Monday, 18 November 2019

How to merge in Arunachala like a river in the ocean?

In verse 3 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam Bhagavan says:
அகமுகமா ரந்த வமலமதி தன்னா
லகமிதுதா னெங்கெழுமென் றாய்ந்தே — யகவுருவை
நன்கறிந்து முந்நீர் நதிபோலு மோயுமே
யுன்கணரு ணாசலனே யோர்.

ahamukhamā randa vamalamati taṉṉā
lakamidudā ṉeṅkeṙumeṉ ḏṟāyndē — yahavuruvai
naṉgaṟindu munnīr nadipōlu mōyumē
yuṉgaṇaru ṇācalaṉē yōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: அகமுகம் ஆர் அந்த அமல மதி தன்னால் அகம் இது தான் எங்கு எழும் என்று ஆய்ந்தே, அக உருவை நன்கு அறிந்து, முந்நீர் நதி போலும் ஓயுமே உன்கண் அருணாசலனே. ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ahamukham-ār anda amala mati-taṉṉāl aham idu-tāṉ eṅgu eṙum eṉḏṟu āyndē, aha-v-uruvai naṉgu aṟindu, munnīr nadi pōlum ōyumē uṉgaṇ aruṇācalaṉē. ōr.

English translation: By that immaculate mind that is completely ahamukham [inward facing, selfward-facing or self-attentive] investigating where this ‘I’ itself rises and [thereby] clearly knowing the form [or real nature] of ‘I’, one will certainly cease in you, Arunachala, like a river in the ocean. Investigate [or know].
Today a friend sent me an email referring to this verse and asking, ‘What is the teaching of Bhagavan here?’, so this article is adapted from the reply I wrote to him.

What Bhagavan teaches us here is very clear and simple: The means for us to merge and cease in Arunachala, like a river in the ocean, is to make the mind அகமுகம் (ahamukham), I-facing, inward-facing or facing ourself alone, thereby investigating where ego rises and clearly knowing அகவுரு (aha-v-uru), the ‘form’ or real nature of I.

Though he does not say so explicitly, the implication is that Arunachala is both அகவுரு (aha-v-uru), our real nature, and the source from which ego rises, so when we merge in Arunachala that alone will remain. This is what he implies in verse 1 of Śrī Aruṇācala Pañcaratnam when he says, ‘விரி கதிரால் யாவும் விழுங்கும் அருணகிரி பரமான்மா’ (viri kadirāl yāvum viṙuṅgum aruṇagiri paramāṉmā), ‘Arunagiri paramātmā, who swallow everything by [your] spreading rays [of pure self-awareness]’. That is, when Arunachala swallows ego, like an ocean swallowing a river, it will thereby swallow everything else, because nothing else can exist without ego, as he teaches us in the first sentence of verse 7 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam: ‘இன்று அகம் எனும் நினைவு எனில், பிற ஒன்றும் இன்று’ (iṉḏṟu aham eṉum niṉaivu eṉil, piṟa oṉḏṟum iṉḏṟu), ‘If the thought called I [ego] does not exist, even one other [thought or thing] will not exist’.

However, in order to be so keenly அகமுகம் (ahamukham), selfward-facing or self-attentive, that we clearly know அகவுரு (aha-v-uru), our real nature, and thereby merge forever in Arunachala, the mind needs to be அமலம் (amalam), blemishless, so how to make the mind blemishless? The answer is given by Bhagavan in the second sentence of verse 5 of Śrī Aruṇācala Aṣṭakam: ‘மணி கடைந்து என மனம் மனம் எனும் கல்லில் மறு அற கடைய நின் அருள் ஒளி மேவும்’ (maṇi kaḍaindu eṉa maṉam maṉam eṉum kallil maṟu aṟa kaḍaiya niṉ aruḷ oḷi mēvum), ‘Like grinding a gem [to polish it], when one grinds the mind on the stone called mind to remove [its] blemishes, the light of your grace will shine forth’.

How can we grind the mind on the stone called mind? By attending to ourself alone. That is, instead of allowing it to face anything else, we must train our mind to face itself alone, which is what Bhagavan means by ‘அகமுகம்’ (ahamukham), ‘I-facing’ or ‘inward-facing’, so the implication is that by patiently and persistently practising அகமுகம் (ahamukham) or self-attentiveness we will remove all the blemishes in the mind (namely all its likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on, which are what draw it to face outwards) and thus we will eventually know அகவுரு (aha-v-uru), the real nature of I, and thereby merge forever in Arunachala, like a river in the ocean.

So simple, clear and direct are the teachings of Bhagavan. If we understand them clearly and correctly, no other teachings or philosophies are required.

74 comments:

anadi-ananta said...

Unfortunately Arunachala swallows only ripe fruits whereas unripe fruits he seems to spit out. :-)

Anonymous said...

Lol yes :) he is so biased..

Aham said...

"So simple, clear and direct are the teachings of Bhagavan. If we understand them clearly and correctly, no other teachings or philosophies are required."

Thank you Mr James. This is my own finding also.

Constant without breaks, or with as few as is possible, is also essential.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, you say, ‘Unfortunately Arunachala swallows only ripe fruits whereas unripe fruits he seems to spit out’. I will put this according to my understanding: Fortunately, Arunachala not only swallows the ripe fruits but also unceasingly ripens the unripe fruits!

Sanjay Lohia said...

Having a body and mind is not our natural condition because we are perfectly happy without them

When ego rises we become dissatisfied. We may experience some satisfaction here and there, but it is always against the backdrop of dissatisfaction. We are never perfectly satisfied - we always want something more. Why? It is because our true nature is eternal and infinite happiness; therefore, we can never be satisfied until and unless we become one with our true nature.

Bhagavan gave an example to illustrate this. When we have a headache, why do we want to get rid of it? Since our nature is not to have a headache, we want to get rid of it in order to return to our natural headache-free state. Just like headache is not our natural condition, our body and mind is not our natural condition. We are perfectly happy without body and mind in sleep. So if we want to be perfectly happy, we need to somehow permanently get rid of our body and mind. We get rid of them every night in sleep but foolishly take them back in the morning.

So we are the author of our problems. However, Bhagavan has given us the key to remove all our problems at one go. If we turn back fully within and experience ourself as we actually are, we will get rid of our ego, and this ego is the root and cause of all our dissatisfaction. What will then remain is eternal peace and quiet!

• Based on the video: 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna (1:39)

jacques franck said...

I have a question not really related to this verse:

In talk 143 it is said : M.: Kailas is on the Himalayas: it is the abode of Śiva. Whereas this Hill is Śiva Himself.

And in Sri Aruṇācala Navamanimalai verse 3:
Those (mature souls) who - with a mind which always seeks the clarity (of true knowledge or Jñāna), having given up the liking for the mental delusion of being attached to wealth, country, relatives, caste and so on-are longing for the Divine grace of the red Lotus-Feet-of the Supreme Lord, the embodiment of Grace, who abides in Aruṇācala, will drown in the ocean of Bliss, having for ever attained (His) grace, which is like the rays of the rising Sun, (their) ignorance having been destroyed in (this very) world (that is, in this very life time).

