Friday, 28 June 2019

How can there be any experience without something that is experiencing it?

In four comments on one of my recent articles, In what sense and to what extent do we remember what we were aware of in sleep?, a friend called Lewis asked several questions about awareness, experience, ego and appearance that can be adequately answered only by carefully considering some of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, so in this article I will try to answer his questions in the clear light of those principles.
  1. The awareness that is an appearance is not real awareness, which exists and shines eternally, but only the false awareness called ego, which appears and disappears
  2. Since what experiences anything other than itself is only ego, which does not actually exist but merely seems to exist, all its experiences likewise do not actually exist but merely seem to exist
  3. We cannot experience anything without being aware of it, and since we could not be aware without being aware that we are aware, being aware always entails being self-aware
  4. Generally ‘experience’ refers to experience of something other than ourself, but we need to be flexible in our use and understanding of words, so it is not necessarily wrong to talk of self-experience
  5. As ego our view of ourself and of everything else is fundamentally distorted and erroneous, but in the clear view of pure awareness, which is what we actually are, there is no ego or any view other than its own
  6. As ego we are just a false appearance, which seems to exist only in the view of ourself as ego, so as pure awareness we are not aware of the appearance or disappearance of ourself as ego
  7. The only experience that exists and shines eternally is our fundamental awareness ‘I am’, so we cannot be any experience other than that
  8. Other than pure awareness, ‘I am’, everything that we experience is just a dream, and the dreamer of this dream is only ourself as ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’
1. The awareness that is an appearance is not real awareness, which exists and shines eternally, but only the false awareness called ego, which appears and disappears

In his first comment Lewis wrote:
As opposed to saying that we are awareness itself, why not that all there is Experience. And there isn’t anyone aware of the Experience. And that awareness is simply another appearance. There is just Experience (all there is) and no experiencer/ego. What’s wrong with this point of view?
In reply to this I wrote a comment:
Lewis, how can there be any experience without something that is experiencing? Whatever is experiencing must be aware, because if it were not aware, how could it experience anything? Experience presupposes awareness, because only that which is aware can experience anything, whether itself or anything else.

When Bhagavan says that we are awareness, what he means by ‘awareness’ is that which is aware. However, he clarified that real awareness is not aware of anything other than itself. That real awareness alone is what actually exists, so it is what we actually are.

In your comment you suggest that ‘awareness is simply another appearance’, but real awareness cannot be an appearance, because whereas everything else appears and disappears, real awareness never appears or disappears, because it exists and shines eternally, without ever undergoing any change, and is therefore not confined within the limits of time.

In this context ‘appearance’ means anything that seems to exist but does not actually exist. Everything other than real awareness is just an appearance, because it appears and disappears, and it appears only in the view of ego, so it never appears except when we appear as ego. Even ego is just an appearance, because it appears in waking and dream but disappears in sleep, and even when it appears, it seems to exist only in its own view and not in the view of real awareness, which is what we actually are.

Real awareness (sat-cit) is aware of itself just as ‘I am’, whereas ego is aware of itself as ‘I am this body’. However, though it is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, it is not always aware of itself as the same body, because whereas it is aware of itself as one particular body in its present state, in any other dream it is aware of itself as some other body, so it cannot actually be any of the bodies that it mistakes itself to be.

Not only is it always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, it is also always aware of things other than itself, all of which are an illusory appearance, so it is not real awareness but only a false awareness: a mere semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa). Therefore the awareness that is an appearance is not real awareness but only the false awareness called ego.
2. Since what experiences anything other than itself is only ego, which does not actually exist but merely seems to exist, all its experiences likewise do not actually exist but merely seem to exist

While I was writing this reply, another friend called Anadi-ananta also wrote a comment in reply to Lewis, in which he asked: ‘how can there be experience without experiencer?’. In reply to this Lewis wrote his second comment, in which he said:
I meant in the sense that if it is the ego that experiences and if the ego isn’t real then there really isn’t an experiencer — there only seems to be an experiencer.

Also, Awareness doesn’t have an experience of itself it simply is aware.

And as it is only the seeming ego that experiences and as the ego has no reality then there isn’t any actual experience.
Lewis, you are correct in saying that ‘it is the ego that experiences’ and that ‘the ego isn’t real’, in the sense that ego does not actually exist but merely seems to exist, so you also correct in inferring that ‘there really isn’t an experiencer — there only seems to be an experiencer’. However, since ego does not actually exist but merely seems to exist, all its experiences likewise do not actually exist but merely seem to exist, as you infer in your final sentence in this comment: ‘as it is only the seeming ego that experiences and as the ego has no reality then there isn’t any actual experience’.

That is, whatever is experienced depends for its seeming existence on the seeming existence of the experiencer, namely ego. Therefore in this second comment of yours you have answered for yourself the question you asked in your first comment, namely: ‘There is just Experience (all there is) and no experiencer/ego. What’s wrong with this point of view?’ An experience cannot be any more real than what experiences it, so if the experiencer does not actually exist, its experience likewise does not actually exist. If any experience seems to exist, it seems to exist only because it is experienced by something, so whatever experiences it must also seem to exist. Therefore it cannot be correct to say that ‘There is just Experience (all there is) and no experiencer/ego’.

3. We cannot experience anything without being aware of it, and since we could not be aware without being aware that we are aware, being aware always entails being self-aware

In this second comment you also say, ‘Awareness doesn’t have an experience of itself it simply is aware’, but I do not understand your reasoning here. Do you think there is some difference between having an experience and being aware? If so, what is the difference? According to my understanding of these terms, ‘being aware’ and ‘experiencing’ mean more or less the same thing, because we cannot experience anything without being aware of it, and we cannot be aware of something without thereby experiencing it.

If you agree that there is no difference between having an experience and being aware, do you mean to say that awareness is just aware but not aware of itself? If so, how can it be aware without being aware of itself? It cannot be aware without being aware that it is aware, and being aware that it is aware entails being aware that it exists, and obviously it cannot be aware that it exists without being aware of itself. Therefore being aware always entails being self-aware.

However, discussing awareness as if it were a third person by referring to it as ‘it’ is liable to lead to a lack of clarity, because awareness is always aware of itself as ‘I’ and can never be experienced as a third person. In other words, awareness (in the sense of what is aware) is nothing other than ourself, so it is more accurate to refer to it as ‘I’ than as ‘it’. Therefore the argument I offered in the previous paragraph would be clearer if I were to rephrase it as follows (using ‘we’ as an inclusive form of the first person singular pronoun ‘I’):

How can we be aware without being aware of ourself? We could not be aware without being aware that we are aware, and being aware that we are aware entails being aware that we exist, ‘I am’, and obviously we cannot be aware that we exist without being aware of ourself. Therefore being aware always entails being self-aware.

4. Generally ‘experience’ refers to experience of something other than ourself, but we need to be flexible in our use and understanding of words, so it is not necessarily wrong to talk of self-experience

In your third comment you replied to my reply to your first comment:
‘When Bhagavan says that we are awareness, what he means by ‘awareness’ is that which is aware. However, he clarified that real awareness is not aware of anything other than itself. That real awareness alone is what actually exists, so it is what we actually are.’

So, does awareness have an experience of itself or is it simply aware of itself — is this the same thing?

Or does awareness only through ‘the view of ego’ seemingly have an experience of itself?

‘Not only is it always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, it is also always aware of things other than itself, all of which are an illusory appearance, so it is not real awareness but only a false awareness: a mere semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa). Therefore the awareness that is an appearance is not real awareness but only the false awareness called ego.’ — — This is something I shall look at for a while.

Still, is it entirely impossible for there to be just this experience without an experiencer, I mean, why can’t it be said: I am the experience.
Regarding your first question in this comment, ‘So, does awareness have an experience of itself or is it simply aware of itself — is this the same thing?’, ‘being aware’ and ‘experiencing’ mean more or less the same, as I explained above, so since awareness is always self-aware, it is in this sense experiencing itself or having an experience of itself. Whatever words may be used to communicate a certain idea, we need to look beyond the words themselves to see what they are intended to convey in that particular context, so in this context ‘having an experience of itself’ means ‘being aware of itself’ or simply ‘being self-aware’.

In most contexts ‘awareness’ and ‘experience’ are not synonymous, but in some contexts they are. For example, in the phrases ‘having an awareness of something’ and ‘having an experience of something’ they are more or less synonymous, but whereas ‘awareness’ is often used in the sense of what is aware, ‘experience’ cannot mean what experiences, and whereas ‘experience’ in many contexts means what is experienced, ‘awareness’ never means what is experienced, cognised or perceived (although in the case of self-awareness, awareness is both what is aware and what it is aware of).

Strictly speaking, ‘awareness’ means the quality, property or state of being aware, just as ‘reality’ means the quality, property or state of being real, but just as ‘reality’ is often used to mean what is real, ‘awareness’ is often used to mean what is aware, so in any particular instance we need to understand from the context the sense in which each of these words is used. Like ‘awareness’, ‘consciousness’ means the quality, property or state of being conscious but is often used to mean what is conscious, so these two words are synonymous, but though the adjectives from which they are derived, namely ‘aware’ and ‘conscious’, are in many contexts synonymous, in some contexts they are not synonymous, because in psychology and modern western philosophy ‘conscious’ is often used confusingly to describe something that is not aware but of which one is aware, such as a thought.

This is a digression away from the question you asked, namely ‘So, does awareness have an experience of itself or is it simply aware of itself — is this the same thing?’, but I wrote this to illustrate the need for us to understand from each context the sense in which any words are used, and consequently the need for us to see beyond the words to the meaning that they are intended to convey. In some contexts certain words may be more appropriate than others, so it may be more appropriate to say that awareness is simply aware of itself than to say that it has an experience of itself, but if it is said that it has an experience of itself, it is reasonable for us to assume that that means that it is simply aware of itself.

Generally when we use the word ‘experience’, whether as a verb or as a noun, we are talking about experience of something other than ourself, but we need to be flexible both in our use and our understanding of words, so it is not necessarily wrong to talk of self-experience or experience of oneself, provided that such terms are understood correctly and are not interpreted to mean that we experience ourself in the same way that we experience other things. In the case of other things, experience entails two distinct things, namely the subject or experiencer and the object or thing experienced, whereas in the case of self-experience, experience entails only one thing, because what is experienced is only oneself, who is experiencing.

In Sanskrit the state of ātma-jñāna (true self-knowledge or pure self-awareness) is sometimes referred to as ātmānubhava or ātmānubhuti, both of which mean ‘self-experience’, or as svarūpānubhava or svarūpānubhuti, both of which mean ‘experience of one’s own real nature’, but these terms are obviously not intended to imply that oneself or one’s own real nature can ever be an object of experience in the sense of something that is distinct from what experiences it. What is called ‘self-experience’ is nothing other than self-awareness, which is an experience that is totally devoid of duality.

