Monday, 5 August 2019

The role of grace in all that ego creates

In a comment on one of my recent articles, Is there any such thing as ‘biological awareness’?, an anonymous friend suggested that it is not correct to say that ego has projected or created anything, because though the world appears when ego emerges, it ‘appears by the power of higher power and is also the higher power’, and ‘The higher power enables everything and manifests as everything’. Therefore this article is written in reply to that comment.
  1. What manifested outwardly as the human form of Bhagavan and his teachings is what is called ‘grace’, which is the infinite love that he has for us as himself
  2. Though Bhagavan does not explicitly say in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu that our present world is just a dream, he clearly implies this in many of its verses
  3. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 4: the world is nothing but thoughts, the seeds of which are our viṣaya-vāsanās, and what makes these thoughts appear is ego, which is the root and essence of the mind
  4. Since we as ego have created all this, we can put an end to all the problems and sufferings we see in this world only by surrendering ourself back into the source from which we have risen
  5. What is called ‘the higher power’ is nothing other than grace, which is Bhagavan’s infinite love, so it does not create anything, but for our benefit it does regulate what we as ego create
  6. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13: grace is always shining in our heart and in many subtle ways it is gradually rectifying our will, so all we need do is to yield ourself to it entirely by being so keenly self-attentive that we give not even the slightest room to the rising of ourself as ego
  7. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 15: everything happens by the mere presence of grace, but grace has no desire that anything should happen, and it does not itself do anything, nor is it affected by anything that is done
  8. Grace is the light of awareness that illumines our mind, so the correct use we can make of it is to turn our mind back within and attend to it with heart-melting love
1. What manifested outwardly as the human form of Bhagavan and his teachings is what is called ‘grace’, which is the infinite love that he has for us as himself

Before quoting that comment in the next section and then replying to it, I will first explain in this section the context in which it was written. That is, a friend called Saxon had written a comment saying:
Hello Michael,

You sometimes talk about the lion in the elephants dream or say Bhagavan, his teaching and Arunachala are nothing but an outward projection of what we really are (pure awareness) directing our attention back onto our self and telling us to turn within.

You also often say that Bhagavan’s love for us is boundless. I must admit it is very comforting to think that Bhagavan (what I really am) loves me and is trying to help me (ego) but how can that be true? If what I actually am is pure immutable, indivisible non dual self-awareness that is never aware of anything other than itself there is no ego for it to save, help or destroy. So I must conclude that the manifestation of Bhagavan, his teaching and Arunachala are solely my own creation just like all other phenomena in my dream.

So there is nothing trying to help me but instead I have become tired at long last of duality and have created my own solution in the form of Bhagavan and his teaching to lead to my own self-destruction.

Or is it more like how the plants grow as a side effect of being in the presence of the sun without the sun intending to help them, care about them or even being aware of them. Can the same be said about why Bhagavan, his teaching and Arunachala have manifested in my dream? Are they just a side effect, this is not as comforting I must confess.

Thank you very much for clarifying.
In reply to this I wrote a series of two comments:
Saxon, using the honorific plural ‘அவர்’ (avar), ‘they’, to refer to the jñāni, in verse 31 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan says and asks rhetorically, ‘தன்னை அலாது அன்னியம் ஒன்றும் அறியார்; அவர் நிலைமை இன்னது என்று உன்னல் எவன்?’ (taṉṉai alādu aṉṉiyam oṉḏṟum aṟiyār; avar nilaimai iṉṉadu eṉḏṟu uṉṉal evaṉ?), ‘They do not know [or are not aware of] anything other than themself; [so] who can [or how to] conceive their state as ‘[it is] like this’?’, so as this finite ego we can never adequately comprehend his state. However, in order to answer the questions implied in your comment we can try to understand his state at least to a limited extent as follows:

He is our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness and what alone actually exists, so he is not anything other than ourself. However, whereas he is aware of us only as himself, which is what we actually are, we are aware of ourself as if we were a person, which is not what we actually are, so he loves us as himself and not merely as this person whom we seem to be. Therefore, we cannot adequately comprehend his infinite love for us until we are aware of ourself as we actually are.

His infinite love for us as we actually are is what is called ‘grace’, and it is what has manifested outwardly as his human form and his teachings in order to turn our attention back within to see what we actually are. That is, since he has infinite love for himself, he wants nothing other than to be as he always is, and this means that since he does not see us as anything other than himself, he wants us to be as we actually are.

However, in order to make us be as we actually are, he does not need to do anything other than to be as he actually is, because he is like the sun, by whose mere presence flowers blossom. By his merely being as he actually is, the flower of love to be as we actually are blossoms in our heart, and when this love blossoms fully it will devour us, and what will then remain is only infinite love, which is his true form and what we actually are.

This state of being devoured by his infinite love is what he refers to in the final sentence of verse 21 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘ஊண் ஆதல் காண்’ (ūṇ ādal kāṇ), ‘Becoming food is seeing’ (where ‘seeing’ means seeing and thereby being what we actually are), in verse 27 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai, ‘சகலமும் விழுங்கும் கதிர் ஒளி இன மன சலசம் அலர்த்தியிடு அருணாசலா’ (sakalamum viṙuṅgum kadir oḷi iṉa, maṉa-jalajam alartti-y-iḍu aruṇācalā), ‘Arunachala, sun of bright light that swallows everything, make [my] mind-lotus blossom’, and in verse 1 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam, ‘அருள் நிறைவான அமுத கடலே, விரி கதிரால் யாவும் விழுங்கும் அருணகிரி பரமான்மாவே, கிளர் உள பூ நன்றாய் விரி பரிதி ஆக விளங்கு’ (aruḷ niṟaivu āṉa amuda-k-kaḍalē, viri kadirāl yāvum viṙuṅgum aruṇagiri paramāṉmāvē, kiḷar uḷa-p-pū naṉḏṟāy viri paridhi āha viḷaṅgu), ‘Ocean of amṛta [the ambrosia of immortality], which is the fullness of grace, paramātmā [my ultimate self], Arunagiri, who swallow everything by [your] spreading rays [of pure self-awareness], shine as the sun that makes [my] budding heart-lotus blossom fully’.

The appearance of Bhagavan (in human form) and his teachings in our life are a central part of this process of our being melted and swallowed by his love, which is most beautifully described by him in verse 101 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai: ‘அம்புவில் ஆலி போல் அன்பு உரு உனில் எனை அன்பு ஆ கரைத்து அருள் அருணாசலா’ (ambuvil āli pōl aṉbu-uru uṉil eṉai aṉbu ā karaittu aruḷ aruṇācalā), ‘Arunachala, be gracious, melting me as love in you, the form of love, like ice in water’.
2. Though Bhagavan does not explicitly say in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu that our present world is just a dream, he clearly implies this in many of its verses

Soon after I posted this reply the anonymous friend whom I referred to at the beginning of this article posted the following comment (which he or she perhaps wrote before reading my reply to Saxon):
This is my perception.

Plants and Sun are both the higher power. From ego’s perspective, we see Plant as separate entity and thinking that plant grows because of sun. But plant grows because of the sun’s power that exists within the plant. And plant is also the higher power itself.

In ulladu narpadhu, Bhagavan never talks about the world being dream. I never saw a word ‘kanavu’ in ulladu narpadhu. This is my understanding. When ego emerges, world appears. This world appears by the power of higher power and is also the higher power. The higher power enables everything and manifests as everything. So the thought that ego created/projected everything itself is very ‘egotistical’. The body that we all possess functions because of higher power and is also the higher power. The only one error is ego thinking ‘I am the body’. Everything else happens because of higher power and is higher power itself.

So there is no reason to get dejected thinking Bhagavan is ego’s creation. Ego is absolutely not worthy and capable of creating ‘Bhagavan’.

Bhagavan is the created by Bhagavan and appeared in the world because he loves all of us as himself.

Any thought in the lines of ego did this and ego did that and ego projected/created something is only egotistical in nature and I only feel there is more arrogance with that line of thinking and is not going to help anyone.
The following is my reply to this comment:

Anonymous, as you say, Bhagavan does not use the word ‘கனவு’ (kaṉavu) in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, but in verse 35 he uses the word ‘சொப்பனம்’ (soppaṉam), which likewise means dream:
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.
When he says ‘பிற சித்தி எலாம் சொப்பனம் ஆர் சித்திகளே; நித்திரை விட்டு ஓர்ந்தால், அவை மெய்யோ?’ (piṟa siddhi elām soppaṉam ār siddhigaḷ-ē; niddirai viṭṭu ōrndāl, avai meyyō?), ‘All other siddhis [accomplishments] are just siddhis achieved in dream; if one wakes up leaving sleep, are they real?’, does he not clearly imply that any world in which such siddhis are achieved is just a dream, and that if we wake up from our sleep of self-ignorance, in which all dreams appear, whatever worlds we perceived in those dreams will no longer seem to be real?

Though he does not explicitly say in Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu that our present world is just a dream, he does explicitly teach this in Nāṉ Ār? and elsewhere, and in many verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he clearly implies this. For example, in verse 6 he begins by saying ‘உலகு ஐம் புலன்கள் உரு; வேறு அன்று’ (ulahu aim pulaṉgaḷ uru; vēṟu aṉḏṟu), ‘The world is a form [composed] of five [kinds of] sense-impressions [sights, sounds, tastes, smells and tactile sensations], not anything else’, and ends by asking rhetorically ‘உலகை மனம் ஒன்று ஐம் பொறிவாயால் ஓர்ந்திடுதலால், மனத்தை அன்றி உலகு உண்டோ?’ (ulahai maṉam oṉḏṟu aim poṟi-vāyāl ōrndiḍudalāl, maṉattai aṉḏṟi ulahu uṇḍō?), ‘Since the mind alone [or since one thing, the mind] perceives the world by way of the five sense organs, say, is there [any] world besides [excluding, if not for, apart from, other than or without] the mind?’, and in verse 26 he says ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandaiyē yāvum ām), ‘If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist. Ego itself is everything’.

You say “the thought that ego created/projected everything itself is very ‘egotistical’”, but do you consider it egotistical to say that ego creates or projects everything that it perceives in a dream? If our present state is just a dream, as Bhagavan says, then surely what has created or projected the world we now perceive is only ourself as ego.

3. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 4: the world is nothing but thoughts, the seeds of which are our viṣaya-vāsanās, and what makes these thoughts appear is ego, which is the root and essence of the mind

The fact that ego itself has created or projected whatever world it perceives is clearly stated by Bhagavan in the following sentences of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது. நினைவுகளை யெல்லாம் நீக்கிப் பார்க்கின்றபோது, தனியாய் மனமென் றோர் பொருளில்லை; ஆகையால் நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம். நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது.

maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti. adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu. niṉaivugaḷai y-ellām nīkki-p pārkkiṉḏṟa-pōdu, taṉi-y-āy maṉam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ illai; āhaiyāl niṉaivē maṉadiṉ sorūpam. niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai. tūkkattil niṉaivugaḷ illai, jagamum illai; jāgra-soppaṉaṅgaḷil niṉaivugaḷ uḷa, jagamum uṇḍu. silandi-p-pūcci eppaḍi-t taṉ-ṉ-iḍam-irundu veḷiyil nūlai nūṯṟu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉuḷ iṙuttu-k-koḷḷugiṟadō, appaḍiyē maṉamum taṉ-ṉ-iḍattil-irundu jagattai-t tōṯṟuvittu maṟupaḍiyum taṉṉiḍamē oḍukki-k-koḷḷugiṟadu. maṉam ātma-sorūpattiṉiṉḏṟu veḷippaḍum-pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟum. āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu.

What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. It makes all thoughts appear [or projects all thoughts]. When one looks, excluding [removing or putting aside] all thoughts, solitarily there is not any such thing as mind; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or very nature] of the mind. 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.
Though he does not explicitly use the term ‘ego’ in this passage, it is implied by his use of the word ‘mind’, because ego is the perceiving element and hence the root and essence of the mind, and hence he often used the term ‘mind’ to refer to ego, as he does here. As ego we project the world in our own awareness, so our projection of it and our perception of it are one and the same thing, and hence it does not exist independent of our perception of it. This is therefore called dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, the contention (vāda) that perception (dṛṣṭi) is itself creation (sṛṣṭi), and this is what Bhagavan taught us in his core texts such as Nāṉ Ār? and Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu.

As he says in the above passage of Nāṉ Ār?, whatever world we perceive is nothing other than thoughts, and as he explains elsewhere, the seeds that sprout as thoughts are our own vāsanās (inclinations or likings). However, whereas all other phenomena (viṣayas) are a projection of our viṣaya-vāsanās (our inclinations or likings to be aware of phenomena), the human form of Bhagavan, his teachings and the all-embracing love we see in him are a projection of our sat-vāsanā (our love to be as we actually are), which is a manifestation within us of the infinite love that he has for us as himself.

4. Since we as ego have created all this, we can put an end to all the problems and sufferings we see in this world only by surrendering ourself back into the source from which we have risen

You end by saying, ‘Any thought in the lines of ego did this and ego did that and ego projected/created something is only egotistical in nature and I only feel there is more arrogance with that line of thinking and is not going to help anyone’, but if we understand Bhagavan’s teachings correctly the idea that we as ego have created all this is extremely humbling, because it means that we alone are responsible for all the problems and sufferings we see in this world. It is our own vāsanās (likes and dislikes) that we perceive as this world, so if we want to put an end to all problems and sufferings we need to surrender all our own likes and dislikes, and in order to surrender them entirely we need to surrender their root, namely ourself as this ego.

So where and how can we surrender ourself along with all our likes and dislikes? We can only surrender ourself back into the source from which we have risen, namely our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness and the real nature of Bhagavan, and we can do so only by keenly investigating ourself to see what we actually are, as he implied 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.
5. What is called ‘the higher power’ is nothing other than grace, which is Bhagavan’s infinite love, so it does not create anything, but for our benefit it does regulate what we as ego create

You say ‘This world appears by the power of higher power and is also the higher power. The higher power enables everything and manifests as everything’, but saying this can easily lead to a misunderstanding, because it seems to imply that the higher power wants this world to appear, which is not what Bhagavan taught us. What is called ‘the higher power’ is nothing other than his infinite love, which is himself, and as I wrote above in my reply to Saxon, what he wants is just to be as he always is, which means that he wants us to be as we actually are, because he does not see us as anything other than himself.

Being nothing other than his infinite love, which is what is called grace, the higher power does not and would not create anything other than love in our heart to be as we actually are, but even such love is not its creation but its very nature, which is eternal and immutable, but which is seemingly concealed by ego and all its outward-going desires. However, though the higher power does not create anything, it does regulate what ego creates in such a way as to make it most conducive to nurturing in our heart the seed of love to be as we always actually are.

Its regulating what ego creates is what is called the allotment of prārabdha (fate or destiny), which is a carefully chosen selection of the fruits of ego’s past āgāmya (actions motivated by likes and dislikes). However, though our prārabdha is carefully chosen by grace, grace does not actually do anything. Since grace is just the love of our real nature to be as it always is, and since this love is always shining in our heart, by its mere presence our prārabdha is shaped in such a way as to be most conducive to our cultivating the love to surrender ourself and thereby merge back into and as our real nature.

Our prārabdha determines all that we are to experience in our present life, which is just a dream, and for each of our lives or dreams a certain prārabdha is allotted. In other words, prārabdha determines what we as ego are to project in each life. Though whatever is projected is our own vāsanās, which vāsanās are to be projected at any time is determined by prārabdha, which is a portion of the fruit of our past āgāmya karmas selected by grace. This role played by prārabdha in determining what we as ego project and experience in each life is indicated in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam by the phrase ‘நிகழ்வினை சுழலில்’ (nikaṙviṉai suṙalil), which literally means ‘in the whirl [or whirling] of occurring action’ and implies ‘in the whirl of destiny (prārabdha)’:
உண்டொரு பொருளறி வொளியுள மேநீ
      யுளதுனி லலதிலா வதிசய சத்தி
நின்றணு நிழனிரை நினைவறி வோடே
      நிகழ்வினைச் சுழலிலந் நினைவொளி யாடி
கண்டன நிழற்சக விசித்திர முள்ளுங்
      கண்முதற் பொறிவழி புறத்துமொர் சில்லா
னின்றிடு நிழல்பட நிகரருட் குன்றே
      நின்றிட சென்றிட நினைவிட வின்றே.

uṇḍoru poruḷaṟi voḷiyuḷa mēnī
     yuḷaduṉi laladilā vatiśaya śatti
niṉḏṟaṇu niṙaṉirai niṉaivaṟi vōḍē
     nikaṙviṉaic cuṙalilan niṉaivoḷi yāḍi
kaṇḍaṉa niṙaṯcaga vicittira muḷḷuṅ
     kaṇmudaṯ poṟivaṙi puṟattumor sillā
ṉiṉḏṟiḍu niṙalpaḍa nikararuṭ kuṉḏṟē
     niṉḏṟiḍa ceṉḏṟiḍa niṉaiviḍa viṉḏṟē
.

பதச்சேதம்: உண்டு ஒரு பொருள் அறிவு ஒளி உளமே நீ. உளது உனில் அலது இலா அதிசய சத்தி. நின்று அணு நிழல் நிரை நினைவு அறிவோடே நிகழ்வினை சுழலில் அந் நினைவு ஒளி ஆடி கண்டன நிழல் சக விசித்திரம் உள்ளும் கண் முதல் பொறி வழி புறத்தும் ஒர் சில்லால் நின்றிடும் நிழல்படம் நிகர். அருள் குன்றே, நின்றிட சென்றிட, நினை விட இன்றே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uṇḍu oru poruḷ aṟivu oḷi uḷamē nī. uḷadu uṉil aladu ilā atiśaya śatti. niṉḏṟu aṇu niṙal nirai niṉaivu aṟivōḍē nikaṙviṉai suṙalil a-n-niṉaivu oḷi āḍi kaṇḍaṉa niṙal jaga-vicittiram uḷḷum kaṇ mudal poṟi vaṙi puṟattum or sillāl niṉḏṟiḍum niṙal-paḍam nikar. aruḷ-kuṉḏṟē, niṉḏṟiḍa seṉḏṟiḍa, niṉai viḍa iṉḏṟē.

அன்வயம்: அறிவு ஒளி உளமே நீ ஒரு பொருள் உண்டு. உனில் அலது இலா அதிசய சத்தி உளது. நின்று அணு நிழல் நினைவு நிரை அறிவோடே நிகழ்வினை சுழலில், ஒர் சில்லால் நின்றிடும் நிழல்படம் நிகர், நிழல் சக விசித்திரம் உள்ளும் கண் முதல் பொறி வழி புறத்தும் அந் நினைவு ஒளி ஆடி கண்டன. அருள் குன்றே, நின்றிட சென்றிட, நினை விட இன்றே.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aṟivu oḷi uḷamē nī oru poruḷ uṇḍu. uṉil aladu ilā atiśaya śatti uḷadu. niṉḏṟu aṇu niṙal niṉaivu nirai aṟivōḍē nikaṙviṉai suṙalil, or sillāl niṉḏṟiḍum niṙal-paḍam nikar, niṙal jaga-vicittaram uḷḷum kaṇ mudal poṟi vaṙi puṟattum a-n-niṉaivu oḷi āḍi kaṇḍaṉa. aruḷ-kuṉḏṟē, niṉḏṟiḍa seṉḏṟiḍa, niṉai viḍa iṉḏṟē.

