Monday, 7 October 2019

Is it possible for us to attend to ourself, the subject, rather than to any object?

A friend wrote to me recently:
Can you tell from your experience if practicing Self investigation is something that is started in a “wrong” manner and evolves into the correct practice over the years?

I think I have the correct intellectual understanding of how to perform Self investigation but in practice I get trapped again and again: I try to be aware of myself alone but as I cannot be objectified my attention is always landing on subtle objects. It takes a while to realize this, then I try to redirect my attention to myself again which results in dwelling on another subtle object and so on. I feel that directing my attention happens only in the realm of the mind and I seem to be unable to investigate into the one who is directing his attention/ attend to myself because I am not skilled enough to attend to anything other than objects. Has this search with my attention landing on objects to go on until I gain the skill to transcend it and attend to myself?

And isn’t the attitude of “Now I will try to direct my attention to myself” in itself wrong because the I in this sentence can only attend to objects? Don’t I have to investigate instead into from where this intention arose? Because that I am unable to do right now.
This article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.
  1. This is a path of investigation, so the more we investigate ourself the more focused and finely tuned our investigation becomes
  2. Since we are not an object, how is it possible for us to attend to ourself?
  3. All thoughts or phenomena arise only from ourself as ego, so investigating where they arose means investigating ourself
  4. Though there is actually nothing easier than to be attentively self-aware, in order to be so we must be willing to give up (surrender) ego and everything else
1. This is a path of investigation, so the more we investigate ourself the more focused and finely tuned our investigation becomes

Unless we have completely misunderstood the theory of self-investigation (namely the most elementary principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, such as that we are not the body, mind or any other object of perception, so to investigate what we actually are we need to attend only to ourself, the subject or perceiver), it is not really possible for us to do self-investigation in a wrong manner. We may be investigating ourself more or less perfectly, but however imperfect our self-attentiveness may be, it is not wrong but just a step on the journey to more perfect self-attentiveness.

Bhagavan called this path ātma-vicāra, which means self-investigation, for a very good reason, because when we start any investigation we do not know what we are going to learn along the way, and the more we learn from it the more focused and finely tuned our investigation becomes. What we learn from self-investigation is not information or facts, as in any objective investigation, but a steadily deepening and increasingly subtle clarity of self-awareness and consequently of understanding, and this clarity is what enables us to go deeper in our practice.

If a scientist or a detective starts to investigate something, they may at first follow several wrong leads, but by doing so they learn what they should not be investigating, and thereby they learn more precisely what they should be investigating. Likewise, as you described, when we start self-investigation we may find that what we are attending to is not ourself, the subject, but some subtle object, but when we recognise this we see that we need to refine our self-attentiveness by refraining from attending to even the subtlest of objects.

This is where a deeper, subtler and clearer understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings is required. Though the practice is described as attending to ourself, we need to understand that self-attentiveness is fundamentally different to attending to any object, because what we are trying to attend to is only ourself, the subject, who can never be an object.

Objects or phenomena are things that appear and disappear in our awareness, whereas we are the awareness in which they appear and disappear, so as the perceiving awareness we are relatively constant. When we disappear as the subject or perceiver, as in sleep, all objects disappear along with us, and they reappear only when we reappear as the perceiver in either waking or dream. Therefore what we need to attend to is not any object but only ourself, the awareness in which, to which and because of which they all appear and disappear.

Even this awareness is not our real nature, but only ego, because it appears only in waking and dream and disappears in sleep, but underlying it is the real awareness that we actually are, namely the pure, adjunctless and eternal self-awareness ‘I am’, which exists and shines not only in waking and dream but also in sleep. Ego, which is the false awareness in which and to which objects appear and disappear, is like an illusory snake, whereas our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is the pure awareness ‘I am’, is like the rope that seems to be the illusory snake. Just as the only way to see that what seems to be a snake is actually just a rope is to look at it very carefully, the only way to see that what now seems to be this ego is actually just pure awareness is to attend to it very keenly.

2. Since we are not an object, how is it possible for us to attend to ourself?

We are so accustomed to attending to objects that at first it may seem that it is not possible for us to attend to ourself, the subject. This is why you ask, ‘And isn’t the attitude of “Now I will try to direct my attention to myself” in itself wrong because the I in this sentence can only attend to objects?’, but the answer is that the I you refer to is ourself as ego, and though our nature as ego is to always attend to objects, we can attend to ourself instead if we try to do so.

We can understand this by considering what attention actually is. It is just a selective focusing of our awareness. That is, at any moment in waking or dream many things appear in our awareness, but we cannot be equally aware of all of them simultaneously, so we are able to selectively focus our awareness so that we are predominantly aware of one thing or set of things in preference to all other things. This selective focusing of our awareness is what we call attention.

In sleep we cannot attend to ourself, because we are then not aware of anything other than ourself, so there is no scope for us to selectively focus our awareness on ourself in preference to any other things. Therefore attention is a feature or ability of ego and not of our real nature, because our real nature is never aware of anything other than itself (ourself).

In waking and dream we can attend to anything that we are aware of or could be aware of. This includes not only any objects or phenomena but also ourself, because whether we are aware of other things, as we are in waking and dream, or not aware of anything else, as in sleep, we are always aware of ourself. There is never a moment when we are not self-aware, because as Bhagavan often pointed out, self-awareness (our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’) is like the screen in a cinema. Just as the screen is the background on which all the pictures appear and disappear, self-awareness is the screen on which both ego and all phenomena appear and disappear, and just as the screen remains unchanged, unaffected and ever-present whether pictures appear on it or not, self-awareness remains unchanged, unaffected and ever-present whether ego and phenomena appear on it or not.

However, though we are always aware of ourself as ‘I am’, in waking and dream we are generally more interested in being aware of other things than in being aware of ourself alone, so we have habituated ourself to attending to phenomena, and since all phenomena, even the most subtle ones, are relatively gross, by constantly attending to them we have made our attention into a relatively blunt instrument. This is why we find it difficult to distinguish ourself from all phenomena and thereby focus our entire attention on ourself alone. In order to sharpen our power of attention and thereby make it keen and subtle enough to distinguish what we actually are we need to try to be self-attentive as much and as keenly as possible.

However, by saying what I said in the previous sentence I am jumping ahead of myself, because I am trying to answer the question you implied, namely whether it is possible for us to attend to anything other than objects. As I said, we can attend to anything that we are aware of, so since we are always aware of ourself, attending to ourself should be easier than attending to anything else. But how exactly can we attend to ourself, since we are not an object?

We are always aware of ourself, but because we as ego tend to be more interested in being aware of other things than in being aware of ourself alone, we generally neglect our fundamental awareness of ourself and instead attend only to other things. In other words, in waking and dream we are generally negligently self-aware, so in order for us to be aware of ourself as we actually are we need to be attentively self-aware. Being attentively self-aware is what is meant by ‘attending to ourself’, so it is the only means by which we can investigate what we actually are.

The term ‘attending to ourself’ may seem at first glance to imply that ‘ourself’ is an object that we can attend to, but this is because we are so accustomed to attending to objects that for many of us it is difficult to conceive how we can instead attend only to the subject, the perceiver of all objects, namely this formless phantom called ego. Therefore, rather than describing the practice of self-investigation as ‘attending to oneself’, it is perhaps clearer to describe it as ‘being attentively self-aware’ or just ‘being self-attentive’.

When we consider it calmly, is it not clear that self-awareness is the one constant background of whatever we may experience? We are never aware of anything without being aware that we are aware of it, and being aware that we are aware of it implies being aware that we are. In other words, without being aware that I am, I could not be aware of anything else, so I am always aware of myself, and hence I can be attentively self-aware just as easily as, if not more easily than, I can attend to any other thing.

Therefore when we try to investigate who or what we actually are, we should not attend to anything in the sense of attending to an object but should just be attentively aware of our own fundamental self-awareness, ‘I am’.

3. All thoughts or phenomena arise only from ourself as ego, so investigating where they arose means investigating ourself

Regarding your final question, ‘Don’t I have to investigate instead into from where this intention arose?’, from where does any intention or thought arise? It can only arise from ourself, meaning ourself as ego. In fact according to Bhagavan everything (all phenomena or objects) appears only from ego, and ego appears only from pure awareness, which is our real nature. Therefore the immediate source and substance of everything is ego, and the ultimate source and substance of everything is pure awareness. This is why Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

ahandaiyuṇ ḍāyi ṉaṉaittumuṇ ḍāhu
mahandaiyiṉ ḏṟēliṉ ḏṟaṉaittu — mahandaiyē
yāvumā mādalāl yādideṉḏṟu nādalē
yōvudal yāvumeṉa vōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr.

அன்வயம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், அனைத்தும் இன்று. யாவும் அகந்தையே ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே யாவும் ஓவுதல் என ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, aṉaittum iṉḏṟu. yāvum ahandai-y-ē ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē yāvum ōvudal eṉa ōr.

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

Explanatory paraphrase: If ego comes into existence, everything [all phenomena, everything that appears and disappears, everything other than our pure, fundamental, unchanging and immutable self-awareness] comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist [because nothing other than pure self-awareness actually exists, so everything else seems to exist only in the view of ego, and hence it cannot seem to exist unless ego seems to exist]. [Therefore] ego itself is everything [because it is the original seed or embryo, which alone is what expands as everything else]. Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything [because ego will cease to exist if it investigates itself keenly enough, and when it ceases to exist everything else will cease to exist along with it].
Everything arises from ego because it seems to exist only in the view of ourself as ego, and hence nothing (other than pure awareness) would seem to exist if we did not rise as ego. Therefore, since we seem to exist as ego only when we attend to anything other than ourself, and since ego will therefore dissolve and disappear if we investigate what it is by being so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything else whatsoever, Bhagavan concludes this verse by saying ‘investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

Therefore since everything (every thought, intention or phenomenon) arises from ourself as ego, investigating where any intention arose means investigating ourself, which we can do only by being self-attentive as keenly as possible.

4. Though there is actually nothing easier than to be attentively self-aware, in order to be so we must be willing to give up (surrender) ego and everything else

Just as the only way to learn to ride a bicycle is to try again and again until eventually one picks up the knack of doing so, the only way for us to learn how to be attentively self-aware is to try again and again until eventually we pick up the knack of being so. This, however, is a much slower and more gradual process than learning to ride a bicycle, because though there is actually nothing easier than to be attentively self-aware, in order to be so we must be willing to give up (surrender) ego and everything else, and in order to be willing to surrender everything we must greatly reduce the strength of our viṣaya-vāsanās, our desires, likings or inclinations to be aware of anything other than ourself.

So how can we reduce the strength of our viṣaya-vāsanās? The most effective and only completely effective means to do so is to patiently and persistently practise self-investigation for as long as it takes, as Bhagavan assures us in the tenth and eleventh paragraphs of Nāṉ Ār?:
தொன்றுதொட்டு வருகின்ற விஷயவாசனைகள் அளவற்றனவாய்க் கடலலைகள் போற் றோன்றினும் அவையாவும் சொரூபத்யானம் கிளம்பக் கிளம்ப அழிந்துவிடும். அத்தனை வாசனைகளு மொடுங்கி, சொரூபமாத்திரமா யிருக்க முடியுமா வென்னும் சந்தேக நினைவுக்கு மிடங்கொடாமல், சொரூபத்யானத்தை விடாப்பிடியாய்ப் பிடிக்க வேண்டும். ஒருவன் எவ்வளவு பாபியாயிருந்தாலும், ‘நான் பாபியா யிருக்கிறேனே! எப்படிக் கடைத்தேறப் போகிறே’ னென்றேங்கி யழுதுகொண்டிராமல், தான் பாபி என்னு மெண்ணத்தையு மறவே யொழித்து சொரூபத்யானத்தி லூக்க முள்ளவனாக விருந்தால் அவன் நிச்சயமா யுருப்படுவான்.

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

Even though viṣaya-vāsanās [inclinations or desires to experience things other than oneself], which come from time immemorial, rise [as thoughts or phenomena] in countless numbers like ocean-waves, they will all be destroyed when svarūpa-dhyāna [self-attentiveness, contemplation on one’s ‘own form’ or real nature] increases and increases [in depth and intensity]. Without giving room even to the doubting thought ‘So many vāsanās ceasing [or being dissolved], is it possible to be only as svarūpa [my own form or real nature]?’ it is necessary to cling tenaciously to svarūpa-dhyāna. However great a sinner one may be, if instead of lamenting and weeping ‘I am a sinner! How am I going to be saved?’ one completely rejects the thought that one is a sinner and is zealous [or steadfast] in self-attentiveness, one will certainly be reformed [transformed into what one actually is].

மனத்தின்கண் எதுவரையில் விஷயவாசனைக ளிருக்கின்றனவோ, அதுவரையில் நானா ரென்னும் விசாரணையும் வேண்டும். நினைவுகள் தோன்றத் தோன்ற அப்போதைக்கப்போதே அவைகளையெல்லாம் உற்பத்திஸ்தானத்திலேயே விசாரணையால் நசிப்பிக்க வேண்டும். அன்னியத்தை நாடாதிருத்தல் வைராக்கியம் அல்லது நிராசை; தன்னை விடாதிருத்தல் ஞானம். உண்மையி லிரண்டு மொன்றே. முத்துக்குளிப்போர் தம்மிடையிற் கல்லைக் கட்டிக்கொண்டு மூழ்கிக் கடலடியிற் கிடைக்கும் முத்தை எப்படி எடுக்கிறார்களோ, அப்படியே ஒவ்வொருவனும் வைராக்கியத்துடன் தன்னுள் ளாழ்ந்து மூழ்கி ஆத்மமுத்தை யடையலாம். ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும். கோட்டைக்குள் எதிரிக ளுள்ளவரையில் அதிலிருந்து வெளியே வந்துகொண்டே யிருப்பார்கள். வர வர அவர்களையெல்லாம் வெட்டிக்கொண்டே யிருந்தால் கோட்டை கைவசப்படும்.

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

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

180 comments:

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are playing a dangerous game here

We just need one second of turning 180 degrees towards ourself and everything will be destroyed: the mind and all its creation will be destroyed. Bhagavan used to say this is the great atom-bomb. Splitting the material atom releases so much power. If we split the atom which is the root of all this – namely chit-jada-granthi (the knot between the consciousness and the insentient) – the power that will release will engulf the whole universe, and only self will remain.

So we are playing a dangerous game here.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 09-07-2011 (48:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we do japa of Ramana’s or Arunachala’s name will love, that will help our practice of turning within

Sometimes I do japa of Ramana’s or Arunachala’s name. However, even when I do such japa, I try to keep a part of my attention within. It is because real Ramana of Arunachala exists within us as the core of our being. Today morning I had a doubt. I was thinking, will such japa prove more of a hindrance than a help when I try to turn within? That is, if I develop a strong vasana for japa, when I try to turn within my mind may automatically start doing japa because of my vasana for it. I had such thoughts. Bhagavan cleared my doubts today itself. Today, I was watching Michael’s video dated 17-03-2019. At 35:00 of this video he says the following:

Michael: If we feel love for Bhagavan that appeared in name and form, we will be thinking about him or his teachings, and that will encourage us to turn back within. So there is no contradiction between love for Bhagavan and turning our attention within. If we really have love for Bhagavan, we will try to turn our attention within as much as possible because his entire teaching is to turn within. If we say we love Bhagavan but don’t turn our mind within, we do not really love him. If I say ‘I love you’, and if you ask me to do something and I don’t do it, it shows I do not really love you.

