Saturday, 24 August 2019

Is any external help required for us to succeed in the practice of self-investigation?

In a comment on my previous article, The role of grace in all that ego creates, a friend called Asun wrote: ‘I’ve been watching these days David Godman’s youtube channel. He, as well as yourself, enjoys talking about Ramana’s teachings and telling tales about him, the ashram and devotees. They are beautiful tales illustrated with very good documentaries. His understanding and interpretation of the teachings is very similar to your understanding and explanations yet, regarding to the practice he claims that there are some results only at first and that from then on it is as if one got stuck so that the only way to really reach somewhere is to sit in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in. Is this your experience too, Michael? Or do you completely disagree with him?’
  1. Self-investigation is both necessary and sufficient, so nothing else is either necessary or sufficient, and hence nothing in addition to self-investigation is required
  2. The only result we should expect from our practice of self-investigation is purification of mind culminating in eradication of ego
  3. What we are seeking can be found only within ourself and cannot be given by anyone else
  4. We do not need anything to be transmitted to us, because all that we need already exists within us
  5. Āṉma-Viddai verse 5: grace is also necessary, but it is already inside us, so it is always available to us if we have sufficient love to surrender ourself to it
1. Self-investigation is both necessary and sufficient, so nothing else is either necessary or sufficient, and hence nothing in addition to self-investigation is required

Asun, though David and I agree on many points, this is one point on which we do not agree, because I do not believe there is any basis in Bhagavan’s teachings for his idea that ‘the only way to really reach somewhere is to sit in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in’ (I am aware these may not be his exact words, but you seem to have summarised more or less what he believes and claims in this regard). In fact I would say this is quite contrary to Bhagavan’s teachings, because he taught us that self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) alone is sufficient, as he says, for example, in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?: ‘ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும்’ (oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum), ‘If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own real nature], that alone is sufficient’.

Bhagavan taught that self-investigation (which entails self-surrender, as I explained in my previous reply to you) is not only sufficient but also necessary. For example, in verse 22 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he asks rhetorically:
matikkoḷi tandam matikku ḷoḷiru
matiyiṉai yuḷḷē maḍakkip — patiyiṯ
padittiḍuda laṉḏṟip patiyai matiyāṉ
madittiḍuda leṅṅaṉ madi
.

பதச்சேதம்: மதிக்கு ஒளி தந்து, அம் மதிக்குள் ஒளிரும் மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதியில் பதித்திடுதல் அன்றி, பதியை மதியால் மதித்திடுதல் எங்ஙன்? மதி.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): matikku oḷi tandu, a-m-matikkuḷ oḷirum matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki patiyil padittiḍudal aṉḏṟi, patiyai matiyāl madittiḍudal eṅṅaṉ? madi.

அன்வயம்: மதிக்கு ஒளி தந்து, அம் மதிக்குள் ஒளிரும் பதியில் மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதித்திடுதல் அன்றி, பதியை மதியால் மதித்திடுதல் எங்ஙன்? மதி.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): matikku oḷi tandu, a-m-matikkuḷ oḷirum patiyil matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki padittiḍudal aṉḏṟi, patiyai matiyāl madittiḍudal eṅṅaṉ? madi.

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

Explanatory paraphrase: Consider, except by turning [bending or folding] mati [the mind or intellect] back within [and thereby] completely immersing [embedding or fixing] it in pati [the Lord or God], who shines [as pure awareness] within that mind giving light [of awareness] to the mind, how to fathom [or investigate and know] God by the mind?
What Bhagavan refers to here as ‘பதி’ (pati), the Lord or God, who shines as pure awareness in the mind, giving it the light of awareness by which it knows everything else, is our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), and what he refers to as ‘மதியினை உள்ளே மடக்கி பதியில் பதித்திடுதல்’ (matiyiṉai uḷḷē maḍakki patiyil padittiḍudal), ‘turning the mind back within, completely immersing it in God’, is the practice of self-investigation, which is turning our attention back towards ourself and thereby subsiding and merging in our real nature, so the rhetorical question he asks in this verse implies that we cannot know our real nature by any means other than self-investigation.

Likewise in verse 27 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he asks rhetorically:
நானுதியா துள்ளநிலை நாமதுவா யுள்ளநிலை
நானுதிக்குந் தானமதை நாடாம — னானுதியாத்
தன்னிழப்பைச் சார்வதெவன் சாராமற் றானதுவாந்
தன்னிலையி னிற்பதெவன் சாற்று.

nāṉudiyā duḷḷanilai nāmaduvā yuḷḷanilai
nāṉudikkun thāṉamadai nāḍāma — ṉāṉudiyāt
taṉṉiṙappaic cārvadevaṉ sārāmaṯ ṟāṉaduvān
taṉṉilaiyi ṉiṟpadevaṉ sāṯṟu
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘நான்’ உதியாது உள்ள நிலை நாம் அது ஆய் உள்ள நிலை. ‘நான்’ உதிக்கும் தானம் அதை நாடாமல், ‘நான்’ உதியா தன் இழப்பை சார்வது எவன்? சாராமல், தான் அது ஆம் தன் நிலையில் நிற்பது எவன்? சாற்று.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘nāṉ’ udiyādu uḷḷa nilai nām adu-v-āy uḷḷa nilai. ‘nāṉ’ udikkum thāṉam-adai nāḍāmal, ‘nāṉ’ udiyā taṉ-ṉ-iṙappai sārvadu evaṉ? sārāmal, tāṉ adu ām taṉ nilaiyil niṟpadu evaṉ? sāṯṟu.

English translation: The state in which one exists without ‘I’ rising is the state in which we exist as that. Without investigating the place where ‘I’ rises, how to reach the annihilation of oneself, in which ‘I’ does not rise? Without reaching, say, how to stand in the state of oneself, in which oneself is that?

Explanatory paraphrase: The state in which one exists without ‘I’ [ego] rising is the state in which we exist as that [brahman, the ultimate reality and infinite whole, the nature of which is pure self-awareness, uncontaminated by the appearance of anything else]. Without investigating the place [namely one’s fundamental self-awareness] where [from which or in which] ‘I’ rises, how to reach [achieve or take refuge in] the annihilation of oneself [ego], [the state] in which ‘I’ does not rise? [In other words, the only way to annihilate ego is to investigate oneself, the source from which it rises, because only when one investigates oneself will one see oneself as one actually is, and only when one sees oneself as one actually is will one forever cease mistaking oneself to be ego, the false rising and subsiding ‘I’.] [And] without reaching [or taking refuge in the annihilation of one’s ego], say [or explain], how to stand [stop, stay or abide] in the [real] state of oneself, in which oneself is that?
In the second sentence of this verse, ‘நான் உதிக்கும் தானம் அதை நாடாமல், நான் உதியா தன் இழப்பை சார்வது எவன்?’ (nāṉ udikkum thāṉam-adai nāḍāmal, nāṉ udiyā taṉ-ṉ-iṙappai sārvadu evaṉ?), ‘Without investigating the place where ‘I’ rises, how to reach the annihilation of oneself, in which ‘I’ does not rise?’, he clearly implied that we cannot eradicate ego except by investigating our real nature, which is the ‘place’ or source from which we rise as ego. The reason for this is that ego is nothing but a false self-awareness, an awareness of ourself as something other than what we actually are, so it can be eradicated only by awareness of ourself as we actually are, and in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are, we need to investigate ourself by being so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself.

Since Bhagavan taught us that self-investigation is necessary, that means that nothing else is sufficient, and since he taught us that it is sufficient, that means that nothing else is necessary, so these teachings of his give no room whatsoever for anyone to conclude that anything in addition to self-investigation, such as sitting ‘in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in’, is required, let alone that any such addition is ‘the only way to really reach somewhere’. To make such claims is to call into question the efficacy of simple self-investigation, because it amounts to claiming that unaided self-investigation is inadequate, which is quite contrary to what Bhagavan taught us in the first two sentences of the eighth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
மனம் அடங்குவதற்கு விசாரணையைத் தவிர வேறு தகுந்த உபாயங்களில்லை. மற்ற உபாயங்களினால் அடக்கினால் மனம் அடங்கினாற்போ லிருந்து, மறுபடியும் கிளம்பிவிடும்.

maṉam aḍaṅguvadaṟku vicāraṇaiyai-t tavira vēṟu tahunda upāyaṅgaḷ-illai. maṯṟa upāyaṅgaḷiṉāl aḍakkiṉāl maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl-pōl irundu, maṟupaḍiyum kiḷambi-viḍum.

For the mind to cease [settle, subside, yield, be subdued, be still or disappear], except vicāraṇā [self-investigation] there are no other adequate means. If made to cease [subside or disappear] by other means, the mind remaining [for a while] as if it had ceased, will again rise up [sprout, emerge or start].
Therefore it is not necessary for us to ‘sit in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in’, and whatever we may achieve by doing so would not be annihilation of mind (manōnāśa), because even if it resulted in complete subsidence of our mind, that would only be a temporary dissolution of mind (manōlaya), since our mind would sooner or later rise again and wander about under the sway of its vāsanās (as he says in a subsequent sentence of this eighth paragraph). Therefore to claim that ‘the only way to really reach somewhere is to sit in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in’ is quite contrary to these basic teachings of Bhagavan.

2. The only result we should expect from our practice of self-investigation is purification of mind culminating in eradication of ego

You say that David ‘claims that there are some results only at first and that from then on it is as if one got stuck’, but what ‘results’ should we be expecting or looking for? We investigate ourself in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are, and the result of being aware of ourself as we actually are is eradication of ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’, so the ultimate result we should expect from our practice of self-investigation is only eradication of ego. However, when this result is achieved, we as ego will no longer be there, so it cannot even be said that we have achieved it. What will remain is only our real nature, which is pure awareness, and which, being immutable, always remains as it is and therefore never achieves anything.

Therefore, as Bhagavan often said, ātma-jñāna (true self-knowledge) is not a knowledge that can ever be newly achieved, because it is pure self-awareness, which is ever present, being our real nature, and hence the sole reality that underlies and supports the false appearance of ourself as ego. Therefore what is called the attainment of ātma-jñāna is not actually an attainment but only the loss of ego and all its effects, namely phenomena.

Other than our fundamental awareness ‘I am’, which in its pure state is what is called ātma-jñāna, whatever we as ego may experience is unreal, so no result other than eradication of ourself as ego is real. As Bhagavan says in verse 35 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
சித்தமா யுள்பொருளைத் தேர்ந்திருத்தல் சித்திபிற
சித்தியெலாஞ் சொப்பனமார் சித்திகளே — நித்திரைவிட்
டோர்ந்தா லவைமெய்யோ வுண்மைநிலை நின்றுபொய்ம்மை
தீர்ந்தார் தியங்குவரோ தேர்.

siddhamā yuḷporuḷait tērndiruttal sidddipiṟa
siddhiyelāñ soppaṉamār siddhikaḷē — niddiraiviṭ
ṭōrndā lavaimeyyō vuṇmainilai niṉḏṟupoymmai
tīrndār tiyaṅguvarō tēr
.

பதச்சேதம்: சித்தமாய் உள் பொருளை தேர்ந்து இருத்தல் சித்தி. பிற சித்தி எலாம் சொப்பனம் ஆர் சித்திகளே; நித்திரை விட்டு ஓர்ந்தால், அவை மெய்யோ? உண்மை நிலை நின்று பொய்ம்மை தீர்ந்தார் தியங்குவரோ? தேர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): siddhamāy uḷ poruḷai tērndu iruttal siddhi. piṟa siddhi elām soppaṉam ār siddhigaḷ-ē; niddirai viṭṭu ōrndāl, avai meyyō? uṇmai nilai niṉḏṟu poymmai tīrndār tiyaṅguvarō? tēr.

அன்வயம்: சித்தமாய் உள் பொருளை தேர்ந்து இருத்தல் சித்தி. பிற சித்தி எலாம் சொப்பனம் ஆர் சித்திகளே; நித்திரை விட்டு ஓர்ந்தால், அவை மெய்யோ? உண்மை நிலை நின்று பொய்ம்மை தீர்ந்தார் தியங்குவரோ? தேர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): siddhamāy uḷ poruḷai tērndu iruttal siddhi. piṟa siddhi elām soppaṉam ār siddhigaḷ-ē; niddirai viṭṭu ōrndāl, avai meyyō? uṇmai nilai niṉḏṟu poymmai tīrndār tiyaṅguvarō? tēr.

English translation: Being knowing the substance, which exists as accomplished, is accomplishment. All other accomplishments are just accomplishments achieved in dream; if one wakes up leaving sleep, are they real? Will those who, standing in the real state, have left unreality be deluded? Know.

Explanatory paraphrase: Being [as one actually is] knowing poruḷ [the one real substance, which is oneself], which exists as siddham [what is always accomplished], is [real] siddhi [accomplishment]. All other siddhis [such as the aṣṭa-siddhis, eight kinds of paranormal powers that some people try to achieve by meditation or other yōga practices] are just siddhis achieved [or experienced] in dream; if one wakes up leaving [this] sleep [of self-ignorance], are they real? Will those who, standing [firmly] in the real state [of pure self-awareness], have left unreality [or illusion, namely the unreal states of waking and dream] be deluded [by such unreal siddhis]? Know.
Why then should we delude ourself by seeking any results or accomplishments other than eradication of ourself as ego? Even if we could experience wonderful phenomena of one kind or another (such as divine visions, an ecstatic or profoundly peaceful state of mind, some kind of samādhi or any kind of supernatural power) as a result of our practice of self-investigation, none of those phenomena would be real, so why should we value them in any way, and why should we feel that we are lacking anything worthwhile if we do not experience any of them?

However, though the ultimate result of self-investigation is only eradication of ourself as ego, in order to succeed in eradicating ourself we must be willing to surrender ourself entirely, and we will be willing to surrender ourself only to the extent that we have given up all our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes and fears for anything other than our real nature. So how are we to give up such outward-driving elements of our will? In other words, how can we succeed in surrendering our will to the will of Bhagavan? The most effective means is self-investigation, because every time we choose to turn our attention back towards ourself and hence away from all other things, we are thereby strengthening our love to be aware of ourself as we actually are and weakening our desire to be aware of anything else.

The outward-driving elements of our will are what are called citta-mala, the dirt or impurities in our mind or will, and the removal of such elements is called citta-śuddhi, the cleansing or purification of our mind or will. Such purification will eventually culminate in eradication of ego, because as ego we are the root of all impurities, and we depend on our impurities (our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes and fears for anything other than our real nature) for our survival as ego, since they are what drive us to cling to things other than our fundamental awareness ‘I am’. Therefore only when our mind is sufficiently purified will we be willing to surrender ourself entirely by turning our attention back towards ourself so keenly that we cease to be aware of anything other ourself.

Until ego is eradicated entirely, therefore, purification of our mind is the only result we should expect from our practice of self-investigation. But can we measure or even perceive the purification of our mind? We certainly cannot measure or even estimate the extent to which our mind has been purified, because our impurities exist deep within our heart as seeds called viṣaya-vāsanās (propensities, inclinations or desires to experience viṣayas: phenomena or anything other than oneself), so we are aware of them only when they rise to the surface of our mind in the form of likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on, and hence we cannot know to what extent they have been eradicated from our heart.

This does not mean that we cannot perceive any indications that our mind is being purified, but only that we cannot measure the extent to which it has been purified. Purification is indicated only by bhakti, which in this context means love to be aware of ourself as we actually are, and vairāgya, which means freedom from desire to be aware of anything other than ourself. As Bhagavan said in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘அன்னியத்தை நாடாதிருத்தல் வைராக்கியம் அல்லது நிராசை’ (aṉṉiyattai nāḍādiruttal vairāggiyam alladu nirāśai), ‘Not attending to anything other [than oneself] is vairāgya [dispassion or detachment] or nirāśā [desirelessness]’, so bhakti is indicated by our liking to be self-attentive and vairāgya is indicated by our disinclination to attend to anything else.

This is why Bhagavan sometimes said that perseverance is the only reliable sign of progress on this path, because we will patiently persevere in our practice of self-investigation and self-surrender to the extent that we genuinely love to be self-attentive and are disinclined to attend to anything else. Conversely, the extent to which we are concerned about anything other than just knowing and being what we actually are indicates the extent to which we lack the required bhakti and vairāgya, but if we persist in trying to be self-attentive as much as possible, our liking to be self-attentive and disinterest in anything else will gradually increase.

However, though we may sometimes notice that our liking to be self-attentive and our attitude of surrender have increased, and that we are now consequently less concerned about or disturbed by things that would previously have concerned or disturbed us, at other times it may seem that the opposite is the case, but this does not mean that we are no longer making progress in our practice, because we can perceive only what is happening on the surface of our mind and not what is happening deep in our heart. Self-investigation and self-surrender are a process of purification, and as a result of this process dirt that we were previously unaware of is brought up to the surface of our mind, just as we may be able to see how much dirt there is in a coloured cloth only when we begin to wash it and see how dirty the water becomes as a result. As Bhagavan used to say, unless the dirt that is inside comes out, we cannot get rid of it.

We all have demons lurking within us in the form of our viṣaya-vāsanās, and these will all sooner or later be brought to the surface of our mind as a result of our practice of self-investigation and self-surrender. Every time one or more of them are brought to the surface, we are faced with a choice: either we can allow ourself to be carried away by them, or we can ignore them by turning our attention back towards ourself, the source from which they have risen. If we choose to turn our attention back towards ourself, we are thereby strengthening our love to be self-attentive and weakening our inclination to allow ourself to be swayed by whatever viṣaya-vāsanās may rise to the surface. This is how we gradually weaken the hold of our viṣaya-vāsanās by means of self-investigation and self-surrender.

Sometimes we are able to cope in this way with whatever viṣaya-vāsanās rise, but at other times they rise with such intensity that we are carried away by them. Therefore the process of purification by means of self-investigation and self-surrender is somewhat like a small child learning to walk. At times the child may be able to walk more or less steadily for a while, but sooner or later it will fall again. However, no matter how many times it may fall, it will stand and try again, so its falling is part of the process of learning. Likewise, when practising self-investigation and self-surrender we may be more or less steady for a while, but sooner or later our viṣaya-vāsanās will overwhelm us again, so whenever this happens we need to persevere patiently in our attempts to be self-attentive and thereby to surrender ourself.

By teaching us this path of self-investigation and self-surrender, Bhagavan has shown us the direction in which we must travel in order to reach our destination, so all we need do now is to travel in the direction he has shown us, no matter what obstacles and difficulties we may face along the way. We cannot know how far away our destination is, but we do know the direction in which we should travel, so whatever results may or may not be experienced along the way, we need to be indifferent to all of them and to continue patiently travelling in the right direction by turning back to face ourself, thereby renouncing our interest in all other things.

As Bhagavan used to say, not even the slightest effort made in this path of self-investigation will go in vain, so even if it seems, as you say David claims, that ‘there are some results only at first and that from then on it is as if one got stuck’, we should not allow ourself to be deceived by such appearances. Whether we experience any results or not should not be our concern, because our only aim should be to investigate and find out what we actually are. Other than pure awareness, which is always shining clearly within us as our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’, all experiences are only for ego, so if we want to eradicate ego, we must be indifferent to all experiences.

Let any experiences come or go. To whom do they come and from whom do they go? In whose view do they appear and disappear? In whose view do they seem real? This is what we need to investigate. Therefore expecting or looking for any results is just a distraction from our real purpose, which is only to investigate ourself and thereby eradicate ego, the experiencer of any results.

Bhagavan has presented his teachings to us in a logically coherent manner based upon robust premises drawn from a deep and incisive analysis of our own experience, so we have very strong grounds to believe and trust them. Moreover, those of us who powerfully drawn to his teachings trust them not only because of their appeal to our intellect but also because of their appeal to our heart. Therefore if we trust what he taught us about the efficacy of self-investigation, we will not be perturbed by any seeming lack of results, and we will not conclude that we have got stuck just because we are not experiencing any results, because he taught us in so many ways that if we persevere in our practice of self-investigation we will certain succeed. For example, in the twelfth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he wrote:
கடவுளும் குருவும் உண்மையில் வேறல்லர். புலிவாயிற் பட்டது எவ்வாறு திரும்பாதோ, அவ்வாறே குருவினருட்பார்வையிற் பட்டவர்கள் அவரால் ரக்ஷிக்கப்படுவரே யன்றி யொருக்காலும் கைவிடப்படார்; எனினும், குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்.

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

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the look [or glance] of guru’s grace will never be forsaken but will surely be saved by him; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown.
Therefore all we need do is to follow unfailingly the path he has shown us, namely the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and without ever wavering in our trust in the efficacy of this path we should leave everything else to his care, knowing that he will never forsake us.

3. What we are seeking can be found only within ourself and cannot be given by anyone else

What we are seeking is just to be aware of ourself as we actually are, so we cannot find this in anything outside ourself. As Bhagavan says in the sixteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
மனத்தை யடக்குவதற்குத் தன்னை யாரென்று விசாரிக்க வேண்டுமே யல்லாமல் எப்படி நூல்களில் விசாரிப்பது? தன்னைத் தன்னுடைய ஞானக்கண்ணாற்றானே யறிய வேண்டும். ராமன் தன்னை ராமனென்றறியக் கண்ணாடி வேண்டுமா? ‘தான்’ பஞ்ச கோசங்களுக்குள் ளிருப்பது; நூல்களோ அவற்றிற்கு வெளியி லிருப்பவை. ஆகையால், பஞ்ச கோசங்களையும் நீக்கி விசாரிக்க வேண்டிய தன்னை நூல்களில் விசாரிப்பது வீணே.

maṉattai y-aḍakkuvadaṟku-t taṉṉai yār eṉḏṟu vicārikka vēṇḍum-ē y-allāmal eppaḍi nūlgaḷil vicārippadu? taṉṉai-t taṉṉuḍaiya ñāṉa-k-kaṇṇāl-tāṉ-ē y-aṟiya vēṇḍum. rāmaṉ taṉṉai rāmaṉ-eṉḏṟaṟiya-k kaṇṇāḍi vēṇḍum-ā? ‘tāṉ’ pañca kōśaṅgaḷukkuḷ ḷ-iruppadu; nūlgaḷ-ō avaṯṟiṟku veḷiyil iruppavai. āhaiyāl, pañca kōśaṅgaḷai-y-um nīkki vicārikka vēṇḍiya taṉṉai nūlgaḷil vicārippadu vīṇē.