The part that make me a little perplexe is : "the Supreme Lord, the embodiment of Grace, who abides in Aruṇācala"

If Aruṇācala is Siva himself why to say that he abides in Arunachala??? may be I do not understand completely english language but my conclusion is that Arunalacha is Siva in his material form and "the Supreme Lord (Siva) is the none material form.

If you have any comment....

JF

Michael James said...

Jacques, in reply to your comment of 19 November 2019 at 09:48, Bhagavan begins verse 3 of Śrī Aruṇācala Navamaṇimālai by saying ‘அருணாசலத்தில் உறு கருணாகர பரமன்’ (aruṇācalattil uṟu karuṇākara paramaṉ), ‘the supreme, the abundance [source or liberal distributor] of grace, who exists in Arunachala’, in which the verb உறு (uṟu), which is used here as a relative or adjectival participle, means to be, exist, abide, dwell, reside or be permanent, so ‘அருணாசலத்தில் உறு’ (aruṇācalattil uṟu) is a relative clause that means ‘who exists [abides, resides or is permanent] in Arunachala’.

As you say, Bhagavan often said that Arunachala is Siva or God himself, and he makes this clear in so many verses of Śrī Aruṇācala Stuti Pañcakam, and it is recorded somewhere that he said that just as we identify ourself with a body, Lord Siva identifies himself with this hill. However, there is no contradiction between saying that Siva is Arunachala and that he is in Arunachala. We can explain this in two ways.

Firstly the name ‘Arunachala’ refers both to the hill and to the place where it is located, including the town Tiruvannamalai and the surroundings, so ‘in Arunachala’ can mean in that location. Secondly, we are aware of ourself as a body, and also as something (namely ego or mind) residing in that body, but we do not feel that there is any contradiction between being a body and being in it. In our view we are this body, so we are not anywhere outside this body, and hence it seems to us not only that that we are this body but also that we are in this body. Likewise, according to Bhagavan, Lord Siva is Arunachala and is in Arunachala.

Moreover, as you imply, Lord Siva is not only the material form of this hill but also the non-material form of pure awareness (jñāna), which is his real nature (svarūpa) and the real nature of all of us, so as we can infer from what Bhagavan teaches us in verse 17 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, whereas for us ajñānis ‘I’ is limited to only the extent of the body, for Lord Siva, who is jñāna-svarūpa (the form of pure awareness), though this hill is actually ‘I’, ‘I’ shines without limit, so there is nothing other ‘I’.

jacques franck said...

Thank you so much, so priceless

j.f.

Shiv Sivaram said...

Beautiful............To comprehend this tatwa is Jana, and Jana leads to Moksha through practice.
Most effective form of practice is "Summma Eru" or BE STILL

AsunAparicio said...

Michael,

When I read testimonies from Bhagavan´s devotees, I´m always very impressed that any of them, Shadu Om, Muruganar and a few others, never claim their own “liberation”, so to speak, nor they ever played the role of a guru, moreover, they completely refused doing so and, instead, they always point out to Ramana as if Ramana, since in his experience there wasn´t any intermediary or guru, was the guru forever and his devotees who got the experience through Ramana, were devotees forever.
Could you explain this remaining apparent duality? It still is not quite clear, in spite of your explanation about Arunachala.

Does following Bhagavan´s path makes you his devotee even if you follow the path without even knowing about Bhagavan and his teachings? How to know this?

I´m aware Bhagavan isn´t but ourself yet, his figure as the guru seems to be important somehow as well as feeling devotion and faith or trust towards him. How would you explain this duality? Is it because so long ego is not fully destroyed, it will keep identifying, in a more or less subtle way, itself with a body hence, the necessity of holding on to the figure of a guru, so to speak?

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
"...just as we identify ourself with a body, Lord Siva identifies himself with this hill."
Because our identification of ourself with the body is wrong, must we therefore perhaps deriveIconclude from that misunderstanding that also Lord Siva identifies himself also wrongly with this hill ? :-)
(By the way, geographically more accurate is to say that Mount Kailas is situated in the Transhimalaya.)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"Fortunately, Arunachala not only swallows the ripe fruits but also unceasingly ripens the unripe fruits!"
So thank Arunachala we all can pin our good hopes to become ripe fruits. :-)

anadi-ananta said...

jacques franck,
there is only Arunachala (not Arunalacha).:-)

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, in reply to your comment of 19 November 2019 at 16:33, we identify ourself as a body due to ignorance (ajñāna), whereas Lord Siva is jñāna-svarūpa (that whose very nature is pure awareness), so for him there is no ajñāna. Therefore he identifies himself with Arunachala hill out of compassion (karuṇā) for us, not out of ignorance, and hence whereas we seem to be confined within the limits of the body, Arunachala Siva shines without limit as the real nature of ourself and everything else.

Michael James said...

Asun, I cannot adequately answer your comment of 19 November 2019 at 14:54, because Bhagavan’s role as guru is to be felt in our heart rather than understood with our intellect, so we can understand his unique and peerless role only to the extent that we open our heart to him.

Yes, he is guru forever, the eternal guru, in past, present and future, because he is beyond the limitations of time and space, being our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa) and therefore that which alone actually exists. As he sang of Arunachala, who is himself, in verse 13 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:

ஓங்கா ரப்பொரு ளொப்புயர் வில்லோ
      யுனையா ரறிவா ரருணாசலா

ōṅkā rapporu ḷoppuyar villō
      yuṉaiyā raṟivā raruṇācalā


பதச்சேதம்: ஓங்கார பொருள், ஒப்பு உயர்வு இல்லோய், உனை யார் அறிவார் அருணாசலா?

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ōṅkāra poruḷ, oppu uyarvu illōy, uṉai yār aṟivār aruṇācalā?

English translation: Arunachala, import [meaning or substance] of the syllable Ōm, you who are without equal [or anything similar] or superior, who can know you [as you are]?

To know him we must be swallowed by him, and then he alone remains to know himself.

We can be a devotee of his in two ways: either we can take him just to be God, or we can take him to be God, guru and our own real nature. Many devotees do not seriously aspire to follow his teachings, so for them he is just God, but if we seriously aspire to follow his teachings, then for us he is God, guru and our own real nature.

So yes, if we try our best to follow the path of self-investigation and self-surrender that he has taught us, then we are certainly his devotees, because we are devoted to that which he appeared in this dream of ours to teach us.

As you say, so long as we rise as ego, we experience ourself as a person (a body), so in our view he seems to be another person, someone who lived for fifty-four years in Tiruvannamalai showering his kindness and love on all who came to him, whereas in fact he was never a person but only our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’.

Duality seems to exist only because we have not yet surrendered ourself entirely to him. If we do so, then we will know him as his actually is, namely as our own real nature, whereupon we will see that there never was any duality.

AsunAparicio said...

Thank you, Michael.

It was difficult to pose the question too but you got it. Reason you give why that question can´t be answered is a perfect answer. It says a lot to me.