So I believe I should continue doing japa of Bhagavan’s or Arunachala’s name. My love for the name and form of Bhagavan will only help my love for inner Bhagavan. However, such japa can only a support to my primary sadhana, which is turning within. Only when I find difficulty in turning within, should I chant Bhagavan’s name.


Sanjay Lohia said...

The path that Bhagavan has given us is not only the path to happiness, but it is also a path of happiness

The more we practise self-investigation and self-surrender, the more our desires and attachments will drop off, and the more they drop off, the easier our surrender will become, the more pleasant our surrender will become. The path that Bhagavan has given us is not only the path to happiness, but it is also a path of happiness. The more we let go, the more we surrender ourself, the easier our life will become. We know life throws at us all sorts of experiences, some happy, some sad. But the more we surrender ourself – the more we believe whatever we experience is according to Bhagavan’s will – the easier it will become to bear all the trials and tribulations of life.

So the path of surrender is the path of happiness because the more we let go, the happier we will be. Bhagavan often used to quote the following verse from Tirukkural:

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

So Bhagavan’s path is the path of love and happiness. Of course, ultimately, we want to get rid of ego, but so long we are not ready to give it up, we at least have been given a very pleasant path by Bhagavan: the path of letting go, the path of surrender.

Edited extract from Michael’s video dated 05-10-2019

Reflection: Yes, the more we let go, the more we are free from the suffering caused by that thing. Say, if I am attached to a person called X, I naturally expect many things from X. I want X to spend time with me, to care for me and so on. But if I let go of this attachment, I will not expect anything from X. I will not be bothered whether X spends time with me or not, or whether X cares for me or not. So I become free from the suffering which was caused as a result of my attachment to X.

Likewise, I am addicted to eating pizza every day, but one day my doctor tells me to give it up because it is spoiling my teeth. I try to give this up, but I am not able to do so, so I suffer. So sometimes I eat pizza, but gradually I try reducing its amount, and a day comes when I completely give it up. Now I have no desire for pizza because I know it is not good for me. Therefore, I am free from the suffering which was caused by pizza when I was struggling to let it go.


anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you mean "If we do japa of Ramana’s or Arunachala’s name with love, ..."

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, thanks for pointing out my typo.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Enjoy by renouncing

The following are a few extracts from the article titled: Mahatma Gandhi by K. V. Subrahmonyan, as it appears in the latest Mountain Path. I will reflect on these extracts:

Extract: Bhagavan: ‘A Guru does not see what someone does or does not do. He only sees if he is free from the sense of doership’.

Reflection: I do not know whether these are the exact words of Bhagavan. It could be, or at least it is in accord with his teachings. Bhagavan saw no others. However, if at all he saw others, he saw only two types of people: with egos or without egos. Bhagavan is not concerned about what we do or do not do. He is only concerned about whether our ego is still alive or not. Bhagavan has nothing to do persons with no egos because such persons have reached their destination. He has to work only on those of us who still have egos. Bhagavan will not rest until our egos are destroyed.

Extract: Bhagavan solved the questioners’ problem by asking them to find to whom was the problem. It is the simplest, profoundest and instant solution to all problems.

Reflection: Yes, Bhagavan’s supreme weapon ‘to whom, to me; who am I’ ‘is the simplest, profoundest and instant solutions to all problems’.

Extract: Isavasyopanishad says ‘Enjoy by renouncing’.

Reflection: Yes, when we try to accumulate or hoard, we suffer because we cannot hold on to our accumulations forever. Either these accumulations will leave us or be stolen or whatever, or if these do not happen, we are sure to leave them behind when we die. So wealth can only give us misery. Therefore, as Isavasyopanishad says, we can enjoy only by renouncing. We will have nothing to worry about when we are free of all possessions. We cannot, however, give up our possessions as long as the possessor is there – that is as long as ego is there to possess things.

Extract: Sadhu Om wrote ‘Gandhiji was a votary of truth; Bhagavan is the truth’.

Reflection: Bhagavan and Gandhiji had mutual admiration for each other. However, Bhagavan was truth itself, and I believe Gandhiji was also trying to merge in truth by his extraordinary experiments with truth. Coincidently, Bhagavan and Mahatma Gandhi were contemporaries. Truly two giants!

Sanjay Lohia said...

Saying ‘I want realisation’ and then letting our mind wander everywhere is fooling ourselves

Saying ‘I want realisation’ and then letting our mind wander everywhere is fooling ourselves. We are saying one thing and doing one thing. In Manusmrti or somewhere it is said that ‘For the mahatma mind, speech and action are one’ – that is, their speech and actions are as their mind is. They don’t say one think and do something else. The verse further says ‘for the ordinary souls, they think one thing, speak one thing and act contrary to their thoughts and speech’. So we tell ourselves we want self-realisation but spend the entire time thinking about everything else. If we really want self-realisation, it will be here and now, but we don’t want it.

Bhagavan says unleavingy self-attention is the way – so much he emphasises this, and this is all we need. But we do just the opposite: we remain unleavingly clinging to the thoughts and objects of the world. So how can we progress? Every time we pull our mind away from thoughts towards the thinker, ‘I’, we are weakening our vasanas. So it is a snow-balling process. The process gains momentum as we practise more and more. Eventually, this momentum will take us to our goal.

However, there is no short-cut. We have to put in all the hard work without any break. As Michael says, this is the greatest undertaking we can ever hope to undertake. So the goal will not be served to us on the platter.

# Paraphrased extract from Michael’s video dated 09-07-2011 (55:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
regarding your reflection on the edited extract from Michael’s video dated 05-10-2019,
"So I become free from the suffering which was caused as a result of my attachment to X."
Perhaps on the one hand you will become free from that suffering. But perhaps the person X. will begin to suffer from breaking off your previous possibly intimate relation/connection to X. - So your liberation from suffering will perhaps on the other hand create new suffering.
Can one call that an instant solution of a problem ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"... he saw only two types of people: with egos or without egos. ...He is only concerned about whether our ego is still alive or not. ...He has to work only on those of us who still have egos."
How can one have an ego ? Who is the possessor of ego ? Can one at all have ownership of ego ? Clearly our pure self-awareness would never claim to possess ego.:-)
So who has an ego ? An other question is whether one experiences an ego. On the other hand it is said that the one ego experiences itself as (if it were) different persons.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"So wealth can only give us misery."
Is it not more accurate to say that attachment to wealth leads to misery ? Whealth per se is not harmful and miserable. One can possess a kingdom as a ruler and not be trapped in that task. Was not the ancient King Ashoka of the Maurya Empire such an example for having been not bound by his royal ruler-duties ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
regarding my recent comment - it will appear today with time about at 14:18 - a still better example is King Janaka.
(According Wikipedia:
Janaka was an ancient king of Videha, approximately in the 8th or 7th century BCE.
Janaka is revered as being an ideal example of non-attachment to material possessions. He was intensely interested in spiritual discourse and considered himself free from worldly illusions. His interactions with sages and seekers such as Ashtavakra and Sulabha are recorded in ancient texts.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.. its all about attachment to anything external..

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, I absolutely agree with you when you write, ‘Is it not more accurate to say that attachment to wealth leads to misery? Wealth per se is not harmful and miserable. One can possess a kingdom as a ruler and not be trapped in that task’. Wealth can cause misery only if we are attached to it? If we do not desire or be attached to wealth, we have no connection with wealth. Therefore we are free from all sorts of worry which inevitably comes if we think ‘I possess this house; I have this much money in my bank account; I have this car’ and so on. We become slaves to wealth or slaves even to our petty possessions if we are attached to them.

You give the example of Janaka: ‘Janaka is revered as being an ideal example of non-attachment to material possessions’. He was a supposed to be a jnani-king, and therefore he was supposedly totally unattached to wealth. We are naturally inspired by such an example. If a king can remain desireless and unattached to his kingly wealth, why can't we follow their example? After all, our duties, responsibilities and possessions are minuscule in comparison to a king.

However, as long as we take ourself to a body, we cannot totally give up our desires and attachments. We can try to reduce them. In order to give up all our desires and attachments, we have to give up the idea ‘I am this body’, and we can do so only by experiencing ourself as we really are.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should try to rein in our tongue

We should try to rein in our tongue because if we cannot even do this, how can we rein in our mind? I find it difficult to curb my desire for tasty food, wrong types of food and excessive food. I think this is true in most cases. So we should try to rein in our desire for unwanted food. We may not take this as a vow but can try this as an exercise in self-discipline.

Moreover, Bhagavan has advised us to consume sattvik food in moderate quantity because it is the best aid for atma-vichara. If we consume sattvik food is limited quantity, this will also keep us in good health and keep our mind quiet

Sanjay Lohia said...

To the extent possible, it is not appropriate to intrude in other’s affairs

Bhagavan teaches us in the last part of 19th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

It is not appropriate to let [one’s] mind [dwell] excessively on worldly matters. To the extent possible, it is not appropriate to intrude in other’s affairs. All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If one knew this truth, who indeed would remain without giving?

Other people are not actually others, even though they may appear to be so. They are ourself because what exists is only atma-svarupa. So when we give to others, we are in effect giving only to ourself. To the extent we give up this distinction between ourself and others – by practising self-investigation – to that extent it will be natural to give to others.

When we try to solve the problems of others, we may be creating more problems than solving them. We can’t even solve our own problems, how can we solve the problems of others? Bhagavan says whatever we give to others, we give only to ourself. However, we shouldn’t give to others what they don't want to receive. If we give unwanted advice, we are going against what Bhagavan says, ‘To the extent possible, it is not appropriate to intrude in other’s affairs’. We may be a vegan, for example, but we shouldn’t try to become a vegan activist or something.

Arguably, the greatest gift we can give to others is to share with them our love and understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings. But here again, we shouldn't go into the world to propagate his teachings. We should share our understating with only those who are interested to hear about them.

~•~ Paraphrased extract from Michael’s video dated 08-06-2019 (22:00)

Reflection: Golden words by Bhagavan: we shouldn’t intrude into the affairs of others. In one case, I have already implemented his advice!

Michael James said...

In a comment on my latest video, 2019-10-05 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 33, a friend wrote:

“May I ask a question unrelated exactly to this video? It is from “The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharishi” (Forward by Carl Jung, Shambala Pub.). On p.6, Bhagavan is answering a guestion about sleep. In his answer, he says mind and breath become quiescent or active simultaneously. However, in sleep mind becomes quiescent but breath continues. Then, quoting Bhagavan, “This because of the will of God, so that the body may be preserved, and other people may not be under the impression that it is dead”. My question: If the world (and the people I see in the waking state) come into being only on my awakening, why does the condition of my body have any relevance to such people who only appear with my awakening?”

In reply to this I wrote:

“Good question, Ross. The answer is that this reply must have been given by Bhagavan as a concession to someone who was unwilling to accept that the body and world do not exist except when we as ego are aware of them, as I explain in more detail in the note I wrote to my translation of the eighth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?.”

In reply to this another friend wrote:

“I’ve always understood that it is because our body is part of the dream as much as other people’s bodies and till its prarabdha is not accomplished, body can’t die and that that’s why Bhagavan assigns the preservation of the body to god’s will, the ruler of the world appearing along with this world and body. Since we arise as ego, there is a good reason for the body’s preservation under this circumstance of dreaming, the accomplishment of its prarabdha, otherwise it would have to take another form and so on, which doesn’t make any sense. During the accomplishment of prarabdha ego has the opportunity of subsiding but even in this case, body still is subject to god’s will, isn’t it? I mean, disappearance of the body and world is for the jnani, not for the rest. Do you imagine jnanis bodies volatilizing in front of us?”

And in reply to this I wrote:

“Yes, the body we mistake to be ourself is as much a part of the dream as any other body, but does either a dream body or a dream world exist independent of our perception of them? They seem to exist only when we perceive them, so if our current state is just a dream, as Bhagavan says it is, our current body and world do not exist when we do not perceive them.

“Does not your body and this world disappear for you when you fall asleep? Therefore disappearance of the body and world is not only for the jñāni but also for us whenever we fall asleep.”

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s unequivocal assurance to us:

Bhagavan sings in verse 3 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam:

By that immaculate mind that is completely ahamukham [inward facing, selfward-facing or self-attentive] investigating where this ‘I’ itself rises and [thereby] clearly knowing the form [or real nature] of ‘I’, one will certainly cease in you, Arunachala, like a river in the ocean. Investigate [or know].

Bhagavan has encapsulated his entire teaching in this verse. He gives us a great assurance here: that is, if we investigate ‘I’, ‘one will certainly cease in you, Arunachala, like a river in the ocean'. ‘Certainly’ is the keyword here.

Bhagavan gives us the same assurance in verse 44 of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai:

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

Bhagavan says here ‘it will be known’. He doesn’t say ‘it may be known’. So again ‘will’ is the keyword here.

Again Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 11 of Nan Ar?:

If one clings fast to uninterrupted svarūpa-smaraṇa [self-remembrance] until one obtains svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], that alone is sufficient.

He says, ‘that alone is sufficient’. The keyword here is ‘sufficient’.

So Bhagavan has assured us in so many places that if we perverse practising self-investigation, we cannot fail. When our success is guaranteed, what more do we need?

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we shed even a few tears for God, our work is over

Bhagavan is shining in us as ‘I’. In his view, there are no others – there is only ‘I am’. Bhagavan has an infinite love for himself and he is also infinite happiness, and therefore he loves to be himself. He never does anything but just remains as he is. Because he doesn’t see us as other than himself, he loves us to be happy as he is happy. His infinite love for us is what is called grace.

This grace is what appeared outwardly in the form of Bhagavan. Bhagavan wants us to be as he is, so he manifested as a person in order to tell us - I exist in you as you. I am you. Happiness does not exist in anything outside of you. The happiness you are seeking is nothing other than your true nature. To know and be that happiness you have to turn within. You have to see what you actually are. So Bhagavan and his teachings are a manifestation of the love that we as actually are have for us as we actually are.

Bhagavan is the infinite ocean of love, and we are like an iceberg. If we want to merge in ocean, we have to melt. Bhagavan manifested outwardly because of his infinite love for us. He has sown a seed of love in our heart, and he is a great gardener. So when he plants a seed, he will take good care of it, till it sprouts and sprouts and till it grows and grows, until it becomes a huge tree. So this seed will eventually swallow us.

Bhagavan’s path is a path of pure love. If you love someone, what is the greatest thing you can give to the person whom you love? Yourself! Because Bhagavan is infinite love, he is willing to give himself to us. But in order to return his love that he waiting to give us, we have to return his love. We have to be willing to give ourself to him. In other words, we have to be willing to surrender ourself to him completely.

All of Bhagavan’s teachings are one complete whole. His infinite embrace of grace holds everything together. All he asks us to do is one thing: give this petty ego to him.