For making the mind cease it is necessary to investigate oneself [to see] who [one actually is], [but] instead [of doing so] how [can one see oneself by] investigating in texts? It is necessary to know oneself only by one’s own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness]. Does [a person called] Raman need a mirror to know himself as Raman? ‘Oneself’ is within the pañca-kōśas [the ‘five sheaths’ that seem to cover and obscure what one actually is, namely the physical body, life, mind, intellect and will]; whereas texts are outside them. Therefore, investigating in texts [in order to know] oneself, whom it is necessary to investigate [by turning one’s attention within and thereby] setting aside [excluding, removing, giving up or separating from] all the pañca-kōśas, is useless.
What he says here about texts (by which term he means spiritual or philosophical texts) is equally true about any person whom we take to be an ātma-jñāni or ‘realized being’. Like spiritual texts, any such person is outside the five sheaths and is perceived by us through the five senses, which belong to the five sheaths, and since the five sheaths are what we now mistake ourself to be, in order to investigate and know what we actually are we need to set them aside by excluding them from our awareness, so we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are until we let go of the five sheaths and everything perceived through them.

Because we mistake ourself to be a person consisting of five sheaths (body, life, mind, intellect and will), the ātma-jñāni seems to us to be likewise, but that is not what the ātma-jñāni actually is. As Bhagavan used to say, ‘ஞானமே ஞானி’ (ñāṉam-ē ñāṉi), ‘jñāna alone is the jñāni’. In this context jñāna means ātma-jñāna or pure self-awareness, and jñāni means ātma-jñāni, the knower of pure awareness, so by saying that jñāna alone is the jñāni Bhagavan is pointing out that pure self-awareness is known only by itself, so the ātma-jñāni is nothing other than pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna).

Therefore when we see the ātma-jñāni as a person, we are not seeing it as it actually is. In order to see it as it actually is, we need to be it, as Bhagavan implies in verse 26 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
தானா யிருத்தலே தன்னை யறிதலாந்
தானிரண் டற்றதா லுந்தீபற
     தன்மய நிட்டையீ துந்தீபற.

tāṉā yiruttalē taṉṉai yaṟidalān
tāṉiraṇ ḍaṯṟadā lundīpaṟa
     taṉmaya niṭṭhaiyī dundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: தானாய் இருத்தலே தன்னை அறிதல் ஆம், தான் இரண்டு அற்றதால். தன்மய நிட்டை ஈது.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): tāṉ-āy iruttal-ē taṉṉai aṟidal ām, tāṉ iraṇḍu aṯṟadāl. taṉmaya niṭṭhai īdu.

அன்வயம்: தான் இரண்டு அற்றதால், தானாய் இருத்தலே தன்னை அறிதல் ஆம். ஈது தன்மய நிட்டை.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): tāṉ iraṇḍu aṯṟadāl, tāṉ-āy iruttal-ē taṉṉai aṟidal ām. īdu taṉmaya niṭṭhai.

English translation: Being oneself alone is knowing oneself, because oneself is not two. This is tanmaya-niṣṭha [the state of being firmly established as tat, ‘it’ or ‘that’, the one absolute reality called brahman].
Only by being ātma-jñāna can we know ātma-jñāna, because ātma-jñāna is not anything other than ourself, and therefore cannot be known as anything other than ourself. This is why Bhagavan sometimes said, particularly if anyone asked him whether a certain person was an ātma-jñāni, ‘There is only one ātma-jñāni, and you are that’. In this way he always turned the attention of any questioner back towards himself or herself, away from all others, because what we need to investigate and know is only ourself and not anything else.

The ātma-jñāni is ātma-jñāna, which is ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of ourself, so we need to seek it within ourself and not anywhere outside. The reason why ātma-jñāna may sometimes appear outside in human form, such as the human form of Bhagavan, is only because we are habituated to facing outwards, so our own real nature needs to appear outside in human form in order to teach us that the infinite happiness we are all seeking is our real nature and therefore cannot be found anywhere except within ourself.

Therefore the ātma-jñāni in human form will not say, ‘Come to me. I will give you ātma-jñāna’, but will instead say, ‘You yourself are the ātma-jñāna you are seeking, so turn back within to find it inside yourself’. We cannot find ātma-jñāna merely by sitting in the presence of any person whom we believe to be an ātma-jñāni, but only by following Bhagavan’s advice and seeking it deep within ourself.

This is beautifully illustrated by what he once said to a devotee called Janaki Mata. One day while she was visiting the ashram she saw him returning from the cow-shed, and since there were not many other people around she approached him, prostrated and held his feet, placing her forehead upon them. He looked down at her with a gentle smile and asked her what she was doing. ‘I am holding the feet of my guru’, she replied, to which he replied: ‘How can these be the feet of your guru? This body is perishable, and these feet will perish with it. The real feet of guru are imperishable. They are shining within you as ‘I’. Cling to those feet. They alone will save you’.

If ‘the only way to really reach somewhere is to sit in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in’, as you say David claims, it would not have been necessary for Bhagavan to reply to Janaki Mata as he did, because he could have just transmitted something and thereby made her experience the state he is in. He replied as he did because he is our own real nature and is therefore always shining within us as our own fundamental awareness, ‘I am’, and as such he is already giving us all the help we require in order to know ourself. All that is now required is for us to turn back within to see what we actually are, as he taught us in the verse Aruṇācalaramaṇaṉ (which is the Tamil version of a verse he wrote in reply to a devotee who wrote a verse in Malayalam asking him to say whether Bhagavan Muni Ramana is Hari (Vishnu), Sivaguru (Subrahmanya), Vararuci or Yativara (Siva)):
அரியாதியி தரசீவர தகவாரிச குகையில்
லறிவாய்ரமி பரமாத்தும னருணாசல ரமணன்
பரிவாலுள முருகாநல பரனார்ந்திடு குகையார்ந்
தறிவாம்விழி திறவாநிச மறிவாயது வெளியாம்.

ariyādiyi tarajīvara dahavārija guhaiyil
laṟivāyrami paramāttuma ṉaruṇācala ramaṇaṉ
parivāluḷa murugānala paraṉārndiḍu guhaiyārn
daṟivāmviṙi tiṟavānija maṟivāyadu veḷiyām
.

பதச்சேதம்: அரி ஆதி இதர சீவரது அக வாரிச குகையில் அறிவாய் ரமி பரமாத்துமன் அருணாசலரமணன். பரிவால் உளம் உருகா, நல பரன் ஆர்ந்திடு குகை ஆர்ந்து, அறிவு ஆம் விழி திறவா, நிசம் அறிவாய்; அது வெளி ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ari ādi itara jīvaradu aha-vārija guhaiyil aṟivāy rami paramāttumaṉ aruṇācalaramaṇaṉ. parivāl uḷam uruhā, nala paraṉ ārndiḍu guhai ārndu, aṟivu ām viṙi tiṟavā, nijam aṟivāy; adu veḷi ām.

அன்வயம்: அருணாசலரமணன் அரி ஆதி இதர சீவரது அக வாரிச குகையில் அறிவாய் ரமி பரமாத்துமன். பரிவால் உளம் உருகா, நல பரன் ஆர்ந்திடு குகை ஆர்ந்து, அறிவு ஆம் விழி திறவா, நிசம் அறிவாய்; அது வெளி ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aruṇācalaramaṇaṉ ari ādi itara jīvaradu aha-vārija guhaiyil aṟivāy rami paramāttumaṉ. parivāl uḷam uruhā, nala paraṉ ārndiḍu guhai ārndu, aṟivu ām viṙi tiṟavā, nijam aṟivāy; adu veḷi ām.

English translation: Aruṇācalaramaṇa is paramātman [the supreme spirit or ultimate self] rejoicing as awareness in the cave of the heart-lotus of [all] different jīvas [life-forms] beginning with Hari [Viṣṇu]. Heart melting with love, reaching the cave where the sublime supreme dwells, the eye that is awareness opening, you will [thereby] know what is innate [your own real nature, the indwelling Aruṇācalaramaṇa]; [because] it will come out [meaning it will reveal itself].
Bhagavan is our own real nature, which is always shining in our heart as pure awareness, so we can know him as he actually is only by turning back within with heart-melting love and thereby subsiding deep within and losing ourself in him. This is what all his teachings prompt us to do, and since he is dwelling in our heart as our real nature, by his power of grace he is drawing our mind within, so all we need do is yield ourself to his grace by being calmly and steadily self-attentive, as he says in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம்.

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

Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is completely fixed in and as oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [‘thought of oneself’, self-contemplation or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God.
The onus is therefore on us to follow the path that Bhagavan has shown us, and no one else can give us any more help than he is already giving us. All the external help we need is available to us in the form of his teachings, which constantly and consistently direct us to turn back within to attend to ourself alone and thereby give not even the slightest room to the rising of any other thought, and all the subtle internal help we need is always being given to us by him from within in ways that we cannot comprehend.

If anyone believes that the help that Bhagavan is giving us directly in our heart is in some way insufficient and that being in the physical presence of an ātma-jñāni is therefore necessary in order to enable us to investigate ourself and thereby be aware of ourself as we actually are, they have obviously not understood or are unwilling to accept his teaching that he is not the person that he seemed to be but is only that which shines as pure awareness in the heart of each one of us. Therefore we each have to decide for ourself whether we are willing to place all our trust in him, believing that he can and certainly will give us all the help we require, or whether we cannot trust him to do so and therefore need to place our trust in the supposed power of the physical presence of some other person whom we believe to be an ātma-jñāni.

If being in the physical presence of an ātma-jñāni were sufficient to make us experience the state of ātma-jñāna, everyone who lived in the presence of Bhagavan, particularly those who lived with him for many years, should have attained that state, but this was clearly not the case, as Bhagavan himself implied in verse 152 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai:
விளக்கடிக்கே நின்று விலகா விருள்போல்
அளக்கருஞா னாசா னடிக்கே — துளக்கமறக்
காத்துமகங் காரமயற் காரிருள்போ காதுடலம்
மூத்துவிளிந் தாலூழ் முறை.

viḷakkaḍikkē niṉḏṟu vilahā viruḷpōl
aḷakkaruñā ṉācā ṉaḍikkē — tuḷakkamaṟak
kāttumahaṅ kāramayaṟ kāriruḷpō hāduḍalam
mūttuviḷin dālūṙ muṟai
.

பதச்சேதம்: விளக்கு அடிக்கே நின்று விலகா இருள் போல், அளக்கரு ஞான ஆசான் அடிக்கே துளக்கம் அற காத்தும் அகங்கார மயல் கார் இருள் போகாது உடலம் மூத்து விளிந்தால், ஊழ் முறை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viḷakku aḍikkē niṉḏṟu vilahā iruḷ pōl, aḷakkaru ñāṉa ācāṉ aḍikkē tuḷakkam aṟa kāttum ahaṅkāra mayal kār iruḷ pōhādu uḍalam mūttu viḷindāl, ūṙ muṟai.

English translation: If some die, [their] body having grown old without the dense darkness of ego-delusion departing, in spite of waiting without moving at the feet of the limitless jñānācārya, like the unleaving darkness standing at the foot of a lamp, [that is] on account of [their] age-old disposition [or level of maturity].
In his explanatory paraphrase of this verse (a somewhat free translation of which is given instead of a translation of the actual verse in the English version of Guru Vachaka Kovai edited by David Godman) Muruganar expresses the implication of this verse by saying that just as the darkness surrounding a lamp is removed by its light, whereas only the darkness standing at its foot is not removed by it, disciples who remain far away attain salvation by worshipping by mind (or heart) the infinite jñāna-guru, whereas some others, who physically remain at his feet like his shadow without moving away, become old and wither away without thereby having their ego removed and being established in jñāna. He also explains in a brief comment on this verse that the phrase ‘அளக்கரு ஞானாசான்’ (aḷakkaru ñāṉācāṉ), ‘the limitless jñānācārya’, implies that the jñāna-guru, who is the ātma-sūrya (the sun of self), which by its very nature (svarūpa) removes the darkness of ego, is not limited by either space or time, because he is actually cidākāśa (the space of pure awareness), which is devoid of rising and setting.

According to Muruganar, therefore, this verse implies that merely living for many years in the physical presence of the jñāna-guru is not sufficient to remove ego unless one has sufficient spiritual maturity, and that even if we are far away from his physical presence, whether in time or in space, we can attain salvation by adoring him in our heart, because that is where he shines eternally in his true form (svarūpa), namely as the ever-unsetting sun of pure self-awareness. Therefore it is only by turning our mind back within and lovingly attending to him in our heart as our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’, that we can truly be in his presence or ‘sit in front of him’.

4. We do not need anything to be transmitted to us, because all that we need already exists within us

You say that David claims that ‘the only way to really reach somewhere is to sit in front of some realized being able of transmitting and making you to experience the state this being is in’, and though I do not know whether he would express his belief in quite these terms, I have the impression from what I have read or heard him say that you are correct in saying that he believes that through his or her physical presence an ātma-jñāni can transmit something (presumably some kind or power) that enables us to investigate and know ourself. However, believing that anything can or needs to be transmitted to us from outside shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of reality.

Nothing real exists outside ourself. What is real is only pure awareness, which is our own nature (ātma-svarūpa), as Bhagavan says in the first sentence of verse 13 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘ஞானம் ஆம் தானே மெய்’ (ñāṉam ām tāṉē mey), ‘Oneself, who is jñāna [pure awareness], alone is real’. Nothing other than oneself, and hence nothing outside of oneself, is real. Even the very awareness of anything other than oneself is unreal, being just ignorance, not real awareness, as he says in the next two sentences of this verse: ‘நானா ஆம் ஞானம் அஞ்ஞானம் ஆம். பொய் ஆம் அஞ்ஞானமுமே ஞானம் ஆம் தன்னை அன்றி இன்று’ (nāṉā ām ñāṉam aññāṉam ām. poy ām aññāṉamumē ñāṉam ām taṉṉai aṉḏṟi iṉḏṟu), ‘Awareness that is manifold [that is, awareness that sees the one reality as many things, namely a subject and numerous objects] is ignorance. Even ignorance, which is unreal, does not exist except as oneself, who is awareness’.

Nothing need be transmitted to us, because all that we need already exists within us. What we need is to be aware only of ourself, because we alone are real, and the self-awareness we need always exists within us as our real nature (svarūpa). In order to be aware of ourself as we actually are we need to be aware of ourself alone, in complete isolation from everything else, and in order to be aware of ourself alone what we need is not to obtain anything from outside but to get rid everything other than ourself, and we can get rid of everything else only by being so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself. Then only will we be free of ignorance and its root, namely ego.

Even if we believe that some kind of transmission is necessary, we should surely consider the power of whatever transmitter we choose to reply upon. If a transmitter can transmit only to those who sit in front of him or her and only when they do so, he or she is a pretty weak transmitter. If a transmitter were actually necessary, surely it would be best for us to choose one whose power of transmission is not in any way limited by either time or space. Such a transmitter is Bhagavan, but his ‘transmission’ is really no transmission at all, because he exists within us as our own self at all times, in all places and in all states, so there is no time, place or state other than himself to which he could transmit anything, as he implies beautifully in verse 18 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:
கீழ்மே லெங்குங் கிளரொளி மணியென்
      கீழ்மையைப் பாழ்செய் யருணாசலா

kīṙmē leṅguṅ kiḷaroḷi maṇiyeṉ
      kīṙmaiyaip pāṙcey yaruṇācalā


பதச்சேதம்: கீழ் மேல் எங்கும் கிளர் ஒளி மணி, என் கீழ்மையை பாழ் செய் அருணாசலா.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): kīṙ mēl eṅgum kiḷar oḷi maṇi, eṉ kīṙmaiyai pāṙ sey aruṇācalā.

English translation: Arunachala, gem of light that shines below, above and everywhere, annihilate my lowness.

Explanatory paraphrase: Arunachala, gem of light [of pure self-awareness] that shines below, above and everywhere [that is, who shines within me at all times and in all states, whether my mind is in a low state of impurity and immaturity or an elevated state of purity and maturity], annihilate my baseness [the darkness of my self-ignorance].
‘கீழ் மேல் எங்கும்’ (kīṙ mēl eṅgum) literally means ‘below, above and everywhere’, because Arunachala, and hence by implication Bhagavan, is pure awareness, which is omnipresent, being the one real substance (poruḷ or vastu), and hence in no way limited or confined within any point in time or place, but in this context these terms imply a deeper metaphorical meaning, namely in all states of mind, both high and low. That is, ‘கீழ்’ (kīṙ), ‘below’, implies a state of lowness in which the mind is impure and hence immature; ‘மேல்’ (mēl), ‘above’, implies a state of elevation in which the mind is pure and hence mature; and ‘எங்கும்’ (eṅgum), ‘everywhere’, implies all states, from the very lowest to the highest.

Wherever we may be in time or space, and whatever may be the state of our mind, Bhagavan is the ‘ஒளி மணி’ (oḷi maṇi) or ‘gem of light’, meaning the light of pure awareness that is always shining in our heart as ‘I’, so by his merely being as he is he will annihilate our lowness (namely ego, the darkness of self-ignorance) whenever we are willing to surrender ourself entirely to him. Therefore to succeed in this path of self-investigation what we need is not any kind of transmission but only complete submission. That is, we do not need anything to be transmitted to us from anywhere outside ourself, but only need to submit ourself completely to our own real nature, which is the gem of light always shining clearly within ourself as ourself.

5. Āṉma-Viddai verse 5: grace is also necessary, but it is already inside us, so it is always available to us if we have sufficient love to surrender ourself to it

Some may object to this, asking whether it is not true that we need grace. Yes, we certainly need grace, as Bhagavan says unequivocally in the final verse of Āṉma-Viddai, ‘அருளும் வேணுமே’ (aruḷum vēṇumē), ‘Grace is also necessary’, but what is grace? Is it something that descends from heaven, or that is transmitted to us by some other person? If it could come from anywhere outside ourself, it would be other than ourself and hence not real. Therefore anything that comes to us from outside is not the kind of grace that Bhagavan refers to when he says that grace is necessary.

When he says it is necessary, he implies that it is real, and since he says that what is real is only ourself, grace cannot be anything other than ourself, as he often confirmed. It is our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), because our real nature is infinite love, and grace is nothing but the infinite love that we as we actually are have for ourself as we actually are. That infinite love is the real nature of Bhagavan, and since he is infinite, he sees nothing as other than himself, and hence he loves us as himself. This infinite love that he has for us is what we experience as his grace.

His infinite love is certainly necessary, because without it where would we be? His love is what has drawn us to him and his teachings, because he has sown the seed of love in our heart. His grace is never absent and never lacking, but to avail ourself of it we need to surrender ourself to it. To the extent that we surrender ourself to his love we derive the benefit of it, and we surrender ourself only to the extent that we love to lose ourself in him. Therefore in the next sentence of this final verse of Āṉma-Viddai he says: ‘அன்பு பூணுமே’ (aṉbu pūṇumē), ‘Be adorned with [or bound by] love’.

So what will result if we adorn ourself with all-consuming love to surrender ourself entirely to him? He answers this in the next and final sentence: ‘இன்பு தோணுமே’ (iṉbu tōṇumē), ‘Happiness will [then] appear’. Why will happiness appear? Because it is our real nature, and hence it is obscured from our view only by our rising as ego, so when we as ego melt with love and thereby dissolve forever in him, what will remain is only infinite happiness.

Grace, love and happiness are all our own real nature, so they are one and indivisible, and they can be found only within ourself. Nothing and no one other than ourself can give us the grace, love and happiness that we seek, because they are ours already, and have always been ours. We seem to have been separated from them only because we have been looking outside, away from ourself. Therefore let us now finally give up seeking anything outside ourself, and instead follow the path that Bhagavan has shown us, as expressed by him beautifully in verse 44 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:
திரும்பி யகந்தனைத் தினமகக் கண்காண்
      டெரியுமென் றனையென் னருணாசலா

tirumbi yahandaṉaid diṉamahak kaṇkāṇ
      ṭeriyumeṉ ḏṟaṉaiyeṉ ṉaruṇācalā


பதச்சேதம்: ‘திரும்பி அகம் தனை தினம் அகக்கண் காண்; தெரியும்’ என்றனை என் அருணாசலா

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘tirumbi aham taṉai diṉam aha-k-kaṇ kāṇ; ṭeriyum’ eṉḏṟaṉai eṉ aruṇācalā

அன்வயம்: அருணாசலா, ‘அகம் திரும்பி, தினம் அகக்கண் தனை காண்; தெரியும்’ என்றனை. என்!

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aruṇācalā, ‘aham tirumbi, diṉam aha-k-kaṇ taṉai kāṇ; ṭeriyum’ eṉḏṟaṉai. eṉ!

English translation:: Arunachala, what [a wonder]! You said: ‘Turning back inside, see yourself daily with the inner eye [or an inward look]; it [the reality that always shines as ‘I alone am I’] will be known’.
This verse is not only a clear instruction about what we need to do, but is also firm assurance that if we do so we will certainly succeed. That is, if we persistently turn back within to see ourself with our inner eye of attention, what we seek to know will certainly be known, and by knowing it we, this ego who seek to know it, will be dissolved forever in our real nature, which is pure awareness and which is therefore always clearly aware of itself as ‘I am only I’, or as he expressed it in the previous verse, as ‘தானே தானே’ (tāṉē tāṉē), ‘oneself is only oneself’.

This path of self-investigation and self-surrender that Bhagavan taught us is the true path of love (bhakti). Love is the path, and love is our goal. Therefore, with wholehearted trust in his infinite grace, let us follow this path without deluding ourself by supposing that in order to turn back within we need help from anyone outside ourself.

351 comments:

1 – 200 of 351   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael. I still am confused. Hope you can answer my questions.

1. If we are already acting based on destiny, which means we are already experiencing results of our tendencies, and if by self enquiry , assuming tendencies get eliminated, can our destined life take a different direction and change? The answer is no, because it would make Bhagavan’s statement about destiny invalid.

Reason I am saying this is:

Tendencies, even though it comes to the surface, I feel it cannot be completely eliminated until we eliminate the wrong assumption ‘I am the body’. Tendencies seems to be very much tied and connected to the false assumption we have made ( I am body idea). So via our self enquiry process, we may stop running after external pleasures , which would not automatically imply that our tendencies have been eliminated.

Tendencies and the ‘I am body’ idea are indeed one and same is what I feel. The fear, dissatisfaction, anger, evil feelings and good feelings are all part of ‘I am body’ idea and hence will get eliminated only when ego gets destroyed.

So the conclusion is: we should always try to look for real I which would automatically help us only avoid accumulating more tendencies. Not sure if inherent tendencies will get destroyed. Our identification with tendencies might get destroyed, but not the actual tendencies. Is that right?

Not sure if Bhagavan explicitly said anywhere that tendencies will go away during self enquiry.

It will be nice if you can respond to this confusion of mine.

Anonymous said...

And it will be nice if you can explain first verse of upadesa saram

Why is Bhagavan saying action is unconscious?

Who does he refer to when he says ‘will of creator’? Does creator mean Ego or Self?

Verse says

‘by will of creator action bears fruit. Is action then supreme? No, it is inert, unconscious’

AsunAparicio said...

Thanks so much for this article, Michael.

1.- “To make such claims is to call into question the efficacy of simple self-investigation.” Exactly. This is what amazed me, mainly coming from someone like D.G. No doubt he got those experiences but as you say “experiences are only for ego, so if we want to eradicate ego, we must be indifferent to all experiences.” Otherwise, we´ll be really stuck and, what is worse, creating a dependence and an addiction, looking always outside for the next self-realized one and attending to the second and third person.