Thank you also for explaining the other conundrum, about being a devotee.
Each time I think there are not more questions, one more arises. This never ends :)

_/\_

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
"...whereas in fact he was never a person but only our fundamental awareness of our own existence, 'I am'."
I am asking myself how and why or to put it bluntly I am surprised that my own real nature, my fundamental awareness of my own existence, 'I am', did appear seemingly just/especially for me and outside of me (as an imagined person) - as another person called 'Bhagavan Arunachala Ramana'. As you say only to teach me/us. There cannot be another reason.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
thank you for answering my joking question by emphasizing clearly the difference:"Therefore he identifies himself with Arunachala hill out of compassion (karuṇā) for us, not out of ignorance, and hence whereas we seem to be confined within the limits of the body, Arunachala Siva shines without limit as the real nature of ourself and everything else."

Michal Borkowski said...

https://www.davidgodman.org/the-power-of-arunachala/

Dear Michael,

This article on David Godman's website is very inspiring. Not sure if you have shared it here.

I do have a question. Is just one thought of the name of Arunachala enough to grant liberation or does Arunachala have to be thought of constantly, or at least at the moment of death, to achieve liberation?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Beware, Bhagavan wants to make us blind

As ego we can never experience pure awareness; however, as ego we have to try to experience pure awareness. We should try to be so keenly self-attentive that we cease to be aware of anything else. Only such keen self-attentiveness will destroy ego. To illustrate, you live in the tropics and the mid-day sun is directly shining on your head. If you want to see the mid-day sun, you have to turn up and look at the tropical sun, but you have to pay a price to look at it. You will be blinded.

Likewise, as ego we need to turn within to face ourself alone, and by looking at ourself alone ego will be blinded: that is, ego will be destroyed. So just like we can never actually see the mid-day, as ego we can never experience pure awareness. Our very effort to try to experience pure awareness will destroy ego. That is, pure awareness and ego cannot exist together. As soon as ego touches the pure awareness, it ceases to be ego.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna (24:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Michal Borkowski,
to achieve liberation Arunachala has to be thought of constantly. That one thought of the name of Arunachala is certainly not enough to grant liberation my experience can easily confirm - unless such one mighty thought would never stop. :-)

Shiv Sivaram said...

This morning I meditated upon few postings now available in this blog.
Read carefully Michaels yesterday comment/reply on opening fully one's heart.

The ONLY way to understand Arunachala/Bhagawan Ramana/Self is to be Arunachala/Bhagawan Ramana/Self by oneself.
If the intellect or mind feel them then again is objectified.In objectification the ego still exist that brings the issue of separation.
Once separation comes the seer and seen duality takes place and this complicate things.

One crude expression my dad used to say is " if you want to know the business of spying, become a spy by yourself "

No permanent transformation happen (Mano nigraha, Jivan mukta, liberation, moksha etc.etc) without one becoming Arunachala/Bhagawan Ramana/Bramahan/self.

Once, Ganeshan Anna wrote to me here that there is no question of "becoming". You are already THAT.

Struggle faced now, for me, is retention of this EXISTENCE in all the times and permanent
I suppose this is with the GRACE of Arunachala/Bhagawan/Self.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We look forward to our sleep because only sleep can remove all our tiredness, dissatisfaction and unhappiness

Bhagavan says whatever we see is a projection of our own vasanas. Vasanas are all our desires, attachments, likes, dislikes, fears and so on in its seed form. The totality of all our vasanas make up our will, and our will is made up of a conflicting set of vasanas. That is why whenever we project a world, we find it full of conflicts. That is the nature of our mental projection. Sometimes things seem very pleasant and sometimes extremely unpleasant, but it all our mental projection.

Everything we project is a projection of our will: that is, a projection of our desires and fears. However, behind all such desires and fears is our most fundamental desire, the desire to be happy. We desire those things we believe will make us happy, and we fear those things we believe will take away our happiness. So our ultimate desire is our desire for happiness. Why do we desire happiness? It is because eternal and infinite happiness is what we actually are. So we cannot rest until we experience our true nature, namely pure happiness.

So our desire for happiness is our love for our true nature. Though we are not aware of it, we all love our true nature. We all love to sleep. Why? It is because in sleep we merge back in our true state which is pure happiness. After a hard day’s work when we are too tired, we look forward to our sleep because only sleep can remove all our tiredness, dissatisfaction and unhappiness. That is another illustration of our desire for happiness.

Our real nature is infinite happiness and our real nature is also the love for infinite happiness. So we are pure love and pure happiness. We cannot separate pure love from pure happiness because they are absolutely one.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna (01:15)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"We all love to sleep. Why? It is because in sleep we merge back in our true state which is pure happiness."
How can we as ego know for sure that in sleep we were merged back in pure happiness ?
"Why do we not remember of that 'true happiness' at awakening of ego regularly in the morning ? The usual answer given to that question is because we as ego were not present then during deep sleep. So how can an absent ego seriously assert that in sleep was only true happiness ?

Anonymous said...

Because ego has self awareness too in it as background..

Nothing special said...

Since it is egos job to uncover its own ignorance as the 5 sheaths, is ego a form of grace in attending to itself? My question revolves around the thoughts that drive me towards pursuing my dislikes. As I write this I am aware I use my dislikes. To whom are these dislikes? So by that said it is surely not my concern what parabdha is instore and it is up to bhagavan alone. It is thus not egos concern if I am liberated or spend a thousand lifetimes to destroy ego. Since vicara is done from the liking to be then I cannot even own my own desire to do it.

anadi-ananta said...

Nothing special,
certainly both your dislikes appear to you and "you are the owner of your own liking to be" what you really are - as well as "the thoughts that drive me towards pursuing my dislikes" arise to you (as ego). By the way, you mean "...prarabdha is in store".

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,thanks again for your transcription.
"...we look forward to our sleep because only sleep can remove all our tiredness, dissatisfaction and unhappiness."
But what do we usually experience after awakening from sleep ? Just again tiredness, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
"We cannot separate pure love from pure happiness because they are absolutely one."
Yes, but much more I want to separate my unhappiness from my innate pure happiness.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We find it difficult not to be convinced by Bhagavan’s teachings because they are in accordance with our actual experience

Having understood the basic principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, we find them to be so logical and in accordance with our actual experience, and therefore we find it difficult not to be convinced by them. Of course, most people are not convinced because they don’t want to surrender themselves, don’t want to understand what Bhagavan has taught us.

We may have many desires and attachments, but we must be at least be willing to understand that the only way to experience infinite happiness is to surrender ourself completely: that means we have to give up our ego. So only if we are ready to accept that, we are ready to start on Bhagavan’s path. Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu that investigating what this ego is is giving up everything. So we need to give up everything if we want to be free of all our problems and be eternally happy.

Bhagavan’s teachings are extremely easy to understand but for most people they are difficult to accept. We don’t have to worry about others. Are we willing to accept them? Are we willing to give up everything? If we are willing to accept Bhagavan’s teachings, that is sufficient. All we now need to do is to put them into practice.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna (55:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

God that is controlling the entire universe is the love that we have for our own real nature

What we ultimately desire is our real nature. That ultimate desire – which is the love for our real nature – is called grace. Grace controls everything, including what we experience. Grace is giving us those experiences that are most conducive to our turning within. Grace is helping us to understand that real happiness doesn’t lie outside but lies only and only within.