Extract from Michael’s video dated 30/06/2019 (1:21 to 1:35) [paraphrased by me]

Reflection: Sri Ramakrishna used to say that we cry for everything in this world but do not cry for God. If we cried for God, finding him will be easy. That is why I titled this article: If we shed even a few tears for God, our work is over. Since Bhagavan is pure love, we have to respond to his love by love. His nature is to melt easily. So if he sees us crying or longing for him in any form, he is more than willing to give himself to us, to take us in his eternal embrace.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s unequivocal assurance to us – part two:

Bhagavan says in Nan Ar?:

God and guru are in truth not different. Just as what has been caught in the jaws of a tiger will not return, so those who have been caught in the look [or glance] of guru’s grace will never be forsaken but will surely be saved by him; nevertheless, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown.

He gives us great assurance here. Should we doubt that we ‘have been caught in the look [or glance] of guru’s grace’? Once we are attracted to Bhagavan’s teachings and are trying to practise self-investigation even a little, we are in the jaws of Bhagavan Ramana.

We are caught in his jaws but have not fully surrendered, so now we need to give up our hold on other things and surrender to Bhagavan. This is the only way to stop struggling. Bhagavan will do the rest by eating us here sand now. In fact, Bhagavan’s favourite food is ego. He is willing to eat limitless egos. In this regard, he doesn’t follow even his own advice, which is - it is best to consume only of mita sattvika ahara (vegetarian food in limited quantity)!

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you mean "...if we persever in practising self-investigation, we cannot fail."
(not "perverse").

anadi-ananta said...

“Does not your body and this world disappear for you when you fall asleep? Therefore disappearance of the body and world is not only for the jñāni but also for us whenever we fall asleep.”
However, there is left the flabbergasted onlooker/observer of a sleeping body.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

'I am doing this action' is itself a thought

If I remember correctly, Michael wrote in one of his old articles that 'I am doing this action’ is itself a thought, but it is so deep-rooted in our heart that we cannot eradicate it so long as we survive as ego. ‘I am this person’ or ‘I am doing this action’ is itself a thought but it is the root of all thoughts.

Some believe that one can act or one should act without the sense of doership, but this is not possible as long as the doer – our ego – survives. If our ego is dissolved forever, we can have no sense of doership even though our mind, speech and body may act (in the view of others). Bhagavan teaches us in verse 38 of Ulladu Narpadu:

If we are the doer of action, we will experience the resulting fruit. When one knows oneself by investigating who is the doer of action, doership will depart and all the three actions will slip off. The state of liberation, which is eternal.

So Bhagavan clearly says that our doership will go only when the doer of actions, our ego, goes.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "When one knows oneself by investigating who is the doer of action, doership will depart and all the three actions will slip off. The state of liberation, which is eternal."
I would say (perhaps more exactly) "...the sense of doership will depart and the three karmas will cease to have an effect. This state is the state of liberation, ...".

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "He is willing to eat limitless egos."
But how can ego be limitless ? Is it not said that only atma-svarupa is limitless ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s teaching in a nutshell is ‘be happy’

Bhagavan sings in verse 8 of Sri Arunachala Ashtakam:

Water showered by clouds, which rise from the ocean, will not stop [even] if obstructed until it reaches its ocean-abode. [Likewise] the embodied soul, which rises from you, will not stop even though it wanders along many paths that it encounters until it reaches you. Though it wanders in the vast sky, for a bird there is no place of rest [there]; except the earth, there is no place [for it to rest]; what it must do is to go the way it came. [Likewise] Aruna-mountain, when the soul goes back the way it came, it will merge in you, the ocean of happiness.

Bhagavan ends this verse by saying ‘when the soul goes back the way it came, it will merge in you, the ocean of happiness’. Bhagavan emphasises happiness throughout his teachings. When he wrote the essay form of Nan Ar, he added one opening paragraph to it which was not part of the original questions and answers. In this paragraph, he talks about happiness. In every verse of Anma Viddai, in its final sentence or clause, he talks about happiness.

If we want to know what Bhagavan’s teachings are, it is ‘be happy’. But how can we be happy? Happiness is our real nature. So in order to experience the infinite and eternal happiness that we really are, we have to go back the way we came. That is, instead of turning away from ourself, we have to turn back within. So by looking outwards we have risen; by looking inwards we will subside. So we have to go back the way we came.

Where are we going? We are going back to our real nature. And what are we? We are infinite happiness. That is our real nature, and that is also the real nature of Bhagavan and Arunachala. So only when we know ourself, we will experience infinite happiness which is our real nature.

• Edited extract from the video: 2019-09-14 Hampstead Heath: Michael James discusses verse 8 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam (15:00)

Reflection: We will somehow reach our final abode of rest, sooner or later. As ego, we are ever unhappy, and such unhappiness is compelling us to search for true and permanent happiness. We will somehow reach this state, but our journey could be extremely extremely long and tedious. However, Bhagavan has given us a quick and direct way out - that is, we should go back the way came. So if we want to end our misery as soon as possible, self-investigation is the direct path to freedom. Self-investigation will take us directly to the abode of bliss!

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

Probably Sanjay means by “"He is willing to eat limitless egos." that he is willing to eat a limitless number of egos but there is only one ego which is the creator, so to speak, of everything else including others hence, when it subsides, everything and everybody else subsides with it. I think this answers also your question about “the flabbergasted onlooker/observer of a sleeping body”. I don´t think Michael will admit any other explanation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Why has this body come into existence?

Why has this body come into existence? Has it come into existence just to enable us to experience the fruits of our past actions? No, because it would not be a good enough reason for us to spend an entire lifetime. The body has come into existence only to enable us to rectify our will: to weed out the out-going elements of our will and to cultivate the in-going elements of our will. Of course, our final aim is to weed out ego itself, but since it is protected by a strong army of the out-going elements of its will, we need to weaken these elements to a considerable extent before we can directly get at the ego.

Our destiny is not an end in itself. It comes into existence in order to provide us with the best possible worldly conditions. These conditions help us to weaken the outward-going elements of our will and to strengthen its inward-going elements. Our destiny is carefully designed by Bhagavan for our spiritual development, and what spiritual development entails is the purification of our will.

We need to surrender not only our will but also ego, whose will it is, and we can surrender ego only by investigating it. Therefore, as Bhagavan often used to say, we need to harness our entire will to doing just one task, namely investigating ourself and thereby surrendering our ego. This is the sole purpose for which this body has come into existence.

~•~ Based on section 12 of Michael’s article: Like everything else, karma is created solely by ego’s misuse of its will (cittam), so what needs to be rectified is its will



anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
perhaps Sanjay means a limitless number of individualities/persons.
As you say when ego subsides, everything and everybody else subsides with it.
But as long as I keep up me (as my senses) waking I keep going this ego dreaming and flabbergasting. (What I wrote about “the flabbergasted onlooker/observer of a sleeping body” was not a question but a statement drawn from experience/observation.)
Unfortunately and stupidly in my case ego is willing to subside only in sleep.:-)
But luckily I cannnot give up the fight for draining ego. At least sometimes I try to take away my person as a deployment area for parading ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Why has this body come into existence?

In my comment which I wrote earlier today, I wrote the following:

Our destiny is not an end in itself. It comes into existence in order to provide us with the best possible worldly conditions. These conditions help us to weaken the outward-going elements of our will and to strengthen its inward-going elements. Our destiny is carefully designed by Bhagavan for our spiritual development, and what spiritual development entails is the purification of our will.

I wrote, ‘Our destiny is not an end in itself. It comes into existence in order to provide us with the best possible worldly conditions’. This may be mistaken to mean that Bhagavan will always give a comfortable life and that he will always take care of all our needs and so on. This may not be necessarily true. Yes, Bhagavan is definitely taking of us, but sometimes he may take care of us by giving us not so comfortable worldly circumstances. We may have to live on the streets or may have to go without food (for somedays). We may take a loan and we may not be able to repay it. According to Bhagavan’s definition, these are ‘the best possible worldly condition’. Bhagavan may give us such conditions or situations if he feels we can make use of such conditions or situations to grow spiritually. We may be a householder or be a sannyasi or whatever. These are the most favourable outer conditions for us to grow spiritually.

How do we grow spiritually? We can grow spiritually only if are able to rectify or purify our will in any given situation. That is if we use such conditions or situations to develop vairagya (dispassion), we are growing spiritually? Only if use our outer circumstances to go beyond likes and dislikes are we advancing. However, how we respond to any given situation depends on us.

I wrote, ‘These [outer] conditions help us to weaken the outward-going elements of our will and to strengthen its inward-going elements’. These conditions will help us only if we make use of our outer conditions to rectify our will. So in every given situation, we have a choice: either we remain relatively unaffected or become affected. If we remain unaffected we are purifying our will, but if we are adversely affected we are making our will murkier.

So our task is to surrender our will to the will of Bhagavan, and the most effective way to do so is by following the twin paths of self-surrender and self-investigation.


anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"We are infinite happiness. That is our real nature, and that is also the real nature of Bhagavan and Arunachala. So only when we know ourself, we will experience infinite happiness which is our real nature."
It sounds well. But it seems that we can testify that statement only by own experience.
Untill then (that attestation) it is only a wishful dream/notion.

anadi-ananta said...

"Our destiny is carefully designed by Bhagavan for our spiritual development, and what spiritual development entails is the purification of our will."
Following a thought on those who for instance were fallen victim to Hitler's Holocaust it is hard to believe/digest.

Anonymous said...

Yes.. I have also wondered about that. My theory is this: Hitler has lost the opportunity to purify himself, which means it might take him endless rebirths and he may not even reach God. On the other hand , people who underwent suffering might reach God sooner. I remember reading an article written by one such victim realizing God during intense suffering. I also remember reading a story which goes along the lines of a pure minded person losing wealth and other precious things in life in the name of suffering, whereas God making evil person more and more wealthy. God’s ways are often contradictory to how our limited mind works and hence I think it is said that we have to have faith in God.

Salazar said...

My take is that Hitler will reach God, actually he already is, was and will ever be 'God' - only that what has the thought "I am so and so, [or Hitler]" confuses so called "actions" and "holocausts" with reality. And from where is that [the thought "I am Hitler"] exactly coming from? Can the source or entity (or the villain or hero) be found? It cannot and therefore talks like that just perpetuate Maya.

We all have been a "Hitler" at some point in our previous lives. I am convinced that all jivas have at some point murdered, raped, mutilated, betrayed, and so on - that's why it is a huge blessing that one cannot remember one's past lives. If we could we'd be never able to let go of these thought forms.

There will be a time when we stop playing around with these stories of villains and heroes and what not and just ignore entirely the phenomenal world with its stories and just be.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our will is the ultimate force behind every thought

If we look closely within, we will realise how our will is constantly driving us to act by our mind, speech and body. We are unceasingly under the sway of our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, fears, hopes and so on. So long as we have likes and dislikes, we will also have numerous wants, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on. So such elements of our will impel us to act in various ways. If we like something we want more of it, and if we dislike something we want to avoid such things. So some elements of our will, say our likes or dislikes, bring other elements of our will into play.

We need to clearly understand the role our will plays in every aspect of our life. The pravrtti (out-going) elements of our will are the cause of our bondage, and the nivrtti (in-going) elements of our will will be the cause of our liberation.

In order to harness our will, we need to be aware how our will is the ultimate driving force behind every thought that rises in our mind, which means every phenomenon that appears in our awareness. Some phenomena may appear in our awareness as a result of our destiny, but our destiny is a result of the past actions done by our will. So ultimately the root cause of whatever we experience is the actions done by our will.

We are aware of things other than ourself because we attend to them, and we attend to them because we want to attend to them. That is why Bhagavan taught us that whatever phenomena we experience is just a projection of our vasana. Which vasana we project every moment is decided to some extent by our prarabdha, but we project them only by attending to them. So if we withdraw our attention back towards ourself away from everything else, nothing will be projected by prarabdha. Bhagavan used to say prarabdha affects only the outward turned mind but cannot prevent us from turning back within to face ourself.

So attention is the key by which we allow thoughts to arise and by which we can instead destroy them. Even when we are willing to attend to things, we are still free to decide what we attend to. What we attend to or think about is determined primarily by our will, and even thoughts that arise due to prarabdha can rise only if we are willing to give room to their rising.

To the extent we avoid attending to other things, to that extent we will not only avoid doing agamya by the mind, speech and body but will avoid being affected by prarabdha.

~•~ Based on section 29 of Michael’s article: Like everything else, karma is created solely by ego’s misuse of its will (cittam), so what needs to be rectified is its will

Unknown said...

As you seem to negate the teachings of Nisargadata as confused and meaningless. I would like to point out that Nisargadata taught according to his experience just as Ramashi did, so for us who are yet to reach the deeper experiences ( which I assume you have not reached based on your web discussion in 10/2019); is it not a bit unfair to dismiss all teachings in favor of one?
Thanks

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael’s videos: we are inundated by this flood of grace

I am not sure how many of us are regularly watching Michael’s videos? At least, I regularly am. These videos have become my loving companion. Michael has posted two videos in this youtube channel, Sri Ramana Teachings in the last twenty hours itself, for instance. I cannot thank Michael enough for this. This is pure love, pure grace.

We complain about so many things, worry about so many things. However, I believe we fail to notice such acts of grace. If we observe these such acts of love, everything else pales into insignificance. The organisations who are arranging for such discussions are doing a wonderful job. These videos are priceless for many reasons: one, they keep our mind focused on Bhagavan and his teachings; two, they motivate us to practice his path; and three, mere listening to these videos is a tapas, mere listening purifies our mind – keeps us away from many trivial worldly pursuits.

Bhagavan Ramana, my wholehearted prostrations to you. Just keep showering such grace on us.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
even a follower of "Nothing ever happened" must concede that much suffer (for example by Hitler's Holocaust) was actually felt albeit by an ultimately non-existent ego. Even when we say that ego is wrong awareness, can one seriously assert that ego is nothing ?
Of course our view should be directed always forwards and we should - as you seem to have a presentiment - "just ignore entirely the phenomenal world with its stories and just be."
But concluding that point I too am convinced that even Hitler's Holocaust had its preceding actions/events because in this world nothing can happen without (a) cause.

anadi-ananta said...

Unknow,
who is meant with "Ramashi" ?

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, I am not denying suffering, for ourselves and in the world. I just do not want to dwell in it, moan about it, or analyze it. I ask myself, "who is suffering?".

Regarding the holocaust one could surmise that all of the victims who died in the death camps and elsewhere have committed atrocities or murder (take your pick) in their past lives. There are really no "innocent victims", Ishwara is only fulfilling karma. Now one cannot tell that any Jew since it is very likely misunderstood as an excuse for the events during WW II. Murder and crime is of course wrong even when the victim was a perpetrator in a past live. Since we are not privy to all events in all past lives we see only one piece of puzzle among Millions.

IMO though that is all a story, it entertains the spiritually inclined, but I see it more as a diversion from Self :-)



anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
as you emphasize Michael's work is highly estimable for us. However, it is up to us to keep us capable of understanding Bhagavan's teaching fully. Nothing of all the aspects should remain beyond our comprehension. So let us draw clarity and fresh heart/hope from the clear waters of this well of wisdom.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
no objection to your comment. As you say diversion (of our attention) from self must not happen at all costs. Kind regards.:-)

Unknown said...

Sorry
Meant Ramana Maharshi

Salazar said...

Unknown, I believe that your comment was not directed at me but I'd like to answer anyway. I have no problem with any spiritual teaching, if people resonate with a certain teaching then they should pursue it. If they feel inspired by someone who seems to be an impostor of some sorts, then they need that at that point of their lives. Only Ishwara knows what is best and what motivates anybody.