5. As ego our view of ourself and of everything else is fundamentally distorted and erroneous, but in the clear view of pure awareness, which is what we actually are, there is no ego or any view other than its own

The second question you asked in this third comment was: ‘Or does awareness only through ‘the view of ego’ seemingly have an experience of itself?’ Our real nature is pure awareness, which is never aware of anything other than itself, so as such we are always aware of ourself as we actually are. However, we now seem to have risen as ego, and as such we are always aware of ourself, but not as we actually are, because we are aware of ourself as if we were a person (a bundle consisting of five ‘sheaths’, namely a physical body, life, mind, intellect and will). Therefore as ego our view of ourself — and consequently of everything else — is a fundamentally distorted and erroneous view.

As ego we experience ourself, but as something other than pure awareness, which is what we actually are. However, just as a movie picture projected on a screen does not affect the screen in any way (for example, a picture of a raging fire does not burn the screen, and a picture of a flood does not drench it), the rising of ourself as ego and our consequent awareness of phenomena does not in any way affect ourself as pure awareness, which is eternal and immutable. Therefore we need to clearly distinguish pure awareness, ‘I am’, which is what we actually are, from the false awareness ‘I am this body’, which is what we as ego now seem to be. The former is forever untouched by the latter, but the latter could not seem to exist without depending on the former, just as a movie picture could not appear without depending on the screen on which it appears.

As Bhagavan says in verse 7 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உலகறிவு மொன்றா யுதித்தொடுங்கு மேனு
முலகறிவு தன்னா லொளிரு — முலகறிவு
தோன்றிமறை தற்கிடனாய்த் தோன்றிமறை யாதொளிரும்
பூன்றமா மஃதே பொருள்.

ulahaṟivu moṉḏṟā yudittoḍuṅgu mēṉu
mulahaṟivu taṉṉā loḷiru — mulahaṟivu
tōṉḏṟimaṟai daṟkiḍaṉāyt tōṉḏṟimaṟai yādoḷirum
pūṉḏṟamā maḵdē poruḷ
.

பதச்சேதம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் பூன்றம் ஆம் அஃதே பொருள்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum pūṉḏṟam ām aḵdē poruḷ.

அன்வயம்: உலகு அறிவும் ஒன்றாய் உதித்து ஒடுங்கும் ஏனும், உலகு அறிவு தன்னால் ஒளிரும். உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் அஃதே பூன்றம் ஆம் பொருள்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ulahu aṟivum oṉḏṟāy udittu oḍuṅgum ēṉum, ulahu aṟivu-taṉṉāl oḷirum. ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum aḵdē pūṉḏṟam ām poruḷ.

English translation: Though the world and awareness arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by awareness. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the place for the appearing and disappearing of the world and awareness is the substance, which is the whole.

Explanatory paraphrase: Though the world and awareness [the awareness that perceives the world, namely ego or mind] arise and subside simultaneously, the world shines by [that rising and subsiding] awareness [the mind]. Only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the place [space, expanse, location, site or ground] for the appearing and disappearing of the world and [that] awareness is poruḷ [the real substance or vastu], which is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole or pūrṇa].
In this case what he refers to as ‘அறிவு’ (aṟivu), ‘awareness’, is not real awareness but only ego, the false awareness that perceives the phenomena that constitute whatever world appears in its view. Though ego and phenomena appear and disappear simultaneously, it is only by ego that phenomena shine, because they appear only in its view. Ego and phenomena appear together in waking and dream and they disappear together in sleep, but whether they appear or disappear, we remain here always as the fundamental awareness ‘I am’, so it is this fundamental awareness, which is what we actually are, that Bhagavan refers to in the second sentence of this verse as ‘உலகு அறிவு தோன்றி மறைதற்கு இடன் ஆய் தோன்றி மறையாது ஒளிரும் அஃதே’ (ulahu aṟivu tōṉḏṟi maṟaidaṟku iḍaṉ-āy tōṉḏṟi maṟaiyādu oḷirum aḵdē), ‘only that which shines without appearing or disappearing as the place [space, expanse, location, site or ground] for the appearing and disappearing of the world and [that] awareness’, and that he says is ‘பூன்றம் ஆம் பொருள்’ (pūṉḏṟam ām poruḷ), ‘poruḷ [the real substance], which is pūṉḏṟam [the infinite whole]’.

Being the infinite whole, real awareness alone exists, so in its clear view nothing else exists or even seems to exist. Other things seem to exist only in the view of ego, the false awareness that appears in waking and dream but disappears in sleep. So in whose view does ego seem to exist? Only in the view of ourself as ego, not in the view of ourself as we actually are. Therefore real awareness, which is what we actually are, never sees or experiences anything through the view of ego, because in its clear view there is no ego or any view other than its own.

6. As ego we are just a false appearance, which seems to exist only in the view of ourself as ego, so as pure awareness we are not aware of the appearance or disappearance of ourself as ego

This distinction between real awareness and the false awareness called ego is emphasised by Bhagavan in verses 10 to 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. For example, in verse 12 he says:
அறிவறி யாமையு மற்றதறி வாமே
யறியும துண்மையறி வாகா — தறிதற்
கறிவித்தற் கன்னியமின் றாயவிர்வ தாற்றா
னறிவாகும் பாழன் றறி.

aṟivaṟi yāmaiyu maṯṟadaṟi vāmē
yaṟiyuma duṇmaiyaṟi vāhā — daṟitaṟ
kaṟivittaṟ kaṉṉiyamiṉ ḏṟāyavirva dāṯṟā
ṉaṟivāhum pāṙaṉ ḏṟaṟi
.

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்றது அறிவு ஆமே. அறியும் அது உண்மை அறிவு ஆகாது. அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும். பாழ் அன்று. அறி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu aṟiyāmaiyum aṯṟadu aṟivu āmē. aṟiyum adu uṇmai aṟivu āhādu. aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum. pāṙ aṉḏṟu. aṟi.

English translation: What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is actually knowledge. That which knows is not real knowledge. Since one shines without another for knowing or for causing to know, oneself is knowledge. One is not void. Know.

Explanatory paraphrase: What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance [about anything other than itself] is actually aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. That which knows [or is aware of anything other than itself, namely ego] is not real aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. Since [the real nature of oneself] shines without another for knowing or for causing to know [or causing to be known], oneself is [real] aṟivu [knowledge or awareness]. One is not void [emptiness, desolation, nothingness or non-existence]. Know [or be aware].
What he refers to here as ‘அறிவு அறியாமையும்’ (aṟivu aṟiyāmaiyum), ‘knowledge [or awareness] and ignorance’, is awareness and ignorance of anything other than ourself, so in the first sentence of this verse he implies that real awareness is completely devoid of any awareness or ignorance of anything other than ourself. Awareness of other things is not real awareness, because other things do not actually exist but merely seem to exist, and it is only in the deluded and self-ignorant view of ourself as ego that they seem to exist. Real awareness is not only not aware of anything else, but it is also not ignorant of anything else, because it could be said to be ignorant of other things only if they actually exist. Therefore, since nothing other than ourself actually exists for us to know or be ignorant of, as real awareness we are completely devoid of both knowledge and ignorance.

This is also stated clearly by Bhagavan in verse 27 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
அறிவறி யாமையு மற்ற வறிவே
யறிவாகு முண்மையீ துந்தீபற
     வறிவதற் கொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற.

aṟivaṟi yāmaiyu maṯṟa vaṟivē
yaṟivāhu muṇmaiyī dundīpaṟa
     vaṟivadaṟ koṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்ற அறிவே அறிவு ஆகும். உண்மை ஈது. அறிவதற்கு ஒன்று இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu aṟiyāmai-y-um aṯṟa aṟivē aṟivu āhum. uṇmai īdu. aṟivadaṟku oṉḏṟu ilai.

அன்வயம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்ற அறிவே அறிவு ஆகும். ஈது உண்மை. அறிவதற்கு ஒன்று இலை.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aṟivu aṟiyāmai-y-um aṯṟa aṟivē aṟivu āhum. īdu uṇmai. aṟivadaṟku oṉḏṟu ilai.

English translation: Only knowledge [or awareness] that is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is [real] knowledge [or awareness]. This is real, [because] there is not anything for knowing.
The reason why real awareness is completely devoid of knowledge and ignorance about other things is explained by Bhagavan in the final sentence of this verse: ‘அறிவதற்கு ஒன்று இலை’ (aṟivadaṟku oṉḏṟu ilai), ‘there is not anything for knowing’. That is, in the clear view of ourself as real awareness, nothing else exists for us to know (be aware of) or to be ignorant of, as he also clearly says in the third sentence of verse 12 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘அறிதற்கு அறிவித்தற்கு அன்னியம் இன்றாய் அவிர்வதால், தான் அறிவு ஆகும்’ (aṟidaṟku aṟivittaṟku aṉṉiyam iṉḏṟāy avirvadāl, tāṉ aṟivu āhum), ‘Since one shines without another for knowing or for causing to know, oneself is [real] knowledge [or awareness]’. That is, whether we rise as ego or not, what we always actually are is only pure awareness, which shines eternally without any other thing for us to know or cause to be known.

Therefore ego, which is what knows or is aware of the seeming existence of other things, is not real awareness, as he says in the second sentence of this verse: ‘அறியும் அது உண்மை அறிவு ஆகாது’ (aṟiyum adu uṇmai aṟivu āhādu), ‘That which knows [or is aware of] [anything other than itself] is not real awareness’. Therefore, as I said above, real awareness does not ever experience anything through the view of ego. What experiences both itself and other things through the view of ego is only ourself as ego, not ourself as real awareness, because in the clear view of ourself as real awareness there is neither any ego nor anything else for us to know, experience or be aware of.

As ego we are just a false appearance, which seems to exist only in the view of ourself as ego, so as pure awareness, which is what we always actually are, we are not affected in any way whatsoever by either the appearance or the disappearance of ourself as ego, just as a rope is not affected in any way whatsoever by the appearance of itself as a snake. Therefore, if we as ego want to be free of all the trouble we are causing ourself by rising as ego, all we need do is to investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are, because when we see what we actually are we will see that we have never risen as ego and have therefore never been aware of anything other than ourself.

7. The only experience that exists and shines eternally is our fundamental awareness ‘I am’, so we cannot be any experience other than that

In the final sentence of your third comment you asked: ‘Still, is it entirely impossible for there to be just this experience without an experiencer, I mean, why can’t it be said: I am the experience?’ You answered this question yourself in the final sentence in your second comment: ‘as it is only the seeming ego that experiences and as the ego has no reality then there isn’t any actual experience’.

That is, if what you meant by ‘experience’ when you asked why it cannot be said ‘I am the experience’ was experience of anything other than yourself, such experience only occurs in the view of ourself as ego, and ego cannot be what we actually are, because it appears in waking and dream but disappears in sleep, whereas we exist and shine at all times and in all states as the fundamental awareness ‘I am’. Since ego is not what we actually are, and since experience of anything other than ourself appears only in the view of ourself as ego, we cannot be any such experience.

