all its viṣaya-vāsanās, as he implied in the next sentence: ‘ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து முத்தி யடைய வேண்டும்’ (o-vv-oruvarum tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu mutti y-aḍaiya vēṇḍum), ‘It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking [or proceeding] in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown’.

Though he did not actually include these two sentences in his essay version, he did include the implication that we should draw from them in the final sentence of the twelfth paragraph, namely: ‘எனினும், குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்’ (eṉiṉum, guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi tavaṟādu naḍakka vēṇḍum), ‘nevertheless, it is necessary to walk [or proceed] unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown’. He has shown us the direct path to mukti, namely the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and in this sentence he makes it clear that in order to be benefited by this teaching we ourself need to unfailingly follow this path. This is the small but essential part that we have to play, and if we play it his grace will take care of everything else.

The reason why our own effort is absolutely essential for us to attain mukti is clearly implied by Bhagavan in the definition of mukti that he gives in the sixteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?: ‘பந்தத்தி லிருக்கும் தான் யாரென்று விசாரித்து தன் யதார்த்த சொரூபத்தைத் தெரிந்துகொள்வதே முக்தி’ (bandhattil irukkum tāṉ yār eṉḏṟu vicārittu taṉ yathārtha sorūpattai-t terindu-koḷvadē mukti), ‘[By] investigating who is oneself who is in bondage, knowing one’s yathārtha svarūpa [actual own nature] alone is mukti’. No one other than ourself can investigate what we actually are and thereby know or be aware of our own actual nature, so if we do not patiently and persistently make effort to turn within to see what we actually are, even God or guru cannot make us attain mukti.

This is also implied in two clauses from the first two sentences of this sixteenth paragraph, namely ‘முக்தி யடைவதற்கு மனத்தை யடக்க வேண்டும்’ (mukti y-aḍaivadaṟku maṉattai y-aḍakka vēṇḍummukti
it is necessary to make the mind cease’, and ‘மனத்தை யடக்குவதற்குத் தன்னை யாரென்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டுமே’ (maṉattai y-aḍakkuvadaṟku-t taṉṉai yār eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum-ē), ‘for making the mind cease it is necessary to investigate oneself [to see] who [one actually is]’. As ego we ourself are the mind that needs to subside and cease, and to make it subside and cease we ourself must investigate ourself to see what we actually are. No one else can do so for us, not even God or guru. Their grace will give us all the help we require, but to avail of that help we ourself must try our best to turn within to see what we actually are.

6. Grace and effort are both necessary, because grace works by igniting within us the love that drives us to make the effort needed to face ourself and thereby to see what we actually are

The real nature of grace is widely misunderstood, and this is one of the main reasons why the need for our own effort is not adequately recognised by many spiritual aspirants, particularly those who believe in the supposed power of people like Poonja. Grace is not a power that comes from some other person or from anywhere outside ourself. Grace is our real nature. It is the love that we as we actually are have for ourself as we actually are.

Grace and effort are not two alternatives, because they work in unison, and neither can work adequately without the other. Grace is always ready to help us, but to avail ourself of its help we must yield ourself to it by turning within to face ourself, the source from which it flows and with which it is actually identical. We ourself are the grace whose help we are seeking, so we can surrender ourself to it most effectively by ‘ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாதது’ (āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍādadu), ‘not giving even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [self-attentiveness]’ (as Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?), or in other words, by attending to nothing other than ourself.

So long as we are attending to anything other than ourself, we are surrendering ourself to our viṣaya-vāsanās and thereby obstructing the help that grace is always offering to us. Therefore we must co-operate with grace by making effort to be as self-attentive as we can be, thereby avoiding the natural tendency of ego to obstruct it.

However, we also need to recognise that even our effort is the result of grace. We make effort to be self-attentive only because of our love to be as we actually are, and this love is not only ignited in our heart by grace but is also fanned and fed by it until it becomes a raging fire that consumes us entirely along with all our viṣaya-vāsanās. In fact this love is grace. It is our real nature, but in the self-ignorant view of ourself as ego it is obscured by our rising as ego and thereby coming under the sway of ego’s viṣaya-vāsanās, which drive our attention out towards things other than ourself.

Grace is the power of love that draws our attention back to ourself, so we can unreservedly yield ourself to it and co-operate with it most fully only by making effort to be self-attentive. Since it is nothing other than our own love for ourself as we actually are, it is not some alien force and does not come from anywhere other than ourself, so it will not and cannot force us to be self-attentive unless we ourself are willing to co-operate with it by making the necessary effort, trying our best to cling tenaciously to self-attentiveness (svarūpa-dhyāna).

This is why Bhagavan says in the first three sentences of his answer to question 19 of the 30-question-and-answer version of Nāṉ Yār?:
கடவுளும் குருவும் முக்தியை யடைவதற்கு வழியைக் காட்டுவார்களே யல்லாமல், தாமாகவே ஜீவர்களை முக்தியில் சேர்க்க முடியாது. ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து முத்தி யடைய வேண்டும். தன்னைத் தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்ணால், தானே யறிய வேண்டும்.

kaḍavuḷum guruvum muktiyai y-aḍaivadaṟku vaṙiyai-k kāṭṭuvārgaḷē y-allāmal, tāmāhavē jīvargaḷai muktiyil sērkka muḍiyādu. o-vv-oruvarum tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu mutti y-aḍaiya vēṇḍum. taṉṉai-t taṉṉuḍaiya ñāṉa-k-kaṇṇāl, tāṉē y-aṟiya vēṇḍum.

God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti [liberation], but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti. It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown. It is necessary for oneself alone to know oneself by one’s own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness].
Grace itself is both God and guru, so by saying that it is not possible for them by themselves to make jīvas merge in mukti, he implies that in order to make us subside and merge back into and as our real nature (ātma-svarūpa) grace requires our co-operation, and as he implies in the next two sentences, how we need to co-operate with it is by making effort to see ourself by our own ‘ஞானக்கண்’ (ñāṉa-k-kaṇ), ‘eye of jñāna’ or ‘eye of awareness’.

The term he uses in the second sentence to mean ‘only by their own effort’ is ‘தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே’ (tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē). முயற்சி (muyaṟci) means effort, exertion, perseverance or diligence, and in this context implies persistent practice of trying to be self-attentive, because it is a noun derived from the verb முயல், which means to attempt, try, practise, persevere, exert or make persistent effort. முயற்சியினால் (muyaṟciyiṉāl) is an instrumental case form of முயற்சி (muyaṟci), so it means ‘by effort’ or ‘with effort’, and the suffix (ē) is an intensifier that in this context implies ‘only’ or ‘alone’, so by adding it not just once but twice to முயற்சியினால் (muyaṟciyiṉāl), saying ‘முயற்சியினாலேயே’ (muyaṟciyiṉāl-ē-y-ē), he strongly emphasises the absolute necessity of effort.

To further emphasise the need for our own effort and to explain why it is so necessary, in the third and fourth sentences he says:
தன்னைத் தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்ணால், தானே யறிய வேண்டும். அல்லாமல், பிறரால் எப்படி யறியலாம்?

taṉṉai-t taṉṉuḍaiya ñāṉa-k-kaṇṇāl, tāṉē y-aṟiya vēṇḍum. allāmal, piṟarāl eppaḍi y-aṟiyalām?

It is necessary for oneself alone to know oneself by one’s own eye of jñāna [awareness]. Instead, how can one know [oneself] by someone else?
We need to know ourself by our own eye of self-awareness (jñāna), which means that we need to keenly look at or attend to ourself alone, and since the natural flow of our mind is to go out towards other things, to attend to ourself alone requires effort on our part. To see what we actually are, we ourself must look at ourself. No one else can look for us, nor can anyone else see for us. This is what Bhagavan means by asking ‘பிறரால் எப்படி யறியலாம்?’ (piṟarāl eppaḍi y-aṟiyalām?), ‘how can one know [oneself] by someone else [anyone other than oneself]?’ Therefore the effort required to look at ourself is an effort that we alone must make, because no பிறர் (piṟar) or other person can do so for us.

This does not mean that grace will not help us. It is always helping us, but it is working from within ourself, so we must ultimately look for its help inside ourself and not outside. So long as we look for it outside, we are perpetuating the seeming separation of ourself from it and thus maintaining a barrier between it and ourself. To avail of its help most fully and completely, we need to surrender ourself to it wholly and unreservedly, which we can do only by turning our entire attention within, which is truly ‘குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடப்பது’ (guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍappadu), ‘walking in accordance with the path that guru has shown’.

Since time immemorial we have been seeking happiness outside ourself, so it was necessary for grace to appear outside in the form of guru in order to teach us that the happiness we are seeking is our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), and that the means to attain it is therefore to turn within and merge back into and as our real nature, which is the source from which we have risen as ego. This is the purpose of the human form of guru: to show us that the way to attain the infinite and unalloyed happiness that we are always seeking is to turn our attention back towards ourself and thereby surrender ourself entirely to the infinitely clear light of pure self-awareness, which is grace, the true form of guru.

Therefore the lakṣaṇa (mark, sign or characteristic) that indicates the true guru is that he will always direct our attention back towards ourself and will never attach even the least importance to himself as a person. He will not say, ‘Come to me, because I can give you what you are seeking’, but will instead direct us to go back to ourself, because the happiness we are seeking is our own real nature and can therefore be found only within ourself.

This is clearly illustrated by an incident that happened in Bhagavan’s life. A devotee from Tanjavur called Janaki Mata used to visit him often, and once when she arrived in the āśramam she saw him walking from the cow shed, so she approached him, prostrated before him and held his feet. He looked down at her with a kindly smile and asked her what she was doing. ‘I am holding the feet of my guru’, she said, to which he replied: ‘These feet are part of this perishable body, so they cannot be the imperishable feet of guru. The real feet of your guru are what is shining within you as ‘I’. Cling only to those feet, because they alone can save you’.

From outside grace in the form of guru and his teachings directs us to turn back within to face ourself alone, and from inside the same grace is shining as our own real nature, silently attracting us to return to itself. Therefore the importance of grace cannot be over-emphasised, but it works primarily from inside by gently nurturing within us the love that impels us to make the effort that is necessary for us to swim against the strong outward-flowing current of our viṣaya-vāsanās by clinging tenaciously to self-attentiveness.

Instead of making persistent effort to follow that path of self-investigation and self-surrender that our guru, Bhagavan Ramana, has shown us, if we expect to be able to know ourself by means of பிறர் (piṟar), another person or anyone else, we would be like someone called Raman believing that he needs a mirror in order to know himself as Raman. By depending on anyone other than ourself in order to know ourself we would be looking away from ourself and therefore in the wrong direction, just as Raman would be looking in the wrong direction if he were to look at a mirror in order to know himself. No one and nothing other than ourself can make us see ourself as we actually are, so Bhagavan taught us that by our own effort we must use our own ஞானக்கண் (ñāṉa-k-kaṇ), ‘eye of jñāna’ or ‘eye of awareness’, to look at ourself and to see what we actually are.

There is no other way, and no shortcut or ‘free meal’, because as Bhagavan said: ‘ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்முடைய முயற்சியினாலேயே கடவுள் அல்லது குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி நடந்து முத்தி யடைய வேண்டும்’ (o-vv-oruvarum tammuḍaiya muyaṟciyiṉālēyē kaḍavuḷ alladu guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi naḍandu mutti y-aḍaiya vēṇḍum), ‘It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown’.

168 comments:

Mouna said...

Dear Michael,

I didn't read the article yet, that I'll do when time allows.

But just wanted to mention that today, for the first time ever, I noticed the "Donate" button on your website and blog.

If you do not find this inappropriate on my part, I just want to plead your cause reminding readers of this blog the invaluable effort you are putting here to keep Bhagavan's teaching alive, even if we do sometimes disagree strongly with your views and between us other readers' views.

Sometimes we spend $3 or $5 (in USA) for a Starbucks coffee to have a meaningless conversation with someone or to just pass the time between appointments. What you are presenting here is a priceless forum for all of us to express, discuss and understand Bhagavan's teachings in deeper sense and quite openly. Thank you for that.

I suppose that everything counts, even a dollar or two. I am just trying to raise the issue among us to think about what we are getting here (and with your videos, free books and comments) and if we value it, maybe we can, to the limit of our possibilities, help you in some way or other.

Thank you Michael.
Carlos Grasso (aka Mouna)

Unknown said...

Thank you, MJ!

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
section 4.,

Enemies [namely my viṣaya-vāsanās] are within the fort of my heart and are continuously coming out from it. The strong outward-flowing current of these viṣaya-vāsanās seems to prevent just clinging tenaciously to self-attentiveness. Because they are continuously resisting with all their might against becoming destroyed the fort actually cannot be captured.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, the fort certainly can be captured with patient and persistent effort. That is the assurance that Bhagavan gives us in the final sentence of the previous paragraph: “ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு பாபியாயிருந்தாலும், ‘நான் பாபியா யிருக்கிறேனே! எப்படிக் கடைத்தேறப் போகிறே’ னென்றேங்கி யழுதுகொண்டிராமல், தான் பாபி என்னு மெண்ணத்தையு மறவே யொழித்து சொரூபத்யானத்தி லூக்க முள்ளவனாக விருந்தால் அவன் நிச்சயமா யுருப்படுவான்” (oruvaṉ evvaḷavu pāpiyāy irundālum, ‘nāṉ pāpiyāy irukkiṟēṉē; eppaḍi-k kaḍaittēṟa-p pōkiṟēṉ’ eṉḏṟēṅgi y-aṙudu-koṇḍirāmal, tāṉ pāpi eṉṉum eṇṇattaiyum aṟavē y-oṙittu sorūpa-dhyāṉattil ūkkam uḷḷavaṉāha v-irundāl avaṉ niścayamāy uru-p-paḍuvāṉ), “However great a sinner one may be, if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ one completely rejects the thought that one is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness, one will certainly be reformed [transformed into what one actually is]”.

It does not matter how many times we may fail in our attempts to be self-attentive, we just have to continue trying. The effort we make is the measure of our love (bhakti), and as Bhagavan often said, bhakti is the mother of jñāna.

