Friday, 8 November 2019

Ego seems to exist only when we look elsewhere, away from ourself

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-11-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 34, a friend asked, “At 50:50 you say that asking why the ego has arisen or how it has arisen is like asking how was the son of the barren woman born. Isn’t ‘how the ego arose’ a permissible question, considering that Bhagavan has explained it in Uḷḷadu Narpadu himself, this question of how the ego came into existence? Can a good understanding of how the ego came into existence also help us in our attempts to destroy it with vichara?”, in reply to which I wrote:
Rajat, I assume you are referring to verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu. Though we could interpret what Bhagavan says in the first sentence of this verse, ‘உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்’ (uru paṯṟi uṇḍām), ‘Grasping form it comes into existence’, as being his explanation how ego comes into existence, it is not a complete explanation, and it certainly does not explain why it has come into existence.

Rather than explaining how ego comes into existence, this verse explains that grasping form is the very nature of ego, so it grasps form as soon as it comes into existence, and as long as it continues to grasp form it endures, and by grasping form it feeds itself and flourishes. Grasping form does not adequately explain how it comes into existence, because it must exist in order to grasp form. The converse is also true, of course, namely that it must grasp form in order to exist, but this does not explain what causes it to come into existence.

However, as you say, understanding the nature of ego as explained in this verse does help us destroy it, because it enables us to understand firstly why it cannot be destroyed by any means other than self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), since any other means would entail attending to something other than ourself, and secondly that in order to investigate ourself effectively we must try to be so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything else. That is, what Bhagavan means by ‘grasping form’ is attending to or being aware of anything other than ourself, so in order to cease grasping form we must try to grasp ourself alone, which means that we must try to be keenly self-attentive.

What we should infer from verse 25 and other verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu is that the nature of ourself as ego is to be always aware of things other than ourself, whereas our real nature is to be aware of nothing other than ourself, so in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are we must cease being aware of anything else. However, we cease being aware of anything other than ourself in sleep, so though ceasing to be aware of anything else is necessary, it is not sufficient to eradicate ego.

In sleep we are aware of ourself alone as a result of the dissolution of ego, which occurs as a result of it being too tired to continue ‘grasping form’, but because it does not exist in sleep, it is not destroyed by the pure self-awareness that then remains alone. Therefore in order to eradicate ego forever it must be dissolved as a result of our being aware of ourself alone, and hence we must be so keenly self-attentive that we thereby cease to be aware of anything other than ourself. This is why Bhagavan says in verse 25, ‘தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும்’ (tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum), ‘If sought, it will take flight’, thereby implying that ego will vanish forever only when it investigates itself by being keenly self-attentive.
I reproduced this comment and my reply to it in a comment on my previous article, Can we as ego ever experience pure awareness?, and in reply to it another friend called Asun wrote:
I think that asking why or how ego arises is like asking why or how Mozart composed music, well, because he could, he had that skill, likewise, beingness which is not activity but stillness can think I am, thinking I am is activity and altogether with this thought everything else arise, that’s its power. Mind can’t understand how movement can arise from stillness without an external stimulus alien to stillness because it takes movement to be real so, it is posed an enigma by mind that mind can’t solve because it is part of mind too yet, self itself gives the solution altogether with the problem: cling to stillness or self and see that only it is real whereas movement or ego is just illusion.
In reply to this I wrote another comment:
Asun, regarding your comment of 4 November 2019 at 15:18, the reason why Bhagavan said that asking why or how ego has come into existence is a question that cannot be answered is because there could be a reason or cause for its rising only if it had actually risen. That is why he sometimes used to say in answer to such questions, ‘First find ego and bring it to me, and then we can consider why or how it came into existence’. If we try to find it, there is no such thing, because it seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere. If instead of looking at anything else we look at ourself alone, we will see that we are just pure awareness, which is immutable, so we could never have become anything else, and hence there never was any such thing as ego. Therefore since ego does not exist, there can be no cause or reason for its existence.

You say ‘beingness which is not activity but stillness can think I am’, but that is contrary to what Bhagavan taught us. What thinks is only ego, which is the first thought and root of all other thoughts, and it is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, so even when it thinks ‘I am’, what it is referring to as ‘I’ is this mixed awareness ‘I am this body’.

In the second sentence of the first maṅgalam verse of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Bhagavan asks, ‘உள்ள பொருள் உள்ளல் அற உள்ளத்தே உள்ளதால், உள்ளம் எனும் உள்ள பொருள் உள்ளல் எவன்?’ (uḷḷa-poruḷ uḷḷal-aṟa uḷḷattē uḷḷadāl, uḷḷam eṉum uḷḷa-poruḷ uḷḷal evaṉ?), ‘Since the existing substance exists in the heart without thought, how to think of the existing substance, which is called heart?’, in which ‘உள்ளல் அற’ (uḷḷal-aṟa) means either ‘without thought’ or ‘without thinking’. Likewise, in the first clause of verse 34 he describes the real substance (poruḷ) saying, ‘என்றும் எவர்க்கும் இயல்பாய் உள பொருளை’ (eṉḏṟum evarkkum iyalbāy uḷa poruḷai), ‘the substance, which always exists for everyone as [their real] nature’, and when he joined all the verses of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu together as a single kaliveṇbā he extended this verse by adding an adverbial clause before the first line, namely ‘ஓர் நினைவு அறவே’ (ōr niṉaivu aṟavē), ‘without a single thought’, thereby teaching us that the real substance always exists without a single thought as our real nature.

Therefore thinking is the nature of ourself as ego, whereas our real nature is not thinking but just being. This is why Bhagavan answers the question that he asks in the second sentence of the first maṅgalam verse of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu by saying in the third sentence, ‘உள்ளத்தே உள்ளபடி உள்ளதே உள்ளல்’ (uḷḷattē uḷḷapaḍi uḷḷadē uḷḷal), ‘Being in the heart as it is alone is thinking [of it]’, in which ‘உள்ளபடி’ (uḷḷapaḍi), ‘as it is’, implies without thought or thinking, and ‘உள்ளல்’ (uḷḷal) literally means thinking, remembering, meditating, contemplating, investigating or revering, so what he implies in this sentence is that being in the heart as we actually are, namely without thinking anything, is the only way to ‘think of’, contemplate, investigate, revere or be aware of the existing substance (uḷḷa-poruḷ), which is our real nature.
In reply to this Asun wrote the following comment:
Yes, I skipped all norms by saying that self can think (apologizes) I said it in the sense that it is said that mind is “a wondrous power existing in Self” since mind is thought which is ego and what thinks but, ultimately, it is only that “wondrous power existing in self” not different nor apart from it. That’s what I meant, that it arises or appears to arise because that’s the power of self which is the source and, therefore, exists regardless ego’s apparent existence and “without a single thought”, while ego or thought only appears to exist because self exists so that, actually, ego points to the only reality which is self itself hence that, this thought aware of itself or ego turned towards itself, founds that it is self itself being this, on the other hand, the only way to “go back the way it came”. Anyway, I find that saying what you say that ego “seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere” is even more absurd than saying that self thinks the first thought which is ego, because it implies that that “elsewhere” to look at is something different or apart from self and previous to ego which comes into existence as looking at it when, at least as understand it, all of it arises simultaneously and does it because, well, that’s self’s power or the power existing in self :)

But I can understand what you mean, these are just explanations for mind that still believes in the existence of ego. Bhagavan never would admit it (existence of ego).
The rest of this article is my reply to this comment:
  1. Looking ‘elsewhere’ means looking at anything other than ourself
  2. None of the other things that ego looks at exist prior to or independent of it, because they are created by its perception of them
  3. Though ego seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere, this does not mean that it comes into existence by looking elsewhere
  4. Ego is the first cause, the cause of all other causes, so no cause could exist prior to our rising as ego
  5. What is the atiśaya śakti (extraordinary power) that Bhagavan refers to in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam and the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār??
  6. When Bhagavan says that this atiśaya śakti called mind or ego exists in and is not other than ātma-svarūpa, what he implies is not that it is real but that it does not actually exist
  7. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 17: if we incessantly investigate this atiśaya śakti called mind or ego, it will be clear that no such thing exists at all
  8. The nature of ego is to be always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’ and consequently always aware of things other than itself
1. Looking ‘elsewhere’ means looking at anything other than ourself

Asun, regarding your remark, ‘I find that saying what you say that ego “seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere” is even more absurd than saying that self thinks the first thought which is ego, because it implies that that “elsewhere” to look at is something different or apart from self and previous to ego which comes into existence as looking at it’, what I meant by ‘elsewhere’ when I wrote that ego seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere is at anything other than ourself.

As Bhagavan says in the first sentence of the seventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘யதார்த்தமா யுள்ளது ஆத்மசொரூப மொன்றே’ (yathārtham-āy uḷḷadu ātma-sorūpam oṉḏṟē), ‘What actually exists is only ātma-svarūpa [the real nature of oneself]’, so in the clear view of ourself as we actually are (our real nature or ātma-svarūpa) there is nothing other than ourself. However when we rise and stand as ego we perceive many phenomena, all of which are other than ourself as ego, because they are all objects of our perception, whereas we as ego are the subject, the perceiver of all of them. Therefore when we attend to them we are not looking at ourself but elsewhere, and so long as we are looking elsewhere we are thereby nourishing and sustaining ourself as ego.

Though we as ego mistake ourself to be a certain set of phenomena (namely a person, who is a body consisting of five sheaths: a physical form, life, mind, intellect and will), even these phenomena are actually other than ourself, because they are objects of our perception, whereas we are what perceives them. Therefore even when we attend to these phenomena we are not looking at ourself but elsewhere, and our looking elsewhere is what nourishes and sustains ourself as ego.

This is why I wrote in my previous reply to you: ‘If we try to find it [ego], there is no such thing, because it seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere’. As Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ego is a formless phantom whose very nature is to grasp form. As soon as we come into existence as this formless phantom we grasp the form of a body as ourself, and then we endure, feed ourself and flourish by grasping other forms. So as this formless phantom how do we grasp forms? By attending to them and thereby being aware of them. This is what I meant by ‘looking elsewhere’.

2. None of the other things that ego looks at exist prior to or independent of it, because they are created by its perception of them

Though I said that ego ‘seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere’, this does not imply, as you wrote, that ‘that “elsewhere” to look at is something different or apart from self’, if what you mean by ‘self’ is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), because nothing can be other than our real nature, which is the sole substance (poruḷ or vastu), being what alone actually exists. Nor does it imply that ‘that “elsewhere” to look at is something [...] previous to ego’, because forms or phenomena exist only in the view of ourself as ego and not in the view of ourself as we actually are, so they cannot exist prior to or independent of ego, which is why Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum), ‘If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist’, and in the fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா.

maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā.

Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first thought [the primal, basic, original or causal thought]. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person [ego, the primal thought called ‘I’] appears do second and third persons [all other things] appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.
What he refers to here as ‘the thought called I’ and ‘the first person’ is ourself as ego, and what he refers to as ‘other thoughts’ and ‘second and third persons’ is everything other than ourself, namely all forms or phenomena. Therefore what he states unequivocally here is that nothing other than ourself (no ‘elsewhere’) exists independent of ego.

So how are forms or phenomena created? According to Bhagavan they are created only by our perceiving them, because they appear only in our perception, so perception (dṛṣṭi) and creation (sṛṣṭi) are one and the same thing, as is illustrated by our perception of phenomena in dream. The phenomena we perceive in a dream do not exist prior to or independent of our perception of them, so they are created only by our looking ‘elsewhere’, namely away from ourself.

3. Though ego seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere, this does not mean that it comes into existence by looking elsewhere

Moreover, when I wrote that ego ‘seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere’, I did not imply that it comes into existence by looking elsewhere (as you seem to think I implied, which is presumably why you said that it is ‘even more absurd than saying that self thinks the first thought’), because it can look elsewhere only when it has come into existence. As soon as it comes into existence it looks elsewhere, because looking elsewhere (which is what Bhagavan describes as ‘grasping form’) is its very nature, so as you say its coming into existence and looking elsewhere occur simultaneously, and it continues looking elsewhere until it dissolves back into its source, whether impermanently in manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind), as in sleep, or permanently in manōnāśa (annihilation of mind). If instead of looking elsewhere it looks only at itself, it will cease to exist (in manōnāśa), because what remains when it looks only at itself is just pure self-awareness, which is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa).

Looking elsewhere is what is otherwise called pramāda, which means negligence and in this context implies self-negligence, or avicāra, which means non-investigation and in this context implies not investigating or attending to ourself, and as I explained in one of my recent articles, Which comes first: ego or self-negligence (pramāda)?, pramāda or avicāra is the very nature of ego and cannot exist without it, so it comes into existence along with ego and will not cease to exist until ego ceases to exist. Therefore since pramāda, avicāra or looking elsewhere is the very nature of ego, the antidote for this poison called ego is the opposite of looking elsewhere, namely looking only at ourself so keenly that we cease to be aware of anything else whatsoever.

4. Ego is the first cause, the cause of all other causes, so no cause could exist prior to our rising as ego

As I explained above, one reason why there cannot be any cause for the rising of ego is that if we investigate ourself keenly enough we will see that no such thing as ego has ever existed, so it is as unreal as the son of a barren woman. Therefore, just as there can be no cause for the birth of the son of a barren woman, there can be no cause for the rising of ego.

Another reason why there cannot be any cause for its rising or coming into existence is that, as Bhagavan points out in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, everything else comes into existence only when ego comes into existence, and hence when ego does not exist nothing else exists. Ego is therefore the first cause, the cause of all other causes, so no cause could exist prior to our rising as ego.

5. What is the atiśaya śakti (extraordinary power) that Bhagavan refers to in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam and the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār??

You seem to suggest that ego comes into existence because of ‘a wondrous power existing in Self’, but as you say that wondrous power is what is called mind, of which ego is the root, so saying that ego comes into existence because of that wondrous power does not actually tell us anything significant, because it merely means that ego comes into existence because of ego.

The ‘wondrous power’ you refer to is what Bhagavan describes as an atiśaya śakti (extraordinary power) in verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam and the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?. In the second sentence of verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam he says that this atiśaya śakti exists in and is not other than Arunachala, which he described in the first sentence as the one substance (oru poruḷ), the light of awareness (aṟivu oḷi) and the heart (uḷḷam), and in the third sentence he says that from this atiśaya śakti series of subtle shadowy thoughts appear and are seen as shadowy world-pictures both inside and outside, like pictures projected on a cinema screen. Likewise in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he says:
மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது. நினைவுகளை யெல்லாம் நீக்கிப் பார்க்கின்றபோது, தனியாய் மனமென் றோர் பொருளில்லை; ஆகையால் நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம். நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை. தூக்கத்தில் நினைவுகளில்லை, ஜகமுமில்லை; ஜாக்ர சொப்பனங்களில் நினைவுகளுள, ஜகமும் உண்டு. சிலந்திப்பூச்சி எப்படித் தன்னிடமிருந்து வெளியில் நூலை நூற்று மறுபடியும் தன்னுள் இழுத்துக் கொள்ளுகிறதோ, அப்படியே மனமும் தன்னிடத்திலிருந்து ஜகத்தைத் தோற்றுவித்து மறுபடியும் தன்னிடமே ஒடுக்கிக்கொள்ளுகிறது. மனம் ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தினின்று வெளிப்படும்போது ஜகம் தோன்றும். ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது.