English translation: There is only one substance, you, the heart, the light of awareness. In you exists an extraordinary power, which is not other [than you]. [Appearing] from [that] along with awareness, series of subtle shadowy thoughts [spinning] in the whirl of destiny are seen [on] the mirror [that is] the mind-light as a shadowy world-picture both inside and outside via senses such as the eye, like a shadow-picture that stands out [or is projected] by a lens. Hill of grace, let them cease or let them go on, they do not exist at all apart from you.
The ‘அதிசய சத்தி’ (atiśaya śatti) or ‘extraordinary power’ that Bhagavan refers to in the second sentence of this verse is the same ‘அதிசய சக்தி’ (atiśaya śakti) that he refers to in the first sentence of the above-cited fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, where he says it is what is called mind, thereby implying that it is ego. Here he says this atiśaya śakti (extraordinary power) exists ‘in you’ (that is, in Arunachala, who is ‘the one substance, the heart, the light of awareness’) and is not other than you, whereas there he says it exists in ātma-svarūpa (the real nature of ourself), which is likewise the light of awareness that shines as our heart. Here he says that from this atiśaya śakti series of shadowy thoughts appear in the whirl of prārabdha and are seen as the (movie) pictures of both an internal and an external world, whereas there he says, ‘அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘It makes all thoughts appear’, and then goes on to say, ‘நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை’ (niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai), ‘Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world’, so what he describes poetically in this verse is the same process of creation that he describes in that paragraph.

In this verse he alludes to the process by which movie pictures are projected on cinema screen, which he often used as an analogy to explain how ego projects and perceives the world. Our viṣaya-vāsanās, which are the seeds that sprout as thoughts, are analogous to the images on the film reels, and prārabdha is analogous to the whirling of a film reel in the projector.

When he says that series of shadowy thoughts appear in the whirl of prārabdha and are seen as the pictures of both an internal and an external world, what he implies is that prārabdha determines which viṣaya-vāsanās are to be projected at each moment, so though ego is projecting its own vāsanās as whatever world it perceives, prārabdha regulates what it projects. However, prārabdha is just one of the three karmas (the other two being āgāmya and saṁcita), and as Bhagavan says in verse 1 of Upadēśa Undiyār, karma is jaḍa (devoid of awareness), so what selects which fruit of past āgāmyas are to form the prārabdha of each life is neither ego nor any of its karmas but only grace. In other words, grace is what shapes prārabdha to perform its role of regulating what is projected by ego.

6. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13: grace is always shining in our heart and in many subtle ways it is gradually rectifying our will, so all we need do is to yield ourself to it entirely by being so keenly self-attentive that we give not even the slightest room to the rising of ourself as ego

However, shaping prārabdha is not the only role played by grace, because grace is always shining in our heart and in many subtle ways that we cannot perceive or comprehend it is gradually rectifying our will, weakening our viṣaya-vāsanās and strengthening our sat-vāsanā. This is why Bhagavan taught us that all we need do is to yield ourself entirely to the power of grace by being so keenly self-attentive that we give not even the slightest room to the rising of ourself as ego, as he implied so clearly and beautifully in the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? (Nāṉ Yār?):
ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம். ஈசன்பேரில் எவ்வளவு பாரத்தைப் போட்டாலும், அவ்வளவையும் அவர் வகித்துக்கொள்ளுகிறார். சகல காரியங்களையும் ஒரு பரமேச்வர சக்தி நடத்திக்கொண்டிருகிறபடியால், நாமு மதற் கடங்கியிராமல், ‘இப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டும்; அப்படிச் செய்யவேண்டு’ மென்று ஸதா சிந்திப்பதேன்? புகை வண்டி சகல பாரங்களையும் தாங்கிக்கொண்டு போவது தெரிந்திருந்தும், அதி லேறிக்கொண்டு போகும் நாம் நம்முடைய சிறிய மூட்டையையு மதிற் போட்டுவிட்டு சுகமா யிராமல், அதை நமது தலையிற் றாங்கிக்கொண்டு ஏன் கஷ்டப்படவேண்டும்?

āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām. īśaṉpēril e-vv-aḷavu bhārattai-p pōṭṭālum, a-vv-aḷavai-y-um avar vahittu-k-koḷḷugiṟār. sakala kāriyaṅgaḷai-y-um oru paramēśvara śakti naḍatti-k-koṇḍirugiṟapaḍiyāl, nāmum adaṟku aḍaṅgi-y-irāmal, ‘ippaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum; appaḍi-c ceyya-vēṇḍum’ eṉḏṟu sadā cintippadēṉ? puhai vaṇḍi sakala bhāraṅgaḷaiyum tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu pōvadu terindirundum, adil ēṟi-k-koṇḍu pōhum nām nammuḍaiya siṟiya mūṭṭaiyaiyum adil pōṭṭu-viṭṭu sukhamāy irāmal, adai namadu talaiyil tāṅgi-k-koṇḍu ēṉ kaṣṭa-p-paḍa-vēṇḍum?

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. 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?
Since we as ego create and sustain the appearance of everything else, if by being keenly self-attentive we surrender ourself entirely to the infinite love of Bhagavan, which is our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), we thereby give up not only ego but also everything else, as he said in the final sentence of verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்’ (ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr), ‘Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

7. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 15: everything happens by the mere presence of grace, but grace has no desire that anything should happen, and it does not itself do anything, nor is it affected by anything that is done

What he refers to in this thirteenth paragraph as ‘ஒரு பரமேச்வர சக்தி’ (oru paramēśvara śakti), ‘one supreme ruling power’ or ‘one power of God’, is the power of grace, which is the power of Bhagavan’s infinite love for us as himself. Though he says here that this power is driving all kāryas (whatever needs or ought to be done or to happen), he clarified elsewhere that this power does not actually do anything, but drives all kāryas by its mere presence (that is, by its merely being as it always is: immutable, serene and untouched by anything that may seem to happen), as he explains in the fifteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
இச்சா ஸங்கல்ப யத்நமின்றி யெழுந்த ஆதித்தன் சன்னிதி மாத்திரத்தில் காந்தக்கல் அக்கினியைக் கக்குவதும், தாமரை மலர்வதும், நீர் வற்றுவதும், உலகோர் தத்தங் காரியங்களிற் பிரவிருத்தித்து இயற்றி யடங்குவதும், காந்தத்தின் முன் ஊசி சேஷ்டிப்பதும் போல ஸங்கல்ப ரகிதராயிருக்கும் ஈசன் சன்னிதான விசேஷ மாத்திரத்தால் நடக்கும் முத்தொழில் அல்லது பஞ்சகிருத்தியங்கட் குட்பட்ட ஜீவர்கள் தத்தம் கர்மானுசாரம் சேஷ்டித் தடங்குகின்றனர். அன்றி, அவர் ஸங்கல்ப ஸஹித ரல்லர்; ஒரு கருமமு மவரை யொட்டாது. அது லோககருமங்கள் சூரியனை யொட்டாததும், ஏனைய சதுர்பூதங்களின் குணாகுணங்கள் வியாபகமான ஆகாயத்தை யொட்டாததும் போலும்.

icchā-saṅkalpa-yatnam-iṉḏṟi y-eṙunda ādittaṉ saṉṉidhi-māttirattil kānta-k-kal aggiṉiyai-k kakkuvadum, tāmarai malarvadum, nīr vaṯṟuvadum, ulahōr tattaṅ kāriyaṅgaḷil piraviruttittu iyaṯṟi y-aḍaṅguvadum, kāntattiṉ muṉ ūsi cēṣṭippadum pōla saṅkalpa-rahitar-āy-irukkum īśaṉ saṉṉidhāṉa-viśēṣa-māttirattāl naḍakkum muttoṙil alladu pañcakiruttiyaṅgaṭ kuṭpaṭṭa jīvargaḷ tattam karmāṉusāram cēṣṭit taḍaṅgugiṉḏṟaṉar. aṉḏṟi, avar saṅkalpa-sahitar allar; oru karumam-um avarai y-oṭṭādu. adu lōka-karumaṅgaḷ sūriyaṉai y-oṭṭādadum, ēṉaiya catur-bhūtaṅgaḷiṉ guṇāguṇaṅgaḷ viyāpakam-āṉa ākāyattai y-oṭṭādadum pōlum.

Just like in the mere presence of the sun, which rose without icchā [wish, desire or liking], saṁkalpa [volition or intention] [or] yatna [effort or exertion], a sun-stone [sūryakānta, a gem that is supposed to emit fire or heat when exposed to the sun] emitting fire, a lotus blossoming, water evaporating, and people of the world commencing [or becoming engaged in] their respective kāryas [activities], doing [those kāryas] and ceasing [or subsiding], and [just like] in front of a magnet a needle moving, jīvas [sentient beings], who are subject to [or ensnared in] muttoṙil [the threefold function of God, namely the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world] or pañcakṛtyas [the five functions of God, namely creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment and grace], which happen by just [or nothing more than] the special nature of the presence of God, who is saṁkalpa rahitar [one who is devoid of any volition or intention], move [exert or engage in activity] and subside [cease being active, become still or sleep] in accordance with their respective karmas [that is, in accordance not only with their prārabdha karma or destiny, which impels them to do whatever actions are necessary in order for them to experience all the pleasant and unpleasant things that they are destined to experience, but also with their karma-vāsanās, their inclinations or desires to think, speak and act in particular ways, which impel them to make effort to experience pleasant things and to avoid experiencing unpleasant things]. Nevertheless, he [God] is not saṁkalpa sahitar [one who is connected with or possesses any volition or intention]; even one karma does not adhere to him [that is, he is not bound or affected in any way by any karma or action whatsoever]. That is like world-actions [the actions happening here on earth] not adhering to [or affecting] the sun, and [like] the qualities and defects of the other four elements [earth, water, air and fire] not adhering to the all-pervading space.
8. Grace is the light of awareness that illumines our mind, so the correct use we can make of it is to turn our mind back within and attend to it with heart-melting love

Not only does grace by its mere presence regulate all that ego projects, but it is also the light by which ego projects everything. That is, grace is the clear light of pure awareness that is always shining in our heart as ‘I’, but instead of attending to this light with heart-melting love, we turn away from it and thereby misuse it to project this entire dream that we call our life.

We have a simple choice: either we can choose to follow the path of pravṛtti (rising, appearing, going outwards and being active) or the path of nivṛtti (returning, coming back, withdrawing, desisting, disappearing, ceasing, resting and being inactive). The natural tendency of ego is towards pravṛtti, whereas the nature of grace is to lead us back in the direction of nivṛtti. However, since grace is the light of awareness that illumines the mind, thereby enabling it to project and perceive phenomena, even to follow the path of pravṛtti we require the aid of grace, but by following the path of pravṛtti we are misusing the power of grace.