2.- Bhagavan himself prays for purity and maturity, “Arunachala, gem of light [of pure self-awareness] that shines below, above and everywhere [that is, who shines within me at all times and in all states, whether my mind is in a low state of impurity and immaturity or an elevated state of purity and maturity], annihilate my baseness [the darkness of my self-ignorance].” Not for Self-Realization. Moreover, when he talks about the benefits of being near sages he refers to the elimination of vasanas and not to some kind of transmission of their state.

“Nothing need be transmitted to us, because all that we need already exists within us. What we need is to be aware only of ourself, because we alone are real, and the self-awareness we need always exists within us as our real nature (svarūpa).” And (I love this one):

“Therefore to succeed in this path of self-investigation what we need is not any kind of transmission but only complete submission.” M.J.

3.- I´v always loved the love for focusing on self-awareness. I hadn´t realized that it entails self-surrender till I read this blog´s articles. When I understood that all is a mental projection, self-surrender by itself became easier and therefore self-investigation which becomes mainly self-contemplation and self-surrender, freedom for enquiring. It´s as you use to say, like a snow ball.
When I heard this from D.G. I thought it might be because I´m in the first 18 months of serious practice which is the period of time he says that one gets results from any spiritual practice. No doubt that there are some periods darker than others but … at what month or year this understanding of the truths Bhagavan taught us can expire? When could the changes of perspective that take place be cancelled to take a step back to the old one? And what is there in understanding and self-investigation but love? A love depending on anybody nor anything. Why to forge new chains?

“This path of self-investigation and self-surrender that Bhagavan taught us is the true path of love (bhakti). Love is the path, and love is our goal. Therefore, with wholehearted trust in his infinite grace, let us follow this path without deluding ourself by supposing that in order to turn back within we need help from anyone outside ourself.” M.J.

I don´t know what video I watched because there are many and I was visiting his channel for several days, but as he uses to repeat this, he says something similar in this one (34:23 -36:53) :
https://youtu.be/Q70ANTuIxMc

I have read “The power of the presence I” by D.G. and I love it. I also like his videos and love how he tells things, he knows a lot. Just for the record. I´m living an ordinary, wordly life so, I can´t know how it is living the life he has lived and how it can influence and affect people but this statement, he seems to apply in a generalized manner, just amazed me.

Thanks again, Michael.

Sanjay Lohia said...

One God becomes many Gods; one self becomes many selves

When we allow our minds to go outwards, we create all this multiplicity. So one God becomes many Gods; one self becomes many selves. If you are a shaivite, Shiva is the supreme; if you are a vishnuite, Vishnu is the supreme. But there can be only one supreme, so Shiva and Vishnu are ultimately one and the same thing. They are different names and forms of the same reality, but the reality is not these names and forms. So ultimately everything has to resolve back into one.

In order for everything to resolve back into one, we need to find the starting point – the starting point from where it splits into so many things. What is the starting point? It is ego. What is this ego? No one has seen that. When we look for it disappears. So ultimately it is all mithya.

This way everything resolves back into one.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 23-04-2016

Sanjay Lohia said...

Thank you. Another gem of an article.

AsunAparicio said...

“Therefore to succeed in this path of self-investigation what we need is not any kind of transmission but only complete submission.” M.J.

Reason why I find this point to be so important is because when I heard or read about someone realizing self in the presence of Bhagavan I used to believe in some kind of magical transmission too, as if Bhagavan would do the whole work while truth is that these persons just completely surrendered ego in his presence. For this total surrender to be possible ego has to be ready and willing to surrender, otherwise, the presence of a sage only will help to eliminate some vasanas. As you have told us in other occasions, nor god nor the guru can act on their own accord regarding to this.
On the other hand, being ego willing to surrender, grace which isn´t but ourself, will act whether in some sage´s physical presence or not.

To me, these sages, in their physical form, are a living testimony of what we at first only can intuit and, in this sense, turning towards them is a great help but just because our own inner stream of pure awareness as well as the love for it, weak and clouded by vasanas or by neglecting self-attentiveness, get reinforced and it facilitates us to turn towards ourself. They are not different the outer and the inner.

A temporal suspension of thoughts obtained by external stimulus leads nowhere, actually.

Michael James said...

Anonymous, there are several ideas you express in your first comment that require clarification, so I can do justice to them only by writing a separate article, which I will try to do if I have time after finishing other pending work, but the answer to your remark ‘Not sure if Bhagavan explicitly said anywhere that tendencies will go away during self enquiry’ is that he did say so explicitly and unequivocally, particularly in the tenth and eleventh paragraphs of Nāṉ Ār? (there seems to be a problem accessing my website at the moment, which I have asked the hosting company to investigate and fix, so if you are not able to access these two paragraphs there, you can see translations of them here in this blog at tenth paragraph and eleventh paragraph).

I have discussed these two paragraphs in many other articles in this blog, as you can see from the following two Google searches: tenth paragraph and eleventh paragraph.

Michael James said...

Anonymous, regarding your second comment, under my translation of verse 1 of Upadēśa Undiyār (the Tamil original of Upadēśa Sāram) there are links to several places where I have explained and discussed its meaning, and I discussed it in most detail in a series of two articles: The karma theory as taught by Sri Ramana and Why did Sri Ramana teach a karma theory?.

The term Bhagavan uses to refer to God in the first sentence of this verse is ‘கர்த்தன்’ (karttaṉ) in Tamil and ‘कर्तृ’ (kartṛ) in Sanskrit, both of which mean doer, maker or agent, but in this context he does not use this term to refer to God in his supposed role as creator but in his role as the one who allots the fruit of karma.

He says that karma is jaḍa (non-aware) because neither action nor its fruit is aware of anything. What is aware of action and its fruit is ourself as ego, who are the one who does action and experiences its fruit.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, I fully agree when you say, ‘A temporal suspension of thoughts obtained by external stimulus leads nowhere, actually’. Regarding Bhagavan’s presence, we are always in Bhagavan’s presence, where else can we be? Since Bhagavan is omnipresent, we have no option but to be in his presence. So we can ‘realize’ ourself only in Bhagavan’s presence.

However, we feel that somehow Bhagavan’s bodily presence was something extraordinary. A long-time back, one devotee of Bhagavan introduced me to another devotee of Bhagavan by saying, ‘See, this is XYZ, and he was in Bhagavan’s presence at Tiruvannamalai’. He meant that this devotee was somehow more blessed than we are. We do not understand that there was nothing great in being in Bhagavan’s presence. Yes, his physical presence had value, but it was limited and enjoyed only by a select few. In contrast, we all can enjoy his eternal presence, if turn within to face ourself alone. He resides in the very core of our heart, as pure awareness. As Michael has quoted in this article when Bhagavan was asked who he actually was, he said the following:

Aruṇācalaramaṇa is paramātman [the supreme spirit or ultimate self] rejoicing as awareness in the cave of the heart-lotus of [all] different jīvas [life-forms] beginning with Hari [Viṣṇu]. Heart-melting with love, reaching the cave where the sublime supreme dwells, the eye that is awareness opening, you will [thereby] know what is innate [your own real nature, the indwelling Aruṇācalaramaṇa]; [because] it will come out [meaning it will reveal itself].

Let us face it, Bhagavan’s name and form is a product of maya just like all other names and forms are. However, his name and form are extremely dear to us because this form was instrumental in giving us these unmatched teachings. So his teachings are extraordinary, so metaphorically speaking, we should worship his teachings and not his name and form, but unfortunately, most of us are doing exactly the opposite.

Yes, as you have rightly said, ‘the presence of a sage only will help to eliminate some vasanas’. If we happen to be in Bhagavan physical presence (which includes being in the presence of Bhagavan’s photographs or in the presence of Bhagavan’s vigraha (idol) or even in the presence of Arunachala), it will surely reduce our other more harmful vasanas. However, eventually, we will have to give us all our harmful and not so harmless vasanas, because as long as we have even one vasana, we cannot experience Bhagavan as he really is. The real Bhagavan is what we really are, so we have no option but to turn within to know ourself as we actually are. Bhagavan has explained this through verse 22 of Ulladu Narpadu:

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

Unfortunately, devotees seldom read or try to internalise the message contained in Ulladu Narpadu and Nan Ar. If we want to know ourself as really are or know God as he really is, we have no other option but to practise deep and persistent self-investigation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael. Will read the articles pointed by you.

AsunAparicio said...

Sanjay,

Beautifully and very clearly expressed.

“Let us face it, Bhagavan’s name and form is a product of maya just like all other names and forms are.”
Yes, a projection of ego. Isn´t it amazing? As reading the post Anonymous was addressed by Michael, we can realize how deceitful is the apparent separativeness (from self, the only reality) we believe in, how everything and everybody is being taken care of and driven to what we always are and have been, despite of, or because of this ego´s rising. It´s all one and indivisible, including ego which ultimately isn´t but self.

Regarding to this devotee introducing you the other devotee, there is a video clip where another devotee who also met Bhagavan says that we are more fortunate than those who could be in his physical presence. It all depends on how strong are the identification with the body and the belief in what is perceived through the senses to be real. This conditioning only can be deconditioned, so to speak, by the practice.

As you say “If we want to know ourself as really are or know God as he really is, we have no other option but to practise deep and persistent self-investigation.” Then it all begins to fall into place.

But let´s talk again in some months and see what truth is in D.G.´s statement :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, as you say, ‘This conditioning only can be deconditioned, so to speak, by the practice’. What is our most deep-rooted conditioning? It is that we are a body or a person. If we give up this conditioning, all other conditionings will automatically go. How can we remove this conditioning? It is only by the practice of self-surrender and self-investigation.

So from wherever we start, we have to come to the practice of self-surrender and self-investigation. There is no other way.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We know that life is just a passing show, so why should we let anything affect us?

Why are we allowing these external circumstances to upset us? We know that life is just a passing show, so why should we let anything affect us? Until ego is annihilated, we are affected by external circumstances, to a lesser or greater extent. But every time we find ourself affected, that is a good opportunity for us to surrender, to cultivate an attitude of indifference, to consider whatever is happening is happening by the sweet will of Bhagavan, and therefore it is for our own good.

So however bad the circumstances may seem to be, we have to accept that there is good in everything. Whatever happens in our life is for our own spiritual benefit, but how much we benefit from it depends on how much we surrender ourself.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 25th August 2019 (18:00)

Reflection: Things that were bothering us a few years back is of no consequence now – we have almost forgotten about it. Likewise, things which are bothering us now will also be forgotten a few years hence. So, as Michael says, ‘life is just a passing show, so why should we let anything affect us?’ Even this will pass, so why think too much about it? This should be our inner attitude.

AsunAparicio said...

Sanjay,

That´s it.

I´ve started to focus on self-surrender and subjects such like karma only recently so, it is now when I´m understanding or realizing many of the things Michael says about the teachings and that the more we practice, the clearer the mind becomes and new revelations, so to speak, due to a deeper understanding, are found in them.
No need to wait for 18 months to see if practice becomes boring by then.It can be seen already that after 40 years still there is deep devotion and mind keeps enthusiastic.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Human relationships are challenging in so many ways

Human relationships are challenging in so many ways, but every problem we have in our human relationships is an opportunity for us to surrender and investigate ourself. No one needs to know what we are doing inwardly. We have to outwardly act appropriately in any particular situation, but inwardly try to remain calm and detached. When we live in this world, we have a certain role to play, but who has to play this role? It is we as this person. So we should let our body, speech and mind play the roles that these are meant to play according to our destiny, but we should try to separate ourself from these roles.

However, in practice this is not totally possible. It is because since we take ourself to be this body and mind, and since this body and mind act in so many ways, we feel we are doing these actions. So we cannot give up the sense of doership as long as we experience ourself as this ego.

However, the more we practise self-investigation and self-surrender, we start distancing ourself from the person we seem to be. So it is only when this ego is destroyed will our sense of doership will also be destroyed forever.

# Paraphrased extract from Michael’s video dated 25-08-2019 (22:00)

Reflection: We hold on to our relationship with our near and dear ones as if we are holding them in a tight embrace. We are not willing to loosen this embrace. So if we want to surrender, we have to let go of this embrace. We have to leave them to the care of Bhagavan. Of course, the best way to loosen this hold is by self-investigation. When we turn within, we automatically give up our hold them.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
you recently say:
"But let´s talk again in some months and see what truth is in D.G.´s statement :.)".

How can you/one (correctly) expect or know that some months will actually come to us ? :)
There is only now. Is not the idea/expectation of any future merely ego's imagination ? Even when we look back in the past we could not then seriously expect any future.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
what is "Bhagavan’s vigraha (idol)" ?
By the way instead of "give us" you certainly wanted to write "...we will have to give up all our harmful and not so harmless vasanas,...".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Jihad has to be within ourself

The battle that is going on is not an outward battle. It is an inward battle within our own will. So this is the battle we have to fight. In Sufism, they say this is the real jihad. Jihad has to be within ourself. That is, our love to surrender ourself has to overcome all our likes, dislikes, desires, hopes, fears and so on. So this jihad (warfare) is between our love to turn back within and all our desires and attachments. This is where the real challenge lies.

The outward relationships which we have with people seem to be a challenge only because of our desires and attachments. So the battle we have to fight is the battle within our own heart. We can be fighting this battle without anyone knowing what is going on. In fact, no one else can know.

Only when we follow this path of self-surrender and self-investigation, we are brought face to face with all our desires and attachments. Bhagavan used to say that all the dirt which is hidden inside has to come out before amrita (nectar) can come out. So it is natural that our desires and attachments will come to the surface of our mind when we practise self-investigation. But we should try not to get carried away by these desires and attachments. We have to win the battle every time we are faced with these desires.

This is like a small child learning to walk. Sometimes it will take a few steps steadily and then become unsteady and fall over. But what does it do when it falls over? It will get up and try again. Likewise, we will fall any number of times on this path, so many times our mind will be carried away by passion, but we shouldn’t be disheartened. Every time we fall, we should get up and try again.

~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 25-08-2019 (40:00)

Reflection: Bhagavan, please give me the strength to fight this battle within my own heart. I seem to be losing this battle. You know I am trying, but my love for you is grossly inadequate. I get easily swayed by my outward going desires. So your help is urgently needed – it is an SOS call!

I know the maxim, ‘try and try until you succeed’. This has to be true. You have assured us that if we try, it (our true nature) will be known. However, this trying seems to be endless. I cannot see the finishing line. It is only your overflowing grace that can take me past this finishing line. So please shower your grace on me. Please...

Michael James said...

In a comment on my most recent video, 2019-08-25 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses reconciling practice with personal relationships, a friend wrote: “Ego requires, by its very nature, self-identification. I cannot — as a father — say “I am not this father, I am the witness”. To do so, I would no longer be the father. As I see it. Please clarify if I misunderstand on this point, thanks.”

In reply to this I wrote:

Ross, in reply to this and your earlier comment, namely “It’s difficult to consider that I have to be so concerned about my responsibilities in the outward life when it’s ego and therefore illusory. For example, what if nagging from wife and child prevent me from time needed for self-inquiry? And to fulfil tasks in the role in which I find myself may require energy consuming focus to do the job. For example, the role I find myself may require I must bite or even kill, like Arjuna”, the roles that are to be played are to be played by the person you now seem to be, namely Ross, but are you actually this person?

The aim of self-investigation is to find out what we actually are, and in order to find out what we actually are we need to surrender everything that we seem to be. In other words, we need to detach ourself from whatever we now mistake ourself to be, namely this person called Ross or Michael. So long as our attachment to this person is very strong, we are not immediately able to detach ourself from it, but by patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender we can gradually weaken our attachment, and the more our attachment is weakened the clearer it will become to us that we are something distinct from this person.

According to the destiny of this person, it (he or she) has certain roles to play, such as being a father, and destiny will make it play its roles, whether we remain attached to it or detach ourself from it. The more strongly we are attached to this person, the more our will (our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on) will interfere in the roles it is destined to play, causing us to suffer, so the more we weaken our attachment to this person, the less our will will interfere, enabling this person to play its roles calmly and smoothly. Therefore the more we surrender our attachment to this person, the less we will be obstructing the roles it is to play, so the more you surrender yourself, the better Ross will play his role as father and all his other roles.

In the early stages of practice it may not be clear to us how this person can play its roles if we inwardly detach ourself from it, but the more deeply we practise self-investigation and self-surrender the clearer the way will become, and we will discover this person is made to play its roles whether we attach ourself to it or not. Therefore the clarification you have asked for can be found only by going deeper and deeper in this practice.

Just as your practice of self-investigation and self-surrender cannot prevent Ross playing the roles he is destined to play, the roles he is destined to play cannot prevent you practising self-investigation and self-surrender, because those roles are all an outward appearance, so they seem real only when we look away from ourself, whereas this practice in inward, so it can be done whatever the outward circumstances may seem to be.

Noob said...

Bhagavan knows about our shortcomings and we know about them as well. He will lend his hand as a parent and give all himself to help us.

Noob said...

But should we try to avoid unpleasant consequences of playing this role as a father or anything else? For myself I try to tell myself, I assumed this role so you have to accept whatever consequences this role brings upon you, because I woke up in the morning.

Rajat Sancheti said...

Is 'I am I' a circular definition of 'I'? Like when we're trying to find the meaning of a word in the dictionary and the definition uses the same word we're trying to find the meaning of? It would be strange if somebody asked me to define 'I'. But if they did ask and I answered that 'I is I', it wouldn't mean much. Or is a circular definition of I permissible because I is the most obvious thing. However, according to Bhagavan,we now have a mistaken knowledge of I, so I is perhaps not the most obvious thing?

Sanjay Lohia said...

This is my reflection on Michael’s recent comment addressed to Ross. Such repetition will help to drill this into our heads.


The more we are attached to the person we seem to be, the more our will will interfere in the roles we are destined to play. If we want to play our roles calmly and smoothly, we need to reduce our outward going will, and we can do so most effectively by our practice of self-investigation. So in our spiritual path, our fight is against our outward going will – our desires and attachments. Our fight is not against the roles we are destined to play.

Michael also explained that the more we practice self-investigation and self-surrender, the more we will understand that we are distinct from the person we seem to be. Eventually, a time will come when our link with this person will be broken forever. That is when this ego dies, this person will also die – at least in our view.

Another point explained by Michael is that our practice of self-investigation and self-surrender can easily go on in the midst of any work that our body may be doing or not doing. Conversely, our practice of self-investigation and self-surrender cannot prevent our body from doing its destined activity.






Michael James said...

Rajat, in reply to your comment of 28 August 2019 at 06:22, ‘I am I’ is not intended to express a definition of ‘I’ but a recognition of the fact that I am nothing other than I.

Consider the cases where Bhagavan used the term ‘நான் நான்’ (nāṉ nāṉ), ‘I am I’, such as verse 2 of Āṉma-Viddai, verse 20 of Upadēśa Undiyār and verse 30 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, in each of which he is describing the dawn of self-knowledge (ātma-jñāna). Prior to that dawn we were aware of ourself as ‘I am this’, in which ‘this’ refers to the body and associated adjuncts that we as ego always mistake ourself to be, but though we now appear to be this collection of adjuncts, it cannot be what we actually are, because it appears and disappears, whereas we always exist and shine, whether anything else appears or disappears. Therefore I cannot be anything other than myself, because everything else appears and disappears.

When ego is eradicated, what remains in its place is just pure self-awareness (ātma-jñāna), which is never aware of itself as anything other than itself, so Bhagavan expresses this clarity of pure self-awareness as ‘நான் நான்’ (nāṉ nāṉ), ‘I am I’.

AsunAparicio said...

Sanjay, you wrote:
“Eventually, a time will come when our link with this person will be broken forever. That is when this ego dies, this person will also die – at least in our view.”

I don´t think this is completely correct. The person is only the name given to the body ego is identified with and at the same time aware of it. When it is realized that we are not this person or that it doesn´t even exist, ego still remains since there is awareness of the body and the world. Surrendering body-mind and not reacting, i.e., not interfering in what happens to it and in its relationship with the world and others in order to change it to its convenience but accepting it which would be surrendering the doer, facilitates the practice of self-attentiveness. Only when ego, that which is aware of the body and world, turns towards itself completely, it subsides as pure awareness in pure awareness.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat,
what we have now is a mixture of real self-awareness and ego-mind-person.
In order to know what our real nature really is we must try to be (it).
Then there would be no need of correct "definition" (statement of the exact meaning of a word, especially in a dictionary).
(According my Oxford Dictionary of English 'I' as pronoun (first person singular) is used by a speaker to refer himself or herself.
'I' as a noun (the I) :in metaphysics the subject or object of self-consciousness; the ego).:-)

AsunAparicio said...

Note to Sanjay: we are giving up the doer and the owner. When a name is given to a body it is like saying “from now on, this body pertains to John or Paul” and we act accordingly making our own the body with all the consequences it entails. But John or Paul isn´t really a person, nor it is the ego, it is just a name given to a body. Shouldering this supposed person creates a lot of tension, anguish, etc. so, when it is realized that it doesn´t even exist there is relief and lightness which many mistake with the subsidence of ego and, therefore, ego with the self since it is believed that ego and the person are one and the same and that when the person “dies” so does the ego, or vice versa, as you puts it, which is not the case. They enjoy awareness which is real, on one hand, and body and world without being “personally” affected, on the other hand, which most of times makes really big egos.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Noob, you write, ‘Bhagavan knows about our shortcomings and we know about them as well. He will lend his hand as a parent and give all himself to help us’. Bhagavan definitely knows our shortcomings and he will lend his hand as a parent and provide us with all the help we need. However, when you say that we know our shortcomings as well, this may not be entirely true. We definitely know some of our shortcomings, but we are not aware of the major part of our shortcomings.

What are our shortcomings? These are our vishaya-vasanas – which are our desires, attachments, fears, hopes, likes, dislikes, expectations and so on. These are embedded in us from countless lives – may be hundreds or thousands of lives or even more. We do not know the full range and depth of such vishaya-vasanas. However, Bhagavan knows everything, he knows all our desires and attachments, and he has ordained our destiny keeping these vasanas in mind. That is, he has given us the circumstances which are most conducive for the destruction of our vasanas.