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you again for your reply, Michael.

What a laugh, always when having come under the sway of ego’s viṣaya-vāsanās, which drive my attention out towards things other than myself, and I am therefore unable to reject all these pressing thoughts I begin to lament and weep.:-)

As you imply, only the raging fire of grace can consume me entirely along with all my viṣaya-vāsanās.

Aham said...

.


My default approach is to always defer to Sri Ramana. If someone "clearly" contradicts the Maharshi, then they must be mistaken. In this case it appears that Papaji contradicts Sri Ramana.

Furthermore, I think it very damaging to cultivate the idea of instant or effortless "experiences" of Self. It manufacturers narcissistic neo-advaita "teachers" and their "students" whose suffering only swells.


Neo-advaita https://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/neo-advaita.html


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Unknown said...

Mouna,

Since you yourself brought up the donation topic out of nowhere, may I ask you how much you yourself contribute to this blog every month? Thanks.

Mouna said...

Unknown,
I am not sure I understand the intention of your question about how much I myself contribute to this blog every month? I do understand the words but not what lies behind them.

I brought the topic “out of nowhere” because I never knew Michael asked for donations until two days ago (most of the time I read the blog in my iphone and there is no “donate” button on the way the blog appears in smartphones, you need to ask the “desktop” version to see the full page), and when I realized that, I wanted to let know others that might have been in the same situation as I was (not knowing it was possible to contribute to the blog monetarily) that there is a possibility of contributing that will benefit everybody, us readers to continue having this “virtual conversational space” and Michael to continue moderating and contributing to it.

On another note, if you were asking me how much money I contributed this first time, it is irrelevant since I said that IF one wants to contribute it has to be not only in relation of how much you value the blog but also in relation to your financial possibilities. That is why I said that even the poorest of the poor has an euro to contribute if s/he finds that this blog has value to them. We don’t have to contribute but also we don’t have to not contribute! It is just a personal choice.

I myself value this blog and it’s participants very much, even if at times we intellectually fight or we don’t understand each other. In the end, the balance always tilt to the positive side.

Hope this answers your question.

Unknown said...

Sri Mouna,

That donation box has been there all the time. Since you brought the matter up, I was wondering if you had a ball park figure in mind for others to contribute. That is all.

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

Thank you Michael.
In one of your articles you write, ' The ego is the ‘I’ that likes, dislikes, desires, fears and so on, but it is not its likes, dislikes, desires or fears, because it remains the same even though these elements of its will can and do change over time. '
I can see that the 'elements of my will' have changed over time, from when I was a small kid to today. My desires and fears today are much different from what they were twenty years ago. I am not sure, however, what has remained the same over all this time. Is it the I that says my desires have changed? But I'm not sure, could you please clarify. Because when I say 'my desires have changed', I think I mean that I have changed as a person over the last 20 years; and the common strand seems to be only memory, and not any such thing as an unchanging ego, as far as I understand. When I was say 1-2 years old, and didn't even speak a language, I must have had a sense of 'I', is that 'I' the same as the sense of 'I' I have today, and the sense of 'I' that I remember having had in last night's dream? It is all a little mind-boggling to say the least..

Michael James said...

Yes, ‘To whom? To me. Who am I?’, what has remained the same is only you, the ‘I’ who is aware that your desires and all other things have changed. Memory enables us to recognise the continuity of this ‘I’, because the ‘I’ that now remembers having experienced circumstances and events in your childhood and in last night’s dream is the same ‘I’ that then experienced them, but memory itself is at best just a partial and incomplete continuity or common strand, because memories change with time, fading, losing details, becoming less certain and being gradually replaced by other fresher memories.

You say that you have changed as a person over the last twenty years, but what has changed is not you but only the person whom you seem to be. That is, the ‘I’ that is aware of itself as ‘I am this person’ remains the same, even though the person it mistakes itself to be is constantly changing. Therefore, though it is aware of itself as ‘I am this person’, it is actually something distinct from whatever person it seems to be. Everything that constitutes this person, including its desires and its memories, are objects of our awareness, whereas we, this ‘I’, are the subject, the one who is aware of all objects. Though the objects that we are aware of are constantly changing, we, the subject, remain the same.

The ‘I’ that is aware of itself as ‘I am this person’ and that is consequently aware of all these changes is ego, but though this ‘I’ remains the same throughout all its dreams (each of which it mistakes to be waking while experiencing it), even it is not actually continuous, because it appears in each dream (or so-called waking) but disappears in sleep. However, though it disappears in sleep, we remain there, so what we actually are is distinct from this appearing and disappearing ‘I’, which is what experiences all other changes.

Therefore when we investigate ourself, we need to go very deep. We begin by investigating this ‘I’ that has now appeared as ‘I am this person’ and that will disappear in sleep, but when we investigate it deeply enough, leaving aside all objects of awareness and attending only to the subject, the perceiver of all objects, it returns to the source from which it appeared, namely the immutable pure awareness that neither appears nor disappears and that is therefore untouched by and unaware of any objects or changes, and when it thereby dissolves and merges in that source, that source will reveal itself to be what we actually are.

jacques franck said...

Michael, Everytime I've got these questions about the mother of Ramana and also the cow Laksmi...:

You said:
Is it possible for anyone other than ourself to enable us to eradicate ego without our having to patiently and persistently practise self-investigation and self-surrender?

Question 19
"God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti [liberation], but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti."

excerpt from Arunachala Ramana Eternal Ocean of Grace BIOGRAPHY BOOK 1

... For more than two hours she lay there, her chest heaving and her breath coming in loud gasps, and all this while Bhagavan sat beside her, his right hand on her heart and his left hand on her head. This time there was no question of prolonging life but only of quieting the mind so that death could be Mahasamadhi, absorption in the Self. ...

... Describing the process afterwards, he said: “Innate tendencies and the subtle memory of past experiences leading to future possibilities became very active towards the end. Scene after scene rolled before her in the subtle consciousness, the outer senses having already gone. The soul was passing through a series of experiences, thus avoiding the need for rebirth and making possible Union with the Spirit. The soul was at last disrobed of the subtle sheaths before it reached the final Destination, the Supreme Peace of liberation from which there is no return to ignorance.” ....

and also the case of cow laksmi:

In the early morning hours of the night Bhagavan wrote a final epitaph in Tamil on Lakshmi and translated it into Telugu and Malayalam. Here is the Tamil verse:
Sarvadaari ipper kol samvath sarattu
Varum-aani aindu usanaa vaaram – maruvu-mun
Pakka dvaadasi visaakam pasuvaam
Ilakkumi vimuktha naalaam.
The verse translates as:
“On Friday, the fifth of Ani, in the year
Sarvadhari, on the twelfth day of the waxing moon,
Under the asterism Vishakha,
The cow Lakshmi attained mukti.”

If you have some comments about that... for me it is difficult to understand because initialy I don't believe this kind of stories....

Thank you very much

J.F.

Unknown said...

Michael, could you please share a link to an English translation of
30-question-and-answer version of Nāṉ Yār? (the most complete printed record of the teachings that Sivaprakasam Pillai received from Bhagavan, which was published at least three or four times between 1924 and 1936).

Thank you.

hey jude said...

Are you responsible for the beautiful videos on YouTube? 'Ninperarul -Sadhu Om by Sriram
Parthasarathy. So much bhava, so much beauty thankyou.

Salazar said...

This article is full of misunderstandings about Papaji and it almost seems that Michael deliberately used some buzz phrases, like "Call of the Search", in order to "prove" the seemingly mistaken approach. In addition "Aham" posts this link by T. Conway who has posted a highly biased and gossipy article filled with half-truths. Aham, stick with Bhagavan, spreading gossip and some guys opinions and half-truths is bad style.

It is my impression that Michael has some "beef" with Papaji and he seems to loath the notion of an easy ticket ;-) Maybe because after 40 years of patient and persistent practice he has gone nowhere? How could anybody else have an experience of Self?

Michael takes part of Papaji's teachings without considering the whole package and then hits on the main buzz phrases. Why? Because due to his prejudice, he didn't bother to study his teachings as extensively as he did with Bhagavan's. But he still feels that he could judge him. I call that hubris.

Not everybody who came to Papaji had an experience of Self, from what I can tell it was a minority of the people who came to his satsangs. Papaji never suggested that "this it" with the notion one has to do nothing. He emphasized that when the "feeling" of Self doesn't stay atma-vichara is necessary. However he emphasized that this has not to be a life-long ordeal, however if the mind believes that ... it will be though.

Bhagavan never said that atma-vichara is a "life(s) long ordeal", he simply stated that as long as one perceives objects, atma-vichara is required. In fact Bhagavan warned of any notions and ideas of "difficulties".

When Michael keeps harping about the necessary strenuous efforts needed for atma-vichara he is actually contradicting Bhagavan since his mind seems to refuse that it could be not difficult. So it perceives only concepts by Bhagavan which supports his bias and leaves other necessary points out.

To close, "call of the search" was certainly not meant to stop any efforts and go one's merry way. That notion is preposterous and that alone shows for any devotee of Papaji how prejudiced and uninformed must be the author of these assumptions.

Salazar said...

Also, Bhagavan said that Self believes in the non-Self (Padamalai) and that's why there is suffering.

Bhagavan never gave the non-Self any reality and that's a pointer for anyone to do the same (very important to grasp). When he says that the Self beliefs in the non-Self he points to the important fact that there is no action or doing by the non-Self required, but an immediate drop of that belief in the non-Self by Self, the subject, directly. Because it is just a belief, a thought. That can be dropped immediately if accepted. However most do not want to believe that (that seems to be difficult). One rather believes into a long, long time with all kinds of stories of purification and improvements. However that is still the belief in the non-Self. Now of course just to switch a belief to another belief is still the non-Self, it must be the drop of ANY belief.

"Purification" of a Fata Morgana (mind/body or non-Self) cannot result into Self. Because the very notion that a purification is seemingly needed keeps the belief in the non-Self alive (Maharshi Gospel).

So instead of "moving from non-Self to Self" (or impurity to purity) what is an illusion and never will happen, it is the drop of the belief of Self to be non-Self! That is atma-vichara. That is instant and doesn't happen in time. Time and effort and difficulty are imaginations of mind.

Atma-vichara in combination with the concept of persistence and patience is NOT atma-vichara. It is the mind imagining atma-vichara and consequently useless. These notions need to be dropped, otherwise it will not be 40 years but 4 Million years.

Let's see how mind is objecting to the above ;-)

Just remember, it is the mind objecting and coming up with all kind of concepts of why not. And with that the non-Self has not only re-affirmed its seeming existence but also successfully dodged his demise.



Mouna said...

"Maybe because after 40 years of patient and persistent practice he has gone nowhere? “

No, really?!… How can one know where the “other” (if such a thing exists) is situated on the path?
What releveance can have a question like this one “by the author of this assumption” other than an Ad Hominem-put down-bullying intention behind those words?

Here some ofthe words used in this response: "buzz phrases”, "has some “beef””, "highly biased and gossipy article filled with half-truths”, "he seems to loath the notion”, "his prejudice”, "keeps harping”, "That notion is preposterous”, "how prejudiced and uninformed”…

As I once quoted: "Judging another person does not define who they are, it defines who you are."

Michael James said...

Jacques, regarding your comment of 21 April 2019 at 19:15, Bhagavan indicated very clearly in the case of both his mother and Cow Lakshmi that they each attained mukti at the time of their bodily death, merging forever back into the source from which they arose, but this does not in any way contradict what he replied to Sivaprakasam Pillai in his answer to question 19 of the 30-question-and-answer version of Nāṉ Yār?, namely: ‘God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti [liberation], but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti. It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking [or proceeding] in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown. It is necessary for oneself alone to know oneself by one’s own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness]’.

The path that he has shown us is the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and all the effort we need to make to follow this path is to curb our viṣaya-vāsanās (the inclinations or desires that drive our attention to go out towards things other than ourself) and to cultivate love to turn back within and thereby surrender ourself entirely. Therefore, since his mother and Cow Lakshmi both attained mukti, we have to infer that each of them had in their own way followed this path and were thereby eventually willing to surrender themself entirely, because if they had not been willing to surrender he would not of his own accord have eradicated their egos. In other words, they were both well-ripened souls and were therefore fit to be consumed by him, because he will consume us only when we are wholeheartedly willing to be consumed by him.

The key to mukti is love, so there is no wonder in the fact that his mother attained mukti, because she obviously had great love for him, initially as her son but later developing into love for him as God and guru, and she was blessed to carry him in her womb for nine months. To have been selected for such a rare privilege she must have been a devotee with deep love for God in her previous lives, so she was presumably already well advanced on the path of surrender, and then she had the great good fortune of such close association (sat-saṅga) with him for much of her life. It seems that her main shortcoming was her strong attachment to orthodox beliefs and customs, but Bhagavan knew how to wean her off such attachment, not only by lovingly teasing and rebuking her about it, but also by working within her heart to tackle the roots of it. We cannot know exactly in what way she was following the path or how his grace was helping her, but by the time of her bodily death she must have been sufficiently matured to be willing to surrender herself entirely by turning within to merge forever in the all-consuming light of pure self-awareness, which is the true form of her beloved son, God and guru.

Though the outward form of Lakshmi was a cow, she had great love for Bhagavan, and she must have been following the path of self-surrender in former lives and continued doing so in this life to such an extent that his grace was able to prompt her to turn her attention back within during the last moments of her life. Her mukti is particularly significant, because it demonstrates that, though it is generally believed that a human birth is most favourable for spiritual practice, there is nothing to prevent the practice of self-investigation and self-surrender occurring even if one has taken birth in a non-human body.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Jacques Franck:

Regarding the account you quote of what Bhagavan said about what happened during his mother’s last few hours, whatever he said may not have understood or recorded very accurately by whoever wrote that account, but that need not concern us, because in his own nuanced manner he made it quite clear that she did attain mukti. In the case of Palani Swami, we know that whatever he said about his last moments was misunderstood and therefore misrecorded by someone, because on one occasion later in his life someone said in his presence that he had failed in the case of Palani Swami but succeeded in the case of his mother, whereupon he remarked softly, ‘Who said it was a failure?’, thereby indicating that the popular belief that Palani Swami did not attain mukti at the time of his death was in fact mistaken.

