Saturday, 21 December 2019

Self-investigation is the only means by which we can surrender ourself entirely and thereby eradicate ego

A mutual friend recently wrote to David Godman and me asking us to confirm his understanding on various points concerning Bhagavan and his teachings, including that silence is his highest teaching, that he gave ‘Realization’ to his mother and Cow Lakshmi, that some other people got ‘enlightenment’ just being in his presence, that he ‘said that people come to him in various maturity levels’, that he ‘did not speak about “Atma-Vichara” unless someone asked [him] the easiest and quickest way for Realization’, but that ‘at the same time he has guided few others towards realization’ (referring to what seems to me to be a dubious claim that he ‘never mentioned about Atma-Vichara to Natesa Iyer’ but ‘mentioned to him to look at “Nothing”’), that ‘Time and again Bhagawan said that HE is not the body, which implies that he is LOVE & Awareness’, that he is therefore ‘available to anyone Here and Now’, that ‘on the “Karma” theory/aspect anyone who is destined to succeed in “Atma-Vichara” will get irrespective of they want it or not’, and that ‘He also have mentioned that the effective way for MUKTI/ liberation is either by practice of Atma-vichara or Self Surrender’.

David quickly wrote a brief reply to this, saying “Bhagavan would often ask questioners ‘Who is asking the question?’ which was an invitation to do self-enquiry by focusing on the ‘I’ that was seeking answers. When I have said or written that Bhagavan was non-prescriptive, I meant that he would not suggest a practice unasked. He was not a preacher or a lecturer. However, once a dialogue started, it would often result in Bhagavan suggesting self-enquiry”.

The next five sections are adapted from the reply I wrote to this friend, and of the final three sections, two contain replies I wrote to some other more recent emails of his and one contains a passage that David referred to in connection with an incident I narrated in one of my replies:
  1. Bhagavan does not give us liberation, but turns our attention back to face ourself and thereby enables us to see that we are ever-liberated
  2. Bhagavan made it very clear that the only means by which we can eradicate ego and thereby be liberated is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra)
  3. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13: we cannot surrender ourself entirely without investigating what we actually are
  4. Success in ātma-vicāra, namely annihilation of ego, has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we want it enough
  5. What Bhagavan teaches us through silence is exactly the same as what he teaches us by words, but the effect of his silent teachings is much deeper and more powerful
  6. Only by being in the heart as it is (uḷḷattē uḷḷapaḍi uḷḷadē) are we truly sitting in Bhagavan’s presence
  7. Pure awareness, which is our real nature and what shines within us as ‘I’, is the gracious feet of guru, so clinging to that awareness is the means for us to remove the bondage called ego
  8. Bhagavan’s teachings are extremely simple and clear, but at the same time very deep and radical, so they are the perfect medicine for anyone who is tired of this ego-life with all its complications, confusions and deceptions
1. Bhagavan does not give us liberation, but turns our attention back to face ourself and thereby enables us to see that we are ever-liberated

You have expressed many ideas here, some of which are correct and others of which are not so correct.

Yes, Bhagavan is pure awareness and infinite love, so he is always available here and now, shining as ‘I’ in the heart of each one of us.

He himself said that he cannot give us liberation, because he cannot give us what is ours already. What he does do, however, is turn our attention back to face ourself, because if we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see that we are just pure awareness, which is ever-liberated. This is what he did in the case of all those devotees who have attained liberation by his grace, including his mother and Pasu Lakshmi, and he will do it in our case whenever we are willing to surrender ourself entirely to him.

2. Bhagavan made it very clear that the only means by which we can eradicate ego and thereby be liberated is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra)

As David said, Bhagavan didn’t give any teachings unasked, but when he was asked his first inclination was to advise all questioners to look within to see what they actually are, because this is ‘மார்க்கம் நேர் ஆர்க்கும்’ (mārggam nēr ārkkum), ‘the direct path for everyone whomsoever’, as he says in verse 17 of Upadēśa Undiyār. Only if they showed themself to be unwilling to accept this simple and direct teaching would he discuss with them whatever other type of practice they were interested in and encourage them in their own chosen path.

He made it very clear that the only means by which we can eradicate ego and thereby be liberated is self-investigation (ātma-vicāra). For example, in the eighth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he wrote: ‘மனம் அடங்குவதற்கு விசாரணையைத் தவிர வேறு தகுந்த உபாயங்களில்லை. மற்ற உபாயங்களினால் அடக்கினால் மனம் அடங்கினாற்போ லிருந்து, மறுபடியும் கிளம்பிவிடும்’ (maṉam aḍaṅguvadaṟku vicāraṇaiyai-t tavira vēṟu tahunda upāyaṅgaḷ-illai. maṯṟa upāyaṅgaḷiṉāl aḍakkiṉāl maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl-pōl irundu, maṟupaḍiyum kiḷambi-viḍum), ‘For the mind to cease [settle, subside, yield, be subdued, be still or disappear], except vicāraṇā [self-investigation] there are no other adequate means. If made to cease [subside or disappear] by other means, the mind remaining [for a while] as if it had ceased, will again rise up [sprout, emerge or start]’.

What he clearly implies by saying this is that ātma-vicāra is the only means by which we can achieve manōnāśa (permanent dissolution of mind), and that by any other means we can only achieve manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind), which is not big deal, because we achieve manōlaya every night when we fall asleep. He implied the same in verses 22 and 27 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
மதிக்கொளி தந்தம் மதிக்கு ளொளிரு
மதியினை யுள்ளே மடக்கிப் — பதியிற்
பதித்திடுத லன்றிப் பதியை மதியான்
மதித்திடுத லெங்ஙன் மதி.

matikkoḷi tandam matikku ḷoḷiru
matiyiṉai yuḷḷē maḍakkip — patiyiṯ
padittiḍuda laṉḏṟip patiyai matiyāṉ
madittiḍuda leṅṅaṉ madi
.

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

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

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

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

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

Explanatory paraphrase: Consider, except by turning [bending or folding] mati [the mind or intellect] back within [and thereby] completely immersing [embedding or fixing] it in pati [the Lord or God], who shines [as pure awareness] within that mind giving light [of awareness] to the mind, how to fathom [or investigate and know] God by the mind?

நானுதியா துள்ளநிலை நாமதுவா யுள்ளநிலை
நானுதிக்குந் தானமதை நாடாம — னானுதியாத்
தன்னிழப்பைச் சார்வதெவன் சாராமற் றானதுவாந்
தன்னிலையி னிற்பதெவன் சாற்று.

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

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

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

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

Explanatory paraphrase: The state in which one exists without ‘I’ [ego] rising is the state in which we exist as that [brahman, the ultimate reality and infinite whole, the nature of which is pure self-awareness, uncontaminated by the appearance of anything else]. Without investigating the place [namely one’s fundamental self-awareness] where [from which or in which] ‘I’ rises, how to reach [achieve or take refuge in] the annihilation of oneself [ego], [the state] in which ‘I’ does not rise? [In other words, the only way to annihilate ego is to investigate oneself, the source from which it rises, because only when one investigates oneself will one see oneself as one actually is, and only when one sees oneself as one actually is will one forever cease mistaking oneself to be ego, the false rising and subsiding ‘I’.] [And] without reaching [or taking refuge in] [the annihilation of ego], say [or explain], how to stand [stop, stay or abide] in the [real] state of oneself, in which oneself is that?
In each of these verses he asks one or two rhetorical questions, which in both cases imply essentially the same thing. In verse 22 he implies that we cannot know பதி (pati), the Lord who shines within us as pure awareness, except by turning our mind back within and immersing it completely in him, and in verse 27 he implies that we cannot experience ourself as that (brahman), which is likewise pure awareness, without annihilating ego, and that we cannot annihilate ego without investigating ourself, the place or source from which we have risen as ego.

3. Nāṉ Ār? paragraph 13: we cannot surrender ourself entirely without investigating what we actually are

Though he sometimes said that there are only two ways to eradicate ego, self-investigation or self-surrender, on many other occasions he made it clear that we cannot surrender ourself entirely without investigating what we actually are. For example, in the first sentence of the thirteenth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? he said: ‘ஆன்மசிந்தனையைத் தவிர வேறு சிந்தனை கிளம்புவதற்குச் சற்று மிடங்கொடாமல் ஆத்மநிஷ்டாபரனா யிருப்பதே தன்னை ஈசனுக் களிப்பதாம்’ (āṉma-cintaṉaiyai-t tavira vēṟu cintaṉai kiḷambuvadaṟku-c caṯṟum iḍam-koḍāmal ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ-āy iruppadē taṉṉai īśaṉukku aḷippadām), ‘Being ātma-niṣṭhāparaṉ [one who is completely fixed in and as oneself], giving not even the slightest room to the rising of any cintana [thought] other than ātma-cintana [‘thought of oneself’, self-contemplation or self-attentiveness], alone is giving oneself to God’. Likewise in the final sentence of verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu he wrote: ‘ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்’ (ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr), ‘Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything’.

4. Success in ātma-vicāra, namely annihilation of ego, has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we want it enough

You say ‘on the “Karma” theory/aspect anyone who is destined to succeed in “Atma-Vichara” will get irrespective of they want it or not’, but success in ātma-vicāra, namely annihilation of ego, has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we want it enough. As Bhagavan used to say, bhakti is the mother of jñāna. Without wholehearted and all-consuming love to surrender ourself entirely, we will not be willing to attend to ourself so keenly that we see what we actually are and thereby eradicate ego forever.

Destiny (prārabdha) is the fruit of our past karmas, so if destiny could determine whether or not we succeed in eradicating ego, that would mean that liberation is the fruit of karma, which cannot be the case, as Bhagavan says unequivocally in verse 2 of Upadēśa Undiyār:
வினையின் விளைவு விளிவுற்று வித்தாய்
வினைக்கடல் வீழ்த்திடு முந்தீபற
      வீடு தரலிலை யுந்தீபற.

viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivuṯṟu vittāy
viṉaikkaḍal vīṙttiḍu mundīpaṟa
      vīḍu taralilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வினையின் விளைவு விளிவு உற்று வித்தாய் வினை கடல் வீழ்த்திடும். வீடு தரல் இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): viṉaiyiṉ viḷaivu viḷivu uṯṟu vittāy viṉai-kaḍal vīṙttiḍum. vīḍu taral ilai.

English translation: The fruit of action having perished, as seed it causes to fall in the ocean of action. It is not giving liberation.

Explanatory paraphrase: The fruit of an action having perished, [remaining] as a seed [a karma-vāsanā or propensity to do the same kind of action] it causes [one] to fall in the ocean of action. [Therefore] it [action] does not give liberation.
Karma is finite, so its fruit is finite, and hence it can never give liberation, which is our natural state of pure and infinite awareness. Therefore we cannot attain liberation by doing anything but only by surrendering ourself entirely and thereby ceasing to do anything at all.

To surrender ourself entirely and thereby cease doing anything we need to turn our mind back within to face ourself alone, and if we succeed in doing so, that is not the fruit of any karma but only the fruit of pure love. As Bhagavan used to say, prārabdha can affect only the outward-turned mind, so it can never obstruct us from turning within. Whether we turn within or not is entirely up to us, so if we wholeheartedly wish to do so nothing can prevent us.

5. What Bhagavan teaches us through silence is exactly the same as what he teaches us by words, but the effect of his silent teachings is much deeper and more powerful

You say that Bhagavan’s teaching is silence, which is the highest teaching of all. That is true, because silence is our real nature, and our real nature cannot be revealed by anything other than itself. Whatever teachings he gave us in words were only to point us in the correct direction, namely within, because only when we turn within and thereby merge back into the source from which we rose as ego will we experience true silence.

Ego is the very antithesis of silence, so we can benefit from his silent teaching only to the extent that we are willing to surrender ourself to him. The more ego subsides, the more we will be guided by his silence.

What he teaches us through silence is what Arunachala taught him through silence, and he puts that into words beautifully and clearly in verse 44 of Śrī Aruṇācala Akṣaramaṇamālai:
திரும்பி யகந்தனைத் தினமகக் கண்காண்
      டெரியுமென் றனையென் னருணாசலா

tirumbi yahandaṉaid diṉamahak kaṇkāṇ
      ṭeriyumeṉ ḏṟaṉaiyeṉ ṉaruṇācalā


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

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

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

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

English translation: Arunachala, what [a wonder]! You said: ‘Turning back inside, see yourself daily with the inner eye [or an inward look]; it [the reality that always shines as ‘I alone am I’] will be known’.
Therefore what he teaches us through silence is exactly the same as what he teaches us by words, but the effect of his silent teachings is much deeper and more powerful. Therefore to avail of the benefit of his teaching through silence, all we need do is to follow what he taught us in words, namely to turn within to see ourself and thereby to surrender ourself wholeheartedly to him, as he implied we must do in the final sentence of the twelfth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?: ‘எனினும், குரு காட்டிய வழிப்படி தவறாது நடக்க வேண்டும்’ (eṉiṉum, guru kāṭṭiya vaṙi-p-paḍi tavaṟādu naḍakka vēṇḍum), ‘however, it is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown’.

6. Only by being in the heart as it is (uḷḷattē uḷḷapaḍi uḷḷadē) are we truly sitting in Bhagavan’s presence

Referring to one of David’s videos, Talks on Sri Ramana Maharshi: Narrated by David Godman - Self-Enquiry, the same mutual friend wrote another email to both of us saying:
I was again hearing this presentation. You were mentioning that Bhagawan mentioned that the His highest teaching is in silence and when one sits in the presence of the Jnani, with the mind tuned one can absorb the state of the Jnani.

Bhagawan’s physical form is not there, and I understand that Bhagawan is much more than His physical. If one sit with all earnestness in front of His photo and try to tune to HIS presence at the heart, can one get the same result as one sitting in the Physical Presence of Bhagawan?
In reply to this I wrote:

As you wrote in one of your recent emails, Bhagavan is not the body but pure awareness and infinite love, so he is always here and now, shining clearly in our heart as our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’. Therefore his real presence is to be found only within ourself. Only by being in the heart as it is (‘உள்ளத்தே உள்ளபடி உள்ளதே’ (uḷḷattē uḷḷapaḍi uḷḷadē), as he says in the first maṅgalam verse of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu) are we truly sitting in his presence, and in order to be in the heart as it is we must stop looking for anything outside ourself and instead turn our entire attention within to face ourself alone.

In this connection we should consider what he once said to Janaki Mata. One day she saw him returning from the gō-śāla (cowshed), and since there were not many people about she thought this was a good opportunity, so she approached him, prostrated and caught hold of his feet. He looked down at her with a smile and asked, ‘What are you doing?’, to which she replied, ‘I am holding the feet of my guru’, whereupon he said: ‘These are not the feet of your guru. This body and its feet are perishable, so if you cling to them you will be disappointed. The real feet of your guru are shining in you as ‘I’, so cling to those feet. They alone will save you’.

Regarding your question, ‘If one sit with all earnestness in front of His photo and try to tune to HIS presence at the heart, can one get the same result as one sitting in the Physical Presence of Bhagawan?’, his photo (and even simple thought of him) certainly has the same power as his physical presence to turn our attention back to ourself, but we can attune ourself to that power (the power of his grace) only by trying to be self-attentive. In other words, we can benefit from that power only to the extent that we are willing to yield ourself to it by letting go of everything else and clinging firmly to him in our heart as ‘I’.

7. Pure awareness, which is our real nature and what shines within us as ‘I’, is the gracious feet of guru, so clinging to that awareness is the means for us to remove the bondage called ego

After reading what I wrote about what Bhagavan said to Janaki Mata, David wrote that it reminds him of the following passage from Natanananda’s chapter in The Power of the Presence (Part One, pp. 116-7):
A certain lady who had a lot of devotion performed a traditional ritual for worshipping sages whenever she came into Bhagavan’s presence to have darshan. She would prostrate to Bhagavan, touch his feet and then put the hands that had touched Bhagavan’s feet on her eyes.