Bhagavan's teachings resonate the most with me especially the utmost simplicity of it. I cannot imagine doing any other practice than self-inquiry/surrender. That does not mean anybody should do it, I believe that the [any] teaching [through Self] is finding its student and not the other way around.

The phenomenal world and ultimately all concepts are meaningless. Now that is of course a 'work-in-progress' and doesn't and cannot denote actual experience. Nonetheless sages suggest to consider this world and its concepts for not real. It is imperative to do so and that includes to share that with others so inclined even though it is still a goal and not a reality.

Anonymous said...

Randomness can also be in the story. A story need not always have a logical flow or cause/effect. Logic is again for the limited mind only. So the victims of Hitler’s era may have been ‘good’ in past lives. Hence Bhagavan says nothing exists apart from self.

Salazar said...

"Randomness" is for the limited mind only too :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Happiness doesn’t exist in anything other than ourself; happiness is our real nature

Thoughts are not a problem. Why do the thoughts seem to exist? They exist because we are aware of them, and we are aware of them because we attend to them. And why do we attend to thoughts (according to Bhagavan anything other than ourself is a thought)? We attend to them because of our desires and attachments. But why do we have desires and attachments? We have them because of aviveka (lack of discrimination).

Suppose I want to go to the sun for the sunshine. I think that by walking in the sunshine, I will get happiness. Because I am now getting restless, my mind is in some sort of agitation. I go out to walk in the sunshine, and for a brief while I am satisfied. When that desire is satisfied, my agitation subsides. The happiness which is already within comes to the surface, and I think ‘how nice this sunshine is’. I think I am getting pleasure because of the sunshine. However, the happiness I seem to be getting from these other things, I am getting from myself alone. Bhagavan says, happiness is not there in walking; happiness is not there in the sunshine. Happiness is our real nature – we alone are happiness.

All our desires and attachments arise because of our desire for happiness. Bhagavan says that love for happiness is our real nature. So the desire is not wrong. The wrong lies in seeking where it doesn’t lie. So the thoughts are not a problem. The sunshine I see outside is not a problem. The problem is my interest in these things. Why am I interested in these things? Why does sunshine seem more desirable to me than myself? That’s where the problem lies.

In order to overcome all our desires and attachments, we need viveka (the ability to distinguish – in this case, distinguish where true happiness lies). The nature of the mind is to believe that happiness comes from outside because the mind is clouded. This cloud can be removed only be clarity, and we can clarity only by turning within. So the more we turn within, the more the clarity which is ever shining in our heart will illumine our mind. As we follow this path more and more, the more our desires and attachments start to drop off.

Yes, I still like walking in the sunshine, but this is not as important as it was in the past. So the more we follow this path, all our desires and attachments will have less hold over us. They are not as strong as they once were. So as our desires and attachments grow weaker, we have less impulse to go outwards, so it is easier for us to turn within. And the more we turn within the more clarity we get, and the more clarity we get the more our desires and attachments drop off.

So let us not worry about thoughts. Bhagavan says what it matter however many thoughts appear. Whenever they appear we should turn within by investigating ‘to whom does this appear?’

•Extract from the video: 2019-09-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses real awareness and seeming awareness [paraphrased by me]

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Bhagavan says that love for happiness is our real nature."
Usually we are taught that happiness is our real nature. Is love for happiness or longing for happiness the same as happiness itself ?

AsunAparicio said...

Unknown,

I find Michael James is credible as scholar in what he considers the genuine Ramana´s teachings, as for the rest, questions and answers compiled in several books, he discards them as he seems to do with Nisargadatta´s teachings which are all of them answers to questions. Teachings coming directly from Ramana´s hands, so to speak, are black and white but between black and white there are many degrees of grey and these different degrees of gray are what compilations of answers and questions cover hence, they may lead to confusion or appear confusing unless you are in the same page than the questioners yet, here is where a true jnani shows to be a true jnani and a reliable guide. Talking and writing on black and white is not that difficult. We shouldn´t give much importance to scholars opinions, their source is not self but ego. Blinds leading the blinds. Still don´t understand why these people don´t make it clear in their public talks or interviews. But that´s what we have the capacity of discernment and analytical thinking for, haven´t we?

Salazar said...

On a more serious note: If "randomness" would be the driving force of the phenomenal world then God would be a sadist. It would not matter how someone behaves or thrives for, if he was "good" or "bad", God "randomly" picks a fate and puts the "good" or saintly guy in a concentration camp to be tortured and finally brutally killed.

Also, one incarnation would be in human form, then randomly the next one would be as a worm which lives in the excrement of animals and then maybe as a shark and so on.

Consequently, a mass murderer randomly and immediately, after that incarnation as a mass murderer, will be granted the company of a sage with subsequent realization.

So, looking at that, I very much prefer the cause and effect "logic" which can only be the correct concept how seemingly the jiva develops from a rock, plant, microbe, low animal, higher animal to human. And then from a savage human with initial animal instincts to a more refined human who follows the teachings of a sage.

That is the theory of karma as taught by sages. There is no randomness with karma. Karma is picked by Ishwara and there is absolutely no randomness with how Ishwara is picking karma for every of our incarnations. It is very deliberate and done with great purpose.

Michael James said...

In a comment on my latest video, 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4, a friend wrote, “Do I have the exact experience of sat chit ananda (my true nature) in deep sleep?- when there’s no world or body. Will it be the exact same experience like deep sleep after eradication of ego or does Bhagavan say there is any difference between the eradicated ego state and deep sleep?”, in reply to which I wrote:

All differences appear only in the view of ego, so in the absence of ego how can there be any differences? The only difference between sleep (manōlaya) and eradication of ego (manōnāśa) is that ego will never rise again from the latter, whereas it does rise from the former (as Bhagavan says in verse 13 of Upadēśa Undiyār), but this in not a difference in those states but only a difference from the perspective of ourself as ego in waking or dream.

As Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist’, so since ego does not exist in sleep, nothing exists there other than our real nature, which is sat-cit-ānanda.

Anonymous said...

Well, if according to God, suffering is also part of the illusion, people who suffered in the camp might have been saints in the past. karma theory is also illusion. if i think deeply about myself, I see how my actions are driven by some seed that is deeply rooted in my subconscious mind. How I react is also driven by that. But nothing in me has been responsible for what happens externally to me. I have projected a world. But how world operates is regulated by God, and not operated by him. And so, a saint could suffer to greatest degree in order to gain liberation. There is that possibility too. One suffering in life doesn’t have to be preceded by some evil action he had done in the past. This type of karma theory is indirectly blaming someone. God would never do that- blaming , punishing etc. He knows only love. If we go by the theory of karma using only logic, Bhagavan would not have instructed us to put all the burden on him.

I strongly believe in randomness. It is also part of the nature.

Anonymous said...

And randomness is not the driving force, but just an element of nature just like logic is.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-Ananta, I quoted Michael as saying, ‘Bhagavan says that love for happiness is our real nature’. You had a query: ‘Usually we are taught that happiness is our real nature. Is love for happiness or longing for happiness the same as happiness itself?’ Love for happiness and happiness are the same. We cannot distinguish love from happiness. So happiness is love and love is happiness. We love ourself because we are pure happiness, and we are perfectly happy because we are in complete union with the thing we love. However, this is from the perspective of our true nature.

You also ask whether happiness and longing for happiness are the same. Who has this longing for happiness? Only our ego has this longing because our true nature is perfect happiness, and therefore why should it long for something which it already possesses? So we as ego long for happiness because we seem to be away from perfect happiness. We as ego have not found perfect happiness because we are looking for happiness where it does not exist. Where does real happiness lie? Bhagavan explains this paragraph 14 of Nan Ar?:

What is called sukha [happiness, satisfaction, joy, ease, comfort or pleasantness] is only the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of ātmā [oneself]; sukha and ātma-svarūpa [one’s own real nature] are not different. Ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself] alone exists; that alone is real. What is called sukha [happiness or satisfaction] is not found [obtained or available] in even one of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our avivēka [lack of judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish one thing from another]. When the mind comes out [from ātma-svarūpa], it experiences duḥkha [dissatisfaction, discomfort, uneasiness, unpleasantness, unhappiness, distress, suffering, sorrow, sadness, pain or affliction]. In truth, whenever our thoughts [wishes or hopes] are fulfilled, it [the mind] turns back to its proper place [the heart, our real nature, which is the source from which it rose] and experiences only ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself].

Bhagavan says, ‘We think that happiness is obtained from them [objects of the world] because of our avivēka [lack of judgement]'. As Michael explained, we have aviveka because our mind is clouded. It still believes it can obtain happiness from the objects of the world. So this cloud of aviveka has to be reduced considerably before we can hope to acquire viveka. This cloud can be reduced only by clarity, and this clarity can be obtained only by turning within. The more we turn within, the more the clarity which is ever shining is our heart will illumine our mind, and consequently the mind’s desires and attachments will start to reduce. And the more these desires and attachments reduces, the more we start to acquire viveka. We begin to understand that true happiness exists only is and us ourself. There is no happiness outside.

This becomes cyclical: The more we turn within, the more our desires and attachments reduce, the more these desires and attachments reduce, the more our love to turn within further increases. The more our love to turn within increases, the more our desires and attachments reduce even further. So this becomes like a snow-balling process. Eventually, the momentum of this process will carry us effortlessly to our gaol, which is atma-jnana.

Sanjay Lohia said...

A closer look at the concept of ‘viveka’

In my last few comments, I have been trying to understand the concept of viveka. I will go deeper on this subject:

What is called viveka in the clarity of mind and heart by which we are able to distinguish what is real from what is unreal. What is real is only ourself, and therefore viveka is not merely a mental faculty but is something deeper than this mental faculty. Viveka is our own innate clarity, and this clarity helps us to see things in the correct perspective. We, as ego, feel that happiness lies in acquiring objects, in our relationships, in our possessions and so on, but as our inner clarity increases, we will see things in correct perspective. We will recognise that happiness does not lie in objects, relationships, possessions and so on because happiness is only within ourself.

Therefore, as Bhagavan teaches us in verse 16 of Upadesa Undiyar, if we want to experience true happiness, we need to leave aside all phenomena and know our own form of light (true knowledge or knowledge of reality).

At present, our natural clarity is clouded or obscured by the pravrtti elements of our will (our vishaya-vasanas), which impel us to face outwards, away from the clarity which is always shining in our heart. So if we persistently try turning within, we will slowly but surely start to remove the clouds which have blurred our inner clarity. The more these clouds depart the more our inner clarity shines forth, and the more our inner clarity shines forth the more our viveka blossoms. So we do not have to acquire viveka but have to just remove its covering of aviveka, namely all our vishaya-vasanas. Michael wrote that neither the pravrtti elements of our will nor aviveka could thrive without each other, and likewise, neither the nivrtti elements of our will nor viveka could thrive without each other.

Our viveka is something deeper and subtler than merely our conceptual understanding. Such conceptual understanding in indeed necessary, but we have to go much beyond our conceptual knowledge. Our conceptual knowledge can sometimes mislead us, especially if it does not come from the right source. However, if our viveka is based on our increasing inner clarity, we will not be that easily misled. We can hone our viveka by persistently practising self-surrender and self-investigation.

The more our viveka blossoms, the more clearly and deeply we will understand Bhagavan’s teachings. The more clearly we understand his teachings, deeper we will be able to go in our practice of self-surrender and self-investigation and thereby our viveka will further deepen. However, our ultimate aim is to destroy ego along with all its vishaya-vasanas. So whatever viveka we acquire is only a means. Our aim is only to annihilate ego - everything else is peripheral.

~•~ Based on section 30 of Michael’s article: Like everything else, karma is created solely by ego’s misuse of its will (cittam), so what needs to be rectified is its will

AsunAparicio said...

Michael,

In an interview when you were asked “When you talk to me now, is there feeling of pure awareness?” you responded that “it is always there in the background” (because of many years of practice) even though you don´t experience it in its purity. Then you added that “the distinction between pure awareness and the awareness that we call mind or ego, the awareness of things, that distinction becomes clearer and clearer.”

Firstly: I don´t quite understand how that can be possible, according to what you are always saying it would seem a matter of black or white: there is ego or there is pure awareness, but in here you seem to be saying that there can be the feeling of pure awareness as the background of the awareness of things or ego, both “awareness” coexisting simultaneously . I say according to what you are always saying because that was my experience for many years yet, I would like an explanation that reconciles what appears to me a contradiction, if you have time and feel like.

Secondly: From what you say, it would seem as if by practicing self-investigation this feeling of pure awareness was gaining ground to the awareness of things (the merchant, the camel and the tent) so that, at some point, there will only be pure awareness. This is my understanding of what you say, I might be wrong. Being this my understanding of what you say, it doesn´t correspond with my experience of self-investigation at present. At present, my experience is that as attending only to pure awareness, have no idea how or why, suddenly, nor the practicer of self-awareness nor awareness as we understand it are there, but something else which can´t be spoken nor described. I would say that it is self-existence for lack of a better term but, anyway, it has nothing to do with anything at all and, in no way, this ascertainment of what always is, is something progressive but just like that, all in a sudden, nor due to any effort or practice but, again for lack of a better term, simple and plain grace. Yet, here I´m. No idea what to do now because, how do I know the ascertainment of what is, is due to self-investigation and that it wouldn´t happen as doing any other thing? Here I have some problems to determine a real cause unlike with pure awareness as the background which is, obviously, due to self-investigation.

This is the video of the interview:

https://youtu.be/aVfk1gKO0AQ


anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thank you for your reply.
However, my one question ("love for happiness or longing for happiness") was meant alternatively. The emphasis was meant on "or" (not "and"). So actually I meant not to put two questions. From that one question you made two answers.:-)
Is not love for happiness equally ego-born as longing for happiness ?

{Last sentence of the penultimate paragraph:
you mean "true happiness exists only in us ourself", instead of "is and us ourself".

Last sentence of the last paragraph:
our goal is atma-jnana.(not gaol)}

Salazar said...

Anonymous, karma theory is not blaming anyone. Because karma is just a reflection of the deeds of the "doer". I.e. if the "doer" never does a "bad" thing, nothing "bad" could happen to him.

And I do not want even to go into the concept of eka-jiva, who else could be blamed there?

And yes, cause and effect, randomness, karma, as all concepts are Maya. Some concepts are just more helpful (temporary) than others.

I am asking myself, did we get any closer to a "purer consciousness" or clearer making statements like that. I for sure didn't :-)

Vagyok said...

Dear Sanjay,

I like/love your transcripts and/or paraphrased writings from Michael's videos.
Do you have full texts of some or all of Michael's videos? And would you be so kind to share them:)?
I don't wanna be rude or disrespectful but it's so valuable and it's worth to ask.

with love, Jozsef

Anonymous said...

Ok:) agreed. Bhagavan always said mind is garbage and not to analyze it. I guess same applies to the world too. So better leave the world alone and focus on the real.

Salazar said...

Asun, ask yourself "who is this Grace or who is that what cannot be spoken or described?" :-)

The background of "pure" awareness is noticed by anyone, practitioners and non-practitioners alike, since it is so obvious [and not an object] it is usually not acknowledged and overlooked.