The path of nivṛtti is the path of complete surrender, and as Bhagavan teaches us in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, in order to surrender ourself completely we need to be so keenly self-attentive that we do not give even the slightest room to the rising of any other thought. In other words, we can surrender ourself completely and thereby rest eternally in our natural state of absolute nivṛtti only by turning our entire attention back within (towards ourself alone) and thereby immersing it in the pure light of grace, as he clearly indicates in verse 22 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
மதிக்கொளி தந்தம் மதிக்கு ளொளிரு
மதியினை யுள்ளே மடக்கிப் — பதியிற்
பதித்திடுத லன்றிப் பதியை மதியான்
மதித்திடுத லெங்ஙன் மதி.

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?
Grace is completely impartial, so it shines equally in each one of us, whether our mind is now relatively pure or still relatively impure, but to the extent that our mind is impure we misuse grace to pursue the path of pravṛtti, whereas to the extent it is pure we use grace correctly to return home by following the path of nivṛtti. Since grace is the infinite love that Bhagavan has for us as himself, and since he therefore wants nothing for us other than for us to subside and just be as we actually are, the correct use we can make of the light of grace is just to turn back within and attend to it with heart-melting love.

98 comments:

Sanjay Lohia said...

Thanks.

Jeremy Lennon said...

Thank you Michael.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
I do not have the impression that your above explanation is telling us any junk.
Many thanks.
Bhagavan, Arunachala,
would you not like to make me soon fit to fully understand all that (what really is) [going on] and make me convinced ? Is not realization of that your teaching my only aim in life ? How could I ever be satisfied otherwise ?
Of course you easily would see all the reasons why you cannot blow away all my deficiencies at one go.

Saxon said...

Thank you very much Michael,
I found this article very helpful with relation to the previous question I asked you.
Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael. I will read this in detail , digest it and then will respond. Thanks for taking time to provide clarification.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I accept whatever you have said. But it contradicts the experience Bhagavan had. The following is experienced by Bhagavan. How does this align with what you have posted in this article?

a force or current, a centre of energy playing on the body, continuing regardless of the rigidity or activity of the body, though existing in connection with it. It was that current, force or centre that constituted my Self, that kept me acting and moving, but this was the first time I came to know it [...] I had no idea at that time of the identity of that current with the personal God, or Iswara as I used to call him [...] I was only feeling that everything was being done by the current and not by me [...] This current, or avesam, now felt as if it was my Self, not a superimposition [...] That avesam continues right up to now.[web 1]

I had a similar experience ( don't want to compare myself with bhagavan here. I know I am not worthy at all) where I felt everything and everyone were animated by ‘that’ , but at the same time ‘that’ remained unaffected all the time. That always remained as ‘that’ even though it was the prime reason everything and everyone were able to function.

So this sun analogy is not really making sense to me. I feel Sun’s energy is making plant grow but it is just invisible to us. Plant’s will is not making plant grow. It is growing due to the power of sun.


Anonymous said...

https://youtu.be/mYztHXDngoI

Michael James said...

Anonymous, regarding the statement attributed to Bhagavan that you quote in your comment of 6 August 2019 at 23:25, nowadays many wildly inaccurate or false statements attributed to him are circulating on the internet, so we should not believe all that we read. Even when a statement attributed to him was recorded by someone who met him, that does not mean that it is necessarily an accurate recording, because all such recordings were written from memory, and what a person remembers is generally no more accurate than what they understood, and many people failed to understand the nuanced manner in which he spoke, because their understanding was coloured and distorted by their own beliefs, preconceptions and imaginations. This is particularly the case when people recorded in English what he said, because he generally spoke in Tamil, so if they did not know Tamil they would have relied on a translator, who may not have translated it accurately, or if they knew Tamil, their own translation of it may not have been accurate.

As Bhagavan made clear in his own writings, our real nature (ātma-svarūpa) is pure awareness, which is immutable, and as he described it in verse 28 of Upadēśa Undiyār, it is ‘anādi [beginningless], ananta [endless, limitless or infinite] and akhaṇḍa [unbroken, undivided or unfragmented] sat-cit-ānanda [being-awareness-bliss]’, so the description of it in passage you quoted as ‘a force or current, a centre of energy playing on the body’ and as ‘current, or avesam [possession]’ that ‘now felt as if it was my Self’ would not have been how he would have described his real nature. He also would not have said ‘I had no idea at that time of the identity of that current with the personal God, or Iswara as I used to call him’, because pure awareness is a state of absolute clarity in which nothing else exists or shines. As he said in verse 31 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, which I quoted in the first section of this article, he (as the tanmayānandar) is not aware of anything other than himself, so who can or how to conceive his state?

When he was asked questions by people who were not yet willing to accept or understand his real teachings, whatever answers he would give them would be what was best suited to their level of spiritual maturity and understanding, so he would sometimes talk about his experience in accordance with people’s view of him as a person rather than as pure awareness, which is what he actually is, but even then there were people who misunderstood what he said by unintentionally colouring and distorting it with their own imagination, so the passage you quoted was perhaps the result of such distortion.

Therefore we should not believe such misrepresentations of whatever he may have said, and as a general rule we should not rely on any recording of what he is claimed to have said unless it is in accordance with his teachings as expressed by him in his own original writings.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael.

Unknown said...

Mr. Michael James, regarding your never ending posts and commentaries such as the latest one on 7 August 2019 at 10:50, they are but the figments of your misunderstood theoretical studies of Bhagavan's teachings. You have had no direct perception of 'the Self' or Prajnanam as Bhagavan did, so it is best you respected sir stop distorting Bhagavan's direct perception of Prajnana and stop preaching (like the Christian Evangelists and Islamic Mullahs do) to clueless rookies like Anonymous and Co. I know you won't but it is time you call it a day and behave like you know nothing about Prajnanam which you actually don't.

Lewis Oakwood said...


A thought-image— the hand reaching out can not grasp itself.

*

Unknown,

I am struggling to understand Bhagavan's teaching.

You say that Michael is 'distorting Bhagavan's direct perception of Prajnana'.

Could you please give the corrected view of Bhagavan's perception.

Thank you 🙂

Sanjay Lohia said...

We cannot understand Bhagavan’s actions, because those actions are occurring from a place of non-action

Ulladu Narpadu verse 31: For those who are happiness composed of that, which rose destroying themself, what one exists for doing? They do not know anything other than themself; who can conceive their state as ‘like this’?

Michael: Only is the state of duality, where there are others, is action possible, because an action is a change from one condition to another. If there are no others there could be no change, because if there is change there are two things – what was there before the change and what is there after the change.

Bhagavan’s state is immutable, beyond change and beyond time – beyond anything we can possibly conceive by our mind. People think that we can understand Bhagavan, but we cannot understand him. His outward actions often surprised people. Bhagavan often acted in ways that people didn’t accept him to act.

So we cannot understand Bhagavan’s actions because those actions are occurring from a place of total non-action.

~^~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-03 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 31

anadi-ananta said...

Lewis,
I too would like to hear Unknown's unspoilt/genuine version of Bhagavan's "direct perception of Prajnana". :-)

Bob said...

Unknown

Is that you Salazar?

Nice to hear from you again.

Best wishes

Bob

IJ said...

Yes anadi-ananta and I concur, what is the "unspoilt/genuine" version of Bhagavan? The version "Unknown's" mentor L. Ron Gardner is preaching on his website?

According to that the individual gets enlightened since Kapila Sastriar said so in his book Sat-Darshana Bhashya. Is that unspoiled? :-)

anadi-ananta said...

IJ,
you mean K(apali Sastri), a disciple of Ganapati Muni. I did not study his talks with Bhagavan. So I cannot say anything about that dialogues.

IJ said...

I have read only a short excerpt and that culminates with the description of individual enlightenment:

Kapali Sastriar: "And in consequence of the birth of the pure ‘I’, the real soul, the subtle body undergoes a remarkable change making it a true vehicle of the soul so formed. Thus freed from the hold of the material body the subtle stuff becomes a true expression of individuality, faithful to the Original Self, and an individual center to its supreme consciousness."

That is clearly not what Bhagavan has taught. And yet certain wannabe experts like that L Ron Gardner take that as the gospel of Bhagavan. Sad to witness that kind of confusion.

One fares much better with the articles on this blog.

AsunAparicio said...

It seems that Bhagavan himself took care of this personally:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZCYYJtmJHg

Hereinafter: 21:48



R Viswanaathan said...

"Mr. Michael James, regarding your never ending posts and commentaries such as the latest one on 7 August 2019 at 10:50, they are but the figments of your misunderstood theoretical studies of Bhagavan's teachings. You have had no direct perception of 'the Self' or Prajnanam as Bhagavan did, so it is best you respected sir stop distorting Bhagavan's direct perception of Prajnana and stop preaching (like the Christian Evangelists and Islamic Mullahs do) to clueless rookies like Anonymous and Co. I know you won't but it is time you call it a day and behave like you know nothing about Prajnanam which you actually don't."

Opinions obviously seem to differ from person to person.

For me, my understanding of Bhagavan's teachings are getting clearer and strengthened by Sri Michel James' articles, his postings in the comment section and his responses to my queries through email and whatsapp. I am very grateful to Bhagavan for having guided me to him.

Also I never felt that his articles are like the 'preaching'. If the 'unknown' person would ever read the articles again without any bias, he/she might change his/her opinion.

The reason for me to send this comment is to acknowledge my genuine feeling of gratefulness to Sri Michael James for his posts, not withstanding the fact that I chose to differ with his views sometimes, but never felt that he has ever distorted Bhagavan's teachings.

Sanjay Lohia said...

How to behave perfectly in this world?

We always want to present a good picture of ourself to this world. In other words, we want others to appreciate whatever we do. Likewise, we have expectations from others – we want others’ behaviour to be as per our expectations. However, the question is, can we ever act perfectly in this world? There was a discussion on this topic in Michael’s latest video. It went somewhat like this:

A friend: How to behave perfectly in this world?