After noticing that she did this daily, Bhagavan told her one day, ‘Only the Supreme Self, which is ever shining in your heart as the reality, is the Sadguru. The pure awareness, which is shining as the inward illumination “I”, is his gracious feet. The contact with these [inner holy feet] alone can give you true redemption. Joining the eye of reflected consciousness [chidabhasa], which is your sense of individuality [jiva bodha], to those holy feet, which are the real consciousness, is the union of the feet and the head that is the real significance of the word “asi” [in the mahavakyatat tvam asi’ (you are that)]. As these inner holy feet can be held naturally and unceasingly, hereafter, with an inward-turned mind, cling to that inner awareness that is your own real nature. This alone is the proper way for the removal of bondage and the attainment of the supreme truth.’
This passage, like most of that chapter, is a translation of an extract from Śrī Ramaṇa Darśanam, a Tamil book in which Natananandar wrote his reflections on Bhagavan’s life and teachings, so it is also included in the English translation of that book (chapter 20: pp. 34-5). I am not sure whether this passage is his retelling of the same incident I wrote about, or whether he is referring to another occasion in which Bhagavan said much the same as he said to Janaki Mata, but in either case this is further confirmation of what Bhagavan taught about the real nature of guru and his feet and how we should cling to them in our heart.

8. Bhagavan’s teachings are extremely simple and clear, but at the same time very deep and radical, so they are the perfect medicine for anyone who is tired of this ego-life with all its complications, confusions and deceptions

In another email the same friend wrote that one of his friends had advised him not to waste his time reading or surfing the internet, but to ‘go within hug and love God and be lost in that love with no expectation’ or ‘just sit still and watch a spot on the floor in front of you’, in reply to which I wrote:

My suggestion would be that rather than stopping all reading (which anyway I suspect you would not be able to do), you should as far as possible limit your reading to Bhagavan’s teachings. He gives us all we need in the way of guidance, and the advantage of repeatedly reading his teachings is that he constantly reminds us and motivates us to put them into practice by trying our best to turn within and thereby surrender ourself to him. Moreover, by limiting our reading to his teachings we avoid unnecessary distraction and the confusion that results from it.

His teachings are extremely simple and clear, but at the same time very deep and radical, so they are the perfect medicine for anyone who is tired of this ego-life with all its complications, confusions and deceptions.

302 comments:

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Shiv Sivaram said...

Thanks Micheal!!!!!
Your approach to the question is very precise and a sure shot.
David also made this question well answered. NOW PRACTICE is all that is needed
for the progress. Here again HE said to some one "When you take one step towards me , I make ten steps towards you.
(Right!)

Michael James said...

Yesterday I informed David and our mutual friend about this article, and David replied saying, “The attached excerpt from Padamalai expands on the theme of who Bhagavan really is, and how he can be contacted and experienced. It is from the ‘Bhagavan’s Promises and Declarations’ chapter”. The excerpt he attached, which is a partial extract from pages 29-31 of the English translation, is:

Bhagavan’s darshan

35 Why do you pointlessly find fault with me, saying that I no longer look at you?

36 If you would only fix your gaze upon me, you would know that, established in the Heart, my gaze is ever fixed upon you.

Bhagavan: Bhagavan is always bestowing grace. To regard the real as unreal and the unreal as real is alone ignorance. You yourself are always shining naturally as ‘I’, ‘I’. Does Bhagavan exist apart from that being-consciousness? It is the attention turned towards the body that causes the distinctions between ‘you’ and ‘I’. If, through Self-attention, it [attention to the body] is itself transformed into being-consciousness, and if one realises that the reality is only one, where, then, is the scope for saying ‘you’ or ‘I? Remaining still, having realised the truth as it is, is the Guru’s grace. (Sri Ramana Darsanam, p. 11)

37 Looking at you from within the Self, I never leave you. How can this fact be known to your externalised vision?

Guru Vachaka Kovai verse 966, Pozhippurai: The reality, the perfect One, exists in the state of supreme truth [paramartha] as ‘I alone exist as the indivisible illumination in every discrete being’. It possesses the nature of the Heart that exists and shines as Atma-swarupa, the soul of the soul. It is verily the form of divine grace [tirvarul] that dances on high, subduing everything else. Therefore, the fault of slighting it by not even thinking about it [lies] only with the beings who ought to think of that reality all the time and to such an extent that their minds soften and melt at such supreme love from reality. How can the blame for God not bestowing his sweet grace on them be attributed to God, the reality that exists?

Vilakkam: Feeling that the jivas should not suffer in the least in knowing and reaching Him, God, without remaining different from them, exists and shines as the Atma-swarupa, the reality of every being. This indeed is the greatness of the supreme compassion that God has towards jivas. It has therefore been said: ‘It [reality] … is verily the form of divine grace that dances on high, subduing everything else.’

God is perpetually bestowing His grace on all beings in the form of the illumination that is shining unceasingly as I-I in the Heart. It has therefore been said, ‘How can the fault of not bestowing His sweet grace be attributed to God?’

Unless they [jivas] turn within, in His direction, and put attention on Him, the truth that God is continuously bestowing His grace on them all the time will not be known to them. Therefore, for the beings – who, through the individual self, do not enquire into Him who is the very form of grace – to say that He is not bestowing His grace on them, even slightly, is a grave mistake. This is why it has been said: ‘the fault of slighting it by not even thinking about it [lies] only with the beings who ought to think of that reality all the time to such an extent that their minds soften and melt with supreme love from reality.’

The one reality, Atma-swarupa, exists and shines in the Heart, one without a second. Appearing as if it is many, it shines as ‘I-I’ in every individual being, who seem to be many because of upadhi [limiting ideas and associations]. Therefore, the plural term ullam [meaning] ‘we exist’ is appropriate. Because the Heart is the place for the existing and shining of the Atma-swarupa, in Tamil the Heart is known as ullam. The word ullam here gives both meanings simultaneously.

Michael James said...

When I read the translation of verse 37 in the excerpt from Padamalai that I reproduced in my previous comment, I was doubtful about the clause ‘Looking at you from within the Self’, so I checked the original, which is verse 600 of Pādamālai, the second and main section of volume 9 of Śrī Ramaṇa Jñāna Bōdham, and made my own translation of it:

அகநோக்கா லுன்னை யகலாமை நானுன்
புறநோக்கா லெங்ஙன் புலப்படுமென் பாதம்.

ahanōkkā luṉṉai yahalāmai nāṉuṉ
puṟanōkkā leṅṅaṉ pulappaḍumeṉ pādam
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘அகநோக்கால் உன்னை அகலாமை நான். உன் புறநோக்கால் எங்ஙன் புலப்படும்?’ என் பாதம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘aha-nōkkāl uṉṉai ahalāmai nāṉ. uṉ puṟa-nōkkāl eṅṅaṉ pulappaḍum?’ eṉ pādam.

English translation: ‘By the inward look, I not leaving you [can be seen]. How can it be cognised by your outward look?’ said Pādam.

Explanatory paraphrase: ‘By looking within [or looking at I], [you can see that] I never leave [or am separated from] you. How can it be cognised by your looking outside?’ said Bhagavan.

‘அகநோக்கால்’ (aha-nōkkāl) is the instrumental case form of அகநோக்கு (aha-nōkku), which is a compound of two words, அகம் (aham), which has two distinct meanings, because it is both a word of Tamil origin that means inside, mind, heart, house or home, and a Tamil form of the Sanskrit first person singular pronoun, अहम् (aham), ‘I’, and நோக்கு (nōkku), which as a noun means eye, look, sight, view or vision, so அகநோக்கால் (aha-nōkkāl) means ‘by inside [or inward] look’ and implies ‘by looking within’ or ‘by looking at I’.

The opposite of அகநோக்கு (aha-nōkku) is புறநோக்கு (puṟa-nōkku), so புறநோக்கால் (puṟa-nōkkāl) means ‘by outside [or outward] look’ and implies ‘by looking outside’.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

The exact implication of அகநோக்கால் (aha-nōkkāl) depends on the context in which it is used. In Dīpa-Darśaṉa Tattuvam (The Significance of Seeing Deepam), for example, Bhagavan clearly uses it in the sense of ‘by self-attentiveness’ or ‘by looking at oneself’:

இத்தனுவே நானா மெனுமதியை நீத்தப்
புத்தியித யத்தே பொருந்தியக நோக்கா
லத்துவித மாமெய் யகச்சுடர்காண் கைபூ
மத்தியெனு மண்ணா மலைச்சுடர்காண் மெய்யே.

ittaṉuvē nāṉā meṉumatiyai nīttap
buddhiyida yattē porundiyaha nōkkā
ladduvita māmey ahaccuḍarkāṇ gaibhū
maddhiyeṉu maṇṇā malaiccuḍarkāṇ meyyē
.

பதச்சேதம்: ‘இத் தனுவே நான் ஆம்’ எனும் மதியை நீத்து, அப் புத்தி இதயத்தே பொருந்தி அக நோக்கால், அத்துவிதம் ஆம் மெய் அகச்சுடர் காண்கை பூ மத்தி எனும் அண்ணாமலை சுடர் காண் மெய்யே.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ‘i-t-taṉuvē nāṉ ām’ eṉum matiyai nīttu, a-b-buddhi idayattē porundi aha-nōkkāl, adduvitam ām mey aha-c-cuḍar kāṇgai bhū maddhi eṉum aṇṇāmalai cuḍar kāṇ meyyē.

அன்வயம்: ‘இத் தனுவே நான் ஆம்’ எனும் மதியை நீத்து, அப் புத்தி அக நோக்கால் இதயத்தே பொருந்தி, அத்துவிதம் ஆம் மெய் அகச்சுடர் காண்கை பூ மத்தி எனும் அண்ணாமலை சுடர் காண் மெய்யே.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ‘i-t-taṉuvē nāṉ ām’ eṉum matiyai nīttu, a-b-buddhi aha-nōkkāl idayattē porundi, adduvitam ām mey aha-c-cuḍar kāṇgai bhū maddhi eṉum aṇṇāmalai cuḍar kāṇ meyyē.

English translation: [By] giving up the mind, [the false awareness] ‘this body alone is I’, [and by] that mind abiding only in the heart by self-attentiveness [or looking at ‘I’], seeing the non-dual real light of ‘I’ is the actual truth of seeing the light [on] Annamalai, which is called the centre of the world.

However, in verse 600 of Pādamālai ‘by looking within’ or ‘by self-attentiveness’ is just one of two appropriate but complementary interpretations of அகநோக்கால் (aha-nōkkāl), because ‘அகநோக்கால் உன்னை அகலாமை நான்’ (aha-nōkkāl uṉṉai ahalāmai nāṉ) can imply either ‘By [my] inward-looking [or selfward-looking] view, [I see that] I never leave you’ or ‘By looking within [or looking at yourself], [you too can see that] I never leave you’.

Unknown said...

Michaelji,

Are you translating the verses of Guru vachaka kovai? Few years before you mentioned you are making fresh translation of The path of sri Ramana

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Michael, in point 4 of this article you literally say, "The annihilation of the ego has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we love it enough," and later you say, "without a sincere and all-consuming love to give ourselves completely, we will not be willing to care for ourselves so intensely that we see what we really are, and therefore we will eradicate the ego forever.

The question I want to ask you in relation to this is, to what extent is wanting enough to annihilate the ego not the fuel to have a sincere enough love even if that sincere love also makes us want "enough" to annihilate that ego so that it can finally come to pass?

Michael James said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo, I am not sure that I understand the question you ask in your comment of 23 December 2019 at 13:51, and since you misquoted what I wrote in the first paragraph of section 4 of this article, I assume you were relying on Google to translate it for you, which may account for the lack of clarity.

What I wrote was that annihilation of ego ‘has nothing to do with destiny and everything to do with whether or not we want it enough’ and that ‘Without wholehearted and all-consuming love to surrender ourself entirely, we will not be willing to attend to ourself so keenly that we see what we actually are and thereby eradicate ego forever’. In this context wanting, loving and being willing all mean essentially the same. To the extent that we love to surrender ourself, we will also love to attend to ourself, because it is only by attending to ourself that we can surrender ourself entirely.

If we had sufficient love to attend to ourself, we would have not any desire to attend to anything else, and hence there would be nothing to prevent us attending to ourself so keenly that we see what we actually are and thereby eradicate ego forever. The reason we have not yet attended to ourself keenly enough is that we still have too much desire for and attachment to things other than ourself, and to the extent we have such desire and attachment our love to surrender ourself is relatively weak.

Love to attend to ourself is bhakti and freedom from desire to attend to anything else is vairāgya, so bhakti and vairāgya grow in proportion to each other. The more we love to surrender ourself, the weaker our desire for and attachment to anything else will become, so in order to attend to ourself keenly enough and thereby annihilate ego all we need is sufficient bhakti and vairāgya. This is why Bhagavan used to say that bhakti is the mother of jñāna.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Thank you very much Michael. Often my english is better than google translator

Rajat said...

Thank you Michael.
You write "bhakti and vairāgya grow in proportion to each other." It seems like they are not just directly proportional but also similar, or maybe like two sides of the same coin. Because if we have love to attend to ourself alone then we have less love to attend to anything else, and if we love to attend to anything else then it means we lack the love to attend to ourself. But would it be over-simplifying the matter to say thus that bhakti and vairagya are similar?
There does seem to be some difference between bhakti and vairagya. Vairagya it seems is more in our control, because it has to do with our own will, which we can purify to an extent by studying the principles of Bhagavan's teachings, and by practicing self-investigation and because Bhagavan has said we are always free to attend to ourself. And once there is some threshold vairagya, perhaps bhakti will arise. It doesn't seem like one can have bhakti and not vairagya, because with bhakti one would have got a taste of the happiness that is one's nature, and therefore be disillusioned with the world with its fleeting unreal happiness. But it seems like there can be some vairagya but not any bhakti, like in the case of depressed people who are quite sick of the world, but might not at all want to be self-attentive. Is this so Michael?

Michael James said...

Rajat, bhakti and vairāgya are two sides of the same coin, so the extent of each is directly proportional to the extent of the other. We can be free from desire to experience other things only to the extent that we have love to be aware of ourself alone, and we can have love to be aware of ourself alone only to the extent that we are free from desire to experience anything else.

Both bhakti and vairāgya are solely matters of our will, because what we want or like and how much we want of like it is what determines how much bhakti and vairāgya we have. Vairāgya is another name for purity of mind, because the impurities in our mind are our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, hopes, fears and so on concerning anything other than ourself, and vairāgya is freedom from such impurities. And only to the extent that we are free from them will we have love (bhakti) to surrender ourself entirely.

You say, ‘it seems like there can be some vairagya but not any bhakti, like in the case of depressed people who are quite sick of the world, but might not at all want to be self-attentive’, but that is not real vairāgya, because we would be depressed only if we had desire for our life to be other than it is. To the extent we have vairāgya we will be unconcerned about anything other than being aware of ourself alone.

In other words, to the extent we have vairāgya we will surrender ouself, and to the extent we surrender ourself we will be happy irrespective of the external circumstances of our life. We can be depressed or dejected only to the extent that we have not yet surrendered ourself.

Rajat said...