The only experience that exists and shines eternally is our fundamental awareness ‘I am’, which is what we actually are, so if that is the experience you were referring to when you asked why it cannot be said ‘I am the experience’, then it would be true to say ‘I am the experience’. Everything other than our fundamental awareness ‘I am’ appears and disappears within us, so it cannot be what we actually are, and hence the only experience that we actually are is this real awareness ‘I am’.

Pure self-awareness, which is this fundamental awareness ‘I am’, is the only experience that is absolutely non-dual, because in it the experiencer and what is experienced are both only ourself, so it is the only experience of which it is true to say ‘I am the experience’. Every other experience is dualistic, because it is an experience of something other than ourself, so whatever is experienced is other than the experiencer of it. Since the experiencer is ‘I’, it cannot be true to say ‘I am the experience’ when the experience referred to is an experience of anything other than ‘I’. In other words, ‘I’ can never be anything other than ‘I’.

In the case of pure self-awareness, ‘I’ is not only what is aware (the experiencer) and what ‘I’ is aware of (the experienced), but is also its awareness (its experiencing) of itself. In this case ‘I’ is not ego, because it is not aware of itself as anything other than itself, whereas ego is the ‘I’ that is always aware of itself as if it were a body, which is something other than itself.

Whereas in the case of pure self-awareness, the experiencer, the experienced and the experiencing are all one and the same thing, namely ‘I’, ourself, in the case of any other experience, the experiencer (the subject), the experienced (the objects) and the experiencing (the subject’s perception of the objects) are not one but three distinct factors that together make up the entire experience. These three factors, which are entailed in every experience of anything other than ourself, are called ‘त्रिपुटि’ (tripuṭi) in Sanskrit and ‘முப்புடி’ (muppuḍi) in Tamil, and in English these technical terms are generally translated as ‘triad’. These three factors arise and come into play whenever we rise as ego, because as ego we are always aware of things other than ourself, and they cease to exist whenever we subside back into and as our source and real substance, namely pure self-awareness, so though ego is one of these three factors, namely the experiencer, knower, perceiver or cogniser, it is the foundation of all of them, because both the experienced and the experiencing seem to exist only in the view of ego. Therefore in verse 9 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says:
இரட்டைகண் முப்புடிக ளென்றுமொன்று பற்றி
யிருப்பவா மவ்வொன்றே தென்று — கருத்தினுட்
கண்டாற் கழலுமவை கண்டவ ரேயுண்மை
கண்டார் கலங்காரே காண்.

iraṭṭaigaṇ muppuḍiga ḷeṉḏṟumoṉḏṟu paṯṟi
yiruppavā mavvoṉḏṟē teṉḏṟu — karuttiṉuṭ
kaṇḍāṯ kaṙalumavai kaṇḍava rēyuṇmai
kaṇḍār kalaṅgārē kāṇ
.

பதச்சேதம்: இரட்டைகள் முப்புடிகள் என்றும் ஒன்று பற்றி இருப்பவாம். அவ் ஒன்று ஏது என்று கருத்தின் உள் கண்டால், கழலும் அவை. கண்டவரே உண்மை கண்டார்; கலங்காரே. காண்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): iraṭṭaigaḷ muppuḍigaḷ eṉḏṟum oṉḏṟu paṯṟi iruppavām. a-vv-oṉḏṟu ēdu eṉḏṟu karuttiṉ-uḷ kaṇḍāl, kaṙalum avai. kaṇḍavarē uṇmai kaṇḍār; kalaṅgārē. kāṇ.

அன்வயம்: இரட்டைகள் முப்புடிகள் என்றும் ஒன்று பற்றி இருப்பவாம். அவ் ஒன்று ஏது என்று கருத்தின் உள் கண்டால், அவை கழலும். கண்டவரே உண்மை கண்டார்; கலங்காரே. காண்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): iraṭṭaigaḷ muppuḍigaḷ eṉḏṟum oṉḏṟu paṯṟi iruppavām. a-vv-oṉḏṟu ēdu eṉḏṟu karuttiṉ-uḷ kaṇḍāl, avai kaṙalum. kaṇḍavarē uṇmai kaṇḍār; kalaṅgārē. kāṇ.

English translation: Dyads and triads exist always holding one thing. If one sees within the mind what that one thing is, they will cease to exist. Only those who have seen have seen the reality. See, they will not be confused.

Explanatory paraphrase: Dyads [pairs of opposites] and triads [the three factors of transitive knowledge or awareness, namely the perceiver, the perceived and the perceiving, the knower, the known and the knowing, or the experiencer, the experienced and the experiencing] exist [by] always holding [or depending on] one thing [namely ego, in whose view alone they seem to exist]. If [by looking keenly at oneself] one sees within the mind what that one thing is, they will cease to exist [because their support and foundation, ego, will itself cease to exist]. Only those who have seen [what remains when all dyads and triads have thereby ceased to exist along with their root, ego] have seen the reality. See, they will not be confused.
What he refers to in the first and second sentences of this verse as ‘ஒன்று’ (oṉḏṟu), ‘one thing’ or ‘the one’, is ourself as ego, and he says ‘இரட்டைகள் முப்புடிகள் என்றும் ஒன்று பற்றி இருப்பவாம்’ (iraṭṭaigaḷ muppuḍigaḷ eṉḏṟum oṉḏṟu paṯṟi iruppavām), ‘dyads and triads exist always holding [this] one thing’, because they seem to exist only in the view of ego, and hence they depend on it for their seeming existence. In sleep, when we do not rise as ego, there are no dyads or triads, but in waking and dream we rise and stand as ego, and consequently dyads and triads seem to exist.

If we look at an illusory snake carefully enough to see that it is just a rope, we will see that the snake never actually existed. Likewise, if we as ego look at ourself keenly enough to see that we are just pure awareness, we will see that ego never actually existed. Therefore, since dyads and triads depend for their seeming existence upon the seeming existence of ourself as ego, when we look at ourself keenly enough to see that ego does not actually exist, all dyads and triads will cease to exist along with it. Hence in the second sentence of this verse Bhagavan says: ‘அவ் ஒன்று ஏது என்று கருத்தின் உள் கண்டால், கழலும் அவை’ (a-vv-oṉḏṟu ēdu eṉḏṟu karuttiṉ-uḷ kaṇḍāl, kaṙalum avai), ‘If one sees within the mind what that one thing is, they [the dyads and triads] will cease to exist’.

In this context ‘dyads’ means pairs of opposites such as existence and non-existence, awareness and non-awareness, knowledge and ignorance, happiness and unhappiness, good and bad, life and death, or bondage and liberation, whereas ‘triads’ means the three factors of any awareness, knowledge or experience other than pure self-awareness, so when dyads and triads cease to exist, all that will remain is just pure self-awareness. Therefore what Bhagavan clearly implies in this verse is that everything other than pure self-awareness depends for its seeming existence upon the seeming existence of ego, so when ego is found to be non-existence, everything else will also be found to be non-existent.

Hence the only real experience is our fundamental awareness ‘I am’. Experience of anything else is just an illusory appearance, and it appears only in the view of ourself as ego. Therefore in order to free ourself from this entire illusion and everything associated with it, we need to investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are and thereby eradicate ego, the primary illusion ‘I am this body’, which is the root of all other illusions.

8. Other than pure awareness, ‘I am’, everything that we experience is just a dream, and the dreamer of this dream is only ourself as ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’

In your fourth comment you wrote:
Are you saying that the view of ego is a dream including itself as an actual separate entity in a world of other separate things: that in fact like a dream imagined so is the view of ego an imagining and is, therefore, a false awareness in the sense that being aware of something other than yourself the real and only awareness is a false view: there actually isn’t any all else?

I am at home sitting in a chair imagining I am lying on a sunny beach somewhere else — this view is not an awareness of something real but only imagined and as such is a false awareness in the sense that it is an awareness of something (myself lying on a beach) that doesn’t actually exist as opposed to real awareness which is always and only aware of itself. (Michael, is this what you mean by rising as ego?)
Yes, according to Bhagavan, other than pure awareness, ‘I am’, everything that we experience is just a dream, and the dreamer of this dream is only ourself as ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’. Ego is what projects and simultaneously perceives this dream, but it always perceives itself as if it were a person (a compound of body, life, mind, intellect and will), who is part of the dream it has projected.

Since this dream is projected by ego, it seems to exist only in the view of ourself as ego. When we do not rise as ego, as in sleep, no dream seems to exist, so no dream ever exists except in the deluded view of ourself as ego. What always exists is only pure awareness, which is what we actually are and which is always aware of itself just as ‘I am’, so no ego or anything else actually exists at all.

Though ego is aware of itself as ‘I am’, it is not aware of itself just as ‘I am’ but as ‘I am this person’, and it is also aware of other things, which do not actually exist, so it is just a false awareness. Therefore what Bhagavan means by ‘rising as ego’ is just our becoming aware of ourself as ‘I am this person’, and it also entails our becoming aware of the seeming existence of other things, because we are never aware of ourself as a person without consequently being aware of a world in which we seem to exist as that person.

So long as we like to continue dreaming, we will do so, no matter how unpleasant some of our dreams may be, but if we wish to be free of this endless cycle of dreams and sleep (life and death), we need to cease rising as ego. Since ego is essentially just a false awareness of ourself (an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are), in order to permanently cease rising as ego we need to be aware of ourself as we actually are, so we need to keenly investigate ourself and thereby surrender this ego forever.

When by means of self-investigation and self-surrender we manage to eradicate ego entirely, everything else will cease to exist along with it, so what will then remain as ‘one only without a second’ (ēkam ēva advitīyam) is just pure awareness, whose nature is beginningless, endless, infinite and indivisible sat-cit-ānanda, as Bhagavan says in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தனாதியல் யாதெனத் தான்றெரி கிற்பின்
னனாதி யனந்தசத் துந்தீபற
      வகண்ட சிதானந்த முந்தீபற.

taṉādiyal yādeṉat tāṉḏṟeri hiṟpiṉ
ṉaṉādi yaṉantasat tundīpaṟa
      vakhaṇḍa cidāṉanda mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தனாது இயல் யாது என தான் தெரிகில், பின் அனாதி அனந்த சத்து அகண்ட சித் ஆனந்தம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): taṉādu iyal yādu eṉa tāṉ terihil, piṉ aṉādi aṉanta sattu akhaṇḍa cit āṉandam.

அன்வயம்: தான் தனாது இயல் யாது என தெரிகில், பின் அனாதி அனந்த அகண்ட சத்து சித் ஆனந்தம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): tāṉ taṉādu iyal yādu eṉa terihil, piṉ aṉādi aṉanta akhaṇḍa sattu cit āṉandam.