Michael James said...

Unknown, regarding your comment of 21 April 2019 at 23:01, as far as I know the 30-question-and-answer version of Nāṉ Yār? has never been translated into English, and it is more than 80 years since the Tamil original was last printed.

Unknown said...

Mouna sir all with respects, this Salazar fellow is a troll. Don't waste your time on him because he will post ad-hominem-bullying posts to you also. He is not devoteee of Guru Sri Ramana like Micheal is but only neo-advaita troll. M.J.himself is very naive and foolish even to correspond with such trouble making trolls and taking also his precious time to explain teachings of Bhagavan to such immature trolls.

Unknown said...

Michael James, after reading your last post to Jacques Franck, does that mean Palani Swami was in fact a videha mukta? Is that also not possible for certain faithful Bhagavan devotees like Palani Swami and others to become videha muktas?

Michael James said...

Hey Jude, I assume that in your comment of 22 April 2019 at 04:12 you are referring to Sadhu Om Channel, which seems to be a channel started by a professional musician, Sriram Parthasarathy, to share some of his own renderings of songs on Bhagavan composed by Sadhu Om.

If you would like to hear Sadhu Om himself singing Bhagavan’s works and many of his own songs, some of the available recordings were uploaded a few years ago on the channel Sri Ramana Songs, and since then efforts have been made to restore all the available recordings of his singing, so when that is completed they will all be uploaded to a new channel.

Mouna said...

"These notions need to be dropped” (bold type mine)

Wow, it’s good to have someone telling one what has to be done...

"Just remember, it is the mind objecting and coming up with all kind of concepts of why not.”

No need to remember, mind (ego) is everything, proposing and objecting!

Mouna said...

Unknown sir,

With all my respects to you, I strongly disagree with your view.
Salazar makes good points also, what I am only challenging at times is the way those points are expressed.
And I don’t think that Michael is naive or foolish either, he allows (within certain civil constraints) the conversation to go on.

Salazar said...

Michael, I'd appreciate it if you'd do your job and not post ad hominem comments by "Unknown". To call me a troll is uncalled for and if you, Michael, agree - please let me know ;-)

Otherwise do what you've announced at this blog. Thank you.

Salazar said...

By the way Michael, calling you a sage and Jnani as "Unknown" has done several times is even more offensive than to be called a troll. Why? Because the worst is that the "ego" may get a blow being called "troll" what is actually a good thing, however these silly flattering comments by him may inflate the ego, even if it's only subtly and unconsciously.

It is advised to not post these kind of comments too. Unless you like and enjoy them what I possibly cannot imagine.

Salazar said...

Since when is the word "prejudice" an ad hominem attack? So any adjectives referring to an individual is not allowed? LOL

Besides, Michael doesn't need any defense on his behalf. Judging goes both ways, what do you think what that is what you are doing?

The difference between us, though, is that I do not pretend to not be judging and run around with my erected pointing finger yelling "foul" at every opportunity. If you do not like my style stop reading my comments but do not be a hypocrite. Thank you.

Michael James said...

Unknown, regarding your question, ‘does that mean Palani Swami was in fact a videha mukta’, it seems so, and this was certainly a belief that was held by many devotees who had lived with Bhagavan, in spite of the contrary account recorded in some books.

Regarding your second question, ‘Is that also not possible for certain faithful Bhagavan devotees like Palani Swami and others to become videha muktas?’, yes, it is certainly possible. At the time of death we are forcibly separated from the body that we now mistake to be ourself, so it is a very favourable opportunity for us to let go of everything else by turning within and thereby surrendering ourself entirely. However, we will be able to make use of this opportunity only if prior to that we have been diligently trying to investigate and surrender ourself.

Salazar said...

And yes, T. Conway's article IS highly biased and a gossipy article filled with half-truths. I call a spade a spade. Posting that link on this blog is more than bad taste, it's a sign of poor discrimination.



Mouna said...

Salazar,
I tried the email "Who.is.Salazar"AT"protonmail.com" to respond personally to your comment but it doesn't really work. I even tried WhoisSalazar"AT"protonmail.com and didn't work either...
Any suggestions?

Mouna said...

In case you want to send me a personal email with your email:
maunnaATgmail

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

.


@Unknown,


The value of Salazar's posts is to experience the manner in which Mr James equanimously dispenses with the tripe. Calmly, logically, methodically. It is testimony to Mr James' application of Sri Ramana's Teachings.

As for the above essay Mr James has posted, it accurately depicts the way in which Papaji's teachings deviated from Sri Ramana's.

This shouldn’t be offensive to anyone. It merely highlights some of the differences.


.

jacques franck said...

Thank you very much Michael,

Blessings _/\_

j.f.

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

...


Mouna, I did delete that email account since my exchange with Palani had finished and you didn't use it when you first asked for it.

Aham, "it should be not offensive to anyone". Like calling my comments tripe? If my comments are tripe then this essay, and quite a few others, are tripe too.

This essay is a confused and inaccurate description of Papaji and it does not "merely highlight the differences". What hogwash! Sorry Aham, besides being a fanboy the value of your comments are quite useless.


...

Salazar said...

Reading "Unknowns" last comments I had to laugh so hard that I spilled coffee all over my table. Aren't we lucky to have a sage and Jnani who still though has to work to eradicate his "tenacious" ego. Hahahahahahaha

Thanks, I needed that.

The value of Aham's comments is, like Unknowns, for comic relief. Thank you guys, it would be not the same without you ;-)

Salazar said...

Mouna, I am not sure if I'll contact you, we are good and I mean it. I did not appreciate your last comments but I understand where you are coming from.

I feel like leaving this blog, my comments are not appreciated by most and the longer I read Michael's comments and articles I realize that his style is not really appealing to me. Way too long-winded and tedious. IMO, it does not capture Bhagavan at all. It is Michael's interpretation "as he sees it". And he is his ego.

It maybe a good scholarly repetition of Bhagavan's teachings, but that's it. Alas Michael has the strange idea that he could judge the teachings of other sages (or non-sages according to him) by comparing their teachings with Bhagavan's. Big mistake and a flawed understanding. Michael way too much gives value to the intellect and I see that as one of his biggest impediments. If people feel attracted to that, fine - I, and many others, most certainly do not.

Intellect and logic are impediments the way Michael, and apparently his fanboys, "apply" Bhagavan's teachings. They have moved themselves into a hole where they use Bhagavan's concepts to rationalize their strange approach.

It's all good though, everybody needs to go to certain experiences, Michael still has to live through his scholarly and intellect/logic karma before it can be released.

Be well my friend.

Mouna said...

Salazar,

You know, we are very similar in many ways, I think al long history of interactions between us and with other people proved that, regardless o the intellectual positions we have about Bhagavan’s teachings and this blog.
Hope one day we could meet in person and I’ll discover the “real” Who.is.Salazar"! :-)

Anyways, you leave, not leave, leave and not leave, or neither… as you said, we are good.

And quoting the poet: “all’s well that ends well” although I don’t consider this to be the end!

you too be well

(ps: ten blind wise elephants were having a meeting discussing what a human is like, and they all agreed: it’s flat.)

anadi-ananta said...

Spilled coffee, opinions, impediments, certain experiences, strange approach...
leaving this blog,
intellectual positions, discover, wise elephants and then ?
To whom is it all flat ?
Is not life relentless ?:-)

Rajat Sancheti said...

Michael, many thanks for the article and also the Sri Ramana Songs channel link shared above. It is a gem. Is it possible to download any of the songs, especially Aksharamanamalai?

Michael James said...

Rajat, there are various means to download videos from YouTube, but the best free app I know for this purpose is 4K Video Downloader, or if you want to extract the audio from the video the same people have made another app called 4K YouTube to MP3.

Rob P said...

Dear Michael aka. The Tap of Arunachala,
just while we are on the subject of extraction and conversion, the last satsang at hampstead was converted to mp4 rather than the usual mp3 on youtube. Therefore for those of us who like to appear in our playlist while out and about it will not do so and can only be played as a video.
Anyway, here's to Arunachala extracting us out of this dream and back home!
Thank you as always for letting the flow of Bhagavans teaching flow from the tap so steadily and beautifully.

anadi-ananta said...

I endorse the remarks of Rajat Sancheti regarding the above given link "Sri Ramana Songs channel". Nice to watch Sri Sadhu Om and Sri Tinnai Swami and perhaps Michael James too on girivalam including Adi Annamalai Temple and Pachai Amman Temple. Natanananda and (apparently) Kunju Swami (in Sadhu Om's house) I never saw before on film. We can feel an air of the then romantic atmosphere which is gone nearly completely. The romance of these times long time ago is no more - owing to the intense secular and commercial building activity put into effect even on the mountain side of the girivalam road.
So the transitoriness of even holy surroundings is plainly recognizable. The recent inconvenient ban by the district forest department Tiruvannamalai of walking to the summit of Arunachala regrettably fits in that picture like the rigorous ban of walking the so-called inner path since almost ten years. In any case we have to surrender to Siva's will even when - who knows - in near future the forest department will perhaps close the whole Arunachala Hill.

Salazar said...

Just to clarify a recent post by Aham about the "equanimity" Michael handles my comments:

That is a common misconception, "how" a body/mind reacts and it does not matter if it is calmly or agitated, has nothing to do with the "state" of an individual. How the body/mind reacts is solely based on vasanas and it is certainly not a gauge for advancement or any other similar notions. It just happens and the observer just projects his own distorted perception. And since vasanas will be always around plentiful until realization, it can never be known "where" or how "advanced" somebody is.

A Jnani can be seemingly angry, agitated, aggressive etc. - however that is only from the viewpoint of the ajnani, "inside" the Jnani is always perfectly calm. Because Bhagavan happened to be sweet-natured and well behaved that does not mean that this is the case with other Jnanis too, and it can be totally different. But most people here are attached to a God-like facade of the all-loving sweet and total forgiving perfect being. That is an illusion and quite naive I might add.

Ajnanis are fooled by outward behavior.

On the other hand an ajnani like Michael may seemingly show equanimity, however inside he may be agitated and annoyed. And that cannot be known but by a sage.

So Aham, you projected your own imagination, desires, beliefs of 'how authorities act', into ...... yeah what? Because Michael did not respond angrily to my comments does not mean he is not annoyed by it. With an ego around that is most likely the case though.

And how but by an act of huge imagination could you come to that conclusion? It is fiction, wishful thinking at best, and guess what - immature ;-)

Michael James said...

Rob, after reading your comment (in which I assume you are referring to the audio copies of my vidio files on MediaFire), I did some investigation and I think I have now understood what went wrong. I have been using VLC to extract the audio from each video, but it seems that I have not been using it quite correctly, because though I was converting each one to MP3, I was not adding the .mp3 file extension to the name of the output file, so it was defaulting to .mp4, which means (as far as I can understand) that it became an MP3 file in an MP4 container, as a result of which it cannot be played in many audio players that can play MP3 but not MP4.

This has affected about 54 audio files (almost all the ones I have made since last July, when I took over managing the MediaFire folder from the friend who had started it), so I need to redo all of them, which is not difficult but will be a bit time consuming. Since time is in short supply, I do not know how soon I will be able to redo all of them, but in the meanwhile if you want an MP3 copy of any of the videos you could try downloading and using 4K YouTube to MP3.

Mouna said...

Hello all,

It is a very good topic the relation between one’s “inner” state and the outward behavior. And I might add, un unresolved one if one only focus on the externals disregarding one’s own internal world.

I completely agree with Salazar when he states: "Ajnanis are fooled by outward behavior.”. I’ll take that thought a little further and say that this thought also applies to the idea that “jnanis” can get angry, agitated and aggressive while being completely calm in the “inside”. My point is that we can only “know” our own state, not others’ (either jnanis or otherwise).

Taking it further I think one important component in one’s behavior is the motive and intention behind an action. I consider anger and aggresivity, in most of the cases, to be a resistance of what is. But if we introduce the factor of motive and intention, which only can be judged by oneself on one’s actions, then the picture changes radically. Nissargadatta screaming to some of the attendees of his meetings to get out of his room could be explained in different ways, as a teaching method of seeing the big picture that that specific individual needed that shock to realize something that he couldn’t realize otherwise, plus the factor that the illusory body/mind called Nisargadatta was of a fiery nature. His motive and intention might have not come from actually a resistance to what was in the moment but from a place of teaching. But we can never and will never know.

The same applies to Bhagavan getting “angry” to someone that was hurting a mango tree, or telling Annamalai Swami to pour cement into an ant hole which meant lots of ants killed… Motive and intention could have been different from just an angry uncomfortable inner state of not accepting what is.

My point is that the most important thing here is not to fool oneself about one’s own place in the path towards liberation (if there is such a process), others, including jnanis and ajnanis, are just figurants in the big scheme of phenomena projected by ego. But fooling oneself is one of the most subtle of obstacles produced by ego, specially when there is no guru around to check oneself out.

Aham said...

.


@Salazar

Only a fool argues, "your words are imagination, you are projecting," without realising their own words are also only part of the dream.

Best to remain quiet Salazar, you are way out of your depth.


.

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna, greetings,
you say "But fooling oneself is one of the most subtle of obstacles produced by ego, specially when there is no guru around to check oneself out."

So long as we are under ego's spell we are fooled by ego and thus fooling ourself.
Is not always and permanently Siva as our guru and innermost self checking us out ?

anadi-ananta said...

Aham,
as you say realising that one's own thoughts and "words are also (only) part of the dream" is indeed quite necessary.

Rajat Sancheti said...

Thanks for the link to the very convenient youtube converter tool, Michael. I enjoy listening to Aksharamanamalai during commute and while at work, and this recital by Sri Sadhu Om is very beautiful. I feel a little envious of Tamil devotees who must be able to understand it so much better and learn it by heart easily.
Regarding the comment to Rob, looks like those mp3 files were mistakenly identified as the mp4 container, and all it took was a some investigation to understand this false identification..