That grace is what people worship as God, but grace is our real nature. We may pray to God for so many things, or we may desire so many things without actually praying to God. However, God fulfils only those desires which are beneficial for our spiritual devolvement. So whatever has happened was for our spiritual good, and likewise whatever is happening is for our spiritual good. So we need to surrender our will to the will of God: thy will not my will. Why? It is because only Bhagavan knows what is ultimately good for me - such should be our attitude.

What God actually wants to give us is only infinite happiness, which is our real nature. But so long as we are looking for that happiness outside, we will never get it. So God allows us to undergo difficulties in order to teach us that real happiness doesn’t lie outside. Happiness is what we actually are and anything experienced is outside of us. So happiness doesn’t exist in things or experiences which are apart from ourself.

So the God that is controlling the entire universe is the love that we have for our own real nature. Therefore, ultimately what is real is only love, which is itself happiness, which is what we really are.

• Based on the video: 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna (01:57)

Nothing special said...

Thank you

Sanjay Lohia said...

From time to time, Bhagavan gives us shocks in order to shake us out of our complacency

From time to time, Bhagavan gives us shocks in order to shake us out of our complacency. Bhagavan doesn’t want us to be too comfortable in this world because if we are, we will forget him altogether. I believe, when Sri Krishna asked Draupadi to ask for a boon, she replied, ‘Always keep us in trouble because if we are free of troubles, we will surely forget you’. A colleague (I will call him X) of ours has suddenly left us without any notice by deceiving and cheating us. So in this state of my mind, I need to take solace in Bhagavan and his teachings in order to get my breath back.

As Bhagavan teaches us, things happen as they are meant to happen, and things happen for our ultimate good. Grace controls and decides all the experiences we undergo, and it is impossible for grace to do something which is not in our best interest. Grace is infinite love, and infinite love has no choice but to always love us. So we need to clearly understand this and thereby surrender to the plan of grace. By such experiences, grace prompts us to rectify and purify our will. Grace is giving me an opportunity to surrender my attachments.

Why am I affected by this unpleasant act of my colleague? It is because I take myself to be Sanjay, and since X was Sanjay’s colleague, Sanjay got disturbed when X supposedly cheated him. However, am I really Sanjay? If I am Sanjay I have the right to be offended, but I am not Sanjay. Only ‘I am’ is real; therefore, Sanjay is just a temporary adjunct attached to this ‘I am’. So why take so much interest in Sanjay and his little life in this world which in any case will not last long?

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

However bad other people may appear to be, disliking them is not proper [or appropriate]. Likes and dislikes are both fit [for one] to dislike [spurn or renounce]. It is not appropriate to let [one’s] mind [dwell] excessively on worldly matters. To the extent possible, it is not appropriate to intrude in other’s affairs. All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If one knew this truth, who indeed would remain without giving?

Bhagavan says, ‘However bad other people may appear to be, disliking them is not proper [or appropriate]. Likes and dislikes are both fit [for one] to dislike [spurn or renounce]’. Yes, it may seem to me that X has done an insensitive act, but for this reason, I should not dislike him. Why? It is because these very likes and dislikes are keeping me bound to this world, so I should try to give up my dislikes. Bhagavan says, ‘It is not appropriate to let [one’s] mind [dwell] excessively on worldly matters’. If I think too much about such matters, I am thereby allowing my mind to dwell excessively on worldly matters. So I should let bygones be bygones and try to move ahead.

Bhagavan further says, ‘To the extent possible, it is not appropriate to intrude in other’s affairs’. If X has left our company, it is his affair, and therefore I should not intrude into his affairs. Moreover, I may have deceived someone in the past, and now I am at the receiving end.

Bhagavan ends this paragraph by saying, ‘All that one gives to others one is giving only to oneself. If one knew this truth, who indeed would remain without giving?’ So if X has taken away so-called my money, he has in fact only taken away his own money because X and I are one in essence. So I should not be disturbed by such inconsequential, petty acts.

Therefore, I need to move away from all this by turning within and taking refuge in Bhagavan. We have no other safe place to hide.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The atma-jyoti (the light of oneself or pure self-awareness) will shine forth by just being as we really are

We need to remain as we actually are without the least action of mind, speech or body. The atma-jyoti (the light of oneself or pure self-awareness) will shine forth by just being as we really are. The implication is that when we remain without the least action of the mind, speech of body, our ego is dissolved and what remains is that light of pure awareness. The light of oneself that shines forth is an eternal experience. What remains when ego is dissolved is just pure awareness, and pure awareness is always as it is. It never undergoes any change.

So for pure awareness, appearance or disappearance of ego makes no difference. Ego appears only in the view of ego, not in the view of pure awareness. So the shining forth of oneself is an eternal experience. It is not something that happens anew. It is that which is ever-present. As long as we rise and look away from ourself, we seem to be unaware of that which is always present, namely pure awareness. In fact, we are never for a moment not aware of it, but as ego we are aware of it as something other than what it actually is.

The pure awareness is the awareness of our own fundamental existence. That is always present. Instead of just being aware of ‘I am’, as ego we are aware of ‘I am this body’ or ‘I am this person’. So pure awareness ‘I am’ is not totally concealed. It is ever shining, but it shines in its purity only when ego is destroyed, and when ego is destroyed it is recognized that it is ever shining in its purity. It is never in the least affected by the appearance of ego.

• Based on the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (19:00)

Michael James said...

Michal, in reply to your comment of 20 November 2019 at 02:08, just one thought of Arunachala is enough to grant liberation, because if we think of it even once that will start a process whereby our mind will be cleansed of its outgoing desires and thereby drawn back to face within and be devoured by pure awareness, which is the real nature of Arunachala, as Bhagavan described in verse 10 of Śrī Aruṇācala Padigam:

பார்த்தனன் புதுமை யுயிர்வலி காந்த
      பருவத மொருதர மிதனை
யோர்த்திடு முயிரின் சேட்டையை யொடுக்கி
      யொருதன தபிமுக மாக
வீர்த்ததைத் தன்போ லசலமாச் செய்தவ்
      வின்னுயிர் பலிகொளு மிஃதென்
னோர்த்துய்மி னுயிர்கா ளுளமதி லொளிரிவ்
      வுயிர்க்கொலி யருணமா கிரியே.

pārttaṉaṉ pudumai yuyirvali kānta
      paruvata morudara midaṉai
yōrttiḍu muyiriṉ cēṭṭaiyai yoḍukki
      yorutaṉa dabhimukha māha
vīrttadait taṉpō lacalamāc ceydav
      viṉṉuyir balikoḷu miḵdeṉ
ṉōrttuymi ṉuyirgā ḷuḷamadi loḷiriv
      vuyirkkoli yaruṇamā giriyē
.