English translation: If one knows what the nature of oneself is, then [what will exist and shine is only] anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss].
He also expressed this in more metaphorical language in verse 7 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam:
இன்றக மெனுநினை வெனிற்பிற வொன்று
      மின்றது வரைபிற நினைவெழி லார்க்கெற்
கொன்றக முதிதல மெதுவென வுள்ளாழ்ந்
      துளத்தவி சுறினொரு குடைநிழற் கோவே
யின்றகம் புறமிரு வினையிறல் சன்ம
      மின்புதுன் பிருளொளி யெனுங்கன விதய
மன்றக மசலமா நடமிடு மருண
      மலையெனு மெலையறு மருளொளிக் கடலே.

iṉḏṟaha meṉuniṉai veṉiṟpiṟa voṉḏṟu
      miṉḏṟadu varaipiṟa niṉaiveṙi lārkkeṟ
koṉḏṟaha mudithala meduveṉa vuḷḷāṙn
      duḷattavi cuṟiṉoru kuḍainiḻaṟ kōvē
yiṉḏṟaham puṟamiru viṉaiyiṟal jaṉma
      miṉbutuṉ biruḷoḷi yeṉuṅkaṉa vidaya
maṉḏṟaha macalamā naḍamiṭu maruṇa
      malaiyeṉu melaiyaṟu maruḷoḷik kaḍalē
.

பதச்சேதம்: இன்று அகம் எனும் நினைவு எனில், பிற ஒன்றும் இன்று. அது வரை, பிற நினைவு எழில், ‘ஆர்க்கு?’, ‘எற்கு’, ஒன்று ‘அகம் உதி தலம் எது?’ என. உள் ஆழ்ந்து உள தவிசு உறின், ஒரு குடை நிழல் கோவே. இன்று அகம் புறம், இரு வினை, இறல் சன்மம், இன்பு துன்பு, இருள் ஒளி எனும் கனவு. இதய மன்று அகம் அசலமா நடமிடும் அருணமலை எனும் எலை அறும் அருள் ஒளிக் கடலே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): iṉḏṟu aham eṉum niṉaivu eṉil, piṟa oṉḏṟum iṉḏṟu. adu varai, piṟa niṉaivu eṙil, ‘ārkku?’, ‘eṟku’, oṉḏṟu ‘aham udi thalam edu?’ eṉa. uḷ āṙndu uḷa tavicu uṟiṉ, oru kuḍai niḻal kōvē. iṉḏṟu aham puṟam, iru viṉai, iṟal jaṉmam, iṉbu tuṉbu, iruḷ oḷi eṉum kaṉavu. idaya-maṉḏṟu aham acalamā naḍam-iḍum aruṇamalai eṉum elai-aṟum aruḷ oḷi-k kaḍalē.

அன்வயம்: அகம் எனும் நினைவு இன்று எனில், பிற ஒன்றும் இன்று. அது வரை, பிற நினைவு எழில், ‘ஆர்க்கு?’, ‘எற்கு’, ‘அகம் உதி தலம் எது?’ என ஒன்று. உள் ஆழ்ந்து உள தவிசு உறின், ஒரு குடை நிழல் கோவே. அகம் புறம், இரு வினை, இறல் சன்மம், இன்பு துன்பு, இருள் ஒளி எனும் கனவு இன்று. இதய மன்று அகம் அசலமா நடமிடும் அருணமலை எனும் எலை அறும் அருள் ஒளிக் கடலே.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aham eṉum niṉaivu iṉḏṟu eṉil, piṟa oṉḏṟum iṉḏṟu. adu varai, piṟa niṉaivu eṙil, ‘ārkku?’, ‘eṟku’, ‘aham udi thalam edu?’ eṉa oṉḏṟu. uḷ āṙndu uḷa tavicu uṟiṉ, oru kuḍai niḻal kōvē. aham puṟam, iru viṉai, iṟal jaṉmam, iṉbu tuṉbu, iruḷ oḷi eṉum kaṉavu iṉḏṟu. idaya-maṉḏṟu aham acalamā naḍam-iḍum aruṇamalai eṉum elai-aṟum aruḷ oḷi-k kaḍalē.

English translation: If the thought called ‘I’ [ego] does not exist, even one other [thought or thing] will not exist. Until then, if any other thought arises, merge [back within by investigating] thus: to whom [has it appeared]; to me; what is the place from which I rose? Sinking [thereby] within, if one reaches the heart-throne, [one will be] the very emperor [seated under] the shade of a single umbrella [namely God, the supreme lord of this and every other world]. The dream [of duality], which consists of [pairs of opposites such as] inside and outside, the two karmas [good and bad actions], death and birth, happiness and misery, darkness and light, will [then] not exist. [What will exist is] only the infinite ocean of the light of grace called Arunamalai, which dances motionlessly [as ‘I am only I’] in the court of the heart.

180 comments:

AsunAparicio said...


If awareness is only aware of itself, where do the teachings come from? The detailed explanation of what is ego and how it appears due to the extraordinary power of mind along with the world and so on, how is this seen and known without and ego which is not fully turned towards itself so that it can witness its arising and the process of its own dissolution?
Bhagavan didn´t went through this. The subsidence of ego was immediate so, how could he know?

AsunAparicio said...

didn´t go through this, sorry.

Michael James said...

Asun, Bhagavan is just pure awareness, so he knows what alone actually exists, which means that he knows that knowing which all is known.

However, when we talk of Bhagavan, we are generally referring to a person who appeared in this dream of ours and gave us these teachings, but though he seems to us to be a person separate from ourself, what actually manifested in the form of that person is only our own real nature, which is pure awareness, and it manifested thus in our view because it loves us as itself, and hence out of its infinite love for us it appeared in our dream to show us the way to wake up. This is as much as we can understand with this finite mind of ours, but if we follow the path he has shown us it will all eventually become clear to us.

AsunAparicio said...



Thank you, Michael. As you use to say, this is ultimately the path of love.

Speechless :)

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
section 7.,
That is a good message:
"...'I' can never be anything other than 'I'."

Therefore we actually can never experience anything other than 'I'.
Is that a correct conclusion ?

anadi-ananta said...

section 7.,
"Only those who have seen [what remains when all dyads and triads have thereby ceased to exist along with their root, ego] have seen the reality. See, they will not be confused."

How could I ever bear to be one of those who have not seen the reality and thus to belong to such confused ones ?

anadi-ananta said...

section 8.,
Arunamalai,
motionless dancer, might you not let me take a seat under the shade of your all-embracing umbrella ?

Lewis Oakwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis Oakwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AsunAparicio said...

Lewis,

In this video, Michael clarifies the confusion you point out in your last comment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1AGrczX9OE&t=32s

And in this article he explains that "ego is distinct from our real self only to a limited extent". I found it very helpful:

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2015/07/by-attending-to-our-ego-we-are.html

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-06-30 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses turīya, the so-called ‘fourth’ state, a friend wrote: “Michael, is (not) the state of dreamless sleep of similar kind to brain-death or (waking) coma? Which similarities do these states actually have? I am asking this question because a friend of me eleven years ago was poisoned with strychnine and from then on lies down in waking koma/brain death with heavy irreparable damage of his brain matter. And now I feel I should ask his wife to allow to visit him — in spite of this extreme condition.”

In reply to this I wrote:

Josef, I am sorry to hear about your friend.

Dreamless sleep and dreamless coma are both states of manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind), so there is absolutely no difference between them, at least not from an experiential perspective. There may be a difference in the ways we enter such states (that is, we enter sleep due to tiredness, whereas we enter coma due to some form of brain damage), and the body may appear to be in a different condition from the perspective of onlookers, but such differences seem real only from the perspective of ourself as ego in waking or dream.

Just as dreams may occur in sleep, they may also occur in coma, but seeing a person in coma we may have no means of knowing whether they are dreaming or not. However, when we are dreaming, we are not in manōlaya, so though it may appear to the onlooker that we are asleep or in coma, from our own perspective we are then not in sleep or coma but in some other world, so this body, this world and those onlookers do not then exist for us.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael, such one in coma is evidently free from false ego-appearance. Can one correctly conclude that such a person in coma - who is not aware of the appearance or disappearance of himself as ego - is experiencing pure awareness, 'I am' ?

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, no, a person never experiences anything, let alone pure awareness, because a person is just a set of five sheaths, all of which are jaḍa (insentient or non-aware). A person seems to experience things in waking and dream because what actually experiences all such things is only ego, and ego experiences itself as if it were a person. For example, in some states ego may experience itself as ‘I am Anadi-ananta’, so it seems to ego that the person called Anadi-ananta is experiencing all this.

In the experience ‘I am Anadi-ananta’, ‘I am’ is pure awareness, but since ego always experiences itself as ‘I am this person [called Anadi-ananta or whatever]’, it is an adjunct-mixed awareness, and as such it can never experience pure awareness as it actually is. However, it is only in waking and deam ego experiences itself as ‘I am this person’. In sleep it does not experience itself thus, because it does not then exist at all, except as pure awareness, but as pure awareness it is not ego.

Therefore ego never experiences pure awareness, not even in states of manōlaya such as sleep or coma. What experiences pure awareness is only pure awareness itself, and since it always experiences itself as pure awareness and never experiences anything else whatsoever, for it there are no such states as waking, dream, sleep or coma. There is only one state, namely the state of pure awareness, and that state (which is what is sometimes inappropriately called turīya, the ‘fourth’) is nothing other than pure awareness itself.

However, though as ego we can never experience pure awareness, we can try to do so by turning our entire attention back towards ourself, but when we do thereby eventually succeed in experiencing pure awareness, we will immediately cease to be ego and will instead remain forever just as pure awareness, as we always actually are.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
ah, again I wrongly did not differentiate between person and ego.
May I alter my above put question ?
Can ego even in that state of manōlaya as in the above mentioned condition of brain damage try to experience pure awareness by turning its entire attention back towards itself ?
Though I can hardly imagine that ego continues to identify itself with that brain-dead body it seems to be so. On the other hand I assume when ego ceases to experience itself as if it were this person with that brain-dead body, this body would die immediately.
Is it perhaps imaginable that there is no ego anymore identifying with that person and instead pure awareness already experiences itself as pure awareness as always, although the body is still alive in that waking coma ?

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

Michael, is there
a) Not an iota of happiness in the world
b) Only temporary happiness in the world
c) Only happiness tainted with misery in the world?
Can you please clarify which of these statements is the absolute truth. I suspect that it is probably only the first statement, but the other two statements also seem to be real at times.

Verse 78 of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai -
"I am a fool who prays only when overwhelmed (by misery), yet disappoint me not, Oh Arunachala!"

If I was completely satisfied with my life, I don't think I would have been attracted to this path. Even though I have insufficient love to turn fully within, Bhagavan's assurance that it is possible to be free of misery pushes me to atleast try. Therefore, isn't misery something that actually motivates us to practice Bhagavan's teachings? If so, why is it foolishness to pray because we are miserable and want to be free of misery, if that is what this verse implies? Have I misunderstood this verse?