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

What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti [an extraordinary power] that exists in ātma-svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or real nature of oneself]. It makes all thoughts appear [or projects all thoughts]. When one looks, excluding [removing or putting aside] all thoughts, solitarily there is not any such thing as mind; therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or very nature] of the mind. Excluding thoughts [or ideas], there is not separately any such thing as world. In sleep there are no thoughts, and [consequently] there is also no world; in waking and dream there are thoughts, and [consequently] there is also a world. Just as a spider spins out thread from within itself and again draws it back into itself, so the mind makes the world appear [or projects the world] from within itself and again dissolves it back into itself. When the mind comes out from ātma-svarūpa, the world appears. Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature] does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear.
So what are we to understand from this? Firstly this atiśaya śakti is what is called mind, as he says in the first sentence of this paragraph, ‘மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி’ (maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti), ‘What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti that exists in ātma-svarūpa’, so its very nature is thought, as he says in the fourth sentence, ‘ஆகையால் நினைவே மனதின் சொரூபம்’ (āhaiyāl niṉaivē maṉadiṉ sorūpam), ‘therefore thought alone is the svarūpa [the ‘own form’ or very nature] of the mind’. However, when he says in the second sentence, ‘அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘It makes all thoughts appear’, we should understand that of all the thoughts that constitute the mind it is the first and root thought, namely ego.

That is, when Bhagavan uses the term ‘mind’, in some cases he is referring to the totality of all thoughts, but in most cases he is referring to ego, which is the root of all other thoughts and therefore the essence of the mind, as he clarifies in verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
எண்ணங்க ளேமனம் யாவினு நானெனு
மெண்ணமே மூலமா முந்தீபற
      யானா மனமென லுந்தீபற.

eṇṇaṅga ḷēmaṉam yāviṉu nāṉeṉu
meṇṇamē mūlamā mundīpaṟa
      yāṉā maṉameṉa lundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். யான் ஆம் மனம் எனல்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. yāṉ ām maṉam eṉal.

அன்வயம்: எண்ணங்களே மனம். யாவினும் நான் எனும் எண்ணமே மூலம் ஆம். மனம் எனல் யான் ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): eṇṇaṅgaḷ-ē maṉam. yāviṉ-um nāṉ eṉum eṇṇam-ē mūlam ām. maṉam eṉal yāṉ ām.

English translation: Thoughts alone are mind. Of all, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the root. What is called mind is ‘I’.

Explanatory paraphrase: Thoughts alone are mind [or the mind is only thoughts]. Of all [thoughts], the thought called ‘I’ alone is the mūla [the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause]. [Therefore] what is called mind is [essentially just] ‘I’ [ego, the root-thought called ‘I’].
That is, the mind consists only of thoughts, but every thought belongs to either one of two fundamental categories, namely subject or object, the perceiver or something perceived by it. The former category, namely the subject or perceiver, consists of only one thought, namely ego, which Bhagavan sometimes refers to as the thought called ‘I’, and as he says in this verse it is the root of all other thoughts, which are objects or things perceived by it, because no other thought exists except in its view. All other thoughts are non-aware (jaḍa), so none of them is aware either of itself or anything else, whereas ego is cit-jaḍa-granthi, a confused and tightly entangled mixture of awareness (cit) and adjuncts, all of which are jaḍa, so it is aware both of itself and other things.

As I explained above in the second section, according to Bhagavan there is no creation (sṛṣṭi) other than perception (dṛṣṭi), so since all other thoughts are perceived only by ego, they are created by its perception of them. This is why he says in this verse that ego is the மூலம் (mūlam), the root, base, foundation, origin, source or cause of all other thoughts, and hence that it is what the mind essentially is. Therefore when he says in the first two sentences of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?, ‘மன மென்பது ஆத்ம சொரூபத்தி லுள்ள ஓர் அதிசய சக்தி. அது சகல நினைவுகளையும் தோற்றுவிக்கின்றது’ (maṉam eṉbadu ātma-sorūpattil uḷḷa ōr atiśaya śakti. adu sakala niṉaivugaḷaiyum tōṯṟuvikkiṉḏṟadu), ‘What is called mind is an atiśaya śakti that exists in ātma-svarūpa. It makes all thoughts appear [or causes all thoughts to appear]’, what he means by ‘mind’ in this context is only ego.

Moreover, since he says in the fifth sentence of this fourth paragraph, ‘நினைவுகளைத் தவிர்த்து ஜகமென்றோர் பொருள் அன்னியமா யில்லை’ (niṉaivugaḷai-t tavirttu jagam eṉḏṟu ōr poruḷ aṉṉiyam-āy illai), ‘Excluding thoughts, there is not separately any such thing as world’, and in the third last sentence of the fourteenth paragraph, ‘ஜக மென்பது நினைவே’ (jagam eṉbadu niṉaivē), ‘What is called the world is only thought’, he implies that all forms or phenomena are just thoughts, and hence that what causes them to appear is only ego.

Since ego is what causes everything else to appear, nothing else could be a cause for ego’s appearance, so it is the first cause, the cause for which there is no other cause. This is why Bhagavan describes it as being an atiśaya śakti or extraordinary power.

6. When Bhagavan says that this atiśaya śakti called mind or ego exists in and is not other than ātma-svarūpa, what he implies is not that it is real but that it does not actually exist

However, though he says in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? that this atiśaya śakti called mind or ego exists in ātma-svarūpa, and in the second sentence of verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam, ‘உளது உனில் அலது இலா அதிசய சத்தி’ (uḷadu uṉil aladu ilā atiśaya śatti), ‘In you exists an atiśaya śakti [extraordinary power], which is not other [than you]’, in which ‘you’ refers to Arunachala, which is our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa), he does not thereby imply that it is real. It is an illusory appearance, like a snake that appears in a rope.

Though an illusory snake exists (metaphorically) in a rope and is not other than that rope, the rope is not a snake. Likewise, though ego exists in ātma-svarūpa and is not other than ātma-svarūpa, ātma-svarūpa is not ego. Therefore when Bhagavan says that this atiśaya śakti called ego is what causes all other things to appear, he does not mean that ātma-svarūpa causes anything to appear.

Cause and effect exist only in the realm of mind, so they are both an illusory appearance created by ego, and hence ātma-svarūpa is neither a cause nor an effect. It is just as it is, and being beyond the realm of time (which is just another an illusory appearance created by ego) it is immutable, so it never does anything or causes anything to be done.

This is why in advaita philosophy creation is not attributed to brahman as such but only to māyā, because brahman is ātma-svarūpa whereas māyā is this atiśaya śakti called mind or ego, which exists in and is not other than ātma-svarūpa. Critics of advaita mistake this to mean that advaita considers māyā to be real, because they consider the world to be real, and hence they assume that its cause must likewise be real. Therefore such critics call Sankara a māyā-vādin, a person who contends that māyā is real, but as Bhagavan often pointed out, it cannot be correct to describe Sankara’s philosophy as māyā-vāda because what he taught is that māyā does not exist and is therefore unreal. Just as it would be wrong to call an atheist an īśvara-vādin (a person who contends that God exists), Bhagavan said it is equally wrong to call Sankara a māyā-vādin. Only those who consider anything other than ātma-svarūpa to be real should be called māyā-vādins.

In order to emphasise that māyā does not exist and is therefore wholly unreal Bhagavan gave a novel explanation of the etymology of the word, which as far as I am aware was not given by anyone before him. That is, he pointed out that in Sanskrit means ‘not’ and is the feminine form of the pronoun ya or yad, which means ‘what’, so māyā is yā mā: ‘what is not’ or ‘she who is not’. In other words, the very term māyā signifies that it refers to what does not exist.

Why then does he say that this atiśaya śakti called māyā exists in ātma-svarūpa and is not other than it? Since ātma-svarūpa alone is what actually exists, it is the one infinite and indivisible whole, so nothing can exist outside it or as other than it. Therefore, though māyā does not actually exist, if at all it seems to exist, it cannot be anywhere outside of ātma-svarūpa or other than it.

From the self-ignorant perspective of ourself as ego māyā does seem to exist, because ego itself is māyā, and all its progeny, namely phenomena of every kind, are therefore the progeny of māyā. Therefore Bhagavan acknowledges the seeming existence of māyā from our perspective, but he does not say it is real. Instead he says it is not other than ātma-svarūpa, which implies that there is no māyā but only ātma-svarūpa, just as if one says that a snake is not other than a rope, that implies that there is no snake but only a rope.

7. Upadēśa Undiyār verse 17: if we incessantly investigate this atiśaya śakti called mind or ego, it will be clear that no such thing exists at all

Therefore when Bhagavan says in the first two sentences of the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? that what causes all thoughts to appear is the mind, which is ‘an atiśaya śakti that exists in ātma-svarūpa’, this does not imply that ātma-svarūpa as such is what causes all thoughts to appear. The first thought to appear is ego, which is the atiśaya śakti called mind, so what causes all other thoughts to appear is not ourself as we actually are (namely ātma-svarūpa) but only ourself as ego.

Then what causes us to appear as ego? If we were to ask him this question, he would ask us to investigate ourself in order to see whether we have ever appeared as ego, because if we investigate ourself keenly enough, we will see that there is no such thing as ego or mind, as he implies in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
மனத்தி னுருவை மறவா துசாவ
மனமென வொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற
      மார்க்கநே ரார்க்குமி துந்தீபற.

maṉatti ṉuruvai maṟavā dusāva
maṉameṉa voṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
      mārgganē rārkkumi dundīpaṟa
.

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

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

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

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṟavādu maṉattiṉ uruvai usāva, maṉam eṉa oṉḏṟu ilai. idu ārkkum nēr mārggam.

English translation: When one investigates [examines or scrutinises] the form of the mind without neglecting [forgetting, abandoning, giving up or ceasing], [it will be clear that] there is not anything called ‘mind’. This is the direct [straight or appropriate] path for everyone whomsoever.
That is, if we investigate ourself keenly enough, we will see that what we actually are is just pure awareness, which is immutable and has therefore never appeared as ego or undergone any other kind of change. Therefore since ego is nothing other than ātma-svarūpa, which is ourself as we actually are, and since ātma-svarūpa has never appeared as anything, there never was any such thing as ego, which is why it is called māyā: ‘what is not’ or ‘she who is not’.

Since self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) will thereby reveal the truth that no such thing as ego or mind has ever existed, nothing has ever caused it to come into existence. Therefore rather than supposing that something must have caused it to appear or come into existence, we should investigate it to see whether it has actually ever appeared or come into existence.

This is why I wrote in my previous reply to you: ‘If we try to find it [ego], there is no such thing, because it seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere’. When I said that it seems to exist only when we look elsewhere, I did not mean that looking elsewhere has caused it to come into existence, but only that looking elsewhere is what prevents us from seeing that it has never actually existed.

8. The nature of ego is to be always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’ and consequently always aware of things other than itself

What we need to know about ego is not what has caused it to come into existence, because there is no such cause, but what its nature is, because if we understand its nature we will understand how to get rid of it. Its nature is defined by two fundamental characteristics: firstly it is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’, and secondly it is consequently always aware of things other than itself.

Since we as ego are always aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’, which is not what we actually are, it is an erroneous awareness of ourself, so it can be eradicated only by correct awareness of ourself. In other words, in order to eradicate it we must be aware of ourself as we actually are, and in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are we must look only at ourself instead of looking elsewhere.

Since we as ego are always aware of things other than itself, and since Bhagavan has taught us that our real nature is to be aware of nothing other than ourself, because we alone are what actually exists, this is another reason why in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are and thereby eradicate ego we must look at ourself so keenly that we cease to be aware of anything else.

So long as we attend to anything other than ourself (which is what I meant by ‘looking elsewhere’), we are thereby nourishing and sustaining ego, whereas to the extent that we attend to ourself alone, we are thereby dissolving it, so the only way to eradicate it entirely is to be ever more keenly self-attentive. We do not know and can never know how or why we rose as ego, but we have learnt from Bhagavan that the means not just to cease rising as ego but to see that we have actually never risen as ego at all is to be so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself.

146 comments:

Michael James said...

After posting this article I remembered something else that I wanted to write in it, which I have now added in the third section, Though ego seems to exist only when we are looking elsewhere, this does not mean that it comes into existence by looking elsewhere, so if you started to read this article before I did so, please refresh this page in your browser and read the third section again.

AsunAparicio said...

Thank you, Michael.

This is great, I didn´t think you would dare to go into it. It is the first time I find an explanation on the subject so direct, clear and explicit.

What you point in paragraph number 5 that I seem to suggest is exactly what I suggested “that ego comes into existence because of ego” being ego or mind itself that “wondrous power existing in Self” (not different nor apart from self) which, as you say “does not actually tell us anything significant.”

In paragraph 6, you make a difference: “though ego exists in ātma-svarūpa and is not other than ātma-svarūpa, ātma-svarūpa is not ego. Therefore when Bhagavan says that this atiśaya śakti called ego is what causes all other things to appear, he does not mean that ātma-svarūpa causes anything to appear.”
This makes crystal clear that self is not the cause of the emergence of ego and that only ego is the cause for others things to appear along with it since, as you say in paragraph 2 “perception (dṛṣṭi) and creation (sṛṣṭi) are one and the same thing” yet, we still are at the same point: not knowing the cause of ego.

You resolve this question by saying that “Cause and effect exist only in the realm of mind, so they are both an illusory appearance created by ego, and hence ātma-svarūpa is neither a cause nor an effect.” Apart from clarifying what you meant by “it seems to exist only when we look elsewhere”, isn´t this to say the same that I said that “this is an enigma posed by mind that mind can´t solve because it is part of mind too” and that “the solution is to cling to self and see that only it is real and ego just illusion”?

Now, in paragraph 7 you say something: “only that looking elsewhere is what prevents us from seeing that it has never actually existed.”
You don´t say that looking elsewhere is what prevents us from experiencing or being ourself but from seeing that ego never existed. It may appear to be a truism but, to me, it is a very important point which gives a twist not only to my understanding but also to the practice of self-investigation since it destroys a, more or less conscious but always present, conundrum.

We are so focus on experiencing self as if it were something extra-ordinary (that´s how it is sold by many people and we buy it) and on getting rid from ego that we miss this important point to the extent that, even when we discover that there is not ego or bondage, we still want to run towards “freedom” and away from bondage, as Shadu Om explains in “The paramount importance of self-attention”, pg. 59-60, with the beautiful and insightful analogy of the three walls you shed full light on, in paragraph 8 which also definitely and satisfactorily resolves the apparent paradox:

“We do not know and can never know how or why we rose as ego, but we have learnt from Bhagavan that the means not just to cease rising as ego but to see that we have actually never risen as ego at all is to be so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself.”

Apologies for having writing so much in my response and for my disability to express all the subtleties that it involves.

Thanks so much again for this article.

P.S.: Have just read what you added. Thank you.

AsunAparicio said...

What I mean by what I say about the paragraph 8, is that now I understand that we can´t never know how or why we rose as ego and why it is so, as well as I can see the insubstantially of the question, we think to be so essential and important.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The only teaching of Ulladu Narpadu

The teachings given in Ulladu Narpadu have one purpose and one purpose alone. It is for us to turn our entire attention within in order to experience ourself as we actually are. The purpose is not to go out quarrelling about with others about the nature of reality or the correct path to freedom and so on. What we learn from Ulladu Narpadu is for our own benefit. If we turn our entire attention towards ourself, this world will cease to exist, and therefore there will remain no one with whom we can argue about anything.