Michael: Bhagavan says in Nan Yar - to whatever extent we behave submissively and humbly, to that extent there is good. So the more we avoid rising as ego, to that extent it will do us good. So we will learn how to live in this world by following this Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation and self-surrender. That is, the more we will subside, to that extent the actions of our body and mind will be perfect.

So we should leave the burden of how we should behave to Bhagavan. We have only one thing to do: to turn our mind towards ourself. Then the body and mind will behave perfectly according to our prarabdha. When we rise as ego, then all the troubles come.

Bhagavan’s teachings are so simple, and they provide the answer to all our problems. All problems have arisen because we have risen as ego – without ego there is no problem. What problem we have in sleep? In sleep, we don’t have to worry about how we should behave or what we should do? We don’t have any problem in sleep. Problems start when we wake up.

So what is the wise course? Don’t wake up, eternally. How to sleep eternally? Get rid of ego. How to get rid of ego? Attend to yourself; investigate yourself. So Bhagavan has given us the medicine that will cure all the problems.

*** Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-03 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 31 – (1:14)

Saxon said...

Hi Michael,

Hope you are well.

You often say that Bhagavan's teachings are very simple but also very subtle with deep meaning that reveals itself the more we earnestly follow his path.

I know that you hold, Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, Sri Muruganar and Sri Sadhu Om
in extremely high regard in terms of their clear, deep and subtle understanding of Bhagavan's undiluted teachings.

I am just very interested to know your thoughts on Annamalai Swami and Lakshman Sarma. Did they also have a deep, subtle and clear understanding in your personal opinion?

Do you recommend the following books.

Annamalai Swami - Final Talks.
Lakshman Sarma - No Mind - I am The Self.

Thank you very much indeed Michael.

Salazar said...

I’d like to clarify a few incorrect perceptions people seem to have:

I do not agree with some of Michael’s interpretations, however overall I do agree with what Michael is posting on this blog. This blog is one of the very few sites where one can get authentic and valuable information.

There is also no motivation from my side to poke around on the points of disagreement; that is not really important since one can only find the truth in silence and not arguing or debating about it.

I noticed comments which attack Michael as an individual or person: I do not share at all these sentiments. First of all that can only be a projection (of the attacker) and secondly what has that to do with Bhagavan’s teachings? (That is true of course too for all of the flattery directed at him.)
Anybody who is attacking (or praising) “others” needs to explore the motivation behind it and that could reveal a lot and be a catalyst for maturity.


Sanjay Lohia said...

It is foolish to think that our children will love us or be attached to us

I have two daughters and I naturally think that my daughters will love me and be attached to me – that is, since I love them and are attached to them, I expect the same from their side also. But on deep reflection, we would come to the conclusion that we should not expect anything from anybody.

My daughters may love me or hate me or be indifferent to me, how can I force them to always love me? Even if they love me for some time, at other times they may just ignore me. Or even if they always love me, such love will end one day when I die and if they by chance leave their body before I leave mine. So it is foolishness to expect anything from our daughters, sons and relatives. We should do our duty towards them and leave it at that, and our duty includes caring for them and looking after their needs as long as they are in our care.

In other words, if we expect love from our near and dear ones, we are looking for it in the wrong place. It is because nothing ephemeral can be the source of real love. So where do we look for love? Only God is pure and infinite love. His love can never leave us, so if we are wise, we would love only God and if we want perennial love, it can actually come only from God.

But where is God? As Bhagavan has taught us, God is our real nature – God and ourself are absolutely one in our essential nature. So we can get love only by turning within and contacting our Lord in our heart and since pure love is also pure happiness, once we lose ourself in love, we will also become eternally happy.

So we should not look for love in the wrong places. We should look for it where it actually exists.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

Why did Bhagavan ask us to worship forms as Lord? Doesn’t he imply that forms are also God? This is taken from upadesa saranam

Ether, fire, air, water, earth,
Sun, moon and living beings
Worship of these,
Regarded all as forms of His,
Is perfect worship of the Lord.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
is it not said that nothing than the Lord or God really exists ?
So how could anything or any form be other than the (form of) Lord ?
Even the worshipper himself is a form of His.
Ultimately the Lord is worshipping Himself.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Arunachala,
may GRACE incessantly protect me from identification with this body-mind complex.
May GRACE incessantly protect me from identification with this body-mind complex.
May GRACE incessantly protect me from identification with this body-mind complex.

anadi-ananta said...

Saxon,
you mean Sri Lakshmana Swamy's book "No Mind, I am the Self".
You should not mistake him for K. Lakshmana Sarma, the autor (pseudonym "Who") of "Maha Yoga or The Upanishadic Lore in the Light of the Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana" (first published in 1937).

Lewis Oakwood said...

A thought-image—

In sleep, ego takes a break like an actor offstage at the theatre and waits to rise for his next appearance but on doing so should his part be to die on stage (the waking state) like Socrates, who was sentenced to death by drinking poison hemlock (self-inquiry) he will not rise again for any future performance.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Lewis, we (as ego) have done many performances, and by now we should be tired of all these senseless acts. So now is time to retire from acting, and we can do so only turning our entire attention within and thereby merging in our true nature. When the actor (the ego) retires, all his future performances will also end forever.

Sanjay Lohia said...

'I don’t want to seek anything from anyone; for me Bhagavan is sufficient' - Muruganar

Anma Viddai verse 1: Oneself is so very real [and clear] even for those who are simple-minded that [in comparison] an āmalaka fruit on the palm recedes as unreal [and unclear]. ([Therefore] ah, extremely easy, ātma-vidyā, ah, extremely easy!)


When Muruganar first came to Bhagavan, when he was there just for a few days, one day he was sitting in Bhagavan’s presence, and just then Bhagavan got up and went out. So Muruganar was sitting there and waiting for Bhagavan to return. At that time a certain well-known devotee came up to Muruganar and said in a secretive manner, in a whispered manner, ‘Bhagavan is very-very great, but his teachings are very-very lofty. So you will not be able to get anything from Bhagavan directly, but there is a great soul here called Ganapati Muni, and he can give you mantra-diksha. If you desire I can take you to him and if you do as instructed by him, you will be able to get the clarity to understand Bhagavan’s teachings’.

This was quite unexpected for Muruganar, so he looked a bit puzzled. But after a while, he said, ‘I have come here to receive Bhagavan’s grace. Whether I am fit to receive his grace or not, it does not matter. I don’t want to seek anything from anyone else. For me Bhagavan is sufficient’.

~*~ Edited extract from the video 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 1 – (00.02)

Reflection: We should surrender to Bhagavan and have as much trust in him as Murugunar. Bhagavan's teachings are extremely simple and direct. So if we proceed in the right direction, we are sure to reach our goal. What matters is a single-minded pursuit of the path has shown us.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
(how) can we be quite sure that ego even by steady practice of self-investigation ever would reliably retire ?

Unknown said...

Sanjayji, What you have written is absolutely true. But unfortunately very difficult to practice. As a man of age 30 and looking for marriage I am interested only in the love of woman. I know this is wrong But I can't help. From Last few months my attemts to marry has failed due to various reasons which made me very sad...

Saxon said...

anadi-ananta,

Thank you very much for pointing out my mistake of mixing up Sri Lakshmana Swamy and K . Lakshmana Sarma. I also see K. Lakshmana Sarma is sometimes called Lakshman not Lakshmana.

I will amend and re post my question.
Best wishes and thanks again.

Saxon said...

Hi Michael,

Our friend anadi-ananta kindly pointed out the mistake in my last post / question.

I have reworded it below.

You often say that Bhagavan's teaching are very simple but also very subtle with deep meaning that reveals itself the more we earnestly follow his path.

I know that you hold, Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, Sri Muruganar and Sri Sadhu Om
in extremely high regard in terms of their clear, deep and subtle understanding of Bhagavan's undiluted teachings.

I am just interested to know your thoughts on Annamalai Swami and K. Lakshmana Sarma (Lakshman Sarma) and Sri Lakshmana Swamy. Did they also have a deep, subtle and clear understanding in your opinion?

Thank you very much indeed.

Lewis Oakwood said...


Anadi-Ananta, 🙂

Yes, '(how) can we be quite sure that ego even by steady practice of self-investigation ever would reliably retire?'

It seems no matter how long we practice self-investigation there is no guarantee ego would be seen to be a fabrication, however, within a single moment, of total focus upon ourself, the potential is always present.

'When the apple is ripe it will fall.' — An old country saying.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, Bhagavan has made absolutely clear that this ego will retire if we investigate it closely and repeatedly. We have to carefully read Bhagavan’s teachings in order to grasp this most essential principle of Bhagavan’s teachings. For example, Bhagavan teaches us in verse 25 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Grasping form the formless phantom-ego comes into existence; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows abundantly; leaving form, it grasps form. If it seeks, it will take flight. Investigate.

Do we need more clarity on this point? I do not think so.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Unknown, our life in this world is according to our destiny. Bhagavan’s note to his mother that he wrote in December 1898 makes this clear:

According to their-their prārabdha, he who is for that being there-there will cause to dance [that is, according to the destiny (prārabdha) of each person, he who is for that (namely God or guru, who ordains their destiny) being in the heart of each of them will make them act]. What is never to happen will not happen whatever effort one makes [to make it happen]; what is to happen will not stop whatever obstruction [or resistance] one does [to prevent it happening]. This indeed is certain. Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good.

So Bhagavan willing you will find a suitable girl to marry. However, this will happen according to your destiny as decided by Bhagavan. So everything happens in the correct time, so we should trust Bhagavan and leave everything to him.

However, your attempts to marry and your attempts to practise Bhagavan’s path of self-investigate can happen side by side: that is, we are free to turn within in order to investigate whenever we desire to do so. This is our primary task. Everything external will happen only as and when Bhagavan’s wants it to happen. So as Bhagavan says, ‘Therefore silently being [or being silent] is good’.

Lewis Oakwood said...

Anadi-Ananta, 🙂

Yes, '(how) can we be quite sure that ego even by steady practice of self-investigation ever would reliably retire?'

It seems no matter how long we practice self-investigation there is no guarantee ego would be seen to be a fabrication, however, within a single moment, of total focus upon ourself, the potential is always present.