Michael James said...

To whom, each of your three statements is true in a certain sense. We now seem to be in this world, and whatever happiness we experience here is temporary and tainted with misery, so in that sense statements (b) and (c) are correct. However, as Bhagavan says in the fourteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘பிரபஞ்சப்பொருள் ஒன்றிலாவது சுகமென்பது கிடையாது. அவைகளிலிருந்து சுகம் கிடைப்பதாக நாம் நமது அவிவேகத்தால் நினைக்கின்றோம். மனம் வெளியில் வரும்போது துக்கத்தை யனுபவிக்கிறது’ (pirapañca-p-poruḷ oṉḏṟil-āvadu sukham-eṉbadu kiḍaiyādu. avaigaḷilirundu sukham kiḍaippadāha nām namadu avivēkattāl niṉaikkiṉḏṟōm. maṉam veḷiyil varum-pōdu duḥkhattai y-aṉubhavikkiṟadu), ‘What is called sukha [happiness or satisfaction] is not found [obtained or available] in even one of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our avivēka [lack of judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish one thing from another]. When the mind comes out [from ātma-svarūpa], it experiences duḥkha [dissatisfaction, discomfort, uneasiness, unpleasantness, unhappiness, distress, misery, suffering, sorrow, sadness, pain or affliction]’, so in this sense statement (a) is correct.

That is, there is not an iota of happiness in any object of this world, but we seems to derive happiness from them because whenever we achieve any object we desire, our desire is thereby satisfied and the agitation it caused in our mind is therefore calmed, so the happiness that always exists within us as our real nature is thus able to temporarily shine forth to a certain extent, making it seem to us that that happiness has come from the object we have achieved.

Like many of the verses in Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai, verse 78 can be appropriately interpreted in more than one way. One implication is more or less as in the translation you cited, and I would translate this implication as: ‘Arunachala, I am a person of little intelligence who beg [for your grace and protection] [only] if [my suffering] becomes excessive. [Nevertheless] without deceiving [cheating or disappointing] me, be gracious [to me]’. This does not imply that it is foolish to pray when we are miserable, because prayer of the right kind is always good. What it implies is that it is foolish to pray only when our misery becomes too much for us to bear, because the root of all misery is only ourself as ego, so even when we are not overwhelmed with misery we should yearn for the eradication of ego. Such yearning is true prayer.

Yes, misery is certainly what motivates us to practise Bhagavan’s teachings, but misery is just an excessive degree of dissatisfaction, which is the very nature of ego, so any degree of dissatisfaction should motivate us to practise self-investigation and self-surrender. Since we are always dissatisfied to a greater or less extent so long as we rise and stand as ego, and since misery is always waiting round the corner because of the fragility of our situation as a person, if we are wise we will be motivated to practise self-investigation and self-surrender whether we are currently overwhelmed by misery or not.

Mouna said...

Talking about praying for the right desire to have...

I heard a story recently (I’ll paraphrase) about a genie appearing to some children and tell them he would grant a wish to the smartest one.

The first child wished for an ice-cream. Smart...
The second child said he wished for an ice-cream factory so he could have all the ice-creams he wanted. Smart…
The third child said he wished for a billion dollars to buy many ice-cream factories around the planet and could have all the ice-cream he wanted while traveling the world on vacation. Smarter…
The fourth child said he wished to have all the above plus his own school so he could take all the vacation time he wanted while traveling the world and eat all the ice-cream he wanted. Smarter…
The fifth child said he wished to have infinite number of wishes. Could he be the smartest?… let’s see.

The last child, after reflecting some time said he wish to be so fulfilled internally that he didn’t have to wish anything anymore.
He was the smartest of them all and got his wish...

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anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
if you consider my additional questions of 2 July 2019 at 06:42 as falling more into the field of neurology than into Bhagavan's teaching you may easily take them as withdrawn and you can use your time otherwise. In no way I will put on a hurt expression or be unhappy.
As you say beautifully at the end of your last "Spanish" video: the more we surrender to Bhagavan the more we will be happy. So in that sense I surrender now my like to get answered all my questions to Bhagavan.:-)

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anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
the thought of 'I am the doer' originates clearly as ego from the heart itself.
I would not attach great importance to knowing "how" the process of originating of the thought of 'I am the doer' does exactly occur.
We cannot catch ego the very moment it rises; if we did it could not rise (from the outset) - as Michael said in his last video of 2019-06-30 Yo Soy Tu Mismo.
Therefore if ego is not entirely surrendered it is not dissolved completely and it does not stop rising.

AsunAparicio said...

I think so too, there is too much dramatization, too much noise but all of it is ego. Ego is noise itself, much more when it feels threatened by some experience but experiences are just experiences and so long there are experiences, there is the experiencer too which is ego so, the best is to leave them aside and not to think on the beyond mind (ego) state but to go on with practice. We don´t like to hear this, we like to think we are advanced or special people but that´s what a true guru does, to shatter ego continuously and what we have to do ourselves by being vigilant and attentive, checking ego. This is the process of purification. It is not only attachments and desires what have to be surrendered but that which has desires and attachments and when that happens, there won´t be any doubt about it nor turning back.

As Michael always says, perseverance and practice. The more we practice attentive self-awareness, the clearer it all becomes. It is not a matter of experiencing but of making mind clear and subtle since ego is the subtlest and has nothing to do with the person. Person is nothing but nor even this is clearly seen most of times and it is taken by the ego which, turned toward itself, is only self-awareness, actually.

Anonymous said...

Nice:) thanks..

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AsunAparicio said...

Not quite. Ego is identification with this body, this person. Desires and attachments arise from or due to this identification.

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Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s teachings is our addiction

A friend: Thank you, Michael. We are taking a lot of your energy.

Michael: That is OK. I thrive on this – I love this subject. This is my alcohol. . . . But unlike alcohol, it doesn’t give me a high but gives me deep and abiding satisfaction. That satisfaction is sukha – that is our real nature. Dukha is nothing but dissatisfaction.

~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-07-06 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 30 (1:24)

Reflection: Michael further clarified that deep down we are all in a state of dukha. If we were not dissatisfied, we will have no likes, dislikes, desires, attachments and so on. Since we have all these, we are definitely in dukha. One may claim that ‘I have no problems in life. I am content’ and so on, but deep down we are all in a state of dukha.

So now our journey if from dukha to sukha, but how can we get there? The most direct means to reach our destination – sukha – is by persistent practise of self-surrender and self-investigation. We should try and become addicted to these practices just like an alcoholic gets addicted to his alcohol.


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anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
when you ask "Michael, where are you?",
even when we almost always are in a state of dukha/dissatisfaction we cannot expect that the blog-owner has nothing other to do than to fulfil our likes and desires for receiving sound and thorough replies with the greatest hurry. So the very first thing we should do is exercise patience.

Anonymous said...

Ok :)

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AsunAparicio said...

Lewis,

“I think the identification is with the appearance of the dream, which is the same as ego and, those desires and attachments are also a part of the dream/ego appearance”

Ego is not the same as the dream, it is the dreamer, that which projects and perceives the dream.

Had we realized body and world are our own mental projection and that everything perceived by us is not real, would attachment and desires arise? They arise because we haven´t, this kind of discernment, clarity of mind, only can be given by self-investigation.

Aham said...

.

I have been reading Mr James' excellent article concerning Sri Ramana's Teaching about destiny (fate) and free will.

It is wonderful that at this blog we have access to a vast repository of the original Teachings translated into English, plus a reliable interpretation of those Teachings by Mr James.

Regarding the above mentioned article, Sri Ramana is quoted as having said,

What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain. Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good.

Mr James' comments,

....Bhagavan affirms that like a puppet controlled by a puppet-master, our mind, speech and body will be made to act in accordance with our fate (prarabdha),....though we cannot make anything happen that is not destined to happen, and though we cannot prevent anything that is destined to happen, we are free to want and try to make things happen that are not destined to happen, and to want and try to prevent what is destined to happen. Fate (prarabdha) only determines what will happen, and what we have to do to make it happen, so whatever it does not determine will not happen. However it does not prevent us from wanting and trying to bring about what is not destined to happen or to prevent or avoid what is destined to happen, so we are free to want and to try as much as we like, but we cannot thereby change, add to or subtract from whatever is destined to happen.

‘Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good’. That is, since we cannot prevent or alter even to the slightest extent what is destined to happen, and since we cannot make anything happen that is not destined to happen, the best course is not to want or to try to do so.



**Understanding Sri Ramana's Teaching concerning destiny and free will, I find very helpful for turning away from this most stubborn ego that wants so much; it will be as decreed. Be still.

.

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AsunAparicio said...

Lewis,

Sorry, I read your post twice and still what you say doesn´t make any sense to me.
I don´t think concepts such as ego, pure awareness, dream in this context and so on are quite clear nor even at an intellectual level and, on the other hand, the way you apply logic for things to suit with what seems to be your concept of oneness makes the whole thing even more confusing and having a dialogue about it almost impossible.
As I told you, only when the capacity of discrimination comes about through self-investigation, it all becomes clearer.

Kind Regards.

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AsunAparicio said...

Lewis,

Precisely realizing that ego doesn´t exist, that it never existed and that nothing ever happened is the so called enlightenment.

I can understand your dilemma, what doesn´t make any sense to me is your reasoning to solve it because, even though we have read the same articles our understanding is different. If we don´t agree on what is meant by ego and others concepts we are using for communicating, dialogue is impossible.
Maybe Michael or someone else can understand you. I´m aware of intellect and my own limitations.

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anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
you quote Bhagavan having said: 'Where could I go? I am here.'

Where or what place is "here" if there is any such place at all ?

anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
"I don't find his explanations all that convincing."
Can ego ever get convinced about its own non-existence ?

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anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
if Bhagavan was referring to the ever present self-awareness perhaps he would have been saying 'Where could I go? I am always that.'
Presumably by using the adverb 'here' he meant not a particular/special place on Earth where he bodily was present like Sri Ramanasramam or Tiruvannamalai or Arunachala Hill but rather in the sense of 'here, there and everywhere'.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
"There were times mere thought of Bhagavan scares me so much, because the thought of disattaching me and my world from myself terrifies me, but I don't want to give up."
Bhagavan always insisted on being not a body or person but only pure self-awareness.
So how can he be the terror of anyone ?:-)
As you state humility is a fundamental prerequisite on Bhagavan's path of self-surrender/self-investigation.

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AsunAparicio said...

I sent this response this morning, before this comments cascade coming along, don´t know if Michael didn´t see it or he decided to reject it. I´ll send it again and see, because this is all I have to say. Only that I perfectly understand Anonymous and love the way he express himself.