So if the views of others upset us, we should cease rising as ego. In any case, what’s the point of arguing with people who don’t want to understand? We should try to avoid all disputes and disharmony. We will be willing to understand Bhagavan’s teachings only when we are willing to eradicate ego, at least to some extent. We all believe that our views are correct or that others views are incorrect, but what does it matter whether they are correct or not. We have come to Bhagavan to eradicate ego, to free ourself from ego who feels ‘I am right’.

Bhagavan teaches us that this world is a dream. In a dream, we may argue with others, but when we wake up we realise that all our discussions were only within our own mind. So there is no need to convince others because actually there are others.

However, this does not mean that we should not discuss Bhagavan’s teachings with fellow devotees or with others who may be interested to discuss spirituality with us. Discussing his teachings with like-minded people is certainly useful. It keeps our mind dwelling on his teachings and more importantly it motivates us to put the teachings into practice.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 34

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thank you again for your transcription.
However you wanted to write "So there is no need to convince others because actually there are no others." (the word "no" was omitted)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, I thank you for pointing out my typo. As you can see, my love affair with these typos continues unabated!

Sanjay Lohia said...

The true strength is the strength of desirelessness

Bhagavan says in Nan Ar both likes and dislikes are to be disliked. We should try to joyfully accept everything by giving up our likes and dislikes. However, as ego our nature is to have likes and dislikes, to not accept things as they are. This is the crux of all our problems.

However, the more we practise self-investigation and self-surrender, the more our likes and dislikes start to lose its strength, and consequently our ego becomes weaker and weaker. The more we as ego give up our hold on things other than ourself, the more we subside. The more we subside, the more willingly we accept things – both good and bad – with relative equanimity. If we accept whatever happens that is a sign of surrender. Surrender and subsidence of ego hand in hand.

The true strength is the strength of desirelessness. Desire is a weakness because we desire things only when we feel we lack something. Contentment is when we are satisfied with things. So contentment is a much stronger state of mind than desires. The more we give up our likes and dislikes, the stronger we are: that is, the stronger we are in abiding as we actually are.

So surrender is the real strength. The rising of ego and desiring things is a sign of weakness.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 34 (1:24)

Sanjay Lohia said...

The true strength is the strength of desirelessness

I wrote in this comment: Surrender and subsidence of ego hand in hand.

Before Anadi-Ananta points out my typo, I would like to do so myself. I missed out ‘go’ after the word ‘ego’. So the sentence should read as: Surrender and subsidence of ego go hand in hand.

anadi-ananta said...

"If we accept whatever happens that is a sign of surrender. Surrender and subsidence of ego (go) hand in hand."
How could I ever accept that I seem to be separated from Bhagavan's immeasurable wisdom ? Am I immortal or not ? Not to know what is real is bumbling and unbearable. Destroying ego only after long practice of surrender is much too lengthy. Illusion and wrong awareness must be dissolved just now - not the day after tomorrow !

anadi-ananta said...

section 8.,
"...the means not just to cease rising as ego but to see that we have actually never risen as ego at all is to be so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself."
Arunachala, I hope you are not asking the impossibile. This task makes demands of my whole person. So how much are you asking for providing me with the ability of the required keen self-attention ? Would you not like to deprive me of all my illusions ?
Arunachala, you seem to be not in a great hurry about taking away ego's two fundamental characteristics from me (firstly always being aware of itself as 'I am this body', and secondly consequently always being aware of things other than myself). You certainly will know why you keep me on tenterhooks.

AsunAparicio said...

“Illusion and wrong awareness must be dissolved just now - not the day after tomorrow” Anadi-ananta.

That´s funny. The whole situation is quite absurd. I laughed several times as reading Michael´s article because, somehow, I could understand the joke yet, I deny myself full and conscious access to that understanding. We desperately pray for self-knowledge but when it is given to us on a plate, we refuse it by saying, wait, not yet.

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"...if we investigate ourself keenly enough we will see that no such thing as ego has ever existed, so it is as unreal as the son of a barren woman."
Why does not already unkeen moderate investigation be sufficient to put phantom ego to flight ?
Why is lavish uncompromising keen investigation so necessary ? Could we not get off more lightly ?
Where at all and how could that fugitive ego take refuge ? Does not simply closing all possible hiding places/niches/reserves already finish/knock off/destroy ego ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

The world is created merely by our perceiving it

The more we turn within and thereby go deeper and deeper within, the more we recognise that the world is created merely by our perceiving it. But this becomes clear only when we go very deep within. Until then whenever we look at the world, we feel that this world is always there.

This world seems so real because we take this body to be ourself. This body is part of this world; therefore, if this body is real, this world cannot be unreal. So until we go exceptionally deep within close to the point from where ego begins to rise, we will find it difficult to see through the illusion.

Whenever I (‘I’ means Sanjay and not Michael) look at this world, I take it to be real, take it to be a solid thing out there. So obviously I have not gone sufficiently deep within. Such an acknowledgement will keep us grounded - ‘I still have a lot of ground to cover, so I better put in more effort!’

• Based on the video: 2019-09-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why we should observe only the observer (05:00)

anadi-ananta said...

According the left side column: On Nov 09 AsunAparicio commented on the article of 8 November 2019 Ego seems to exist only when we look elsewhere, away from ourself: “This comment has been removed by the author.”
However, actually Asun's comment number 121 of 9 November 2019 at 12:31 on the article of 25 October 2019 (Can we as ego ever experience pure awareness?) was removed.

anadi-ananta said...

section 4.,
"Bhagavan points out in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, everything else comes into existence only when ego comes into existence, and hence when ego does not exist nothing else exists."
When it is said that ego does not exist so perhaps not even pure awareness does exist.
(Admittedly a daring/ audacious interpretation).:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
when such a plate with self-knowledge is handed to you please don't hesitate to pass on it to me.:-)How could I ever refuse to eat from that plate ?

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

I´ve checked it and you are right but I didn´t remove any of my comments on this article and I still can read them, you can´t?

AsunAparicio said...

“The world is created merely by our perceiving it”

Sanjay,

It takes a lot of courage to go deep within close to that point and a great clarity or purity of mind to see through the illusion. This article by Michael is really significant in many senses.
As you have said in other occasions, important thing is to be on the right track and also, as you point in your comment, to know and acknowledge at what point we are. The point we are at, is not that relevant. This is not a competition but a battle which is being fight within our own will.

AsunAparicio said...

"being fought", sorry.

AsunAparicio said...

"How could I ever refuse to eat from that plate ?" Anadi ananta,

I´m afraid you did it already: "Arunachala, I hope you are not asking the impossibile. This task makes demands of my whole person" :)

anadi-ananta said...

Michael, section 5.,
"In the second sentence of verse 6 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam he says that this atiśaya śakti exists in and is not other than Arunachala, which he described in the first sentence as the one substance (oru poruḷ), the light of awareness (aṟivu oḷi) and the heart (uḷḷam), and in the third sentence he says that from this atiśaya śakti series of subtle shadowy thoughts appear and are seen as shadowy world-pictures both inside and outside, like pictures projected on a cinema screen....".
This I cannot understand: because for me 'Arunachala' is the highest and the only one that exists. Why should or how could from there appear shadowy thoughts ? How can from bright light ever shadowy thoughts or mind or ego arise/appear ? I think that is a bit too high for my level of understanding. But it is some comfort to me that ego and mind do not actually exist. Therefore it is for me a matter of great and crucial significance to see/know what really is.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
what are you afraid of, that I have already refused or have already eaten ? :-)

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, in your comment of 10 November 2019 at 17:57 you have asked the two questions for which there is no answer, namely why and how. These two questions are looking for a reason or cause, but since ego is the first cause, the cause of all other causes (and hence of the very appearance of cause and effect), it has no cause or reason, and if we investigate it keenly enough we will see that it actually has no existence whatsoever.

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you Michael for your quick reply.
Till now my mind obviously does not or cannot practise self-investigation in the required depth and with sufficient keenness. Not even anger about that weakness does not bring a change for the better.:-) So I have to continue tenaciously...

AsunAparicio said...

Michael,

You have delivered a fatal blow to ego with this article. The aim of any magician is not only to create an illusion but to feed and keep in the spectator the fascination with what seems to be inexplicable. Once the trick is explained, fascination automatically fades away so, anything can hardly have some impact or interest. Would we see someone flying in front of our window or walking down the street with his head under his arm, we could leave it behind without troubling us one bit. Everything perceived is the perceiver and it is itself the only wondrous power beyond which there is no other so, being we ourselves as ego this power, the illusionist, the illusion as well as the deluded one, without the deluded the illusionist loses much of his power and the illusion appears just as “shadowy world- pictures both inside and outside” so that not attending them or “elsewhere” doesn´t require too much effort but rather the opposite , it is for attending to “elsewhere” that effort is now required.
Maybe this is what Rajat means when he says that we are imitating self by doing self-inquiry because we, as taking ego, body and world for real, need to make an effort for attending to ourself ,since it is the very nature of ego attending to elsewhere.

Intellectual understanding is what you use to call a “superficial understanding” (I´m still getting familiar with your language) which hasn´t any impact on us and doesn´t change anything since it still is mind. Yet, mind or intellect is our starting point so, question is: at what point do we leave intellect behind and get at true understanding? This point can be recognized because we start to tremble like a leaf, we can instinctively feel that there is a threat but that´s just a manifestation of it, we don´t know how does it happens? What does exactly mean “diving deep within us”? Once the feeling of threating is faced and overcome, there is only peace and quietness.

AsunAparicio said...

"the feeling of threatening", sorry

Michael James said...

Asun, what ‘diving deep within’ exactly means can be learnt only by practice, but if a verbal answer is required, it is attending to ourself so keenly (and hence deeply) that we cease being aware of anything else. The keener and deeper our self-attentiveness becomes, the more awareness of anything else will recede into the background, so to speak, until eventually it disappears altogether, whereupon pure awareness alone will remain and thus ego will be eradicated forever.

AsunAparicio said...

OK, just like that. Thank you, Michael.

Sanjay Lohia said...

As soon as ego comes into existence, it looks elsewhere

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 25 of Ulladu Narpadu:

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

In this article, Michael explains that grasping form does not adequately explain how ego comes into existence because it must exist in order to grasp forms. Rather than explaining how ego comes into existence, this verse explains that grasping form is ego’s very nature. So ego grasps form as soon as it comes into existence, and it continues grasping form as long as it seems to exist – by grasping form it feeds itself and flourishes. If we know the nature of ego, we will also understand the means to get rid of ego.

Ego is a formless phantom and it seems to exist only because we are looking elsewhere. Though ego seems to exist only when it is looking elsewhere, this does not mean that ego comes into existence by looking elsewhere because ego must exist even to look elsewhere. As soon as it comes into existence, it looks elsewhere because looking elsewhere is its intrinsic nature. This looking elsewhere is called pramada or avichara. In fact, ego comes into existence and instantly or simultaneously looks elsewhere, and it continues to look elsewhere until it dissolves back into its source.

Ego is the first cause, the cause of all causes, so nothing can exist prior to or independent of ego. Bhagavan says there is no creation (srsti) other than perception (drsti). So since all thoughts are perceived only by ego, these thoughts are created by ego’s mere perception of them. Cause and effect exist only in the realm of mind, so they are both an illusory appearance created by ego. This is why in advaita philosophy, creation is not attributed to brahman as such but only to maya.

However, if we incessantly investigate this ego, it will be clear that no such thing exists at all. We will eventually see that we are actually just pure awareness, which is immutable and therefore has never appeared as ego or undergone any change. So, in fact, nothing has ever come into existence because the root of everything, ego, has never come into existence.

Bhagavan said that asking why or how ego has come into existence is a question that can be never answered. Only if it had actually arisen, there could be a reason or cause for its rising. However, this ego does seem to exist in its own view, and therefore we do need a method of getting rid of it. Bhagavan has explained that we can get rid of ego only by being so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything other than ourself. Bhagavan has given us a means not just to cease rising as ego but a means to see that ego has actually never arisen in the first place.

• Based on Michael’s article: Ego seems to exist only when we look elsewhere, away from ourself

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan doesn’t treat nishkamya karma as a separate path but links it to the path of bhakti

Bhagavan says in verse two of Upadesa Undiyar that action cannot give liberation. But he qualifies in verse three by saying that action which is not motivated by desire (nishkamya) but done for the love of God purifies one’s mind and shows the way to liberation. The way to liberation is only self-investigation and self-surrender. Bhagavan doesn’t merely talk about desireless action - he says that desireless action which is done for the love of God.

All actions are motivated by desire to a greater or lesser extent. That’s why Bhagavan doesn’t treat nishkamya karma as a separate path but links it to the path of bhakti. That is, we can do selfless service only to the extent that we are doing it for the love of God. So what purifies the mind is not the action itself but the love with which we do it.

I believe that God exists in every being and when I meet a hungry person, I give him a part of my share of my food because of my love for God. Two things are working here: one, my love for God; two, desirelessness at least to a certain extent. If I give this hungry person a part of my share of food, to that extent I am making a sacrifice – sacrificing my food. This is vairagya. So bhakti and vairagya are two sides of the same coin. That is, the more I love God, the less I desire other things; and conversely, the more I desire other things, the less I love God. This bhakti and vairagya purify the mind. The impurities in our mind are all our outward driving will.

The more our mind is purified, the more clearly we will recognise that God cannot be something apart from us. God is our own reality; God is what we actually are. If God is infinite whole, we cannot be something other than him. In fact, God alone exists. So ultimately the path of nishkamya karma combined with bhakti will purify our mind to such an extent that we will clearly understand that in order to know God we have to turn within. Thus we get the requisite love to turn within. That is the highest form of bhakti, as Bhagavan explains later in verses eight and nine.

• Based on the video: 2019-10-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses service in relation to Bhagavan’s teachings (26:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our attention belongs to God within us

A friend: What is this inner eye?

Michael: The inner eye is our attention. It is now facing outwards, but that is not where it belongs. This inner eye should be looking within, so we shouldn’t be allowing our attention to go out towards the world. Our attention belongs to Bhagavan, belongs to God within us. That is why Jesus said, ‘Look, see, the kingdom of heaven is within you’.

We see seeing through the inner eye. This inner eye is seeing through the physical eye. So the same attention which we are now directing outwards away from ourself, we have to turn back inwards towards ourself.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why we should observe only the observer (1:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

God, who is pure awareness, is always shining within our mind giving light to the mind

We are the source from which all this vast universe has appeared, so we are extremely deep, but we can fathom the full extent of our depth only by going deep deep within. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 22 of Ulladu Narpadu:

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

That is, God, who is pure awareness, is always shining within our mind giving light to the mind, but instead of using that mind to know ourself, we are using it to know this world. Sadhu Om used to explain this through a simple analogy. If you are standing outside in the sun with a mirror in your hand and if you want to know what is inside a dark cave, you can shine the light of the mirror into this dark cave and see what is inside. That is what we are doing now. But if you turn the mirror to face the original light of the sun, the reflected light will merge in the original light of the sun. Likewise, we need to turn the reflected light of our mind towards its original light if we want to experience ourself as we really are. We are the bright sun of pure awareness, and this world is like the darkness inside the cave.