Thank you very much Michael for your helpful reply and for clarifying the real meaning of vairagya and surrender and how dejection is not real vairagya, but that real vairagya means one is happy to the extent that one has surrendered.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Whatever unhappiness we experience is a sign of our lack of surrender

Bhagavan has asked only one thing of us – ‘be happy’. So long as we are worrying about this or that, we cannot be really happy. So we should give up all our cares and concerns if we want to be really happy. The sign of true surrender to Bhagavan is that we are always happy. Whatever unhappiness we experience is a sign of our lack of surrender.

So this is the big decision to make: either we surrender and be happy or not surrender and be miserable. The choice is ours!

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept

Sanjay Lohia said...

No decision we take is really important, except the decision to turn within and surrender ourself

We tend to believe that our decisions are important because they shape our lives in this world. But, in fact, no decision we take is really important, except the decision to turn within and surrender ourself. Things happen as they are meant to happen and our decisions cannot change the course of our destiny. We can choose to transcend our destiny by turning within and surrendering ourself, but we cannot change what we are destined to experience as long as we choose to operate in this world. Any decision we make which goes against our destiny will not fructify, so we don’t have to worry about our wrong or right decisions. So in the ultimate analysis, all our worldly decisions are inconsequential because our life is governed by Bhagavan’s decisions and not by our decisions.

So long as we are concerned about whether we should decide this or that, we haven’t surrendered ourself. If we surrender ourself with an attitude ‘thy will be done’, we would give up all our likes and dislikes. However, the most effective and sure way to give up our likes and dislikes is to surrender ego, the one who has these likes and dislikes. If we surrender our ego along with all its likes and dislikes, we will become free of the burden to take decisions. We will thereafter completely trust Bhagavan to do whatever is best for all concerned. By not surrendering ourself and our worthless burdens, we are unnecessarily straining ourselves. We cannot alter the course of destiny, so why bother about our life in this world?

As Bhagavan teaches us in paragraph 13 of Nan Ar?, there is one supreme power which is making everything happen as it is meant to happen.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (1:56)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ego is the biggest cheat and liar

A friend asked Michael: 'I have been suffering due to lies and cheating by other people. How to get rid of that suffering?'

Michael replied by saying that the world is constantly reminding us that if we rely on the world we will be disappointed. Not only the people of the world lie and cheat but the whole world lies and cheats. But the root of this world is ego, so ego is the biggest cheater and liar. So not only other people lie and cheat, but we ourselves lie and cheat ourselves.

Ego is a lie because it tells us ‘I am this body’. Ego cheats us by telling us that happiness lies outside. In fact, Bhagavan says ego is the biggest thief because it has stolen our true nature from us. It has stolen our happiness and has instead given us only misery. So let’s not be worried by the thieves outside. Let’s punish the original and the greatest thief – ego. If we can take care of this original thief and liar, no other thief or liar can again harm us in any way.

So whatever problem we face in this world, we have to recognise that the root of that problem is ourself as ego. We cannot solve the problems of this world. We cannot stop others from lying and cheating, but we can stop lying and cheating ourselves. When we see what we actually are, we will see that we were never this ego, so we have never lied or cheated ourself or anybody else. But until we see what we actually are, we are the biggest liar and cheat. So let us deal with this liar and cheat by investigating what it actually is, thereby surrendering it completely back to Bhagavan.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (1:40)

dietician said...

To Sanjay, regarding your comment of 24 December 2019 at 16:42 are you referring to any particular ego who posts comments everyday in this blog? You know who I mean.

Michael James said...

Unknown, regarding your comment of 24 December 2019 at 19:30, we would be wise to remember that our present state is just a dream and that there is therefore only one ego, namely ourself, the one who is dreaming and therefore perceiving all this. We alone are therefore the ego whom I described as a liar and a cheat.

All the other egos we suppose we see seem to exist only in our view, so they are just reflections of ourself, this one ego. Therefore, as Sadhu Om used to say, if we react angrily to the ego we suppose we see in any other person, we are like a monkey who reacts angrily to its own reflection that it sees in a mirror.

Let us therefore reserve all our anger for this one ego, who alone is what is actually lying to us and cheating us, and let us express our anger by treating it as it deserves, namely by calmly watching it so keenly that it has no room to rise and cheat us again.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
"If we surrender our ego along with all its likes and dislikes, we will become free of the burden to take decisions. We will thereafter completely trust Bhagavan to do whatever is best for all concerned. By not surrendering ourself and our worthless burdens, we are unnecessarily straining ourselves. We cannot alter the course of destiny, so why bother about our life in this world?"
Only when we discover the truth of that assertion by own experience one will be convinced of that.

Sanjay Lohia said...

All that we experience are mental images – visual images, sound images, taste images, smell images and tactile images

If we think a little carefully, we will recognise that our present state is no different from a dream. So if our present state is a dream, all that we perceive in this state are just mental phenomena. This isn’t difficult to understand but is difficult for most of us to accept.

According to Bhagavan, all phenomena are mental phenomena because we create it by perceiving it. That is why Bhagavan says this world is nothing but thoughts. By thoughts Bhagavan means ‘it is all mental phenomena’. To us, some phenomena seem mental and some physical, but what we take to be physical is just perceptions. What we actually see is just a mental image of a supposedly physical world. Everything we experience in our dream – sights, sounds, tastes, smells and tactile sensations – are just our mental creations. While we were dreaming, all these things seemed to be solid or physical. Likewise, whatever we are experiencing now - sights, sounds, tastes, smells and tactile sensations – are just our mental creations. So a physical world exists only in our deluded imagination.

Even if there is a physical world out there, we don’t actually directly experience anything physical. All that we experience are mental images – visual images, sound images, taste images, smell images and tactile images. So in any case, what we see is just our mental impressions. We may erroneously believe that there is a physical world out there which produces such mental images in our mind, but we have not real evidence to support this belief of ours.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (11:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s photo or even a simple thought of him certainly has the same power as his physical presence

Michael wrote in section 6 of this article:

Regarding your question, ‘If one sit with all earnestness in front of His photo and try to tune to HIS presence at the heart, can one get the same result as one sitting in the Physical Presence of Bhagawan?’, his photo (and even simple thought of him) certainly has the same power as his physical presence to turn our attention back to ourself, but we can attune ourself to that power (the power of his grace) only by trying to be self-attentive. In other words, we can benefit from that power only to the extent that we are willing to yield ourself to it by letting go of everything else and clinging firmly to him in our heart as ‘I’.

This is quite significant: Bhagavan’s photo or even a simple thought of him certainly has the same power as his physical presence. So we can come to Bhagavan’s physical presence whenever we want to do so. We just have to look at one of his photographs and we are is his physical presence. So simple! Even simpler, we just have to think of his name and form, and we are basking in his presence. So we should not make a big deal about Bhagavan’s physical presence. If someone is special just because he or she had enjoyed Bhagavan’s physical presence, we are also equally special because we enjoy the company of Bhagavan’s photos.

However, the crucial thing is not this contact with his physical presence but contact with his real presence. Since Bhagavan is actually present only within the very core of our being, we can come in touch with him only by being keenly self-attentive. This touch with his real presence is something special. Michael has put it beautifully: ‘we can benefit from that power only to the extent that we are willing to yield ourself to it by letting go of everything else and clinging firmly to him in our heart as I’.



Michael James said...

In a comment on my latest video, 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept, a friend wrote: ‘I think there is a problem with our definition of reality. A dream can be seen as unreal on waking because it pales in comparison to our everyday waking life. But the question “Is this waking life real?” seems useless to me because this wakeful life state is what we DEFINE as reality. It is the benchmark for reality. So what remains when that ends, however more fundamental it may be, is not “reality” to us. It is “non-being”, and as such has no category whatsoever.’

In reply to this I wrote:

Ross, if our experience of this seemingly wakeful life is what we define as reality, then yes, there certainly is a problem with our definition of reality. Just because something seems to be real does not mean that it is actually real, so we need to distinguish reality from mere appearance.

According to Bhagavan the three defining characteristics of reality are eternal, unchanging and self-shining. Our waking state and the world we perceive in it appear and disappear, so they are neither eternal nor unchanging, and they are not self-shining, because they seem to exist only when we are aware of them. We are aware of them only when we rise as ego, which appears in waking and dream but disappears in sleep, so even ego is just a transitory appearance and hence unreal.

The only thing that exists in all three states is ourself, the background awareness from which we rise as ego and into which we subside, and this background awareness shines by itself without ever changing, so it alone is real, and it is what we actually are.

Since we are real, when we mistake ourself to be a body in waking or dream, that body seems to be real, and since that body is part of a world, the whole world seems to be real. This is why our dream body and dream world seem to be real so long as we are dreaming, and why our present body and world seem to be real so long as we are in this state.

If we take what is unreal to be the benchmark for reality, we will never seek to know what is actually real. Therefore carefully considering whether the world is real or not is not useless but absolutely necessary if we want to know what is actually real.

The background awareness that we actually are is our fundamental awareness of our own existence, which is what we always experience as ‘I am’, whether we are seemingly awake, dreaming or asleep, so it is always real to us, no matter what else may temporarily seem to be real. Therefore to know what is actually real, all we need do is investigate ourself, this fundamental awareness ‘I am’.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
"Since we are real,...".
For the present I consider that statement as a mere hypothesis.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sanjay wants to become a hero, but he is actually zero because he and his life have no real importance

All the problems of our life are caused by our taking this world to be real. We all know that our life in this world is a fleeting appearance. We are here one day, gone the next day. When I say ‘we’, I mean the person we seem to be. I take myself to be Sanjay, and my whole life revolves around Sanjay. However, Sanjay didn’t exist 60 years back, and it will cease to exist in say 20, 30 or 40 years. Who knows? So ours is a guest appearance in this movie called life. Sanjay is acting like a hero of this show, but he just has a little, inconsequential part to play in this drama called life. Sanjay wants to become a hero, but he is actually zero because he and his life have no real importance.

How can our life as a person be satisfactory? Whatever we may achieve in this life, it is all a fleeting appearance because nothing lasts. I may experience Sanjay for 70 or 90 years, and in his lifetime I may experience endless pleasures and pains. All such experiences seem important to me, but all this will come to an end one day like the ending of a dream. So why should we be attached to this life? Why should we have desires? Why plan things for tomorrow when tomorrow may never come?

If we are wise, we will desire only that what is real. What is real? We alone are real. Everything else that appears and disappears is unreal. Not only that, ego which is aware of the appearance and disappearance of all phenomena is itself unreal. Ego seems to exist in waking and dream but doesn’t exist in sleep, but we exist throughout. So we alone are what are real. Ego and all its creations are utterly unreal. What is real is only the chit (awareness) aspect of ego.

To see what is real, we as ego need to turn our attention back towards ourself. If we look at ourself so keenly that we cease to be aware of anything else whatsoever, we will see that we are just pure awareness. This pure awareness is immutable, ever unchanging, so we have never become ego. We have always been what we actually are.

So this is very very simple to understand and also simple to put it into practice. Only our unwillingness to put into practice what Bhagavan has taught us makes this seem difficult. Things will seem easy and simple to the extent we try to turn our attention within and thereby try to surrender ourself completely.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (34:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Living in this world is so much easier believing what Bhagavan taught us

We are extremely fortunate to have come across Bhagavan’s teachings. To the extent we have understood his teachings, to that extent we like to put it into practice, and to the extent we put it into practice, to that extent we are relieved of so many unnecessary cares and concerns. That is, living in this world is so much easier believing what Bhagavan taught us. Living in this world thinking all this is just a dream is so much easier than it would have been if we believed all this to be true.

If we believe this world to be real, we will find it difficult to live peacefully here. When we look at the world, we find so much injustice, so much suffering. We see the dancing of so many huge egos. So this world can never be a peaceful place because everyone is driven by ego, to a greater or lesser extent, and along with ego comes desires, attachments, selfishness, greed and so on. Most of the problems we see around us are created by our unlimited greed – seven billion of us all wanting more and more and more. This global warming (climate change) is bringing in so many disasters, and only our foolish ways of living are responsible for such climate change.

So this world is an extremely unsatisfactory place. We can never find true and enduring happiness here. However, Bhagavan tells us that this world is exactly like any of our dreams, so we shouldn’t be bothered about whatever happens in this world. This world and all its problems exist because we are aware of this world. There is no world and its problems in our sleep, so if we want to get over all the problems, we should go to sleep permanently. This is what we are trying to achieve by following Bhagavan’s path.

So life becomes so much easier if we are willing to accept Bhagavan’s teachings, and if we are willing to accept his teachings, we naturally want to put it into practice.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (43:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

The absolute truth is that we are above all wants, desires and shortcomings

We don’t need anything because we already have all that we need. All that we need is ourself, and we already have ourself. So the absolute truth is we are above all wants, desires and shortcomings. We are perpetually full and complete. The problem is we now feel incomplete because we seem to have limited ourself to this person. In my case, I have limited myself to this Sanjay. As Sanjay I am never satisfied because I have limited the unlimited and confined it within the limits of Sanjay, so to speak. So as Sanjay I can never be free of needs, wants and shortcomings.

I am the infinite whole, but as Sanjay, I seem to have divorced myself from this infinite whole that I actually am. However, actually, I am never divorced because I have never become Sanjay. I am immutable, beyond all transformation, so in reality, I cannot change myself into Sanjay or anyone else. However, in the view of this ego, I seem to be Sanjay and as Sanjay, I am constantly hankering after so many things. This Sanjay is unceasingly using his body, speech and mind to acquire 'this' or 'that'. Why? It is because Sanjay feels only 'this' or 'that' will make him happy. So by his actions, Sanjay demonstrates that he is now unhappy and incomplete, otherwise, why would he desire 'this' or 'that'?

So, as Sanjay, I seem to have lost touch with my true nature, which is infinite satisfaction, so if I want to regain my true nature, I need to give up viewing myself as Sanjay. In other words, my only real job is to view myself as I actually am, and I can do so only by turning my entire attention within. I need to entirely give up attending to all the vishayas (phenomena), and instead, attend to myself alone. This is Bhagavan’s path. Bhagavan’s explains this beautifully in verse 25 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Knowing [or being aware of] oneself leaving aside adjuncts is itself knowing God, because [he] shines as oneself.

To summarise: We don’t actually have any needs, but we seem to have so many needs. Not only needs, but we seem to have also become extremely greedy. However, all this need and greed pertain to ego and not to our true nature. So if we are able to experience ourself as we really are, we will go beyond all need and greed. In fact, eventually, we will come to know that we never had any needs because we were never this ego or anything else. We were, we are and we will always remain pure self-awareness. Everything else is maya, and maya means that which simply does not exist.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (01:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan is constantly reminding us to practise, practise and practise

Bhagavan is constantly reminding us to practise, practise and practise. He is constantly reminding us this through his teachings; he is constantly reminding us this through every experience in our life.

Bhagavan is not fond of giving us philosophical lectures. He wants us to listen to him so that we can put his words into practice. So though the theory does play an important role in Bhagavan’s teachings, its role is insignificant compared to Bhagavan’s focus of practice. At each moment of our life Bhagavan wants us to investigate, who is experiencing this? Who wants to watch TV? Who is typing this comment? Who wants to do 'this' or 'that'? Who is having these thoughts? If we are not willing and trying to put Bhagavan’s teachings into action, all his theory will hardly help us.

So practice and more practice, this is what Bhagavan wants us to do. He has made this absolutely clear. He says, for example, in paragraph 12 of Nan Ar?:

It is necessary to walk unfailingly in accordance with the path that guru has shown.

What is the path shown to us by our guru? It is self-investigation and self-surrender. We need to walk on this twin paths unfailingly if we want to be called true devotees of Bhagavan.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (01:39)

Michael James said...