We should not pay much attention to our shortcomings. If we persevere with our practice of self-investigation and self-surrender, these shortcomings will disappear, sooner or later. Some of these vasanas will give us a very tough fight – that is, they will prove to be extremely stubborn. So these may not go away that fast. For example, our sexual vasanas are generally very stubborn. Likewise, our vasanas for accumulating more and more bank-balance can also be quite difficult to overcome. However, all our vasanas and its root, our ego, have to go, because they cannot stand the glare of persistent self-attentiveness for long.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, as Michael has been tirelessly telling us, if we want to understand the core of Bhagavan’s teachings we need to study and deeply reflect upon the verses 25 and 26 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Verse 25: [By] grasping form [that is, by projecting and perceiving the form of a body (composed of five sheaths) as itself] the formless phantom-ego comes into existence [rises into being or is formed]; [by] grasping form [that is, by holding on to that body as itself] it stands [endures, continues or persists]; [by] grasping and feeding on form [that is, by projecting and perceiving other forms or phenomena] it grows [spreads, expands, increases, ascends, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form [a body that it had projected and perceived as itself in one state], it grasps [another] form [another body that it projects and perceives as itself in its next state]. If it seeks [examines or investigates] [itself], it will take flight [because it has no form of its own, and hence it cannot seem to exist without grasping the forms of other things as itself and as its food or sustenance]. Investigate [this ego] [or know thus].

Verse 26: If ego comes into existence, everything [all phenomena, everything that appears and disappears, everything other than our pure, fundamental, unchanging and immutable self-awareness] comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist [because nothing other than pure self-awareness actually exists, so everything else seems to exist only in the view of ego, and hence it cannot seem to exist unless ego seems to exist]. [Therefore] ego itself is everything [because it is the original seed or embryo, which alone is what expands as everything else]. Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything [because ego will cease to exist if it investigates itself keenly enough, and when it ceases to exist everything else will cease to exist along with it].

Obviously, merely reading and reflecting on these verses will not be stuffiest. We need to put this into practice by investigating ourself as much as possible. Only clarity gained by such practice will enable us to correctly understand these verses and Bhagavan’s teachings as a whole. Though Bhagavan’s teachings extremely radical and deep, it is actually quite simple to understand. We may not be convinced with what we understand because this conviction can only come after deep and sustained practice of self-surrender and self-investigation.

Ego comes out of pure awareness, and everything comes out of ego. Is this difficult to understand? At least, the theory part should be quite clear. So we have to go back the way have come. Through the practice of self-investigation, we should withdraw our attention from everything else and focus it only on ourself. So everything has to resolve back into ego, and ego has to resolve back into pure-awareness.

Sanjay Lohia said...

When we attend to things other than ourself, we are watering the seeds of vasanas

Vasanas are not destroyed one by one, but, gradually, the entire bunch of vasanas become and weaker and weaker and weaker as we proceed with our practice of self-surrender and self-investigation. If we pour water on the seeds, the seeds with sprout, but if we expose them to heat, the seeds will dry up. The drier they become, the weaker they become – thus they lose their power to sprout.

When we attend to things other than ourself, we are watering the seeds of vasanas, but when we turn our attention back towards ourself, we are depriving them of the water of our attention. In the clarity of self-attentiveness, we are exposing them to the heat so they dry up. That is the ultimate truth.

All that is required is the willingness to surrender.


• Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 25-08-2019

anadi-ananta said...

Bhagavan's teaching is indeed appropriate to save the whole humanity from the clutches of ignorance.
Why does humanity reject Bhagavan's teaching and refuse to be saved by him ?
Or does he actually save us all - despite of our refusal ?

Anonymous said...

This one is worth listening:

https://youtu.be/n2ZbyPY36n4

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-anata, you say, ‘Bhagavan's teaching is indeed appropriate to save the whole humanity from the clutches of ignorance. Why does humanity reject Bhagavan's teaching and refuse to be saved by him?’

Yes, from one perspective we can say Bhagavan’s teachings are for the whole of humanity. There can be no higher teaching than this. So the whole of humanity will be benefitted if they try to follow Bhagavan’s teachings. As Bhagavan said, his path is the direct path for all.

However, actually, his teachings are only for the one ego. Who is this one ego? From my perspective, I am this one ego, and from your perspective, you are this one ego. So if we are able to annihilate ego by the practice of self-investigation, we will not only save ourself but we will save the whole humanity. How? It is because humanity is nothing but this ego’s projection. So if we can give up our ignorance that will be more than enough. We need not worry about the whole of humanity. They will be automatically saved if we save ourself.

You ask, ‘does he [Bhagavan] actually save us all - despite of our refusal?’ Yes, this is true. He does save us despite our refusal to do. Why? It is because Bhagavan is pure and infinite love, and therefore his very nature is to love ourself, and such love also entails saving us. He ordains our destiny only in order to save us. Whatever good or bad experiences we undergo is only to lead us towards our salvation.

However, if we do not practice any spiritual path, his process of saving us will be extremely-extremely slow. If he has to work without any support from our side, this process may culminate after, say, a hundred years or a thousand years or even more. So if want to speed up the process, we have no other option but to practice self-investigation and self-surrender. So the choice is ours. If we want to suffer for the next thousands of years, we need not practice any spiritual discipline. However, if we want all our suffering and dissatisfaction to end as soon as possible, we would be well advised to follow Bhagavan’s teachings.

anadi-ananta said...

Today, 123 years ago our "imagination" of the youth Ramana started his three days-journey from Madurai to Arunachala.
He bought a ticket to Tindivanam because he was ignorant that he had to already alight from the train in Villupuram. (There in the next morning he had to change the train in direction to Tiruvannamalai).

Sanjay Lohia said...

There could be only one case of realisation

Michael: There could be only one case of realisation.

A friend: Has it happened?

Michael: You have to answer that. You are the one jiva. It is because only when you rise as ego, all this can come into existence.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 12-09-2015 (24:00)

Reflection: Isn’t it mind-boggling? ‘There could be only one case realisation’ - can we ever understand this? No, because it is all in realm of maya. So we can never understand it. In fact, there is not even one case of realisation because this ego has never come into existence. It seems to exist, but if we look for it, we will find that there no such thing as ego. Bhagavan makes this clear through verse 17 of Upadesa Undiyar:

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

There is also a popular verse, which says something to the effect: No one has ever been born, so there can be no death; there is no sadhaka, so there can be so sadhana; nothing has ever come into existence, so there can be no destruction and so on. If anybody has the exact verse, please share it with us.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay ,
what does it help to say that nothing ever happened and so on ?
Can such well sounding statements ever break the immense power of visaya vasanas ?
Evidently no. Those mighty strengths sometimes drive us helpless slaves along like the wind the clouds. At least I seldom could ever vigorously oppose burning sexual desire which come rushing up. How can it be helpful in such emergency to stammer "No one has ever been born" or "nothing has ever come into existence" ?
By the way you mean "...so there can be no sadhana;".

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "However, if we want all our suffering and dissatisfaction to end as soon as possible, we would be well advised to follow Bhagavan’s teachings."
Yes, but to follow Bhagavan's teaching wholeheartedly the ground for infinite love must be already prepared. That necessary love for persistent self-investigation most of us are not able to conjure up offhand.

anadi-ananta said...

section 1.,
One - particularly one who is not successful in his attempts to investigate himself - might consider whether a/the false self-awareness (ego) is not from the outset demanded too much with keen vicāraṇā [self-investigation].

anadi-ananta said...

section 3.,
if Bhagavan is our own real nature and is therefore always shining within us as our own fundamental awareness, 'I am', and as such he is already giving us all the help we require in order to know ourself, one might ask why he did not prevent me from rising as ego.

anadi-ananta said...

Bhagavan's advent yatra:
Reaching Villupuram Junction in the morning of Sunday 30 th August 1896 by the train of the Madurai-Egmore railway line Venkataraman changed the train to the Villupuram-Katpadi branch line and reached Mambazhapattu station in the evening. From here he walked about ten miles and reached the temple of Arayaninallur (presiding deity is Sri Atulyanateswara Swamiin the town of Tirukoilur in the late evening. Here Bhagavan had the Jyoti Darshan, a vision of dazzling light - at the same spot where the 7 th Century A.D. Child-saint Tirujnana Sambandhar had a similar vision of Arunachaleshwara.
At least Bhagavan slept that night on the ground of Veeratteswarar Temple in the near village of Kizhur(Kilur) where the temple drummer gave his share of boiled rice to the hungry Venkataraman.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sometimes back I was looking for a verse. I have found that it is from Vivekacudamani. Bhagavan translated this verse as follows:

There is no utpatti [arising, birth, origination, appearance or coming into being]; no nāśam [destruction]; no one bound; no one who does sādhana; no one seeking liberation; not even one who is liberated; this indeed is paramārtha [the ultimate truth].

Sanjay Lohia said...

There could be only one case of realisation – part 2

There was a discussion about eka-jiva-vada - the contention that there is only one ego.

Michael: When you dream you see many people in the dream, but when you wake up you realise you were the only one dreaming. Likewise, when you will wake up to your true nature, you will realise you were the only one experiencing this state.

In his hall, Bhagavan was once talking about eka-jiva-vada when someone asked him, ‘Bhagavan, among all of us here who is this one jiva?’ Bhagavan replied, ‘you are that’ (tat-tvam-asi). Immediately, someone else asked, ‘Bhagavan, what about me?’, and Bhagavan had the same reply to give, ‘you are that’.

How many egos we each experience? Only one, because we see other bodies who behave more or less like us, we infer that there are egos in those bodies also. We feel that all these people are also experiencing things just as we are? It all seems real so long as we are dreaming.

Why Bhagavan taught us eka-jiva-vada? It is not to change our outward behaviour, but it is to encourage us to find out who is this one ego experiencing everything?

‘I’ is only one, so ego is only one.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 12-09-2015

Anonymous said...

I was narrating the same story day before yesterday to my husband:) . I wish Bhagavan was alive today .

anadi-ananta said...

Monday 31 st August 1896: On the birthday of Lord Krishna (Gokulashtami) Bhagavan got a large cold meal at the house of one Muthukrishna Bhagavathar in Tirukoilur. Because there was no train till the next morning that night he slept at the Arayaninallur railway station. On the morning of Tuesday September 1 st 1896 Venkataraman arrived at Tiruvannamalai station and walked swiftly to the great temple. All gates and doors were open - he walked straight into the inner shrine (garbha -griha) and embraced the Arunachaleswara Lingam, his Father Arunachaleswara, the Omnipresent, All-pervading Spirit, that had drawn him away from his old groove. There , in the bliss of union, the journey ended.
"O God, obedient to Thy call,
Here have I come, deserting all."

AsunAparicio said...

Sanjay,

Yes.There is only one ego. Ego gives raise to the body and identification with the body gives raise to the person. We assume that there is an entity inside this body which is in charge of everything, the doer, with all what it entails. It´s like creating another dream inside the dream. This entity, just as ego, is a thought but it is an insentient thought, it´s not aware of itself unlike ego hence, this entity to be mistaken by many with ego and ego with self and therefore, realizing the nonexistence of this entity with self-realization.

According to Bhagavan´s teachings, leaving to him this burden we carry on as the doer altogether with the doer, is just in order to turn our attention towards ego or self-awareness and to hold on to it, as vasanas are erased, till it merges into pure awareness, aware only of itself and nothing else.

I just tried to explain it as I understand it since Michael was talking about the “person” and you said that this person disappears along with ego which, in my view, is not necessary the case.
Sorry if I complicated the matter, it wasn´t my intention :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you wrote, ‘I just tried to explain it as I understand it since Michael was talking about the “person” and you said that this person disappears along with ego which, in my view, is not necessary the case. Sorry if I complicated the matter, it wasn´t my intention :)’

When we fall asleep, we do not experience this person or any other person for that matter. Likewise, when our ego will be destroyed after we experience ourself as we really are, we will not be aware of Asun or Sanjay. It is simple logic. Without the experiencer (ego), how can there be any experience? Without the subject (ego), how can there be any object? Since our body is an object or an experience which is experienced only by our ego, when this ego goes it will take along with it the person we seem to be. So we have to say goodbye to this person forever.

What is a person? As Michael described, a person is a set of mental and physical features surrounding a body. So this person is just an extension of our body. Without ego, therefore, there can be no body, and without the body, there can be no person.

AsunAparicio said...

Sanjay,

What I´m trying to explain you is that the belief that we are a person whether Asun or Sanjay, and the identification with it as something real can fade away before ego´s subsidence hence, the mistake for some and what Michael says about being playing a role.


Anonymous said...

http://life-after-joining-ishayoga.blogspot.com/2014/09/maurice-frydman-his-life-story-your.html?m=1

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...when our ego will be destroyed after we experience ourself as we really are, we will not be aware of Asun or Sanjay."
I assume that first ego must get destroyed before we (can) experience ourself as we really are.
Presumably it can all be done in one go. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, as long as we experience ourself as ego, our link with the person we seem to be – Asun or Sanjay or whatever – can never be lost. It is because ego cannot exist without grasping forms, and the first form it grasps is that of a body or person. However, the more we practise self-investigation, the more our ego starts to dissolve. The more we are able to practise self-surrender and self-investigation the more clearly our fundamental awareness will shine, and the more clearly our fundamental awareness shines, proportionately our ego starts to fade in the background.

When our ego starts dissolving, our link with the person we seem to also starts to dissolve and consequently the world also starts to fade in the background. However, the awareness of this body and world will remain with us as long as even a tinge of ego exits.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, you talked about ‘playing a role’. Yes, indeed our body, mind and speech are playing their roles. That is, in order to bring our destiny to fruition, our body, mind and speech have to act in certain preordained ways. Who decides this destiny? It is decided by Bhagavan seated in the very core of our being. Why has he given us these roles to play? Why has he given us a particular set of circumstances in life? These have been given to us keeping our spiritual development in mind.

However, since we identify with our body, mind and speech, we feel that we are doing these actions. That is, we cannot give up our sense of doership as long as we identify with a body. However, once our ego starts to fade in the background, our sense of doership also starts to dissolve. We begin to understand that things are happening by a higher power. Especially, when we look back we can clearly understand that things have happened in our life which could not have happened by our will. However, it is only when our ego is annihilated by self-investigation that our sense of doership will also vanish forever.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have purchased a one-way ticket; we cannot return back

We have to try – try and try and try – and persevere until we succeed. We have to just keep on trying because every step we take on this path, we are one step closer to our goal. Every time we withdraw our attention from other things and focus it on ourself, every moment when we are attentively self-aware, we are weakening our desires and attachments for other things. To the extent our sat-vasana increases, our vishaya-vasanas decrease. It may be imperceptible. We may not be able to see the progress we are making, but we are certainly making progress.

We are on the journey home, and this we can sure about. We can delay on this path, but we cannot go back.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 11-07-2015 (1:41)

AsunAparicio said...

Sanjay,

Firstly, thank you for your patience. I agree with what you say. I only would like to make sure we, mainly I, know what we are talking about.

The axis around that “set of mental and physical features surrounding a body” revolves is a thought, the thought me or the name which is not “I” or ego and unlike ego it is not aware of itself. That “me” operates mechanically and points to a personal set of features which varies depending of each body and the experiences it goes through, memories, learned patterns of behavior, etc. whereas “I” or ego is universal and points to the naked feeling of being or self-awareness which is one and the same for everyone regardless everything hence, it to be said there is only one ego while there appear to be many persons.

We are not only identified with the body but also with that “me” thought, the person, as well as strongly attached to it. it´s not only the doer but also the enjoyer and the sufferer of the fruits of its doings which most of us aren´t willing to surrender, the ownership. Moreover, we are completely convinced or believe that without it we couldn´t function, things couldn´t be done, etc. and so, focusing on self-awareness becomes almost impossible. We take that “me” thought to be the first person being, as it is, altogether with thoughts and feelings it brings about, just the second one. The “me” thought´s dream inside the “I” thought´s dream.

Now, it can be as you say, a progressive process of dissolution, detachment, surrender, understanding etc., as we patiently turn attention towards self-awareness, or there can be an insight or understanding which ends once and for all with that belief that the thought “me” or the person is real which brings about a great relief, lightness and, in some cases, what is felt as an expansion of consciousness, so to speak, which is mistaken with self-realization. In fact, I´ve heard some supposedly “enlightened” people to say, when asked about death, that they don´t worry about it since “that”, supposedly self, will take another body when, actually, it is ego what takes a body after another and true death is not the body´s , along with the person ,death but ego´s.

Thing is that most of us seem to be satisfied with getting away from the burden that being a person entails and don´t go beyond it whereas, according to Ramana´s teachings, that´s the beginning of true self-inquiry.

As you say” the awareness of this body and world will remain with us as long as even a tinge of ego exits “

AsunAparicio said...

“there can be an insight or understanding which ends once and for all with that belief that the thought “me” or the person is real which brings about a great relief, lightness and, in some cases, what is felt as an expansion of consciousness, so to speak, which is mistaken with self-realization. In fact, I´ve heard some supposedly “enlightened” people to say, when asked about death, that they don´t worry about it since “that”, supposedly self, will take another body when, actually, it is ego what takes a body after another and true death is not the body´s , along with the person ,death but ego´s. “

From this, I infer that they are now identifying with ego and the reason why I said that after realizing the person and body aren´t real but only mental projections, ego still remains.

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi ananta,

Maybe that´s the “problem”, we want it all to be done in a go yet, we don´t even know what we want when we want it. An insight or comprehension on the illusory nature of body, person and world all can do for you is to make easier self-investigation but not to be willing to pay the price to be as you really are. Nobody can escape their own purification, never mind at what stage of the path you are which, on the other hand, we can´t know.
At least, by following Bhagavan´s path we can feel safe and have the conviction that it won´t mislead us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anandi-ananda, do we first need to destroy our ego in order to experience ourself as we actually are, or do we first need to experience ourself as we actually are in order to destroy our ego? These two happen simultaneously, so we can put it either way: we experience ourself as we really are when our ego is destroyed, or when our ego is destroyed we experience ourself as we really are. Both statements are perfectly true.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, yes, the person we seem to be is not aware of itself. It is we (as ego) who are aware of this person. This person is jada (insentient), so it is not aware either of itself or of anything else. We recognise the distinctness of any person by the various features and characteristics of its body and mind. A person may be tall, dark, with grey hair and so on. These are his physical attributes. Likewise, the same person may be miserly, short-tempered and so on. These are his mental features.

Yes, ego is only one and unchanging as long as seems to exists. Ego is the idea ‘I am this body’. Ego is called chit-jada granthi (entanglement of awareness with non-aware things). So there is only one ego, but it attaches itself to many persons in the course of its existence. The ego is the doer and the experiencer. It enjoys god and bad experiences according to its destiny. When ego is permanently obliterated, no one will remain to act or to enjoy the fruits of its actions.

Yes, we erroneously believe that we are making things happen and therefore we think that ‘we have to do this; we have to do that’. However, actually, we do not need to do anything. Things are happening as they are meant to happen. Our body, speech and mind act like puppets in the hand of Bhagavan. So we have no option but to dance to his tunes and experience our good or bad prarabdha (destiny). However, as Bhagavan has explained, prarabdha affects only the outward-turned mind. So as long as we can keep our mind in-turned, we will not be affected by our destiny.

Yes, the real death is only the death of ego. Our body’s death is of no consequence. If one body dies, we take another body as ourself. So our aim should be to kill the ego – or to see that ego never existed in the first place. This is real death, and only such death will make us immortal.

Yes, our worldly miseries can be a trigger for us to turn within. If we are satisfied with our worldly life, why should we look for something beyond our mundane existence? But sooner or later we become disgusted with our bodily existence, and it is only then that our real spiritual journey begins. So it could be a blessing in disguise when we face adverse or unfavourable circumstances.

Bhagavan gives us sufficient good reasons to believe that we cannot be this body and mind. Since in sleep we are aware of ourself without experiencing any body and mind, we cannot be this body and mind. Such intellectual conviction can help us in our practice. However, such understanding will be of very little value if we do not turn within to find out ‘if I am not this body and mind, who am I?’ So if we want to find answers to all our questions, we have no other option but to turn within and drown our ego in our pure, fundamental awareness. Only when we are established in silence, which is our true nature, will all our doubts end forever.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
regarding your statement of 1 September 2019 at 12:43 (reply to Asun) "...when our ego will be destroyed after we experience ourself as we really are, we will not be aware of Asun or Sanjay.",
as you correctly see now: instead of the preposition "after" you should or one could use the conjunction "as soon as".:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
by the way: my account is correctly anadi-ananta, not Anandi-ananda.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we are wholly interested in the goal, it is available to us here and now

Once we have understood from Bhagavan that this is the only way, why take interest in other circuitous routes? If we take interest in circuitous routes, that means we are not really interested in the goal. Even if we are interested in the direct path, we are not yet wholly interested in the goal. If we were really interested, it is here and now. It is available to us here and now. Even if we are following this path, we are not yet sufficiently interested in our goal. But by following this path, we are at least avoiding getting distracted on to other paths, so to that extent we are saved.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 11-04-2015 (51:00)

Reflection: The goal is here and now; the goal is here and now. We need to always keep this in mind. In fact, we are the goal, and since we can’t be away from ourself, how can we ever be away from our goal?

Anonymous said...

https://advaita.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/1-I-Am-That-Nisargadatta-Maharaj-Resumo.pdf

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Yes, ego is only one and unchanging as long as (it)seems to exist(s). Ego is the idea ‘I am this body’. Ego is called chit-jada granthi (entanglement of awareness with non-aware things). So there is only one ego, but it attaches itself to many persons in the course of its existence. The ego is the doer and the experiencer. It enjoys go(o)d and bad experiences according to its destiny. When ego is permanently obliterated, no one will remain to act or to enjoy the fruits of its actions."
~ Bracketed corrections done by me ~

Should not the creator of ego be ashamed on his disastrous creation ?
But who is that ill-starred creator ?
How can ego have any destiny ?
In any case that creator should obliterate his creation by himself - and I mean as soon as possible.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, sorry, I misspelt your name in my last comment to you.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"We are on the journey home, and this we can (be) sure about. We can delay on this path, but we cannot go back."
However, is it not said that we have to return to our source ? :-)

"Reflection: The goal is here and now; the goal is here and now. ...In fact, we are the goal, and since we can’t be away from ourself, how can we ever be away from our goal?"
Because "here and now" just cannot be far, can we actually state that we have already reached our goal ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"If we are wholly interested in the goal, it is available to us here and now".
I consider "To be wholly interested in the goal" means already having reached almost the goal, because only one whose ego almost has merged back in the self can be "wholly interested in the goal" of losing completely one's former idea of being a separated being. Only such one does not have any fear of getting annihilated or totally liquidated/absorbed.

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"Wherever we may be in time or space, and whatever may be the state of our mind, Bhagavan is the ‘ஒளி மணி’ (oḷi maṇi) or 'gem of light', meaning the light of pure awareness that is always shining in our heart as 'I', so by his merely being as he is he will annihilate our lowness (namely ego, the darkness of self-ignorance) whenever we are willing to surrender ourself entirely to him."

"That is, we do not need anything to be transmitted to us from anywhere outside ourself, but only need to submit ourself completely to our own real nature, which is the gem of light always shining clearly within ourself as ourself."