So in this verse, Bhagavan says except by turning the mind back within and merging it in God, how is it possible to fathom or know God?

• Based on the video: 2019-09-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why we should observe only the observer (1:03)

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

Sanjay,
"...we need to turn the reflected light of our mind towards its original light if we want to experience ourself as we really are."
How to recognize in which direction we have to turn our "reflected mind-light" in order to turn it towards its original light ? I assume the original light is everywhere or in other words there is no place/no direction where the original light of pure awareness is not.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, you yourself are the original light, and there is no ‘everywhere’ other than you, so all you need do us turn your attention back towards yourself.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thank you again for your transcriptions.
Regarding your transcript of 12 November 2019 at 11:34 • Based on the video: 2019-09-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why we should observe only the observer (1:00) instead of the sentence "We see seeing through the inner eye." I would perhaps more accurately insert : "Everything we see we see with the inner eye. Now we are seeing the world through the physical eye. Who is seeing the world ? That is the inner eye which is seeing with the physical eye." (time mark 1:02:46)

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you Michael for your comment.
'Turning my attention' I can regulate deliberately. But 'back towards myself' seems to be somehow and sometimes hidden or a bit vague/unclear/indinstinct.

AsunAparicio said...

Sorry, I don´t think it is totally accurate what I wrote in my above comment that "effectiveness of attention turned towards ourself comes about as it starts to destroy vasanas in mind."
I cordially disagree with myself :)

anadi-ananta said...

Being the original light, and being no 'everywhere' other than me by turning my attention back towards myself seem having been buried under the dreadful avalanche of forgetfulness/maya. Being skilled in the required excavating work must be my urgent aim.

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-11-02 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 34, a friend asked:

COMMENT BEGINS

In a previous answer below, you referred to ego “existing in order to grasp form”. As I have understood, upon my birth I take myself to be an individual and consequently take form as a body, simultaneously taking breath as sustaining the body, simultaneously seeing other forms and shapes around me. However, as death and reincarnation are all illusory, I am born with ego and will feel myself as individual “automatically”. Correct me here or comment please.

Also, a newborn baby apparently cannot yet see, so there is no sudden appearance of shapes surrounding. Would this gradually transpire in that case?

Also, was wondering ( have never had occasion to ask ), how is it for a person blind from birth? How do they conceive their body to be, and consequently of people around them. I know that I should ask such a person, but I don’t know any. Yet, in any case, they must be under the same illusion and that illusion must act on them in some way.

COMMENT ENDS

In reply to this I wrote:

Ross, when I wrote in the reply you refer to, ‘Grasping form does not adequately explain how it comes into existence, because it must exist in order to grasp form’, what I meant by saying that ego ‘must exist in order to grasp form’ is not that it must exist for the purpose of grasping form but that it could not grasp form if it did not already exist. Its coming into existence and its grasping form occur simultaneously, because grasping form is its very nature.

As soon as we rise as ego, the first form we grasp is a body, which we mistake to be ourself, and so long as we continue to grasp the form of a body as ourself we endure as ego, and we nourish and sustain ourself by grasping other forms, which include both the phenomena that we recognise as existing only in our mind and the phenomena that seem to us to be physical, which we perceive through the five senses of the body that we have grasped as ourself.

When you say, ‘I am born with ego’, you make it sound as if ego is something other than the ‘I’ that is born, whereas in fact that ‘I’ is ego. Since the very nature of ourself as ego is to be aware of ourself as if we were a body, we thereby seem to be separate from other things, so as ego we always seem to be an individual. In this sense, therefore, feeling ourself to be an individual is an automatic effect of our rising as ego, as you imply.

In this context ‘form’ does not just mean visible shapes but phenomena of all kinds whatsoever, whether recognisably mental or seemingly physical. Therefore whether or to what extent a newborn baby can see physical shapes does not alter the fact that the ego that is aware of itself as that newborn body is thereby grasping form, because ‘grasping form’ means being aware of phenomena of any kind whatsoever. Likewise if ego is aware of itself as a body born blind or with impairment of any other senses, it is not only grasping the form of that body but will also be grasping other forms, because it will be aware of other phenomena of one kind or another.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Aren’t we stupid? Aren’t we foolish?

Can this world give us anything which we do not already have? No, it cannot. In fact, metaphorically speaking, this world can take away from us whatever we have. That is, we are infinite, eternal, immutable, unbroken being-awareness-happiness. Can anything in this world better this? On the other hand, when we experience ourself as this ego, we get estranged from our true nature, and therefore we become finite, time-bound, and mutable, and consequently, we experience dissatisfaction and misery.

We are pure light, but we take upon ourself darkness. We are infinite and eternal happiness, but we take upon ourself misery and dissatisfaction. Aren’t we stupid? Aren’t we foolish?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should not worry because we have an extremely powerful ally on our side: Bhagavan’s grace

We have at least some liking to surrender ourself, but at present this liking is weak because of all our desires and attachments. These desires and attachments are pulling us away from ourself. However, we should not worry because we have an extremely powerful ally on our side: Bhagavan’s grace, which is Bhagavan’s infinite love for us. In this entire universe, there is no power which is equal to Bhagavan’s love. His love has drawn us to this path and has given us at least a little love to follow this path. He has planted this seed of love in our heart. He will nurture and protect this seed, and eventually this seed will consume us.

We are like a prey in the jaws of a tiger. We can never escape, and it is foolishness if we try to escape because Bhagavan is here to save us. However, we have to do our little part – our little part is surrendering ourself. How do we surrender ourself? We can do so by trying to turn our entire attention within, by clinging to ourself so firmly that we are not aware of even one thought. That is true surrender. That is following the path shown to us by Bhagavan.

So Bhagavan is a hungry tiger. He is willing to swallow us at this very moment, but he won’t swallow us until we are fully willing to give ourself wholly to him. He is nurturing that willingness in us, but until we are fully willing to surrender ourself, he will not consume us. The more turn within, the more we are cultivating our willingness to surrender. As our love to give ourself to Bhagavan increases, our other desires and attachments slowly drop off – that is, they become less strong. So this is a process we are going through.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why we should observe only the observer (41:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...We are infinite and eternal happiness, but we take upon ourself misery and dissatisfaction. Aren’t we stupid? Aren’t we foolish?"
As long as our misery and dissatisfaction continue to having us under control we do not even dream to be infinite and eternal happiness.

Michael James said...

In a comment on my latest video, 2019-11-09 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 5, a friend asked:

COMMENT BEGINS

This is a question about practice.

Whenever I think I’m doing well I watch another video and I feel like I may be doing everything wrong.

You say we can do self investigation without the body or mind. Let them go on as they will. But when I am writing, which is my job, I feel guilty in a sense because I realize how much I am facing outward. There’s no way my mind can be writing while I see only myself. Isn’t it my mind looking for myself anyway? I need to use my mind for self investigation so how can I not be concerned about what it does?

Secondly, you’ve said before that every other being in this dream is as real as I am. Would this make God real? Like the Christian God? Can we pray to him and he hears us... in this dream?

Lastly, if everything is predetermined in a way to suit my spiritual progress best, why have I been led to Bhagavan and everyone else I know has not? Doesn’t that give me an advantage?

I’m also afraid that when I die I will come back and may never know of him and my efforts will be lost. But if there is only one ego there is actually no me, and I could just as easily be my neighbor. How did Bhagavan do self inquiry in past lives if he doesn’t have an individual ego?

Sorry for all the questions. I can accept that I just need to do self inquiry and realize answers don’t matter, so I suppose my first question about practice is the only vital question.

COMMENT ENDS

In reply to this I wrote:

Yes, Tina, it is mind (or to be more precise, ego) that does self-investigation, but self-investigation entails trying to focus our entire mind or attention on ourself, thereby withdrawing it from everything else, so we need to ignore the body and all other thoughts. So long as we are concerned about the body or any other thoughts, that concern will prevent us attending to ourself alone. Therefore when I said that we should let the body and mind go on according to their nature, or words to that effect, what I meant is that we should be unconcerned about the body and other thoughts, because our sole aim should be to attend to ourself alone.

Mind consists of two elements: a perceiving element, namely ego, which is the first thought and root of all other thoughts, and a perceived element, namely all other thoughts. What is to investigate itself is only ego, and in order to do so it must ignore all other thoughts.

As ego, we experience ourself as a body, so it is natural for us to be concerned about it and all our thoughts related to it, and our concern for these things is what prevents us from turning our entire attention back within to face ourself alone. Therefore in order to go deep in the practice of self-investigation and thereby eventually be aware of ourself as we actually are we need to wean ourself off all such concerns, and the most effective means to do so is to patiently and persistently try to follow this path of self-investigation and self-surrender, as Bhagavan has taught us.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment, in which I was reproducing my reply to Tina:

Yes, God as a separate being is as real as ourself as ego, so we can certainly pray to him, but if we are wise we will pray to him only for what he wants to give us, namely the annihilation of ego. By praying to him for this, we are surrendering ourself to him and giving him the consent he is waiting for to annihilate it. That is, he will never annihilate ego until we are willing to surrender ourself entirely to him, so all he is waiting for is our wholehearted and unreserved consent. Herein lies the efficacy of prayer. However, when we surrender ourself entirely to him and thereby lose ourself in him, we will see that he was never actually separate from us, because he is nothing other than our own real nature.

We are all at different stages of spiritual development, so God (who is none other than Bhagavan) gives each of us what is appropriate to us at our present stage of development. Since we have been drawn to Bhagavan, that indicates that we are ready to imbibe and follow his teachings, and if others have not been attracted to him, that indicates that they are not yet ready to be benefitted by his teachings. Everything happens in its own good time.

Whatever effort we make on this spiritual path will never go in vain. If we are born again, we will be attracted to the same teachings and will therefore resume from where we left off. Bhagavan will ensure this.

You say, ‘But if there is only one ego there is actually no me, and I could just as easily be my neighbor’, but what you refer to as ‘me’ is the one ego, and as this ego you could be aware of yourself as anybody. In your present dream you are aware of yourself as Tina, but in another dream you could be aware of yourself as any other person.

Bhagavan is our real nature, which is pure awareness, so he is what remains when ego is annihilated, and hence as such he never did any self-investigation. What did self-investigation was the ego that was aware of itself in its final dream as ‘I am Venkataraman’, and as soon as that ego investigated itself it died, so what then remained was only Bhagavan. That ego died by just a brief moment of self-investigation in its final dream because it had already progressed so far on this path in its previous dreams.

AsunAparicio said...

Michael,

“ But if there is only one ego there is actually no me, and I could just as easily be my neighbor.”

Well, I´d say that not only our neighbor but all the neighbors and the whole neighborhood, the city and the citizens, the country and so on and on. Actually, everything perceived is ego, the perceiver. But, as you say in this video, all of it is the content of mind being time and space part of this content which is in the space of awareness, being this awareness our actual identity, so to speak. And this is as far as I can go :)

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

Is a madman who is aware of his madness really mad and, therefore, under madness control?

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-09-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why we should observe only the observer, a friend asked:

COMMENT BEGINS

Michael thank you for the video. One small doubt. You say that one cannot begin to practice self-investigation until I understand that I am different from the objects I perceive like body life intellect, etc. But isn’t that which understands anything, only the intellect. So if intellect tries to understand that it is the perceiver of the intellect, is it not deceiving itself. Or do you mean that ego has to see that it is the perceiver, in a wordless, thoughtless, non-intellectual and perhaps intuitive way that it is only the perceiver of phenomena, and that intellect, will etc are only phenomena? And once it is convinced that it is only perceiver, it can happily get to the business of self-investigation safe in the knowledge that it is investigating the real thing, the fundamental root cause of the misery of samsara and of embodied existence?

Also will seems like such an intimate thing. It is that which also chooses whether to do self-investigation. I feel it hard to see that my will is not I (ego) but mere phenomena, object that I perceive. Typing this, i notice I said ‘my will’. Perhaps that is a clue that i am not the will, but will is just an object that i take to be mine and even myself. I pray to Bhagavan to bless me with at least an iota of Viveka to better understand these precious teachings!

COMMENT ENDS

In reply to this I wrote:

Saroj, intellect is one of the five sheaths, all of which are non-aware (jaḍa), as Bhagavan points out in verse 22 of Upadēśa Undiyār, whereas ego is not any of the five sheaths but that which is aware of all of them collectively as if they were itself. Ego is therefore called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the seeming entanglement of awareness (cit) with these five sheaths, which are non-aware (jaḍa). That is, ego is neither cit nor jaḍa, but a spurious entity that rises between them, so to speak, binding them seemingly together as if they were one, as he say in verse 24 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu.

Intellect is ego’s ability to judge and distinguish one thing from another, so it is a tool used by ego but is not ego itself. When it is said that intellect judges, distinguishes or understands, that is a metaphorical way of saying that by means of its intellect ego judges, distinguishes or understands. Therefore we as ego need to use our intellect to distinguish ourself, the perceiver, from the collection of five sheaths, which now seems to be ourself but is actually a set of phenomena or objects perceived by us, because only when we distinguish ourself from everything perceived by us will we understand what we must attend to in order to investigate what we actually are.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment, in which I was reproducing my reply to Saroj:

Like the intellect, the will is one of the five sheaths, albeit the subtlest of them and the one with which we as ego are most intimately identified, so it is a tool used by ego but is not ego itself. The will consists of numerous elements, such as likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes and fears, and though these are all ego’s, none of them is ego itself. Desires, fears and all the other elements of our will are jaḍa, so a desire does not desire anything, and a fear does not fear anything. What desires some things and fears other things is only ourself as ego. Moreover, with the passing of time all these elements of our will gradually change. Things that we desired or feared in the past we may no longer desire or fear, but though our desires and fears have changed, we remain unchanged as the same ego.

By Bhagavan’s grace we now have at least a little liking to investigate and surrender ourself. We did not have this liking in the past, but now we have acquired it, so it is something other than ourself. What chooses whether or not to investigate ourself is not our will but we ourself as ego. We are certainly influenced by our will in making this choice and in everything that we willingly choose to do, but what actually chooses to turn our attention back within to face ourself is only ourself and not our liking to do so.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
what I wanted to express was that we are prevented to be aware of our real nature as infinite and eternal happiness as long as we are or seem to be in the grip of misery and dissatisfaction.

Salazar said...

A madman who is aware of his madness is mad. In fact he’s consumed and controlled by it.

However, a madman who is [only] aware of self is not mad; it is just then the appearance of madness by any witnesses observing that seeming madman.

anadi-ananta said...

We are neither ego, chit-jada granthi, neither the collection of five sheaths nor one of the five sheaths and none of the numerous elements of the will. We are not the perceiver, not a set of phenomena or objects perceived by us. So who are we ourself actually ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We as ego decide to turn our attention back within to face ourself; our liking to do so doesn't take this decision

Recently, Michael wrote a comment addressed to Saroj, which clarifies certain subtle points; therefore, I would reflect on Michael’s comment.

Intellect is a tool used by ego, and therefore our intellect is subservient to ego. That is, our intellect cannot make us decide what we do not want to decide. Intellect can help us in the process of our understanding or of our decision making, but we are the final authority. However, our intellect is a powerful instrument, and the deeper working of the intellect is called viveka (which is our ability to distinguish real from the unreal). So we cannot go very deep in our spiritual journey without a keen and clear viveka.