'When the apple is ripe it will fall.' — An old country saying.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Unknown, yes, we do complain that this path of self-investigation is difficult, but Bhagavan says otherwise. He says it is very easy. For example, in verse one of Anma-Viddai he says:

Oneself is so very real [and clear] even for those who are simple-minded that [in comparison] an āmalaka fruit on the palm recedes as unreal [and unclear]. ([Therefore] ah, extremely easy, ātma-vidyā, ah, extremely easy!)

There is nothing wrong in looking for a life partner. As long as we experience ourself as a person, it is natural for us to look for a companion. Also, we are naturally attracted to the opposite sex. However, these inclinations should not stop us from practising self-investigation. We can turn our attention within whenever we feel like doing so. So, as devotees of Bhagavan, we should turn within to attend to ourself alone whenever possible.

Moreover, our external life is according to our destiny which is entirely according to the will of Bhagavan, and since Bhagavan is infinite love, whatever he has planned for us has to be for our ultimate good. So things happen in its own time, and our body and mind are made to do whatever is needed to bring our destiny to fruition. So you can be sure that Bhagavan is desperately searching for a suitable life-partner for you, and you just have to wait and watch how things unfold.

Unknown said...

Michaelji, little bit personal question. Hope you answer. Iam sure it will help me immensely as it always is.

My family has been searching for a bride for me from the last 2 years. I have a nice goverment job and belongs to a middle class family.I am expecting a simple marriage with no dowry or any presents and my parents are extremely humble and pious people.But my families all attempts to find a suitable union failed miserably in all these days.unexpected reasons which i cant even understand leads to this situation.One of the trivial reason people used to give is I am a vegeterian. This leads to very sad situation for me and my family. My family is losing hope and at present future looks very weak.

My question is what should be my attitude in this sad situation.How to reconcile Bhagavan's teachings when we dont get what we desire That too something important as marital union.



Michael James said...

Unknown, whatever happens or does not happen in our life is according to the will of Bhagavan for our own good. Some of our desires are fulfilled, others are never fulfilled, and for some we have to wait a while before they are fulfilled. Even when some desires are fulfilled, it does not always turn out as we had expected and hoped. Some marriages are very harmonious and happy, but when a couple are not well attuned, a marriage can turn out to be very awkward and unhappy. Therefore, whatever may happen, we need to cultivate an attitude of surrender to Bhagavan’s will, because then only will we be at peace.

As he sang in verse 2 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padigam, ‘நின் இட்டம் என் இட்டம்; இன்பு அது எற்கு’ (niṉ iṭṭam eṉ iṭṭam; iṉbu adu eṟku), ‘Your iṣṭam [will, wish, desire or liking] is my iṣṭam; that is happiness for me’, and in verse 7 of Śrī Aruṇācala Navamaṇimālai, ‘எண்ணம் எதுவோ அது செய்வாய். கண்ணே, உன்றன் கழல் இணையில் காதல் பெருக்கே தருவாயே’ (eṇṇam eduvō adu seyvāy. kaṇṇē, uṉḏṟaṉ kaḻal iṇaiyil kādal perukkē taruvāyē), ‘Whatever be [your] thought [or wish], do that. [My] eye [my most beloved, my own awareness], just give [me] only a flood [overflow, fullness, abundance, surge or increasing intensity] of love for your pair of feet’.

Gradually we need to wean our mind off its desires, but that is easier said than done, because some of our desires are very strong and persistent, and no matter how much misery they cause us, we are unwilling to let go of them. However, we are assured of eventual success, because Bhagavan is helping us in this endeavour, both by shaping our external life appropriately and by working from within our heart in ways that we cannot understand, so this is what he calls the ‘அருள் போராட்டம்’ (aruḷ-pōrāṭṭam) or ‘warfare of grace’ (verse 74 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai) that is going on in the heart of every spiritual aspirant.

Therefore, as he advises us in the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, we need to train ourself to travel happily by taking our little burden off our head and putting it aside on the train, which is anyway carrying ourself and all our burdens. And as he indicated in the first sentence of that paragraph, the most effective way for us to train ourself to let go of everything else is to cling firmly to being self-attentive as much as we can.

Unknown said...

Michaelji Thank you for your immediate response.I will read carefully.

AsunAparicio said...
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Lewis Oakwood said...
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Sanjay Lohia said...

We do not function even when we seem to function

Devotee: When we experience ourself as we actually are, we will no longer function. Is it so?

Michael: Yes, but when we say ‘we will no longer function’, it is not exactly true. When we are swallowed by that infinitely bright light of pure-awareness, it will be clear to us that we never were aware of any form, so we were never functioning in the first place.

Devotee: Right, got it!

~^~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 1 (1:26)

Reflection: We seem to be functioning in this world, but actually it is just an illusion. In fact, no one is functioning. Isn’t it beyond our imagination? It is. No ego – no world – so no one in this world who can possibly function in any way. Just beyond our wildest imagination!

AsunAparicio said...
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AsunAparicio said...
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Sanjay Lohia said...

The core of Bhagavan’s teachings is that the creator of everything is only ego

A friend: Bhagavan sometimes refers to God as the creator of this world. He used to often say that since God has created the world, he will also look after it, so leave everything to God. But at other places, he said that ego is the creator of this world. How do we reconcile this contradiction?

Michael: Bhagavan gives teachings at different levels to suit different people. The core of Bhagavan’s teachings is that the creator of everything is ego. In the dream, who creates the dream? Obviously the dreamer creates it. So ego is the dreamer that has created this dream. But not everyone is willing to accept this. So for those who are not ready to accept this, Bhagavan would, for example, say that God has created this world.

People used to often come to Bhagavan and complain, ‘There are so many injustices in this world – so many terrible things are happening – so I want to reform the world’. Bhagavan would tell them, ‘He who has created this world knows how took after it. Leave everything to him’ and so on.

If we understand that everything is a dream, we will not be concerned about the problems of this world but we are concerned. Even if we are not concerned about this entire world, we are at least concerned about the little person we seem to be. So in one form or other we are all concerned about the problems of this world, whether more selfishly or less selfishly. But that shows our ignorance. We have not understood that all is a dream.

### Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 1 (1:27)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
..."But that shows our ignorance. We have not understood that all is a dream."
How can one ever understand that all is a dream ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "...‘He who has created this world knows how took after it. Leave everything to him’ and so on." ->(it should mean 'look')
"Moreover, our external life is according to our destiny which is entirely according to the will of Bhagavan, and since Bhagavan is infinite love, whatever he has planned for us has to be for our ultimate good."
Because simply all seems to be Bhagavan's responsibility could you please explain in detail: who is 'Bhagavan' or what means 'Bhagavan' ?
Where is 'Bhagavan' ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "If it seeks, it will take flight. Investigate." (verse 25 UN).
...Do we need more clarity on this point? I do not think so."
My problem continues to be that I as ego do not feel a strong urge to investigate myself as ego. So destruction of ego seems to be still far off.


Sanjay Lohia said...

God is me

A friend: So God is inside me?

Michael: Yes, but ‘me’ there is ego. Ego is the false awareness ‘I am this body’. In this awareness ‘I am this body’, there is a fundamental awareness ‘I am’. So if we remove the adjunct ‘this body’, what remains in God.

So to direct us in the right direction, we can say that ‘God is in me’, but ultimately God is not in me, but God is me.

-^- Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 1 (1:43)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Namah Ramanaya, Mano Maranaya

(At almost the end of the video, the song ‘Om Namah Sivaya…’ was played. Commenting on this, Michael said the following):

Michael: What is the meaning of ‘Om Namah Sivaya…’? ‘Sivaya’ means ‘to Siva’. Siva means God, our real nature. ‘Namah’ means obeisance, bowing down or surrender. So the real meaning of ‘Namah Sivaya’ is surrender to Siva.

Just like ‘Namah Sivaya’ means 'surrender to Siva', ‘Namah Ramanaya’ means surrender to Ramana. And Sadhu Om used to say, ‘Namah Ramanaya, Mano maranaya’. That means ‘Namah Ramanaya’ is for ‘Mano maranaya’ – the death of the mind.

What is the purpose of Namah Ramanaya? It is to surrender the mind and to let it be killed by Ramana.

-^- Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 1 (1:50)


Sanjay Lohia said...

Every theoretical aspect of Bhagavan’s teaching has a practical import

Every theoretical aspect of Bhagavan’s teaching has a practical import. Why Bhagavan emphasized that this world is a dream? It is in order to help us gain detachment from it – in order to help us to give up our desire for it. If everything is just a dream, why to be bothered so much about it? Why worry about whether the bills are going to be paid or not? If they are paid they are paid, if they are not paid they are not paid, what is it to us?

While we are dreaming, everything seems so real. It seems real because we seem to be a body in that dream world. Because the body seems to ourself it seems real, and therefore the whole world seems real, and because it seems real, everything else also seems very important.

~^~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 1 (1:46)


AsunAparicio said...
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anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
"...theory and tales, I find them very inspiring, though."
Inspiring to what ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Why Bhagavan emphasized that this world is a dream?"
However, our experience is quite the reverse.
If everything in this world would be only a dream we could certainly recognize it.

"Why worry about whether the bills are going to be paid or not? If they are paid they are paid, if they are not paid they are not paid, what is it to us?"
Is that a suitable and practicable behaviour and conduct ?
Life will certainly teach us that such conduct is generally entirely unsuited for everyday life - at least in the West.[No payment - no gas connection or electicity supply just the next day].:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
sorry, of course it should be: no electricity (electric power supply).:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"What is the purpose of Namah Ramanaya? It is to surrender the mind and to let it be killed by Ramana."
What is the purpose that the mind is yet not already surrendered to Siva and not already killed by Ramana or Siva ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"No ego – no world – so no one in this world who can possibly function in any way. Just beyond our wildest imagination! "
Who knows, perhaps Siva himself has some "wild imagination" ?

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
"...the most effective way for us to train ourself to let go of everything else is to cling firmly to being self-attentive as much as we can."
Certainly it is good to cling firmly to being self-attentive as much as we can. But then comes this ‘அருள் போராட்டம்’ (aruḷ-pōrāṭṭam) or 'warfare of grace' that is going on in the heart of every spiritual aspirant into play and causes a massacre on the battle-field of visaya vasanas (inclinations to experience things other than itself). Then even my love for the natural peace of being free of the self-obscuring cloud of thoughts falls by the wayside and the clear light of self-consciousness seems not to stand by me.