Evidently I am lacking that readiness and willing to surrender myself entirely to him, because I do not feel the always clearly shining of Arunachala's light. So how could I ever really surrender to an unknown gem of light always shining clearly within myself ?
So how could Arunachala ever annihilate my lowness (namely ego, the darkness of self-ignorance) ? Now I sit there looking a picture of misery. If Arunachala will not save me I will come to a wretched end. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, the goal we are seeking is here and now, there can be no doubt about it. However, as long as we experience ourself as ego, the goal seems to be somewhere ahead of us. So from the perspective of ego, it seems to be a journey: a journey from limited to unlimited, from misery to bliss, from dissatisfaction to complete satisfaction and from death to immortality. However, even for ego, the goal is here and now. It just needs to turn within and face its goal. However, so long as ego is looking away from itself, it is ignoring its goal. It is, so to speak, moving in the opposite direction of its goal.

The goal is here and now, so we can experience it here and now. This is the practical import of this statement. We cannot experience ourself as we actually are there and then. It is always here and now.

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you, Sanjay, for your reply.
To be ready to move in the right direction is grace.
Though pure self-awareness is shining in the "here and now" I unfortunately remain separated from it as a rock of ignorance - unable to turn persistently within.
So I hope for better times. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Why to have any sort of fear when there is no snake

In a state of semi-darkness, I was walking along the path, and I saw a snake and was obviously afraid to go near it. I thought it may be a poisonous snake, so it will bite me. However, there was no snake there. What appeared to be a snake was just a rope. A passer-by pointed this to me. So I plucked up some courage and tried to look at this snake closely. Eventually, I could see that there was no snake there. It was indeed just a rope which I had misperceived as a snake. So my fear vanished forever. I picked up this rope and pushed it on one side and walked ahead fearlessly.

All the fear we experience is just like this. We feel that there is an ego in us which is interacting with an outside world. This outside world often makes us fearful because of one reason or other. However, we will ultimately realise that all our fear is unfounded. If we look closely as this ego, we will find that there is no such thing as ego. What appears to be ego is just pure-awareness, and in the view of this pure-awareness there is no world. So there is no one who could fear anything and no world which could possibly cause any fear.

However, even when we experience ourself as this ego or person, we can try to reduce our fear by reflecting on Bhagavan’s teachings. Bhagavan teaches us that whatever we are experiencing now is just another dream, so why to have fear? After all, everything is unreal. Bhagavan also teaches us that whatever we experience is according to our prarabdha ordained by Bhagavan, and therefore it is for our own benefit. We may not be able to see the benefit now, but it is there. So even fear will make us stronger if we face it with courage and come out stronger from the situation.

So Bhagavan has given us many weapons to combat our fear or, for that matter, any other negative emotion. However, the ultimate weapon is to investigate, ‘who has this fear?’ If we look sufficiently closely at ourself, we will realise that there is no one there to fear anything. Thus all our fear will vanish forever.

anadi-ananta said...

section 3.,
"...merely living for many years in the physical presence of the jñāna-guru is not sufficient to remove ego unless one has sufficient spiritual maturity,...".
"we can attain salvation by adoring him in our heart, because that is where he shines eternally in his true form (svarūpa), namely as the ever-unsetting sun of pure self-awareness. Therefore it is only by turning our mind back within and lovingly attending to him in our heart as our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’, that we can truly be in his presence or ‘sit in front of him’."
Unfortunately we cannot buy "sufficient spiritual maturity".
Sometimes I am not at all able to turn the mind back within and lovingly attend to him in the heart as my fundamental awareness of my own existence, 'I am', so I cannot truly be in his presence. But I cannot but try it again (now or later). :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more we subside, the more grace can accumulate within

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say that it is always raining, but on the mounds the rains run off. In the hollows, the rain accumulates and forms lakes. So the prouder and stronger the ego, the rain of grace runs off us. The more we subside, the more humble we become, the more we sink within ourself, the more grace can accumulate within.

So the grace that is necessary is our willingness to surrender.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019

Reflection: Humility is extremely important if we want to progress spiritually. Bhagavan has also made this clear. He teaches us in paragraph 20 of Nan Ar?:

To whatever extent being subsided [or humble] we behave, to that extent there is goodness [or virtue].

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is called the divine will is God’s love, and God is that love

Bhagavan had no ego, so he had no will. So whatever happened in Bhagavan’s presence was according to the divine will. But Bhagavan is nothing other than that divine and divine will is itself divine. God is love – God and God’s love are not two different things. So what we call the divine will is Bhagavan’s love, and Bhagavan is that love.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (49:00)

Reflection: Whatever we see happening around us is according to Bhagavan’s will, and Bhagavan’s will and Bhagavan are not two different things. Bhagavan will is Bhagavan’s infinite love for himself, and since Bhagavan sees us as himself, he has infinite love for us. Bhagavan’s love is in charge of our life and of all its happenings, so can anything ever go wrong? It is not possible.

Things may appear different on the surface, but actually, everything is for our ultimate good. Everything happening around us is pulling us towards Bhagavan, and Bhagavan is infinite and unalloyed happiness. So Bhagavan wants us to be infinitely happy. Let us, therefore, joyously and most willingly submit to Bhagavan's will.

Sanjay Lohia said...

According to Bhagavan, anything other than pure-awareness is thought

Bhagavan often said that ego is nothing but a false awareness ‘I am this body’. But why does he refer to it as a thought? It is because everything other than pure-awareness, which is our true nature, is just a thought – a mano-kalpana (mental fabrication). The first mental fabrication, which is the root of all mental fabrication, is ego. So this erroneous self-awareness ‘I am this body’ is a thought.

Thoughts don’t exist independent of our awareness of them, so a thought is just an awareness of something other than ourself. When we are aware of something other than ourself, that awareness of something other than ourself is a thought. In order to be aware of ‘I am this body’, we have to be aware of this body. This body is something other than ourself, and therefore this awareness ‘I am this body’ is a thought.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (59:00)

Reflection: Bhagavan’s teachings are extremely radical and deep but at the same time very simple, if we can grasp its simplicity. Anything other than ourself is a thought – a mental fabrication. Whatever we see in a dream is just our mental fabrication. Likewise, whatever we see in this so-called waking state are also just thoughts, mental fabrications. The experiencer of this mental fabrication is also thought because this experiencer is something other than ourself. That is, just like our other thoughts, it also appears and disappears so it also a thought, even though it is the root of all other thoughts.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, in your latest video you quoted a verse from Sri Sadhu Om, which goes something as follows: Not to teach the world the .. I was not able to grasp its words fully. Would you mind reproducing it here? Thanks.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...everything other than pure-awareness, which is our true nature, is just a thought – a mano-kalpana (mental fabrication). The first mental fabrication, which is the root of all mental fabrication, is ego. So this erroneous self-awareness ‘I am this body’ is a thought."
But, who is the creator of this ego which is the root of all mental fabrication ???
However, is it not said that there is no ego at all ? So ego has not really been created because it really does not exist but only seem to exist. Therefore the root of all kalpanas is itself only an appearance which seems to exist only in our ignorant view. In any case we should not let ourself be fooled by that mysterious phantom.:-)

AsunAparicio said...


Sanjay,

Maybe this one?


Not to teach the world, the myth,

Not to gain a mass of wealth,

Not for name and fame that hails,

There a Sage in samadhi dwells,

Flock you all and worship Him’,

’Tis not for these I sing this hymn;

Only for the great reward,

The death of ego, I pray, my Lord!

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding your comment of 6 September 2019 at 09:16, the verse by Sadhu Om that I quoted in my latest video, 2019-08-31 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 2, was verse 68 of ஸ்ரீ ரமண குருவருளந்தாதி (Śrī Ramaṇa Guruvaruḷantādi), which if I remember correctly he translated into English as:

Not to teach the world, the myth,
Not to gain a mass of wealth,
Not for name and fame that hails:
‘There a sage in samādhi dwells,
Flock you all and worship him’.
’Tis not for these I sing this hymn,
Only for the great reward,
The death of ego, I pray, my Lord!

The original Tamil verse and its literal meaning are:

தேசத் தவர்க்குப தேசிக்க வல்ல திரண்டநிதி
நேசித் துமல்ல நிருவிகற் பத்தில் நிலைத்தமகான்
பூசிக்க வென்னும் புகழுக்கு மல்ல புலையகந்தை
நாசத்திற் குன்னருள் நாடுகின் றேனருள் நாயகனே.

dēśat tavarkkupa dēśikka valla tiraṇḍanidhi
nēsit tumalla niruvikaṟ pattil nilaittamahāṉ
pūsikka veṉṉum puhaṙukku malla pulaiyahandai
nāśattiṟ kuṉṉaruḷ nāḍukiṉ ḏṟēṉaruḷ nāyakaṉē
.

பதச்சேதம்: தேசத்தவர்க்கு உபதேசிக்க அல்ல, திரண்ட நிதி நேசித்தும் அல்ல, ‘நிருவிகற்பத்தில் நிலைத்த மகான், பூசிக்க’ என்னும் புகழுக்கும் அல்ல, புலை அகந்தை நாசத்திற்கு உன் அருள் நாடுகின்றேன். அருள், நாயகனே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): dēśattavarkku upadēśikka alla, tiraṇḍa nidhi nēsittum alla, ‘niruvikaṟpattil nilaitta mahāṉ, pūsikka’ eṉṉum puhaṙukkum alla, pulai ahandai nāśattiṟku uṉ aruḷ nāḍukiṉḏṟēṉ. aruḷ, nāyakaṉē.

English translation: Not to teach the people of the land [the world], not desiring accumulated wealth, not even for praise [or fame] that says, ‘[He is] a great soul established in nirvikalpa [samādhi], worship [him]’, [but only] for destruction of the base [filthy, evil, deceptive or unreal] ego I seek your grace. Bestow grace [on me by destroying this ego], Lord.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for letting us know this beautiful verse by Sri Sadhu Om. There is always this danger on the spiritual path. After gong sufficiently deep in our practice, we can easily and even unknowingly start seeking name, fame, wealth, power and so on. So we should keep our aim in mind. Bhagavan has given us a clear aim: the destruction of ego. According to him, nothing else is worth seeking. Bhagavan used to say if we try to seek or achieve anything in this world, these will ultimately go in vain. All our worldly accomplishments are like our accomplishments in a dream. Bhagavan clearly implies this verse 36 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Being knowing the substance, which exists as accomplished, is accomplishment. All other accomplishments are just accomplishments achieved in dream; if one wakes up leaving sleep, are they real? Will those who, standing in the real state, have left unreality be deluded? Know.

So, like Sri Sadhu Om, we should also pray and look forward to:

Only for the great reward,
The death of ego, I pray, my Lord!


I thank you once again.




Sanjay Lohia said...

Ego is the thief who is stealing us of our birthright – infinite happiness

Death of our ego is our sole aim. We don’t want name and fame. We don’t want to be praised as a great mahatma. These are worldly achievements. These achievements are great for ego, but ego is the thief who is stealing us of our birthright. Our birthright is infinite happiness. So we want to free of ego and not aggrandise it.

How to eradicate ego? We need to turn within and investigate: ‘who am I? What is the source from which I have arisen?’

~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (59:00)

Reflection: The more we turn away from ourself, the more our ego is becoming fat and strong. Our aim, however, should be to starve and kill ego. This we can do only by being attentively self-aware. We need to sink deeper and deeper and deeper within until we lose ourself in the very depth of our being.

Sanjay Lohia said...

All human suffering is ultimately caused by our likes and dislikes

Michael: The problem is we identify ourself with a body. So as a person, we need many things. We need food, clothing and shelter. We need air to breathe. So we have the desire for all these things. But when we get these things, we are still not satisfied – ‘I have got food, clothing and shelter for today, but what about tomorrow’. So I want more and more, and I try to accumulate more and more money. Now I have a million pounds, but I am still not satisfied because I may lose this million pounds tomorrow in the stock market or wherever. So I want more and more and more.

So nothing can satisfy us. The only thing that can satisfy us is infinite happiness. From the worst sinners to the greatest saints, from the smallest ant to the greatest God, everyone is seeking happiness. But where is happiness? Happiness is our real nature. If we want to be truly happy, if we want infinite happiness, eternal happiness, happiness without break, this is the path: turn within and know what we actually are.

A friend: I find happiness in eating chocolates. Is there anything wrong with it?

Michael: Nothing wrong with eating chocolates. The wrong is in our desire for chocolates, our liking for chocolates – that is the trouble. There is nothing wrong with football. Some people may enjoy warfare. The problem is our likes and dislikes. We dislike warfare because we don’t want to be killed. Some others like warfare because they like killing. If we had no likes and dislikes, we would be unaffected by war or famine or starvation or any such thing.

All human suffering, therefore, is ultimately caused only by our likes and dislikes.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (01:30)

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my videos, 2016-04-23 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James, a friend wrote: “What is purna (contrasting with shunya)? You mentioned that Shunya is emptiness but Bhagavan said the ultimate is not emptiness, it is purna.”

In reply to this I wrote:

Bubba, pūrṇa means what is full, whole, complete, entire or all, whereas śūnya means what is empty, void, non-existent or zero.

Our real nature, which is pure awareness, is pūrṇa, because it is all that actually exists, so it is the fullness of existence, awareness and happiness (sat-cit-ānanda), and it is śūnya only in the sense that it is completely devoid of ego (subject) and phenomena (objects), which are non-existent, because though they seem to exist in the view of ourself as ego, they do not actually exist.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Even though ‘self’ is taken to be a noun, it is actually a pronoun

People usually use the term ‘the Self’, but there is no such thing as ‘the Self’. In Indian languages, there are no articles, so there is no world equivalent to ‘the’. Actually, though ‘self’ is taken to be a noun, it is actually a pronoun because it refers to something. Everything is itself. These flowers are themselves. This candle is itself. I am myself. You are yourself. There is no self other than whose self it.

The problem is people reify the idea of self. When we say ‘the Self’, we are making self into a thing. But the only self is ourself. Bhagavan says in Nan Ar?, ‘What actually exists is only atma-svarupa'. Svarupa means one’s own form or nature. So the real nature of oneself, the actual nature of oneself, that alone actually exists.

~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (01:39)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you certainly mean "so there is no word equivalent to ‘the’ ".

Sanjay Lohia said...

(a)Ego is necessary to live in this world, but is it necessary to live in this world?

(b) Enlightenment is not an event. It is the ending of all events.

~*~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (2:12 & 2:19)

Reflection: (a) Yes, as Michael says in his latest video (dated 07-09-2019), we are on a suicide mission. We seem to live in this world, but our life in this world itself is a problem. Have we seen a problem-free person? Even the person who we took to be Bhagavan had problems. He had cancer in his arms, isn’t it a problem? However, since Bhagavan did not identify with that Bhagavan, he actually had no problem. But, in our view, Bhagavan had problems.

(b) All the events are for ego, but when ego vanishes, all events vanish along with ego. Our eventful life gives us nothing but problems, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, worries and whatnot. There is no event in our sleep but as soon as this ego arises, we are surrounded by all sorts of problems, tensions... So we should aim for an eventless life and not an eventful life. How to live an eventless life? We can do so only by destroying the root of all events: our ego. No ego -> No person -> No event -> No problems.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, I thank you for pointing out my typo. I am grateful to you because you read these comments so carefully. It is necessary to know one’s mistakes so that one can be careful in future.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
first of all many thanks for your good video-transcribing work.
Compared with former periods your carefulness in writing comments has improved a great deal. Now you write mostly almost without any typo. If you keep it up you will become soon a perfect commentator !:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

My svadharma is different from Sanjay's svadharma

Sva means oneself, so svadharma means one’s own duty. One of the message of Gita is that we all have svadharma: that is, we have certain roles to play in this life, and these roles are our svadharma. In the context of Gita, what is called svadharma is the role we as a person have. Arjuna was a Kshatriya: that is, he was from a family of kings. So as a king, he had certain duties and responsibilities. Sometimes Kings have to fight for a righteous cause, so even such fights are part of their svadharma.

So our body and mind have svadharmas. This body’s svadharma could be to be a clerk in an office or to be a school teacher – to be this or that. However, our svadharma is to be as we really are because we are not this body and mind that we seem to be.

~*~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019

Reflection: Sanjay’s svadharma is to look after his family, to earn money and so on, but since I am not Sanjay, my svadharma is totally different from Sanjay’s svadharma. My svadharma is to be as I really am. This distinction between the person we seem to be and our real nature is extremely important. In order to practise self-investigation, we need to be clear that we are different from the person we seem to be. In our practice, our sole aim is to isolate ourself from the person we seem to be. Such isolation is our final aim.

Sanjay Lohia said...

You don’t need anything, but the whole world needs you

You don’t need anything, but the whole world needs you. Why? It is because the whole world seems to exist only because you see it. The whole world depends for its seeming existence on you. But you who see the world are not what you actually are. It is only when you rise as ego that you see the world. The pure awareness remains unaffected by the appearance of the world.

~*~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (2:03)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thanks again for your video-extracts.

Regarding 7 September 2019 at 15:49 ~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 31-08-2019 (01:39):

you write "There is no self other than whose self it."
After hearing this point at time 1:40:40 in the mentioned video I would transcribe that passage perhaps more accurately "There is no self other than (but) in whose self it is."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, I have just heard this part of the video again. What Michael says there is as follows:

There is no self other than the thing whose self it is.

Therefore, neither of us was entirely accurate.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
regarding the recent comments of Sanjay and me,
could you please write what you actually expressed (or wanted to express) in that above mentioned passage beginning with "everthing is itself..."(1:40:28) ?
Perhaps both we (Sanjay and I) did not grasp the exact/correct meaning of what you explained.

Anonymous said...

“The sense of ‘I’ pertains to the person, the body and the brain,” replies the Maharshi calm ly. “When a man knows his true self for the first time, something else arises from the depths of his being and takes po ssession of him . That something is behind th e mind; it is inf inite, divine, eternal. Some people call it the kingdom of heaven, others call it the soul, still others name it Nirvana, and we Hindus call it Liberation; you m ay give it what name you wish. When this happens, a man has not really lost himself; rather, he has found himself.”

Sanjay Lohia said...

Upanishads are preliminary texts; the advanced texts are Bhagavan’s works

The ultimate Upanishad, the Upanishad of all Upanishads, is Ulladu Narpadu. Bhagavan’s works are the purest expression of Vedanta. Upanishads were given is a particular cultural context - these are full of stories and analogies. We can say that Upanishads are preliminary texts. The advanced texts are Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Ar?, Upadesa Undiyar, Anma-Viddai and many of the verses of Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam. They are advanced not because they are complicated but because they are simpler.

The message of Bhagavan’s teachings is a simpler and clearer expression of the truth that is expressed in a somewhat roundabout way in the Upanishads. There is scope for misinterpretation of the Upanishads. Advaita is not the only school of Vedanta. The same Upanishad is interpreted by the vishishtadvaitins according to their own beliefs and by the advaitins according to their own beliefs. Since they give room for different interpretations, they are not such clear expressions. However, if anyone can manage to give a plausible dualistic interpretation of Ulladu Narpadu, I will take my hat off to them. I don’t think it is possible.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 07-09-2019

Reflection: We are indeed fortunate. As Michael says, Bhagavan’s works are simpler and clearer expressions of the Upanishads. So if we are able to understand Bhagavan’s works, we will get the answers to all our spiritual doubts. What more do we need? We just need to put this understanding into practice. This is the real challenge.



Sanjay Lohia said...

What is the most dangerous pastime?

Michael: What is the most dangerous pastime?

A friend: Eating!

Michael: It is not eating. It is not climbing mountains or skydiving or whatever. The most dangerous pastime, the pastime which is sure to lead us to death, is living. So if we want to be saved, we need to die. The death of the body, however, is only a temporary death. It is just the ending of one dream, and very soon another dream will start. The true death is the death of the dreamer, that is, death of ego.

What we call life is actually death. So if we are not suicidal, we are not qualified to come to Bhagavan’s teachings. But the suicide Bhagavan asks us to embrace is not the death of the body but death of ego. The body is innocent. The culprit is ego. If you have got a criminal sitting on the chair, in order to punish the criminal, would you beat the chair? It is the criminal that needs to be punished. Our body is like a chair we are sitting on. The criminal is ego.

^ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 07-09-2019 (1:11)

Reflection: How do we punish ego? What is the weapon that ego is most afraid of? There is only one weapon that is sure to make ego die if used correctly. This weapon is self-investigation. Ego does not care about other weapons, but it is petrified of this weapon. Ego can survive all other weapons, but it will perish if we unleash self-investigation on it. This is Bhagavan’s brahmastra (the supreme weapon). Bhagavan has freely disturbed this deadly weapon to all his devotees. The question is, are we using it to its full potential? I can say for myself, I am not using it enough. The fact that my ego is still alive bears testimony to the fact.

AsunAparicio said...

“So if we are able to understand Bhagavan’s works, we will get the answers to all our spiritual doubts. What more do we need? We just need to put this understanding into practice. This is the real challenge.” Sanjay,

It is not necessary to understand Bhagavan´s works to practice self-inquiry. The instruction is very simple and clear: turn inward and attend to yourself. What has to be understood or learnt to turn your attention towards yourself? It is willing to turn inward what is necessary and this is completely up to you. Even someone who has never heard about Ramana and his teachings can do it and probably they are doing it. May they come across with the teachings so that they can know its meaning and value and be deaf to world´s siren calls. Understanding follows naturally and spontaneously. They are not separated or sequential events. One involves the other. If you keep Bhagavan´s works and your (intellectual) understanding as practicing self-investigation, would that be self-investigation? You can´t take with you anything for that journey, only attention which isn´t but love .On the other hand, if you are able to really understand Bhagavan´s works, what practice is necessary? As the biblical saying goes: “one word of yours will be enough”

Sanjay Lohia said...

Revered Sir,

I am asking this question through a comment in your blog because if you feel inclined to address my doubt, it will help our other friends as well. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 3 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Niṣkāmya karma [action not motivated by desire] done [with love] for God purifies the mind and [thereby] it will show the path to liberation.

I will first outline an imaginary situation before framing my question:

I am an atheist. I go for my morning walk every day in a park which is near to my apartment. Every day, I see some stray dogs loitering here and there in this park. One day I feel that I should give them something to eat. So I start carrying a few slices of bread with me and start feeding these dogs. This becomes my routine. I feed them out of love. However, as soon as I walk out of the park, I find no change in behaviour or conduct. I still indulge in unfair trade practices. I still hate my neighbour. So all my old vasanas remain as it is, at least so it seems.

My question is, how can this selfless act of feeding these dogs purify my mind and show me the way to liberation? I would appreciate if you could give your insight into this matter.

With regards,

Sanjay

Anonymous said...

Niṣkāmya karma [action not motivated by desire] done [with love] for God purifies the mind and [thereby] it will show the path to liberation.

Michael
Aren’t all actions motivated by desire? Why are all these teachings have so many contradictions. Can there be an action without triggered by desire? If so, wouldn’t that mean ‘no action takes place?’

Bob said...

Anonymous

While waiting for Michael you may want to read;

http://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2009/06/upadesa-undiyar-an-explanatory.html

This may help answer your question/s.

regards

Sanjay Lohia said...