பதச்சேதம்: பார்த்தனன் புதுமை, உயிர் வலி காந்த பருவதம். ஒருதரம் இதனை ஓர்த்திடும் உயிரின் சேட்டையை ஒடுக்கி, ஒரு தனது அபிமுகம் ஆக ஈர்த்து, அதை தன் போல் அசலமா செய்து, அவ் இன் உயிர் பலி கொளும். இஃது என்! ஓர்த்து உய்மின், உயிர்காள், உளம் அதில் ஒளிர் இவ் உயிர் கொலி அருண மா கிரியே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): pārttaṉaṉ pudumai, uyir vali kānta paruvatam. orudaram idaṉai ōrttiḍum uyiriṉ cēṭṭaiyai oḍukki, oru taṉadu abhimukham-āha īrttu, adai taṉ pōl acalamā seydu, a-vv-iṉ uyir bali koḷum. iḵdu eṉ! ōrttu uymiṉ, uyirgāḷ, uḷam adil oḷir i-vv-uyir koli aruṇa mā giriyē.

அன்வயம்: பார்த்தனன் புதுமை, உயிர் வலி காந்த பருவதம். இதனை ஒருதரம் ஓர்த்திடும் உயிரின் சேட்டையை ஒடுக்கி, ஒரு தனது அபிமுகம் ஆக ஈர்த்து, அதை தன் போல் அசலமா செய்து, அவ் இன் உயிர் பலி கொளும். இஃது என்! உயிர்காள், உளம் அதில் ஒளிர் இவ் உயிர் கொலி அருண மா கிரியே ஓர்த்து உய்மின்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): pārttaṉaṉ pudumai, uyir vali kānta paruvatam. idaṉai orudaram ōrttiḍum uyiriṉ cēṭṭaiyai oḍukki, oru taṉadu abhimukham-āha īrttu, adai taṉ pōl acalamā seydu, a-vv-iṉ uyir bali koḷum. iḵdu eṉ! uyirgāḷ, uḷam adil oḷir i-vv-uyir koli aruṇa mā giriyē ōrttu uymiṉ.

English translation: I have seen a wonder, the magnetic hill that seizes [or forcibly attracts] the soul. Subduing the mischievous activity of the soul who thinks of it once, pulling [dragging or attracting] [that soul] to face towards itself, the one [or peerless] [infinite self-awareness that shines within the heart as ‘I’], and [thereby] making it acala [motionless] like itself, it accepts [and consumes] that sweet [spiritually ripened and pure] soul as bali [food offered in sacrifice]. What [a wonder] this is! O souls, be saved [by] thinking of the great Aruna Hill, this killer of the soul, who shines in the heart [as ‘I’].

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Michal:

Arunachala is like a spider who ensnares its victims in the web of its grace by making them think of it at least once, as Bhagavan indicates in verses 102 and 103 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:

அருணையென் றெண்ணயா னருட்கண்ணி பட்டேனுன்
      னருள்வலை தப்புமோ வருணாசலா

aruṇaiyeṉ ḏṟeṇṇayā ṉaruṭkaṇṇi paṭṭēṉuṉ
      ṉaruḷvalai tappumō varuṇācalā


பதச்சேதம்: அருணை என்று எண்ண, யான் அருள் கண்ணி பட்டேன். உன் அருள் வலை தப்புமோ அருணாசலா?

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aruṇai eṉḏṟu eṇṇa, yāṉ aruḷ kaṇṇi paṭṭēṉ. uṉ aruḷ valai tappumō aruṇācalā?

English translation: Arunachala, as soon as [I] thought [of you] as ‘Arunai’ [Arunachala], I was trapped in the net [or noose] of [your] grace. Will the net of your grace [ever] fail [in its purpose of ensnaring your devotees]?

சிந்தித் தருட்படச் சிலந்திபோற் கட்டிச்
      சிறையிட் டுண்டனை யருணாசலா

cintit taruṭpaḍac cilandipōṟ kaṭṭic
      ciṟaiyiṭ ṭuṇḍaṉai yaruṇācalā


பதச்சேதம்: சிந்தித்து அருள் பட, சிலந்தி போல் கட்டி, சிறை இட்டு உண்டனை அருணாசலா.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): cintittu aruḷ paḍa, silandi pōl kaṭṭi siṟai iṭṭu, uṇḍaṉai aruṇācalā.

English translation: Arunachala, like a spider [that spins a web, ensnares and devours its prey], deciding that [I should] be trapped in [the web of your] grace, ensnaring and imprisoning [me], you devoured [me].

So now that we have thought of Arunachala, our fate is sealed. All we can do now to make the process as quick and painless as possible is to surrender ourself to him by trying persistently to turn our attention back to face ourself alone.

Shiv Sivaram said...

Thanks Michael:
This is all that need to be done. HE will take us from here..................into HIS HEART

Michael James said...

Nothing special, in reply to your comment of 20 November 2019 at 23:46, ego is māyā, which is the very antithesis of grace. However, since māyā is in reality nothing other than grace, and since it therefore does not exist except as grace, it carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction, because as soon as its real nature is exposed, it ceases to be māyā and remains just as grace, as it always actually was.

What are the seeds of its own destruction that māyā carries within itself? It appears first as ego and consequently as everything perceived by ego, so the root and foundation of all its other manifestations is only ego, which is driven by one thing and one thing alone, namely its desire for happiness. Under the influence of māyā we as ego seek happiness in things other than ourself, but we can never find the perfect happiness we seek in such things, so we gradually become disillusioned and begin to recognise that happiness cannot be found anywhere outside ourself. As this becomes clearer to us, our desires for other things wane and our love to attend only to ourself waxes.

This love to investigate ourself and thereby surrender ourself in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are does not come from māyā but only from grace, which is nothing but our love for infinite happiness, our real nature, and which is therefore ever present in but veiled by māyā. Therefore, since this love to investigate and surrender ourself is given by grace, we must try to yield ourself to it as much as we can.

In other words, our only concern now should be to surrender ourself as much as possible by trying to be ever more keenly and persistently self-attentive, so as you say we should not be concerned about whether we are going to attain liberation now or will have to spend a thousand lifetimes to destroy ego. No matter how long it may take us to reach our destination, Bhagavan has taught us the direction in which we must travel, so our only concern should be to follow his directions by trying to be as self-attentive as possible.

Nothing special said...

Thank you, this satisfies my concern of interest and makes things clearer for me.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Arunachala is the most dangerous God, be warned!

Just one thought of Arunachala (which is Bhagavan or our fundamental awareness of our own being) is enough to liberate us because this thought will initiate a powerful process. This process will draw us ever more towards Arunachala (our true nature), and eventually, we will merge in Arunachala. So if we think of Arunachala even once, our fate is sealed – our mukti is around the corner. However, though we may think that we first think of Arunachala, actually it is Arunachala itself which makes us think of him. So this is a wonderful play of grace.

Arunachala is like a spider which ensnares its victims in its web of grace. So we cannot escape this web of grace: sooner or later Arunachala will catch hold of us and destroy us. So, beware, Arunachala is the most dangerous God. We had in the past thought of Arunachala; therefore, now we are prey in the jaws of a tiger. So the wise course now is to surrender to the tiger without struggle because in any case, he will devour us. We can delay this process if we foolishly try to escape from the jaws of the tiger.

Based on Michael’s recent comment addressed to Michal

Sanjay Lohia said...

We as ego carry within ourself the seed of our own destruction

We as ego carry within ourself the seed of our own destruction because as soon as our real nature is exposed, we will cease to be ego and remain as pure awareness.