Lewis,

Teachings are just words, concepts, all of them pointing to the only human being´s valuable feature: self-consciousness and the importance of focusing attention on it irrespectively of anything else. This is the practice and it is the practice what brings about clarity of mind enough to really understand what Ramana taught. I don´t say this because Ramana or Michael say it, I say it because I can and I do confirm it.

People who still relay on intellect to elucidate all what sages say are doomed to failure and frustration. Frustration is not that bad, it could be a first step on the path, actually.

Now, if you expect I waste my time arguing about absurd and arrogant attempts of throwing down Ramana´s teachings, one can´t make head or tails of them, or I to share publicly what is found along the only journey worthwile to undertake, you can sit and wait. Call me parrot, the favorite insult of people avid of knowledge, hearing other´s experiences as if that was a proof of don´t know exactly what, new revelations to feed mind with and shortcuts, I couldn´t care less.

If Ramana´s teachings and beautiful, in their love and clarity, explanations of Michael aren´t enough for you to turn towards yourself and see by yourself, you also can sit and wait for someone else to do it for you because nobody will.

Michael James said...

Unknown (or Raphael, as you formerly called yourself), when you write in your comment of 11 July 2019 at 16:20 ‘Ego and humility are mutually exclusive’ you are talking about absolute humility, which is egolessness, but when Anonymous and Anadi-ananta wrote about the need for humility, they were obviously talking about relative humility, which is certainly a prerequisite for going deep in this path of self-investigation and self-surrender. Any argument that confuses the absolute with the relative in such a manner is obviously fallacious, but such arguments are prevalent in neo-advaita reasoning, and they serve only to demonstrate the half-baked understanding of those who reason in such a confused manner.

When you argue that claiming humility is anything but humility, that is a truism, but is irrelevant to the subject being discussed, because Anonymous and Anadi-ananta were talking about being humble, not claiming humility, which are two quite different things. As ego we can be either more or less humble, and the more humble we are the better qualified we are to follow this path, because humility means subsidence of ego, which is both our path and our goal.

Bhagavan often stressed the importance of humility for anyone following this path. For example, he clearly implied it in the final paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:

தானெழுந்தால் சகலமு மெழும்; தானடங்கினால் சகலமு மடங்கும். எவ்வளவுக்கெவ்வளவு தாழ்ந்து நடக்கிறோமோ அவ்வளவுக்கவ்வளவு நன்மையுண்டு. மனத்தை யடக்கிக்கொண் டிருந்தால், எங்கே யிருந்தாலு மிருக்கலாம்.

tāṉ eṙundāl sakalam-um eṙum; tāṉ aḍaṅgiṉāl sakalam-um aḍaṅgum. evvaḷavukkevvaḷavu tāṙndu naḍakkiṟōmō avvaḷavukkavvaḷavu naṉmai-y-uṇḍu. maṉattai y-aḍakki-k-koṇḍirundāl, eṅgē y-irundālum irukkalām.

English translation: If oneself rises [or appears] [as ego or mind], everything rises [or appears]; if oneself subsides [disappears or ceases], everything subsides [disappears or ceases]. To whatever extent sinking low [subsiding or being humble] we proceed [or conduct ourself], to that extent there is goodness [benefit or virtue]. If one is [continuously] restraining [curbing, subduing or reducing] mind, wherever one may be one can be [or let one be].

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anadi-ananta said...

Going by what Unknown said in his comment of 11 July 2019 at 16:20, it actually smells of Raphael and/or Salazar.:-)

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Ego or Self Awareness? said...

anadi-ananta, Yes, Mr. Salazar has since posted comments using "Raphael" and "Unknown" usernames. One can change user names but can't change their style and content of their posts. Even if Salazar (who was posting under that username for a long time) posts comments using another username now we can easily make that out, that they are from Salazar.

AsunAparicio said...

Lewis,

No, I didn´t miss it. It is that after you showed your true colors I don´t believe a word of what you say. Someone who has just come across Ramana´s teachings doesn´t talk that way in a public website.

Learning and trying to understand is fine, pretending to refute what one doesn’t understand, as you yourself admitted, is simply foolish or a troll´s teasing. I´ve read comments like yours before and all of them come from the same people with different nicks.
Same dog with a different collar. Sorry raining on your parade.

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Mouna said...

It is very discouraging in this thread's flow of comments that we go backwards judging people once again... Why not focus on our own lack of strength, humility and love for Bhagavan's teachings? Why not follow Bhagavan's example when dealing with "trouble makers" if there are any? (I didn't feel anything disrespectful in this thread so far)

Michael did a great job stopping a cascade of cursing, bullying and non-sensical attacks on the teaching by implementing comment moderation. Apparently we are still naming names without even knowing if the person we named and deplore is the one writing the comment, just basing out "intuition" in a so-called style of writing...

I call this: "blog pollution", subtle, but human pollution nevertheless.
When one's finger points to someone, three fingers point to ourselves...

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Aham said...

"Humility a prerequisite? I think not. Can the ego be humble at all? Ego and humility are mutually exclusive."

I disagree wholeheartedly.

Sri Ramana's practice is essentially one of practicing humility. Why? Because the ego that constantly rises up to grasp this that and the other is instead coaxed, "bow to the Lord (Self)".

That is, remain still, do not rise up and thereby strengthen this ego.


However, the relative does not exist, it is an imagination, and that's not neo-advaita"

Yes all concepts are essentially false. However unbeknownst to the neo-advaita-ite, they have merely adopted such fundamental Truths as an intellectual belief system. Attachment to concepts has not ended.

Ego or Self Awareness? said...

In other words what the "know it all" and arrogant professor is saying, is that it is okay to be rude, aggressive, presumptuous, patronizing, a**holish, bullying etc. but not okay to be humble, civil, cordial, polite etc. He can sell and parade his non-existent magic snake oil elsewhere. No sensible and intelligent person is going to buy it here.

AsunAparicio said...


Lewis,

Take it as an example of discernment I´ve been talking you about. We don´t practice self-investigation to become a bunch of idiotic people. Only an intellect on the service of ego deceives itself, is deceived by others and filled by doubts.

Probably I´m the only one truly new in this blog but I´ve read many of the articles generously published by Michael and I can recognize a few nicks suddenly popping up around this thread posting quite cynical and manipulative writings. But this is merely obvious.

Again, sorry about raining on your (and seems that on some others) parade.

AsunAparicio said...

Anonymous,

It is said that self is being and ego is doing. I don´t think the word “passive” can be applied to beingness or stillness and the word “active” to ego. They are all terms used by us as ego and therefore, they correspond to ego´s perceptions and describe these perceptions but cannot describe self. Self can´t be known nor perceived, self only can be.

Ramana puts it in a very simple way: turned outward (awareness) it is ego, turned inward, it is self. Both are awareness only that in different states, like water and ice.

Anonymous said...

Good one :)

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anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
may I ask you to preserve us from habitual comment-deleting because this is only bewildering the readers. Deleting of even wrong views does not serve the clarity while reading the flow of comments but rather confuses readers unnecessarily. Instead of deleting comments one could write more attentively from the outset.

Anonymous said...

Ok :) will be careful next time..

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Lewis Oakwood said...

As though there is an impulse to seek outside ourself and that seeking is the rise as ego— something imagined as other than ourself.

AsunAparicio said...

Anonymous,

There is not becoming. Ice doesn´t become water, it is water appearing to be something else, when it gets melted, it is realized that it always was water and that there never was ice as something different or apart from water, only a belief based on what is perceived by the false awareness which says “I´m this body, this person” through the senses. This is so called maya. Just an analogy.

“I strongly believe the final state is quite beyond what we can imagine it to be.” So do I :)

Michael James said...

Lewis, we have to be careful when trying to say what Bhagavan meant by any particular statement, because many things that he said can be interpreted and understood at more than one level, so the answer I give below to your question is not necessarily a definitive one, because there may be other acceptable ways of interpreting what he said on that occasion.

When he said ‘but that pain is not other than me’, I would assume that what he meant ‘me’ is his real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is what alone actually exists, as he said in the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?: ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]’. Our real nature (ātma-svarūpa) is just pure awareness, which means awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself, because nothing other than itself actually exists for it to be aware of.

However, though nothing other than pure awareness actually exists, in the view of ourself as ego other things seem to exist, but all those other things, including ourself as ego, are just an appearance, and they appear only in the deluded view of ourself as ego, because in the clear view of ourself as pure awareness nothing else exists or even seems to exist. Therefore when Bhagavan replied ‘Yes, there is pain’, he was acknowledging that from the perspective of those who asked him ‘Are you not feeling any pain?’ his body was certainly in extreme pain, but when he added ‘but that pain is not other than me’ he was pointing out that from his perspective as pure awareness whatever appeared in the view of others, including that pain, was nothing other than himself.

That is, just as an illusory snake is nothing other than a rope, all that seems to exist is nothing other than pure awareness, which alone is what actually exists. In Bhagavan’s clear view what exists is only pure awareness, but in the deluded view of ourself as ego that one pure awareness seems to be the myriad phenomena that constitute this and any other world. Therefore what he implied by that answer is that what seems to us to be pain is in his view nothing other than himself, the one infinite, indivisible and immutable space of pure awareness.

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anadi-ananta said...

We are told that pure awareness is our real nature which is said to be nothing but happiness. In our deluded view as ego pain can never be (in) real happiness.
If pain is actually included in true happiness we would have all reason to remain as ego.
So when Bhagavan was not unhappy with the body's extreme pain we too only have to change our deluded perspective with his clear view which includes even severe pain as only pure awareness, our real nature.
Of course, as ego I don't have much yearning for any intensive pain.:-)

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anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
because your questions are like textbook examples for Bhagavan's teaching I dare to jump in and give an answer from my own mental understanding:

question 1: even the illusion/appearance of a world of separate things is ultimately 'nothing other than pure awareness'.
question 2: because 'the deluded view of ourself as ego' seems to arise only in the deluded view of ego it does not really arise.
question 3: aware of the appearance is only ego. This teaching is given in Nan Ar? as well as in Ulladu Narpadu.
question 4: what really exist is only pure awareness. Appearance does only seem to exist in the deluded view of ourself as ego. Because mere appearance does not really exist it cannot be considered as one and the same as pure awareness.

Of course Michael could give a reply to your questions in much greater exactness, precision, detail and reliability.

Michael James said...

Lewis, regarding the questions you asked in your comment of 14 July 2019 at 10:41, the illusory snake is just a rope, but the rope is not, never was and never will be a snake. Likewise, this appearance (namely all that seems to exist) is just pure awareness (which alone is what actually exists), but pure awareness is not, never was and never will be this appearance. In other words, as you put it, ‘the illusion/appearance of a world of separate things is nothing other than pure awareness’, but pure awareness is not the illusion or appearance of a world of separate things. It merely seems to be this illusory appearance.