It is true knowledge only when one knows nothing at all

So long as there is ego, there is ignorance. Ego may pride itself of its vast knowledge – it may have studied all the Vedas, all the Upanishads, all their commentaries – even if we know everything about everything, it is still ignorance. It is true knowledge only when one knows nothing at all.

~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 07-09-2019 (1:15)

Reflection: We know so many things now. We know about science, religions, geography, biology, medicines, astronomy and whatnot. Bhagavan teaches that all these are ignorance. Ultimately, we have to unlearn everything. Bhagavan used to say that his path is that of unlearning and not of learning. We have to move from multiplicity to absolute simplicity. We are aware of this complex and mind-boggling world. We need to forget this and move towards ourself. Since we are one, we alone exist, we are absolute simplicity. What can be simpler than one?

Sanjay Lohia said...


Creation is a big problem

In Hinduism, there is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the sustainer and Shiva is the destroyer. But why do we worship Shiva and nor Brahma? It is because creation is a big problem. When nothing is created, we are happy.

Though creation is said to be a divine function, it is actually a function of ego. Ego is the root of all trouble. What would you prefer? Would you prefer to be a limited person, or would you prefer to be the infinite, eternal and unalloyed happiness? We are perfectly happy in sleep, but when we rise as ego we create this world, and consequently, we are dissatisfied. In this world, we experience a mixture of pleasure and pain, but even the greatest of pleasure does not satisfy us. We want more and more and more . . .

~^~ Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 07-09-2019 (1:28)

Reflection: We are perpetually dissatisfied, but what we are looking for is exactly the opposite. We want perpetual happiness. We are dissatisfied because we are creating and enjoying this world. So now we need to destroy this world, and we can do so only by destroying the root of this world, which is ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Pranayama can take us to manolaya but not to manonasa

My following manana is based on Michael’s ideas:

In pranayama, one has to attend to the breath in order to stop the breath. However, by attending to the breath we are feeding ego. We need to understand the nature of ego. Ego is sustained and fed by attending to anything other than ourself. That is why by attending to our breath we cannot destroy ego (if our aim is to destroy our ego). If we understand this basic principle of Bhagavan’s teachings, his entire teaching will become clear. Our body (along with its prana) comes into existence only when our ego rises, and therefore our body (along with its prana) will subside once our ego subsides. So by turning within and making our ego subside, everything else will also subside.

However, Bhagavan does say that if we attend to our breath our mind will also subside, but breath control can at the most take us to manolaya (temporary subsidence of mind). We cannot achieve manonasa (permanent subsidence of mind) by pranayama. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 11 of Upadesa Undiyar:

When one restrains the breath within, like a bird caught in a net the mind will also subside. This [practice of breath-restraint] is a means to restrain [the mind].

Why is our mind restrained by restraining our breath? Bhagavan makes this clear in verse 12 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Mind and breath are two branches which have knowing and doing [as their respective functions]. [However] their mūla [root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause] is one.

So if we control our breath our mind is also controlled and vice versa. However, if our aim is to destroy our mind (ego), we need not practise pranayama. Even if we achieve total manolaya through pranayama, our vasanas are not thereby destroyed. In order to progress spiritually, we need to weaken and eventually destroy all our vasanas. Our vasanas can only be destroyed by practising self-surrender and self-investigation. So we should just stick to these two practices.

Anonymous said...

I agree . I have been practicing pranayama. In my observation I always felt vasanas were getting destroyed, but later was surprised to find it emerging again:)

Anonymous said...

Vasanas are so ingrained in our system. It is very difficult to eliminate it. I honestly feel vasanas will get destroyed only during death of ego.

Anonymous said...

Thanks

Anonymous said...

so I read the explanation:

It seems like a circular loop to me.

Action itself means there is desire as the cause. So how can one act without expecting results, but act for love of god? Does Bhagavan mean that one should not ‘act’ at all? I read the blog and it doesn’t have answer to my question.

Sanjay Lohia said...

I am only satisfied with the God that Bhagavan has shown us

Michael: If God other than yourself?

A friend: Yes.

Michael: If God is other than yourself, then his love for you is imperfect. If he is someone other than you, then he loves you as someone other than you. God surely loves himself – we all love ourself. So if he loves himself and he is giving a little bit of love to you, I am not satisfied with such a God. I am only satisfied with the God that Bhagavan has shown us, who is my own self because that God loves me as myself. In fact, he loves me much better than I love myself. He loves me as I really am. So isn’t that a much better God?

So if we want to know that God, we have to attend to ourself.

<•> Edited extract from Michael’s vide dated 13-09-2014 (54:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Stress comes because of our response to any situation

Stress is our response to a situation. If we are totally centred in ourself, even on a battlefield we can remain centred in ourself.

I think some people get more stressed out than others. However, when we come to Bhagavan’s teachings, we at least understand theoretically that whatever is happening is happening as it is meant to happen. According to Bhagavan, we can do absolutely nothing to change our experiences however much we may want or try to change things. What we can change is our response to different situations.

The practice we do makes it a little easier not to get stressed out.

~•~ Edited extract from Michael’s vide dated 13-09-2014 (01:17)

Reflection: I am prone to stress, or to be more accurate, I was prone to a lot of stress. However, things are much better now. It could be that my practice of self-investigation, whatever little I do, has made it easier for me to remain relatively calm. The fact that I still get stressed out or I still fear things or I am still strongly attached to many things indicates that my practice has not gone sufficiently deep. So I need to practice more. I need to go more and more deep within myself. Such inwardness in an antidote to our problems - mental or physical or whatever.

Rob P said...

Pranayama will not help us achieve the ultimate goal, however, it sure helps me get to sleep very well!

Aham said...

.


Thanks Sanjay for posting Mr James' words. And thank you Mr James for sharing them. They are wonderful. Such truths have the effect of rendering mind quiescent.

"When nothing is created, we are happy."
*yes, as in deep sleep.

"It is true knowledge only when one knows nothing at all."

"I am only satisfied with the God that Bhagavan has shown us, who is my own self.....isn’t that a much better God?"
*The God that is not at a distance, is not an-other, is certainly the preferred God.


.

AsunAparicio said...

Likewise we needen´t understand Bhagavan´s works to practice self-investigation since it is self-investigation what enables us to understand Bhagavan´s works, we needn´t previous preparation nor to destroy vasanas before practicing self-investigation since it is self-investigation what will destroy vasanas. God, as well as body and world, arises along with ego, being God that which rules world and body´s actions and not some imagined entity called “me” so, we just have to leave all of it to God (self-surrender) and to focus our attention on ourself. Attending to ourself, in turn, does its works on its own. It´s so simple and Bhagavan made it so easy and comfortable for all of us. It is nothing personal, just the natural process of ourself coming back home, it may appear at first as desire, longing or whatever.
Mind always complicates everything and creates confusion where there is not, that´s its nature. Ignore it.

AsunAparicio said...

Correction: Attending to ourself, in turn, does its work on its own.

Just see for yourself.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"So I need to practice more. I need to go more and more deep within myself."
It seems that ego easily puts up resistance to going deeper. So we even must
overcome that stubborn resistance before we can enter in deep(er) consciousness.


Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, regarding your comment of 9 September 2019 at 13:43, what Sanjay wrote in his comment of 9 September 2019 at 12:10 is correct: In the video 2019-08-31 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 2 what I said at 1:40:34 was ‘There is no self other than the thing whose self it is’.

What I said leading up to that, from 1:40:24, was: ‘Everything is itself. These flowers are themselves. That candle is itself. I am myself. You are yourself. There is no self other than the thing whose self it is’.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, yes, vishaya-vasanas are indeed deeply ingrained in us and therefore our fight against it is never going to be easy. However, the weaker the vasanas become, the weaker our ego will become. So in order to destroy our ego, we need to constantly try to weaken our vasanas by not attending to them. What is the most effective and quickest way to weaken and destroy all our vishaya-vasana? Michael explained this in his article: Why do viṣaya-vāsanās sprout as thoughts, and how to eradicate them? by concluding it as follows:


[Bhagavan says in Nan Ar?] ‘If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one attains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone will be sufficient’. Therefore clinging firmly and tenaciously to self-attentiveness or self-remembrance is all that we need do, because doing so is not only necessary but also sufficient, since it alone can and will take care of the dissolution of the ego along with all its viṣaya-vāsanās.

So as Michael says clinging firmly and tenaciously to self-attentiveness is not only necessary but also sufficient. If we are able to understand this, we will not take any interest in other spiritual practices. All other practices (including pranayama) are just roundabout ways of coming to this practice of self-investigation. So why not stick to it from the very beginning?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rob, you wrote, ‘Pranayama will not help us achieve the ultimate goal, however, it sure helps me get to sleep very well!’ Pranayama can take us to a temporary sleep, but what we want is a permanent and eternal sleep, and this can only be achieved by atma-vichara

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
thank you for you reply: "There is no self other than the thing whose self it is".
But what is the significance ot that statement ?
In which way do flowers or a candle have a self ?

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding your comment of 10 September 2019 at 16:12, what are the impurities in our mind? Our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes, hopes, fears and so on. In other words, all the elements of our will that drive our mind outwards, away from ourself. The stronger such elements are, the more impure our mind is, so our mind is purified to the extent that they are weakened.

These outward-driving elements are what are called viṣaya-vāsanās, and the root and core of them is ourself as ego, so they are harmful and binding to the extent that they strengthen and sustain ego. Some are therefore more harmful and binding than others. The more selfish a desire is, the more it strengthens and sustains ego, and hence the more harmful and binding it is. Therefore the degree of impurity in our mind is determined not only by the overall strength of our viṣaya-vāsanās but also by the degree to which they are selfish or self-centred.

Therefore, though the desire to help others does to some extent strengthen and sustain ego, as a general rule it does so less than more selfish desires. This is of course a generalisation, however, because if one is strongly attached to the idea that one is kind, compassionate and generous, for example, and if one therefore helps others because it makes one feel good about oneself, one’s desire to help others is to that extent selfish. Therefore there is no simple or straightforward way to measure to what extent our desires are selfish or unselfish.

Having clarified that, we can say that as a general rule an action tends to purify our mind to the extent to which it is not motivated by any selfish desire. However, what purifies our mind is not actually the action itself but only the love (and consequently the relative desirelessness or vairāgya) with which we do it.

So is our mind purified because our actions are relatively desireless (niṣkāmya), or are our actions relatively desireless because our mind has been purified? Both. The purer our mind becomes, the more our actions will tend to motivated by love to surrender ourself rather than by desire for anything else, and the more our actions are motivated in such a manner, the purer our mind will become.

Regarding the example you gave, the vāsanās that constitute our will are many and varied, and in many cases mutually contradictory and conflicting. A person with many strongly selfish desires may also have some contrary vāsanās that prompt them to be kind and compassionate in certain circumstances. In other words, most of us have a mixture of śubha vāsanās and aśubha vāsanās in varying proportions. Our aim is ultimately to give up all vāsanās, but during the process of purification vāsanās that are more aśubha (unfavourable) in nature tend to be replaced by those that are more śubha (favourable) in nature.

Our will (cittam) is complex, being composed of many conflicting vāsanās, so the process of its purification (citta-śuddhi) is likewise complex and hence gradual, particularly in the early stages, but as it progresses further we will eventually be drawn to the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, and to the extent we practise this path the process of purification is simplified and accelerated.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, regarding the questions you ask in your comment of 12 September 2019 at 16:42 (referring to my earlier reply to you), a flower or a candle does not have a self any more than you have a self, because ‘self’ is not a possession but the very thing whose self it is. A flower is itself. A candle is itself. You are yourself.

Though in English we say ‘myself’, ‘yourself’, ‘oneself’, ‘itself’ and so on, this does not mean that myself is my possession, because how can I be a possession of myself? I am myself, and I have no self other than myself. This is why I said that there is no self other than the thing whose self it is.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

Action itself implies there is desire.. right? The more purified a mind is(i dont believe mind can be purified), wouldn’t there be less motivation to act? How can there be an action which is born out of desirelessness? If in case someone had less desire , he would not act at all. There is nothing called desireless action, since action itself is a byproduct of desire. And desire is a byproduct of mind. Mind itself means there is impurity. How is it possible to purify mind, when in reality there is no mind? Don’t we all strive to go beyond mind instead of purifying mind?

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
thank you for your additional explanation. I found it difficult to understand whether material things (jada) like a flower or a candle could be considered as the one self too.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
your questions put today at 17:45 I consider as quite justified.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, when you say in your comment of 12 September 2019 at 22:56, ‘I found it difficult to understand whether material things (jada) like a flower or a candle could be considered as the one self too’, I assume that what you mean by ‘the one self’ is the one thing that actually exists, namely our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa). If so, nothing else actually exists, so all other things merely seem to exist, but though they seem to exist and to be other than ourself, how can they be actually be other than ourself?

That is, if we are the only thing that actually exists, and if pure awareness is our real nature, as Bhagavan says, nothing can be other than ourself. Material things and mental things seem to be things other than pure awareness, just as an illusory snake seems to be something other than a rope, but just as what seems to be a snake is actually just a rope, what seems to be this myriad of material and mental things is actually just pure awareness.

However, in order to see that everything is just pure awareness, we first need to see what we ourself actually are, because only when we see ourself as pure awareness will we see that nothing other than ourself actually exists or even seems to exist. Everything will therefore become clear to us only when we investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are. Only then will we see that we ourself are ‘the one self’, because there is absolutely nothing other than ourself.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for your clarification. What we are discussing here is an extremely subtle subject. However, I will try to share whatever I have understood or infer from whatever you wrote:

If we are able to help others, in whatever way possible, we should thank Bhagavan for giving us this opportunity. We should think that we are serving Shiva in the form of jiva. However, as you warn, ‘if one therefore helps others because it makes one feel good about oneself, one’s desire to help others is to that extent selfish’. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 5 of Upadesa Undiyar:

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

Such worship to other creatures will purify our mind and expand our sphere of love.
Regarding vasanas, suppose we have X number of subha-vasanas and Y number of asubha-vasanas, the more we try to cultivate one set of vasanas, the other set will correspondingly reduce. So if I try to strengthen my vasana of compassion (by feeding the dogs), correspondingly my more harmful and binding vasanas will decrease in strength.

When we try to love others as selflessly as possible, we are getting connected to our inner reservoir of pure love – love which is true nature. So this way we are expanding in love. This is how chitta-suddhi happens, and we progress on our spiritual journey. Such purification will increase our spiritual yearnings and will eventually lead us to the ultimate spiritual practice – self-investigation.

Of late, I have been trying to eat healthily. That is, I am trying to consume more fruits and thus trying to reduce the consumption of other not so healthy food. Thus I am trying to increase my subha vasana of consuming healthy food. So we should try to control our asubha vasanas by cultivating more and more of subha vasanas. However, our final destination is not to cultivate even subha vasanas but to give up all our vasanas.

Even our subha vasanas are a product of our likes and dislikes, and it is these likes and dislikes which are a hindrance to our spiritual progress. Ultimately we should try to reach a state where we have no likes and dislikes. We should, for example, eat whatever comes before us by considering it to Bhagavan’s prasad.

I once again thank you for your comment.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in my previous reply to you I wrote, ‘Our aim is ultimately to give up all vāsanās, but during the process of purification vāsanās that are more aśubha (unfavourable) in nature tend to be replaced by those that are more śubha (favourable) in nature’, but in your comment of 13 September 2019 at 13:42 you wrote, ‘we should try to control our asubha vasanas by cultivating more and more of subha vasanas’, so I am not sure if you understood me correctly, because I was not recommending that we should try to cultivate śubha vāsanās.

Cultivation of śubha vāsanās is a by-product of purification of mind (citta-śuddhi), but not its ultimate aim. If we want we can try to cultivate śubha vāsanās, but that would at best be an extremely slow and roundabout way to achieve purification of mind, because it is putting the cart before the horse. The real aim and purpose of purification of mind is eradication of ego, which cannot be achieved by any means other than self-investigation and self-surrender.

What Bhagavan implicitly recommends, therefore, is that we should focus all our interest and effort on investigating and thereby surrendering ourself, because this is the most direct, effective and reliable means to achieve citta-śuddhi and ultimately leads to eradication of ego, which is the root of all impurity.

All vāsanās, whether aśubha or śubha, are ego’s, so even śubha vāsanās bind us, and to get rid of them all we need to eradicate ego, which we can do only by being aware of ourself as we actually are. Therefore trying to see what we actually are should be our sole concern.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for pointing out my misunderstanding. As you imply, we should not try to cultivate subha vasanas but should try to give up all our vasanas from the very outset. The more we practise self-surrender and self-investigation, the more chitta-suddhi takes place, and such chitta suddhi automatically starts replacing our asubha vasanas with subha vasanas.

As you say, ‘What Bhagavan implicitly recommends, therefore, is that we should focus all our interest and effort on investigating and thereby surrendering ourself, because this is the most direct, effective and reliable means to achieve citta-śuddhi and ultimately leads to eradication of ego, which is the root of all impurity’.

Basically, our attack should be on ego and ego only. Rest everything will fall in place, automatically. I hope my understanding is clearer now. I thank you once again for all your help and guidance. These are priceless.


Michael James said...

Anonymous, if I have time, I will answer your three comments in which you maintain that all actions are motivated by desire, namely 10 September 2019 at 19:07, 12 September 2019 at 01:19 and 12 September 2019 at 17:45, and also your related comments of 24 August 2019 at 17:03 and 11 September 2019 at 21:30, in a separate article.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We just need one split second of pure self-awareness and everything will come to an end

We just need one split second of pure self-awareness and everything will come to an end, including time. That’s what Bhagavan said, but it is also reasonable. We just need to see for one moment that the snake is actually a rope and we can never see it as a snake again. So if we experience ourself as we actually are, we can never mistake ourself to be this ego again.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 13-09-2019

Reflection: This split second is here and if we are able to turn a full 180 degrees within here and now.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We do not need a great amount of wealth; we need just enough for our material needs

None of us needs a huge amount of money to live on. There are people who have billions of dollars or pounds or whatever, but what is the use of so much money? One day they are going to die and all their wealth will be of no use to them. In fact, this maldistribution of wealth is itself causing so much suffering in this world. We do not need a great amount of wealth. We need just enough for our material needs.

So if we have a job or business – it may be our own business – and it may be earning us a lot of money, but if it is causing harm to others, we should withdraw from it and take a job or business which is less harmful. It may be difficult to find such a job or business because everything is so interconnected, but at least we can try.

~•~ Paraphrased extract from Michael’s video dated 10-05-2014 (45:00)

Reflection: This message from Michael has a great lesson for me. Bhagavan knows when will I be able to listen to his advice?

We need some money for our material needs, but soon this need turns into greed. So we want more and more money in our bank account, and most of us do not care about the means of earning money. We employ all sorts of ethical and unethical means of earning money. We are even ready to exploit and harm other creatures. However, if we are satisfied with just enough money, we may try to stick to more ethical and harmless ways of earning money.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our ego is like a full blown balloon now

If we have a balloon which is fully blown up with air, and if we try to push is beneath the water, the more the resistance for it to come up. However, if we persevere in trying and trying and trying, slowly-slowly the air will start leaking out of the balloon, and it will become easier and easier to push it in. Once all the air has gone down, it will sink down by itself.

Our ego is like this full-blown balloon now. We are so interested in the world – we can experience so many nice things outside. These desires and attachments resist a lot when we try to turn within. It is like pushing a fully blown up balloon beneath the water. But if we persevere in the practice which Bhagavan has taught us, slowly-slowly all the air will leak out of our ego, and it will become easier and easier to push it within. That is, when all the desires and attachments have been squeezed out of our ego, it will sink down of its own accord.

Bhagavan says that it is natural that when we try to attend to ourself, all sorts of thoughts will arise. It is also essential that they arise because only then we can cut them off at their root. So whatever forces drive us to move out, we should try to turn back within. This way we weaken the outward going tendencies of our mind and strengthen the vasana just to be.

<•> Paraphrased extract from Michael’s video dated 13-09-2014 (01:30)

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my videos, 2019-05-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to develop vairāgya and humility, a friend asked, ‘Consciousness paying keen attention to itself constantly and investigating itself — Is this atma vichara?’, to which I replied:

Yes, but referring to consciousness as if it were a third person is a rather indirect and potentially misleading way of expressing it, because consciousness is nothing other than ourself, and hence it is more direct to say that ātma-vicāra (self-investigation) is just ourself being keenly self-attentive. Moreover, attending to ourself and investigating ourself are not two separate things, because we can investigate ourself only by being keenly self-attentive.

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my videos, 2019-08-25 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses reconciling practice with personal relationships, a friend asked, ‘Should one cultivate the attitude that it could happen at any moment? I mean the full 180 degrees look? Or is balanced approach better, building the intention slowly? Or should even these moments of consideration be used for investigation in order for it to really happen?’, to which I replied:

Yes, Nikola, it could happen at any moment, because it will happen as soon as we are willing to surrender ourself entirely.

However, what we should be seeking is not what may ‘happen’ now or in the future but what is always present, so we should stop thinking in terms of something happening or in terms of when it may happen. What am I here and now? That should be our only concern, because only then will we dissolve back into the source from which we appeared, namely our own real nature.

So yes, such moments of consideration be used for investigation in order to see what we always actually are.

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my videos, 2019-09-07 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 32, a friend wrote, ‘In this practice of constant self attention, seeing through the ego over and over in every moment, does the ego progressively get weaker and weaker and finally destroyed? In my experience with this practice, it seems like the “density” of my experience in the world is lighter than it was in the past...’, to which I replied:

Yes, the more we are self-attentive, the weaker and ‘lighter’ ego becomes, until finally we are willing to surrender ourself entirely, whereupon we will dissolve forever back into the source from which we appeared, namely pure awareness, ‘I am’.

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my videos, 2019-09-07 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 32, a friend wrote: ‘After enlightenment, what causes the world to still appear? If the ego was the one projecting the waking dream world and body, then after enlightenment/full ego dissolution, shouldn’t the projection stop? I imagine that I would go to sleep and never wake up in any world/body. Why does it still appear after enlightenment? Is there some residual ego still left somewhere?’

In reply to this I wrote:

Why do you suppose that the world will still appear after enlightenment? If what you mean by ‘enlightenment’ is eradication of ego, how can anything appear after after enlightenment? To whom could anything appear in the absence of ego? Consider what Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:

“If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist. Ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this is alone is giving up everything.”

In the third and fourth paragraphs of Nāṉ Ār? Bhagavan says explicitly that the world does not appear when we know our real nature:

“If the mind, which is the cause for all awareness [of things other than oneself] and for all activity, ceases [or subsides], jagad-dṛṣṭi [perception of the world] will depart [or be dispelled]. Just as unless awareness of the imaginary snake goes, awareness of the rope, [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna [basis, base or foundation], will not arise, unless perception of the world, which is kalpita [a fabrication, imagination or mental creation], departs, seeing svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna, will not arise.”