Ego is driven by one thing and one thing alone and that is its desire for perfect happiness: that is, happiness without even an iota of misery. Under the influence of maya, we believe that we can get happiness from things outside of ourself, but this never happens. So eventually we become disillusioned. All our struggles and efforts to gain perfect happiness prove to be futile because we were looking for happiness in objects, but real happiness can only be found within ourself. When this becomes clearer to us, our desire for other things wane, and our love to attend only to ourself waxes.

Based on Michael’s recent comment addressed to Nothing Special

Michael James said...

In a comment on my latest video, 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna, a friend wrote, ‘I wish Michael would make a video or two explaining the meaning of Sri Arunachala Aksharamanamalai in which Bhagavan sings with so much love about the glory of Arunachala. As i make my feeble attempts at trying to understand and practice Bhagavan’s path of self investigation and self surrender, i feel at times that neither do i belong to the world nor am i a sincere devotee of Bhagavan, which means i am quite lost, belonging nowhere. I know that it is only my own desires and attachments and hopes that are keeping me from melting in Arunachala the form of love, as ice melts in warm water. Yet I also feel like I am helpless like a creeper in stormy weather and that i need the strong magnetic pull of Arunachala or Bhagavan to attract me, destroy my noisy mind, melt me. Michael sometimes mentions verses from Sri Aksharamanamalai and i find them very beautiful. How much more beautiful and helpful in giving courage and strength and hope to the mind that is trying to do vichara, would it be if Michael explained the whole song!’, in reply to which I wrote:

Saroj, several other people have asked me to discuss the verses of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai, so after discussing the five verses of Ēkāṉma Pañcakam in the next five meetings of the Ramana Foundation here in London I will begin to discuss Akṣaramaṇamālai, but it is not without trepidation that I will embark on this task, because it is an extremely deep work with many layers of meaning and allusion, so I know I will not be able to do anything close to full justice to it. However, fools rush where angels fear to tread, so as a fool I will attempt to do so.

anadi-ananta said...

"Arunachala, like a spider [that spins a web, ensnares and devours its prey], deciding that [I should] be trapped in [the web of your] grace, ensnaring and imprisoning [me], you devoured [me]."
As a spider ensnares its prey in its web and keeps it captured by stocking up with insects, Arunachala, you took me prisoner and now hold me (prisoner).However, you seem to have no great appetite to devour me or you does not like my scent. So you prefer keeping me on tenterhooks to swallowing me. At least you should prepare/adapt me to become a really delicious plum included to your diet.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

We should let our attention rest in its source

To say ‘being attentive’ is more appropriate than saying ‘paying attention’. When we say ‘paying attention’, it may seem that we are paying attention to an object. So ‘being self-attentive’ is a clearer description of the practice of self-attentiveness. We need to constantly refine the terms we use. We are always aware of ourself, but generally self-awareness is in the background. That is, we are more interested in being aware of other things that in being aware of ourself alone.

So when we are being self-attentive, we are letting our attention rest in its source. We are the source of our attention. When we cling to ourself, we thereby let go of everything else. That is, when we cling to ourself, we face our back on everything else. So we ourself are being aware of ourself. It is oneself attending to oneself.

• Based on the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (33:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Problems are problems only when we attend to them

We fabricate and project all our problems and consequently we unnecessarily suffer. Problems are problems only when we attend to them. Why rise as ego and imagine all these problems? Why not remain in sleep because we are free of problems only in sleep? However, we need to remain in eternal sleep and not in ordinary sleep. That is our aim. We need to remain in a state from where we can never rise as ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Any manifestation is a symptom of the problem and not the root of the problem

A friend: Do we need to be under this manifestation to realise ourself?

Michael: No, we don’t need to. This manifestation is the problem. Actually, it’s not the root of the problem but the symptom of the problem. It is only when we rise ego that there is a manifestation.

• Based on the video: 2019-10-12 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma-Viddai verse 4 (1:22)

Anonymous said...

Nice:)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"We need to remain in a state from where we can never rise as ego."
Can one prevent ego from rising and identifying itself with different persons at all ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

To say that there is something before awareness makes no sense at all

I say this book exists because I am aware of it. We are this universe exists because we are aware of it. If we were not aware of it, we would have no reason to say that it exists. So if Nisargadatta says something exists before consciousness, on what basis does he say that? We can believe in fairies, we can believe anything, but then it will all be blind beliefs.

Advaita and particularly Bhagavan’s teachings are based on our actual experience. We know we exist and we are aware because we couldn’t know we exist if we weren’t aware. So one thing that cannot be reasonably doubted is the existence of ourself as awareness. We must exist and be aware even to doubt anything. We can doubt whether we are what we now seem to be, but we cannot doubt that we are.

So since we are awareness, to say that there is something before awareness makes no sense at all.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-26 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses real awareness and seeming awareness (25:00)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
when you say "So one thing that cannot be reasonably doubted is the existence of ourself as awareness. We must exist and be aware even to doubt anything. We can doubt whether we are what we now seem to be, but we cannot doubt that we are.":
we should not underestimate the power of maya; there is caution needed here and therefore it is to be said against the above conclusion/assertion/ the following objection:
Our awareness is perhaps only a seeming appearance. Therefore we cannot have absolute certainty that we really are albeit it seems there is every reason to believe that we really exist. Only a sage can have absolute certainty about real existence.

Michael James said...

In June I posted on my website a thoroughly revised translation of Nāṉ Ār? along with a complete transliteration of the Tamil text, and yesterday I posted a revised and enlarged introduction to it along with a PDF copy of an incomplete series of articles that I wrote under the title The Various Texts of ‘Who am I?’, which appeared in five parts in The Mountain Path between December 1993 and June 1996.

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-11-17 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses self-attentiveness in contrast to satipaṭṭhāna, a friend asked, ‘Michael at 1:51:18 you say that as soon as we project the dream we lose control over what happens in the dream. Does this mean that we have control over whether or not we project the dream, and once we project it then only we lose control? Or do we not have control over whether or not we project the dream either? Is it that atma vichara is the way to “learn” how to control whether we project the dream, and thereby never again project it?’, in reply to which I wrote:

Rajat, controlling whether we dream or not and controlling what happens in our dreams are two different issues. Whenever we dream, we dream that we are a person in the dream world we have projected, so as a small part of the dream world we have little or no control over what happens in it.

However, though we cannot control what happens in any of our dreams, we are always free to wake up and thereby cease dreaming. The only thing that prevents us waking up to our real nature, which is pure awareness, is our unwillingness to surrender ourself entirely.

So how can we cultivate the required willingness to surrender ourself entirely? The most effective and direct means is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra), as prescribed by Bhagavan, because our willingness to surrender ourself is inversely proportional to the strength of our desires for things other than ourself. The more we practise being self-attentive, thereby withdrawing our attention from other things, the more our desires, attachments and fears will reduce in strength, and hence the more willing we will become to surrender ourself.

We cannot and need not control what happens in this or any other dream of ours, but we can investigate and thereby surrender ourself, so this is all that we need do, because this is the means to wake up to our real nature and thereby cease being a dreamer and consequently dreaming.

Unknown said...