With a true experience of Self no questions or doubts are left. There is no need "to clarify" if one's experience is valid or not. If there is doubt then the mind is very much alive and usually using its imaginative power.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Vagyok (Jozsef), I am glad you like my transcripts. However, what I basically do is just a ‘brilliant’ copy-paste job. I try to reproduce whatever Michael says or writes, so 95% of what I write is just a reproduction of Michael’s ideas.‘My’ contribution in these comments, therefore, is no more than about 5%. In spite of this 5% of adulteration, I believe these transcripts or paraphrased extracts are pure gold because these are Michael’s ideas.

Sorry, I do not have full transcripts of any of Michael’s videos. A year or two back, one friend from the USA also wanted to know if I had full transcripts of these videos. If someone has love for Bhagavan’s teachings and has time to transcribe the entire videos, they may take up this job. I am sure these will be more than welcomed by Bhagavan’s devotees.

Michael James said...

Jozsef and Sanjay, so far there is a completed transcript for only one of my videos, 2019-04-03 Forum Humanum, Helsinki: Michael James discusses self-investigation as the way to love, done by a friend in US. To view the transcript, click on the three dots below the bottom right-hand corner of the video and select ‘Open transcript’, which will open it in a panel to the right of the video, from where you can copy and paste it.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
"So better leave the world alone and focus on the real."
However, ultimately even the world is nothing but real (awareness).:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you Michael for giving that hint regarding the transcript of the mentioned Helsinki video.
( I am really amazed how it could be done despite the low quality of the sound recording).:-)

AsunAparicio said...

Salazar,

Self is not experienced, it alone is so, there can´t be an experience of the self but an ascertainment, in Spanish there is the word “constatación” which I find more accurate, and the very word says it: there is no doubt about it at all. What I´m questioning is its cause. The biblical meaning of the word “grace” is “benevolence, favor or benefit received without merit.” This is my feeling about it, can´t be attributed to any practice. Actually, it is where practice and practicer are not. Suddenly, it just is there. On the other hand, one can be his or her whole life practicing self-inquiry without having this “meeting”, so to speak.

Regarding to what you say about pure awareness being noticed as the background by anyone, I agree. But without attentive self-awareness noticing is only momentary, moreover, if self-awareness is neglected this link gets lost and you, or mind, completely falls under the tyranny of ego, as anadi-ananta puts it, which isn´t but restlessness and suffering.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
"With a true experience of Self no questions or doubts are left."
Is anyone excluded from true experience of Self ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you. I have copied and pasted the transcript of the video as suggested by you. Only someone with a deep and genuine love for Bhagavan could have made this transcription. I know it is only an easy job because I have been transcribing your videos in parts, so hats off to the friend who has taken this effort. I hope this message is seen by this US-based friend of ours!

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
"Suddenly, it just is there."
Is it not there permanently but overlooked by mind's activity ?
Without grace we even could not raise a finger.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Typo: In my previous comment addressed to Michael I wrote, 'I know it is only an easy job because I have been transcribing your videos in parts, […]'. Actually, it should have been 'I know it is not an easy job because I have been transcribing your videos in parts, […]'.

Unknown said...

AsunAparicio
Thank you for your input
Indeed, at times I sense the blind leading the blind comment which leaves one like a leaf being blown by the wind. I certainly agree that Michael has thoroughly studied Ramana’s teaching but in several occasion in his question answer sessions, he has failed to be able to satisfy the question and revert to play with words and repeating same statements from Raman’s books.
Nonetheless, desire to persist in self inquiry using any teaching that resonates within keeps me coming back to these talks and readings. At times, only Rumi’s poem grabs like no other where he says
Silence is true language of God and all else is a poor translation.
Thanks again

AsunAparicio said...


Anadi-ananta,

So, what is left but surrender, plain and simple?
“Blessed were those who had no other rule but obedience to Bhagavan. It was clear that he was trying to teach us the simple lesson that in his presence no rule was valid except the rule of absolute surrender.” Ramana Smrti.

Maybe it is that grace has to work harder with dulls like me :)

AsunAparicio said...

Or dull people. I think "dulls" means something else.

AsunAparicio said...

Unknown,

That´s it :)

Thank you.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
why bathing so self-critically in pessimism ? :-)
Grace is always there as all-embracing love and you are actually bathing in it.
(By the way, according English dictionary "dull" indeed is not a noun.)

anadi-ananta said...

Unknown,
according Bhagavan "Silence" is our real nature.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you are asking "Is anyone excluded from true experience of Self ?"

Well, you tell me. That is the crux of the whole ajnani/Jnani dichotomy :-)

Unknown said...

Anadi-Ananta, All jivas, sooner or later, will melt in Bhagavan's fire.

Vagyok said...

Dear Michael,

Thank you, I have copied too the video transcript you mentioned. I realized that this function you mentioned (click on the three dots below the bottom right-hand corner of the video and select ‘Open transcript’, which will open it in a panel to the right of the video, from where you can copy and paste it.) works on EVERY VIDEO, it's a YouTube built in feature I guess, they create an auto-generated transcript of every video. I tried with this video (2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4) and it worked, I hope it will work with all your videos too.

Thank you Sanjay for your kind answer, I thought while reading your answer that I'll ask anyway even for the partial transcript you have but meanwhile Bhagavan provided the solution.

Thanks Bhagavan for everything.

Michael James said...

Yes, Jozsef (Vagyok), YouTube now autogenerates subtitles and a transcript for every video (to see the subtitles you have to click on the first of the five icons that appear at the bottom right-hand corner of the video when you place your cursor over it), but there will always be many inaccuracies in the autogenerated version, so to correct it you need to listen carefully to what is being said. I was doing this yesterday for about four minutes of a video for an article I am writing in reply to one of the comment above (17 October 2019 at 14:33).

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-09-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses real awareness and seeming awareness, a friend wrote, ‘Apologies Michael! Bhagwans teachings are not like a map but like a compass... Pointing the real North... Always... Am I right?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Yes, pointing always inwards, back towards ourself alone.

They are both like a map and like a compass. They are like a compass in that they always point us in one direction, and they are like a map in that they become clearer and more meaningful as we follow the path on which they guide us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should try to spend some time with Bhagavan’s real devotees, if possible

Bhagavan doesn’t see any of us as ignorant; he sees us as himself. But most important of all, he loves us as himself. However unworthy we may be of his love, he doesn’t see any of us as unworthy because he sees us as himself, so he loves us as himself. But Bhagavan loves us more than we can possibly imagine. We don’t love ourselves properly; we love ourself as if we were this little person. Bhagavan’s love for us is infinite, and this infinite love has brought us all here. His infinite love has drawn us to his path. His infinite love is prompting us at every moment to turn within.

However dense our ignorance may be, however strong our desires and attachments may be - they are all finite. So they can never win this battle. Bhagavan’s grace alone is going to win the battle because his grace is infinite. His love has no limits. Bhagavan says we are like the prey in the jaws of a tiger. He will certainly swallow us. All we have to do is to yield ourself because he will not devour us until we are willing to be devoured.

Therefore the only sadhana we need to do is to give ourself to him – to let go of everything else and give ourself wholly to him.

# Based on the video: 2019-09-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses real awareness and seeming awareness (1:09)

Reflection: If we watch this portion of the video, we will realize the extent of love Michael has for Bhagavan. He was totally overwhelmed - almost in tears - while speaking about Bhagavan and his infinite grace. So we should try to spend some time with Bhagavan’s real devotees, if possible. Otherwise, we may not understand the real greatness of Bhagavan.


Sanjay Lohia said...

We love and adore Bhagavan’s form because this form is going to save us

Bhagavan used to say he was not the body, so people should not worship him but worship the real Bhagavan, which shines in each one of us as ‘I am’. However, as long as we are attending to the names and forms outside, we do love and adore Bhagavan’s form because this is the one form that will save us. So though like all other forms, Bhagavan’s form is also unreal, but this form gives us the love to turn within to find out what we really are.

Bhagavan appeared in our midst just to give us his teachings. Bhagavan’s form is not real, but his form has appeared in our dream to wake us up, and when we wake up our waking up will be real. Who is real Bhagavan? You are that. So when we find ourself we will also find the real Bhagavan. Because our attention is facing outwards and because we have no love to turn within, our own self had to appear outside as Bhagavan to give us his teachings. Bhagavan has sown in us the seed of love to turn within, so we remain ever indebted to him!

My sashtang dandavat pranam to Bhagavan Ramana.

• Extract from the video: 2019-09-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses real awareness and seeming awareness (1:15) [paraphrased by me]

Note: Devotees perform sashtang dandvat pranam by lying fully prostrate on the floor with their arms stretched out towards the Idols. Eight specific parts of the body should touch the floor:

1. thighs
2. feet
3. hands
4. chest
5. mind
6. head
7. speech
8. eyes

Why we must do it? All of our karmas are performed through mind, body, or speech and every karma in life should be offered to God.

~ The above 'note' is extracted from the internet.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is the greatest doctor

As Michael often says, Bhagavan is the greatest doctor. When we go to a good doctor, he is not bothered so much about the symptoms but looks for their root cause. Likewise, when we go Bhagavan with our problems, he ignores them but instead asks us to investigate their root cause. If the root cause is tackled, all its manifestations will automatically vanish.

After studying Bhagavan’s teachings, we understand that at present we have many delusions. We feel happiness lies in the objects, but Bhagavan says there is not even an iota of happiness in any of the objects. We feel the world exists independent of our experience of it, but Bhagavan says the world exists only when we experience it. We feel we can change our outward circumstances by our will, but Bhagavan says we cannot change anything however hard we may try to do so. So we are under many such deep-rooted delusions. However, such delusions are merely the symptoms of a deeper disease within. What is this disease?

This disease is aviveka (our lack of discrimination between what is true and what is not true). However, if we investigate this disease even further, we realise that even this disease, aviveka, is itself a symptom. The cause of aviveka is our desires and attachments - our entire package of will - which prompts us to attend to things other than ourself. However, if we investigate even further, we realise even our will is also just a symptom, an effect of something deeper within. This way, eventually we come to the root of all our desires and attachments, and this root is our ego.

So if we want to get rid of all the problems we need to uproot the root, which is our ego, and we can uproot ego only by looking at it very very closely. If we do so, we will realise that this root doesn't even exist - in fact, this root never existed in the first place itself. So all our problems end forever.

Nothing special said...

Dull people like me. It dulls the mind.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We cannot get rid of thoughts by thinking about them

Michael: Don’t worry about thoughts. So long as we concerned about thoughts, we are feeding them. We cannot get rid of thoughts by thinking about them. Forget about thoughts – ignore them. Cling to what is real; we don’t have to give up what is unreal. Thoughts are not real. Hold on to what is real; what is unreal will automatically drop off.

A friend: Sounds very simple!

Michael: It is simple. Bhagavan says it is the easiest of all paths. It seems difficult because we are not yet willing to let go. So we ourselves create difficulties for ourselves.

Edited extract from the video: 2019-09-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses real awareness and seeming awareness (1:48)

Reflection: Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 9 of Nan Ar?:

Both by mūrti-dhyāna and by mantra-japa the mind gains ēkāgratā [one-pointedness]. Just as if one gives a chain in the trunk of an elephant, which is always moving [swinging about trying to catch hold of something or other], that elephant will proceed grasping it without grasping anything else, in exactly that way the mind, which is always moving [wandering about thinking of something or other], will, if one makes it habituated [to holding] on any one name or form, remain grasping it alone [without thinking unnecessary thoughts about anything else].

We are like this rogue elephant. Bhagavan has given us the task of holding on to his teachings - that is, he has given this ego a chain (Bhagavan’s teachings) in its trunk so that it proceeds grasping it without trying to grasp other things. The more we try to grasp Bhagavan’s teachings, the more our attachments and desires for other things start to fade into the background. So let us cling to his teachings as firmly as possible!


Unknown said...

Indeed, though the element of time operating in what is always is very difficult for me to comprehend

anadi-ananta said...

Unknown,
what you are optimisically prognosticating ("All jivas, sooner or later, will melt in Bhagavan's fire.") is at present only our hope.

anadi-ananta said...

Unknown,
sorry, a typo: it should have been "optimistically"

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
many thanks for your perfect transcription of Michael's statement appealing on us with deep emotion (beginning at time 1:09:24) - "the most important of all..."

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thanks again for transcription. That is actually the best recommendation:
"Hold on to what is real; what is unreal will automatically drop off."

Sanjay Lohia said...

When we attend to anything other than ourself that is thinking, and from thoughts originate speech and actions of the body

Bhagavan sings in verse 4 of Anma-Viddai:

To untie the bonds beginning with karma, and to rise [or be resurrected] from the devastation beginning with birth, more than whatever [other] path, this path [of ātma-vicāra] is exceedingly easy. When one just is, resting [calmly as pure self-awareness] without even the least karma [action] of mind, speech or body, ah, in [one’s] heart the light of oneself [will shine forth clearly as ‘I am I’]. [This is] the eternal experience. Fear will not exist. The ocean of [infinite] bliss alone [will remain]. ([Therefore] ah, extremely easy, ātma-vidyā, ah, extremely easy!)

When Bhagavan says ‘to untie the bonds beginning with karma’, what ties to karma is our identification with a body, speech and mind, which are the instruments of actions. All actions are done by body, speech and mind, but when we rise as ego and experience ourself as a person, we assume doership of the actions done by our body, speech and mind. So the doership – ‘I am doing this action' – is the very nature of ego. Because ego identifies itself with a body and mind, it feels ‘I am thinking’, ‘I am speaking’, ‘I am sitting here’ and so on. Therefore, to give up the actions we need to give up the doership, and to give up the doership we have to give up the ego. So in order to untie the bonds beginning with karma, we need to free ourself from ego because ego is the root bondage that ties us to karma.

Likewise, Bhagavan says in the second clause, ‘and to rise [or be resurrected] from the devastation beginning with birth’. What is born is a body, but as soon as we rise as ego we experience ourself as this body, so it seems to us we have been born. And what results from birth, Bhagavan says, is devastation. That is, we are thereby separated from our real nature, which is infinite happiness, and consequently, we undergo a mixture of pains and pleasures, joys and sorrows. We experience birth and death.

So the implication of these two clauses is to free ourself from ego, self-investigation is the easiest path. Why is this so, he explains in the next sentence ‘When one just is, resting [calmly as pure self-awareness] without even the least karma [action] of mind, speech or body, ah, in [one’s] heart the light of oneself [will shine forth clearly as ‘I am I’]’. So when one just is, fixed calmly and peacefully in oneself, one experiences true happiness. How to just be? We always are, but in addition to being, we are also doing.

So we have to refrain from doing. Since actions begin with the rising of ego, we need to refrain from rising as ego. Ego is a formless phantom, but it comes into existence by grasping form – form means anything other than itself. In order to be aware of things, our attention has to move away from ourself towards other things. These other things are brought into existence by the mere turning of our attention away from ourself. So when our attention moves away from ourself that is the beginning of the action. When we attend to anything other than ourself that is thinking, and from thoughts originate speech and actions of the body.

# Edited extract from the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (3:00 to 14:00)

Anonymous said...

Wish I knew how and where to find the ‘real’, to hold on to it..