“[...] Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind makes the world appear [or projects the world] from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear. [...]”

------

In reply to this the same friend wrote a long comment, which he ended by saying, ‘Probably more self attention is needed to absorb this properly. There is also an intense fear in me of the world/everything ending so self attention is the only way to stop clinging to the world in such fear’, to which I replied:

Yes, the more we practise being self-attentive and thereby surrendering ourself, the clearer, deeper and subtler our understanding will become, and consequently the more our desires, attachments and fears will drop off.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
thank you for your further explanatory comment of 13 Sept 2019 at 13:31 saying:
"Everything will therefore become clear to us only when we investigate ourself keenly enough to see what we actually are. Only then will we see that we ourself are 'the one self', because there is absolutely nothing other than ourself."
For the sheer fun I imagine whether and how a wise man - as one who sees what he actually is - while going by the London tube would be aware of the train, the rails, the tunnels, the many stations with all the equipment, all the passengers with their luggage...and so on.:-)

Anonymous said...

Nice.. someone has the same fear as me:)

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I was glancing thru I AM THAT pdf by Nisargadatta Maharaj. I felt he separated concepts of Consciousness and awareness. Looked like awareness(The real self) is not same as consciousness and it was beyond consciousness. Is that true?

Anonymous said...

https://youtu.be/bTZvz8Z4TIo

The most beautiful video of JK. I am going to try this. I feel this is equivalent to self enquiry..

anadi-ananta said...

I cannot see any difference between 'awareness' and 'consciousness'.

Sanjay Lohia said...

In a recent comment on his, Michael wrote the following:

(a) Our aim is ultimately to give up all vāsanās, but during the process of purification vāsanās that are more aśubha (unfavourable) in nature tend to be replaced by those that are more śubha (favourable) in nature.

(b) Cultivation of śubha vāsanās is a by-product of purification of mind (citta-śuddhi), but not its ultimate aim.

(c) What Bhagavan implicitly recommends, therefore, is that we should focus all our interest and effort on investigating and thereby surrendering ourself, because this is the most direct, effective and reliable means to achieve citta-śuddhi and ultimately leads to eradication of ego, which is the root of all impurity.

As an expansion to this topic, we can read the following extract from Michael’s video dates 02-05-2014 (2.10).

Michael: If we are intent upon experiencing only ‘I’, we are withdrawing our interest in other things, so we are likely to be less greedy, selfish, avaricious. . . That is, we are likely to have fewer base qualities, the qualities which lead to unethical actions. So we should try to keep our focus more and more on 'I'.

Also, the more we attend to ‘I’, the more we become aware of the lack of separation between self and other. So the mind gets more and more purified and clarified. It becomes more and more difficult to treat others in a way we would not want to be treated ourself. So naturally, all the good qualities of kindness, compassion, empathy, ahimsa, trying to alleviate suffering wherever we see it, come naturally to us. So if we practise more and more self-investigation, all these qualities will manifest more and more in our behaviour.

My reflection: To the extent, we take interest on ourself, to that extent our interest in other things will drop off themselves. Since qualities like greediness, selfishness, avariciousness are other than ourself, we will become increasingly free of such base qualities. We can put it another way: the more we subside within, the more we become satisfied, happy and content because such happiness is our true nature. Therefore we will start depending less and less on outside things to give us happiness. So automatically our subha vasanas – our good qualities will come to the surface. To the extent we subside within, to that extent we will become kind, compassionate and generous.



Sanjay Lohia said...

We should make research on ‘I’ alone; every other research will eventually turn out to be waste of time

One thing that is certain is that we live only for a few years, and those few years pass by very-very quickly. We will realise how quickly it has gone past. So this life is very short. We don’t want to make research on so many things in this world, but whatever knowledge we acquire of this world, we will lose all when we die. But there is one thing we can do research on that will come with us: that is ‘I’. So this is the most important thing to make research on.

The more we practise making research on ‘I’ the more interesting it will become, and we will eventually find everything else boring and this alone interesting.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 13-09-2014 (1:57)

Reflection: ‘I know I am about to die very know’. This day or time will come sooner or later. As I am becoming old, this day will come sooner rather than later. So I know I am about to die. What will happen to all my possessions? What will happen to my apartment? What will happen to my bank balance? What will happen to all my knowledge about this world? What will happen to all the emails Michael has written to me? I have never thought of these questions in depth. I am trying to increase my possessions as if I am going to live forever. How foolish I am?

So our life will be wasted if we do not make efforts to acquire something which will come with us when we die. What is that thing? It is our sat-vasana (also called svatma-bhakti). How do we garner more and more sat-vasana? It is only by practising more and more atma-vichara. However, our ultimate aim should be to destroy ego here and now, but if are not able to do so, we should at least try to accumulate more and more sat-vasana (liking just to be). This is like the credit balance in our bank account. This balance will get carried forward to our next life.

As recorded, Bhagavan once said the following:

Only by knowing Self can we attain and experience enduring happiness; so long as we do not know Self we will be endlessly courting and experiencing misery; therefore our first and foremost duty is to know Self. All other efforts will only end in vain.

Bhagavan warns, ‘All other efforts will only end in vain’. Are we listening?

AsunAparicio said...

Anonymous,

Nissargadatta M. explains it somewhere I can´t tell you because I¨m not much of quotes. I just gather information here and there and what stays, stays and what goes, goes. This stayed.
He meant by consciousness that which is conscious of something else and by awareness that which is aware only of itself and what he refers to also by the term “absolute”, i.e., ego and self in Bhagavan´s teachings, as Michael so beautifully and clearly is always explaining. This has been source of great confusion between his followers and the reason why many of them mistake ego with self, as for what I could observe and the reason why I always felt there was something not quite right as listening to their talks and reading their writings which, on the other hand, and this is their main goal, can provide with nice and sometimes deeps insights since their pointers are addressed to undermine the conceptual mind and all acquired knowledge as illusory.

AsunAparicio said...

“source of great confusion between his followers” I think “amongst” is the correct word.

I´m a bit dizzy with English already :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Only by knowing Self can we attain and experience enduring happiness; so long as we do not know Self we will be endlessly courting and experiencing misery; therefore our first and foremost duty is to know Self. All other efforts will only end in vain."
Knowing ourself is indeed indispensable. But unfortunately it seems that only the wise (men) could manage to know themself. For me as an ignorant one - who regularly gets some knocks by his visaya vasanas - remains only the yearning for infinite happiness.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
to whom are you grateful for what ?

Anonymous said...

:) don’t know..

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, you say, ‘it seems that only the wise (men) could manage to know themself’. Who is it who doesn’t know himself or herself? We all know that we exist? We may not be what we see to be, but our existence cannot be doubted. Whatever we experience could be an illusion, but we have to exist even to be aware of this illusion.

Yes, who is not yearning for infinite happiness? Why don’t we find this happiness? It is because we are looking for it where it does not exist. It does not exist in objects where we are looking for. We ourselves are happiness, so if we want to be infinitely and eternally happy, we have no other option but to know ourself as we actually are. So we have to turn within and find out who am I?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should replace all unnecessary thoughts with self-attentiveness

Michael: Whatever thoughts arise doesn’t matter. However many thoughts arise, there is always an ‘I’ to experience it. So whatever thoughts may arise, we are always free to turn our attention towards ‘I’. ‘I’ is never absent. That is what Bhagavan means by the clue ‘to whom, to me; who am I?’ We should be constantly trying to turn our attention away from the thoughts towards the thinker, the ‘I’ who is thinking them.

OK, so long as this body and world seem to be real, a certain amount of thoughts are necessary to carry on with our lives, but what percentage of thoughts you think every day is really necessary?

A friend: Very few.

Michael: Very few. All other thoughts are unnecessary. We are unnecessarily scattering our attention and are thereby becoming weak. So if we replace all unnecessary thoughts with self-attentiveness, 99% of our attention will be on self and the remaining 1% will quickly dissolve and disappear.

~*~Edited extract from the video dated 08-02-2014 (50:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
not to know anything is certainly the best.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay ,
"...but our existence cannot be doubted. Whatever we experience could be an illusion, but we have to exist even to be aware of this illusion."

All can be doubted, even the doubter.:-)
Is being aware of this or any illusion actually a reliable basis for real existence ?
Cannot such an awareness be also a mere somewhat shaky supposition of an ignorant earthling ? If there have not been our sages we had to crawl away in a corner.

"We ourselves are happiness, so if we want to be infinitely and eternally happy, we have no other option but to know ourself as we actually are. So we have to turn within and find out who am I?"
But when the counterforces of darkening are stronger and we therefore are unable to turn within sufficiently deep and neglect/fail to know ourself as we actually are and to be that unspoiled, genuine, unchanging, incomparable, uncoverted, unwrapped, unalterable, unveiled, unquestionable, indestructible, irrevocable, full and infinite happiness, are we then condemned for ever ?
In any case it is sheer horror not to know our real nature and not to remain IMMEDIATELY in pure self-awareness !!! The seeming inaccessibility/ unapproachability of the alleged happiness is a heavy punishment to me. To whom is it grave ?...
So again like a hamster in its wheel I have to continue to pedal hard...

AsunAparicio said...

People who live under the yoke of fear can´t be trusted, they are treacherous and astute.
That´s how most are with ourself yet, it never forsakes us. No one loves us as unconditionally as it does and that´s exactly what it asks of us.
“As snow in water, let me melt as love in Thee, Who art love itself, O Arunachala!”

Sanjay Lohia said...

There is only one Guru

A friend: How do we know that we are making progress? Isn’t it Guru’s role to monitor our progress and tell us the same?

Michael: Bhagavan used to say that the real Guru is that which exists in you as ‘I’.
However, because our mind is constantly going outwards, the Guru has to appear outside to tell us: "Turn within. I am there in you as ‘I’. If you want to experience me, experience the ‘I’ in you". That is the function of the real Guru. Guru’s function is to show the way. We then have to follow what the Guru says. If the Guru says, ‘you are making progress’ or ‘you are not making progress’, then the Guru would be accepting that we are something other than what we really are. He would just say, ‘you are already that; know yourself’. So for the Guru, the idea of spiritual progress is meaningless.

Bhagavan never sees us. In Bhagavan view, there are no ajnanis – no one who is ignorant of themselves. That’s why Bhagavan didn’t go out to giving any teachings. Only when people asked, he gave teachings. Otherwise for him, he sees only self. It is only because we go to Bhagavan and say, ‘Bhagavan, I am miserable. How do I find happiness?’ he says, ‘you are happiness; find yourself’.

So people have very fanciful ideas about the Guru. They think that Guru is a person like us, and therefore he is someone other than us. Guru, however, is what we really are. If we want to experience Guru, we have to turn within.

The friend: All Gurus?

Michael: No, there is only one Guru. There is no all at all. ‘All’ is the expansion of ego. Guru is only one.

~•~ Edited extract from the video dated 08-02-2014 (01:31)

Reflection: Any so-called guru who says, ‘come to me; I will give you moksha or whatever’ is not a real guru. So we should run away from him as soon as possible. As Michael says, the real Guru will always say ‘you are what you are seeking; find yourself’. Since Guru is what we actually are, we are never away from the Guru. So we don’t need to go here and there searching for a guru. We just need to turn within and find him in and as ourself.

So Guru’s guidance and protection are always available to us. What more do we need? Our job now is just to follow what the Guru says, and he will do the rest. Guru's job is to finish us off. Our job is to surrender to him so that he can do his job.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Guru, however, is what we really are. If we want to experience Guru, we have to turn within."
However, in my experience trying to turn within is mostly leading to nothing or is unrewarding. So I could easily draw the conclusion that there is nothing of any help inside. Perhaps I could try to turn within for aeons and would never reach the goal of remaining in pure awareness alone. Presumably the guru in me is expressing himself in the fact that in spite of being always dissatisfied and unhappy I cannot stop yearning for eternal peace and love. So I have patiently to continue trying to turn within for the next aeons. What does it matter ? At least I have some experience in being extremely unhappy...that's my gallows humour.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, you clearly contradict Bhagavan when you write, ‘Perhaps I could try to turn within for aeons and would never reach the goal of remaining in pure awareness alone’. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 44 of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai:

O Arunachala, you said, ‘Turning back, daily see the ‘I’ with the inner eye; it will (then), be known’.

So Bhagavan gives us very great assurance. We will know ourself as we actually are if we persevere in turning within. We may have to turn within for aeons or we may need to turn within only once, how does it matter? We have a clear task at hand and that is to turn within whenever we can and stay in-turned as long as possible. If we try to do this as sincerely as possible, we will surely reach our destination. Why would Bhagavan give us any false assurance? So let us joyously stick to our job.




Sanjay Lohia said...

Our aim in meditation is not to be free of thoughts but is to experience ourself as we actually are

If we sit down to meditate with the object of getting rid of thoughts, we will never get rid of them because the aim ‘I want to get rid of thoughts’ is itself a thought. Sri Sadhu Om used to say that people fight their thoughts – they try to reject or suppress their thoughts – but we should not do that. We should consider thoughts as our friends. They have come to remind us that 'we are' because unless ‘I am’, I cannot experience any thoughts.

That is clue Bhagavan gave us – ‘to whom? To me; who am I?’ Bhagavan said however many thoughts arise, it does not matter. Every thought should remind us to turn our attention back towards ‘me’, who is experiencing those thoughts. So our aim in meditation is not to be free of thoughts but is to experience ourself as we actually are. If we are aware of only ourself, thoughts will automatically subside. If we think we have to push away thoughts, by our very attending to them we are feeding them.

In order to get rid of thoughts, we have to ignore them, and the only way to ignore them is to attend to that which is not a thought, and that is ourself. That is the only thing that is free of thoughts, including the root of all thoughts, which is the thought called ‘I’.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 08-02-2014 (1:29)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thanks for your comment. For many years I am not able to turn sufficiently deep within to know myself as I really am. At best I can train perseverance.
You also say "So our aim in meditation is not to be free of thoughts but is to experience ourself as we actually are."
But how to experience ourself as we actually are ? Just that experience is not granted to me. Because I regularly fall through I hope for a chance find or a fluke.:-)

Rajat Sancheti said...

Sanjay Lohia, in a comment above you mention the clue 'To whom, to me; who am I?'. Before I started reading this blog I had read Nan Yar and got the idea that I have to question myself, ask myself who am I. Michael has explained so many times very clearly that we don't have to question, not even mentally, but only be self-attentive. Unfortunately I have still been unable to completely get over my initial misunderstanding of Bhagavan's teachings, the first impression I got from reading Nan Yar. Even the title of the text is 'Who Am I?', a question. But i do suspect that merely questioning can do nothing. Even repeating 'I', 'I' seems more helpful in self-attentiveness than any question. How to properly use the clue 'to whom, to me, who am i?', without reducing it to a mere question?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I have a few questions. As we know, ego is nothing but the idea ‘I am this body’. However, how do we describe the ideas ‘I am a father’ or ‘I am a businessman’ or ‘I am a son’ or any such ideas? Are these ideas also an alternative description of ego? Also when we say ‘I am thinking’ or ‘I am walking’, I think we are describing the actions of ego. That is, such ideas are not ego in its original form. Is this correct? Could be please clarify this issue? Thanks.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are like the young Siddhartha, who later became Gautama Buddha

Buddha was a prince who grew up in a palace. His father didn’t want young Siddhartha to be exposed to the miseries of life, so he kept him within the palace, away from these things. However, one day he went out of his palace on his own and saw the people in his country. He saw a variety of people, sick people, dying people and hungry people. He saw animals suffering. He was utterly moved by seeing all this. He thought if this is the reality of life, what is the way out of all this?

By this time he was married? He thought ‘I cannot save my wife and family from disease, old age and death. All of them have to suffer, so what is the use of such a miserable life? What is the solution? What is the way out of all this suffering?’ Eventually, he left his family. He did so out of compassion because he knew that even though he was a prince and will soon become a king, he could not protect his family in any way. He thought he is going to die one day and so also his wife, who was extremely dear to him, will die, so what is the use of his being a prince or a king?

So he became a mendicant, did severe tapas for many years and ultimately found the solution to all the worldly problems and became Buddha.

~*~ Paraphrased extract from Michael’s video dated 14-09-2019 (1:45)

Reflection: Our journey is somewhat like the journey of young Siddhartha. Even though we have not left the comforts of our home or left our family, like Siddhartha, we have also set out to discover the ultimate truth. This world makes no sense if we think deeply. We are born, we study, become adults, marry and have children. We do whatever to earn money, build a house, and enjoy so many things in this world. However, sooner or later, we all suffer disease, old age and death. So ultimately we have to leave everything behind and say goodbye to this world.

Isn’t it all utterly senseless – totally meaningless? I believe it is. At this juncture, Grace somehow brings us to teachings of Bhagavan. Bhagavan teaches us that if we want the answer to all our questions and doubts, we need to turn within and find out who we actually are. Once we are able to do so, we will transcend all the sufferings of this worldly existence, so we will also become Buddha.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat,
I endorse completely your question "How to properly use the clue 'to whom, to me, who am i?', without reducing it to a mere question?".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rajat, Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 16 of Nan Ar the correct practice of atma-vichara.Bhagavan says here:

The name ‘atma-vicara’ [refers] only to [the practice of] always keeping the mind in [or on] atma [oneself].

How the mind keeps itself on oneself? It is not by any sort of questioning like ‘who am I’ but by attending to oneself. So it is wrong to say that asking questions such as 'to whom, to me; who am I' is the actual practice recommended by Bhagavan. People usually think that atma-vichara means asking questions such as ‘who am I’. However, these people have completely misunderstood Bhagavan’s teachings. Sadhu Om and Michael have made it very clear that atma-vichara only means self-attentiveness or self-investigation. We can use the questions such as ‘who am I’ to remind ourself to turn within, so such questions may be used as aids. However, we can easily dispense with these aids. The confusion could be because people misinterpret paragraph 6 of Nan Ar where Bhagavan says the following:

If other thoughts rise, without trying to complete them it is necessary to investigate to whom they have occurred. However many thoughts rise, what [does it matter]? As soon as each thought appears, if one vigilantly investigates to whom it has occurred, it will be clear: to me. If one [thus] investigates who am I, the mind will return to its birthplace [oneself, the source from which it arose]; [and since one thereby refrains from attending to it] the thought which had risen will also cease. When one practises and practises in this manner, to the mind the power to stand firmly established in its birthplace will increase.

Though Bhagavan describes the process as ‘to whom, to me; who am I’, he does not mean that we should actually ask these questions. Michael has explained that the question ‘to whom’ and its answer ‘to me’ should remind us to turn our attention away from the objects we are attending towards ourself (me). And the question ‘who am I’ means that once we have turned our attention towards ourself, we should remain firmly attentively self-aware.

Regarding mentally repeating ‘I, I’, Bhagavan does recommend this practice in paragraph 5 of Nan Ar:

Even if one continues thinking ‘I, I’, it will take and leave [one] in that place.

However, this practice is only those who are unable to directly practise self-investigation. The word ‘I’ something other than ourself, but it reminds us of ourself, so it has limited value. Eventually, we have to leave such repetitions and cling firmly to what this ‘I’ denotes, which is ourself.

AsunAparicio said...

Sanjay,

Identification with the body brings the illusion of being the doer “I think, I walk” and the experiencer “I´m a businessman” about. I guess this is why Bhagavan said that ego is a “thief” since the true doer is the “generative thought of Ishvara” or that “extraordinary power that exists in the real nature of ourself” and what gives rise to the creation or manifestation as the ego (along with the elements from which a body “suitable for experiences” arises) , being ego, therefore, as everything else, just an effect and not the primal cause of all what exists (as manifeted) but that principle called Ishvara “the intelligent cause of the universe, immanent in all, untainted by Maya or by any of the gunas” and what really rules the show, so to speak. At least, this is how understand it after reading yesterday a very interesting text “highly regarded by Bhagavan”: “Kaivalya Navaneeta”
For those interested in how ego arises, it can be a good reading. I had no idea all these things had been said or revealed.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...we need to turn within and find out who we actually are. Once we are able to do so, we will transcend all the sufferings of this worldly existence, so we will also become Buddha."
For me it is certain: We will transcend all the sufferings of this worldly existence not before we manage to control totally our desires connected with the body-idea/experience.
But how could one ever manage that unless those desires/vasanas have vanished completely ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "Eventually, we have...cling firmly to what this 'I' denotes, which is ourself."
So you refer obviously to ego-person-complex. But is it not said that we are just not this ego but pure self-awareness ? And how can ego cling to pure self-awareness which is clearly the opposite of ego ?

Anonymous said...

I was assuming the true doer is the extraordinary power, but i think Michael disagreed that ..

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
your assumption is correct. However, why do you think that Michael would not approve of that ?

Rajat Sancheti said...

Sanjay,
Thank you for your helpful reply. So there is no shortcut in Bhagavan's path? Not the clue 'to whom, to me, who am I?', nor listening to Aksharamanamalai on loop, might help me turn within if I am still so interested in the world and don't want to turn within? The clue it seems is useful only if I actually want to turn within, and to apply it when thoughts appear; it won't somehow miraculously help me to turn within.
But my infrequent brief unsuccessful attempts at being self-attentive do seem like emptying the ocean of my vasanas with a little teaspoon that is full of holes. Even when a desire appears and I try to investigate to whom it has arisen, I find it difficult to see how that desire will ever die because it seems so powerful. But I can have faith in Bhagavan when he says that everytime i try to turn away from the desire and back towards myself i am weakening the desire and strengthening the love to turn within.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat,
in spite of all the problems we have to face in our practice we - as you imply - can have faith in our immanent Bhagavan that everytime we try to turn away from the desire and back towards myself we are weakening the desire and strengthening the love to turn within. But we should not hope for a miracle. Because most of us seem to have looked all our life in the wrong direction we rather should prepare ourself for a long-term programme to alter our course.

Anonymous said...

Michael only says the higher power governs everything. He never said higher power is the doer.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
if ego is said not to be the doer who else than the higher power could be the doer ?
Does governing everything not also include doing everything ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rajat, yes, in one sense there is no shortcut in our spiritual journey. We have to put in a great and prolonged effort, so only a dhira (brave one) can ultimately succeed. Bhagavan used to say that untiring perseverance and unwavering patience is the key. However, we should remember that Bhagavan's path is actually the most direct and simple path. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 17 of Upadesa Undiyar:

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

So there is no path which is simpler and easier or more direct. There is no other path which is so efficacious in destroying our vasanas. Bhagavan’s path is like travelling on a jet to reach our destination. Other paths are like travelling on a train or in a car or on a bicycle or even walking to reach the same destination.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rajat, the following paraphrased extract from Michael’s video dated 10-08-2013 (34:00) may be of interest to you. This puts more light on our recent discussion:

The natural tendency of light particles is to float on water. As long as we stir the water, these particles will be mixed and spread out throughout the water. But if we allow the water to become calm, the particles will come to the surface and float. Likewise, when we begin to experience our inner calmness by turning our attention towards ‘I’, all the lighter materials in our mind which are our deep-rooted vasanas (our old desires), begin to come to the surface.