In Bhagavan’s path the primary task of our intellect is to distinguish ourself from all that we perceive, to distinguish ourself from all the objects experienced by us. So by using our intellect we need to clearly understand that we cannot by any body, life, mind, intellect or will, because we can exist without these adjuncts in our sleep. So who am I? This way we need to understand what we should investigate when we try to turn within. We need to investigate the essential I-ness in us, by ignoring all our five sheaths.

Like the intellect, our will is one of our sheaths, albeit the subtlest one and the one with which our identification is very intimate. So will is also a tool used by our ego. Desire, fear and all the other elements of our will are jada, and therefore these desires and fears do not come into the picture until we as ego attend to such desires or fears. Moreover, with the passing of time all these elements of our will gradually change. I liked eating omelettes at one time, but now I cannot stand an omelette. However, I (ego) who liked omelettes and dislikes them now is the same I. As all long as it exists, ego is changeless.

By Bhagavan’s grace now we have a little liking to investigate and surrender ourself, but we didn’t have this liking in the past. We have acquired this liking, so this liking is something other than ourself. Therefore, we as ego decide to turn our attention back within to face ourself; our liking to do so doesn't take this decision. However, our decisions are greatly influenced by our will, but the buck stops with us, our ego.

Based on Michael’s recent comment addressed to Saroj


AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

Yes, I understand what you meant, that´s why I asked the question. I´ll put it in another way:

Is someone who is enclosed in prison and starts to dig a tunnel to get out of it really a prisoner and under the prison and its rules control, or is he inwardly and secretly free already ? The means is also the goal. Once we begin to walk Ramana´s path of self-investigation, and turning attention towards ourself is the only freedom we have, misery and dissatisfaction haven´t us under control anymore but, as Michael said, “what ‘diving deep within’ exactly means can be learnt only by practice.”

AsunAparicio said...

By the way, have any of you read Kitty Osborne´s letter denying the information which according to David Godman he got from her, about Robert Adams visiting Ramana´s ashram and the story about her father and the car that he tells in a video?

Anonymous said...

:) may be nothing? And may be everything is in that nothing? Thats what we are told.

Anonymous said...

Q: If I know myself, shall I not desire and fear?
M: For some time the mental habits may linger in spite of the new vision, the habit of longing for the known past and fearing the unknown future. When you know these are of the mind only, you can go beyond them. As long as you have all sorts of ideas about yourself, you know yourself through the mist of these ideas; to know yourself as you are, give up all ideas. You cannot imagine the taste of pure water, you can only discover it by abandoning all flavourings.
As long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will not abandon it. Discovery cannot come as long as you cling to the familiar. It is only when you realize fully the immense sorrow of your life and revolt against it, that a way out can be found.

Anonymous said...

Q: Then, what am I to do?
M: Try to be, only to be. The all-important word is ‘try’. Allot enough time daily for sitting quietly and trying, just trying, to go beyond the personality, with its addictions and obsessions. Don’t ask how, it cannot be explained. You just keep on trying until you succeed. If you persevere, there can be no failure. What matters supremely is sincerity, earnestness; you must really have had surfeit of being the person you are, now see the urgent need of being free of this unnecessary self-identification with a bundle of memories and habits. This steady resistance against the unnecessary is the secret of success.
After all, you are what you are every moment of your life, but you are never conscious of it, except, maybe, at the point at awakening from sleep. All you need is to be aware of being, not as a verbal statement, but as an ever-present fact. The awareness that you are will open your eyes to what you are. It is all very simple. First of all, establish a constant contact with your self, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all blessings flow. Begin as a centre of observation, deliberate cognizance, and grow into a centre of love in action. ‘I am’ is a tiny seed which will grow into a mighty tree — quite naturally, without a trace of effort.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Grace itself is shining within us as the love for our real nature

We need a two-way love with our real nature: our real nature has infinite and eternal love for us, but we also have to love our real nature. Our sadhana cannot fructify if both these elements are not present. However, though it seems to be a two-way love, grace itself is shining within us as the love for our real nature. What prevents us from loving ourself wholeheartedly? Why do we love this world more than we love real nature? Our desires and attachments for this world prevent us from loving ourself with our full heart and soul.

We have cultivated these desires and attachments through our habits from our countless past dreams. So these are extremely powerful, and therefore we are unceasingly looking outwards, towards things other than ourself. We desire things outside ourself because of our mistaken belief that we obtain happiness from these things. When we desire a thing and when we get it, we are happy. However, that happiness is not coming from those outside things but from ourself alone. When we desire something our mind is agitated because of that desire, and when our desire is fulfilled we feel satisfied. When we are satisfied, the happiness which is our true nature shines forth, at least a little bit.

So all efforts made by all sentient beings are efforts to be happy. However, there is no happiness in the objects; happiness lies only within.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-09 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 5 (25:00)

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, as we know, that question cannot be answered. Any answer must be false and it is a waste of time to speculate about it. That very speculation is the obstacle to the answer.

AsunAparicio said...

We all know that we are. Question “who am I”? points out to this consciousness of being shared by everybody, though mixed up with this and that. Didn´t we know that we are, practicing self-investigation would be impossible. What can´t be known is pure awareness aware only of itself which is what we really are because that knowing is being . Some seem to find this consciousness of being, though mixed up with this and that, to be something “vague” because they can´t separate “I am” from “I am this” and some others mistake this consciousness of being which still is ego with pure awareness yet, all of it has been explained by Michael many times.

Salazar said...

Let's hope that this continuous pointing out of "others who mistake this consciousness of being which is still ego" will reach those poor souls and they will finally listen and come to their senses :-D

Salazar said...

Robert Adams gave satsangs in the early 90s in LA in the valley north of Hollywood. In early August 1992 he started the satsang differently as usual and shared something about his past what he rarely did:
He said that he stayed at the Ramana ashram from 1947 to 1952 and that he stayed at the house of Arthur Osborne. At one particular afternoon at about 4 PM Bhagavan walked into his room and gave Robert a mango. Bhagavan sat down on a stool and they remained in silence for some time. Robert then asked Bhagavan spontaneously “what is more important to be in a presence of a sage or to practice atma-vichara?”
Bhagavan smiled and answered, “The sage is atma-vichara. The sage is self, your self.”

Later this afternoon Robert asked Bhagavan another question, “What is the most effective way to do atma-vichara?” Bhagavan smiled again and answered, “To always be aware consciously in all situations of the “I am” in your heart. This is the most effective practice.”

Robert left the ashram in 1952 and returned two more times to India and to the ashram.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun, you may be happy, but what shall we incapable ones do now ? Shall we make perhaps an headstand ?
Even the best explanations don't have infinite range and might fail to have the desired effect. Of course that is not the fault of the teachings; no blame attaches to the teacher.:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
to know that we are is not even halfway satisfactory. Even a worm or a mosquito knows that it is.

Sanjay Lohia said...

In Tamil, there is a saying: All is for good

Grace is the powerful ally of ego that loves to turn within; maya is the powerful ally of ego that likes to turn outwards. A battle is going on within our will, and the opposing parties are our liking to surrender ourself and our liking to continuously trying to squeeze some happiness out of this world.

Grace is nurturing in us that love to turn within. Bhagavan used to say grace is the beginning, middle and end. That is, grace has drawn us to this path, grace is helping us to sustain this effort to turn within, and ultimately grace will swallow us. What is grace? Grace is Bhagavan’s love, and Bhagavan and Bhagavan’s love are not two different things. Bhagavan is love; Bhagavan is grace. We have some liking to surrender ourself, but that liking has been given by Bhagavan himself. So ultimately everything is done only by him, but it seems that we have to do our little part because we have to be willing to turn within.

Grace alone is real – grace is the light that is shining in our heart. Whatever we experience in this life – seeming good or seeming bad – is given to us by grace. Grace has one and one aim alone: that is, to draw us within and swallow us. Bhagavan has shaped our outward life with all sorts of experiences in order to make us willing to turn within. All the good and bad experiences have one ultimate aim: nurturing in us the love to turn within.

So we need not be concerned by our outward life because it is being taken care of by grace. Whatever this body, speech and mind have to do, they will be made to do. We need not and should not be concerned about that. We should be concerned about only one thing: turning within and surrendering ourself.

Our whole life is shaped by grace. We are always embraced by Bhagavan’s love, but we are not aware of it because we are looking away from Bhagavan towards this beautiful or ugly world. If we want to know how much Bhagavan loves us, we need to turn within and look at Bhagavan. Bhagavan is always shining in our heart, so only by turning back within we can see how much Bhagavan loves us.

In Tamil, there is a saying: All is for good.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-27 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why we should observe only the observer (1:15)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
if a question already from the outset cannot be answered then it is anyway not a disaster if any mental attitude (here speculation) is considered as "the obstacle to the answer".:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar,
presumably you met there in the mentioned Californian valley Robert Adams (who certainly consumed in the late forties the mango with the greatest of pleasure). :-)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
can you paraphrase the meaning of "All is for good" ?
Usually "for good" means (according my dictionary) for always or for ever [and ever].
Or it means "all is good for anything" ?

AsunAparicio said...

I have read Katya Osborne´s letter and it doesn´t prove that Robert Adams was never in Ramana´s ashram but rather calls into question the stories that David Godman tells on Bhagavan and his devotees. The arrogance of Reinhard Jung who has used this letter to publicly judge and condemn Robert Adams, has put the credibility gap of Godman´s writings in the spotlight.
As Sanjay says, all is for good :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We are worse than the people out there who know nothing about Bhagavan’s teachings

We don’t have the wisdom to understand that all the happiness lies only within. All we have to do is to uninterruptedly cling to ourself and eventually, we will become one with eternal and infinite happiness. Such a simple message but we are unwilling to understand this or put it into practice. We don’t have the discrimination or viveka to accept this truth.

Bhagavan is aware of our aviveka, and therefore he has sung on our behalf, ‘I am the supreme among those who lack the supreme wisdom to cling to your feet without attachment’. We are worse than the people out there who know nothing about Bhagavan’s teachings because despite knowing that there is no happiness in things outside ourself, we continue to chase them. So we are more foolish than even the most ignorant person.

• Based on the video: 2018-12-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay ,
"We don’t have the discrimination or viveka to accept this truth."
From where should we receive that viveka ?
Is it not said that "Grace alone is real – grace is the light that is shining in our heart." and "Our whole life is shaped by grace. We are always embraced by Bhagavan’s love...".
"Bhagavan is aware of our aviveka...". Is it not said that Bhagavan is atma-svarupa, our real nature, which is aware of nothing but himself/itself ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

‘I am the body’ idea is our actual experience and the basis of all our other experiences

Ego is the ‘I am the body’ idea, so this idea is a thought, but it is not like other superficial thoughts. ‘I am the body’ idea is our actual experience and the basis of all our other experiences. However, the more we practise self-investigation, the more we start to detach from our body. The root of all our problems is our dehatma-buddhi – our own identification with our body. So we have to begin to view our body with detachment. The deeper we go into our practice, the more detached we become – the more detached we become from our own body and consequently from everything else related to this body.

So when someone dear to us passes away we will be affected, but in spite of being affected, we will not feel the pain so intensely. We will be able to view these things from a distance. We will have less identification with our grief. Because we take ourself to be a body, we take the other person to be that body. So when that person passes away we feel that we are separated from that person. If we become detached, we will still feel the pain, but to the extent we are free of likes and dislikes, we will be less affected by pain. The sensations of pain may be there, but because we are free of likes and dislikes, that pain will affect us less.

Our prarabdha is also teaching us detachment. It makes us suffer in one way or other - we all have our aches and pains. All our pleasures and pains affect us because of our attachments, because of our likes and dislikes. If we had no likes and dislikes, nothing will affect us. Pain is a pain because we don’t like it. However, slowly but surely our prarabdha is actually making things easier for us by showing us that nothing in this world can give us the happiness that we are seeking from moment to moment. So we should give us our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes and so on and turn within because there is no happiness outside.

Even though Bhagavan was totally detached from his body, when sometimes people came to him and told him about their bereavement or some such incident, he would shed tears. Bhagavan didn’t feel any distinction with others, so he was like a mirror. Because Bhagavan had no attachment to his body, he was able to fully feel the pain of others. Can we ever understand Bhagavan’s state?

• Based on the video: 2018-12-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13



Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, that was probably the best mango he had in his entire life :-)


There are people who make it their business to "debunk" spiritual personalities and one can find on-line all kinds of speculations and seemingly plausible explanations. I came across a lengthy article of someone who seemingly "proved" that Bhagavan is a fake. On one website, which had a number of spiritual figures listed, they called Sri Ramakrishna a fake and in addition they called him a pedophile who supposedly had sexually abused children.
A popular female Indian author called Gandhiji a racist and gay man. And the list goes on and on .....

I can only say that all these articles are poisonous, even if some of the people may be "charlatans" ;-) , it just feeds the paranoia of the doubtful and less certain devotees.

I couldn't care less what anybody says about gurus, it is born out of the impure mental realm and all these people who write those articles and those who pick them up have unresolved issues.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, the word ‘good’ has various meaning, a few of its meanings, according to Oxford Online Dictionary, are: to be desired or approved of; pleasing and welcome; showing approval; useful, advantages in effect. I believe ‘good’ is used mostly in this sense. So this Tamil saying ‘All is for Good’ has a similar set of meanings. In our context, ‘All is for good’ can be taken to mean that all our outside worldly experiences are for our ultimate benefit. That is, Bhagavan shapes all our life’s experiences keeping our spiritual advancement in mind. So ‘All is for Good’.

However, ‘for good’ is also used as a phrase, which means forever or definitively, but this is not the intended meaning of this Tamil saying.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, what I meant with 'wondering who we are being an obstacle' is that that very mental activity is clouding the answer what is self.

self is, always. Alas we are so used to follow the mind and identify with it as ego, that we overlook self (what we really are, right now). It is known that thoughts obscure self. So why then wondering about it when it even more clouds self and get the opposite of the desired result to find/recognize/know it?

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, no - I did not attend any satsangs of Robert Adams. A friend of mine did and he gave me the transcripts of all satsangs he went to. They audio-taped the satsangs and then one student transcribed these from the tape and handed it out at the next meeting.

Those transcripts have the date of the satsang and it has a life-like spirit when you read it. I believe there is also a collected version somewhere on-line.

AsunAparicio said...

Anadi-ananta,

I once asked someone I consider a sage if I could share some of her (private) writings with some friends and she told me that I could if I felt so but that I also had to know that a few words wouldn´t have the desired effect, as you say, that a lot of grace was necessary too. I have no idea how this works either.

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you Asun,
grace may ultimately dispel all our deficiencies. No clouding or dimming of our consciousness may remain.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar, thank you,
your warning of following the mind excessively is quite justified.
And thanks also for satisfying my curiosity about Robert Adams.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, you asked, ‘From where should we receive that viveka?’ Viveka is our ability to distinguish one thing from another. However, the term viveka has a deeper meaning in the spiritual context. In this context, it means the ability to distinguish the real from the unreal. So how do we acquire such viveka? We acquire it by experiencing more and more what is real. What is real? Only atma-svarupa is real. So the more we investigate ourself and thereby get established in our true nature, the more we will be able to distinguish ourself from the things which are other than ourself. In other words, to the extent we experience our inner clarity, to that extent our viveka will grow.