In reply to the reply that I reproduced in my previous comment the same friend wrote, ‘Thanks, Michael. But I feel that a state in which reflection on happiness is impossible is not a desirable state in any sense. So we don’t want to go there. To me, happiness is when I can reflect, “I am happy!” or “This is happiness!”. Feeling this would not be possible may drive us back from seeking such a state’, in reply to which I wrote:

Any happiness that gives room for the rising of an urge to think ‘I am happy’ or ‘This is happiness’ is an imperfect form of happiness. Real happiness is a state of perfect satisfaction, and in such a state no urge to think anything would arise, because the presence of any urge is a sign of dissatisfaction.

According to Bhagavan, infinite happiness (perfect satisfaction) is our real nature, and the reason we are not aware of ourself as such is that we have now risen as ego, because the nature of ego is to be aware of itself as ‘I am this person’. All urges and consequent thinking or reflection arise for us only when we have risen as ego, so urges and thinking of any kind are incompatible with infinite happiness, which is what we are all seeking (whether or not we recognise that it is what we are seeking).

To experience infinite happiness, devoid of all urges and thinking, all we need do is eradicate ego, which we can do only by investigating and thereby surrendering ourself entirely. The perfect happiness that will then remain alone is what we always actually are.

Michael James said...

In another reply to the reply that I reproduced in my comment of 26 December 2019 at 21:40 the same friend wrote:

COMMENT BEGINS

Michael, this particular video raises several questions in me. Excuse my persistence, please.

In the first hour of the video, you say how we needn’t be troubled by what we see because it is our dream. You raise a very interesting example for this: the issue of climate change. (I hope I don’t introduce political contention here)

I don’t care very much about climate change. I am dreaming this, just as I am dreaming all these people going to demonstrations. How foolish they appear to me. However, they are doing what they have to do. And those who pollute the atmosphere, they are likewise doing what they have to do — their jobs, the career they have chosen etc.. In any case, they are dreaming. And more fundamentally (to me), I am dreaming them and the entire situation. So, I abstain from involvement because I would lose sight of it being a dream if I involve myself.

The climate change issue is, of course, just one example. But it is a good example. Because why should I be concerned about anything if it is my dream? Why should I grant authenticity to my dream by acting/reacting to the parade of events in my life experience?

COMMENT ENDS

In reply to this I wrote:

Yes, Ross, if our present state is just a dream, we should not be concerned about climate change, but we should equally well not be concerned about anything else in this dream, including air, water, food, clothing, shelter and comfort for this body that we now dream to be ourself. However, so long as we are aware of ourself as if we were this body, we cannot avoid being concerned at least to some extent about its needs such as these, so we should be no less concerned about climate change and the effects it is having on other people, who are no less real than the person we seem to be.

This does not mean that we should be agitated about it or that we should necessarily involve ourself in protests about it, because there is little we can individually do to prevent it, but we should at least do our best to avoid contributing to its causes.

As Bhagavan used to say, though a dream is unreal, dream food will satisfy dream hunger, so as long as we mistake ourself to be part of this dream world, the person we mistake ourself to be should act in this world as if it were real. However, we should try as far as possible to remain inwardly unconcerned about this person and everything else in this dream, and the most effective way to remain unconcerned about them is to turn our attention within to investigate and thereby surrender ourself.

Michael James said...

In a comment on my latest video, 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept, a friend wrote: ‘I have a question. A handful of times I’ve had the experience where my regular perception changes and it is as if all of eternity is looking through my eyes. As if I am the whole world and it’s all looking through my eyes. It still feels like me, but not the “little me” the person, but rather the “big me”. It is very silent and it’s almost as if the person/identity is being pushed aside and this “change in occupancy” is taking place. One now-advaita teacher said it is the “true self” looking through one’s eyes at the world. But based on Bhagavan’s teachings, I understand that it is only the ego that looks outwards at the world. So now I wonder what is this experience and if Bhagavan may have addressed what this might be?’

In reply to this I wrote:

Bubba, anything that appears or disappears is not real, and such things appear only in the view of ourself as ego, not in the view of ourself as we really are. According to Bhagavan, whatever appears or disappears is just a thought or mental fabrication, no matter how sublime it may seem to be, so as far as possible we should try to ignore all such things by focusing our attention only on ourself, the one who perceives them.

What he says in the first sentence of verse 20 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu (kaliveṇbā version), namely ‘சார்பவை காணும் தனை விட்டு, தான் கடவுளை காணல் காணும் மனோமயம் ஆம் காட்சி’ (sārbavai kāṇum taṉai viṭṭu, tāṉ kaḍavuḷai kāṇal kāṇum maṉōmayam ām kāṭci), ‘Leaving [neglecting, ignoring or not investigating] oneself [ego], who sees those that appear, oneself seeing God is seeing manōmayam-ām kāṭci [a mental vision or mind-constituted image, phenomenon or appearance]’, applies equally well to whatever we may experience, including the kind of experience you described.

So what is real seeing? This is explained by him in the final sentence of verse 21 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘ஊண் ஆதல் காண்’ (ūṇ ādal kāṇ), ‘Becoming food is seeing’. That is, since God is our own real nature (ātma-svarūpa). we cannot see him as he is except by being devoured by him.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

This is why he says in verse 22 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:

மதிக்கொளி தந்தம் மதிக்கு ளொளிரு
மதியினை யுள்ளே மடக்கிப் — பதியிற்
பதித்திடுத லன்றிப் பதியை மதியான்
மதித்திடுத லெங்ஙன் மதி.

matikkoḷi tandam matikku ḷoḷiru
matiyiṉai yuḷḷē maḍakkip — patiyiṯ
padittiḍuda laṉḏṟip patiyai matiyāṉ
madittiḍuda leṅṅaṉ madi
.

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

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

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

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

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

Explanatory paraphrase: Consider, except by turning [bending or folding] mati [the mind or intellect] back within [and thereby] completely immersing [embedding or fixing] it in pati [the Lord or God], who shines [as pure awareness] within that mind giving light [of awareness] to the mind, how to fathom [or investigate and know] God by the mind?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I have just finished watching your video dated 29th December 2019. Even though you are essentially saying the same thing in these videos, I never get tired of listening to them. Every time I listen to them, I find my understanding of Bhagavan's teachings getting more and more refined. However, things are still far from 100% clear, and I believe this will be the case until our ego lasts. Our ego makes things unclear which should be absolutely clear. A few years back you were trying to limit the number of these videos, but suddenly grace made you change your mind and thus made you a willing participant of these videos. We cannot thank Bhagavan enough for this flood of love - these videos. What love and concern for us! This is amrita-varsha (nectar coming down at rains). But we are unwilling to drown in this amrita because we are still too attached to this world. However, I am sure Bhagavan is preparing us to surrender completely and listening to these videos is making us mature in our own way. Thank you.

Asun said...

Michael,

I´m reading “Sri Arunachala Stuti Panchakam”, the pdf spanish translation available in your web https://www.happinessofbeing.com/, and I´d love to have the original book in print. Is there any possibility of getting it from somewhere in UK or have I to order it to USA?

I saw it is in Amazon in italian and spanish, but not in english.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The only thing that exists in all three states is ourself, the background awareness from which we rise as ego

In a comment on Michael’s video dated 22/12/2019, Ross asked a question to Michael, and Michael gave him a suitable reply. My following reflection is based on this reply by Michael:

Michael wrote to Ross: ‘According to Bhagavan the three defining characteristics of reality are eternal, unchanging and self-shining’. So what can be called real according to Bhagavan’s clear definition of reality? The thing which is real is only our background awareness, as Michael wrote to Ross. Everything else undergoes change but our background awareness remains changeless. It always remains as it is and it is self-shining. ‘The background awareness that we actually are is our fundamental awareness of our own existence, which is what we always experience as I am’, Michael further explained.

We consider this world to be real, but is it actually so? Is it eternal? No, because we do not experience any world in our sleep. OK, is the world unchanging? No, it is changing every moment. So is this world self-shining? Absolutely not, because our mind has to exist in order to make this world shine, so this world is dependent on our mind. Therefore, this world is not self-shining.

So is our ego real? No, it is neither eternal nor unchanging (it is there in waking and dream but not there in sleep, so this itself is a change) and nor self-shining.

So if we want to experience what is real, we first have to reject what is definitely unreal. Once we do that, we need to focus all our attention on ourself because we alone are real. If we do so, eventually we will experience the reality as it is: that is, eventually we will experience ourself as we actually are. We – that is atma-svarupa – alone is real, so we should focus all our interest and effort on knowing ourself as we actually are. Why waste time on knowing and analysing what is unreal?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan’s teachings are all focused on ego

We spend our lives trying to solve one problem after another, but do we ever reach a state where we are free of all problems? No, because while trying to solve all our bodily and worldly problems we neglect to solve the root of all problems, which is ourself as this ego. Any problem we face is created by ego and also faced only by the same ego, so ego is the root of all problems. If we are not able to understand this important teaching of Bhagavan, this lack of understanding also stems from our ego. It is because our ego is still very dominant due to all its desires and attachments, and such desires and attachments cloud its understanding.

So at present our understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings may be quite crude, but it doesn’t matter. The more we try turning within, the more our understanding will become clear, and eventually we will clearly recognise that ego is the root of everything, so until we tackle this root we can never get over all our problems. That’s why Bhagavan’s teachings are all focused on ego.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (01:49)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan used to say, ‘You alone are real; therefore, you need not realise yourself’

A friend asked Michael: ‘How necessary is for us to accept what Bhagavan taught us?’ Michael replied that obviously it is very necessary because the more we are willing to accept it, the more we will be willing to put it into practice. So Michael explained that we should accept what Bhagavan taught us wholeheartedly and without any reservations.

Bhagavan has made it absolutely clear that this world is exactly like any other dream. If we are not willing to accept this, that means we are not willing to give up our attachment to our life in this world, and such unwillingness will make it very difficult for us to leave this world and turn within. If we take this world to be real, how can we ever know what actually is real? Bhagavan used to say, ‘You alone are real; therefore, you need not realise yourself’. What he implied was ‘You don’t need to make yourself real. The problem is you have realised (made real) what is unreal’. So all that we need to do is to unrealise what is unreal.

That is, we need to be willing to accept that all phenomena and the person who seems to be aware of these phenomena are all unreal. What is aware of all phenomena is ego, and even ego is unreal because we seem to be ego only when are looking at other things. If we look at ourself alone, where is ego? Bhagavan said ‘if we look at ego, it takes flight’. So ego as such simply doesn’t exist.

Instead of looking at other things, if we look at ourself, we will see that there is no such thing as ego. Bhagavan describes ego as ‘formless phantom’. These words have deep meaning and indicate the true nature of ego quite accurately. Ego is formless, so ego is not any body because the body is a form. Likewise, ego is like a phantom. Just like a phantom, it has no real substance even when it seems to exist. Our true nature is the only substance that exists, but ego has no substance of its own. Ego borrows the properties of both the pure-awareness and a body, but it is neither of these two.

Therefore all that actually exists is just pure-awareness. This awareness is never aware of anything other than itself. That is what we actually are. We will be willing to accept that that alone is real if we are willing to accept everything else is unreal. So we need to be willing to accept Bhagavan’s teachings as he wants us to understand them. Otherwise, we are unnecessarily making our practice extremely difficult.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (00:28)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Because we take ourself to be a body, we have desires, but at the same time we recognise that these very desires are a cause for all our problems

None of us is secure – even the richest and the most powerful men are insecure. All their riches and power are not enough to make them secure because security does not lie in being rich and powerful. As a body we have needs. We need food, clothing and shelter, and if we have these in sufficient quantity, we now want to ensure that we have these – food, clothing and shelter – for the rest of our life. So we think if we have more and more wealth, more and more property, we will be secure. We think that our wealth will ensure that we will have all that we will ever need in the future.

So we are trying to accumulate more and more in order to make ourself secure. However, has anyone becomes secure by accumulating more and more riches? So nothing in this world provides us with the surety and security we are looking for.

Actually, we are now caught between two conflicting desires. Because we take ourself to be a body, we feel that we have certain needs, and such needs give rise to other desires, attachments, likes and dislikes and so on. But at the same time, we recognise that these very desires, attachments, likes and dislikes and so on are a cause for all our problems. We recognise that if we had no likes and dislikes, we would not be concerned about whatever may happen. If we have food, it is OK, and if we are starving it is equally OK because we have no desire for anything apart from how things are.

If we are able to surrender to such an extent, we can easily surrender our ego within and rest in peace forever. However, though we want to surrender, we find it difficult to surrender all at one go because of our strong desires and attachments. That is why slow and patient practice is necessary. As they say slow and study wins the race. We would like to run to our destination but it may not be practical, so we should at least move slowly but surely towards our destination.

We need to weaken the hold that our desires and attachments seem to have over us before we can hope to make rapid progress, but such weakening takes time. So, as Bhagavan would often say, no one succeeds without patience and perseverance.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-22 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses understanding and willingness to accept (51:00)

Rajat said...

Michael,
In paragraph 5 of Nan Yar Bhagavan says, "Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in [our] mind, the thought 'I' alone is the first thought. Only after this rises do other thoughts rise."
I am unable to understand this. Isn't the "thought 'I'" same as the mind, or ego? If yes, then how does the I-thought appear or arise in the mind, because they are the same thing? Should this be understood to mean that the first thing the I-thought sees is itself?

Sanjay Lohia said...

When we attend to anything other than ourself, we are rejecting Bhagavan’s love

Another year has passed by, and sadly, I seem to be where I was when this year started. I (that is, this ego) am still intact; my desires are still intact. So have I wasted this last year? Who knows? All I can say is that I have not arrived at my destination, and therefore I need to keep at my sadhana with more focus. That is, I should be more intent at turning within at every given opportunity. Bhagavan willing, this ego will not be there to give me company in the year 2021!

Michael explains in this portion on the video that we can do nothing to deserve Bhagavan’s grace. Bhagavan’s grace is without any cause because grace is nothing but love, and Bhagavan’s very nature is love. So we have not earned Bhagavan’s love because of anything we have done, but because his love is always there. I am trying to follow his teachings, but for this reason, he will not shower extra love on me. Whatever our state, whatever our love for him, his love for us is always constant and equal.

We just need to recognise Bhagavan’s love. How to do so? Since Bhagavan’s love (which is Bhagavan itself) is shining in us as ‘I’, in order to recognise it, we need to attend to ‘I’. So by attending to ourself, we are surrendering ourself to his grace. We are yielding ourself to his ever-present love. When we attend to anything other than ourself, we are rejecting Bhagavan’s love. But however much we reject his love, this love remains ever unchanged.

Bhagavan cannot but love us because he is love.

• Loosely based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (55:00)

Steven said...

“That is why slow and patient practice is necessary. As they say slow and study wins the race.”
IMO this an orientation that will send you around in circles for years. I know because I’ve done it. We are not winning a race here. We are not trying to get someplace.
What is practice? You practice for the main event. Right? You may practice running so during competition you win [the race]. 

But if you want to save years off your awakening project, you will reorient to what is and has always been here right now. So many people ask “who am I?” hoping something will happen like what happened for Ramana. That is a desire for a future event. All desires are misery. Nothing is going to happen. Why? Because you already and always were awareness and nothing but awareness. You cannot accomplish awareness. There is no event that is going to make you awareness. You always and already were what you have been looking for. Wanting some enlightenment event is suffering.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more the love to be aware of ourself alone become strong, the more this world will start losing its solidity

Bubba the Self asked the following question in the comment section of Michael’s video dated 29th December 2019: ‘If the whole world is a projection of our own Vasanas, if the vasanas become weakened from self investigation, does the world appear differently? Like less dense?’ The following is my answer to this:

Yes, the more our vishaya-vasanas are weakened, the more this world will appear to be less dense. Whatever world we see doesn’t say anything if our vasanas are not there to interpret it as good or bad. The things we like seem to be us to be good and the things we dislike seem to us to be bad. So this world seems to us to be a mixture of good and bad, of beautiful and ugly, because of our vasanas. Therefore, the more we practise self-investigation and self-surrender, the more these vasanas become weak, the more they become weak, the more the differences between good and bad starts to fade.