Michael James said...

Asun, regarding your comments of 14 August 2019 at 11:29, 11:47, 12:33, 15:22 and 15:29, it is not clear to me what exactly you think is confusing or not clear, but I hope the following reply may be of some help:

The practice of ātma-vicāra (self-investigation or self-enquiry) is clinging firmly to oneself, which means being keenly self-attentive, and the practice of self-surrender is letting go of everything other than oneself, which entails attending to nothing other than oneself, as Bhagavan points out 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’, and in the final sentence of verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்’ (ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr), ‘Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

Therefore self-investigation and self-surrender are inseparable. They are two sides of the same coin. We cannot investigate ourself without thereby surrendering ourself, and we cannot surrender ourself without investigating ourself. We may be able to surrender partially (that is, to begin surrendering our likes and dislikes at least to a limited extent) without investigating ourself, but we cannot begin to surrender completely (that is, to surrender ourself, this ego, who is the root and foundation of all likes and dislikes, being the one whose likes and dislikes they are) without investigating ourself.

You say ‘Clinging to being self-attentive implies letting go of everything else automatically but one is not aware of it yet’, but is it not clear to you that to the extent that you cling to being self-attentive you are thereby letting go of everything else? Letting go of everything else is what Bhagavan implies when he advises us to travel happily by putting our small luggage on the train rather than suffering by carrying it on our head.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Asun:

You also say ‘It is as if being self-attentive increased ego’, but how can that be so? The nature of ourself as ego is to rise, stand and flourish to the extent to which we grasp (attend to) anything other than ourself, and to subside, wither and dissolve when we attend to ourself. Bhagavan expressed this nature of ego very succinctly in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), ‘Grasping form it [the formless phantom-ego] comes into existence; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows abundantly; leaving form, it grasps form. If it seeks [itself], it will take flight’. This is our actual experience, as we will notice if we begin to investigate ourself keenly enough.

Regarding your question, ‘I had always thought that being self-attentive was the mean and the goal but, according to what you say, it is just a mean for surrendering to happen. Is this right?’, yes, being self-attentive is both the means and the goal, so since being self-attentive is surrendering ourself, this means that surrendering ourself is both the means and the goal.

Regarding your question, ‘wouldn’t it be premature to abandon the practice of self-inquiry’, yes, so long as we rise and stand as ego, it would certainly be premature to abandon the practice of self-investigation, because only by investigating ourself can we surrender ourself, and it would be premature to abandon the practice of self-surrender until there is no ego left to investigate or surrender.

You say ‘I find impossible doing both things at this unexpected point’, but Bhagavan does not ask us to do two things. He asks us to do just one thing, namely to surrender ourself, which we can do only by investigating ourself.

Sanjay Lohia said...

What is sattvic food?

Sri Krishna answers this in Bhagavad Gita, chapter 17, verse 8:

Foods in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome, and pleasing to the heart.

Bhagavan teaches us in Nan Ar, paragraph 9:

By mita sāttvika āhāra-niyama [the restriction of consuming only sattva-conducive food in moderate quantities], which is the best among all restrictions, the sattva-guṇa [the quality of ‘being-ness’, calmness and clarity] of the mind increasing, for self-investigation help will [thereby] arise.

Since Bhagavan says that sattvic food is limited quantity is the best among all restrictions, let us try to understand what sattvic food is in more detail. The following extract from the book called The Food Book by Subah Jain throws more light on this topic:

Sattvic foods are foods that are fresh, wholesome (unprocessed, unrefined, juicy – water-rich). Example of sattvic foods is all fresh fruits, all vegetables, whole fats (coconut, soaked nuts and seeds).

Sattvic food is healing food. It is easy to digest, so when we eat it, our body has to spend less time digesting and can spend time healing. By switching to a sattvic diet and lifestyle, we can fully cure any chronic disease without any medicine.

But the benefits of sattvic food go far beyond the physical body. Gradually, as we keep eating sattvic food, even our thoughts change. It brings mental clarity, calmness and humility. We elevate to a higher state of consciousness of fearlessness. We become closer to Mother Nature and God.

(End of extract)


AsunAparicio said...

Michael, thank you for your response.

I deleted that question and subsequent explanations because I knew the words I used would create confusion.

I´ll send you an e-mail trying to explain it.

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

Just inspiring. I was many years ago at Ramanashram but only by chance and for a couple of days. I didn´t know much about Ramana´s teaching by then and I have loved hearing the “Palakottu tales” as well as watching the different places, Sri Lakshmana and all the documentaries.

Bob said...

Sanjay

I believe the title of the book is 'Satvic Food Book' as the book entitled 'The Food Book' is written by a Dr. Hyman.

I could be wrong....

As far as benefits of eating only satvic food go, I could not have ever imagined that such a dramatic change in my life was possible after eating only a satvic diet.

However, the author stating that eating satvic food will 'fully cure any chronic disease', is a stretch.

Could be true, if so I'm still waiting for that part.

Thanks for passing along the information

As a side note; I clearly recall the first time I read about satvic food and said to myself; yea, right, maybe some day I will consider such a thing, but I don't think so.

About 30 days later while having dinner with my wife, and eating chicken, I turned to her and said; I'm going vegan. And to my utter shock, she said, me too.






Lewis Oakwood said...


Thought-Image—


Simultaneously:

Each bite of the apple nearer to the core.

And,

Snow melts revealing the mountain.

And,

Fallen leaves compost for the tree.

And,

With every magnification under the microscope, more of the sample disappears.


Bob said...

Sanjay

I was wrong about the name of the book, I see it is titled 'Satvic Movement, The Food Book'

Bob

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob, Bhagavan teaches us that our outer life is shaped by our destiny, which is decided by Bhagavan. So, from this perspective, any disease we get and whether or not we get cured is decided by our destiny.

However, as long as we take ourself to be a person, we seem to be governed by cause and effect. That is if we eat foods which are not sattvic we are likely to get sick, and if we eat sattvic foods we are likely to remain healthy. I am at present trying to follow a diet system called NDS (New Diet System), which has been developed by Sri B. V. Chauhan. After following this system for just three months I could give up my BP, thyroid and constipation medicines which I was taking for about 20 years (average).

This system recommends that we do internment fasting every day: that it, we are supposed to be without food and water for the first 6 to 8 hours after we wake up. Afterwards, we are supposed to break our fast with 2 to 3 glasses of green juice. Then we are supposed to have fresh juices, fruits and salads according to hunger. We can have one cooked meal at night if we are disease-free. Also, one is supposed to take enema twice a day for the first 2 to 3 months (morning and evening) and afterwards as and when required.

I have directly met hundreds of persons who have been benefited by this system and have also read and listened to the videos of hundreds of others who have been immensely benefited by following NDS. It is said in Ayurveda that fasting is the best medicine. So if we are suffering from chronic diseases, we should fast as much as possible or at least remain on fresh juices until we are cured.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Know the knower; everything else is unnecessary

If we follow any religion we have to believe many things, but when we come to Bhagavan he says ‘do not believe anything’. Don’t even believe the one who believes. Doubt the doubter: doubt the believer. So Bhagavan’s path is a path of radical scepticism – we doubt the existence of even the doubter. We cannot get more sceptical than this, can we?

Know the knower. Everything else is peripheral, unnecessary and extraneous. That is, we should focus only on ego. What is this ego who has so many believes, who wants this or that?

^~^ Edited extract from the video: 2016-04-24 (afternoon) Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James – (17:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should starve this ego into submission

Ego is a joke. How did one infinite reality appear as if it is this little ego? That is a very perverse type of joke, and that is the joke that ego is playing on itself. We cannot blame the reality for that because the reality knows nothing about it.

How to get rid of ego? We should not feed ego by letting it attend to various vishayas. We should starve it into submission, and we can starve it only by attending to ourself.

# Edited extract from the video: 2016-04-24 (afternoon) Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James (0:46 & 1:13)

AsunAparicio said...

Yes.
And at that point of subtleness, despite of having been here from the beginning, there are no words to express the great blessing of having come across with genuine guidance, teachings and guru.

_/\_

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have to accept what actually is, and what actually is only self-awareness

Michael: If we really believe Bhagavan, we will be quiet now itself. It is because we do not believe Bhagavan that we are not ready to leave everything in Bhagavan’s hand. If we believe Bhagavan, we wouldn’t even rise as this ego, and if we do not rise as ego there will be no waking and dream. Waking and dream is the result of rising as ego. The rising of ego is a result of our lack of faith in Bhagavan and his teachings. If we really believe Bhagavan, we will do as he advised us to do. As he taught us 'being silent is good’.

A friend: We have to be silent. I think being silent means acceptance – acceptance of what is.

Michael: Yes, but we have to accept what actually is, and, according to Bhagavan, what actually is is only self-awareness. So it is not merely accepting whatever pleasures and pains come to us in life with equanimity. That is good, but that is not sufficient. Because as long as we are experiencing those things, we are actually one step away from complete self-surrender. It is because we have to rise as ego to experience all those things.

Total self-surrender is when we do not even rise as ego to experience all these things. So real and absolute self-surrender is only when we give up this ahankara, and the only way to give up ahankara is to turn our attention with – to face ourself alone.

• Edited extract from the video:2016-04-23 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James (32:00)


anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thank you again for transcribing extracts from Michael's videos.

When you write "...the only way to give up ahankara is to turn our attention with – to face ourself alone." you certainly mean "within".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Thanks, Anadi-ananta, yes, it should have been 'within'.

Lewis Oakwood said...

Thought-Image—

The 'am' in 'I am' — the expression (as the world of appearance) of 'I'.

anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
is the 'am' in 'I am' not more exactly the expression of just being ?

Lewis Oakwood said...

Anadi-Ananta,

Why say 'I am' or 'I' or 'Being'.

Actually, does Awareness 'have' any expression at all, if it does, surely that would be an appearance.

Anonymous said...