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our pure awareness is never totally concealed, but it shines in its purity only when ego is destroyed

All actions begin from turning our attention away from ourself towards things other than ourself. So in order to just be, we need to refrain from allowing our attention to move away from ourself. To do that, instead of clinging to forms we have to cling to ourself. In other words, we have to be self-attentive. If we refrain from going outwards towards other things, we refrain from engaging in any action.

Of course, so long as the body is active, its heart will beat, it will breathe and so on. But when Bhagavan says actions, he means without identifying ourself with the three instruments of actions. Bhagavan, in our view, appeared to be a person, and he seemed to be doing various actions. But Bhagavan said something to the effect: for those who are bereft of ego and its vasanas, even though they seem to be acting, they are not doing anything. Another example he gives is of someone who is lying on his bed, but in their dream they see themselves climbing mountains. So outwardly they seem to be without actions, but actually they are acting.

So ego is the root of all actions. If we are bereft of ego, we are bereft of all actions. If our ego is intact, we can avoid actions. So when Bhagavan talks about just being without the least action by body, speech and mind, he means without rising as ego and identifying itself as these instruments of actions. So even if the body, speech and mind are active, we are not the doer of those actions if we refrain from rising as ego.

So the way to just be is to turn our attention within – to practise being attentively self-aware. If we attend to ourself so keenly enough so that we cease to be aware of anything else, we are in a state of just being. What will then remain, Bhagavan says, is only atma-jyoti (the light of pure self-awareness), which alone will shine forth. That is when ego is dissolved, what remains is only the light of pure self-awareness.

In the next sentence, Bhagavan says, ‘it is the eternal experience’. That is when ego is dissolved what remains is only pure awareness, and pure awareness is always as it is. So the appearance or disappearance of ego makes no difference to it because ego appears only in ego’s own view. So the shining forth of oneself is an eternal experience. It’s not something which happens anew. It’s something which is ever-present. So long as we rise as ego, we seem to be unaware of what is ever-present.

However, in fact, we are never for a moment not aware of our presence but as ego we are aware of it as something other than what it actually is. That awareness of our existence is always present, but instead of just being aware ourself as ‘I am’, we are aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’, ‘I am this person’. So that pure awareness is never totally concealed, but it shines in its purity only when ego is destroyed. And when ego is destroyed it is recognised that it is ever shining in its purity. It is never touched in the least by the appearance of any ego. That’s why Bhagavan says it is an eternal experience.

# Edited extract from the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (13:00 to 22:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Unknown,
why being bothered by "element of time operating in what is always" ?
Is it not worther following Bhagavan's instruction "Hold on to what is real; what is unreal will automatically drop off." ?

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
the scriptures say that pure self-awareness is the only 'real'and is to be found in the heart by eliminating the individual 'I' (the spurious ego) through self-investigation.

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my videos, 2018-08-12 Holland Park: Michael James discusses verses 26 to 30 of Upadēśa Undiyār, a friend wrote, ‘Michael.... In spite of having a Guru like Bhagwan... Despite having you to explain his teachings... Why am I not practising self attention incessantly.... Why is this self deception so deep?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Vinay, self-deception is the very nature of ego, because as ego our desires and attachments tend to be so strong that we are not willing to let go of everything else and thereby surrender ourself completely. Therefore we will practise self-attentiveness incessantly only when our desires and attachments have been weakened to a considerable extent, so until then we just have to practise patiently and persistently as much as we can.

This is why in verse 27 of Bhagavad Gītā Sāram (which is his translation of Bhagavad Gītā 6.25) Bhagavan says that our approach should be ‘மெல்ல மெல்ல’ (mella mella), which means slowly slowly, softly softly, gently gently, calmly calmly, quietly quietly, gradually gradually, steadily steadily, little by little, step by step:

தீரஞ்சேர் புத்தியினாற் சித்தத்தை மெல்லமெல்ல
நேரச் செயவேண்டு நிச்சலன — மாரதனே
சித்தத்தை யான்மாவிற் சேர்த்திடுக மற்றெதுவு
மித்தனையு மெண்ணிடா தே.

dhīrañcēr buddhiyiṉāṯ cittattai mellamella
nērac ceyavēṇḍu niścalaṉa — mārathaṉē
cittattai yāṉmāviṟ cērttiḍuka maṯṟeduvu
mittaṉaiyu meṇṇiḍā dē
.

பதச்சேதம்: தீரம் சேர் புத்தியினால் சித்தத்தை மெல்ல மெல்ல நேர செய வேண்டும் நிச்சலன. மா ரதனே, சித்தத்தை ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்திடுக; மற்று எதுவும் இத்தனையும் எண்ணிடாதே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): dhīram sēr buddhiyiṉāl cittattai mella mella nēra seya vēṇḍum niścalaṉa. mā rathaṉē, cittattai āṉmāvil sērttiḍuka; maṯṟu eduvum ittaṉaiyum eṇṇiḍādē.

அன்வயம்: தீரம் சேர் புத்தியினால் சித்தத்தை மெல்ல மெல்ல நிச்சலன நேர செய வேண்டும். மா ரதனே, சித்தத்தை ஆன்மாவில் சேர்த்திடுக; மற்று எதுவும் இத்தனையும் எண்ணிடாதே.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): dhīram sēr buddhiyiṉāl cittattai mella mella niścalaṉa nēra seya vēṇḍum. mā rathaṉē, cittattai āṉmāvil sērttiḍuka; maṯṟu eduvum ittaṉaiyum eṇṇiḍādē.

English translation: It is necessary by a courage-imbued intellect to gently gently [calmly and gradually] make the mind achieve motionlessness. Great charioteer, fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.

----------

In a comment on another video, 2018-08-11 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 9, the same friend wrote, ‘Assuming I give 3 hours daily.. To self investigation... How should I split it. Up...? 30 min listening, 30 min reading? 30 min manana and 90 min nidhidhyasana?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Vinay, we each have to find what works best for us, but I do not think that in most cases a fixed routine will be found to be particularly helpful. We should try to turn within as much as possible, and obviously we do so best when we feel most inclined to do so, so we should try to make best use of such inclinations, which tend to occur most when we are reading or thinking about his teachings.

anadi-ananta said...

How to fix the mind [our attention] in [or on] ātman [ourself] ?
To be fixed in atman the collaboration/assistance of the mind is generally not exactly eager. Can our will alone sufficiently arouse the mind's enthusiasm ?

anadi-ananta said...

"We should try to turn within as much as possible, and obviously we do so best when we feel most inclined to do so, so we should try to make best use of such inclinations, which tend to occur most when we are reading or thinking about his teachings."
With that I can only agree. Nevertheless, just the dull routine of everyday life offers much opportunity to turn within. :-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, in your last comment, you quoted the following verse 27 of Bhagavad Gītā Sāram (which is Bhagavan’s translation of Bhagavad Gītā 6.25):

It is necessary by a courage-imbued intellect to gently gently [calmly and gradually] make the mind achieve motionlessness. Great charioteer, fix the mind [your attention] in [or on] ātman [yourself]; do not think even the slightest of anything else at all.

My question is why does Sri Krishna address Arjuna as the ‘great charioteer’? I believe, ‘charioteer’ means a chariot driver, but Arjuna wasn’t driving the chariot. It was driven by Sri Krishna. Arjuna was a mere occupant of this chariot. Thank you.

anadi-ananta said...

Sri Krishna as a chariot driver ? Hm...

Michael James said...

Sanjay, regarding the question you ask in your comment of 21 October 2019 at 07:58, the word I translated as ‘charioteer’ is ‘ரதன்’ (rathaṉ), which is a personal form of ‘ரதம்’ (ratham), a Tamil form of the Sanskrit word ‘रथ​’ (ratha), which means chariot, so the obvious meaning of ‘ரதன்’ (rathaṉ) is charioteer, but it could be taken to mean any person associated with a chariot, such as a warrior skilled in fighting from a chariot. As a king Arjuna was no doubt skilled in all the crafts of warfare, which would include being a charioteer, because in battle the need may sometimes arise for a prince or king to drive his own chariot, so it would not be inappropriate for Krishna to address Arjuna as a great charioteer.

However, Bhagavan included this term in that verse for poetic purposes, so its exact interpretation does not make any difference to the teaching conveyed in the verse.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Atma-vichara is the easiest of all paths; it seems difficult because we are unwilling to let go of things other than ourself

When we experience our pure awareness, which is eternal in nature, all fear will vanish forever. We (as ego) experience fear because of our likes, dislikes, desires and attachments. When we desire something, we fear to lose it. We desire life so we fear death. So fear is the flip side of desire. Since desire is the very nature of ego, in order to be free of desire and fear, we need to be free of ego.

All forms of spiritual practices involve some form of action of the mind, speech and body. Such practices involve attending to something other than ourself, and attending to anything other than ourself is an action. To do something requires effort, but to do nothing requires no effort. So atma-vichara is the easiest of all paths. It seems difficult because we are unwilling to let go of things other than ourself.

Because we have so many desires and attachments, letting go of everything else seems extremely difficult. But actually, it is the easiest of all paths. All that is required is the willingness to let go of everything else. So long as we cling to other things, our mind, speech and body are active. So if we want to remain without the least action of mind, speech and body, we must be willing to let go of everything else.

# Extract from the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (22:00) [paraphrased by me]

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for this clarification. Indeed, the teaching contained in this verse is of great value. Thank you once again.

AsunAparicio said...


I´ve been watching recently The Mahabharata movie, Peter Brook´s complete version (five hours). It is in youtube:

https://youtu.be/F3kd0mxzezk

Spanish subtitles, sorry.

anadi-ananta said...

"All that is required is the willingness to let go of everything else...we must be willing to let go of everything else."
How to get that willingness ? That may be long in coming and we perhaps will have a long wait. Therefore it should arise as grace gradually from pure awareness which is said to be dwelling in the depth of our inner heart-cave.

Unknown said...

Hopes and wishes are of the mind based on my take of all the teachings I have studied. Mind cannot comprehend what is Real and I think Raman’s teaching also alludes to this fact. So , at a loss as not wanting this or that is at the heart of this journey , the most solid concept I have learned from all of this is to dwell in that with lack of any “thing” or “wants” in
Deep sleep, but very hard to experience that in waking or at least for me it is very hard


AsunAparicio said...

Unknown,

Space and time arise with ego, they don´t operate in “what is always”, it is ego what operates in space and time, it needs them as it needs a body to be. We, as what we really are, need nothing to be. Ego is only a superimposition on what is, self-existence, it doesn´t touch it.

anadi-ananta said...

As long desires and attachments (seem to) have sway over us we have a hard time of it.:-) In order to gain the required willingness to let go of everything else me must shake vigorously the "tree of knowledge".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Birth and death are just figments of our imagination, a fairy tale

Actually, what we take to be physical phenomena are just mental phenomena. Bhagavan says the world is nothing but the five kinds of perceptions: sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations. We are just aware of these five kinds of sensations, and we build a picture of a world around these sensations. According to Bhagavan, there is no world apart of these five kinds of sensations.

Perception is a mental phenomenon and not physical. We interpret some mental phenomena as being physical. I see a chair out there but it is just an image in my mind. I assume that there is something called chair out there, but this chair is just my mental perception. I interpret it as being physical due to my aviveka. In a dream, we may see a chair and take it to be something physical, but when we wake up we realise that that chair was just our imagination – a mere perception of some sights in my mind. So how can we be sure that any world exists independent of our perception of it?

The death of this body is just an ending of this dream. We can attend to other people’s funeral, but we can’t attend our own funeral. Our births and deaths are both beliefs. When we are dreaming, we believe that we were born sometime in the past, and we will die sometime in the future. We believe that while dreaming, but as soon as we wake up we realise that birth and death were just ideas in our own mind.

So the ideas of birth and death are just figments of our imagination, a fairy tale.

• Extract from the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (1:05) [paraphrased by me]

Salazar said...

Anonymous, you said 'Wish I knew how and where to find the ‘real’, to hold on to it."

That's the problem, the mind does not and cannot know or find the 'real'. Because that presumes an activity of the mind. And that activity seemingly clouds the 'real'.

As Bhagavan said, there is nothing to find, we ARE the real. The mind and its thoughts are the spoiler. As is your mind's attempt to "wish and find". It has to stop wishing and trying to find, that's it.

So as Bhagavan said, it is not about finding and realizing the 'real' or Self or whatever name you want to give it, but to "un-realize" everything what covers it what is your thoughts and desires.

It is simply being, the problem is that that is far too easy for the mind and it cannot comprehend that because a mind cannot just "be". The first step is ignoring upcoming thoughts as best as possible and not falling into the habit of attending to the many trains of thoughts which are coming up throughout the day.

The bad news is, it usually takes several lifetimes of atma-vichara to progress to phases where thoughts are completely gone. And according to Bhagavan, only then 'real' atma-vichara is happening, not even talking about self-realization what is even further down the road of that.

anadi-ananta said...

"In a dream, we may see a chair and take it to be something physical, but when we wake up we realise that that chair was just our imagination – a mere perception of some sights in my mind."
In a chair-factory possibly hundreds of physical chairs are produced or manufactured every day. I still have some trouble to accept that all the factory workers are only dreaming and all the factory buildings and construction machines used for the chair-production are only mental imaginations or mere belief.

"So how can we be sure that any world exists independent of our perception of it?"
Is it at all necessary to find out for certain whether any world exists independent of our perception ?
Are we not anyway busy enough to cope with that seeming appearance of a(ny)/this world ?

anadi-ananta said...

"According to Bhagavan, there is no world apart of these five kinds of sensations."
Obviously Bhagavan does not want to put himself in our position. Are not most of us caught in the deep rooted idea that our world perception provided by our five senses is the only reality ?
Although our perception is clearly limited/restricted, why does Bhagavan not refrain from teaching us from the highest stage/level of his absolute viewpoint of limitless awareness?
Why does he not cease to equate us with him ? Evidently he seems to be convinced that his teaching will finally be understood correctly and would open our eyes to that what is real.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
what did you get as the gist of Mahabharata ?

anadi-ananta said...

"So the ideas of birth and death are just figments of our imagination, a fairy tale."
I wish I could be able to blow away all my wrong ideas accumulated through imagined figments by simply breathing out.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
regarding your yesterday's comment to Anonymous,
the mind's wishing to find the real is not to be considered generally as an obstacle. Such a wish gives us some drive/impulse/fresh impetus which most of us always need to hold on our yearning for real eternal happiness.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are never for a moment fully satisfied; if we were, our mind wouldn’t go out at all

A friend: Bhagavan doesn’t promise much. I think he is asking us to chase something unknown!

Michael: He is offering us infinite and eternal happiness. What more do we need?

The friend: Yes, but what ego promises us is something tangible!

Michael: Yes, it promises us this whole world, but is there any enduring satisfaction in this world? Have you ever for a moment been fully satisfied? If we were fully satisfied, our mind wouldn’t go out at all. Why our mind is constantly going out seeking something more, more, more, more… This is where viveka is necessary. Viveka means the ability to distinguish. Bhagavan is offering us an alternative to dissatisfaction, which is infinite satisfaction. It may not be very much, but I think it’s enough.

The friend: These are merely arguments. How can I be sure that there is something for me at the end of the tunnel?