Rob, I downloaded an mp4 file from the folder Michael shared and renamed it with a .mp3 extension on my phone and could listen to it like any other audio file. Maybe this approach might work for you too. But I changed to a random extension like .mpx and it still worked, so maybe my phone is inferring the file type in some other way than the file name.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
regarding your reply of 21 April 2019 at 09:39 to ‘To whom? To me. Who am I?’,
"However, though it disappears in sleep, we remain there, so what we actually are is distinct from this appearing and disappearing ‘I’, which is what experiences all other changes."
Saying "we remain there" implies the existence of any place or room.
On the other hand you often said that pure awareness as our real nature is infinite - without any location or locus.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, in that context ‘there’ does not refer to a place but to a state, namely sleep.

The subject we are discussing is extremely subtle, whereas language is relatively gross, so it is an inadequate tool for this purpose, and words therefore often have to be used metaphorically, as Bhagavan did. For example, he often used a Tamil word meaning ‘place’ to refer to our real state or what we actually are, such as when he wrote in the sixth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?: ‘நான் என்னும் நினைவு கிஞ்சித்து மில்லா விடமே சொரூபமாகும். அதுவே ‘மௌன’ மெனப்படும்’ (nāṉ eṉṉum niṉaivu kiñcittum illā v-iḍam-ē sorūpam āhum. adu-v-ē ‘mauṉam’ eṉa-p-paḍum), ‘Only the place where the thought called I [ego] does not exist at all [or even a little] is svarūpa [one’s ‘own form’ or real nature]. That alone is called ‘mauna’ [silence]’.

Therefore we should not take the meaning of all words to be literal, and should understand when they are used metaphorically.

anadi-ananta said...

Thanks Michael for clarifying my unclear understanding.
Now I remember the correct sense of the mentioned statement which was also supposed to mean.

anadi-ananta said...

‘Only the place where the thought called I [ego] does not exist at all [or even a little] is svarūpa [one’s ‘own form’ or real nature]. That alone is called ‘mauna’ [silence]’.
Is not that state what I am looking forward longingly and eagerly to ?
Yearning for silence is certainly my innate aptitude.

Rob P said...

Dear Michael & Rajat,
Thank you for your help and assistance. That was extremely easy to convert.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Though we cannot comprehend true silence by our mind, true comprehension arises out of that silence

The silence Bhagavan is talking about is the silence beyond the mind. It is the silence from which ego and mind originate. So we cannot mentally grasp what real silence is. One definition of silence is given by Bhagavan is ‘Who am I?’ He says, ‘The state that is completely devoid of ego (the thought ‘I’) alone is our real nature. That alone is silence’. In other words, silence is our real nature which is completely devoid of ego. So if we want to grasp silence, we cannot grasp it by our mind. We can grasp it only by surrendering ego – by giving up the one who wants to grasp it. Then silence will swallow us.

Though we cannot comprehend that silence by our mind, silence is that which enables us to comprehend. Silence is the light of pure awareness that illumines our mind and enables us to comprehend. All true comprehension arises out of that silence.

When we practise self-investigation, we are turning back to face that light of pure self-awareness. That light of pure self-awareness is silence. The more we attend to it, the clearer our mind will become. That is, we will understand things more clearly to the extent we practise self-investigation. But eventually we ourself will be swallowed by that light. Only when we are swallowed by it, have we truly known silence. In one verse of Ulladu Narpadu, Bhagavan says, ‘becoming food is seeing’. What it means is that only when we are swallowed by that silence, we are truly seeing it.

Ego is the very antithesis of silence. So if we want to know silence, we have to surrender this ego and to surrender this ego we have to turn back and drown ourself in that silence.

~*~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-04-21 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to begin to purify the mind (1:23)


Who Am I? said...

Mouna, Michael has explained to us the actual meaning of the word "mauna". Maybe he will also explain to us the the actual meaning of the words "aham',"anadi-ananta" and also explain the actual significance of the words "who am I?".

Michael James said...

Rajat, thanks for your comment of 25 April 2019 at 05:56, in which you suggested to Rob that that he could rename each MP4 audio file with an .mp3 extension. This gave me the idea that I could do the same with all the MP4 files in my MediaFire folder, which I have now done, so this was a much quicker and easier way of rectifying the problem than making new MP3 copies, uploading each of them and then changing the links to them in the descriptions of each of the concerned videos (about 54 in all). Therefore all the audio files in my MediaFire folder are now MP3s.

Salazar said...

Mouna, according to Michael’s interpretation of Bhagavan’s teachings Nisargadatta Maharaj never existed, nor did Bhagavan. They are a projection of mind.

Bhagavan did not exist before his “realization” and did not after. So when he talked before and after realization, his mind did not exist too and all what he spoke of was a projection of mind. So did he had a mind before and after realization? How then could he talk without thoughts? Doesn’t matter because it is a projection ;-)

There is no difference between the tripe Aham releases and the tripe Bhagavan releases, they are both a projection. And if there are differences perceived (as in Bhagavan’s concepts are not tripe, Aham’s though are) they are a projection by mind too.

Now how then does become Bhagavan’s “teaching” the anchor of all of these concepts? The projector who projects these teachings picks up that projection and declares it as the guide post within that projection? Huh? Furthermore the projector picks up other teachings and declares them as false. He compares within the dream that the one Fata Morgana he perceives is better than the other Fata Morgana.

To rationalize the above the projector now declares that the projection has reality as long as the projector believes in it and, woopidoo, suddenly all these projections have to be taken seriously and now also duality has become real and important and as such one has to choose one of the dyads and that is to be good and nice. Practice ahimsa etc. etc.

So the Jnani is not real until it is real depending how mind likes to rationalize its careful constructed mental imaginations.

Seems to me mind went through a lot of effort to comprehend and explain duality and non-duality with a lack of actual direct experience and since it really cannot do so it came up with a cowboy blueprint.

Mouna, if that makes sense for you, alright buddy. I think that it mixes a lot of good pointers by Bhagavan and then mind distorts it to a rigid set of concepts and practices indoctrination.

Mouna said...

Salazar,

I understand your point of view. Mine, personally, as I understand what Bhagavan said, is slightly different.
If (and this is a big IF) this waking state is also like a dream (both Vedanta and Bhagavan said so) then all phenomena appearing in this waking dream lacks concrete reality. Is not non-existent (since we experience it) and at the same time is not real objectively speaking because it doesn’t have inherent existence, is rather a process, in scientific terms, patterns of probabilities. There is a term in vedantic parlance called mithya, something seemingly real. That is what dreams are made of, apparent stuff, unreal but not non-existent. The mirage analogy is one of the best examples.

Under that category falls any object perceived by the five senses or the body in every layer or sheaths. Mountains, flowers, chairs, computers, plants, planets, bacteria, atoms, quarks, thoughts, emotions, feelings and specially other humans including you, me, the rest of humans and sages of all kinds enlightened or not (Bhagavan, Nisargadatta, Papaji, Buddha, Jesus, etc…) Under this kind of approach is not that Bhagavan or Nisagadatta never existed, is that their existence was and is (in the case of living sages if there is any) “unreal”, lacking inherent substance, like all dream characters.

Bhagavan (as all the sages including the Maharaj, Sankara, etc…) always used to say that the fact that ego projects and identifies with the body (compound of five sheaths) taking the body as real and sentient (borrowing from awareness from pure awareness), it follows that ego projects phenomena, projects reality onto phenomena, feeds from it, feels separate from it and gives sentience also to some “apparent” other bodies. Exactly like in a dream.

Now, we know that a dream is actually mind stuff of the dreamer that lies in bed, easy to verify, but the question is, if the sages say that life (waking state) is a dream, what is waking stuff created from? I would say ego stuff (actually ego is everything, including dreams and waking). Some would say awareness but we know that awareness can’t and doesn’t project anything (because non dual), so it has to be ego. The locus of phenomena is ego, the locus of ego is awareness-existence (snake-rope).

You said: "So the Jnani is not real until it is real depending how mind likes to rationalize its careful constructed mental imaginations.”
I agree with you, but in in part. I would phrase it otherwise. Jnani is not real from self point of view (absolute reality/paramartha), and is real from ego point of view (relative reality/vyavahara). For me these are two completely different… “conversations”. When we talk about Bhagavan (or other sages in a transactional conversation like the one we are having now, then we may speak about Bhagavan as a sage, or a relaized being, tell stories about him, read his teachings, etc… but the moment we switch to an absolute reality conversation then he is just the lion in the elephants dream (ego being the elephant).

To summarize, the misubnderstandings we experience in discussions usually, not always, are created because we speak from different conversations point of view.
That is my understanding today, as faulty as might be.

Cheers and hugs brother.

anadi-ananta said...

Conversation about reality is always limiting unlimited awareness.
Speaking about reality is never real because thinking/speaking means by itself (per se) always leaving silence.
That is my understanding now, as faulty as might be.

venkat said...

Carlos, Salazar,

A slightly different take.

(1) Perhaps the most important concept in Sankara is Avidya, which means ignorance, misconception, misunderstanding.

(2) Reality and existence are tricky and tend to be used interchangeably, as does existence and experience . . . in the sense that there IS an experience of waking world and of dreaming, but that does not necessarily mean that they are real in the sense of having an independent, unchanging existence. Advaita defines real as that which always exists, unchanging - in the sense that gold is the underlying substrate for all the different names and forms of jewellery; here the names and forms are unreal, the gold is real.

(3) Now every experience of thoughts, body, world, sleep, is necessarily experienced in some existent consciousness (sat chit). Advaita means not two, and therefore means that the experience and the consciousness that experiences are not two. By definition this also means Ajata - nothing created, nothing destroyed, because there never was two.

(4) Avidya (misconception) is when thoughts arise, which discriminate experience between a personal body-mind that is experiencing and the world that is experienced. However, in fact the personal body-mind-thoughts are just as much an experience in consciousness as the world that is experienced. This is the snake in the rope - the snake (body/mind/thoughts) erroneously assumed to be real and separate from the whole, when in fact it is the underlying consciousness (rope) that is real.

(5) The purpose of self-investigation (viveka, vairagya and neti neti) is for the assumed Jiva to understand that its multilayered assumptions and conditioning of a separate self trying to make a success, is false. These tools are also unreal, as the jiva is unreal. So it makes no difference whether the assumed jiva follows this or not; except to eliminate (the thoughts of) suffering. However is it is followed, then liberation is from the assumed jiva, such that thoughts (the majority of which are useless) are no longer necessary and mouna remains. There is no longer any erroneous separation of experience into this body-mind and the other outside this body-mind. There is just experience without any personal desire/motive.

My take for what it is worth. And I think Bhagavan's teaching articulates this beautifully.

anadi-ananta said...

regarding venkat's comment above:
"(2) Reality and existence are tricky and tend to be used interchangeably, as does existence and experience . . . in the sense that there IS an experience of waking world and of dreaming, but that does not necessarily mean that they are real in the sense of having an independent, unchanging existence."


Because absolute reality i.e. solved of any body-mind idea is self-awareness in its purest form, reality cannot be considered as being tricky.
The experience of separation from pure awareness in waking and dream occurs only in the deluded unreal mind.

Mouna said...

Venkat,
It is very interesting thAt in your comment you never mentioned even once the word ego which is, to my knowledge, the most important concept in Bhagavan’s teachings. Ego encompasses ignorance, misunderstanding, error, unreality, duality, impermanence, limitations, maya, samsara, etc, etc.

Your full comment actually speaks about ego without even mention it. Traditional Vedanta says that realization of non duality happens in the intellect when ignorance of our true nature is destroyed by the actual knowledge of who we are, correct? And in the measure that that knowledge is “assimilated” (depending on how “purified” the mind is), in that measure we gather the fruits of that understanding as a jnani while alive (happiness and detachment) until we die and the whole story ends (videhamukti/nirvana/cessation). This goes with the analogy of the mirage in the desert or the blueness in the sky and “seeing” the gold “underlying and permeating” the different unreal (mithya) forms and names like rings, bracelets, bangles, etc. Am I correct so far?

As far as I understand Bhagavan says very very simply that ego is everything; to me, and correct me If I’m wrong, everything is not only circumscribed to ignorance but also perceptions, feelings/emotions, sensations and thoughts, that is what I understand as “everything” and what I understand Bhagavan’s defines as “everything” or in other words “every-thing” (phenomena either subtle or gross).

We come again to our difference in understanding what it means the death of ego. For you as a vedantin, is simply “knowing” who we are, and being that knowing is realization. For me, “being” that knowing destroys even the knowing, what I call waking up “from” the dream, not only “to” the dream. To sustain our positions you always quote Vedanta, and I completely respect that, as for me I can only refer to my experience, which is that if ever it happens that I’ve mistaken a branch for a snake (which actually happened to me years ago) and looking carefully I see it was only a piece of tree, I can’t never ever see or name in “that present moment” that branch as a snake again.

The fact we are discussing these issues proves, to me, that we are still in “the” dream, not “my” dream or “your” dream but “the” dream, not matter how “lucid” it could be to any of “us”.

Salazar said...

Mouna and venkat, I like both of your comments. And I like anadi-ananta's interlude. Now anything on this blog is a conversation about reality and as such this whole blog with its comments and all of Michael’s articles are limiting awareness (because just reading is introducing adjuncts). That’s just how it is; only awareness without adjuncts is not limiting awareness. And yet people cling to Michael’s concepts ;-) I believe I made that point several times over the last years.

Bhagavan told an illiterate guy that not being able to read and study scriptures is not a handicap at all to realize Self. That was at a time without TV, internet and pod casts. It is also contradicting Michael’s doctrine that “reflection” and studying is necessary to “deepen” whatever he believes gets “deepened” by introducing adjuncts. It is simply not true.

Mouna, you said “from ego point of view”. Well, I say there is no point of view by the ego. Because that view is imagined, it can never capture reality. That should be clear for anyone. There is also no “viewpoint of Self”; in fact that “viewpoint" is STILL the viewpoint of the ego IMAGINING how the “viewpoint” of Self/Absolute could be.

There is only Self, and it is still true even with the non-belief of the ego. Introducing all these concepts of a knot, chit, sheaths, and what not will not change anything. They cannot help turning within, that seeming help is a delusion, part of Maya.