I wrote, ‘Bhagavan is aware of our aviveka’. Quoting this you asked, ‘Is it not said that Bhagavan is atma-svarupa, our real nature, which is aware of nothing but himself/itself?’ Both are true: Bhagavan as atma-svarupa is not aware of anything other than itself, but it is also true that Bhagavan is aware of our aviveka. We need to have a subtle and nuanced understanding of such matters. One way of understanding this is Bhagavan as atma-svarupa is aware of only itself and nothing else, but Bhagavan as Ishvara is aware of everything.

When we say ‘Bhagavan is aware of everything’, this can also be understood in two ways. One, Bhagavan is aware of the only thing that exists as this only thing is ‘everything‘. Two, Bhagavan is aware of all the multiplicity because even a single leaf cannot move if it is against his will. How can Bhagavan ordain our prarabdha if he not aware of our actions? So in one sense, Bhagavan is aware of all our strengths, weaknesses, all our viveka and aviveka, all our vasanas and so on. He ordains our prarabdha by taking all these into account.

However, in fact, Bhagavan is like the sun - he just is. Things take place because of the power of his mere presence. So Bhagavan does things without doing.


Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, one more point: when we seem to be acting, Bhagavan also seems to be acting. When we seem to be experiencing things, Bhagavan also seems to be experiencing things. However, from the absolute perspective, neither we are acting nor is Bhagavan acting. Neither we are experiencing things nor is Bhagavan experiencing things. Only one reality exists and it is beyond all actions. This reality experiences only itself and is absolutely immutable.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Non-duality alone is the truth at all times; therefore, our aim is to get rid of the seeming duality

The distinction between our real awareness and our spurious awareness (ego or mind) is very subtle. In DBD, Bhagavan says when the consciousness is turned outwards it is mind, and when the same consciousness is turned inwards it is atma-svarupa. Consciousness is only one - consciousness has no division. This one consciousness is prajnanam or brahman or Bhagavan when it remains as it is. The same consciousness is ego when it rises identifying itself with a body.

However, sometimes it is useful to distinguish the two types of consciousness. Chit is pure awareness, and chitabhasa is seeming awareness. Chitabhasa is the awareness that is aware of phenomena, and when the same awareness turns back to face itself alone it remains as chit. What exists is only the rope. We may see it as a snake, but it is still a rope. Likewise, what exists is only chit (pure awareness). We may see it as chiabhasa (ego), but it is still chit (pure awareness). Another distinction Bhagavan used in Tamil was between suttarivu (which means awareness of things or showing awareness) and sutratarivu [I am not sure if this is the exact word] – (which means awareness which is devoid of pointing or showing).

So the distinction is subtle, but the distinction becomes clear to the extent we put Bhagavan’s teachings into practice. The deeper we go within, the clearer it will be that what seems to be ego is just pure awareness. Ego is just an illusory superimposition on our real nature. So why bring in the duality in our thought or language when no such duality exists?

Therefore, the distinction between ego and ‘the Self’ is not necessary in most cases. Bhagavan is trying is get of the duality, so though he may use the same word ‘oneself’ or ‘ourself’, he expects us to understand the intended meaning of the word from the context. Bhagavan used very simple words, but he used them in a nuanced manner. As our mind is progressively clarified, the indented meaning of his words will become clearer and clearer.

So long as our mind is going outwards, we are liable to see duality even where there is no duality. So constant practice of self-investigation and self-surrender is extremely important. Only such practice will help us understand what Bhagavan means, and this understanding will enable us to go deeper into the practice. So this is a process of refinement.

Until we turn a full 180 degrees within, we will seem to see duality when no duality exists. Bhagavan says that the contention that there is duality during practice but non-duality after attainment is not correct. We are the tenth man both when we are searching for this tenth man and when we have found the tenth man. So non-duality alone is the truth at all times; therefore, our aim is to get rid of the seeming duality.

• Based on the video: 2018-12-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13 (12:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, in my last comment, I quoted you as saying, ‘Another distinction Bhagavan used in Tamil was between suttarivu (which means awareness of things or showing awareness) and sutratarivu [I am not sure if this is the exact word] – (which means awareness which is devoid of pointing or showing)’. I am not sure if I have spelt the words suttarivu and sutratarivu correctly. I would appreciate if you could let us know the correct spellings of these words. Thank you.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
Thank you for your plausible explanation.
You finally state "Only one reality exists and it is beyond all actions. This reality experiences only itself and is absolutely immutable."
That sounds quite well. :-)
Of course, without realizing that auspicious prospects, mere hearing that and even mentally knowing that I am the one reality, the sun and all the other superlatives together cannot at all satisfy me. Being shocked at my dissatisfaction and ankle-deep unhappiness I ask myself why I did and does not know that all from immediate own experience or own being here and now. Obviously maya readily accepted my immaturity as an invitation to creep into my life. And now I see me complaining about my unsatisfactory state as a severe ajnani. :-)
So I sneak away disillusioned with my (previous) "way of spirituality".

Michael James said...

Sanjay, in reply to your comment of 16 November 2019 at 14:03, in which you refer to your earlier comment of 16 November 2019 at 12:09, I have written about the distinction between சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu) and சுட்டற்ற அறிவு (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu) in many of my articles, most recently in What is the relationship between the ‘I-thought’ and awareness?, particularly in the second section, Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verses 10 to 13: distinguishing intransitive awareness from transitive awareness.

As I have explained elsewhere, சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu) is a compound of two words, சுட்டு (suṭṭu), which means pointing out, showing, indicating or aiming at, and அறிவு (aṟivu), which means knowledge or awareness, so சுட்டறிவு (suṭṭaṟivu) literally means ‘showing awareness’ and implies transitive awareness: that is, awareness of objects or phenomena. Likewise சுட்டற்ற அறிவு (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu) is a compound of three words, சுட்டு (suṭṭu), அற்ற (aṯṟa), which is an adjectival participle that means bereft of, devoid of or without, and அறிவு (aṟivu), so சுட்டற்ற அறிவு (suṭṭaṯṟa aṟivu) literally means ‘awareness devoid of showing’ and implies intransitive awareness: that is, awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself (namely ourself).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for your clarification. Obviously, our aim should be to remain as suttatra arivu (intransitive awareness): awareness devoid of showing or awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself. With regards.

Rajat said...

Michael,
What is the exact intended meaning of the word 'adjunct' when you talk about ego and its adjuncts? According to the dictionary one definition of the word 'adjunct' is 'appendage', as in the arm being an appendage of the body. But I think this is not an accurate definition because the arm is not other than the body but a part of the body, while the ego's adjuncts are said to be completely other than the ego. How best to understand the word 'adjunct' in this context?

Also, you explain in your comment of 13 November 2019 at 20:23 that ego is called cit-jaḍa-granthi, a knot between awareness (cit) and the five sheaths (jada), and that ego is neither. Why is only the jada rope called an adjunct of the ego, and not the cit rope that is also likewise a constituent of the entanglement or knot that is ego?

Is there any difference between saying "ego is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’", and saying "ego is always aware of itself as a body"? You use the former definition frequently, as in section 8 of this article, and not the latter which seems to convey the same meaning and to be simpler, so I'm thinking the former must have some subtle difference. Thanks.

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat,
between saying "ego is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’", and saying "ego is always aware of itself as a body" is certainly no difference.

Michael James said...

Rajat, in reply to your comment of 16 November 2019 at 17:50, etymologically ‘adjunct’ means what is adjoined or joined to something else, so it means a supplementary or non-essential part of something. To use the example you mention, an arm is an adjunct of the body because it is not essential, since a body can function without it.

In the context of ego, ‘adjunct’ is used as a translation of the Sanskrit term ‘upādhi’, which also means a substitute, disguise, deception, fraud, appearance, phantom, limitation, qualification, condition or attribute, so adjuncts are all that ego mistakes to be itself, namely the five sheaths and all their qualities. These adjuncts are other than ego, because though ego cannot exist without them, they are constantly changing whereas ego remains the same, and the only change it undergoes is that it appears in waking and dream and disappears in sleep other such states of manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind).

In cit-jaḍa-granthi, what is essential is only cit (pure awareness), because that is our real nature and is ever shining, and the jaḍa (non-aware) elements are all adjuncts, because we exist without them in sleep. Ego is neither cit nor jaḍa but the granthi (knot) formed by the seeming entanglement of cit with jaḍa.

No, there is no substantive difference between saying that ego is always aware of itself as ‘I am this body’ and that it is always aware of itself as a body, but the former is a more intensified way of saying it, particularly in the context of Bhagavan’s teachings, because he often emphasised that ego is nothing but the false awareness ‘I am this body’. In this false awareness, ‘I am’ is its essential cit element, which is our real nature, because it is our fundamental awareness of our own existence, which is ever shining by its own light without ever appearing, disappearing or undergoing any other kind of change, whereas ‘this body’ refers to all the adjuncts that we as ego mistake ourself to be, which are its non-essential jaḍa elements.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan said self-investigation and self-surrender are very gentle paths

Bhagavan said self-investigation and self-surrender are very gentle paths. If we compare these paths with the path of yoga, in yoga they try to forcibly control the mind by means of pranayama and other such techniques. Bhagavan said if a cow has run out its shed and is wandering out in the fields, what is the best way to get it back into its shade? The wisest way is to take a bunch of nice green grass and slowly slowly with the green grass tempt the cow back to its shade.

Instead, if you run after it with a stick and try to chase it back, it will go some other way – whichever way you chase it, it will find some way around you. You may after much difficulty get it back somewhere near its shade, but it will still find a way of dodging you. So this is not a wise way to go about it.

Bhagavan said the paths of self-investigation and self-surrender are gentle methods. Our mind in the form its desires, attachments, likes, dislikes have wandered out of their shade, namely our source. So we have to tempt these back to their source. We cannot forcibly force stop all our outgoing desires all at once. So we need to be patient and slowly slowly try to wean our mind away from its desires by trying to turn within at every given opportunity.

So we have to win this battle by adopting a gentle approach – gentle but uncompromising.

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

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you wanted to write shed, not shade. (cowshed)

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
after extremely vivid and strange dreaming last night some questions arose:
1.) is also the daily chronological course/sequence of waking, dreaming and deep sleep predetermined ?
2.) is the content of dreams (in dreaming state) and the kind of dream sequence also predestined ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Even if we own all the finite things, we will still be unhappy

According to Bhagavan, all things other than ourself are just thoughts. In fact, this entire world is just a collection of thoughts. Thoughts are not just our mental chatter but everything - all emotions, feelings, ideas, memories, opinions and so on – are just thoughts or mental phenomenon. Why do these thoughts arise? They arise because of our desires? In fact, our very first desire is to identify ourself with a body and to experience a world which seems to be apart from this body. This identification with a body is ego, and this ego is the cause or root of everything.

Why do we desire things? It is because we seek happiness outside ourself. Why do we seek happiness outside? It is because happiness is our intrinsic nature, so when we identify ourself with a body, we seemingly separate ourself from our true nature. So we can never be satisfied unless and until we ‘regain’ our infinite happiness, but we seek this happiness outside because we have limited ourself to this body. As this finite entity, we are always facing outside, and therefore we believe that we will find happiness outside.

As this finite body, we need food, clothing and shelter, and to acquire all these things we need money. So we look for money, but even when our basic needs are satisfied we don’t stop. We look for more and more money. So this way we unceasingly increase our desires. Even the richest person in this world is not satisfied because they want more and more. Moreover, when we look out, we find many interesting things outside. We in India have the Kashmir issue, so I may take a lot of interest in things happening there. I may want to improve my English, so I may spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos which could refine my English. Eventually, I have to forget everything, so why spend so much time on these ephemeral things?

Therefore, all our need, greed and interest constantly keep our attention on this world, so who wants to turn within and look at oneself? We as ego thrive on complexity, but we as we actually are are absolutely simple and unchanging. So in our ego’s view, we are boring and uninteresting. This way we are constantly caught us in complexity. Our true nature is infinite, but we foolishly try to find happiness in the things which are finite. We try to accumulate more and more finite things, but even if we own all the finite things, we will still be unhappy.

In spite of the problems of our bodily existence, we still continue looking outside because of our likes, dislikes, attachments and so on, and therefore we find it difficult to turn within. Though actually turning within, according to Bhagavan, is the easiest thing. If we can attend to other things, why can’t we attend to ourself? It is because of our desires. These desires are driving our thoughts, and therefore our job is to weaken our desires and eventually destroy our ego which has these desires. We can do so most effectively and quickly by practising self-investigation and self-surrender.

• Based on the video: 2018-12-08 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13 (12:00)


AsunAparicio said...

Thank you, Michael, for that link in your response to Sanjay. I see the issue is not recent.

I could see by myself how understanding ego and its nature enables us to dive deeper and deeper within for the simple reason that our interest in focusing attention on things other than ourself decreases which, in turn, greatly facilitates turning attention towards ourself, being this the aim of Ramana´s teachings and of all explanations in this blog.

One can´t claim understanding Ramana´s teachings and yet, to contradict them with each comment without any other argument than mocking and ridiculing others by manipulating their words so that they appear as fools but, on the other hand, how otherwise could one explain all the absurdities one says and to draw attention away from their inconsistency?

Saying that ego turned towards itself, it is self or pure awareness, is correct, but concluding from this that ego is self and that it is self what does self-investigation, is completely absurd. How and what for is self going to do self-investigation if it only knows itself and nothing else? This self-knowledge is complete in itself, doesn´t depend on anything to be nor lack anything. It is complete satisfaction or happiness, not some kind of vacuum or nothingness in the sense that some understand this word. It is only ego what knows other things than itself and is unable of finding long-lasting satisfaction in any of those things. It is ego what creates dissatisfaction or unhappiness but it is also the solution to the problem since it is also aware of itself as being aware of other things and can turn towards itself where true satisfaction lies on. Not realizing self , as some claim, which is always self-realized but un-realizing ego or realizing that ego doesn´t exist and never existed.

At present, there are people who have acquired great ability for conceptually dismantling ego´s constructs giving talks and creating in the listeners great confusion and undesirable states of mind. Nothing to do with using the precise scalpel of self-investigation and self-surrender as taught by Bhagavan and explained in this blog by Michael. No wonder that, in former days, these teachings only were given to those who had gone previously through different disciplines focused, mainly, on righteous thought, speech and deed, fortunately, Bhagavan´s path involves all of it. Taking what we like from the teachings and leaving out what we dislike, will never work.

Michael James said...

Salazar, in your comment of 14 November 2019 at 21:08 you write that Robert Adams claimed that he stayed at the house of Arthur Osborne and one afternoon Bhagavan walked into his room and gave him a mango. What you write seems to be a summary of what he said on 2nd August 1992 as recorded on pages 2839-40 of this 3652-page transcript of ‘Robert Adams Satsangs’ from August 1990 to June 1993, in which he said:

‘I had been living in Ramana ashram for about a year and a half. This was the end of 1948. I stayed with Arthur Osborne, in his house. In those days when foreigners came they were put up with Arthur Osborne most of the time without him knowing. And on one particular evening about 4 o clock Sri Ramana walked into the cottage and he brought me a mango.’

He made a similar claim a week later, on 9th August 1992, when he said, as recorded on page 2868: ‘In 1948, I was at Arthur Osbornes home near Ramana ashram. And Ramana used to walk in there every once in a while. He came in one day, sat down and he started to talk about not reacting to things.’