When a rope seems to be a snake, it does not thereby undergo any change and is not affected in any way, but remains just as it always is, because it seems to be a snake only in the view of an observer. Likewise, when pure awareness (which is ourself as we really are) seems to be this appearance, it does not thereby undergo any change and is not affected in any way, but remains just as it always is, because it seems to be this appearance only in the view of ourself as ego.

You ask ‘How does ‘the deluded view of ourself as ego’ arise in the first place?’ but no adequate answer can be given to such questions. We can give a partial answer by saying that we rise as ego by projecting and perceiving phenomena (things that seem to exist but do not actually exist), but though this explanation describes the nature of ego, which is to be always aware of things that seem to be other than itself, it does not adequately explain why or how we rise as ego, because we must rise as ego in order to project and perceive phenomena.

Bhagavan used to say that asking why or how we rose as ego is like asking why or how the son of a barren woman was born. Just as there can never be any such thing as the son of a barren woman, there is never any such thing as an ego. However, in order to see that there is no such thing as ego, we as ego must investigate ourself to see what we actually are. If we investigate ourself keenly enough, we will see that we are actually infinite, eternal, immutable and indivisible pure awareness, and have therefore never been any such thing as ego.

If we ask why or how we rose as ego, we are assuming that we have actually risen as such, so asking such questions is another means to perpetuate our seeming existence as ego. Therefore, rather than asking why or how we rose as ego, we should investigate who or what am I, because only by investigating and seeing what we actually are will we be able to put an end to our seeming existence as ego.

Finally you suggest that ‘Awareness and Appearance are one and the same’, which is true only in the sense that a rope and snake are one and the same, because (as I wrote above) just as the snake is only the rope, whatever appears to be is only pure awareness. However, just as the rope is not a snake, pure awareness is not anything that appears or seems to be, because it is what alone actually is, and it never undergoes change of any kind whatsoever.

Unknown said...

Michaelji,

Yesterday, July 13th was the cow lakshmi's Aradhana day. If you have any unpublished anecdotes which you heard from Shri Sadhu om swamigal or old devotees related to Lakshmi, kindly share with us..I sincerely believe Cow Lakshmi is one among the foremost devotees of Shri Bhagavan..Happy to read your manana on Mother Lakshmi

Michael James said...

Unknown, I am not sure which anecdotes about Pasu Lakshmi have been published and which have not been published, but as far as I can remember I have not heard any that I know have not been published. Her life illustrated that simple love for and surrender to Bhagavan is the means to liberation, because when we love him enough he will draw our attention inwards to face him (our own real nature) alone, thus transforming us into himself, as he beautifully described in verse 10 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padigam.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
many thanks for making clear to us things which we need clarified. Without your concise explanations we would kept guessing to a large extent.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
what means "Pasu" ?

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, in this context paśu means cow, but it can also mean cattle collectively or other domesticated animals such as horses, goats, sheep or camels, and in some contexts it means soul (jīva). In the verse that Bhagavan wrote on the day of Lakshmi’s vimukti (liberation) he referred to her as paśu-v-ām ilakkumi, which means ‘Lakshmi, the cow’.

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anadi-ananta said...

Thanks Michael,
is this the verse Bhagavan wrote with his own hand later on Lakshmi's samadhi-tomb
which is situated between the new dining room and the old dispensary ?

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Aham said...

.

There isn’t much to understand Lewis.

As each thought arises within mind, inwardly ask yourself, "Who am I?"
Make no attempt to answer your own question.
The question "Who am I?" will render mind quiescent.
In time, after much diligent practice, concepts and attachments end.
What remains is wordless, your True Self.

.

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Michael James said...

Aham, it is not quite correct to say ‘The question “Who am I?” will render mind quiescent’ (as you wrote above in your comment of 16 July 2019 at 10:46), because we can go on asking this question mentally or verbally for any amount of time without ever turning our attention within (and mere quiescence of mind is not our aim, because mind becomes quiescent whenever we fall asleep, and such temporary quiescence does not in any way help us to eradicate mind along with ego, its root). The question ‘Who am I?’ by itself is not self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), so what Bhagavan advised us was not to ask ‘Who am I?’ but to investigate who am I.

The question ‘Who am I?’ is useful only to the extent that it prompts us to turn our attention back towards ourself in order to see what we actually are. This turning of our attention back to face ourself is what he meant by investigating who am I.

Since everything other than ourself is a mere thought, and since other things seem to exist only when we perceive them, the arising of thought is just the turning of our attention away from ourself towards other things. Therefore when he advised us that as and when each thought arises, we should investigate to whom it has arisen, when he meant is that whenever our attention is distracted away from ourself towards any other thing, we should turn it back to face ourself, the one to whom that other thing has appeared.

If we thus practise diligently turning our attention back towards ourself whenever is it distracted by anything else, what will eventually cease is not just concepts and attachments, as you say, but the one who has all concepts and attachments, namely ourself as ego, and what will then remain is only ourself as we always actually are, which is just pure awareness.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
your above comment beautifully points out the essential thing. Thanks for that great reminder.

Aham said...

.

The question ‘Who am I?’ by itself is not self-investigation

Yes, I agree with you Mr James. I mentioned it because Lewis said he was confused, so I thought it a good starting point.

The question ‘Who am I?’ is useful only to the extent that it prompts us to turn our attention back towards ourself in order to see what we actually are. This turning of our attention back to face ourself is what he meant by investigating who am I.

Thank you. It is good to hear it over and over again.

.

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AsunAparicio said...

Thanks heavens they, the purists as Mr. Lewis Oakwood call them, are here. If Ramana´s teachings had to be adapted to people like him we could well be repeating “who am I” like zombies, some would love that, or reading self-help books, new age section.
Love and peace, bro. Really …

AsunAparicio said...

Anonymous,

You haven´t polluted anything. Here there is a recommendable video regarding death (Michael´s talk) It can be downloaded an MP3 copy so, you can listen to it as going to work or at any other time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCujRFXQUE8&t=60s

I´d love to meet you too. Keep well :)


Rajat Sancheti said...

Michael,
In HAB, page 103, you write -
Since it always knows itself as ‘I am’, our consciousness cannot be something that it knows at one time and does not know at another time. Therefore, if we are consciousness, we must be something that we know in all the states in which we exist, something that we know whenever we exist.

I am unable to understand this paragraph and need your help.
In the first sentence, there are two statements -
a. it always knows itself as ‘I am’
b. our consciousness cannot be something that it knows at one time and does not know at another time.
Statement (a) you have explained earlier and is quite clear, but I don't understand the connection between statement (a) and (b). Please help me understand this important paragraph better.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat Sancheti,
do not make things more complicate than necessary.
Both statements mentioned above imply only that our consciousness is present permanently.

Rajat Sancheti said...

Thank you anadi-ananta. I don't understand why the 'since' at the beginning of the first sentence. Independently the two statements in the first sentence could also be, but how are they related, I don't fully understand? I do tend to overcomplicate things, however. I think I will continue my study of HAB, in the hope that things I don't fully understand now will make more sense in a second reading of the book.

Rajat Sancheti said...

With Michael's permission, may I ask a question not directly related to Bhagavan's teachings (but something I hope will be of help in my practice of his teachings)? Does anyone know of cheap and simple accomodation for short stays (1 - 2 days) in Tiruvannamalai, preferably near Ramanashram? Does not have to be furnished or anything, just a place I can spend the night will also be perfect. I have tried to apply for accommodation in Ramanashram itself, but it seems to be always full.

Lewis Oakwood said...

Rajat Sancheti,

Maybe (maybe not) this will help you—

If you replace the word 'since' with the word 'because' then the paragraph written by Michael will read as follows—

''Because' it always knows itself as ‘I am’, our consciousness cannot be something that it knows at one time and does not know at another time. Therefore, if we are consciousness, we must be something that we know in all the states in which we exist, something that we know whenever we exist.'



Lewis Oakwood said...

Rajat Sancheti,

I understood Michaels' first sentence to mean—

Because I always know 'I am' there is never a time when I do not know 'I am.


Lewis Oakwood said...


Taken together I take Michaels' entire paragraph to mean—

Because I always know 'I am' there is never a time when I do not know 'I am'. And, because 'I' alone am, there isn't anything else— ever.

I am 'because' I am.

Lewis Oakwood said...

Anonymous,

These are simply some thoughts about what you wrote in a recent comment (and, for the hundredth time, they are NOT an attack upon you, Michael or Bhagavan).

You wrote: 'But whatever it is- I have fear issues. During death, I believe fear is not about physical death, but fear is all about realizing everything you possessed is going to disappear.'

Bhagavan says we are 'immortal awareness' and so, obviously 'deathless'.

My current understanding is that death is simply a thought/idea.

Bhagavan says 'to whom do these thoughts arise?'

And as Sri Sadhu Om explains— the correct practice of self-enquiry is self-attention, that is, focusing our attention wholly and exclusively upon ourself — upon our fundamental consciousness of our own being, 'I am'.

And that 'I am' is 'immortal awareness' and, obviously 'deathless'.

So, it seems we are all afraid of an idea.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat Sancheti,
regarding accommodation for short stay in Tiruvannamalai,
you may ask in adjacent Sheshadri Ashram or in the restaurant "Akash" which is there in that Ashram compound. Perhaps you may possibly find some accommodation in the area of Sadhu Om's and Tinnai Swami's samadhi asking in "Radha's lunch place". This area you will find when you walk down the "Post office road" (Ramanasramam post office). This road is also called Manakula Street, which starts on the opposite side of Pali Thirtam and runs southwards.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat Sancheti,
correct is Seshadri Ashram.

AsunAparicio said...

Michael,

Going back to the subject of this article:

I´ve been reading an interesting article that appears in Mountain Path (January-March 2012) about self-inquiry.

I found very helpful your article http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2015/07/by-attending-to-our-ego-we-are.html yet, I still have been feeling I was missing something and maybe that something is the role played by the intellect. This article of Mountain Path says:

“As the practice of savikalpa samadhi proceeds, our intellect becomes
subtler and subtler due to continued removal of the vasanas. At some
stage, suddenly, it is caused to transcend the remaining vasanas. The
state of Self-abidance that then results is called nirvikalpa samadhi.
The term nirvikalpa is derived from nih- (without) and vikalpa
(difference). Nirvikalpa samadhi thus represents a non-dual state, which permits no differentiation between the experiencer and the
experienced. The intellect that has hitherto been the experiencer, and
the ‘I’ that was being experienced, lie ‘merged’ in the Self.
The transition from savikalpa to nirvikalpa samadhi is attended
with a sharp discontinuity. Thus far, the intellect had been with us as
the ‘search party’ for finding the Self. When the Self is to appear, the
intellect cannot stay around anymore, since the Self is non-dual. So,
it makes as if to depart the scene. But the intellect has all along been
our sole instrument of cognition, and we depend on it even to infer
our own existence. So, its imminent departure would seem like our
own extinction. An indescribable fear grips us, and we involuntarily
step back from the perceived self-destruction, in a state of shock, and
return to our former dualistic state.
Our further attempts to continue with practice of I-abidance
prove no different. After a few such experiences of shock, we become
emboldened enough to take that seemingly inevitable, ultimate
plunge.”