That’s why I do not accept the authority of any non-sage to “teach” spiritual concepts. Because mind is tainted and its only real power is to turn within, anything else, like a “will” is an illusion. Sure, there seems to be a will, but it is powerless in all regards BUT to turn within. Anything else, including this blog with its concepts, is play of Maya.

Venkat’s section 5) describes the paradox and I like it a lot.

Cheers to all, and hugs for you bro ;-)


Mouna said...

Salazar,
Agree almost with the entire last comment. Although some parts I would rephrase them otherwise, but the thing is that I am under a little bit of pressure at the “transactional level” with work and survival related imaginations!
I'll be detaching myself from the thread not due to lack of interest, but because of lack of actual physical time… the same goes for Venkatji and Anadiji.
Great exchange though… all good.
More hugs
(to be continued…)

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

In my humble opinion, there is certainly a necessity for reflection and studying. If it wasn't for reflection and studying, we would fall for whatever any so-called guru taught, believing them on the basis of what is perhaps an untrustworthy intuition alone. If we reflect and study, then alone can we try to reevaluate any teachings in the light of new evidence as our understanding became clearer.
For quite some time, I was, like so many others, a wholesale consumer of religious 'gurus', caught up like a fly in the web of their teachings, believing this was an 'easy ticket' and that I could simultaneously enjoy living my life and also find true happiness or liberation or whatever I thought I was looking for. Like one time I was following one hugely popular Indian 'guru' who taught a certain practice that he said would do wonders, and like a fool I followed him for weeks. Looking as I was for an easy ticket, I wasn't inclined to reflection or studying. Even if I was, I doubt there were any proper teachings that one would think over. Just a lot of fancy stuff to dazzle people, hundreds of YouTube videos with clickbait titles. Obviously the problem lies in my own stupidity. But there were others I was following too whose teachings seemed to be not as superficial as the above 'guru'. But somehow my interest in these faded as I tried to understand Bhagavan's teachings more, thanks to Michael's blog; I see now, to at least a tiny extent, things in a different light - importance of reflection and studying, and the practice being an all-consuming affair, like if a friend is sick how we're constantly thinking of them even while appearing to be doing everything. Just my thoughts on this matter.

Who Am I? said...

"That’s why I do not accept the authority of any non-sage to “teach” spiritual concepts." Quote.

That applies to anyone here posting comments including the author of that quote who has been posting concepts after concepts after concepts. Why just blame Michael James? What about all these others who have been showing off their own mental concepts which amount to zilch.

Who Am I? said...

Many people including myself have learned the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi a lot better from Michael James's essays and commentaries in this blog. With his explanations it has made it much easier to understand since many people do not understand Tamil. Even otherwise Michael has the skills, wisdom and intelligence to explain what Sri Ramana Maharshi has said that needs to be understood properly and correctly. As "Aham" said earlier all that Salazar posts here is nothing but tripe.

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna, greetings,
just "survival-work" is not outside of self-awareness from which the now needed power of endurance will flow also in this field of physical life. Do not allow your self-attention becoming under pressure. We keep our fingers crossed for you ! Best wishes.
J.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
"They [- concepts -] cannot help turning within, that seeming help is a delusion, part of Maya.
"Anything else, including this blog with its concepts, is play of Maya."

Let us not overlook: So long as we too are easy prey of maya we need evidently to be taught/instructed/advised about Bhagavan's teaching.
As you imply not any pointers and teachings can do or help to do one's necessary turning within. Reading all teachings cannot be any viable substitute for patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender. Even when Michael's blog too is part of the dream/maya it is an immense treasure.
Therefore even stating "There is only self" or warning that all else is maya is not an immediate help to turn within.

Who Am I? said...

That is why I also do not accept the authority of a non-sage like Salazar who regularly posts his tripe and worthless opinions which have got nothing whatsoever to do with the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi because Salazar's mind is also tainted. But that cannot be said of Michael James at all.

Aham said...

.


It is good to read that someone else is speaking up in support of Mr James.

Mr James elucidates Sri Ramana's Teachings so as to make accessible what would otherwise be inaccessible for most people. For that, sincere aspirants I am sure are very thankful.


On the matter of trolls in the comments section:

Whilst Mr James' preference to accommodate all personalities in the comments section is admirable, it is simply not workable in the real world. The result in the case of this blog, is sincere and mature aspirants comment infrequently, and the quality of conversation is mostly puerile and debased.

How did Sri Ramana manage ashram "trolls"? His attendants removed them and Sri Ramana did not object.

There is no other way to manage a troll. They simply do not have the self-awareness or maturity to see the error of their ways.


Troll -- a person who sows discord by continually posting inflammatory or ill-informed messages for the purpose of amusement or conceited motives.


.

Salazar said...

Mouna, I'll talk to you later, it feels you want to avoid stirring the pot I presume :-)

The fanboys got upset again about nothing and need again resort to name-calling. Of course in their case it is justified as it is the case with all hypocrites. Why do I have to read these debased comments by Aham? He should be removed :-)

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

If Michael does not appreciate my comments and does not want them here anymore he just has to ask me to not post anymore. In that case I'll leave these blog filled with "sincere" and "mature" aspirants compared to those even Bhagavan would remove, of course his hatchet work would be done by someone else. LMAO

Aham, if you keep commenting such tripe more often I'll voluntarily stay away from this
because it gives me belly aches laughing.

venkat said...

Hi Carlos

Hope all is well with you. Thanks for your comment.

"Ego" has been diagnosed as the problem in all of advaita. Whilst I may have not used that term, I did refer to personal body-mind and to the jiva.

As you know vedanta comprises a number of teachings, of which advaita is just one [ :-) ]. And there are various interpretations of advaita. If you stick to what Sankara has written, then he talks about, on realisation, the "particular consciousness dissolving into the universal consciousness". This does not require the end of the body; and he does not posit a further liberation at the end of the body.

As with Bhagavan, Sankara's writing points to a dissolution of the ego, the "I"-thought on realisation. As Bhagavan has said, when you go hunting for the "I", it is nowhere to be found (like the uninvited wedding guest); because it was never real in the first place.

Where you and I will agree to disagree, is whether Bhagavan actually meant that the I projected the world, and on dissolution of the I, the world disappears; or whether he wrote it poetically in Tamil, and a translation does not do it justice, or could be translated in different wars. As you have pointed out in your earlier comment quoting from Talks, which shows that Bhagavan did say the universe = Brahman

Mouna said...

Salazarji :-), Venkatji

Just a quick response to your comments before I head out to work.
I do have a small amount of time to read them.

Al I have to say is Thanks, I learn a lot just by discussing with you and the rest.
And I don't held my thinking as written in stone, it is all a flux and a process.

Michael James said...

This comment is addressed both to Salazar (for reasons that should be clear to him) and to all those who have in any way criticised him personally rather than critiquing ideas expressed by him:

As far as possible I aim to keep the discussion here open and free for anyone to join in, so I am reluctant to reject any comments while moderating them, but as I wrote in the Guidelines for Comments on this blog, ‘All comments are welcome provided that they are relevant to Bhagavan’s teachings and do not contain personal criticism or abuse’, so may I again request all of you to refrain from writing comments that are deliberately offensive or provocative or that contain ad hominem attacks of any sort. Writing such comments is trolling, so in future I will have to be more strict in rejecting all such comments, even if they also contain ideas that are relevant to his teachings.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael, section 6.,
"No one and nothing other than ourself can make us see ourself as we actually are, so Bhagavan taught us that by our own effort we must use our own ஞானக்கண் (ñāṉa-k-kaṇ), ‘eye of jñāna’ or ‘eye of awareness’, to look at ourself and to see what we actually are."
"We ourself are the grace whose help we are seeking, so we can surrender ourself to it most effectively by...‘not giving even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [self-attentiveness]’...".

"So long as we are attending to anything other than ourself, we are surrendering ourself to our viṣaya-vāsanās and thereby obstructing the help that grace is always offering to us. Therefore we must co-operate with grace by making effort to be as self-attentive as we can be, thereby avoiding the natural tendency of ego to obstruct it."

However, unfortunately it seems to me that the power of my viṣaya-vāsanās is sometimes stronger than grace. Additionally it seems to me that just suppressing my longing for satisfaction of sensual desires is quite pointless because the urge to not suppress them is never ending. Rather suppressing such desires over a long time is not at all rewarded. So my readiness to co-operate with grace is a bit weak. Correspondingly the natural tendency of ego to obstruct grace is comparatively unhindered.

Salazar said...

Bhagavan, as any sage, would give different advice on the same subject depending on the individual, thus there is no "general rule" and one has to consider the situation of the jiva.

I.e. to someone who needed some conceptual knowledge for his spiritual advancement he'd suggest to read certain scriptures and emphasize "learning without pride". On the other hand to the bookworm he said and I quote, "That which you seek is inside yourself. The books themselves are outside. Then why look in the wrong direction by studying them? Be that." Clearly he saw that in this case the guy should drop all his books, they became and were an impediment and hindered any further advancement.

That can be only known by a sage and the general rule of "studying, reflection, and deepening" as is pushed on this blog is false by default. That's why a spiritual teacher who is not a sage will do more harm than good.

And I am talking about giving public lectures and maintaining a public blog. Not of people like Mouna and venkat who share their opinions on a public blog but never paraded as a teacher in public nor maintain a public blog.

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

Salazar,
No matter how hard we try to say that ego is unreal, we are very much like people in a desert claiming that they do not see the mirage, even though it occupies half of the sky.

Unknown said...

And also, I am very grateful to MJ for his work of translating Bahgavan's teaching from Tamil, the language I cannot understand. In the end it is up to us to understand the teachings one way or another. You cannot blame the messenger.

Salazar said...

Unknown, you are correct, saying that ego is unreal is leading to nothing. It is meant as a pointer and not as an invitation to repeat that as a mantra. The meaning of the pointer though is that it is the belief in a mind and body what gives the ego reality. That belief is false and all what is needed is to drop that belief. [Also to try to "fix" the ego or to improve/purify it will keep it real even more.]

How? To stay [mentally] quiet. That includes the tendency of the ego to proclaim that "claiming the ego is not real" is futile. Instead it is better to be quiet.

In addition, when Bhagavan mentioned the term purification or "mature mind" he used it as a pointer, and not to be taken as a solid fact that there really is a mature mind or purification. That is usually misunderstood, there is the strong tendency to somehow solidify pointers but that taints the original intend of the sages.

Unknown said...

Salazar, what I meant is that even if "I" understand that logically "ego" is not real and is like a dream, I continue to wake up in the morning, doing routine, feeding my body, taking care of my dearest, etc etc. So proclaiming that ego is unreal would be foolish by me, because I will be like those in the middle of a mirage saying that "this mirage is not real" while at the same time drinking its water and sitting in the palm shades.
The silence is not meant to be the inactivity of your speech organs but rather the absence of the thought process. The silence is the end result, but not a tool.

I derive that the world is like a dream from the pointers, however I have not yet had the experience of it. I.E. I have a experience of my dream ending, and everything that I experienced there evaporated like a mirage, hence with the pointers from various spiritual origins I can extrapolate this to the present world and nourish the doubt about the seeming reality of this world. Perhaps that is why it is said in Bhagavad Gita:
2.71: That person, who gives up all material desires and lives free from a sense of greed, proprietorship, and egoism, attains perfect peace.
2.72: O Parth, such is the state of an enlightened soul that having attained it, one is never again deluded. Being established in this consciousness even at the hour of death, one is liberated from the cycle of life and death and reaches the Supreme Abode of God

Salazar said...

Unknown, that silence is the end product AND the tool. That silence is also holding to "I am". The end product is [must be] also the tool, otherwise it is a subject object relationship. A [or any] subject object relationship cannot facilitate realization.

As Bhagavan said, holding to "I am" with effort is self-inquiry, holding to "I am" without effort is realization. That path [self-inquiry] equals the goal [Self].

It is that simple. No other concepts are necessary for that. Truly.

Now the mind just has to accept that and ACTUALLY adhering to that!

Noob said...

Bhagavan has also said:

Only when the mind remains firmly established in the heart in this manner will what is called ‘I’ [the ego], which is the root [base, foundation or origin] of all thoughts, depart [disappear or cease] and will the ever-existing self alone shine. The place [space or state] devoid of even the slightest thought called ‘I’ is svarūpa [our ‘own form’ or actual self]. That alone is called ‘mauna’ [silence].


My take is that when only self remains, there will be no one to hold on to anything, including so called "I". This is what we are all aiming for, is it not?



anadi-ananta said...

relating to Salazar's above comment,

A.) "...that silence is the end product AND the tool."

Firstly I doubt whether silence can be correctly considered as an (end) result/product.
As long silence is a tool/sadhana/attempt temporarily or at times practised, as long it logically cannot be the same as our all goal ("end product").

B.) "That silence is also holding to "I am".

Silence is not holding to "I am"; silence is merely being "I am" because holding is or sounds like an effort of the mind.

C.) "The end product is [must be] also the tool, otherwise it is a subject object relationship...".

Self-investigation is in its starting phase and at least in its initial stage certainly a subject-object-relationship done by the mind. However this does not matter. Rather self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is not possible in an other way than by the effort of the mind/ego.

anadi-ananta said...

Unknown,
"... I can extrapolate this to the present world and nourish the doubt about the seeming reality of this world."
You obviously mean "the doubt about the reality of this world". Doubting the "seeming reality" of this world would mean its recognition/acceptance/acknowledgement.
As you imply we as body-mind complex can hardly avoid to perceive this world as real.

Salazar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob P said...

Upadesa Undiyar verse 17

When the mind (ego) scans it's own form (atma vichara), there is nothing of the kind

Salazar said...

Yes, Rob P's quote of verse 17 goes along my previous comment. I certainly concur.

That pointer also implies the non-existence of the ego and that the "ego's scan" is an imagination, it is not really the "work of the ego" [but rather the chit aspect what is though not entirely true either, best is to leave that out of the mind] but the mind of course must have a hard time to accept that. :-)

As Bhagavan said, the ego certainly cannot realize its own non-existence, as such it is not a factor in self-inquiry. Self is always there, and we are that Self, even when there is attention to objects. Self-inquiry removes the erroneous identification (what includes the notion that the ego is the facilitator) and attention to "other", it doesn't add anything. Nor does it [or could] "attain" Self.