To set the record straight, despite what he claimed, Robert Adams never stayed in the Osborne’s house or compound, and Bhagavan never visited there. As Katya Douglas (formerly Kitty Osborne) wrote to me today, ‘Our house in Tiruvannamalai was...and is...tiny and NO ONE could stay in it without us knowing. What a ridiculous idea. Bhagavan NEVER came to our house, that is pure fantasy, a polite way of saying it is a lie!’

I do not know why Robert made up such stories, but such patently false claims call into question all his claims about having met Bhagavan and having lived there so long in those days.

I came to know about this claim that Robert stayed in the Osborne’s house only last weekend at a meeting of the Ramana Maharshi Foundation here in London, when a friend came up to me and said something to the effect, ‘You know people say that no one in the ashram remembers seeing Robert Adams when he stayed with Bhagavan. Well apparently Kitty Osborne remembers him, because David Godman wrote under his video on Robert that her father lent him their car so that he could tour around India’. I was vaguely surprised to hear this, because it seemed to me rather implausible, but did not give it any further thought until I saw the comment that Asun wrote on 14 November 2019 at 12:15 asking, ‘By the way, have any of you read Kitty Osborne’s letter denying the information which according to David Godman he got from her, about Robert Adams visiting Ramana’s ashram and the story about her father and the car that he tells in a video?’, and then your comment written later that day that I refer to above.

This prompted me to do some fact-checking, so I searched and found David’s video Robert Adams and Ramana Maharshi, under which he wrote a comment six years ago saying: ‘I gave this interview ten years ago. At that time I knew no one who had met Robert in Tiruvannamalai. Since then I have discovered that he was well known by the Osborne family. Arthur wrote or edited three books on Ramana. He liked Robert so much he gave Robert his only car so that Robert could drive around India after Sri Ramana passed away. I received this information from Arthur’s daughter, Katya, who remembers being annoyed that their family vehicle had been given away.’

(I will continue this reply in my next two comments.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Salazar:

However, under this comment there is a reply written two years ago by someone called Steven Strouth saying:

REPLY BEGINS

This is an email from Katya Osborne disputing this claim you are making:
Dear [......] I would like to clear up some obvious misconceptions you have been led to believe about Robert Adams etc. Firstly I have never, until now, ever heard of Robert Adams. I don’t say he never visited Ramanashramam, I would not necessarily have met him if he had, but he most certainly did not stay there for 3 years as I would certainly have met him in that case.
Secondly the story of Bhagavan giving him special attention and having food served in his room is nonsense. Bhagavan did not do that sort of thing. I can only think that it may be an excuse proffered in order to explain why nobody saw him!
Thirdly, our family never had a car so it was impossible for my father to have given it away. I cannot understand how David Godman got his idea that I was part of that whole fantasy. The only business connected with a car was when a friend of my parents, Louis Hartz, imported a car to India for his own use, and when he was ready to leave the country he offered the car to my father. My father refused, explaining that he had no use for a car. End of story. I cannot understand how I can be so completely misquoted while I am still alive and my memory is in pretty good working order. Surely the slightest fact-checking would straighten things out?
Lastly, I should point out that it was completely impossible for my father to have given money to ‘Robert Adams’ as until 1948 we were living on a war pension which he qualified for after 4 years in a concentration camp in Bangkok. In those years we barely had enough to live on, and most certainly didn’t have enough to give away.
I have read the obituary written in 1997. I t seems as though it is well meant but based largely on hearsay. This is a recurring problem when people write about anything to do with Ramana Maharishi. There are so few of us left who were there way back then, and many people prefer the stories they have been told without reference to facts.
To reiterate: I would like to state quite clearly that I have never met or heard of Robert Adams until reading your letter.
Secondly, the story of the car is completely spurious.
Yours sincerely,
Kitty Osborne

REPLY ENDS

I therefore wrote to Katya through a mutual friend to ask her whether there is any truth in what David wrote, or whether the email quoted by Steven Strouth was actually written by her, and she replied confirming that she did write that email, and that she had also sent a copy of it to David, who replied to her saying: ‘I got the story second hand from someone who said that you were the source. I will not cite you as a source on this again, and if anyone asks, I will say that the car story is false. Thanks for letting me know about this’.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Salazar:

In her first reply to me Katya wrote: ‘There is no way I could remember Robert Adams because I never meet him, neither did I even heard his name spoken of until recently. My father could not have lent him a car because didn’t own one. Neither of my parents drove. The whole thing seems a complete fantasy’.

In another email she wrote to me today she said:

‘It is so deeply offensive when people make up stories about Bhagavan and pretend they are true. We all know that being a so-called ‘guru’ is the biggest ego-trip possible, and some people just cannot resist. Devoteees of Bhagavan...especially those who live around the ashram and have access to all the writings and some of the people from way back then, have a particular responsibility to try, as far as possible, to maintain the authenticity of Bhagavan’s words and actions. To make things up and publish them as fact is unforgivable and so is condoning others who do the same. I will say again that Bhagavan NEVER came to our house for a visit or a chat. Robert Adams NEVER stayed in our house and we NEVER lent him a car that we didn’t in any case own. He made up all these stories, obviously to give himself a bit of stolen lustre from Bhagavan. It is pathetic. Anything you can do to put a stop to these utterly fabricated stories, please go ahead and do with my blessings.’

Michael James said...

For the record, in continuation of my previous three comments, another remark Katya made when writing to me today was: ‘Bhagavan would never have come visiting anyone and offering fruit. He just never did anything like that’.

AsunAparicio said...

Thanks so much for this extraordinary document, Michael. To a large extent, it refreshes Bhagavan´s presence, so to speak. And thank you also for the way you expose it, without hiding anything by either of the parts and focusing exclusively on facts. It says it all. Really remarkable.

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

:) This is my theory based on listening to NDE experiences. Everything is illusion. So at this moment, whatever situation you are placed in and whatever you think you are, your future and present are already destined based on that moment. Now if your present changes, your future will also mould and get transformed accordingly. So think of it as all the infinite possibilities of the events in the dream are all predestined . Like if you consider each stream of events as one thread, based on who you are at the present moment, your one thread of events is predestined (it means the events are already occurring) and experienced by you. At the same time, other threads also exist, but just not experienced by you. If you change(eg, shed your ego little bit), you will start experiencing events from another thread. Now when you completely get rid of ego, all threads of events (i.e all infinite possibilities of life) also gets destroyed.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
"As Katya Douglas (formerly Kitty Osborne) wrote to me today, ‘Our house in Tiruvannamalai was...and is...tiny and NO ONE could stay in it without us knowing. What a ridiculous idea."
Some years ago I happened to enter the courtyard of the Osborne House and looked round the gravestones there. But I had not the impression that the house is tiny. At least seen from the exterior view the house seems to have two storeys.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...our very first desire is to identify ourself with a body and to experience a world which seems to be apart from this body. This identification with a body is ego, and this ego is the cause or root of everything."
Is it not important to ask from where this very first desire come ?

"Why do we desire things? It is because we seek happiness outside ourself. Why do we seek happiness outside? It is because happiness is our intrinsic nature,...".
I would say that the main drive/impulse to seek happiness at all is that our real nature is infinite happiness - as it is at least taught. Because we (most of us) are unable to be aware consciously of that immanent/intrinsic infinite happiness we should not be astonished that we seek happiness outside ourself.
So it is rather quite logical/consistent that we start our searching for happiness in the realm of our senses and that we "therefore believe that we will find happiness outside."

Salazar said...

Michael, Mrs. Douglas' ("Kitty") email suggests that Robert Adams has lied about his stay at the Osborne house. Since sages do not lie that would also suggest that one can add Robert to that long list of people in the spiritual market place who pose as a sage. Unless there is a proven record that he really stayed there at this time one must conclude that Robert is a liar.

Now I'd not go that far and call it "pathetic", who has not lied at some point in our lives?

Re. David Godman's response 'that he will just take out the "car story" from his video' is not enough, IMO. Since David has taken the role as a messenger of some sorts of Bhagavan's teaching and life, he ought to clarify that Robert was an aspirant and should not be considered as a sage. I believe he owes that to the people who frequent his blog and listen to his videos.
Maybe he can conjure up some credible evidence what would verify Robert's claim, otherwise I must see Robert as an impostor.


Bob, re. Wikipedia, anybody can add info onto Wikipedia and a lot of info there is not verified. I use Wikipedia too but one cannot compare it with i.e. the Encyclopedia Britannica. So whoever posted there that Robert and Bhagavan was together in a past live very likely takes that from Robert directly (or somebody who took it from Robert) and that would be another lie, wouldn't it?
How can the aspirant Adams know that he was with Bhagavan in a past life? Only sages recall clearly their past lives.


I suppose what one can learn from all of that is that one should trust only one's self and atma-vichara is the tool for that. Then things like that cannot disturb anything at all :-)

One can add that there is no sage in physical form currently available, anybody on Batgap is not a sage and neither are all of these people who give currently satsangs of some sorts.

AsunAparicio said...

Thank you, anadi-ananta. The information you give about your perception of the house´s size is really significant for the matter, whether if they built one more storey along the years or not.

Many people believed Adams lies but many others have believed Godman´s lie and nor even after knowing through Katya herself that the story was a lie, he corrected the fake information he gave. The egocentrism and absolute disrespect through this lady that he has showed are stunning. And it is Godman who is writing and selling books on Bhagavan and his devotees, if this is the seriousness, accuracy and professionalism he writhes them with, well, that´s not important, is it? Let´s the show go on :)

AsunAparicio said...

"towards this lady", sorry.

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

Rob P,

And what about Robert Adams? Can he publicly be judged and condemned while Godman is justified for keeping the same lie, even after knowing that it was a lie? Not to speak of his other lie, close to difamation:” I received this information from Arthur's daughter, Katya, who remembers being annoyed that their family vehicle had been given away.”

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
correct spelling is "defamation".

AsunAparicio said...

Moral superiority which is what the writing and comments that Reinhard Jung has posted in many of the pages dedicated to Ramana on facebook shows, is always hypocrisy in disguise. So deceitful as our perception of the inside size of a house seen from outside. But as I said, let´s the show go on. Quite foreseeable all of it :)

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

Salazar,
as you say "...one should trust only one's self and atma-vichara is the tool for that. Then things like that cannot disturb anything at all :-)".

However, we cannot know for certain whether there are sages with a physical form currently available.

AsunAparicio said...

Personally, I don´t mind Adams nor Godman but I don´t think it to be the case for Michael, at least, regarding to Godman. What he has done, the absolute transparence of his exposition on the issue, is very difficult to do and something that I appreciate.

Agnostic said...

Michael@17 November 2019 at 14:08

"For the record, in continuation of my previous three comments, another remark Katya made when writing to me today was: ‘Bhagavan would never have come visiting anyone and offering fruit. He just never did anything like that’."

Amen to that; very good of Ms. Douglas to set the record straight (most of us knew this is in our hearts already).
I hope these entertainments called "satsangs" will fade away or at least be called something else.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ananta-anata, you asked, ‘Is it not important to ask from where this very first desire come?’ The answer is that the first desire has come only from ego because only ego has desires, so the first desire or the last desire or any desire in-between can come only from ego. However, has ego really come into existence? Bhagavan teaches us if we keenly investigate ego, we will find that ego does not exist. So if it does not exist or to be more accurate, if it has never existed, how can it have any desire? So ego’s first desire is as much of an illusion as this ego is.

Ego and its desires are like the sun of a barren woman. If the woman is barren she cannot have a son, and if she has a son she is not barren. We (atma-svarupa) are like this barren woman. We cannot produce anything out of ourself because we are barren. Therefore we have not created this ego or anything else experienced by ego. So who has created ego? Only ego can create ego and subsequently create all its sons and daughters. However, if we look for ego, it is nowhere to be found.

So no creation has ever taken place. This is called ajata, and ajata will be our final experience.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s teachings are ever fresh, ever new

Michael says that Bhagavan’s teachings are ever fresh, ever new, because all these teachings come from the original source of all clarity – the original source of all freshness. So however many times we think about them, write about them or discuss them, they are ever fresh, ever new. We may listen or read or think the same thing again and again and again, but Bhagavan’s teachings do not lose their charm.

Likewise, like Bhagavan’s teachings, Michael's videos are also ever fresh, ever new. Of late, by Bhagavan's grace, we see an avalanche of Michael's videos, but I never get tired of watching them. In fact, I watch them over and over again. What a blessing to be a receipt of such love, even though it may be undeserving.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna (1:21)

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

Rob P,
could you tell me what is "The Tap of Arunachala" ?

anadi-ananta said...

Rob P,
would you not like to remove/delete your last seven comments (nr.118-124) because we have your comment already as nr. 112 ?

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, regarding your comment of 17 November 2019 at 17:20, in which you wrote ‘Some years ago I happened to enter the courtyard of the Osborne House and looked round the gravestones there. But I had not the impression that the house is tiny. At least seen from the exterior view the house seems to have two storeys’, Katya has written to me today:

Dear Michael, I just came across a comment by somebody or the other that he had seen our house in Tvm and it didn’t seem small at all! I am moved to elucidate. When my parents were alive our house consisted of 2 rooms downstairs plus a bathroom. There was one room on the top where we put guests. The bathroom downstairs was used by everyone, including any passing frogs or snakes that wanted to cool down. We children slept all over the place on the verandah. We took our beds...the sort of tape cot that one can easily carry...and we attached our mosquito nets to some of the numerous nails that decorated the walls. I call that a tiny house. After my mother died I built on to the house quite a bit so that my family could have regular bedrooms etc. I also built more bathrooms and a kitchen. In the old days we used to cook outside, or when it rained there was a kerosene stove in the passage from where we ate on the verandah. Trying to imagine an unknown guest creeping about there unnoticed makes me laugh.
I still cannot come to terms with people who are so desperate to be acknowledged as spiritual masters that they tell barefaced lies about everything and everyone. They even lie about Bhagavan. That seems to me to be the ultimate in disrespect.
Yours, Kitty Osborne

-------------

Her description of the house is much as I remember it in the late 1970s, except that by then one small extra room had been added in the back verandah, in which David Godman lived for a while. In the summer of 1977 I stayed in the room upstairs for a couple of months while looking for a more permanent place to live, and it was only large enough for a bed and some bookcases. As Katya says, there is no way anyone could have stayed there without the whole family knowing.

AsunAparicio said...

Robert P,

You can manipulate the story, justify the injustifiable and blame me for saying things as they are as much as you like, as well as to believe whatever you want and repeat it so many times and in so many posts as you want, none of that changes the facts and I abide only by facts.

Veracity of the information provided by Michael is undenible and, indeed, it not only says enough, it says it all about Adams as much as about Godman. Both of them have lied and Godman had the opportunity to rectify but he didn´t. It was very generous from his part having the intention of saying that the story he told was false "if someone asks", in the meantime, years, he has allowed everybody to think that Katya Osborne said what she never said, and this is not only about Godman but also about this lady whom Godman involved with his lie.

That all of you would be pretty satisfied with judging and condemning Adams and that you would try to justify Godman was quite predictable. Everybody can talk on Adams but talking on Godman is censored. Well, it is not my fault that the document used to unmask Adams, unmasks Godman too.