Michael: Bhagavan used to say that our reluctance to surrender ego is a bit like a person who has a quarter paisa as his only possession, and he is offered all the wealth in the world but to receive it he has to give up his quarter paisa. But he is unwilling to do so because that's his only possession. Our case is something like this. Bhagavan is willing to give us infinite happiness in exchange for our ego. However, we are holding on to our ego with all our might. In reality, ego is more worthless than even a quarter paisa.

We have to argue with ourselves because we know from our own experience that this world is fundamentally unsatisfactory. If we haven’t understood that then let’s go out and enjoy. But sooner or later we will come to recognise there is something fundamentally wrong about embodied existence. Bhagavan makes this clear in the 14th paragraph of Nan Ar?:

What is called sukha [happiness or satisfaction] is not found [obtained or available] in even one of the objects of the world. We think that happiness is obtained from them because of our avivēka [lack of judgement, discrimination or ability to distinguish one thing from another]. When the mind comes out [from ātma-svarūpa], it experiences duḥkha [dissatisfaction, discomfort, uneasiness, unpleasantness, unhappiness, distress, suffering, sorrow, sadness, pain or affliction]. In truth, whenever our thoughts [wishes or hopes] are fulfilled, it [the mind] turns back to its proper place [the heart, our real nature, which is the source from which it rose] and experiences only ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself].

• Extract from the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (1:36) [paraphrased by me]

anadi-ananta said...

"...whenever our thoughts [wishes or hopes] are fulfilled, it [the mind] turns back to its proper place [the heart, our real nature, which is the source from which it rose] and experiences only ātma-sukha [happiness that is oneself]."

But soon after the mind's return to its source it is acting again in its lively fashion as usually by constantly going out seeking something more, more, more, more…and leaves us thus in dense duḥkha [dissatisfaction, discomfort, uneasiness, unpleasantness, unhappiness, distress, suffering, sorrow, sadness, pain or affliction].

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more our mind is purified and clarified, the more clearly we will recognise the value of what Bhagavan is offering us

A friend: So you suggest that we should have faith in Bhagavan’s teachings, don’t you?

Michael: The more we turn within, the greater and greater our inner light will shine forth. The more our mind is purified and clarified, the more clearly we will recognise the value of what Bhagavan is offering us. The faith that is required is the clarity of awareness, clarity of discrimination.

The friend: The path seems something like walking into the dark!

Michael: If we were really convinced, we will surrender here and now. We are unwilling because of lack of clarity. Bhagavan says happiness is what we really are and that there is no happiness in this world, but we are not convinced. We need this conviction in order to let go of everything and give ourself entirely to Bhagavan. In order to get that conviction, we need to follow the path Bhagavan has shown us. The more we surrender and investigate ourself, the more our conviction will grow.

Faith is a rather inadequate word because faith tends to be associated with religious faith, blind faith. But this isn’t a blind belief. This is a trust born of inner clarity, and clarity comes only the mind turns towards the source of all clarity, namely our bright and clear light of pure awareness. So we are talking about clear-sighted faith, not blind faith.

• Extract from the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (1:41) [paraphrased by me]

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

I find it is essentially a story of decadence. It tells how this decadence happens and gives the keys or teachings to go through it so that, at the end, there is the understanding that all of it is just maya or illusion which only happens to the one who abides all along by the rules of righteousness or dharma. Personally, I liked specially two moments: when Dhritarashtra , the embodiment of dharma, I guess, responds his father´s questions on the shore of a lake (2:23:17) and when the boy who was rejected by Drona trains on his own and becomes better than Arjuna, but he does it in front of a clay figure representing Drona, whom he considers his master so, because of the complaitns of Arjuna, he is asked by Drona to pay him for his lessons since the boy considers he is his master (payment is the thumb of his right hand) . Vhyasa , the storyteller, says that from then on, each day will bring them closer to destruction and barrenness. Does it sound familiar? But it has many others good points and it is a good theatre play, if you like theatre.

Anonymous said...

Yes.. it is going to take many lives to begin atma vichara. I also feel its all about removing the garbage, beliefs about ourselves etc. I have been doing pranayama and taking acupuncture treatment.. its interesting to see how these two have been removing all the toxicity in my mind. While the energy that I am made of is being streamlined, I am beginning to realize how stupidly I have been looking externally all these days to obtain all the happiness. Now this is just the beginning. To remove all my pre core beliefs, desires etc, it is going to take many lives. Only after that I will be ready to enquire who this small I is.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Guru is working by doing nothing

A friend: You mentioned that the guru is inside. How exactly does this inner guru work?

Michael: Guru is not actually doing anything. It just is - it exists in us as ‘I am’. There is no guru apart from ourself, but because we are so caught up in activity, it appears to us that guru is acting. Guru is like the sun. Guru’s presence enables all actions to take place, but it itself doesn’t act in any way. In fact, every time we make even a little effort to attend to ourself that is actually the guru’s work. The nature of the mind is to go outwards, so any effort it makes to turn within is because of the power of attraction of the guru within.

So if we want to know how the guru works, we need to look inside and watch it work. It’s working by doing nothing.

• Extract from the video: 2011-07-09 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion on Sri Ramana's teachings with Michael James (1:08) [paraphrased by me]

Anonymous said...

Yes. It is not an obstacle as long as we also take effort to remove all the garbage within us along with that wish.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, there is nothing wrong with having a wish to find the real, it depends on the context and particular situation. In anonymous' case I find it as an obstacle as she described it.

It is all not that clear cut. I.e. one can have an experience of Self where the mind is only subdued to a much greater extent (as in certain samadhis) and then the mind reasserts itself. Now nobody is "experiencing" Self, what but a thought could be the experiencer what is ludicrous, however it is quite alright to talk later of "experiencing self". Even Bhagavan talked about "experiencing self". There is no need to go into some funny "non-dual language" as some do who just freshly and conceptually have understood what self means and then like to demonstrate their "knowledge" with certain phrases signalling their deep understanding :-)

Salazar said...

I just read Anonymous' last comment which is quite different than the one I responded too. Sounds good for me.

I'd not be that pessimistic re. atma-vichara, I'd say that one can do or start that at any time if one feels like trying it. It is very simple and difficult at the same time. It is the mind though (vasanas etc.) which makes it seemingly difficult.

In the beginning the mind cannot see the "benefits" of the trade-off between [attending to] self and [attending to] objects. And that cannot be forced but slowly and patiently induced.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
I even would already be happy if I would "just freshly and conceptually have understood what self really means".:-)
Because I have nothing to demonstrate and nothing to signal I am free from suspicion.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
thanks for your summary of Vyasa's Mahabharata.

Anonymous said...

When I attend to self I get stuck at I am the body sensation. I am unable to go beyond that.

Nothing special said...

It seems that until one has fully surrendered, happiness is only minute in comparison to the goal.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Our parabdha is designed to draw out our desires and attachments to the surface

We (most of us) have a lot of hard work to do because our desires and attachments are still quite strong. We should, therefore, try to follow this path of self-surrender with a single-minded focus. However, we should be realistic and be ready to recognise that we have a long, hard fight ahead of us, and therefore must be willing to fight that fight. Bhagavad Gita verse 6.25 (verse 27 of Bhagavad Gita Saram) teaches us:

By [an] intellect [a power of discrimination or discernment] imbued with firmness [steadfastness, resolution, persistence or courage] one should gently and gradually withdraw [one’s mind] from [all] activity. Having made [one’s] mind stand firm in atman, one should not think even a little of anything else.

How should we fight this battle? As this verse teaches us, we should do so ‘By [an] intellect [a power of discrimination or discernment] imbued with firmness'. In order to be firm, we need to be steadfast, resolute, persistent and courageous. The scriptures say that only a dhira (a brave one) can succeed on this path. We need to be ready to sacrifice everything, give up everything, in order to succeed, and this is not going to be easy.

However, our parabdha is designed to draw out our desires and attachments to the surface because only when they rise to surface, do we have a chance to weaken them. When they rise to the surface, either we follow that desire – dwell on the object of that desire – or turn our attention back towards ourself. If we turn our attention back towards ourself, we are thereby weakening that desire (along with all our other desires).

However one thing is sure, the love to follow this path will eventually overcome all our desires.

• Based on the extract from the video: 2019-10-20 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to maintain confidence in the teachings (40:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we could attend to ourself 24/7, we wouldn’t get tired, we wouldn’t need sleep

Bhagavan never slept – at least, this is a general belief. Even when he seemed to be ‘sleeping’, he would at once open his eyes if there was even a little sound nearby.

People feel that self-investigation is difficult and that it requires a lot of effort. Actually, it requires no effort. What requires effort is to go outwards. If we could attend to ourself 24/7, we wouldn’t get tired, we wouldn’t need sleep. We need sleep because we make so much effort to go outwards, and when we sleep we get our strength back again. In sleep, our mind merges in self, and since self is the source of all power, our mind gets recharged. Sleep gives us the energy to spend another 16 hours thinking, and thinking is a lot of hard work.

What do we do with our recharged mind? We misuse this power to think all these unnecessary thoughts which we think every day. We think these thoughts because we don’t love Bhagavan. Bhagavan is ready to do everything for us; he is even ready to think for us. Sadhu Om used to say that Bhagavan is the best servant we can imagine. If we surrender to him, he will take of everything.

If we really trust Bhagavan, we will leave everything to him and just abide in oneself.

• Based on the video: 2011-07-09 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion on Sri Ramana's teachings with Michael James (1:16)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...and thinking is a lot of hard work."
Is not our everyday experience quite the opposite ? Do we not all day think without the slightest difficulty ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"If we really trust Bhagavan, we will leave everything to him and just abide in oneself."
First we must be fully convinced that "Bhagavan is the best servant we can imagine". Without that conviction we cannot surrender to him and therefore he will not take over our burden. Such a conviction does not ripen/grow in one second, minute, day, week...

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you mean "Our prarabdha is designed to draw out our desires and attachments to the surface", (not parabdha).

AsunAparicio said...

It is not only that there is nothing wrong with wishing to find the real, it is that without this longing for it, there is nothing to do.

Thoughts aren´t an obstacle either, they are pointers to the question “to whom, to me, who am I?” which immediate response is silence of mind. No need to sit for hours with eyes closed. This is the practice of self-inquiry, can it be simpler?

I don´t know where people who illustrate us so eloquently with their biased comments get these ideas from. They are completely contrary to Ramana´s teachings and what Michael has explained once and again.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, it should have been ‘Our prarabdha is designed to draw out our desires and attachments to the surface’. Probably, my prarabdha is to make such careless typos!

Sanjay Lohia said...

All we need to do is to turn within, and we will automatically renounce everything

In the Gospel, Jesus said: ‘But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you’. I will take it to mean, we don’t have to worry about renunciation or being a good person or being a saint or something. All we need to do is to turn within, and all these things will automatically happen. If we find the kingdom of heaven, as a result, we will automatically renounce everything. So we will acquire all the good qualities.

• Edited extract from the video: 2019-10-20 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to maintain confidence in the teachings (01:59)

Reflection: The more we turn within, the more good qualities will be added to us, the more our subha vasanas will start to grow and consequently, the more our asubha vasanas will start to reduce. However, this is still work-in-progress because ultimately we have to go beyond all qualities, go beyond all vasanas – whether subha or asubha. These things will happen automatically.

Jesus says, ‘all these things shall be added unto you’, but ultimately everything will be taken away from us. Bhagavan makes this clear. When our ego goes, it will inevitably take along with it everything else!


Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you are funny, what you need in your life is just a bit of demonstration :-) When I said that I had not this blog in mind but two other ones I went to for awhile.

Anything can be misunderstood. Especially with people who have a lack of practical experience: Thoughts are obstacles when they get attention. And that is the case for all on this blog, we, sooner or later, give our attention to thoughts. Latest at that point thoughts have become an obstacle. That must be quite obvious.

The biggest obstacle is the thought "I am this body" - we are not even aware of it.

Now thoughts do not have to be an obstacle, but that needs much more than conceptual understanding, it needs many years of atma-vichara to actually come to this point [of true understanding]. For a beginner, all thoughts can be but obstacles, even thoughts of "looking for the real" because without any practical experience of atma-vichara these thoughts have become an attachment.

IMO, it is not necessarily helpful for a beginner to read "thoughts are not an obstacle", the chances that it will be misunderstood is huge.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, what you've described is quite normal, I believe anybody who attempts atma-vichara "feels" the body sensations in the beginning. That is because the attention is moving from self very quickly on these bodily sensations and that habit is even stronger when these sensation are unpleasant or very pleasant.

Almost anybody's attention will be drawn to pain or intense pleasure.

According to Bhagavan, that is due to the attachment to the body and it will need a patient "withdrawal". Classic atma-vichara, when you notice that your attention goes to the bodily sensations, ask who is having these bodily sensations and move back to self.

One is not stuck with that (that's just your mind's assessment), just keep in mind that you'll keep noticing your bodily sensation for a very, very long time while they lose their intensity. Just keep moving away your attention from the body and its sensations and do not be discouraged when it seems to never work. These attempts will work eventually.


Anonymous said...

I meant i am getting stuck at ‘I am the body’ idea not sensation:) . Regardless, due to pranayama and acupuncture I do feel bodily sensations too. I know I have to just wait for all those to wither away.

You have stated ‘ The biggest obstacle is the thought "I am this body" - we are not even aware of it.’

I am extremely aware of this. I know very well that this is the strongest wall that is keeping me away from realizing self. I am trying to find out how I can penetrate thru this wall or destroy this .. seems undoable to me.

Rajat Sancheti said...

Nothing special,
The happiness which is our goal is said to be infinite and absolute, while the happiness that we know in our worldly lives is only relative, it is said. Perhaps it can also be described as a false and unreal happiness that we experience in this world. So perhaps there can be no comparison between the happiness that is our goal and the happiness that we think we experience at times in the world, because we don't really know the former (until we fully surrender) and the latter is, according to Bhagavan, false.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, what I meant with "we are not even aware of it" is not any bodily sensation but the original "I am a body"-thought which creates/projects the phenomenal world upon awakening from sleep. You are surly not aware of how you create this phenomenal world :-)

Anonymous said...

I have mentioned my experience many times in the blog. Many years ago for few seconds or minutes, I experienced a world that made the reality a dream and a force/energy was constantly present and acting thru everyone and as everyone. This force was full of love and intelligence. After that experience I realized, how the concept I am the body is a foolish thought. But when I experienced/felt/saw that energy I didn’t see anything else. I am the body thought was absent. So it was either the force or I am the body thought. I saw forms though. But all forms were just that energy. So I know very well that ‘separation’ idea each of us have is a wrong idea, but I dont know how to get rid of that.

Salazar said...

Also, there is no wall but as an idea or your mind's imagination. Who is penetrating walls?

Bhagavan's teaching emphasizes on attending to self [only] and not on any possible "obstacles" a mind can come up with. Instead of trying to fix, destroy, break through, etc. it is sufficient to just attend to self.

What is holding you back from self are ideas like those you described in your last comment.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Victory to Ramanachala

I have coined a new word for our Bhagavan – Ramanachala. This is a combination of Ramana and Arunachala. Like Arunachala, Bhagavan is also achala. Achala means unmoving or complete stillness.

Our vasanas are foolishly fighting against the might of Ramanachala. These vasanas are extremely feeble and weak in comparison to the might of Ramanachala. So the sooner our vasanas understands this and gives up it vain fight, the better it will be for them.