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

In Rob's comment above citing Upadesa Undiyar 'When the mind (ego) scans it's own form (atma vichara), there is nothing of the kind', it's not clear whether atma vichara in parentheses refers to the own form of the ego, or to the act of the ego scanning its own form. Perhaps both? Like existence is also consciousness? Can you please clarify, Michael?

Unknown said...

When there is silence, there is no subject and no objects.

Unknown said...

The "I" is probably the loudest noise. According to Bhagavan, when "I" appears all other "noises" appear, but "I" is the first.

anadi-ananta said...

Unknown,
one could also say "When there is silence, there is only the subject silence."

anadi-ananta said...

To whom? To me. Who am I?,
If I may jump in ahead of Michael,
atma vichara is ego's looking (scanning) keenly at its own form and thus of course includes also the act of the ego's scanning its own form.
Existence is just consciousness. There is no real existence without consciousness/self-awareness and vice versa.

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

Thanks for your response, anadi-ananta. What I was asking is, whether Atma-vichara is a noun or is it a verb? Is self-awareness something that is done, or is it more like, be self-aware? The difference between these two interpretations seems related to the dichotomy between subject and object.

Unknown said...

Anandi-ananta,
There is no such thing as "I" silence, according to Bhagavan:

Only when the mind remains firmly established in the heart in this manner will what is called ‘I’ [the ego], which is the root [base, foundation or origin] of all thoughts, depart [disappear or cease] and will the ever-existing self alone shine. The place [space or state] devoid of even the slightest thought called ‘I’ is svarūpa [our ‘own form’ or actual self]. That alone is called ‘mauna’ [silence].


"I" or ego - IS the subject. When there is no "I", there is no noise and hence silence.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
section 5.,
"In his essay version Bhagavan did not include the first two sentences ...".

"Though he did not actually include these two sentences in his essay version, he did include the implication ...".

Was not Sivaprakasam Pillai the author of 'Nāṉ Yār?' , published first in 1923 in original Tamil ?
Did Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi really write "his essay version" personally in his own handwriting ?

Salazar said...

Verse 17, "When the mind (ego) scans it's own form (atma vichara), there is nothing of the kind' ...."

As so often, Bhagavan's pointers are misunderstood, when he said "scan" he really did not mean the actual act of scanning since one can only scan an object and the mind is not an object nor does it have a form. It does not exist. That verse of course cannot be understood just by itself but only in combination with many other pointers.

I do not know what people "scan" here, but if they believe they do scan "something" then I am most certain they do not do atma-vichara.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
section 5.,
"God and guru will only show the way for attaining mukti [liberation], but it is not possible [for them] by themselves [or of their own accord] to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti. It is necessary for each one to attain mukti only by their own effort walking in accordance with the path that God or guru has shown."
Is it not said that God is almighty ?
It rather seems God is not willing to make jīvas [souls] merge in mukti.

"He gave this answer to Sivaprakasam Pillai because he knew that he was mature enough to understand that God or guru will not annihilate us until we are willing to surrender ourself entirely to him, but that if we make the required effort to follow the path shown by guru, namely the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, his grace will certainly give us all the help we need."

So god wants evidently to extract our willing to surrender ourself entirely to him from us. But will god make me mature enough to understand that it is necessary to make the required effort to follow the path of self-investigation and self-surrender ?
I have already a vague presentiment that God or guru will not annihilate me until I am willing to surrender myself entirely to him. Indeed God is not even willing to implant in me a sense of correct understanding of his teachings and allembracing grace let alone sufficient love for my willingness to self-surrender.

anadi-ananta said...

section 5.,
"He has shown us the direct path to mukti, namely the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and in this sentence he makes it clear that in order to be benefited by this teaching we ourself need to unfailingly follow this path. This is the small but essential part that we have to play, and if we play it his grace will take care of everything else."
Yes, he has shown us the direct path to mukti. But, in my case he forgot to implant in me sufficient love and the ability to unfailingly follow this path.

"...so if we do not patiently and persistently make effort to turn within to see what we actually are, even God or guru cannot make us attain mukti."

Obviously I am not even ready to contribute the best qualifications for the above mentioned required prerequisites in order to carry out our task.

Fortunately Bhagavan answered to the question of a moaning visitor "yes, there is hope".:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Unknown,
what I tried to express : silence is the real self-awareness "I am" alone; so it is the only subject - without any object.

anadi-ananta said...

To whom? To me. Who am I?,
atma-vichara is a noun.
Self-awareness is ever present; so it is not something to be done, it is being self-aware.

anadi-ananta said...

Scanning is only an other word for looking or turning within. Atma-vichara is comparable with a pearl diver's keen searching for a pearl by sharp attention/attentiveness.

Salazar said...

The mind does not exist. What seemingly exists is the belief in a mind. That belief itself is the creator of its own (non-)existence. Now how can a belief via a subject-object relationship drop its own belief? That would be trying to change a belief or more thoughts on top of thoughts. That is impossible [in order to realize Self].

It works only in directly being the subject without any intentions, goals, "actions", expectations and so forth. Even the subtle belief 'I have to do atma-vichara' is not being. It is imagining being or "how to be" - a subject-object relationship.

There is a reason why Bhagavan never gave a "how to do atma-vichara" when he was asked. He gave the pointers in Nan-Yar, and even those are misunderstood by many. Otherwise people would not keep asking questions for "clarifications".

There will be never a "clarification" on a conceptual level and it is not needed and serves mostly as a detour. Just being (or atma-vichara) is all what is necessary. Clarity will come by itself in due course. That clarity is not conceptual and not by the mind.

anadi-ananta said...

section 5.,
"it is necessary to make the mind cease’, and ‘for making the mind cease it is necessary to investigate oneself [to see] who [one actually is]’. As ego we ourself are the mind that needs to subside and cease, and to make it subside and cease we ourself must investigate ourself to see what we actually are. "

"God's or guru's grace will give us all the help we require, but to avail of that help we ourself must try our best to turn within to see what we actually are."

Even for trying our best to turn within to see what we actually are we need God's or guru's grace.

Salazar said...

Anadi-ananta, or Josef Bruckner perhaps? :-) You said, "Scanning is only an other word for looking or turning within. Atma-vichara is comparable with a pearl diver's keen searching for a pearl by sharp attention/attentiveness."

That is not true. Atma-vichara is not like a pearl diver searching for a pearl, that analogy is flawed. Because the pearl diver (mind/Self) IS the pearl (mind/Self), he cannot look for that what he is.

When Bhagavan suggested to "look" he meant to 'be' and not the actual act of looking or searching because one cannot search for That what one already is. Also, if one follows a thought back to its origin one sees that the origin does not exist [as an object which could be observed or examined]. Self cannot be examined or investigated.

A pearl diver and a pearl are objects, a mind and Self are not. As long as that is not clear only confusion will reign!

Michael James said...

‘To whom? To me. Who am I?’, in answer your comments of 29 April 2019 at 18:00 and 30 April 2019 at 12:00, in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār Bhagavan does not use the term ‘ātma-vicāra’, even though the practice he is describing is obviously ātma-vicāra. What he says in that verse is:

மனத்தி னுருவை மறவா துசாவ
மனமென வொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற
      மார்க்கநே ரார்க்குமி துந்தீபற.

maṉatti ṉuruvai maṟavā dusāva
maṉameṉa voṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
      mārgganē rārkkumi dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: மனத்தின் உருவை மறவாது உசாவ, மனம் என ஒன்று இலை. மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும் இது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): maṉattiṉ uruvai maṟavādu usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. mārggam nēr ārkkum idu.

English translation: When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], [it will be clear that] there is not anything called ‘mind’. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever.

What he refers to here as ‘மனம்’ (maṉam), ‘mind’, and as ‘மனத்தின் உரு’ (maṉattiṉ uru), ‘the form of the mind’, is ego, which is the perceiving element of the mind and therefore its root and essence (as he implies in verse 18), and what can and needs to investigate ego is only ego itself, so what he implies in the first sentence of this verse is that if ego investigates itself without allowing its attention to be distracted by anything else whatsoever, it will be clear that there is no such thing as ego at all.

The Sanskrit terms vicāra and vicāraṇā are nouns that means investigation, and they are derived from the verb vicar, which means to investigate. The Tamil forms of these two nouns are respectively விசாரம் (vicāram) and விசாரணை (vicāraṇai), and the Tamil form of this verb is விசாரி (vicāri). In Nāṉ Ār? Bhagavan uses both of these nouns and this verb.

Though விசாரி (vicāri) is a verb that means to investigate, in the context of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) it does not denote an action but just the state of being attentively self-aware. In other words, it is not a doing but just being. Therefore the answer to your question ‘Is self-awareness something that is done?’ is no, it is our natural state of just being, because it is what we actually are.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to ‘To whom? To me. Who am I?’:

Regarding your final remark about ‘the dichotomy between subject and object’, I understand you are referring to some earlier comments discussing whether there is any subject-object relationship in self-investigation, but as ego we are the subject who is aware of all objects, and obviously we can never become an object of our own awareness, because we are one and not two. Therefore self-investigation is the state in which the subject is attentively aware of itself, and the more keenly we are self-attentive, the more objects (including even the subtlest ones) recede into the background of our awareness until eventually they disappear altogether, whereupon we shine alone as pure awareness — awareness that is not aware of anything other than itself.

Michael James said...

Salazar, in your recent comments you are becoming more extreme in your repudiation and criticism of Bhagavan’s teachings. I assume (or at least hope) that you are not aware of this, and that you do so because you have such a poor understanding of them and not because you intend to repudiate or criticise them.

In his or her comment of 30 April 2019 at 17:26 Anadi-ananta wrote, ‘Atma-vichara is comparable with a pearl diver’s keen searching for a pearl by sharp attention/attentiveness’, but in your comment of 30 April 2019 at 19:00 you replied to this saying, ‘That is not true. Atma-vichara is not like a pearl diver searching for a pearl, that analogy is flawed. Because the pearl diver (mind/Self) IS the pearl (mind/Self), he cannot look for that what he is’, thereby displaying your ignorance of Bhagavan’s teachings and disregard for them, because this was an analogy that he frequently used, such as in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? (cited above in this article): ‘முத்துக்குளிப்போர் தம்மிடையிற் கல்லைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு மூழ்கிக் கடலடியிற் கிடைக்கும் முத்தை எப்படி எடுக்கிறார்களோ, அப்படியே ஒவ்வொருவனும் வைராக்கியத்துடன் தன்னுள் ளாழ்ந்து மூழ்கி ஆத்மமுத்தை யடையலாம்’ (muttu-k-kuḷippōr tam-m-iḍaiyil kallai-k kaṭṭi-k-koṇḍu mūṙki-k kaḍal-aḍiyil kiḍaikkum muttai eppaḍi eḍukkiṟārgaḷō, appaḍiyē o-vv-oruvaṉum vairāggiyattuḍaṉ taṉṉuḷ ḷ-āṙndu mūṙki ātma-muttai y-aḍaiyalām), ‘Just as pearl-divers, tying stones to their waists and sinking, pick up pearls that are found at the bottom of the ocean, so each one, sinking deep within oneself with vairāgya [freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than oneself], may attain the pearl of oneself’.

Obviously a pearl is an object, as you say, and ourself (ātman) is not an object, but that does not make this analogy flawed, because what it is intended to illustrate is that just as a pearl-diver can harvest a pearl only if he dives deep into the ocean with a stone tied to his waist, we can be aware of our real nature only if we sink deep within ourself with vairāgya. If this analogy were flawed for the reason you give, then every analogy used by Bhagavan or in advaita teachings would be flawed, but if you understood their purpose you would see that they are not flawed.

In the same comment you wrote, ‘Self cannot be examined or investigated’, which is again repudiating what Bhagavan taught us, because as anyone who is at all familiar with his teachings knows, the principal path he taught is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra). If ourself (ātman) cannot be investigated, why did he teach us to investigate ourself?

In most of your comments you are just displaying your confusion and lack of understanding and making a mockery of Bhagavan’s teachings (as you did in a particularly contemptuous manner in your comment of 25 April 2019 at 19:18, in which you used straw man arguments to ridicule me but in the process ridiculed various subtle aspects of his teachings that you seem to be unwilling or unable to understand), so in most cases you are not contributing anything useful to any of the discussions going on here, and I suspect that your comments deter some others from joining these discussions, so in future I will reject any comments in which you express views that are obviously contrary to his teachings.

Salazar said...

Michael, seriously? If that is your opinion there is truly no reason for me to post anymore comments at this blog. I stand particular behind my previous comment and I'd say the same to Bhagavan.

I'll leave because the alternative would mean I'd have to post comments which are in alignment with what you believe is Bhagavan's teaching. That's censorship, however I believe in your righteousness you cannot see that.

I withdraw and leave you in exploring Bhagavan's teachings as you see fit.

Farewell.

Aham said...

.


Though விசாரி (vicāri) is a verb that means to investigate, in the context of self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) it does not denote an action but just the state of being attentively self-aware. In other words, it is not a doing but just being.

Therefore self-investigation is the state in which the subject is attentively aware of itself, and the more keenly we are self-attentive, the more objects (including even the subtlest ones) recede into the background of our awareness until eventually they disappear altogether, whereupon we shine alone as pure awareness — awareness that is not aware of anything other than itself.



Terrific insights Mr James and clearly articulated for the reader. Thank you.


.

Aham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
you say "Because the pearl diver (mind/Self) IS the pearl (mind/Self), he cannot look for that what he is."
"When Bhagavan suggested to "look" he meant to 'be' and not the actual act of looking or searching because one cannot search for That what one already is."

Quite well we can and are searching for that what we already are.
You further say "A pearl diver and a pearl are objects, a mind and Self are not. As long as that is not clear only confusion will reign!"
In the above metaphor the pearl diver as searching ego is the subject. First he starts searching for the pearl as an object. Later after finding the pearl by diving deep in the ocean of awareness the pearl diver recognizes his identity with the pearl he was looking for.