I´m not telling any lie nor anything that anyone who read this document can´t know. I´m only saying what nobody says and what everybody wants not to be said. The plain and simple whole truth on this issue. Just for the record.

You can be proud of defending your friend but, in my view, it is Michael who has showed true courage.

Yes, we have Bhagavan´s teachings, but it is us who have to put them into practice and to do it, it requires courage, eartnetsness and integrity, come what may. Much more, if one´s job is to publicly talk and to write and publish books on Bhagavan and his devotees.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Kitty Osborne, I believe you are reading these comments. I had read somewhere that once you had the following interaction with Bhagavan. Apparently, once when you were about to leave the ashram to go somewhere, you asked Bhagavan, ‘Bhagavan will you remember Kitty’, and Bhagavan replied, ‘If Kitty will remember Bhagavan, Bhagavan will remember Kitty’. Do you remember this conversation? If not, were you told about this conversation sometimes later? I will be glad if you could expand on this: that is, share some more anecdotes around this conversation. If you don’t feel like replying through a comment, you can write to Michael. I am sure he will share it with us. Thank you.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
regarding the Osborne house, I did not come near the house then. It was only my rough impression seen from a distance of around 15 meters when I entered through the entrance door in the wall and then by an Indian caretaker I and a German friend were shown around the garden/courtyard and then to the left situated gravestones. It is quite possible that the house appeared bigger to me than it actually is. Perhaps my impression was influenced by the small houses next door to the Osborne compound for instance the house where Sadhu Natanananda lived then.
On no account I want doubt Kitty Osborne's description of her house.

AsunAparicio said...

Rob P,

You have deleted them but, as anandi-ananta says, we have and have read all your comments, and you have written a lot of them addressed to me, beginning always with the sentence: “Asun, you're welcome to judge and condemn” like a mantra.

I´m not judging nor condemning anyone, either Adams nor Godman, but if you read the comments on facebook about the former, you´ll see that he has been judged and condemned by Reinhard Jung and many others with great enthusiasm.
Regarding to Godman, they are his acts and words what has condemned him, not me. What you say that could have happened, it is not what Godman says that happened :

“I gave this interview ten years ago. At that time I knew no one who had met Robert in Tiruvannamalai. Since then I have discovered that he was well known by the Osborne family. Arthur wrote or edited three books on Ramana. He liked Robert so much he gave Robert his only car so that Robert could drive around India after Sri Ramana passed away. I received this information from Arthur's daughter, Katya, who remembers being annoyed that their family vehicle had been given away.” D.G.

With his false claiming he has been reinforcing robert Adams lie for years, even after knowing that it was a lie. Who would question what Katya Osborne and he, the chosen by Arunachala to write on Bhagavan and his desvotees, say?
Well, Arunachala takes you, Arunachala kicks you out.

As I said, Katya Osborne´s letters have refreshed to a large extent the power of Bhagavan´s presence.

Kind Regards.

anadi-ananta said...

One could remove now also Rob P's comment of 18 November 2019 at 08:48 (shown now nr.118) because the same comment is already seen with date 17 November 2019 at 22:44 (as nr. 112).

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"So no creation has ever taken place. This is called ajata, and ajata will be our final experience."
If there were only ajata and no other appearance Bhagavan Arunachala Ramana and other sages did not have had any reason to appear to us. Only because of ego's seemingly triumphal and hugely successful appearance Bhagavan entered the world which is said to be only our mental creation of which one is aware only by our false awareness as ego.
By the way, you wrote my name mistakenly.:-)

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, you are quite correct, this physical guru thing is my opinion. I also have not watched everybody on Batgap, actually I only have watched videos by three, four people on there, the rest I was not interested at all. So there could be all kind of sages on that website :-)

Re. David Godman, I tend to incline with Asun. If he would be just a blogger as we are I'd leave it as it is. But in that role he occupies he has the responsibility to clarify and correct things. I still value all of his work, however the "tap" has turned bitter. It is up to him to sweeten it again.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael James: a purist and a ‘fundamentalist’

Michael said something to the effect: ‘I have to be grateful to Bhagavan because he enabled me to understand his teachings. In fact, Sadhu Om explained all these things me, so I am just passing on whatever I learnt from him. Sadhu Om did not merely explain these teachings to me, but he also gave me a real love for Bhagavan’s teachings. He explained where to find his real teachings’. In my case also, whatever little I know about Bhagavan’s teachings is just a loving gift from Michael. Like Sadhu On in his case, Michael has given me the love for Bhagavan’s teaching. He has explained to me the true value of Bhagavan’s original works.

Michael further said: ‘What I explain may not be to the liking of everybody because I am a bit of a purist. David Godman in one of his videos has referred to me as a fundamentalist. When someone questioned David on this, he said: “it is because Michael thinks that we have to rely only on Bhagavan’s original writings”. That is a valid point of view. I am a fundamentalist and a purist. So I take what David said as a compliment’.

A fundamentalist is generally a negative term, but Michael agrees that he is a fundamentalist. Why? It is because, as Michael explains, Bhagavan’s teachings are about what is fundamental. What is fundamental is only our awareness of our own existence ‘I am’. That is sat-chit – which means awareness of our own existence, not awareness of anything else but of our own existence. So Bhagavan’s teachings are all about fundamentals. Everything we need to know is contained in Bhagavan’s original writings because in them he gives the fundamental principles of his teachings. If we understand those fundamental principles, everything will become clear.

So I believe we should also try becoming fundamentalists. This way Michael will have the good company of other fellow fundamentalists!

• Based on the video: 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna (1:14)

Disclaimer: Of late, I take much more liberty with whatever I write in these comments than I used to earlier. So I don’t claim that whatever I write represents Michael’s words in its truest sense. However, as far as possible, I try not to dilute the overall focus of his ideas.

AsunAparicio said...

Moreover, Rob P, people judging and condemning Robert Adams now with enthusiasm, are the same people who have been quoting and flattering him as a jnai with the same enthusiasm till now. It would be quite risible if it wasn´t so pathetic the spectacle they are offering. Whom do you think they have to be grateful for it to?

There are ways and ways to do things.

Salazar said...

Re. Robert Adams: I'd like to add that ALL of the info circulating about him on the web (what includes the stuff David Godman has posted on his blog) is taken from the "Collected Works" which are the recorded satsangs of Robert Adams. As such it is the story told by Robert and all of these stories have not been verified independently by any third party.

There are some stories from people who have personally met him like Ed Muzika, however these stories are highly biased IMO and often put Robert also in a bad light where Muzika called Robert a womanizer who sneaked out in the middle of the night to visit female devotees. But he also said that Adams verified his enlightenment and he owes his enlightenment to him :-)

All what various people did is relating hearsay by Robert. Now that would be fine if Robert had spoken the truth but when an unambiguous statement like "staying at the Osbourne house" is refuted by someone who actually lived in that house at that time then one must question the veracity of the entire story what includes "visions of Bhagavan" as a kid or visions of a "bright light where suddenly Jesus and the Buddha, Mohammed and other sages appeared, holding hands with Robert and then get dissolved in that light".

anadi-ananta said...

When today Kitty Osborne found herself mentioned on the comment-blog we should remember that according section 44 of the book 4 - Sixty-three Devotees of the Ashram publication "Arunachala Ramana - Eternal Ocean of Grace", First Edition 2018, was the first western child (she was 5 years old then, likely in the year 1941) to come to the Ashram and to the hall of the Maharshi.
As her mother Lucia Osborne wrote: "There was a small table or stool before the couch on which the devotees put their offerings, but Kitty, instead of putting hers on this low stool, herself sat down on it with her back towards the Maharshi and still holding the tray with the fruit. There was no other way of sitting down except sideways as the stool was too near the couch*."
* It has been recorded elsewhere that when little Kitty placed herself on the stool, Bhagavan chuckled aloud and commented,"She has offered herself!" Kitty has commented that Bhagavan's remark has shone (like a protecting talisman) at difficult periods in her life.
---------------------
My kindest regards to Mrs. Katya Douglas (formerly Kitty Osborne).

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

Yes, Rob P, all of us know how to quote sages and to do it according to our own convenience and interest, to reaffirm our beliefs and as a criticism towards those who contradict them.

Words said by a sage have their own power and authority, an universal meaning and the only impersonal and egoless purpose of serving for the universal benefit, but when misused by ordinary people with a personal intention and purpose, they become completely powerless.

You said already what you really wanted to said with your own words and I agree with you on something: enough said.

AsunAparicio said...

"what you wanted to say", sorry.

.....................................................

Thanks, anadi-ananta for your correction (defamation) on one of my comments :)

Unknown said...

To Rob P.

You were the only person who had posted some sensible comments here in this article. Why did you delete them just because someone told you delete them? If someone makes you to delete your comments here then why do you bother to post them in the first place? Since you deleted them the content and import of other comments here has lost its full meaning.

Michael James said...

Sanjay and Anadi-ananta, in case she had not seen them, yesterday I sent Katya a copy of your respective comments of 18 November 2019 at 12:46 and 18 November 2019 at 17:45, and today she replied to me:

Dear Michael, Just to clarify...I wrote to my mother from school in Kodaikanal and at the end I wrote ‘remember me to Bhagavan.’ In those days the hall was not quite as solemn and silent as it is now. Everyone went there and talked to Bhagavan and told him everything. Sometimes it was a bit of family chat, sometimes it was a spiritual conundrum, sometimes it was just an amusing story passed on. The hall was so alive in those days and Bhagavan was at the heart of it all. To this day I never leave Tvm without going to take leave of Bhagavan. To get back to my letter, my mother showed it to Bhagavan...as one almost always did with almost everything and that is when he said ‘If Kitty remembers Bhagavan, Bhagavan will remember Kitty.’ As I have said before, that remark has guided me and cheered me through all the vicissitudes of my life! Bhagavan is always here. That is why I feel so strongly that we should all do our utmost to ensure that any stories told about Bhagavan or any reports of words that he spoke should, as far as possible, be accurate and truthful. To indulge in invention at his expense shows a lack of respect not worthy of any so-called devotee. That is why I am responding so strongly to the imagined activities of Robert Adams.
By the way the story of my sitting on the stool when we first saw Bhagavan is quite true. My brother and sister were quite small and my mother was carrying them. I was given the, to me ‘huge’ tray of fruit...actually probably a bunch of bananas and 3 or 4 oranges which was all one was allowed to give to Bhagavan. He never accepted ‘things’ of any value, but fruit could be shared with everyone. I remember like yesterday walking into the hall with my burden and standing there hesitantly, not knowing quite what to do with it. Bhagavan smiled and pointed to the stool beside his couch where gifts were traditionally placed. The rest is history. I am so blessed that he accepted my gift.
Yours, Katya (Kitty Osborne)

Rob P said...

Unknown,
You're right perhaps I shouldn't have deleted them at all. After reading this blog for many years the labeling of David Godman didn't sit right with me at all, an unfair representation. I'm not interested in petty arguments however and getting personal with anyone, so i'll leave that to those who do.
..we move on and focus on Bhagavans teachings, as that's all we need.
Thanks for your comment.

Michael James said...

With reference to what I wrote in my series of comments beginning with 17 November 2019 at 13:55, it seems that in the meanwhile this issue must have again been brought to the attention of David Godman, because his video Robert Adams and Ramana Maharshi has now been made private. I never watched that video, so I do not know what he said in it, and therefore why he chose to remove it entirely rather than just deleting the comment in which he wrote incorrectly that Robert Adams was well known to the Osborne family and that he had received this information from Arthur Osborne’s daughter, Katya.

AsunAparicio said...

Yes, that´s what all of them are doing: openly showing one of the parts, Robert Adams, while hiding the other one, David Godman and yet, they allow themselves to show off moral superiority and a “sensibility” as questionable as the use they are doing of Ramana´s teachings, brandishing them to press into silencing what isn´t but a plain and simple lie on the part of Godman. Many interests at stake, I guess. A poor show.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
thanks for giving your above correspondence with Kitty Osborne to us.
Just I imagined Kitty's walk into the hall (now called Old Hall) presumably entering through the entrance/front door which was situated then on the opposite* south-eastern side where one can see it today in the Samadhi Hall. (*compared with its today's situation).
I can well understand that Bhagavan's remark "If Kitty remembers Bhagavan, Bhagavan will remember Kitty." has guided and cheered her through all the vicissitudes of her life. Good to hear Kitty's confirmation "Bhagavan is always here".
As I yesterday quoted the mentioned footnote '...when little Kitty placed herself on the stool, Bhagavan chuckled aloud and commented,"She has offered herself!" Kitty has commented that Bhagavan's remark has shone (like a protecting talisman) at difficult periods in her life.' it seems to me that Kitty's comment (of guidance through difficult periods of her life) is based rather more on the above remark "If Kitty remembers Bhagavan, Bhagavan will remember Kitty." than on the later "She has offered herself!".
Just I entertain the question whether Kitty could remember the cow Lakshmi.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Kitty Osborne, I thank you for replying to our comments through an email to Michael. You have made Bhagavan’s hall come alive for us. After reading your email, I can easily visualise a typical day in Bhagavan’s hall, especially in the last 15-20 years of Bhagavan’s bodily existence. He was so natural and unassuming – a lesson for all of us.

You say, ‘Bhagavan was at the heart of it all’. This is still true. He is the very heart of everything. Bhagavan told your mother: ‘If Kitty remembers Bhagavan, Bhagavan will remember Kitty’. How beautiful! We are also like the little Kitty at her school in Kodaikanal, trying to remember Bhagavan in our own feeble way. ‘He never accepted ‘things’ of any value, but fruit could be shared with everyone’, another great lesson for us.

To me, this email of yours is a collector’s item, as it comes from someone who was there at the centre of the action – Bhagavan’s old hall. It must be magical! I am sending a copy of this comment to Michael. I thank you and Michael.

Salazar said...

That was a swift response by David indeed. I consider the matter for closed, I certainly cannot imagine any intentional wrong doing or things like falsification by David.

This whole issue gave me the opportunity to re-read some of Robert's satsangs and I still like very much what I am reading. I bought his book shortly after it was published and I must say that it helped me considerably to clarify things and gave me a better understanding. It is definitely a worthwhile read.

Salazar said...

Re. Sanjay's comment about Michael being a "fundamentalist": I do not see that term positive nor negative, it is what it is. Michael's approach is based on his vasanas as is everyone's approach. My vasanas may be more in alignment with David's since I tend to apply Bhagavan's teachings also more broadly as he does.

Now to imply that one approach is "better" than the other is rather presumptuous IMO. It also implies that we could somehow affect the way we approach spirituality what is not the case unless it is atma-vichara and that though is transcending the approach and not adding more opinions and beliefs about it. atma-vichara is beyond "fundamentalism" or any other concepts.

Anyway, my two cents to that subject :-)

AsunAparicio said...

Yes, I would like to express my appreciation for Katya Osborne´s letters too. I´ve always been focused on the teachings and the practice but rarely on Bhagavan himself and having first-hand, and almost in real time, so to speak, her testimony in the blog, in spite of having been under these circumstances or maybe precisely because of it, have had great impact on here in many senses.

Anonymous said...

There was a Guru who I believed as enlightened because everyone considered him as enlightened. On close investigation I found him to be false, but nevertheless his teachings are really good. May be he is just repeating whatever is said in other books. So, when I started badmouthing about him to others, I was advised to focus on the message and not the messenger. Not sure if this advice is right or not.