Asun,

Not sure if you watched this: it might be beneficial for you.. https://youtu.be/UHghY2AroHs

Unknown said...

Which extract is this?

anadi-ananta said...

Lewis Oakwood,
I guess any expression of pure awareness could be at most just being - which is surely not merely an appearance.:-)

AsunAparicio said...

Thank you, Anonymous.

Yes, that´s how it is and works for most of us.

True self-attentiveness or true self-investigation or, as David puts it, when mind is in a ready state and you are doing it properly, it is absolute simplicity and clarity. This simplicity blows mind away and if it lasts for several days, it gets quite perplexed so that it makes you think that maybe you are doing something wrong hence, the necessity of ensuring or rather the creation of such necessity. At that very moment , attention has been diverted from pure awareness. Very tricky, but that´s the nature of mind, as Michael told me, "it requires complication and confusion to survive". This proves that still there is identification with it. As Michael also told me “so long as we have any inclination (vasana) to attend to anything other than ourself, effort is required to be self-attentive, so that effort will cease only when ego (and hence all its vasanas) has been eradicated forever.”
We have to be said this constantly.

It also happens the other way round. In the last Michael´s discussion with Spanish folks “About purpose and balancing different purposes”, someone says almost at the end that she understands Bhagavan´s words from and with heart but that hearing explanations takes her to mind. This is because Bhagavan´s words can lead to that state and nothing else is required so, there is certain rejection to read, talk, hear or even think about it. We have to learn to follow what heart or the natural intelligence of self tells us, ignoring mind´s requirements. To me, this is the art of being. The most simple and difficult, precisely because of its simplicity, art :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Other things and persons have value because we give value to the person we seem to be

Does life have a purpose and if so what is it so? The purpose of life is subjective – it is the purpose we give it. There is no objective purpose in life. We each give some purpose to our life. If we had no purpose of living, we would not be living. The purpose we give to life depends upon our values. If I value money, material wealth and status in life, achieving those things will be the purpose of our life, and for many people, life has no purpose than to earn money and enjoy the benefits they think they get from that money. However, most of us value other things in addition to wealth. As a general rule, most of us also value human relationships.

However, some of us, though we value these material and transitory things, we think that there is more to life than just these material things. We recognize that life is merely a fleeting experience, and we will die sooner or later. Then all our material wealth, relatives and social status will be separated from us. Most of us do not think much about these things: that is, they want to enjoy life to the fullest. But some of us recognize that that is profoundly unsatisfactory. Nothing in this world lasts. Everything is transient, but are we transient? When the body dies, are we going to die? But if we are something more than this body, we may survive our body’s death. So then we have to come down to the fundamental question: who am I? This is the key to unlocking the whole problem.

We value material things because we consider ourself to be a person in this world. If we consider ourself to be a body then this body is related to so many other persons. So these things have value because we give value to the person we seem to be.

~ Edited extract from the video: 2019-08-18 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the purpose and balancing different purposes (00:00)

Reflection: If I am Sanjay, then this Sanjay has his siblings, parents, daughters, wife and other relatives, but if I am not this Sanjay that I take myself to be, I am not related to anybody. So if I want to give up my attachments towards my relatives, I have to give up my attachment to Sanjay– in order words, I have to completely disassociate from Sanjay. How do I dissociate from Sanjay? I can do so only by self-investigation: who am I?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are meant to be fruitarians

Bhagavan strongly recommended a vegetarian diet, and in today’s context, he would have surely recommended a vegan diet, because as spiritual aspirants we should avoid all forms of violence (himsa). However, many people are not convinced about the need for a vegetarian or a vegan diet, because they argue than since plants are also living, by eating them we are anyway killing life. They argue that even Bhagavan got angry when he saw people being insensitive to tress, plants and flowers. So, according to them, there is no difference whether we eat a vegetarian diet or a non-vegetarian diet.

These questions are natural to us, so we need answers to such questions. I recently watched a YouTube video of Dr Nandita Shah (Founder of SHARAN), where she has tried to provide answers to such doubts. The following is an edited extract from this video:

Dr Nandita Shah: I am often asked, ‘you say don’t kill animals, but aren’t plants also living creatures?’ And honestly, they are. Like, there is no need to go and pluck flowers because we are not even eating them. But we need something to eat, isn’t it true? So what do we eat is our choice. We all know that animals (because we also animals) suffer pain, and animals fear for their lives and fight till the end for the only thing they own, which is their life. Do we really want to take it from them? However, plants are sensitive but it’s a different kind of sensitivity.

However, let us assume that plants are equally sensitive as animals, even then if we are eating animal products we are eating a lot more plants because animals have to eat plants before we can eat these animals. For example, it takes 12 kg of plants to get one litre of milk. Likewise, it takes 16 kg of plants to get one kg of beef. So whenever we are eating higher of the food chain, we are killing more innocent plants. So we need to reduce the need for the killing of plants if that is our aim of eating.

So if you want to minimise the pain to plants, here is what you should do: we are actually fruitarians, so we should eat only fruits, and fruits include biological fruits like cucumbers and tomatoes. When we are eating only fruits we are not harming any plants. We could live on fruits entirely and get all the nutrients we need and be at the highest state of health because we are eating completely raw. So fruits are the gifts of plants to human beings.

So do the best all the time – that’s all we can do.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
did not Ramanasramam hold cows in the cowshed even at lifetime of Ramana ?
So why do you presume that Bhagavan "... would have surely recommended a vegan diet" ?

By the way you mean "insensitive to trees, plants..." not "tress".

Bob said...

Sanjay

Thanks for the info about Dr Nandita Shah (Founder of SHARAN).

I found a storehouse of vegan recipes at the website.

Bob

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"We value material things because we consider ourself to be a person in this world. If we consider ourself to be a body then this body is related to so many other persons. So these things have value because we give value to the person we seem to be."

That is because we do not fall as sages from heaven. :-)

anadi-ananta said...

section 1.,
"That is, since he has infinite love for himself, he wants nothing other than to be as he always is, and this means that since he does not see us as anything other than himself, he wants us to be as we actually are."
I hardly can imagine that Bhagavan does "want" anything, because how can infinitive love have any wantings ?

"By his merely being as he actually is, the flower of love to be as we actually are blossoms in our heart, and when this love blossoms fully it will devour us, and what will then remain is only infinite love, which is his true form and what we actually are."
Are there really gradual differences in (infinite) love's blossoming ? Are there actually degrees or steps like on a scale of (infinite) love (low or high standards) ?

Oh Arunachala, be gracious, melting me as love in you, the form of love, like ice in water.

anadi-ananta said...

section 2.,
"If our present state is just a dream, as Bhagavan says, then surely what has created or projected the world we now perceive is only ourself as ego."
Is not ego extremely powerful ? - Anyway we as ego created even Bhagavan.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

section 3.,
"However, whereas all other phenomena (viṣayas) are a projection of our viṣaya-vāsanās (our inclinations or likings to be aware of phenomena), the human form of Bhagavan, his teachings and the all-embracing love we see in him are a projection of our sat-vāsanā (our love to be as we actually are), which is a manifestation within us of the infinite love that he has for us as himself."
In which way are our viṣaya-vāsanās different from ego ? Usually it is said that ego alone projects the world.
Is not Bhagavan the greatest egoist ? - He loves only himself !:-)

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"Since we as ego have created all this, we can put an end to all the problems and sufferings we see in this world only by surrendering ourself back into the source from which we have risen".
The question may arise whether after having surrendered ourself back into the source from which we have risen all the problems and sufferings we previously saw in this world have ceased to be only in the view of ego-free beings and not in the view of all those who have not already surrendered.
"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."
Albeit in the view of people who have given oneself to God there may no one exist other than themselves, does having given oneself to God affect the view of anyone who has not given himself to God ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anandi-ananta, you ask, ‘did not Ramanasramam hold cows in the cowshed even at lifetime of Ramana? So why do you presume that Bhagavan "... would have surely recommended a vegan diet"?

In today’s world, if anyone has a pure heart and a receptive intellect, he or she will easily convert veganism. In the name of milk, what we are drinking today is white poison. There is a book by Dr N. K. Sharma (a distinguished naturopath and founder of Reiki Healing Foundation) titled Milk: A Silent Killer. This title says it all.

Yes, milk and milk products were served at Sri Ramanasramam during Bhagavan’s time and it is still served today. However, milk served at Sri Ramanasramam is relatively purer and cruelty-free –remember I said ‘relatively’. It is not a product of today’s factory farming. So this is one angle of looking at this issue.

Another angle is that the jnani has no ego and therefore no will. Whatever happens in its presence is according to the will of others around him. The jnani is merely a presence, like the sun, and it is in its presence that things – good or bad – take place. So maybe the people around him wanted the milk to be served, so he just went by their wishes.

Having discussed these two perspectives, one has to be clear that the jnani’s actions are beyond our understanding. As Michael said in one of his recent videos, the jnani’s actions originate from a state of non-action, so how can we understand him or his actions? Bhagavan has explained this beautifully through verse 31 of Ulladu Narpadu:

For those who are happiness composed of that, which rose destroying themself, what one exists for doing? They do not know anything other than themself; who can conceive their state as ‘like this’?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
books and theories of "distinguished experts" about healthy or unhealthy diet appear in huge numbers in the market. Certainly they all don't contain the whole truth. Moreover quality of food and particularly of milk varies from country to country and depends from the life of the cows. In the European Alpine regions cows live from May till September at natural mountain/Alpine pastures. I do not believe that their milk - milked daily by milkmaids, herdswomen and dairywomen - is to be considered as "white poison". Far from it. Presumably quite the reverse.

You say "Whatever happens in its presence is according to the will of others around him.".
Because you allude to the jnani's presence it should be "...in his presence".
Generally your above statement cannot be seriously stated because the jnani is just not depending from anyone's will or "the will of others around him".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, I wrote, ‘Whatever happens in its presence is according to the will of others around him’. You felt that I should have written ‘his’ for Bhagavan and not ‘it’. Actually, the most appropriate pronoun for the jnani is ‘it’, because the jnani is just pure-awareness, and this pure-awareness is beyond any gender.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
okay, then consequently you should write also "around it" instead of "him".:-)