In other words, this world appears so solid because the strength of our love to be aware of ourself alone is quite weak now. However, the more our love to be aware of ourself alone become strong, the more this world will start losing its solidity.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, I had written, ‘That is why slow and patient practice is necessary. As they say slow and study wins the race’. Actually, it should have been ‘slow and steady wins the race’. You object to this by saying, ‘IMO this an orientation that will send you around in circles for years’. I do not disagree with, even though we have to look at our sadhana in a much more nuanced and subtle way.

As you say, ‘We are not trying to get someplace’. It is true because we alone exist, so even if we want to, we cannot go to some other place. So we need to recognise that we already are what we are desperately trying to seek. As Bhagavan and advaita teach us, we are the infinite, eternal, unbroken and immutable pure awareness, so we cannot hope to achieve something more than that. So why is this sadhana, why is this trying to 'win the race'? It is because though we are this unlimited pure awareness, we seem to have limited ourself to the confines of a body, and now we want to break free from this confines. So this is where our sadhana comes into the picture.

We now for some inexplicable reason experience ourself as this idea ‘I am this person’, and therefore our sadhana is to dismantle this extremely stubborn construct ‘I am this person’, and this dismantling takes times. Why? It is because of our strong desires for and attachments to the things of this world. However, the more we try to turn within, the more these desires and attachments are weakened, and the more these are weakened, the more the ego is also weakened. So we are undergoing this process at this moment.

You say, ‘There is no event that is going to make you awareness. You always and already were what you have been looking for’. Yes, we are already pure awareness, so nothing we do will make us become what we already are. So our sadhana is not about doing anything; it is about not doing anything. All our doings by our body, speech and mind are the cause of our seeming alienation from our true nature, so if we want to ‘regain’ our true nature, we need to totally give up all actions and just be. This is the practice of atma-vichara.

You say, ‘Wanting some enlightenment event is suffering’. We do want 'enlightenment', but we can get it only when we surrender ego to our ever-present reality (Bhagavan) within. So we do not gain anything by our 'enlightenment', but we lose everything. We do want to surrender and finish ourself once and for all, and such wanting is not suffering but the way to end all suffering.

We would like to surrender here and now, but this may not be practical due to our strong likes and dislikes for the things of this world. So we need patient and persistent practice if we want to reach our 'destination'. Of course, our destination is here and now. If we can look at ourself and ourself alone here and now, we are at our destination here and now. However, for most of us, it takes time. We have to turn within a full 180 degrees in order to experience ourself as we actually are. We may start with say 5 degrees, progress to 10, 20, 50, 80, 100 degrees and so on. Then we may die at this stage, and we continue our in next life say from 100 degrees, continue progressing to 110, 130, 150, 170 and so on until we are able to turn a full 180 degrees within.

So it is a journey from the perspective of ourself as this ego, but from the perspective of ourself as we actually are, no journey is ever possible. So both these viewpoints are essential.




Salazar said...

Steven, I do not ask "Who am I" with the hope that something will happen, in fact I ask "Who am I" very rarely and only when it seems to be needed to get me back to the I-thought.

And yes, nothing is going to happen - IN ABSOLUTE TERMS - however the attachment to the body by the mind is an undeniable fact and until that attachment is gone vichara is necessary. At least according to Bhagavan, don't take my word for it.

Do you believe to be that body or not? Since you do how do you expect that is going to change? In telling yourself "I am already what I am looking for"? In that case take a hint from Anonymous who warned to not delude oneself.

Properly understood, vichara is not a practice, it IS self (others may disagree with my description). As Bhagavan instructed, "I am" with effort is vichara, "I am" without effort is realization. Vichara is not to gain or attain something, but to be our true nature what is undivided consciousness. One has to grasp the true meaning of Bhagavan's pointer of vichara which is beyond duality.

If it would be a practice like i.e. Kriya Yoga or any other yogas it would be a subject-object relationship and all those are practiced with the idea to gain or attain something. That is not the case with vichara, it is subject only - and with that circumvents all traps of mind like desires and gaining something.

It is a paradox since one cannot evade imaginations of duality with dual measures, only in Being directly beyond duality. And that seems to need an effort until the false idea of effort has evaporated.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan doesn’t see our arrogance or any other defect

A friend asked Michael, ‘I know I have many shortcomings – I am arrogant; I am moody. However, I also know Bhagavan still loves me. So does Bhagavan deliberately overlook my arrogance, my moodiness?’

In reply, Michael asked a counter-question to this friend: ‘Do you know why Bhagavan loves you so much?’ Michael himself replied, 'it is because Bhagavan knows us much better than we know ourself'. I know myself as Sanjay, but Bhagavan knows me as I really am. I know myself as ‘I am Sanjay’, but Bhagavan knows me only as ‘I am’. So Bhagavan loves me as himself because Bhagavan real nature is also ‘I am’. I may have any number of shortcomings, but in Bhagavan’s view, I am perfect.

So Bhagavan doesn’t see our arrogance or any other defect. However, our arrogance can be a problem for us, so we should try to become humble. However, as long as we experience ourself as a person, we will definitely seem to have many such bad or good qualities. So we need to tackle our root problem, which is the idea ‘I am this person’. Only if I am a person, I can be an arrogant person or a humble person. So we need to see if we really are the person we seem to be.

If we investigate ourself and see ourself as we actually are, we will know that we were never this person in the first place, and therefore we were always perfect. We will clearly know we were never arrogant or moody or whatever. So we must learn to see ourselves as Bhagavan sees us. He sees us just as pure awareness - ‘I am’ alone.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (45:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

What prevents us from investigating ourself is our distraction

What prevents us from investigating ourself is our distraction. That is, when our attention is drawn away from ourself, we are not investigating ourself. Some circumstances make it more difficult to resist the distraction. If I am caught in an accident and if I am feeling great anger, I may find it difficult to avoid my attention going outwards. So whenever when we find ourself in favourable situations, we should use such occasions to remain as much self-attentive as possible. The more we practise being self-attentive, the easier it will be to hold on to self-attentiveness even in times of difficulty.

Just like anger, when we are too tired or when sleep is about to overpower us, we may find it difficult to practise being self-attentive. So when our mind is under the sway of either rajas (passion) or tamas (tiredness), we may find it relatively difficult to hold on to self-attentiveness. That is why Bhagavan used to say something to the effect: ‘Do not worry when you are under the sway of rajas or tamas, but make use of the time when you are under the sway of sattva’. So whenever our mind is relatively calm or whenever outward circumstances not too unfavourable, we should make full use of such times to turn within.

Obviously, our aim is to be in nirantara svarupa-smarana (unceasing self-remembrance), but if this not possible, we should at least make use of all our relatively sattvik moments to practise being self-attentive. We are weak – that is, our love to attend to ourself is still relatively weak because of our strong desires and attachments. So at times, we may find it almost impossible to turn within because at such times we find our attention rushing out with too much force. At such difficult times, we may pray to Bhagavan. Sometimes even the thought of Bhagavan is enough to calm us down. However, at times even such thought of Bhagavan may not be able to help us calm down.

So our condition is like that of a child trying to learn to walk. The child has to fall over so many times before it can learn to walk steadily. Our position is similar. In the spiritual path, we have to fail over so many times, but every failure is a step closer to success. It is said: ‘the road to success is paved with failures’. So we have to try innumerable times before we succeed. Failure is natural in the spiritual path, but if we persevere, we will 100% succeed.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (01:00)

Anonymous said...

I agree that wanting some event to happen is going to cause misery, but in reality I think it is still a big event. In my case I had experienced something(glimpse of some higher power) that caused tsunami, volcano, earthquake etc in my mind :) because it happened unexpectedly. I believe real realization is a big event like what happened to Bhagavan. World disappearing is not a simple thing. It is going to cause tremendous shock to an ordinary ego. I am still terrified by the thought that one day I am going to/have to lose everything I am attached to. Until a person is totally prepared to face physical death fearlessly, realization will seem like a big event. Bhagavan’s life is a perfect example for all of us to understand what reality is and what one should give up to attain that state.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, I can relate to that, I had a spontaneous experience of the void, a terrifying experience where there is nothing to hold on to. No objects, just a huge emptiness, not easy to describe. I suppose the terror was due to be thrown into the total unknown and the ego couldn't do what is usually does, attach to an object.

I do not believe that realization is a big thing at all. For whom would it be a big thing? Only for an ego who imagines these things. But the ego is not realizing it. Realization is a non-event because after realization there is (according to the sages) the recognition that realization was always the case. It was only a fantasy to believe to be bound or a non-self.

And it does not have to be the way Bhagavan has described it. It is better to not imagine or have any expectations "how" that will be. Because it would be an obstacle what may need a few more incarnations just to get over that expectation.

Steven said...

Anonymous,
I think you just said that you agree that believing in and wanting (craving) some big enlightenment event causes suffering and even so you choose to believe in and want that, correct?

Isn’t that saying you can gain perfect peace through the method of acting miserable and unfulfilled?
Happiness through craving?
How is that different from craving a new car?
Spiritual craving, romantic craving, materialistic craving… is one really better than another?

.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anonymous, you say, ‘I agree that wanting some event to happen is going to cause misery, but in reality I think it is still a big event. […] I believe real realization is a big event like what happened to Bhagavan’. If we want to dissolve this ego or if we look forward to ego’s dissolution, will such wanting or looking forward to this event cause misery? Whether it causes misery or not, if we want to dissolve this ego, we should look forward to this so-called ‘event’. If we are working towards the dissolution of our ego, we may eventually indeed become miserable. Why? It is because though we want to subside and vanish forever, but at the time a part of our will wants us to stay alive. So we are caught between this tug of war between two opposing forces within our will, and this can cause a lot of anguish. However, such deep anguish and even despair may be the doorway to reach our destination.

Will ‘self-realisation’ be a big event? Yes, because this is the only worthwhile ‘event’ which can happen in ego’s life. However, is ‘self-realisation’ really an event? No, strictly speaking, this is not an event but is actually the ending of all events. ‘Self-realisation’ is not a happening but an ending of all happenings.

You say, ‘World disappearing is not a simple thing. It is going to cause tremendous shock to an ordinary ego’. When we fall asleep, we subside as ego and along with this ego this world also subsides. So where is the question of any shock to ego? One split second ego is alive and the next split second it is not there anymore. Moreover, when ego is not there, it cannot experience anything including any shock.

You say, ‘I am still terrified by the thought that one day I am going to/have to lose everything I am attached to. Until a person is totally prepared to face physical death fearlessly, realization will seem like a big event’. Yes, since we are so attached to our body, we want that it continues living. However, we may become prepared to face physical death fearlessly, but this is not a big deal. The big deal is if we become prepared to face the death of ego fearlessly. Physical death really means nothing in the spiritual context because ego in effect dies every day when it falls asleep. We don’t grow spiritually because of our sleep or death, so these are actually inconsequential events.

The only thing which we should look forward to is the death of this ego. Our entire spiritual sadhana is a knowing or an unknowing preparation to make this ego die.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, you asked Anonymous, ‘Spiritual craving, romantic craving, materialistic craving… is one really better than another?’ All cravings are our desires, so all cravings are part of our will. So in this sense, all cravings are the same: that is, our spiritual craving is no different from any of our material cravings. However, spiritual craving is certainly the right type of craving. We are wise if we crave to get back and become established in ourself as we actually are. However, all our romantic and materialistic craving is keeping us bound to matter.

So it is simple. If we crave for matter, we remain as this matter: that is, we remain as this body. If we crave for spirit, we remain as sprit: that is, our craving for the spirit will enable us to leave the matter and remain as we actually are. So the choice is ours. If we are wise, we would definitely crave to get back to our eternally happy resting place, which is atma-svarupa.

Asun said...

Salazar,

I had a similar experience exactly one year ago. I had been watching non-duality videos-talks from people with an amazing skill to conceptually dismantle the ego-construct and one morning when I woke up , it is not only that I couldn´t hold on to anything, it is that I couldn´t hold on to me either as the center or reference point of perceptions because “I” wasn´t there. Absolutely terrifying, indeed. It took me the whole day to recover it. In Spain, we celebrate on January 6 “the arrival of the three wise men” so, that evening and on a day like today, I had to went out to buy some presents. I usually don´t like crowds, noise and so on, but that evening, in spite of my constant state of fear, as walking down the street, I suddenly started to enjoy all of it, people, noise, music, lights … and to feel what seemed to me an absurd love for everything and everybody. I hold on to love and this is how I calmed down and everything went back to normal. Underlying fear, there is only pure love.

I wasn´t in touch with R.M. by then, she only talked about vasanas and I didn´t even have a clear understanding of what vasanas are till I came across with this blog yet, I wrote to her telling what happened and she responded that it still was just an experience and not to give to it much importance. I decided to go back and stay under her guidance but since I didn´t want this decision to be conditioned by fear, I also decided to watch some more of those videos to overcome it before going back with her. At the very moment I started to watch one of those videos, I received an e-mail from her advising me not to hear about the no-mind state again. It was like a ray falling from the sky in a sunny day but what amazed me was its pinpoint accuracy in time and space.
When later on, I formally asked her for guidance, she refused. Almost immediately, I came across with this blog, Ramana´s teachings and path which I can properly appreciate and follow due, largely, to that experience. “Heaven can´t be taken by storm” , we have to be ready and willing it. As Sanjay says in one of his comments, our practice of self-investigation is a preparation for that. A practice which, on one hand, provides us with a trust born rather of inner clarity than of blind faith and, on the other hand, protects us from those states of confusion and disorientation.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Michael, we thank you for all the love you give us, and we also love you

A friend thanked Michael by telling him: ‘Thank you for all the love you give us. I can feel your love and Bhagavan’s love for you. Tell you that we also love you’. How beautiful! What this friend says will definitely have an echo in many of our hearts. We certainly love Michael because he is Bhagavan’s precious gift to us. Absolutely precious! Bhagavan loves Michael is some special way because Bhagavan has to take care of many fools like me through Michael. So Bhagavan has to keep Michael fit in all possible ways because Michael has to act as Bhagavan’s instrument. So thank you Bhagavan!

Michael replied to this friend by saying, ‘Whatever love we feel is only Bhagavan’s love because ego is the very antithesis of true love’. Bhagavan teaches us that true love is the state of perfect oneness, whereas ego seemingly divides the one into many. So as ego we like some things but dislike some things. So our present love is imperfect. True love is only the love that Bhagavan has for all of us because he loves us as himself. He doesn’t love us as this imperfect person that we seem to be because he doesn’t see us as any person. He sees us as we actually are.

We cannot experience true love, the love which is without boundaries, as this ego. It is because ego implies ‘me’ and ‘others’. So, as ego, our love is divided between ‘me and mine’ on the one side, and ‘others’ on the other side. So if we want to experience true love, the love which is without boundaries, we have to surrender ourself to our own infinite love. This infinite and eternal love is shining in us as ‘I’. That is what Bhagavan actually is; that is what we actually are.

Only complete surrender will enable us to experience true love. Until then we will always be torn by fragmented love. I love India but hate Pakistan – we are caught us in this sort of fragmented and foolish game of love and hate. Of course, imperfect love is the path to go to perfect love, so even our most imperfect love is greatly needed. However, this imperfect love has to surrender itself to perfect love. This perfect love is the state of oneness.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (1:13)

Michael James said...