Michael ji,

Why didn't you complete this series? This is very good.True piece of legitamate research

Michael James said...

Unknown, in reply to your comment of 25 November 2019 at 16:04, in which your refer to The Various Texts of ‘Who am I?’, an incomplete series of articles that I wrote in the mid-1990s, I did the research and wrote them when I was in Tiruvannamalai, where I had access to the ashram archives and various old books, so I was not able to complete the series after I left. However, if I am able to go back there at any time, I would like to complete the series, or given what more I have learnt since then, rewrite what I wrote earlier and then complete it.

Nothing special said...

Why do we say that everyone is at different stages of spiritual development when they are all just part of the dream? All we need to do is wake up. Are we just explaining things while ego remains? There is only one seeming ego so until it is gone we pretend that there is such a thing as spiritual stages to satisfy the questioner. So ego that we perceive in others, we only perceive from the perspective of ego. Thus once ego is eradicated we only see pure awareness and I nor others ever had ego. With that said I am not ready to let go yet. I am still attached to my family

Unknown said...

Michaelji,

Thank you for your reply..your articles in the old issues of Mountain path magazine are very good. My favourites are
1. Sri Sadhu om: An exemplary devotee ( sadhu om swamigal's obituary) 1985 July: Vol.22 No.3
2. The Power of Arunachala ( Essay written for RMCL Bengaluru competition: 1982 April Vol 22 No 2
3. Sri Muruganar: 1982 October Vol.19, No.4
4. Morality and self knowledge: In the light of the life and the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Oct 1985 Vol.22 No.4

I think your old articles should be archived in this blog..

Rajat said...

Unknown,
Thank you for the links to Michael's Mountain path articles. I too would like if Michael's old articles are archived here. Do you (or any other commenters) have any other articles of Michael published in Mountain path? If so, could you please share?

Michael,
I noticed that in your old article in Mountain Path, Self appears with the capital 'S', but you don't seem to use the capital S anywhere on this blog. Any special reason behind this grammatical change?

Also you give a translation of verse 77 of Aksharamanamalai as - "It destroys the attachment of those who come to It with attachment". This verse seems to suggest that Arunachala has a special power of helping one gain viveka. It is said that Bhagavan will swallow our ego only when we want to be swallowed, i.e when we have no desires left but have only love to turn within. But the above verse says that Arunachala will help us fight desires even when we lack the viveka to let go of the desires ourself, at least to an extent. Is my inference right? Can you please elaborate on this power of Arunachala?

anadi-ananta said...

Rajat,
regarding Mountain Path:
according Sri Ramanasramam Home page - Quick Links
Mountain Path
Access Past Issues of 'The Mountain Path':
All the past issues of 'The Mountain Path' from 1964 up to the most recent issues are in pdf format. To access the past issues in pdf format, from 1964 to 2016, click below.
Select the Year and select "Issue" and you can find any wanted article easily by looking through the "Contents"-page (mostly page 1).

Re. not using capital 'S' for 'self' Michael wrote sometime and somewhere (perhaps in a comment) something in the sense that he wanted thus indicate or emphasize that self is not an entity separated from us but our very real nature.

Re. the power of Arunachala I think that we (can) receive grace corresponding to our spiritual ripeness and capacity only. Metaphorically speaking: If your cup is empty (of self-forgetfulness/pramada) you may get a full cup of grace and inversely. But as you imply "Arunachala will help us fight desires even when we lack the viveka to let go of the desires ourself, at least to an extent."

Michael James said...

Rajat, in reply to your comment of 28 November 2019 at 09:18, I agree that what Unknown suggested on 26 November 2019 at 07:12 and you supported is a good idea, so whenever I find sufficient spare time I will try to do so.

Regarding not using an initial capital for words such as ‘self’, over the years I have been gradually refining the way in which I try to explain Bhagavan’s teachings, so some terms that I used in the past I do not use now because I have come to consider other terms to be more appropriate. I stopped using using an initial capital for words such as ‘self’ many years ago, and I have explained in many places why I did so, such as in Since ‘the Self’ is ourself as we actually are, how can we see anything else as ‘the Self’ when we do not even see ourself as ‘the Self’? and in some of the places listed here.

Not only do I avoid writing ‘self’ with a capital ‘S’, but in recent years instead of writing ‘self’ I generally write ‘oneself’ or ‘ourself’, because such terms are more natural in English and I believe they are a more accurate translation of the Tamil pronoun தான் (tāṉ), which is the term Bhagavan generally used to refer to oneself, and the equivalent Sanskrit term आत्मन् (ātman).

As you say, Arunachala will not eradicate ego until we as ego are willing to surrender ourself entirely, but as Bhagavan used to say, grace is the beginning, the middle and the end, so the task of Arunachala, whose very nature is grace, is not just to eradicate ego but also to make us willing to surrender ourself, and it does this by enkindling in us the liking to investigate ourself and thereby weaken all our desires and attachments and strengthen our love to surrender ourself.

The more our desires and attachments are weakened and our love to surrender ourself is correspondingly strengthened (in other words, the more we gain vairāgya and bhakti), the more deeply and brightly our innate inner clarity will shine in our mind, and this clarity is what is called vivēka. So yes, Arunachala does have a special power called ‘grace’ that helps us gain vivēka, bhakti and vairāgya, which are three qualities that always go hand in hand and increase in proportion to each other.

Rajat said...

Thank you anadi-ananta and Michael for your replies.
I will try to access the pdf copies of past issues of Mountain Path for Michael's articles and other similarly helpful articles from the Ramanashram website and also this blog (which would be much easier, given the large number of past issues of the magazine) if Michael finds time to archive them.

Michael the article you mention about 'the Self' has clarified the matter perfectly. Thanks for sharing the link.
Also your comment about the power of Arunachala, the special power of grace, comes at a very opportune moment, as after months of trying I am finally on the bus to Tiruvannamalai for a short trip, to try to do pradakshina and to pray for "every-increasing love for Bhagavan's two feet".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rajat, since you will be Tiruvannamalai, please convey my sincere pranams to Bhagavan and Arunachala. Without their grace we cannot reach our goal!

anadi-ananta said...

There is no place where Bhagavan Arunachala-Annamalai-Ramana is not (present).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Yes, Anadi-ananta,only Bhagavan is. We are not,so he is present everywhere. He is here; he is now.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"...please convey my sincere pranams to Bhagavan and Arunachala."
I understand your sincere excitement but do you really think that Rajat could act as your representative for you before Arunachala ? You can convey your sincere pranams to Bhagavan and Arunachala in your home town Bangalore at any time quite well by yourself.:-)
But why not join in Rajat's excitement of doing Arunachala Giripradakshina (girivalam), so Rajat may cicumambulate Annamalai and thus take us all with him in Siva's spirit.

Rajat said...

Sanjay,
I read your message after i had left Ramanashramam and was on the way back. But catching a last glimpse of Arunachala hill and of Ramanashramam from the bus as it left the town, I remembered your pranams to Arunachala. I completely agree with you that we cannot succeed in self investigation and self surrender without the grace of Bhagavan or Arunachala. As Michael says grace is the beginning, the middle and the end, which also means that grace is ever-present.