Who Am I? said...

Michael James, this is in regards to your last post of 30 April 2019 at 21:21. Thanks for the same. It is greatly appreciated by many of us here.

You said in that post:

In your recent comments you are becoming more extreme in your repudiation and criticism of Bhagavan’s teachings. I assume (or at least hope) that you are not aware of this, and that you do so because you have such a poor understanding of them and not because you intend to repudiate or criticize them.

In most of your comments you are just displaying your confusion and lack of understanding and making a mockery of Bhagavan’s teachings (as you did in a particularly contemptuous manner in your comment of 25 April 2019 at 19:18, in which you used straw man arguments to ridicule me but in the process ridiculed various subtle aspects of his teachings that you seem to be unwilling or unable to understand), so in most cases you are not contributing anything useful to any of the discussions going on here, and I suspect that your comments deter some others from joining these discussions, so in future I will reject any comments in which you express views that are obviously contrary to his teachings. Your quote.



Well said indeed because it is actually the case and is true.

Yes, it has certainly deterred many people from honestly and sincerely posting comments in your blog over the many months to learn from you directly as to what Sri Ramana Maharshi taught. Like I said earlier, I myself have understood a lot from your blog and if a few people here who may feel themselves superior to me (maybe they actually are) deride, mock and bully me for sincerely praising your contributions and also for what I sincerely post, then I and many others may be reluctant to post my/our sincere posts/questions to you relating to the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

After all this blog is meant specifically to learn and discuss the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi and not of anyone else.

Who Am I? said...

To Aham,

regarding your post of 27 April 2019 at 11:19.

Well said and a wise comment from you, which unfortunately describes the actual nature and state of this blog. Just because someone disagrees with Michael James or anyone else there is absolutely no need to deride him or anybody else in this blog for their sincere and well intended posts based on their level of understanding the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Who Am I? said...

Many modern day teachings of neo-advaita are being passed on and propagated here as if they are the actual teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi or what the sage also said. These kind of comments suggesting towards that is certainly not what Sri Ramana Maharshi teach. This propagation and confusion of neo-advaita material has been going on in this blog through many posts from certain blog commentators for a long time here.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, in reply to your comment of 30 April 2019 at 14:20, the early question and answer versions of Nāṉ Yār? were recorded by Sivaparakasam Pillai, but Bhagavan himself rewrote the 30-question-and-answer version in the form of the essay version, which he called Nāṉ Ār? (yār and ār both mean ‘who’, but after a word ending with a consonant ār is more euphonic so is the form generally used in literary Tamil).

A manuscript of the essay in Bhagavan’s handwriting was reproduced on pages 44-47 of the June 1993 issue of The Mountain Path, but it is not known whether that was his original draft or a fair copy of it.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
I am glad that for the sake of clarity you finally replied to Salazar's contemptuous comment of 25 April 2019 at 19:18.
In this case meekness (of a lamb) would be out of place.:-)

Aham said...

.


@Who am I?

A wonderful aspect of this blog is the fact anyone can come here and ask, "What did Sri Ramana say regarding....?" and the questioner can be confident the answer they receive from Mr James is either drawn from a reliable record, or directly from a source written by or approved by Sri Ramana. The neo-advaita movement in contrast dilutes and perverts Sri Ramana's Teachings. Here the original Teachings are kept pure.

As for Mr James' interpretations of Sri Ramana's Teachings, I find I resonate with them. Some don’t as evidenced by this blogs comments. Despite their objections they never put forward any convincing counter-arguments, but instead resort to mud-slinging.


.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is happy with every little step we take

Bhagavan is giving us all the help we require. He knows where we are, and he knows our strengths and weaknesses. When a child is learning to walk, its mother and father don’t get impatient. They don’t get angry with him. They don’t say, ‘why are you not learning quicker?’ Every little step the child takes, the parents are so happy. They praise him for every little effort he makes.

So is Bhagavan. He is so happy by every little effort we make on this path. He knows that we are like small toddlers but his love for us is so great that he is not impatient. He is happy seeing us just trying, and he knows that by his grace we will definitely succeed in the end.

Bhagavan has greater and purer love for us that we have for ourself. Bhagavan loves us as himself, whereas we love ourself as this person that we seem to be. Bhagavan’s love will never go in vain. So we have to trust him. We have to understand that he is giving us all the help we require.

All he wants of us is that we try our best to follow the path that he has shown. Why does he want that? It is because he wants us to be happy - because happiness is our very nature. The way to happiness is to follow this path. So Bhagavan is happy with every small step we take.

~+~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-04-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the truth about enlightenment (1:41 to 1:45)

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you Michael for your reply about the fact that Bhagavan himself rewrote the 30-question-and-answer version in the form of the essay (Nāṉ Ār? literally "I who?").
Thanks also for the given link to the June 1993 issue of The Mountain Path with the manuscript of the essay in Bhagavan's handwriting.

[Readers may find this issue very interesting because it includes articles of Papaji,
about Paul Brunton, of Robert Adams, about Sri Lakshmana Swamy, about Swami Abhishiktananda (Fr.Henri le Saux), Annamalai Swamy, Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Lakshman Joo, Sri Sadhu Om Swami and the Question 'Who is a Jnani?' by Michael James a.o. and additionally that issue's beautiful cover showing the burning Arunachala Hill containing the face of Bhagavan Ramana both dwelling in blazing flames (of the pure light of self-awareness)].

Unknown said...

Blog moderator says he may reject Salazar's posts if he deems are unsuitable to the content of the thread and are also fallacious regarding what the revered Sri Ramana Maharshi actually said and meant. What took him so long to realize this is anybody's guess. Well at least that is something for a fresh start to expunge all derisive tripes intended towards none other than the sage and Jnani Sri Ramana Maharshi himself.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
of course you mean the early question and answer versions of Nāṉ Yār? recorded by Sivaprakasam Pillai.(not Sivapara...):-)

anadi-ananta said...

Aham,
as you imply we can deem ourself very lucky. We need no mockingbird. Therefore we should always gratefully accept Mr James' interpretations of Sri Ramana's Teachings.

Mouna said...

Hello friends,
We talk a lot these days about keeping the purity of this blog focused in Bhagavan’s teachings which I agree fully. At the same time, just to point out a certain aspect of them, we might from time to time explore and quote other paths and the connection they have with Bhagavan’s teachings. Nothing wrong with that. Even if it is “neo-advaita”.

What I still do not understand is why people here, very concerned about this purity and transparency, keep commenting hiding behind a fictitious name, either being “unknown”, “anonymous” (fortunately we don’t have that anymore) or some other sanskrit title of a book or well known phrase…

I know, there is this “privacy” issue quite in vogue these days amongst the 7+ billions personae that roam the earth... I would understand someone like Salman Rushdie the necessity to hide because his life was at risk, but here... among Bhagavan’s students, what is the point? For me it demonstrates that the person (permeated by ego) can hide in the most conspicuous places, trash others, bully or praise Michael, without being touch at all since completely secure in his intellectual and conceptual hide-out. What are we afraid of?...

One of the things I miss more from other platforms like yahoo or other blogs like the “advaitin-list” was that there, it was (I believe still is) a system that allowed people to know the email address from where the comment was coming from and most important, have “off-blog” conversations, which definitely took care of many “battles”. That list was also moderated but people was definitely more mature in their interactions.

I suppose we have what we have and certainly it will continue to be like that, but in an utopian world, it would be nice to see the face of who you are discussing with… Just a thought (or maybe more of a feeling).

Last but not least, if you say that my name is also an aka name (Mouna) I already explained the reason why in the past, I tried to change it but it didn’t really work. And if you have doubts check my profile, there you will have complete information about this masquerade called Mouna.

Aham said...

.


It feels like a breath of fresh air has swept through this blog in just a matter of hours. Already it feels friendlier.

Good to see Mr Lohia posting comments.


@Unknown

Yes, with the current comments system the buck stops with Mr James. He decides the character of comments making it to the blog.


@Mouna

Good idea! Blog essays need to link to a better comments system. One that affords greater transparency in regards to who you are dealing with. I suspect some users have had more than one username at this blog.


.

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna, greetings,
"...it would be nice to see the face of who you are discussing with… Just a thought (or maybe more of a feeling)."
After Google has finished private accounts beginning with 2 nd April 2019 this blog's comment box asked for using a new account name - now with "Blogger. With that I feel quite well and leave it for the present. Though my comments continue to be not at all anonymous I manage commenting without adopting a big attitude of reserve. Mostly I am not afraid to uncover my ignorance.
J.

Bob Morrison said...

Sanjay

Thanks much for the extracted video, the information came at the right time.

I do not get much out of watching videos as it moves too fast for me but with text I can take my time and read and reread and reread at a much later time.

My question is; how did you know to post that particular video at the time I needed it?

Best regards

Bob

Bob Morrison said...

Sanjay
Should have read 'that particular video extract'

Unknown said...

It would be wiser for masquerades, pretenders and show-offs to tell their so called friends not to post tripes about Sri Ramana Maharshi. As for divulging their own ego's personal info and photo "Who" cares?

சொரூபத்யானம் said...

@Aham, You said:

"It feels like a breath of fresh air has swept through this blog in just a matter of hours. Already it feels friendlier.

Not so fast sir/madam, concerned party has just gone for fresh air and will be back with more tripes on neo-advaita and its own ego-glorification as usual.

Mouna said...

Here we go again wit the attacks... Who cares? you definitely care.

Agnostic said...

Extract from Talk 28, Feb 4, 1935

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

D.: What is the relation between my free-will and the overwhelming might of the Omnipotent?
(a) Is omniscience of God consistent with ego's freewill?
(b) Is omnipotence of God consistent with ego's freewill?
(c) Are the natural laws consistent with God's free-will?

Maharshi: Yes. Free-will is the present appearing to a limited faculty of sight and will. The same ego sees its past activity as falling into a course of `law' or rules - its own free-will being one of the links in that course of law. Omnipotence and omniscience of God are then seen by the ego to have acted through the appearance of his own free-will. So he comes to the conclusion that the ego must go by appearances. Natural laws are manifestations of God's will and they have been laid down.

Who Am I? said...

@Aham,

Your comments makes one smile. This is said sincerely and in a positive way. I have nothing against those who disagree with Michael James or even Sri Ramana Maharshi and share their pov's but when they boast, brag, ridicule, mock, bully, prevent and deter others from posting comments in this blog like they have been doing over the many months, that is when all their posts loses its flavor, even those which may be and have been quite correct only from neo-advaita POV.


But what Sri Ramana Maharshi has taught is the very best there ever has been and the cream (Sri Ramana Maharshi) always rises to the top. Neo-advaita teachers like Tony Parsons and his regiment of cohorts especially in the Western countries, woefully pale in comparison to Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob, I am glad that this particular extract of Michael’s video was helpful to you. You ask, ‘how did you know to post that particular video at the time I needed it?’ The simple answer is it is all grace. Grace knows what we need and when, and therefore it provides us with the right help at the right time. The same has happened in your case. I just randomly transcribe some portions of Michael’s videos, but grace made you read this extract and this message was relevant to you at present.

Aham said...

.


@ சொரூபத்யானம்

Yes you are right, it may not last. But for the moment the breeze is pleasantly fresh.


@ Who Am I?

I have nothing against those who disagree with Michael James or even Sri Ramana Maharshi and share their pov's but when....

I agree, different views are perfectly fine. It's the manner in which they are delivered that matters.


But what Sri Ramana Maharshi has taught is the very best there ever has been and the cream (Sri Ramana Maharshi) always rises to the top. Neo-advaita teachers like Tony Parsons and his regiment of cohorts especially in the Western countries, woefully pale in comparison to Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.

Neo-advaita strikes me as wholly intellectual with no direct (non-intellectual) understanding. Hence it's more of a belief system. Plus all the desires for fame and gain remain intact.

I don’t find any attraction to it.


.

Rob P said...

Great to see the flow of Arunachala grace the blog again. The Great Tap (Michael) has installed his special filter design and now the pollutants are obstructed. The flow is pure again.

Welcome back Sanjay, it's great to have your input flowing through the tap also.

Time for some deep diving ;) Love to all.

Sanjay Lohia said...

As we follow this path, we will more and more clearly recognize our own insufficiencies or inadequacies

As we follow this path, we will become more and more humble. We will more and more clearly recognize our own insufficiencies or inadequacies to follow this path. But we do not have to worry about all these inadequacies because all we need is a little love to follow this path. That liking to follow this path will bring forth so much grace. Bhagavan used to say, ‘for every one step you take towards God, God takes ten steps towards you’. So we just have to try our best and leave everything else to Bhagavan to take care of.

~*~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-04-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the truth about enlightenment (1:30)

Reflections: Yes, the more we follow this path the more we will become aware of our shortcomings and inadequacies. Why? As dirt and marks seem more prominent on a white cloth, the more our mind becomes pure and clear the more all its defects and errors become clear to us. But we need not worry about this because such painful recognition of our mistakes is an indication that our mind is becoming purer. So it is a sign of our progress.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
I write down some points I noted down watching your video discussion with the Spanish group of 2019-03-24. Please you may correct what is written incorrect, incomplete or misunderstood:

Why can ego never experience its own disappearance ? Because it does not really exist.
Practice of self-investigation is preparing the moment of death.
In the moment of death we have to let go everything, all we believe connected to this body.
Real death is disappearance of ego.
Death of ego is just the recognition that there was never an ego.
In the absence of ego there is no body, no world, nothing.
Ego can die only when it really exists.
We will find that we never have mistaken to be a body.

Pure awareness is unchanging.

Seeing the rope is in effect the death of the snake. But the snake is not really dead because it was never really alive. Likewise seeing what we really are is removing the misperception, the illusion that we are anything else.
...just as the rope was never a snake.

We can see that there is no ego when we are what we actually are.
The ego will die when we see what we really are.
The death of the body is just the end of a dream.
The death of the ego is the death of death.
Ego is nothing than the false awareness that identifies itself as a body.
The very nature of ego is projecting. Without projecting ego does not exist.
Death is actually a very good opportunity for us to let go all things.
Let go all attachments once for all is the end of ego.
Ego is the dreamer.
Let go this ego even now. We must try even now to investigate this ego.
Salvation is nothing but the death of ego. We have to be willing to let go;
it is up to us to let go.