So, rather than ego itself as a separated entity, it would be the loss of this intellect, “our sole instrument of cognition” what really prevents us from total surrender since it is intellect the actual experiencer and not the “I” which is what is experienced and ”we depend on it even to infer our own existence. So, its imminent departure would seem like our own extinction.”

This article doesn´t explain why it is said that the departure of intellect "seems" like our extinction but I can make the connection with what you told me “Bhagavan is just pure awareness, so he knows what alone actually exists, which means that he knows that knowing which all is known.” And, you also say “This is as much as we can understand with this finite mind of ours.”

Yet, could you please go on this subject of intellect in the sense it is spoken of in this article? Mainly on intellect as the experiencer of the I.

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Rajat Sancheti said...

Thank you for your detailed reply, Anadi-ananta! This is very helpful, just what I wanted to know.

anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
what is the pleasure in having deleted seemingly in a surprise attack your comments nr.8,9,20,23,24,30,32,37,38,45,46,47,49,50,54,58,59,60,65,68,69,76,77,85,98,99,103,106,
114,115,117,125,128,132,135,137 ?
Anyway you kept comment nr.100,146,147,148,149.
Or did you keep them only by mistake ?:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
if the deletion was only an error you could have quite well a copy from me.
The same I can offer regarding the comment-deletions of Unknown and Anonymous.

Lewis Oakwood said...

Anadi-ananta,

I deleted my comments because I was tired of continually having to defend them.

Also, of my remaining comments, I grew tired of deleting them so gave up doing so.

To be honest, I came to this site to learn but, I have become disheartened by the constant negativity I receive from certain readers.

I regret deleting the comments.

Thank you for offering a copy of the deleted comments but I don't need them.

However, I wonder if it is possible for Michael to reinstate them (my comments?)

🙂🌹

Lewis Oakwood said...

Anadi-ananta,

Before leaving this site I post my final comment—

I hope the next visitor to this site will not be subjected to the same tactics as has been used by the class bully and her little gang of followers.

Adios Amigos.

Michael James said...

Could I once again ask all who choose to comment here to avoid writing negative comments about others. If you disagree with any view that anyone else has expressed, you are welcome to say why you disagree with them, but please do not indulge in innuendo or any other kind of personal attack.

One particularly bad example of such personal negativity is that shown in many of the responses that Lewis has had to face since he started writings comments here, and as you can see from his latest comments, some of you have without any justification made him feel unwelcome here. I should have been more strict in rejecting all the comments that made him feel this way, but if everyone here behaved more politely, gave others the benefit of the doubt and refrained from writing such inconsiderate and hurtful comments you would not put me in the uncomfortable position of having the decide where to draw the line when moderating comments.

AsunAparicio said...

It is easier to attack that which challenges our beliefs than to question our believes.

It is easier to insult (parrot, purist followed by negative insinuations, etc.) than finding arguments.

It is easier to appear in front of others as the victim than as the true attacker from the very beginning.

I´ve been seeing to appear insulting and aggressive posts towards me without a single word of warning. "Bully and gang of followers" Really?

The whole thing can be summarized in one word: manipulation.

I´m sorry Mr. Lewis couldn´t learn anything from this. I did a lot.

The emperor is naked, what can I say?

AsunAparicio said...

"... our beliefs", sorry.

And it all just because I couldn´t find any sense to his reasoning as trying to question what Ramana tought. That says it all.

Lewis Oakwood said...

Michael,

I feel embarrassed for my part in this whole affair and that you were placed in the position of having to take this action.

You shouldn't have to keep reminding everyone to be more careful in the wording of their comments, especially when responding to other peoples comments. One would assume that common sense would have prevailed— alas!

I in no way hold you responsible for any of what took place. I suspect that like myself, you were waiting for everything to settle into a civilized conversation.


Best Wishes,
Lewis

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Anonymous said...

Michael

I have apologized many times. If he still feels attacked , I really don't understand who he is referring to. I stopped being negative though.

Regards
Anonymous

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Unknown said...

Not every article in the Mountain Path is to be taken as wisdom. The quality varies by the authors. N. A. Mohan Rao is a retired chemical engineer and that particular article touches a subject which is so far advanced and lofty that it could be given only by someone who has actually directly experienced it what would be a Jnani.

Otherwise it is just a collection of conceptual bits and pieces gathered from other sources. I believe it is not an accident that Bhagavan never went into detail of such matters and he never suggested that Nirvikalpa Samadhi is a prerequisite for freedom. Sri Muruganar in fact stated that Bhagavan gave him liberation without having ever experienced Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

I believe we are well advised that before we dream about samadhi and other lofty "goals" we may master first being non-judgmental and stop washing one's hand in innocence while ignoring one's own shortcomings and digressions.

AsunAparicio said...

Anonymous,

Glad you could read the article. It brought you to my mind.

Yes, only when there is nor even the slightest attachment or tendency to turn attention towards anything other than self, the natural state stays.

For a few that´s the first and last “shock” they go through, for the rest it uses to be something gradual and it is found so difficult accepting and surrendering that it is even wished sometimes haven´t ever known about :)

Anonymous said...

Right :)

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AsunAparicio said...

The important thing is the intention behind ours words, thoughts and deeds and this, only Bhagavan and oneself can know. The rest, only can do our best according to the tools we have been provided with and if I say someone I don´t understand his reasoning and it is difficult to dialogue if we don´t agree with the meaning of the concepts we are using for communicating, and this person responds insulting to begin with, to end saying that he doesn´t mind to discuss with me but that if we agree with everything it would be boring, logic tells me that this person knows more than what he wants to let us know and that he is not looking for understanding and learning but for dispute and confusion. If this pattern is repeated once and again, logic still tells the same and if the facts prove it, since from then on confusion and controversy have prevailed along this thread, well, now it is not the logic talking, it is a fact. To me, the focus of confusion is quite obvious.

Of course, as it always happens, all the fingers will point to the one who says purely and simply the truth whereas the one who brings confusion and dispute, gets a pat on the back.

I really don´t mind and, on the other hand, my interest in this blog has decreased substantially so, farewell. This world is entirely yours.

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Michael James said...

Asun, I am sorry that I have not yet had time to write a reply to your comment of 18 July 2019 at 20:50, but in my latest video, 2019-07-21 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the ‘witness’ and observing thoughts, I briefly discussed (beginning at 1:32:40) what was written in the portion of a Mountain Path that you quoted in it, and if I have time later I will write a more detailed reply to it as a separate article.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Let Sanjay have all his attachments; I am not Sanjay

A friend: Hi Michael. Can you tell me how can I give up my attachment to my son? How does one become a mere ‘witness’ even in regards to our relatives?

Michael: As a person, we naturally have attachments towards our friends and relatives. We are social animals, so we are attached to many things, to many persons. But obviously, as spiritual aspirants, we want to be free from all our attachments. However, we do not have to detach ourself from our near and dear ones. Who is attached to them? It is I, Michael, who is attached to them. But am I Michael? So in Bhagavan’s path, we are trying to separate ourselves from the person we seem to be. Michael is attached to all these persons but if I am able to separate myself from Michael, all my attachments will automatically vanish. Let Michael continue with his attachments but since I am no more Michael, I am free of all attachments.

So Bhagavan wants to us renounce internally. Outward renunciation is of no use if we are still inwardly attached. Bhagavan never asked us to give up our family or to go to the Himalayas and sit in a cave to meditate. In fact, he discouraged such things. Bhagavan only asked us to investigate ourself and give up ego. If we can do this our story is over, and this way all our problems are solved once and for all. So ‘who am I?’ This is all we need to investigate and thereby experience ourself as we really are.

Paraphrased extract from the video: 2019-07-21 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the ‘witness’ and observing thoughts (1:50)

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Michael James said...

Rajat, regarding your comment of 17 July 2019 at 13:01, it is not clear to me why you are unable to understand the paragraph you refer to (in chapter 2 of Happiness and the Art of Being), namely: “Since it always knows itself as ‘I am’, our consciousness cannot be something that it knows at one time and does not know at another time. Therefore, if we are consciousness, we must be something that we know in all the states in which we exist, something that we know whenever we exist”.

What I was arguing in this portion of that chapter is that since we are conscious of ourself as this body only in waking and not in dream (because in dream when we are conscious of ourself as some other body), what we actually are is not any body but only consciousness. In this connection I pointed out that as consciousness we are always conscious of ourself, because we cannot be conscious without being conscious that we are conscious, and being conscious that we are conscious entails being conscious that we exist.

If we are consciousness, we must always be conscious, so whether or not we are conscious of anything else, we are always conscious of ourself as ‘I am’. Therefore, since we are always conscious of ourself, we cannot be anything that we are not always conscious of. We are not always conscious of this body or this mind, or any other phenomenon, so no such thing can be what we actually are.

For example, we cannot be this body, because we are aware of ourself in dream but are not aware of this body. Likewise, we cannot be any body that we seem to be in dream, because we are aware of ourself now but are not aware of any of those bodies. We cannot even be this mind, because though we are aware of this mind in both waking and dream, in sleep we are aware of ourself but are not aware of this mind.

What we are aware of in sleep is only ourself (our own existence and awareness), so we cannot be anything other than that.

Is the simple and irrefutable logic of this argument clear to you? If it is not, which part of it is not clear?

Jac'b Bacjia said...

Michael,

Taken from the third paragraph your comment of 26 July 2019 at 22:00 this is very helpful—

'Therefore, since we are always conscious of ourself, we cannot be anything that we are not always conscious of. We are not always conscious of this body or this mind, or any other phenomenon, so no such thing can be what we actually are.'

Thank you.

Rajat Sancheti said...

Michael, I think the reason this paragraph is difficult for me to understand is the connection between 'being' and 'knowing' that it seems to be making.
The statement that we cannot be something that we are at one time but not at another time, is easy to understand, because that would imply that we are two different things, which is not our experience, as you explain elsewhere. But the paragraph that I referred to is saying something different. It is saying, in the second clause of the first line, that we ('our consciousness') cannot be something that we know at one time but not at another time. If the statement above is classical physics, then this one is quantum physics, lot more subtle for me to understand.

Thankfully your comment is helpful, especially this line - "Therefore, since we are always conscious of ourself, we cannot be anything that we are not always conscious of." I notice that this line is quite similar to the line from the HAB paragraph - “Since it always knows itself as ‘I am’, our consciousness cannot be something that it knows at one time and does not know at another time," except that it does not refer to consciousness as 'our consciousness' or 'it' but more directly as 'we', which perhaps helped make it clearer, along with the rest of the comment.

Anonymous said...

http://www.arunachalasamudra.org/yogiram.html

Wish I had met him.