Anadi-ananta, unfortunately for me, I couldn't do Arunachala Giripradakshina because of time shortage and the nonstop rains. I was unhappy to be leaving so soon but i take some comfort in Bhagavan's assurance that he, who is the same as Arunachala, is always shining within us as 'I'. So that means wherever we go and wherever we are and at all times, Bhagavan is always and everywhere present so intimately and easily accessible. So that is a great assurance of Bhagavan!

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
are we not always aware that we are ? So saying "We are not" cannot be correct. Rather you meant "we are not ego".

anadi-ananta said...

Sorry, of course it should be "circumambulate".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rajat, I am glad you remembered to convey my pranams to Arunachala and Bhagavan when you could still see Arunachala. I thank you for this. Only grace makes us remember grace. So grace made you convey my pranams to Arunachala while you were still near Arunachala. I feel blessed because Arunachala (or Bhagavan) acknowledged my greetings. All a wonderful play of grace!

anadi-ananta said...

"By that immaculate mind that is completely ahamukham [inward facing, selfward-facing or self-attentive] investigating where this 'I' itself rises and [thereby] clearly knowing the form [or real nature] of 'I', one will certainly cease in you, Arunachala, like a river in the ocean. Investigate [or know]."
Because my mind is neither immaculate nor able to be sufficiently keen self-attentive it cannot investigate where this 'I' itself rises. Therefore it will never be able to cease in you, Arunachala. You certainly know what is the reason for that fiasco. If even you don't see any chance or hope to change that misery I will end up in the fires of hell.
Presumably you did not provide anything else for me and/or I did not deserve any better.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, regarding your lamentation about your present condition, which is much the same as the condition of most of us, please bear in mind what Bhagavan replied to someone who complained, ‘Surrender is impossible’, namely ‘Complete surrender is impossible in the beginning. Partial surrender is certainly possible for all. In course of time that will lead to complete surrender’ (as recorded in Talks section 244).

Since we can truly surrender ourself only to the extent that we turn our attention within to face ourself, partial surrender implies at least trying gently and gradually to turn our attention within, no matter how quickly and frequently it may jump out again. So rather than lamenting our pitiable condition, we can make better use of our precious time by trying to be self-attentive. If we try to see who is lamenting, the lamenter will sooner or later disappear, and what will then remain is infinite and eternal happiness.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
thank you for your reply. But sometimes out of disappointment about my remaining inability to turn my attention keenly within I even don't reach that level from which I could investigate the lamenter closer.

Shiv Sivaram said...

I was into something else and was not tracking on this blog.
To my earlier comment, Ganeshan Anna wrote to me by email and this, I strongly think should be in this blog.
He just pulled be from the "intellectual trap".........directing towards THE HEART....Here his note:-


Dear brother SHIV SIVARAM Maharaj,
PRANAMS.

You say : " Struggle faced now , for me , is retention of the EXISTENCE in all times permanently " .

The " idea " of " permanency " ( about ' Existence ' ) is the biggest ' trap ' that the so called ' intellectuals ' are drowned with !

" EXISTENCE " contains in its every fibre the ' fact ' of permanency, already , for , it is the " Presence " of GOD in every one of us ! The non--existent individuality ( Shiv Sivaram, Ganesan ) with his unwanted accretion of non-existent " mind " , DESIRES permanency , since the ' mind ' itself feels and knows that it is totally insecure and impermanent !

Raise the question : " Who desires ' permanency ' ? " Then , notice ! There will arise -- spontaneously too -- a " Silence " which is NOT your creation ( like, your thought or your desire ) but GOD ' a Blessings on you ! SRI BHAGAVAN said :
" The ' aantareeka mouna ' is ' Ishwara Sannidhi ' = the " Presence of GOD " !

I would humbly request every sincere spiritual aspirant to descend down from the " head " ( the manufacturing factory of ' thoughts ' ) to the ' HEART ' ( the ' Presence of GOD ' = ' aantareeka mouna ' ) ! The " Ladder " by which or through which one can give effect to such ' an act of descending ' is to raise the all--important question : " WHO AM I ? " Instantly , the ' mind ' -- with its thousand and one ' thoughts ' -- will disappear ; and, the " INNER SILENCE " will reign supreme ! This is not an ' achievement ' by the individual, but purely a Divine occurrence ! Have reverence for it !

May SRI BHAGAVAN continue to bless us all, guide us all, is my constant prayer to HIM !

With lots of LOVE and REGARDS,

Yours Ever,
GANESAN.

Michael James said...

Shiv, regarding your latest comment, it is not clear to me why Ganesan thinks you were falling into some kind of trap when you wrote in one of your earlier comments, ‘Struggle faced now, for me, is retention of this EXISTENCE in all the times and permanent’, or what exactly is the trap that he thinks you were falling into.

It is true, as he says, that existence (in the sense of uḷḷadu, what actually exists), which is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), is permanent, and also that as ego or mind we are impermanent, but that is precisely why we should always try to cling to what is permanent, because that alone is real. Clinging to what is permanent means being self-attentive, and according to Bhagavan we should try to be self-attentive as permanently as possible, as he clearly implies, for example, in the following two sentences of the eleventh and sixteenth paragraphs of Nāṉ Ār?:

ஒருவன் தான் சொரூபத்தை யடையும் வரையில் நிரந்தர சொரூப ஸ்மரணையைக் கைப்பற்றுவானாயின் அதுவொன்றே போதும்.

oruvaṉ tāṉ sorūpattai y-aḍaiyum varaiyil nirantara sorūpa-smaraṇaiyai-k kai-p-paṯṟuvāṉ-āyiṉ adu-v-oṉḏṟē pōdum.

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

சதாகாலமும் மனத்தை ஆத்மாவில் வைத்திருப்பதற்குத் தான் ‘ஆத்மவிசார’ மென்று பெயர்;

sadā-kālam-um maṉattai ātmāvil vaittiruppadaṟku-t tāṉ ‘ātma-vicāram’ eṉḏṟu peyar;

English translation: The name ‘ātma-vicāra’ [refers] only to keeping the mind always in [or on] ātmā [oneself];

It may not be possible for us as ego to be permanently self-attentive, but we should try to be, and if we have sufficient love to surrender ourself completely, we will come very close to clinging fast to uninterrupted self-remembrance (svarūpa-smaraṇa) until eventually we will lose ourself completely in pure self-awareness, which is our real nature (svarūpa).

Regarding the ‘heart’, in the context of Bhagavan’s teachings it is a term that refers to our real nature, so ‘descending into the heart’ means subsiding back into our real nature, which we can do only by being keenly self-attentive. Therefore if you are trying to be self-attentive, you are thereby leaving behind the ‘head’ (metaphorically speaking) and descending into the heart.

This is not an intellectual trap but the path shown to us Bhagavan, and as he says in the final sentence of the twelfth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?: ‘குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்’ (guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi tavaṟādu naḍakka vēṇḍum), ‘it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown’.

Shiv Sivaram said...

Thanks....
Got REAL answers to my several questions.

thanksagain

Who Am I? said...

Shiv Shivaram, thanks for sharing Sri Ganeshan's e-mail to you. Kindly do not delete it like some people do over here.