A friend wrote to me summarising Bhagavan’s teachings in the following six principles for his understanding and practice of ātma-vicāra and asked whether his understanding is correct:

1. You should want to know Yourself more than anything else in this life (Bhakti).

2. This whole life or any life is nothing more than a Dream. Realize this and Believe in it. So just be unconcerned about it. (All physical phenomenon (people/places/things) and all mental phenomenon (emotions like greed, fear, hope and attachments etc.) including yours and others are just mental fabrication (MAYA) created by EGO.)

3. When the world appears SELF won’t appear and when the SELF appears world won’t appear i.e. as long as you experience yourself as Ego you won’t experience SELF.

4. With my free will I’m free to try to change others or my destiny (KARMA) but I won’t be able to change it. So best use of my free will is to try to know myself by not attending phenomenon and just turn within.

5. Take your attention off from all phenomenon i.e. don’t attend them because they are just mental creations (Vairagya) then you will be in your natural state i.e. just Pure Awareness. (This you are doing every night before going to sleep by effortlessly withdrawing your attention from all phenomenon (both physical and mental) due to tiredness) OR Put your attention on Attention itself (Bhakti) then you will be in your natural state i.e. just Pure Awareness.

6. This whole thing is a process and practice and never be concerned about time and effort as these two again are mental fabrications.

In reply to this I wrote:

Most of what you write is correct, except for point 5, ‘Take your attention off from all phenomenon i.e. don’t attend them because they are just mental creations (Vairagya) then you will be in your natural state i.e. just Pure Awareness’, because though we cease attending to any phenomena whenever we fall asleep, we do not thereby attain our eternal state of pure self-awareness, since ego is not annihilated merely by ceasing to be aware of phenomena. That is, sleep is a state of manōlaya (temporary dissolution of mind), not manōnāśa (permanent dissolution or annihilation of mind), so though what remains in sleep is only pure awareness, from the perspective of ego in waking and dream sleep seems to be a temporary state.

In order to be annihilated, ego must not just cease being aware of phenomena, but must cease being aware of them by focusing its entire attention on itself alone, because only when ego is aware of itself alone will it be aware of itself as pure awareness and thereby instantly cease to exist as ego. It is not annihilated by the pure awareness that shines in sleep, because it is absent then, and it cannot be killed in its absence.

That is, in sleep ego dissolves due to tiredness, and only after it has dissolved does pure awareness shine alone, whereas in order to be annihilated it must be dissolved as a result of experiencing pure awareness. This is why Bhagavan repeatedly emphasised that self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is the only means to eradicate ego.

You also say, ‘Put your attention on Attention itself (Bhakti) then you will be in your natural state i.e. just Pure Awareness’, but whether this is correct or not depends exactly what you mean by ‘Put your attention on Attention’. A clearer and more correct way to express it would be ‘Put your attention on what is attending’, or more precisely, ‘Put your attention on yourself, the one who is attending’.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

Another key principle of Bhagavan’s teachings is that as ego we feed ourself and flourish by being aware of anything other than ourself, but will subside and dissolve back into our source by being aware of ourself alone. In other words, the nature of ego is to rise, stand and flourish by attending to phenomena, and to dissolve and disappear by attending to itself.

This is perhaps the most important principle of his teachings, because it explains why he said that self-investigation is the only means by which we can eradicate ego, but it is a principle that is not made so clear in any ancient texts.

Asun said...

"In order to be annihilated, ego must not just cease being aware of phenomena, but must cease being aware of them by focusing its entire attention on itself alone, because only when ego is aware of itself alone will it be aware of itself as pure awareness and thereby instantly cease to exist as ego. It is not annihilated by the pure awareness that shines in sleep, because it is absent then, and it cannot be killed in its absence.

That is, in sleep ego dissolves due to tiredness, and only after it has dissolved does pure awareness shine alone, whereas in order to be annihilated it must be dissolved as a result of experiencing pure awareness. This is why Bhagavan repeatedly emphasised that self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) is the only means to eradicate ego." M.J.

Exactly.

Salazar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven said...

Sanjay,
Yes, that is called by Sadhu Om the third standard in which we want God [enlightenment] alone. The third standard is a very advanced place.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Recognising that ego is formless is extremely essential when we begin to practise self-investigation

Bhagavan teaches us that ‘grasping form the formless phantom-ego comes into existence'. So recognising that ego is formless is extremely critical to understanding the true nature of ego. Not only that, such an understanding is even more essential when we begin to practise self-investigation.

We are always aware of ourself as a form of this body or of some other body, so how do we attend to something which is formless? If we analyse our experience, we are not only aware of ourself as a form, we are also aware of ourself, that which is aware of forms. So we need to attend only to ourself, and not attend to any of the forms that we may be aware of. So while practising self-investigation, we are trying to hold on only to the formless pure awareness.

However, without holding on to forms ego cannot stand, so when it tries to grasp itself, the formless awareness, it subsides and dissolves in pure self-awareness. This is what we are hoping to achieve through our practice of self-investigation.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (1:56)

Michael James said...

Salazar, regarding your comment of 3 January 2020 at 16:17, in which you claim ‘No sage would make the statement “when the world appears self won’t appear” because that is really not the truth’, and ‘Bhagavan would not say that (in these exact words)’, this is one of the fundamental principles of Bhagavan’s teachings, and it is clearly stated by him in almost these exact words in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:

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.

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.

English translation: Excluding thoughts, 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.

Svarūpa’ literally means ‘own form’ but is generally used in the sense of ‘nature’ or ‘real nature’, so when Bhagavan used it on its own it means ‘one’s own real nature’, so it is synonymous with ātma-svarūpa, which means ‘the real nature of oneself’, and is a term that is English books is often translated as ‘the Self’. Therefore in the final two sentences of this passage, ‘ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu), ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’, he clearly and unequivocally says exactly what you say he would not say.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Salazar:

He expresses the same truth equally unequivocally in the third paragraph:

சர்வ அறிவிற்கும் சர்வ தொழிற்குங் காரண மாகிய மன மடங்கினால் ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கும். கற்பித ஸர்ப்ப ஞானம் போனா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான ரஜ்ஜு ஞானம் உண்டாகாதது போல, கற்பிதமான ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கினா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான சொரூப தர்சன முண்டாகாது.

sarva aṟiviṟkum sarva toṙiṟkum kāraṇam āhiya maṉam aḍaṅgiṉāl jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgum. kaṟpita sarppa-ñāṉam pōṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa rajju-ñāṉam uṇḍāhādadu pōla, kaṟpitam āṉa jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgiṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa sorūpa-darśaṉam uṇḍāhādu.

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

The reason he says this is very simple and intimately connected with and entailed in other fundamental principles of his teachings. Whatever world we perceive is just a mental fabrication, so it appears on in the view of ourself as ego, which is why he says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandaiyē yāvum ām), ‘If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist. Ego itself is everything’.

Therefore we cannot perceive any world without rising and standing as ego, and so long as we rise and stand as ego, we are not aware of ourelf as we actually are. This is what he clearly implies when he says, ‘ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu), ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’.

Salazar said...
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Anonymous said...

I also believe when Self appears world disappears. Its either this or that, but not both. The reason why I am having hard time doing self enquiry. The practice wants us to ‘be’. How can ego ‘be’ when it already has ‘become’ something?

Anonymous said...

I have started reading Path of Ramana now. Still on Part 1.

Anonymous said...

Thanks

Anonymous said...

As Sanjay said, craving to know reality is fine... but craving for big event to happen is not right. I am not craving for that at all , based on what I went thru.

Anonymous said...

Mine didn’t last for just a day. It lasted for months ..for several days I remember even seeing trees/rocks shining with love .. like whole world was shining with/acting out of love. I became friendly with a person who I hated previously :) And at the same time I was suffering from fear too. This is the most mysterious event that happened to me. Because of what I went thru, I am more interested in knowing other people’s experiences, but I cannot handle another event like that. And I absolutely never had/have any bad habits too. I also understand what a fool one is to think he/she is the doer.. after that event I was kind of laughing at myself .And I strongly believe it is either reality or world but not both, since when I experienced love/bliss (it seemed real ) for few seconds, world became a dream place , but forms didn’t vanish. So I was neither in the state of manolaya(?) or manonasa(?). But Bhagavan has said not to analyze mind. Trying to follow that as well :)

Asun said...

Yes, it is like what I wrote: “I had to went out”. It is ” I had to go out” or “I went out”. Mixing different tenses and modes of the verb, doesn´t make sense at all :)

I don´t know how Salazar deals with that conviction of him, he seems to find rational. I can´t make head or tails of it, sorry. Don´t mean to offend.

What Bhagavan says is literal, I´m afraid. Saying, on one hand, that mind doesn´t really exist and that, on the other hand, world and body remain when mind subsides , is to say that world and body exist on their own, independently of mind so, how would he explain their existence since that statement denies that they are created by the power of mind´s imagination. This is also why it is important to understand what underlies it, i.e., its power to delude itself through its own creations. Only when this power of self-deceiving subsides which is possible only when mind knows itself as what it really is, pure self-awareness aware of nothing than itself, world and its multiplicity are known as the “sportive play of chit-sakti, the one whole” (G.V.K.) , i.e., without reality at all. Just a mental play.

Anyway :)

Rajat said...

Michael,
If possible could you please clarify my question of 31 December 2019 at 13:37. Since "the thought I" is nothing but "our mind", how to understand Bhagavan's statement that the thought 'I' alone is the first thought that appears in our mind? If I-thought were to arise in the mind, then mind must exist prior to the arising of I thought.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Intelligent people will have different beliefs because we all believe what we want to believe

Our desires are what is driving our intellect. That is, intelligent people will have different beliefs because we all believe what we want to believe. So our will is what is driving our intellect, and intellect is driving our mind, and mind is driving our life and body. The subtlest of our five sheaths is our will, but even our will is a set of objects. That is, I may have a fear of death, but I am not that fear. That fear is something that comes and goes. I may have a desire for tasty food, but I am not that desire. My desire is something which I am aware of, so they are other than me.

The person is made up of five sheaths, but what is aware of these five sheaths is ego, and that is what we need to investigate. We have to see the seer, perceive the perceiver and attend to the one who is attending. This is what self-investigation is. If we do not understand the distinction between ego and the person we seem to be, we may be attending to some aspect of this person in the name of self-investigation. We may try to attend to some thought, desire or something, but all these are other than ourself. All these are objects and ego is the subject. So we need to attend to the subject alone, totally ignoring all objects.

If we attend to ourself alone, we thereby separate ourself from the person that this ego seems to be. However, ego cannot stand on its own because we seem to be ego only when we identify ourself with a person. So by separating ego from the person it seems to be, ego will subside and dissolve back into the source from which it arose. So distinguishing and separating ourself from the person we seem to be is the prerequisite for successful self-investigation. However, when we are facing outwards for all intents and purposes we are this person.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (1:56)

Sanjay Lohia said...

The more the ego subsides, the more we will be truly compassionate

Why are we not compassionate? It is because we don’t try to see things from the other person’s point of view. The more the ego subsides, the more we will be truly compassionate – the more we will be able to see the other person’s suffering from their point of view, rather than from our point of view.

The deeper we go into the spiritual path - the more we investigate and surrender ourself - the more compassion will come to us naturally. However, perfect compassion is possible only in the state of egolessness.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (1:08)

Asun said...

Experiences are experiences because there is an experiencer and so long as there is an experiencer which is ego, there will be fear because there is separation and duality. This is why Bhagavan urges us to focus attention rather on the experiencer or the seer than on the experience or the seen in order it to know itself as what it really is. The more we focus on self-awareness, the more inner clarity we get, the less we are caught by the seen or the experiences we go through, the weaker the impressions they leave on mind and, therefore, the less conditioned and mislead by them we are. Clean, clear and simple :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If I am too strongly attached to Sanjay, I am likely to be equally strongly attached to my nationality, religion and so on

Ego is our primary identification because we as ego are always aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’ or even more specifically ‘I am this person’. All our other identifications are secondary to this. We may identify ourself with our religion or nationality or political view or position in society and so on, but these are all our secondary identifications. We also develop other secondary identifications from time to time. I may become sick, for example, and therefore I may feel that ‘I, Sanjay, am sick’. But this is my secondary identification because I have to first be Sanjay before I can become sick.

So long as I have this primary identification ‘I am Sanjay’, I will have secondary identifications to a greater or lesser extent. If I am Sanjay, how can I not be an Indian? How can I not identify myself with my religion Hinduism? The strength of such secondary identifications depends on the strength of my primary identification. If I am too strongly attached to Sanjay, I am likely to be equally strongly attached to my nationality, religion and so on. So ultimately the main problem we face is our primary identification. If we get rid of our primary identification, our secondary identifications will automatically cease.

It is for this reason that Bhagavan always focuses on ego. All other identifications and problems are symptoms, but the cause is only ego. Why do these secondary identifications arise? They arise because of our desires and attachments. The strength of our secondary identifications is proportional to the strength of our desires and attachments, and these desires and attachments make us unwilling to surrender ourself. So the stronger the secondary identifications, the more difficult it will be for us to tackle our primary identification ‘I am this body’.

By following the path of self-investigation and self-surrender, all our likes, dislikes, desires, attachments, fears and so on will be progressively weakened. They collectively grow weaker, so we don’t give them up one by one. The same applies to our secondary identifications. The particularity of our secondary identifications doesn’t matter. They also collectively grow weak as we progress in our sadhana.

As our secondary identifications become weak, we feel less difference between ourself and others. When we are strongly attached to ego, our secondary identifications will be very strong; therefore, we will be strongly aware of the difference between ourself and people of a different kind. Many religious people have big egos, otherwise, why would they abhor people of other faiths? So the root of all our problems is nothing but ego, this ‘I am this body idea’.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-29 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses identity, desire and self-surrender (03:00 & 31:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

I must admit that I am ignoring Bhagavan’s real teaching, which is only silence

Bhagavan used to often emphasise that his real teaching is only silence. In Bhagavan’s teachings, silence is the state which is completely devoid of ego and all its thoughts. All other types of silence are only relative silence. So only true silence can teach us what true silence it. Only true silence will teach us what real happiness is. Only silence can teach us what we actually are. Only perfect silence can teach us what Bhagavan actually is.

So we should try to remain silent as long as possible and, more importantly, as intensely as possible. Reading or listening about Bhagavan’s teachings, writing about them and thinking about them is important, but these pale in comparison to his real teachings, which is silence. Only silence is the doorway to eternal and perfect silence.

Salazar said...
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Rajat said...

Salazar,
In my humble opinion, the statement "when the world appears, self won't appear", can be taken literally, and I don't see why you say it can't be "the truth". Bhagavan is not saying here that the world exists, but that it appears, which is 100% in line with my experience at least. I can't say if the world exists, but certainly it seems to exist. To be precise, he is not even saying the world appears, but that when it appears, self does not appear. That only self really is is not my experience. Therefore, speaking from my experience this statement seems to be true (although the second part, "when self appears or shines, the world does not exist", I can't say anything about from my experience obviously). I agree some statements of Bhagavan are metaphorical and shouldn't be taken literally, but this particular statement is clearly to be taken literally.

anadi-ananta said...

When we consider that
a) there is only self and therefore
b) nothing can be outside of self and
c) therefore even the appearance of the world cannot occur apart of self,
the statement "when the world appears, self won't appear",
in its accentuation of the concurrence of both appearances need not be necessarily true. However, one cannot seriously call self as a mere appearance.
Rather it is meant that the appearance of the world as world will not occur to a perceiver at the same time when he is aware exclusively of self and reversed. Was not just Bhagavan aware of the world as nothing but self ?

Salazar said...