Normally, these vasansas take our attention away from ourself towards objects – whatever distracts our attention. However, we are there as the experiencer of these objects. So if we wish, we can divert our attention away from these objects towards the one who is experiencing these objects, namely ourself. Bhagavan described this in terms of questioning, such as ‘to whom is this experience; who am I.’ However, we don’t have to actually go through a questioning process.

Every thought we have – which could be thoughts, feelings, emotions, sights, sounds or whatever – rises in our mind because I am there to experience them. So whatever we experience, we can cultivate the habit of turning our attention towards self-wards, by ignoring whatever we may be attending. If we train our mind properly, nothing can be a distraction. However, in practice, our mind keeps on getting dragged out because we have very strong vishaya-vasanas. But by practising more and more we can weaken our vasanas to think of other things, and we can increase our sat-vasana (our liking just to be).

anadi-ananta said...

section 3.,
"...It is necessary to know oneself only by one’s own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness]."
"'Oneself' is within the pañca-kōśas [the ‘five sheaths’ that seem to cover and obscure what one actually is, namely the physical body, life, mind, intellect and will]; whereas texts are outside them."
"...and since the five sheaths are what we now mistake ourself to be, in order to investigate and know what we actually are we need to set them aside by excluding them from our awareness, so we cannot be aware of ourself as we actually are until we let go of the five sheaths and everything perceived through them."

Unfortunately, my own eye of jñāna [knowledge or awareness] seems to function not correctly or is at all closed completely. As a person I am evidently a victim of the pañca-kōśas which obscure fully what I actually am. In any case I was not able to set them aside by excluding them from my awareness, let alone to let go of the five sheaths and everything perceived through them.

"The ātma-jñāni is ātma-jñāna, which is ātma-svarūpa, the real nature of ourself, so we need to seek it within ourself and not anywhere outside."
"‘You yourself are the ātma-jñāna you are seeking, so turn back within to find it inside yourself’."
"...'The real feet of guru are imperishable. They are shining within you as 'I'. Cling to those feet. They alone will save you’."
"Bhagavan is our own real nature, which is always shining in our heart as pure awareness, so we can know him as he actually is only by turning back within with heart-melting love and thereby subsiding deep within and losing ourself in him. This is what all his teachings prompt us to do, and since he is dwelling in our heart as our real nature, by his power of grace he is drawing our mind within, so all we need do is yield ourself to his grace by being calmly and steadily self-attentive".

To be honest in the face of my continued inability to turning my attention sufficiently deep within I do not notice much of Bhagavan's mind-within-drawing grace. Presumably his grace cannot flood through my person's hard barrier of immaturity and impurity.
I only can persistently try it again...namely being calmly and steadily self-attentive.:-)





AsunAparicio said...

Ultimately, all is consciousness and there is nothing apart or different from consciousness.

According to this text, they are all superimpositions over superimpositions on pure consciousness and, depending on the grade they reach in descendent or ascendant order, consciousness plays different roles, has different features and receives different names, according to the different divisions and subdivisions too.

Michael, very wisely in my view, simplifies and talks only on ego and self, being ego a thought aware of itself and of other than itself and self, awareness only of itself. Ego completely turned towards itself would be self itself which is truth and not.

This is truth because, as Bhagavan says, god, guru and self are one and the same.

It is not truth because, as Bhagavan also says: ““Keeping God in your mind becomes dhyana and dhyana is the stage before Realization. Realization can only be in and of the Self. It can never be apart from the Self: and dhyana must precede it.”

As I understand it, ego turned towards itself would realize or know itself as god or the generative principle Ishvara, the intelligent cause of the universe, as well as the universe and everything else including itself as ego at the stage it receives this name, but still not as self since this power is only a thought just as ego only that, at this stage, it´s not ego anymore since the perceiver and the perceived, the “creator” and its “creation” are not separated nor different and it is not under the laws of nature nor it is limited as we, as ego, are since its functioning is for the universal goal and not for the particular one hence, that it governs everything, for this purpose.

On the other hand, Bhagavan also says that “whether you make dhyana on God or on the Self, it is immaterial; for the goal is the same” : “you can´t escape the self.”

Truth is that I had no idea what people talked about when they talked about god or Ishavara, only after reading some Michael´s articles and comments on karma and surrender I started to infer what they meant and how it permeates and is present at all stages, not only governing but driving us towards ourself. This text explains the whole thing, at least, in my view and to the extent I could understand it.

AsunAparicio said...

“ its functioning is for the universal goal and not for the particular one hence, that it governs everything, for this purpose.”
I guess this would be the actual pure mind which must precede self-realization being self no-mind or beyond mind and no-mind.
Maybe these things aren´t said in order to not discourage seekers, I don´t know. Personally, I find it is quite the opposite. There is a great beauty in all of it.

Anonymous said...

Governing is different than doing right? A leader of the country governs and doesn’t perform all activities in the country right? Taking sun analogy, plants grow automatically due to Sun’s grace. Sun doesn’t directly make the plant grow.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, you wrote, ‘And how can ego cling to pure self-awareness which is clearly the opposite of ego?’ Pure self-awareness is not the opposite of ego. Let us take the rope and snake analogy. The snake is nothing but the rope. In fact, there is no snake, but what seems to be a snake is actually a rope. So there are no two things there. There is only the rope. Likewise, there is only one ‘I’. This ‘I’ may seem to be ego, but if we look closely at it, we will discover that it is only pure self-awareness.

Anonymous said...


24. As a hill of lodestone neither moves of itself nor puts things in motion, and yet pieces of iron orient themselves towards it, I neither act by myself nor actuate others, and yet the whole world is active before me. Like the sun, I remain an unconcerned witness of all the functions of the body, senses, etc., and also of the state of Peace resulting from the merging of the mind in Brahman. One possessed of this firm experience is the Perfect Doer.

Sanjay Lohia said...

In order to renounce the world, we should not go somewhere and sit in any cave; we should go inside the cave of our heart and sit there perpetually

Michael: Sometimes people used to ask Bhagavan ‘Is it necessary to renounce the world in order to realise oneself?’ Bhagavan said just like marriage comes according to destiny, so also external renunciation comes according to destiny. In fact, our external life is shaped by grace. Whatever we have been given to experience in life is what is most favourable at that stage of life. We may be in a worldly situation. We may have wife, children, live in poverty, work for so many hours, but those very circumstances may give us stronger yearning to go beyond limitations. It may motivate us to go within to experience true happiness.

Bhagavan used to say real renunciation is the renunciation of ego because if we renounce our ego, we renounce everything. We may go to the Himalayas or sit in a cave or live in a monastery, but if we have not renounced our ego, we will be still thinking about the world. We may sit silently in a monastery, but if have not renounced our ego our mind will be in perpetual noise, to a greater or lesser extent. We may give up the identification ‘I am a father’ or ‘I am a businessman’ or whatever, but will replace it with the identification ‘I am a renunciate’. There is still a separate ‘I’, and this ‘I’ is the root of bondage. Our identification of ourself with anything other than ourself is a problem.

We don’t have to renounce things physically. We need to give up our desires, attachments, our likes and dislikes. As long as we have likes, dislikes, desires and attachments, our mind will always go after external objects.

A friend: Say, if one is living in a monastery without the internet, mobile phones, without any connection with the outside world, one has less opportunity to worry about outside things. So such a life may be useful.

Michael: Perhaps! Superficially it seems favourable to be in an environment without distractions, and for some people that may help to some extent. However, If you are worried about Brexit and if you go to a monastery for a two-week retreat, what will be the first thing you will ask about when you come out – 'what happened to Brexit?' That is why Bhagavan said we don’t need outward renunciation; we need inward renunciation. If you are sitting in the monastery and meditating or whatever, you will be still thinking about ‘what happened to Brexit?’ or ‘what has happened to my family’. You cannot leave your interest in them outside the door of the monastery, can you?

The real problem is inside. The problem is not Brexit but our concern for it. Let the country go to dogs, let there be famines, let there be wars. If we are unconcerned about such things, these are not a problem. The problem is we want a peaceful society. We want there are no wars. We want a democratic government. We do not want xenophobia. The problem is not that society is not peaceful; the problem is our desire for peace.

The world is constantly changing. Sometimes there is peace; sometimes there is war. The problem is not the wars or unjust governments or such things. The problem is our likes and dislikes. If we are free of all likes and dislikes, nothing will matter to us. So the problems lie within us, and the root of all problems is our ego. So if can give up ego, we will give up all problems.

Paraphrasing of extracts from the Michael’s videos 14-2-2019 (51:00) & 10-08-2013 (52:00)

AsunAparicio said...

Anonymous,

Iron and plants do as much as the hill and the sun: nothing. There is not doer, all of that just happens as it happens consciousness identifying with a body and so on.
What I said is that, according to this text I´ve read, ego is not the primal cause as I have been believing all this time but so called god or ishvara and that ego seems to have appropriated of the god´s role.
It´s difficult to talk about it because all of it is the same only that appearing as something different and at different stages, but whereas Bhagavan says that god, guru and self are the same, he never said that ego is god or that god has to be killed, only ego from which I infer that ego is a byproduct of Ishvara which would be the primal thought and cause. It is this what is causeless, not ego as Michael puts it or , at least, as I understand what he says.

Anonymous said...

You have said ego turned to itself will
Know itself as god, which I disagree.

Ego can never realize God. The sense ‘ I’ that we all have and thru which we act and think , must die or get destroyed and the destruction will be done by God and God will reveal as real I to itself. At this point , I think only sense of I dies, but my question is what about intellect and functions of body ? Those always belonged to God? And is that how Jnanis were able to operate? That is where I am not clear.

Anonymous said...

So can I act without knowing that I am acting, and still be just aware of myself as just myself and at the same time my actions take place only from the view of ego? Since action is a concept known only to ego and not to Self.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
verse 24 of what ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
we say pure self-awareness is real whereas ego is only an appearance.
In that sense pure self-awareness is quite well the opposite of ego.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
"Sun doesn’t directly make the plant grow."
Would the plants grow without the direct influence of the sun ?

Anonymous said...


14. The union of the moded mind and the reflected Self is called the mind. Brahman can be reached by the mind for the reason that the mode of mind, directed to itself, is necessary for Realization. Brahman cannot be reached by that part of the mind which is reflected Consciousness. Thus, reconciling the meaning, be free from doubt.

Anonymous said...

20. Master: The annihilation of the mind is of two grades: namely, of the mind pattern46 and of the mind itself47. The former applies to Sages liberated while alive; the latter to disembodied Sages. Elimination of rajas and tamas, leaving sattva alone is the dissolution of the pattern of the mind. When sattva vanishes along with the subtle body, the mind itself is said to have perished too.
21. Sattva is pure and forms the very nature of the mind; when rajas and tamas (which give the pattern to it) are destroyed (by proper practice), the identity of the term “mind” is lost. For, in such a state, the Sages will partake of what comes unsolicited to them; not think of the past or future; nor exalt in joy or lament in sorrow; getting over their doership and becoming non-doers; witnessing the mental modes and the three states (waking, dream, dreamless sleep)48 they can remain liberated at the same
TOC 34

time as they pass through prarabdha. There is no contradiction in it. You need have no doubts on this point.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rajat, recently, I wrote the following in a comment addressed to you:

So there is no path which is simpler and easier or more direct. There is no other path which is so efficacious in destroying our vasanas. Bhagavan’s path is like travelling on a jet to reach our destination. Other paths are like travelling on a train or in a car or on a bicycle or even walking to reach the same destination.

However, the analogy I gave was not quite accurate. It is correct to say that ‘Bhagavan’s path is like travelling on a jet to reach our destination’. However, perhaps I was giving unnecessarily more importance to other paths by comparing them to travelling on a train or in a car or on a bicycle. In fact, paths other than self-investigation and self-surrender are like a young toddler walking with wobbly steps towards its destination. Ok, in some cases we could say a few paths are like an adult waking to its destination. Trains, cars and bicycles are relatively a quicker mode of travel, and therefore it would not be proper to compare other practices to such 'fast' modes of travel.

Sanjay Lohia said...

How to reduce our desires for sex and foods that are rajasic and tamasic in nature

For most of us, sex and food, particularly wrong types of food, are big addictions. That is, we have very strong vasanas for these things. How to give up these addictions (or any other addiction)? We can do so most effectively by chitta-suddhi. That is, the more our mind is purified, the more its vasanas lose its strength. And as Michael explained recently, ‘Our aim is ultimately to give up all vasanas, but during the process of purification vasanas that are more asubha (unfavourable) in nature tend to be replaced by those that are more subha (favourable in nature)’.

As we know, excessive sex and wrong types of food (or excessive food) are a result of our asubha vasanas, so these will be increasingly replaced by more subha vasanas. So as a result of the purification of our mind, our desire for sex and for wrong types of food starts to wane. Of course, we can try and control our urge for sex and food and thus try to reduce the strength of these vasanas, but we may not be very successful in doing so without requisite chitta-suddhi. However, as our mind is purified such urges will automatically reduce without much effort on our part.

So as our mind is purified, we will automatically replace our taste of rajasic and tamasic foods with more sattvic foods. We will also tend to eat less and less because we generally eat much-much more than we actually need.

Therefore, as Michael wrote in one of his recent comments, ‘What Bhagavan implicitly recommends, therefore, is that we should focus all our interest and effort on investigating and thereby surrendering ourself, because this is the most direct, effective and reliable means to achieve citta-śuddhi and ultimately leads to eradication of ego, which is the root of all impurity’.

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"Therefore to succeed in this path of self-investigation what we need is not any kind of transmission but only complete submission. That is, we do not need anything to be transmitted to us from anywhere outside ourself, but only need to submit ourself completely to our own real nature, which is the gem of light always shining clearly within ourself as ourself."
Complete submission of the unreal to the real sounds properly and quite sensibly.
But how can the unreal ever grasp that necessity when it does not clearly know its own real nature ?

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"...our own real nature, which is the gem of light always shining clearly within ourself as ourself."
The only thing that seems to be always shining clearly within me is ego and dissatisfaction - evidently as my real nature.
So Arunachala, you gem of light, may you not soon annihilate my low state of impurity and immaturity, my baseness [the darkness of my self-ignorance] ?

AsunAparicio said...

Anonymous,

I also said that when ego turned towards itself knows itself as god, it is not ego anymore. What fades away is what appears to be along with its features as an empty shell, the fruit or essence is always the same, unchanging and unaffected, it is always here , and in all forms and at all stages. Moreover, it is this what is doing everything from the very beginning.

God as such, is not going to come to you and to destroy you as ego unless you, as ego, turn towards yourself because it is not an entity on its own apart from you just as you, as ego, aren´t either. That´s only what you believe and what appears to be.

“Leaving oneself, who sees, oneself seeing God is seeing a mental vision. Only one who sees oneself, the origin of oneself, is one who has seen God, because the origin, oneself, going, oneself is not other than God.”
(Bhagavan in 'Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu': v. 20*)

Yet, it still is not self but this:

“When one knows in oneself that self, which shines without any difference in separate living beings, within oneself the light of oneself will flash forth [like lightening]. [This is] the shining forth of grace, the annihilation of ego, the blossoming of happiness.”
(Bhagavan from 'Āṉma-Viddai': v. 3*)

Regarding to the body and its functioning yes, I think so. Now we think that we are in charge of the body and that if we, as eo, are not there it won´t be able to function in the world which is a complete fallacy. Even now it is in charge of god as much as its actions which are being driven by vasanas and karma chosen by god. Prarabdha is related to the body only:

31. “So also, the ego-free Sage appears to function like others
until he is disembodied.”

33. “Activities end when prarabdha ends.”

Sanjay Lohia said...

We need to withdraw ourself from everything; this is the only way to become truly happy

In Tamil, there is a work called Thirukkural, which is a collection of two lines verses. One of these verses is particularly interesting. Bhagavan used to quote this. The gist of it is as follows:

Whatever you give up or from whatever you withdraw yourself, you are free from the suffering caused by that thing.

So the more we manage to let go, the more we manage to be unconcerned by things, the freer we will become. Actually, Bhagavan’s path is the path of happiness. Why suffer unnecessarily carrying our small luggage on our head? When Bhagavan is taking care of us and our entire luggage, why to worry about anything? The more we surrender or let go, the happier we will be. The more we are unconcerned about things, the easier our life will be.

However, because we are not willing to let go, it seems to be a struggle. If we are willing to let go, we need not do any sadhana at all. We can leave everything to Bhagavan. So our aim is to let go of everything and when we do so, we merge back in our source. How to let go? Cling to yourself – by clinging to yourself, you are letting go of everything.

# Extract (paraphrased) from Michael’s video dated 14-09-2019 (1:38)

Reflection: I was attached to my elder daughter so when she got married, I was naturally missing her. I could feel the pang of separation. This sadness remained for a few weeks but eventually subsided. I have now internally let go of her, so I am back to my normal. I don’t miss her presence now. This is how we become happy and relaxed when we let go.

One of my relatives had taken some loan from me. She had promised to return this on a particular date, but she keeps on postponing this date on one pretext or other. So at times, I am anxious. Since I am holding on this loan, I am at times in mental turmoil. If I just forget about all this, I will at peace. How to do so? It is only by self-surrender and self-investigation. There is no other way.

So by such examples, we can see the truth of this verse of Thirukkural. We suffer because we hold on to things; we are happy when we let go of them. The process of letting go is at times painful because from one hand we are holding on to the thing and from the other hand we are trying to let go. So there is an inner tug of war. I believe, Bhagavan also once said that it is painful to give up one’s vasanas. It is because we don’t want to give it up, but at the same time want to give it up. However, there is peace when we get over our vasana.



AsunAparicio said...

“Now we think that we are in charge of the body and that if we, as eo,” I meant “as ego”.

Anonymous,

Our features, limitations, fears and concerns as ego aren´t god´s, we haven´t to fear turning towards ourself because all of them will drop away along with ego. Practicing self-investigation clarifies mind and brings about the understanding and love which enables us to be ready to be destroyed. It is something progressive for most of us. Only by giving up the fear of world´s disappearance in order to practice self-investigation, won´t make the world to disappear. That only happens with self-realization and we can´t understand as ego that state. We can´t be said nor even by a jnani how it is nor, therefore, to get guarantees, that´s how ego functions. And in case we were said, it would be just and idea for us which, on the other hand, would become an obstacle rather than a help. Actually, these fears comes mainly from what we have heard or read about that state we just can´t know nor understand.

Anonymous said...

http://ramana-maharshi.weebly.com/uploads/2/4/7/2/24723372/kaivalya_navaneeta_-_cream_of_liberation.pdf#page87

Asun mentioned about this. So I started going thru this. Pretty good . It has answers to lot of my questions.

Anonymous said...

Yes. But yet Sun is not the doer..right? The idea called doing belongs to only ego and not to Self. Self will never be aware of the idea ‘doing’. Hence it is said activities take place automatically.

Anonymous said...

I still strongly feel ‘sense of I’ should die completely and something else in our body will reveal itself as I which was hidden by Ego. I read your post, but still not convinced. The only big hindrance to see the real I is ‘I am the body’ idea. This idea is the one that has been hiding real I. To get past that idea, we cannot ignore it, but must destroy it. Unless thought that ‘it is snake’ is destroyed, rope cannot be seen. Just attending to ‘I am the snake’ is not going to take us to the rope. Investigating the snake, we realize that snake was not there, which means, it is destroyed and a new entity called Rope will appear. Now does snake and rope had anything in common? The cause of appearance of snake is rope, but other than that snake is just a lifeless entity and had nothing in common with rope.

Anonymous said...

Ok this seems convincing.

“When one knows in oneself that self, which shines without any difference in separate living beings, within oneself the light of oneself will flash forth [like lightening]. [This is] the shining forth of grace, the annihilation of ego, the blossoming of happiness.”

What exists all the time within us is hidden right now. In order for it to appear, ego should get destroyed. Both might happen at the same time. May be thats what I meant by ‘God destroying the ego.’ He would not perform the action of destroying, but when he appears, ego will automatically be destroyed. May be we are saying same thing, but in different ways.

Sanjay Lohia said...

There is never a moment in our waking and dream states when we are fully satisfied

There is never a moment in our waking and dream states when we are fully satisfied. Even when we achieve something, we want something more. Throughout our waking states, we are experiencing pleasures and pains, in a greater or lesser degree. We do not experience infinite happiness, though infinite happiness is what we actually are.

We consider some things to be good and some things to be bad. Good and bad are determined by our likes and dislikes – what we like is good, and what we dislike is bad.

# Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 14-09-2019

Reflections: In our everyday life, we always have a plan ready. I want to do this and this and this today. We feel that our happiness depends on these things. However, do our plans ever come to an end? No! It is always – we want to do this; we want to do that. Bhagavan explains this beautifully in paragraph 13 of Nan Ar?:

Even though one places whatever amount of burden upon God, that entire amount he will bear. Since one paramēśvara śakti [supreme ruling power or power of God] is driving all kāryas [whatever needs or ought to be done or to happen], instead of we also yielding to it, why to be perpetually thinking, ‘it is necessary to do like this; it is necessary to do like that’? Though we know that the train is going bearing all the burdens, why should we who go travelling in it, instead of remaining happily leaving our small luggage placed on it [the train], suffer bearing it [our luggage] on our head instead of remaining happily leaving it placed on that [train]?

How can we place our burden on one paramesvara shakti? Michael has explained that we can do so by giving up all our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes, hopes, fears and so on. These are our only burden. If we are free of all our outward going desires and attachments, we are free of all our burdens. If we give up our likes and dislikes, nothing outside will affect us. If my house is robbed tomorrow, it will not affect me. If one of my near and dear ones dies, it will not affect me.

Michael has explained that on the spiritual path, trying to change anything by our will is the problem. That is why we need to surrender our will. If we are not willing to give up our desires and attachments, how can we be willing to give up the one who has this will, namely our ego? We cannot, of course, completely give up our desires, fears, everything until our ego is annihilated. However, we can lessen these to a great extent. There is no such as a desireless ego because desire is the very nature of ego.

So, as Michael once said, we will reach the safe harbour only when our ego is annihilated.

Rajat Sancheti said...

Sanjay,
Many thanks for the extract from Michael’s video dated 10-08-2013 (34:00). That video is very helpful.

You say in a comment above "So as our mind is purified, we will automatically replace our taste of rajasic and tamasic foods with more sattvic foods". Could you please explain what you mean when you say desires 'automatically' go away? Because isn't it also important to actively and consciously try to ignore/reject desires when they arise even when the mind is not pure enough for them to 'automatically' go away? In my experience, my desires, for example the desire for a better job, won't go away automatically any time soon (possibly because my mind is certainly not purified enough yet) and the only way I can at least try to deal with them is by manana on Bhagavan's teachings - how desires never get satisfied and only sow the seed for more desires, how this world is only a dream and happiness is only to be found by turning within, etc.

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