Above writing down could be continued if someone is interested in reading that.

anadi-ananta said...

refrain: "Arunaachalaney ezhuntharulvaai" - Arunachala(na) wake up and give us Your Blessings.

Arunachala Suprabatham
video from the website ARUNACHALA GRACE, 23 July 2018.

I like that song which has somehow a cleaning effect on me even though I do not understand Tamil.


anadi-ananta said...

In order to remember Michael's article of Wednesday, 20 February 2019:

1. ‘I-thought’ is ego, which is a semblance of awareness, an illusory appearance whose underlying reality is pure awareness

2. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verses 10 to 13: distinguishing intransitive awareness from transitive awareness

1.) ..., சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu) is transitive awareness (awareness that is aware of objects or things other than itself), which is a mere semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa), and சுட்டற்ற அறிவு (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu) is intransitive awareness (awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself), which is real awareness (cit or prajñāna) and what is otherwise called pure awareness, in the sense that it is awareness uncontaminated by any phenomena or objects, as we are in sleep.

2.) Intransitive awareness (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu) is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), whereas transitive awareness (suṭṭaṟivu) is ego, the thought called ‘I’ (nāṉ eṉṉum niṉaivu), because our real nature is never aware of anything other than itself, whereas ego is always aware of things other than itself.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
hope Bhagavan married your daughter off to a sincere son-in-law in favourable circumstances.:-) Many congratulations !

Rajat Sancheti said...

Regarding transitive and intransitive awareness, Michael was in a video explaining the meaning of the terms transitive and intransitive in the context of grammar, that intransitive verbs are verbs that don't take an object. For example, it doesn't make sense to say, 'I gave' without saying 'what' object we gave; we always say, 'I gave a book', etc. So gave is transitive. But when we say, I stand, it is meaningless to say 'I stand "what"'. So stand is an intransitive verb.

But sometimes when we use verbs that don't take an object, the object is still implicit. Like when we say, I eat, it is implicit that there is an object we eat. I checked on the internet and apparently eat is ambitransitive. I'm not really asking about the rules of grammar, because they won't save me at the time of death ;) So says Bhaja Govindam and I can't help but agree. But is 'aware' ambitransitive? I feel like a verb such as eat is always transitive even when used without an object, because the object is still clearly implicit. This seems a little tricky already, but if I consider the word 'aware' it seems even more tricky. Because aware seems like both a verb (as in, I am aware of these sounds), and a noun (as in the property of a sentient thing, as in saying 'robots are not aware'). So when we use the verb aware without an object, even an implicit one, then it is really a noun? Are there other verbs such as aware, or is it an exception? I recall that Michael had said that transitive is the closest term (so not an exact translation) in English that can be used for suttarivu, so my doubt is probably just a problem with language, the inadequacy of English specifically, perhaps?

Aham said...

.


Mr James presents a convincing argument here concerning why it is better to seek the guru within, versus chasing external gurus.

Of course it is only natural in the beginning stages to want an external guru. But given the true guru is "I Am" abiding within the Heart, once this is realised it is this darshan that should be sought.


Guru is ever living in our heart as ‘I am’, so to experience him as he is we must turn our attention inwards, away from all outward appearances. The only reason why guru appears outside in human form is to teach us the need to turn within and discover that he is none other than our own essential self.


Also verse 190, GVK.
O people, not knowing that Shiva is dwelling within you, you fly about like birds from one holy place to another [seeking His Darshan]. Consciousness, when abiding still in the Heart, is the Supreme Shiva.


.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-Ananta, thank you. Yes, by Bhagavan’s grace we have found a good boy for our daughter and the marriage went off well. If we leave things on Bhagavan, he will take care of all our burdens. This marriage was a clear demonstration of this fact. When I look back, I can clearly see Bhagavan arranging everything for this marriage. I was incapable of anything. So my heartfelt gratitude to Bhagavan.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat Sancheti,
"So when we use the verb aware without an object, even an implicit one, then it is really a noun?"
Grammatically 'aware' is neither a verb nor a noun but a predicative adjective.

anadi-ananta said...

Aham,
thanks for giving the link to Michael's article of Thursday, 12 August 2010
"We should seek guru only within ourself".

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"When I look back, I can clearly see Bhagavan arranging everything for this marriage."
I hope the same for my son's marriage in August this year.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"The need for us to continue this practice of trying patiently and persistently to turn within to attend to ourself alone...".
However, it is not exactly edifying to continue this practice of trying patiently and persistently to turn within to attend to oneself alone when the attentiveness' arriving in a silent place seems to be rather pure chance. Much more often I am landing up in a thick thicket or whirlpool of thoughts from where I can escape only by stopping that exercise.

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have appeared [literally, to whom they have come into existence]."

Indeed they are rising permanently. Seldom I am able to stop them. Thoughts seem to be vaccinated against my further investigation.

"As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has appeared [literally, to whom it has come into existence], it will be clear: to me."

Thoughts seem to be not much impressed when it become clear that they came to me into existence. They seem at this point to make almost gentle fun of me about my attempts to investigate myself quasi saying to me "you will never overcome us" or "we will never admit defeat". So sometimes I seem to tilt at windmills - similar to Don Quixote/Quijote.:-)

"If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought that had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, for the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace increases."

I guess in "for the mind" the preposition "for" means here "in place of".
Evidently I never was able to cultivate the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace.
Nevertheless, all what I can do is to try it again persistently because "until ego is eradicated forever we need to continue this practice of trying patiently and persistently to turn within to attend to ourself alone".

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"...if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ one completely rejects the thought that one is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness, one will certainly be reformed [transformed into what one actually is]."
So it is evident that till now I was unable to steadfastly adhere to Bhagavan's teaching.
Shall I now start weeping again bedcause even a woodblock is transformed earlier into what it actually is than I ?
No, I zealously must return to the starting position.

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
...nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown."
I will try my best. If I fail again I will start once more lamenting and weeping. :-)

No I have to appy myself seriously to that what Michael said: "The need for persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender is not just an optional extra but is the essential import of his teachings" which I hope to soon understand clearly, deeply and comprehensively.

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-04-21 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to begin to purify the mind, a friend wrote:

“‘whatever God allows to happen will be for our good’. Michael, in the sense our thoughts can carry us to destructive acts — even suicidal — in what sense are they always for our own good? My understanding would be, I suppose, that the faulty motivation was somehow for our spiritual evolution, quite apart from whatever harm resulted. Would that be correct?”

In reply to this I wrote:

Yes, whatever may happen is for our spiritual development, so even if we cannot understand how it could be good for us, it is for our ultimate benefit. If God is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful, nothing that happens can ultimately be bad, so whatever seems to us to be bad seems to be so only because of our limited view.

Therefore, as Bhagavan often used to say, whatever we see as bad in this world is not a result of īśvara-sṛṣṭi (God’s creation) but of jīva-dṛṣṭi (our view as jīva or ego).

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
"Therefore, as Bhagavan often used to say, whatever we see as bad in this world is not a result of īśvara-sṛṣṭi (God’s creation) but of jīva-dṛṣṭi (our view as jīva or ego)."

Is that statement applicable also for whatever we see as good in this world ?

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, so long as our judgement of what is good or bad is determined by our likes and dislikes, whatever we see as either good or bad is not a result of īśvara-sṛṣṭi (God’s creation) but of jīva-dṛṣṭi (our view as jīva or ego). Only when we surrender our will entirely along with its root, ego, will we see that what exists is perfectly good, but beyond all pairs of opposites such as good and bad. Until then our perception of good and bad arises from our limited and distorted view as ego.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
surrendering our will entirely along with its root, ego, seems to me possible just only in the absolute egoless state. Only a holy man or woman of the highest degree will be able to surrender his/her will totally.
From my limited level of understanding I see in having no will of one's own even the danger of completely going astray. Lack of will would come too early for me. I only can pray that my will would be(come) increasingly and finally always in accordance with Bhagavan Arunachala Ramana.

anadi-ananta said...

Correction of my today's comment at 14:51,
it should be: No I have to apply myself...

Aham said...

.


The crucial secret revealed by Sri Ramana

"If we attend to anything other than ourself, our mind will thereby rise and be nourished, whereas if we attend only to ourself, our mind will thereby subside and dissolve in its source.

Therefore, if we want to apply the crucial clue (above) revealed by Sri Bhagavan, we should try to attend only to ‘I’, thereby withdrawing our attention entirely from all other things, because so long as we allow our mind to attend to anything other than ‘I’, it will not subside, whereas when we attend only to ‘I’, it will no longer be able to stand or endure, and hence it will subside in its source, our real self."

(source)

.

anadi-ananta said...

Aham,
yes, therefore let's try it.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

God has no relationship with our story except the fact that it is what we actually are

A friend: So God is oblivious to my state of despair and my state of joy…

Michael: Yes and no. If by God you mean what we actually are - yes.

The friend: So God has no relationship with my story, with my ups and downs?

Michael: It has no relationship except the fact that it is what you actually are.

In a sense, our real nature is helping us, but it is helping us without doing anything. It is helping us by being the love for happiness. That love for happiness is driving all our actions and what ultimately drives us to the spiritual path, to return home. It is because home alone is happiness. ‘Home’ here means what we really are.

-=- Edited extract from the video: 2019-05-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 28 (1:34)

Reflections: God is being – it is merely by being that it gets things done. However, it is not even aware of the things happening because of the specialness of its presence. As Michael explains, God is the love for happiness, and all our activities are driven by nothing but by our love for happiness. So just by being this love for happiness, God is making us do all sorts of actions – good and bad. Eventually, we turn to spiritual pursuits because of the same love for happiness. This love for happiness in its purest form is what is called grace.


Sanjay Lohia said...

The army of vishaya-vasanas is getting weaker and weaker and weaker. They still have the same number of soldiers, but each soldier is losing its strength

A friend: Even if we give up one thought – if we do not get attached to this one thought – will that have a long-term, lasting effect?

Michael: Yes, as Bhagavan said, every step we take on the path, we are getting one step closer to the goal. However, it is not a matter of letting go one thought at a time, of letting go thoughts one by one. The problem is not the thoughts as the strength of thoughts. The thoughts get their strength from the passion behind them, from our will. So every time we turn within, we are weakening our outward going will. Our outward going will is what is called vishaya-vasanas.

So the more we follow this path, the more our vishaya-vasanas are weakened. It is not just killing one vishaya-vasana at a time – metaphorically we can say that – but the more we practise, every vishaya-vasana is getting weaker. Or we can say, the total strength of our vishaya-vasanas is getting weaker.

Vishaya-vasanas are like our enemy’s soldiers. The commander-in-chief of this army is our ego. Bhagavan gives the analogy- so long as there are enemies in the fort, they will continue coming out. We need to cut them down one by one. Though he says ‘one by one’, it is not actually one by one because he is using an analogy. The army of vishaya-vasanas is getting weaker and weaker and weaker. They still have the same number of soldiers, but each soldier is losing its strength.

~*~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-05-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 28 (1:24)

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-04-21 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to begin to purify the mind, a friend wrote:

‘Regarding the knot being the ego resulting from the entanglement of awareness and the body, doesn’t the body come out of the ego? That is, isn’t the body a projection of the ego (even if basically simultaneous)? I’m confused by that because the knot cannot precede the string.’

In reply to this I wrote:

When we rise as ego, we do so by projecting and simultaneously experiencing a body as ourself, so the appearance of a body and our entanglement with it both occur simultaneously at the very moment that we rise as ego. In fact our rising as ego, projecting a body and experiencing it as ourself are all one and the same thing, because the very nature of ego is to project and experience a body as ‘I’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

From the perspective of ego, we forget ourself when we fall asleep

Question: My problem here is, whenever I practise self-investigation, I very soon go to sleep.

Michael: There are two types of obstacles – waking and sleep. That is, we want to stay balanced in a state between waking and sleep. Sleep is a state of self-forgetfulness. That is from ego’s perspective. That is, in sleep ego forgets itself. So from ego’s point of view, sleep is a state of darkness, but from Bhagavan’s point of view, it is a state of pure self-awareness. That is a state of manolaya when the mind completely subsides but only temporarily. We want to avoid that.

We also want to avoid waking, of getting involved with phenomena. So we should remain balanced between sleep and waking. The only way to remain balanced is to cling tenaciously to ourself, to the self-awareness that we actually are – to be attentively self-aware. So we have to focus our entire attention only on ourself.

When we fall asleep – I am talking from the perspective of ego – we forget ourself so we fall asleep. Only when I forget Michael, I am asleep. So long as I remember Michael I am awake or dreaming, but I am not asleep. So only by forgetting the person that I seem to be, I fall asleep. So from that perspective, sleep is a state of self-forgetfulness.

~^~ Edited extract from the video: 2017-01-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: Michael discussing the root cause diagnosed by Bhagavan (1:36)

Reflections: I have a similar problem. Often after I finish my session of self-investigation, I wonder whether I was asleep or attentively self-aware. These states are similar so we alternate between these two states if we are not careful. So we need to be careful and avoid falling into sleep when we are trying to practice self-investigation.

We want to kill ego but do not want it to subside in laya. It is because in laya ego hides itself, as it were, and therefore it cannot be killed till it is in laya. So we should try to remain in keen and vigilant self-attentiveness. This sort of self-attentiveness will protect us both from sleep and thoughts.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
"When we rise as ego, we do so by projecting and simultaneously experiencing a body as ourself, so the appearance of a body and our entanglement with it both occur simultaneously at the very moment that we rise as ego. In fact our rising as ego, projecting a body and experiencing it as ourself are all one and the same thing, because the very nature of ego is to project and experience a body as ‘I’."

I am surprised at the fact that I do not note the rising as ego, the projecting and its simultaneous experiencing a body as myself at that very moment. If I could clearly notice that occurence I would gain a better i.e. a direct insight in that process we are taught. I guess its due the veiling power of maya that I am not able to recognize what really happens. So that crucially important event remains to me shrouded in mystery.