Rajat, Bhagavan knows best and there is a reason why he's written Nan Yar the way he did. I suppose we can agree to see the statement "when the world appears, self won't appear" as a powerful pointer that as long as "I" has an interest in the world and not solely in self (then self seems to be clouded or not "appearing").

The ego for sure can take that literally.

Well, I see this exchange as a ploy by Bhagavan to nudge me into holding "I am" instead to dabble too much in theory :-)


Asun said...

Salazar,

That applies to any explanation, not my problem :)

Bhagavan is very clear: ego is a thought, the first thought, which rising, in turn, gives rise to the body and world, being world and body also thoughts. Studying his teachings, reflecting on them and practicing self-investigation, what he states is within our understanding though we can accept it or not.

I´m not versed in scriptures but the few testimonies I know from sages have something in common: the fact of having overcome death by experiencing body´s death, literally. Without body, there is no world either. That´s how they came to know that we are pure awareness no depending on anything to be, literally, and the reason why Bhagavan says that when world appears, self won´t appear. All genuine teachings are based on this truth whether communicated directly as it is in the case of Bhagavan, or through parabolas, metaphors, stories and so on as in former days.

How it is after experiencing this, we can´t say nor conceive it. Sages can´t say either, precisely because it is beyond mind so, in this sense, yes, what they may say about it are just pointers but we have to discern and not to mix things creating unnecessary confusion by saying in certain way what, on the other hand, is just obvious.

Whoever has eyes etc. :)

Steven said...

Anonymous ,
you said: "I also believe when Self appears world disappears. Its either this or that, but not both."

Most people look in the mirror and believe “I am that face in the mirror.” Some sages say, “I am the mirror forever unharmed by whatever is reflected in the mirror.” [pure awareness].
Rumi said: “We are the mirror, as well as the face in it.”

You can be both, one is ultimately true, the other is relatively true. Ultimately I, as awareness, do not live on planet earth, I have no boundaries or locations.
I do not tell the police this when they ask me where I have been.

anadi-ananta said...

Steven,
in his above statement “We are the mirror, as well as the face in it.” Rumi evidently in the term "we" unspoken included the human body, planet earth, the rays of sunlight and above all the eyes (awareness) of the observer. So obviously he wanted to express that nothing is excluded from pure awareness.
By the way, if you consider yourself as awareness with "no boundaries or locations", how can you exclude yourself from being also (not separated from) the essential substance of planet earth, solar system, galaxies and universes ? So in saying "not living on planet earth " you seem to reduce and distort your true and entire existence.:-)

Michael James said...

Steven, in your comment of 5 January 2020 at 10:43 you wrote: ‘You can be both, one is ultimately true, the other is relatively true’.

What is ultimately true (and hence real) is only our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, and we are always only that, even when we seem to rise as ego and consequently mistake ourself to be a body. What is relatively true (and hence unreal) is everything other than pure awareness, and it is true relative only to ourself as ego, which is itself unreal, because it seems to exist only in the self-ignorant view of ourself as ego.

Therefore the state in which we are both what is ultimately true and what is relatively true is the state of ego, because the nature of ego is to mistake what is real, namely awareness (cit), to be something that is unreal, namely a body, which is non-aware (jaḍa), and hence it is called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the seeming entanglement of awareness with something that is not aware, binding them together as if they were one. However, even when we seem to be something that is relatively true (namely a body), we are never actually that but are always only what is ultimately true (namely pure awareness).

However, the context in which you wrote ‘You can be both, one is ultimately true, the other is relatively true’ was in reply to an earlier comment in which Anonymous wrote ‘I also believe when Self appears world disappears. Its either this or that, but not both’, referring to a pair of sentences in fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? in which Bhagavan said, ‘ஆகையால், ஜகம் தோன்றும்போது சொரூபம் தோன்றாது; சொரூபம் தோன்றும் (பிரகாசிக்கும்) போது ஜகம் தோன்றாது’ (āhaiyāl, jagam tōṉḏṟum-pōdu sorūpam tōṉḏṟādu; sorūpam tōṉḏṟum (pirakāśikkum) pōdu jagam tōṉḏṟādu), ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’ (which I had quoted and discussed in two earlier comments, 3 January 2020 at 19:14 and 3 January 2020 at 19:16). Therefore in the context of this pair of sentences written by Bhagavan, it is not clear why you thought that writing ‘You can be both, one is ultimately true, the other is relatively true’ was a suitable reply to Anonymous’s remark, ‘I also believe when Self appears world disappears. Its either this or that, but not both’.

Do you mean to say that you do not believe that Bhagavan was correct in saying, ‘Therefore when the world appears, svarūpa does not appear; when svarūpa appears (shines), the world does not appear’? Or if you believe that what he says in these two sentences is the case, what did you mean to imply by saying, ‘You can be both, one is ultimately true, the other is relatively true’? Perhaps I have not understood correctly what you were trying to say.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan said to Sadhu Om: ‘attend to that for which you have come’

Sometimes people came to Bhagavan and complained about the ashram management - ‘this or that is not right’ and sometimes complained about other devotees’ behaviour or something, but Bhagavan never entertained such complaints. His explicit or implicit response was always: ‘Is this what you have come here for? Attend to that for which you have come?’ So Bhagavan wanted that the devotees should stick to their sadhana because that was the purpose why they were in the ashram.

However, Bhagavan once told these words – ‘attend to that for which you have come’ – thrice to Sadhu Om, but this time the context was quite different. One morning Sadhu Om got up early and was sitting on the foot of the hill writing a poem, a prayer to Bhagavan. Suddenly he realized that he was late for breakfast, so he hurried towards the dining hall, but he was the devotees were coming out of the dining hall after finishing their breakfast. So he decided to miss his breakfast and instead go directly to Bhagavan’s hall so that he could give his song to Bhagavan. But someone told him, ‘Bhagavan was asking about you. Go in!’ So he went into the dining hall.

However, most people had got up by this time, but Bhagavan wanted Sadhu Om to sit and have his breakfast. So Bhagavan indicated to one of the servers to place a leaf-plate in front Sadhu Om. So Sadhu Om reluctantly sat down and began to eat. Then Bhagavan stood up, and so Sadhu Om also stood up because he didn’t want to remain sitting when Bhagavan was standing. At this point, Bhagavan said to Sadhu Om: ‘attend to that for which you have come’. Superficially it meant ‘eat your idilis’. So Sadhu Om wanted to sit down but he hesitated. In South India, there is a custom that once someone stands up leaving their meal, they do not sit down again to continue eating.

By then Bhagavan was beginning to pass Sadhu Om and seeing that Sadhu Om was hesitating to continue eating, Bhagavan again told him; ‘attend to that for which you have come’. So Sadhu Om began to eat. Bhagavan went behind him and was going out from the door behind, and Sadhu Om turned around just when Bhagavan was stepping over the threshold. Bhagavan turned around and again said, ‘attend to that for which you have come’. Bhagavan said this for the third time.

Then Sadhu Om understood that Bhagavan wasn’t just talking about idilis. He was clearly implying: ‘What is the purpose for which you have come to this world? Always keep that purpose in mind. Do not involve yourself in unnecessary things?’ That instruction had a very deep impact on Sadhu Om. So the guru’s words are extremely powerful, but it is not the words that create jnana. The words enable us to turn our attention within, and this turning within gives rise to jnana.

Sometimes a single word from the guru can enable us to attain jnana, but that is very rare and can happen only to those who are highly mature. To Tinnai Swami, Bhagavan just said ‘iru’, which means ‘be’, and that one word was enough for Tinnai Swami to take that final 180 degrees turn within. Tinnai Swami immediately understood that in his context ‘iru’ meant ‘stay in your own state’ or ‘be as you are’ or ‘stay, don’t rise as ego’. So Tinnai Swami then and there obeyed his guru.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (1:10)

Salazar said...
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Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2019-12-14 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Ēkāṉma Pañcakam verse 1, a friend wrote: ‘I have a question about Eka Jiva Vada. Are all characters in this dream, including the one I take myself to be, and all the beings in this world - insentient? I heard you say that this world is jada (not conscious, not sentient), but that the ego IS sentient because it is a mixture of thought (jada) and pure awareness- (conscious/sentient), but if the world and all the beings in it are all projections of the sentient ego (jada + sentient pure awareness), then shouldn’t they all be sentient also? When I look at a being in this world, are they an insentient being because they are not self aware?’

In reply to this I wrote:

Bubba, in dream we perceive numerous phenomena, some of which seem to be physical and others of which seem to be mental. While dreaming we suppose that some of the seemingly physical phenomena (namely people and animals) are sentient and others (such as tables, chairs and houses) are insentient, but when we wake up we recognise that even the seemingly sentient physical phenomena were just a mental fabrication and hence unreal. Mental fabrications are what Bhagavan calls thoughts, and hence he says the world is nothing but thoughts, because according to him any state in which we perceive phenomena is just a dream.

Do you suppose that any of your thoughts such as desires, fears, hopes, expectations, calculations, memories, feelings or perceptions are sentient? After waking from a dream, do you suppose that any phenomenon you perceived there was sentient? All thoughts or phenomena are objects perceived by us, but they do not perceive anything, so what is sentient is only ourself, the perceiver, and not any objects perceived by us.

In a dream the dreamer is sentient, but whatever is perceived by the dreamer is insentient. Just because whatever is perceived in a dream is the dreamer’s own projection or fabrication does not mean that it is sentient. What is created need not partake of all of the qualities of its creator.

The creator, projector or fabricator of all phenomena is ego, which is the dreamer of every dream, but though ego is sentient (aware), its creations are insentient (non-aware). Ego is born of a seeming union or entanglement of two contradictory and hence incompatible elements, namely awareness, which is formless, and a form (or set of forms), which is non-aware, and hence it is called cit-jaḍa-granthi (the knot formed by the entanglement of awareness and what is non-aware).

Everything that ego creates, including whatever person it seems to be, is a form and therefore non-aware, so its creations partake only of the lower (unreal) side of its nature and not of the higher (real) side of it. Its real side is awareness, and its unreal side is form. These are what need to be separated, and when they are separated, what remains is only awareness, because form does not seem to exist without the support of awareness.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment:

When I say ‘form does not seem to exist without the support of awareness’, this requires some clarification, because though real awareness is the ultimate support for the appearance of form, it is not its immediate support. The immediate support for the appearance of form is only ego, because it is only in the view of ourself as ego that forms seem to exist, and though ego is aware, it is not real awareness (cit) but only a semblance of awareness (cidābhāsa). Real awareness is only pure awareness, which is never aware of anything other than itself, whereas the nature of ego is to be always aware of things other than itself. Just as ego is the immediate support for the appearance of forms, pure awareness is the immediate support for the appearance of ego, and hence pure awareness is the ultimate support for the appearance of forms.

Regarding your final question, ‘When I look at a being in this world, are they an insentient being because they are not self aware?’, whatever is aware is necessarily self-aware, because being aware entails being aware that one is aware, and being aware that one is aware entails being aware of oneself. Conversely whatever is not aware is obviously not self-aware, so awareness and self-awareness are inseparable. Whatever we perceive, namely forms or phenomena, are not aware and consequently not self-aware.

What is aware and self-aware is only ourself. When we are aware of ourself alone, we are aware of ourself as pure awareness, which is what we actually are, but when we are aware of anything other than ourself (namely forms or phenomena), we are aware of ourself as ego, which is not what we actually are. However, even when we are aware of anything other than ourself, what we actually are remains ever unaffected, because what we actually are (our real nature or ātma-svarūpa) is always aware itself alone.

What is aware of any forms or phenomena is only ego, and ego is neither what we actually are nor other than what we actually are. That is, just as an illusory snake is nothing other than a rope, even the rope is not a snake, ego is nothing other than what we actually are, but what we actually are is not ego.

Steven said...

Micahel James,
Regarding the quote: “When the Self appears, the world does not appear.”
What do I think Bhagavan meant by that?
Imo, he meant that when you see the rope as a rope, the snake disappears. When you see the rope as a snake, the rope disappears.
However, the truth is, once you understand, then you can see it as a rope or a snake. You can still see the snake and even commiserate with others over the danger they are in, all the while knowing it is not really a snake but merely a rope.

That is why when someone says their child died, I don’t tell them no one was born and no one died. I play their sick little game of believing they were born when actually awareness had no birth and has no death.

Anonymous said...

Steven,
I noticed Michael and anadi ananta responded already. When Rumi says mirror and face are the same I, that itself implies forms don’t exist.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

Did Bhagavan ever explain difference between Sakthi (Shakthi?) and Shiva? I would like to know the difference.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan said to Sadhu Om: ‘attend to that for which you have come’ (part two)

Bhagavan is telling all of us through Tinnai Swami – ‘iru’. Bhagavan is telling all of us through Sadhu Om – ‘attend to that for which you have come’. We may not have gone to Sri Ramanasramam to stay with Bhagavan, but we have gone to the real ashram of Bhagavan. That is, we have taken shelter under Bhagavan’s teachings, and therefore we are indeed staying inside the real ashram of Ramana. So we should attend to that for which we have come to this ashram.

I was staying in one part of India (A), but for the last twenty years, I am staying in another part of India (B). Why did I shift to B? Obviously, it was for a purpose. Bhagavan knew that B will be more conducive to my sadhana, and so I should keep this purpose in mind. I should remember, I have not come to B to make more money or to make a name for myself. Bhagavan has brought me here for a purpose. He has given me a golden opportunity to deepen my inwardness by keeping me in B, so I should not waste my time here.

So we shouldn’t be bothered about what is happening outside our ashram. That is, we should let things happen outside as they are meant to happen. We should focus only on our sravana, manana and nididhyasana of Bhagavan’s path. So instead of treating ourselves as householders, we may treat ourselves as sannyasis. Eventually, we need to give up even this identification of a sannyasi because all identifications strengthen our ego. However, until we merge in jnana, we may try to adopt the attitude of a sannyasi.

Sannyasis leave this world in the hope of gaining something much more worthwhile, gaining something much more permanent. We can continue living where we are currently living, but try to emulate the spirit behind their renunciation. An old Hindi song says, ‘yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya ho….’, which means ‘even if we gain this whole world, how will it benefit us?' So we should always remember that whatever we gain or hope to gain in this world is extremely fleeting, and therefore these things are not worth all the time and effort we give them.






Steven said...

anadi-ananta,
I think we are in agreement.
Brahman alone is real.
The world is unreal.
Brahman is the world.

So yes, pure awareness has no location or boundaries. It is also true pure awareness has all locations and boundaries, unreal though they may be.

Michael James said...

Yes, Steven, you are correct in saying in your comment of 5 January 2020 at 15:45 ‘when you see the rope as a rope, the snake disappears. When you see the rope as a snake, the rope disappears’, and this is why in the third paragraph of Nāṉ Ār? Bhagavan says: ‘கற்பித ஸர்ப்ப ஞானம் போனா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான ரஜ்ஜு ஞானம் உண்டாகாதது போல, கற்பிதமான ஜகதிருஷ்டி நீங்கினா லொழிய அதிஷ்டான சொரூப தர்சன முண்டாகாது’ (kaṟpita sarppa-ñāṉam pōṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa rajju-ñāṉam uṇḍāhādadu pōla, kaṟpitam āṉa jaga-diruṣṭi nīṅgiṉāl oṙiya adhiṣṭhāṉa sorūpa-darśaṉam uṇḍāhādu), ‘Just as unless awareness of the imaginary snake goes, awareness of the rope, [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna [basis, base or foundation], will not arise, unless perception of the world, which is kalpita [a fabrication, imagination or mental creation], departs, seeing svarūpa [one’s own form or real nature], [which is] the adhiṣṭhāna, will not arise’.