Victory to Ramana. Victory to Arunachala. Victory to Ramanachala!

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
for most of us the deep rooted thought "I am this body" is indeed not destroyed in one go or one minute. You may exercise patience and not lose it, even when perhaps it turns out to be a lifelong task.:-)
However, only "just waiting" is not an adequate measure. Tenacious/persistent trying to be keenly self-attentive is a much more appropriate weapon than only "just wait".

Sanjay Lohia said...

This spiritual path is not a life-negating path; it is a life-affirming path

On the spiritual path, we are not cutting ourself off from life; we are returning to the source of life. We are losing ourself in that source of light. So this spiritual path is not a life-negating path; it is a life-affirming path. It is not valuing just the external manifestations of life; it is valuing the source of life. That source is our own real nature, which is infinite being, awareness, happiness and love.

So by giving ourself to that light, how can it be life-negating? This is the ultimate life-affirming path. Our bodily, external life is not real life but a small time-bound life. It was not there before birth, and it will not be there after death. How can that be real life? Real live must be always living. That is the life of pure awareness.

Since we have so many desires and attachments at present, we value many things in this world. As ego this is natural. We are bound to our relationships, possessions and so on because of our likes and dislikes.

We see some natural beauty and it appears beautiful, but where lies the beauty? The beauty does not lie in the objects but in the eyes of the beholder. There is no beauty in anything outside ourself. Our own likes, dislikes, desires and so on make things appear beautiful or ugly. What is more beautiful than infinite love and happiness? So we should give up our desire for these fleeting forms of beauty in order to experience the infinite beauty of love and happiness. Is that not a sacrifice worth making?

So long as we see beauty outside, we do not have to give up our liking for that beauty. However, if we follow this path, our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes will reduce, and our love to know ourself will increase. So as we follow this path we will find more and more beauty within ourself, and whatever beauty we see outside will naturally fade away in comparison to the great beauty that lies within ourself.

That is why Bhagavan never recommended external renunciation. He said that the real renunciation is turning within and surrendering oneself. What is real is only our real nature, and therefore everything else is ultimately unreal. So we don’t have to renounce what is unreal. All we need to do is to cling to what is real, and if we do that what is unreal will drop off by itself in the due source.

So Bhagavan has given us a very positive path, which is not a life-denying path but a life-affirming path. However, the real-life is not this external life but the internal life – the life of pure love, infinite awareness and happiness.

• Edited extract from the video: 2019-10-20 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to maintain confidence in the teachings (1:47)


anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
"...the chances that it will be misunderstood is huge." Of course, we people have generally all these "chances" to misunderstand anything (any teachings) everywhere and all the time. We are just professional experts/masters in the field/trade of misunderstanding.:-)

AsunAparicio said...

Rajat Sancheti,

Yes. Whatever our goal may be, peace, freedom, happiness … we want it for us, as ego, and according to our concept of what this goal is but if we practice self-investigation to get it, we should understand that this practice prescribed by Bhagavan has its own goal which is to remove “us” from the picture and, in the process, all concepts are dropped off while true understanding comes about.
We are where we are when we are brought to self-investigation and that´s our starting point, but once we are on it, as Michael has pointed some time, we don´t know what we are going to find. We can´t know, actually, nor we can take a step back either. I guess this is what is meant by being "caught in the jaws of the tiger".

Sanjay Lohia said...

If I wanted nothing other than to surrender myself, I could do so here and now

In our spiritual path, our will is our greatest enemy and it is also our greatest friend. If I wanted nothing other than to surrender myself, I could do so here and now. So such will is our true friend. However, we have many desires, attachments, hopes, fears, likes, dislikes which are pulling us away from myself. Such will is our only enemy. So though we have complete freedom of will – freedom to want whatever we want – but within our will, there is a fight between our conflicting desires. So the only limitation on our will is an internal limitation.

The problem we face is that we want many things. I don’t want to eat wrong types of food because such food upsets my digestive system, but I also want to eat them because I desire such food. So I face a constant struggle between these two opposing desires. Sometime I will eat unwanted food, and sometimes I eat healthily. I have a choice every time I desire to eat: either I get swayed by my asubha vasana to eat unhealthily, or I use my subha vasana to eat healthily. However, I (as ego) have to choose between these two conflicting vasanas. Outside forces cannot make me want what I don’t want to eat, and likewise, outside forces cannot prevent me from wanting what I want to eat. Yes, most of the time our stronger vasanas will prevail in such cases, but the ultimate decision to want or not to want is mine.

So every person has this conflict within themselves. We as spiritual aspirants may be slightly more aware of such conflicts, but nevertheless, this is a battle which we have to fight as long as our ego survives. So long as we have desires for things other than ourself, we are not yet ready to turn a full 180 degrees within to surrender ourself here and now.

So we ourself are the problem, and we ourself are the solution to the problems. That is, we as ego and all our likes and dislikes are a problem, and the solution to our problem is to turn within and see what we actually are.

• Based on the video: 2019-06-23 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses humility, compassion, empathy and charity

Anonymous said...

Nobody can be aware of that right? I am the body thought and the world appears simultaneously. Can anyone be aware of the the moment ‘I am the body’ thought arises?

anadi-ananta said...

"...the solution to our problem is to turn within and see what we actually are".
Unfortunately when I (am trying to) turn within I mostly see only the mind's turbulences. Because that misery I cannot accept as what I actually am I have to try it again later...persistently...till all shadows of imagined ignorance might have been evaporated. At least that is the mind's hopeful imagination.:-)

Anonymous said...

Attend to which self?

Anonymous said...

:) ok.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
you may investigate which self we should attend to. First we must attend to the phantom ego. Later there may appear another subject if any...

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

That´s how I started as being very young and didn´t know anything about self-investigation. At the end of the day, I used to sit and to watch all what I had been told and done by others, or I had told or done to others and which had left in me a feeling of inner discomfort till, as watching it, attention was lead on its own towards the watcher, i.e., self-awareness or the sense of my own presence regardless what I was watching or feeling. It is so powerful, power can be felt too. Only then I would leave and go to sleep. It was like a game for me. Over time, attention went straight on self-awareness and I completely felt in love with it. I didn´t sit anymore, it was there all the time.
You are leaving before time. Hold there till you can feel your own presence regardless what is going in your mind even for a while. That´s enough. Taste it.

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you Asun for your advice. Due the missing depth, when it comes to persistently investigating/looking at my own presence - as you say - I lack the required perseverance. I hope this will get better soon.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, you asked "Attend to which self?"

I do not quite understand. Are there more than one self? No, according to Bhagavan, there is only one self. anadi-ananta mentioned that we must first attend to the phantom-ego, however I disagree. IMO that makes it unnecessary complicated, we hold to the sense of "I am" and that does not need a concept or particular term, to maybe call it self or [first the (phantom) ego and then "another subject"].

I have to interject here, there is only one subject, thus "another" subject cannot appear but as an imagination of mind. From my viewpoint, instead of getting confused with a number of different terms, why not just hold to "I am", keep practicing atma-vichara and see first hand what transpires, if anything?

Where is the concept of ego and self or subject and object in deep sleep?

Sanjay Lohia said...

If we trust Bhagavan completely, we will have no reason to go outwards

Bhagavan says in Nan Ar, however much burden we place on Bhagavan, he will bear it all. What we cannot do ourselves let us leave it on him. We can even leave our burden of sadhana to him. Leaving our burden on Bhagavan is the best among all the spiritual practices. This is the path of surrender, and the more we surrender, the easier it will be to turn within. We are concerned about so many things in our external life due to our attachment and identification with these things. If we trust Bhagavan completely, we will have no reason to go outwards. We will happily turn within and subside back within.

So our problems are Bhagavan’s problems. Let him take care of them. If we are not able to surrender to Bhagavan, we should leave even that burden to him. So we cannot even surrender to Bhagavan without his grace. So let us leave even that burden to him. I know only that way.

• Edited extract from the video: 2019-02-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses the importance of study, reflection and practice (48:00)

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

As I understand what you say, problem is not perseverance but that you leave just at the moment you have to stay, this way, circle can´t be broken nor we can get rid of “the tyranny of ego”. It is to face our own misery rather than just to watch or look at it. In facing there is an energy which is very necessary.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Reflections on the verses from Bhagavad Gita Saram, arranged by Bhagavan Ramana

Bhagavan has selected 42 verses from the Bhagavad Gita and arranged them in an appropriate order to serve as guidance. He has also prepared Tamil and Malayalam versions of these verses. The following verses are taken from The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi. I have replaced some words which started with upper case into the lower case to make it look neater:

Verse 2: [Sri Krishna said] this body, oh son of Kunti is called kshetra (field); he who knows it the sages call the kshetranja (knower of the field).

Verse 3: Know me as the knower of the field in all the fields, oh Bharata: knowledge of the field and the knower of the field I deem to be true knowledge.

Reflection: Who is the kshetranjna? According to Bhagavan, it is only ego. However, as the above verse three seems to imply, sometimes our inner pure awareness is said to be the knower of the field. However, in such cases, the knower of the field should be taken to mean 'in the presence of pure awareness', which is the substratum for the appearance and disappearance of ego and all its manifestations.



Anonymous said...

I disagree. The I am feeling when we are awake is actually ‘I am the body’ feeling. So in waking state there is subject and object. If we think otherwise, we are deluding ourselves.

Michael James said...

Asun, I have replied to your comment of 17 October 2019 at 14:33 in a separate article: Can we as ego ever experience pure awareness?

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
refering to your today's reply to Anonymous,
admittedly we as seeming persons are taught by Bhagavan that there is only one self - instead of the imagined diversity of many persons. If such a seeming person wants to examine the truth of that teaching and further to remedy that seeming defect in our awareness it has to make suitable inquiries into that matter. As you correctly say essentially the person must hold to the sense of "I am".
However, while practising in this way one may - at least occasionally :-) - encounter phenomena which we usually summarize as 'ego'. Therefore this term 'ego' does not compulsorily confuse aspirants on the path of self-investigation. It rather may of some conceptual help if one notices that he/she faces not exactly 'the one subject, the one self, or the 'I am' and turns to himself or herself for help.
Of course that is only my modest experience.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, I was not talking about the "feeling" when waking up, I was talking about the practice of atma-vichara. Yes, for the mind there seems to be a subject and object and the purpose of atma-vichara is the recognition of the non-existence of mind which is just subject. With atma-vichara there is no subject-object relationship, it is subject only. That the body is noticed is only due to the mind, without mind there is no body [awareness].

And anadi-ananta, yes - besides "I am" which is for most not too often there seems to be the "ego". But what is to deal with it? But to rather attempt atma-vichara again? The ego can be safely ignored, these collection of thoughts are irrelevant and our duty is to ignore them and not to "deal" with them.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
in facing my inner misery my enthusiasm to continue self-investigation often rapidly disappears and instead then all shades of frustration, dissatisfaction, discouragement and disappointment appear and my hopes for eternal happiness are dashed.:-)
As you tell me, presumably there is the need to continue, just at this point of heavy disappointment and unpleasantness. To be able to do so constantly seems to me at present possible only a level higher. It's high time (that) my doggedness will increase .
Thank you for your comment.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

If we made a group of transcribers and we agreed to split a video into strips of a few minutes if we could have those transcripts, as long as we had Michael's authorization.

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

Yes, that´s what I learnt. To save the energy wasted in rejecting and escaping from what was seen to face it, this way, energy gets increased. The other way round, there is only waste, we lose heart and get enervated. Nobody can do it constantly, it happens on its own.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
as you imply in order to be aware of ourself as pure self-awareness we have to try to practice only the correct/true/faultless carrying out/implementation of atma-vichara. So we should be able to attend to ourself as keen as possible. Thanks.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
thanks again for your explanation.

anadi-ananta said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo,
my understanding of spoken English is not the best, but I could try to transcribe a few minutes of your talks. Generally it would be a welcome development if the idea/intention of having English transcripts of Michael's videos could be realized. On the other hand Michael would have the additional work of reviewing the transcription.

AsunAparicio said...

Yo soy ...,

My english is not that good butI could help with Michael´s talks with your group since I also have the spanish translation which helps with the words I miss or mistake.
Did you ask Michael already? If he agrees, you can ask him for my e-mail adress.

Michael James said...

In reply to Yo Soy Tu Mismo’s comment of 25 October 2019 at 19:04 and subsequent comments by other friends about transcribing my videos, anyone who would like to do so is welcome, but I would suggest to anyone who likes to try that rather than starting from scratch it would be easier to correct the auto-generated transcript that YouTube makes for every video. To view the auto-generated transcript, click on the three dots below the bottom right-hand corner of any video and select ‘Open transcript’, which will open it in a panel to the right of the video, from where you can copy and paste it.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, "trying" to do atma-vichara constantly is not advised at all, why setting a [lofty] goal like that? I see that only as a trick of the mind to not attempt atma-vichara at all. The mind creates seemingly unattainable goals and then feels satisfied and justified to not try at all.

Why not just trying atma-vichara whenever you remember it and start from there? That would be my suggestion. The mind's input and assessment with that is usually garbage and deserves to be ignored. The mind is biased and invested in sabotaging atma-vichara [subtly and mostly subconsciously] because it does not want to die. We get all fooled by that [from time to time] and only guru and grace will maneuver us safely if we let them. It's kind of effort and surrender at the same time.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Thank you Anadi-ananta, Asunaparicio and Michael.
From my point of view I believe that if there is a sufficient number of volunteers, both for the transcription into English (of the videos that are only in English) and to do the same for the Videos with simultaneous translation into Spanish, it will be viable since it is a task that will require a lot of dedication and among several can be very fruitful and agile. I don't know what you think about it.

AsunAparicio said...

Yes, to correct youtube transcriptions is much easier, problem is that they don´t include people´s questions which many times is the most difficult to grasp, at least for me so, for this part it would be required someone with a very good spoken english.

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

Whish you the best. Don´t give up, it is worth :)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
applying your suggestion should be possible also for me: just trying atma-vichara whenever I remember it and start from there. Thanks.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
thank you for your good wishes. As you imply, atma-vichara should never be in vain.
Alas, I never heard of any difficulties.:-)

Rajat Sancheti said...

AsunAparicio ,
Thanks for your comment of 24 October 2019 at 11:35 addressed to me. I agree with what you say in that comment. As ego I cannot find lasting happiness because ego is always going to be dissatisfied. However, a motivation (and perhaps the main motivation) to follow this path is the search for lasting happiness, happiness which is always going to elude the ego which is following this path in search for happiness. This seems like a 'catch-22' situation. You say, "this practice prescribed by Bhagavan has its own goal which is to remove “us” from the picture and, in the process, all concepts are dropped off while true understanding comes about." Clearly this removal of ego is the resolution of the above catch-22 situation.

AsunAparicio said...

Rajat,

“Clearly this removal of ego is the resolution of the above catch-22 situation.”

Exactly :)

True understanding comes about through/in silence which is provided by the very practice of self-investigation and self-surrender along with the love to follow it, but instead of letting ourselves go, we trip ourselves because we don´t want to die as ego yet, we can´t escape it either. It is in this fight that the purification process takes place so, even our resistance has its own goal which is to take us a step further. It´s so perfect. A very powerful weapon, as Michael puts it, only that, in my view, it is not us who are using it but it to us.