However, after saying ‘when you see the rope as a rope, the snake disappears. When you see the rope as a snake, the rope disappears’, you seem to contradict this in your next two sentences: ‘However, the truth is, once you understand, then you can see it as a rope or a snake. You can still see the snake and even commiserate with others over the danger they are in, all the while knowing it is not really a snake but merely a rope’. Once we have recognised that the rope is just a rope and hence not a snake, we can never see it as a snake again. We may be able to see how we mistook it to be a snake, and therefore to sympathise with others who still see it as a snake, but we cannot mistake it to be a snake again. Our clear awareness that it is just a rope precludes the possibility that we could again mistake it to be a snake.

We can perceive phenomena only when we do not see ourself as we actually are, because what we actually are is pure awareness, and pure awareness is never aware of anything other than itself, as Bhagavan implies, for example, in verse 27 of Upadēśa Undiyār:

அறிவறி யாமையு மற்ற வறிவே
யறிவாகு முண்மையீ துந்தீபற
     வறிவதற் கொன்றிலை யுந்தீபற.

aṟivaṟi yāmaiyu maṯṟa vaṟivē
yaṟivāhu muṇmaiyī dundīpaṟa
     vaṟivadaṟ koṉḏṟilai yundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்ற அறிவே அறிவு ஆகும். உண்மை ஈது. அறிவதற்கு ஒன்று இலை.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): aṟivu aṟiyāmai-y-um aṯṟa aṟivē aṟivu āhum. uṇmai īdu. aṟivadaṟku oṉḏṟu ilai.

அன்வயம்: அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்ற அறிவே அறிவு ஆகும். ஈது உண்மை. அறிவதற்கு ஒன்று இலை.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): aṟivu aṟiyāmai-y-um aṯṟa aṟivē aṟivu āhum. īdu uṇmai. aṟivadaṟku oṉḏṟu ilai.

English translation: Only awareness that is devoid of awareness and ignorance is [real] awareness. This is real, [because] there is not anything for knowing.

What he means by ‘அறிவு அறியாமையும் அற்ற அறிவு’ (aṟivu aṟiyāmai-y-um aṯṟa aṟivu), ‘awareness that is devoid of awareness and ignorance’, is pure awareness, which is devoid of both awareness and ignorance of anything other than itself, and he says that this alone is real awareness, because in our real state there is nothing for us to know other than ourself. Awareness of phenomena exists only for ego and not for our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, because in the clear view of our real nature nothing other than itself exist for it to know.

Steven said...

Michael James,
Well I guess we may have a friendly disagreement.
Obviously Bhagavan can still see the snake. If he could not, then he would be saying, “Snake? What snake are you talking about, I only see a rope and nothing else.”

Similarly the phenomenal world continues to appear as before and we continue to play our role as a “person,” all the while knowing in the ultimate sense it is not what it appears as. Time and space and cars and buses are still there, but not as they were before.

Asun said...

What few seem to understand or to accept is that even though ego is ultimately ourself, ourself is not ego hence, when ego, by turning towards itself, knows itself as what it really is, it is found that it never existed, actually. Maya :)

There is a subtle but important difference between this truth as taught by Bhagavan, so clearly and simply, and what some claim that ourself can be both, ego relatively and ultimately pure awareness.

We can follow with an open mind the clues left by those who know in order to find out the truth by ourselves or we can distort them for they to fit with our preconceived notions, beliefs and misunderstandings. Funny thing is that they are the latest ones who are always looking forward to helping and pointing to others. Maya :)

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

"We can perceive phenomena only when we do not see ourself as we actually are, because what we actually are is pure awareness, and pure awareness is never aware of anything other than itself, as Bhagavan implies, for example, in verse 27 of Upadēśa Undiyār...".
"Awareness of phenomena exists only for ego and not for our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, because in the clear view of our real nature nothing other than itself exist for it to know."

Cannot my real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, free me once and for all from my bad vasanas ?
When I don't have the power to kill immediately the devil in me, who then will do it for me ?

Oh dear pure awareness, enjoy your well-earned luxury to have nothing other to do than to take delight in your clear view of your real nature in which nothing other than yourself exists for you to know. Please don't let me disturb you with my ignorant demeanour.

Asun said...

Well, Salazar, at least I try it, honey. Sometimes it is as simple as that :)

I´m just expressing my amazement. The more bizarre are the comments I read , the simpler and clearer Ramana´s teachings become. This negative method to dive into them, so to speak, is not too bad after all. But yes, you are right, enough is enough.

I knew you couldn´t help to point out to what you call “my projections” . Mirror, mirror …

Anonymous said...

Ego is not ourself. Ego doesn’t exist at all. Snake is not rope. Snake doesn’t exist. And Steven, Bhagavan never could see the snake. He saw only self everywhere. He himself was not aware of his talking, walking etc

Anonymous said...

Bhagavan Ramana and previous births
A devotee (p 103) once asked Bhagavan, We have met at Your Feet. Was it good luck, or is there a link between us from our previous births?
Bhagavan replied,'Were it not for old links, how could you all have come here.'
One other occasions too Bhagavan gave a similar reply. Those who loved Him in previous births come to Him again in this. However far they would be born, Bhagavan would pull them to Himself. Invariably, they would find their way to Him

Anonymous said...

Leave it to the Guru
Once a visitor wept to Bhagavan that he felt no improvement in himself despite coming to Bhagavan. Bhagavan replied:
On this road there are no milestones. How can you know in which direction you are going? Why dont you do what the first-class railway passenger does? He tells the guard his destination, locks the doors and goes to sleep. The rest is done by the guard. If you trust your Guru as much as you trust the railway guard, it would be enough to make you reach your destination. Your business is to shut the door and windows and sleep. The guard will wake you up at your destination.

Anonymous said...

In the recesses of the lotus-shaped Hearts of all, beginning with Vishnu, there shines as pure intellect (Absolute Consciousness) the Paramatman, who is the same as Arunachala Ramana. When the mind melts with love of Him, and reaches the inmost recess of the Heart wherein He dwells as the beloved, the subtle eye of pure intellect opens and He reveals Himself as Pure Consciousness.

Anonymous said...

Bhagavan was reading G. U. Pope’s translation of Tiruvachakam and
came across the stanzas describing the intense feeling of bhakti as
thrilling the whole frame, melting the flesh and bones, etc. He
remarked: “Manickavasagar is one of those whose body finally
resolved itself in a blazing light, without leaving a corpse behind.”
Another devotee asked how it could be.
Maharshi said the gross body is only the concrete form of the subtle
stuff - the mind. When the mind melts away and blazes forth as light,
the body is consumed in that process. Nandanar is another whose
body disappeared in blazing light.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, you say, 'Obviously Bhagavan can still see the snake. If he could not, then he would be saying, “Snake? What snake are you talking about, I only see a rope and nothing else.”' Bhagavan teaches us in verse 27 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Only knowledge [or awareness] that is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is [real] knowledge [or awareness]. This is real, [because] there is not anything for knowing.

Bhagavan sees only himself as he really is. Or in our context, Bhagavan sees only the rope and nothing else. Bhagavan is what is real, and reality can never be aware of unreality. The sun is light itself, and therefore it can never be aware of any darkness. However, as you rightly seem to imply, in his teachings, Bhagavan at places seems to imply that he does see this phenomenal world. However, who is aware of Bhagavan’s teachings? We as ego are aware of these teachings, so these teachings are part of our own dream. So we seem to be somehow convinced in our mind that Bhagavan is aware of this world as we are aware. But this is not true.

Who has given us all these teachings? It is grace, so grace has to communicate to us in our own language, otherwise, we will not understand these teachings. Grace seems to see things as we see these things, and then it has to somehow connect our view with Bhagavan’s non-dual view. So we may imagine that Bhagavan is seeing both the rope and the snake. But can we ever understand what Bhagavan actually sees? Bhagavan explains in verse 31 of Ulladu Narpadu:

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

Bhagavan has made it clear in Nan Ar? that what exists is only atma-svarupa, and Bhagavan is that atma-svarupa. Everything else is ego's imagination, and Bhagavan cannot see things from ego's perspective because he doesn't have that perspective. So Bhagavan doesn't see this world in any way.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, one more point: Michael says in his latest video, ‘Ego is neither real nor unreal. It is in-between’. So only ego projects what is unreal because ego is a first unreal thing, and since ego also contains an element of reality, it can also appreciate the perspective of Bhagavan. So ego is the link between reality and the unreality.

So Bhagavan's perspective is unidirectional. Bhagavan can see only what is real and nothing else. Ego’s perspective is multidirectional. It is aware of insentient things, but a part of ego is also sentient, so it is also aware of what is real in one sense.

Steven said...

Anonymous,
You said, “He himself was not aware of his talking, walking etc”
Wow, that’s a pretty radical idea. I’m kind of new to this website.
Is that what others here believe too?
Bhagavan did say, “There can be no moment or condition from which awareness is absent. Its absence is their absence.” Talking, walking etc sound like “moments and conditions” so how is that explained?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananda, you ask, ‘Cannot my real nature (ātma-svarūpa), which is pure awareness, free me once and for all from my bad vasanas? When I don't have the power to kill immediately the devil in me, who then will do it for me?’ Yes, we seem to be weak, and therefore we seem to be losing our battle against own ego and its powerful army of vasanas. However, we shall overcome? The following are some extracts from the famous song We Shall Overcome (lyrics by Pete Seeger):

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
We shall all be free,
We shall all be free,
We shall all be free, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day.

Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.




Rajat said...

Michael,
Bhagavan says in Uḷḷadu Narpadu verse 4, "Can what is seen be otherwise [in nature] than the eye [that sees it]? ". But doesn't the ego which is formless still see forms/phenomena? The physical eye is a form, but still it doesn't see any forms, so what form is seeing the forms of this world? Thank you.

Asun said...

Rajat,

I read recently Ulladu Narpadu, Michael´s translation, in the blog . It is not as comfortable as reading a book (mine is a desktop computer) and it took its time but it is worth because Michael has been adding links with articles where we can find detailed explanations and answers to many questions.

It is really a great and amazing work, by the way. Very much obliged.

https://happinessofbeing.blogspot.com/2017/10/ulladu-narpadu-tamil-text.html

Sanjay Lohia said...

Thinking deeply about Bhagavan’s teachings is certainly the best aid to practise atma-vichara

A friend asked Michael, ‘what is the best aid to practise atma-vichara?’ Michael replied, ‘Thinking deeply about Bhagavan’s teachings is definitely the best aid’. Michael elaborated on this. Why did Bhagavan say this world is a dream? We feel that this world exists when we do not perceive it, but do we have any evidence to support this belief of ours? We should think deeply about why we cannot be this body or any other body? Why we cannot be this mind or ego? So we should develop a deep conviction that we cannot be any body and mind. Then only we will understand that what we should attend to is only the witness, that which is aware of all these.

So we need to question all our preconceived ideas and assumptions in order to understand why Bhagavan taught us what he taught us. What Bhagavan taught us is all logically coherent. Every principle of Bhagavan’s teachings entails every other principle of his teaching.

We should try to understand the role played by bhakti or love in Bhagavan’s path. Until our love to attend to ourself is greater than our desires and attachments, we cannot succeed on this path. Bhagavan’s entire teachings focus on one thing and one thing alone and that is the annihilation of ego. Bhagavan sings in the very first verse of Sri Arunachala Aksaramanamalai, ‘O Arunachala, you root out the ego of those who think 'Arunachalam' in the heart’. The implication is that Arunachala alone is ‘I’, so if we want to destroy ego, we need to unceasingly attend to ‘I’.

So Bhagavan’s teachings are all intimately connected, and understanding such connections is the greatest aid. That will help us to surrender ourself; that will help us to investigate ourself.

Another thing we need to understand is that self-surrender and self-investigation are two sides of the same coin. Ultimately, we cannot surrender ourself without investigating ourself. The very nature of ego is to rise and flourish by attending to things other than itself. So in order to surrender itself, it needs to attend to itself alone. So vichara is the culmination of the path of surrender. Bhagavan says in one verse that self-attentiveness is the supreme devotion because God exists as oneself.

So what greater aid can we have than Bhagavan’s own words? We need to read them and think deeply about them.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (54:00)

Michael James said...

Steven, in your comment of 6 January 2020 at 11:26 you refer to a comment in which Anonymous wrote ‘Bhagavan never could see the snake. He saw only self everywhere. He himself was not aware of his talking, walking etc’ and remark: ‘Wow, that’s a pretty radical idea’. Yes, it is a radical idea, but all of Bhagavan’s deeper teachings are radical, extremely radical, because he is teaching us about the very root of our ignorance, which is therefore the root of all phenomena, namely ego, so if we want to derive the full benefit offered by his teachings, we must be willing to radically change our view, jettisoning all our former beliefs, which are based on numerous false assumptions, and replacing them with an extremely simple set of robust beliefs based on a deep and critical analysis of our actual experience.

In our view Bhagavan seems to have been a body, a person who lived for fifty-four years in Tiruvannamalai showering his love and compassion on all who came to him, and giving simple but deep teachings to all who asked him for guidance, and therefore he seemed to have a mind and to perceive the world in much the same way that we do. However, he taught us that he was not actually the body that he seemed to be and that he had no mind, so he did not perceive anything other than himself.

Therefore until we surrender ourself entirely and thereby merge back into the source from which we have arisen, it is not possible for us to comprehend his state. As he said in verse 31 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, referring to the jñāni using a respectful plural form: ‘தன்னை அலாது அன்னியம் ஒன்றும் அறியார்; அவர் நிலைமை இன்னது என்று உன்னல் எவன்?’ (taṉṉai alādu aṉṉiyam oṉḏṟum aṟiyār; avar nilaimai iṉṉadu eṉḏṟu uṉṉal evaṉ?), ‘They do not know [or are not aware of] anything other than themself; [so] who can [or how to] conceive their state as ‘[it is] like this’?’

This is why he often used to say ‘ஞானமே ஞானி’ (ñāṉamē ñāṉi), ‘jñāna alone is the jñāni’, in which jñāna means pure awareness, which is our real nature. In other words, what knows pure awareness is only pure awareness, because it cannot be known by anything other than itself. Therefore what Bhagavan actually is is not the body or mind that he seemed to be but only pure awareness, so we can know him as he actually is only by knowing ourself as pure awareness.

Though he is just pure awareness, he appeared to us in human form in order to teach us that the root of all our problems is ego, our mistaken awareness ‘I am this body’, and that the means for us to eradicate ego is to investigate and thereby surrender ourself entirely. However, it is only in our self-ignorant view that he seemed to be human, because in his clear view he is nothing other than pure awareness, which is immutable and therefore unaffected by the appearance ego and whatever appears in ego’s view.

To illustrate this he used to give the analogy of a lion that appears in an elephant’s dream thereby causing it to wake up (as recorded, for example, by Muruganar in verse 283 of Guru Vācaka Kōvai). Just as the lion is unreal but the awakening it causes is real (relatively speaking), the human form of guru is unreal but the awakening to jñāna that it causes is real.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Steven:

The fact that Bhagavan was never aware of anything other than himself, not even the body and mind that he seemed to be in our view, was explained by him in verse 31 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham:

வண்டிதுயில் வானுக்கவ் வண்டிசெல னிற்றிலொடு
வண்டிதனி யுற்றிடுதன் மானுமே — வண்டியா
மூனவுட லுள்ளே யுறங்குமெய்ஞ் ஞானிக்கு
மானதொழி னிட்டையுறக் கம்.

vaṇḍiduyil vāṉukkav vaṇḍisela ṉiṯṟiloḍu
vaṇḍidaṉi yuṯṟiḍudaṉ māṉumē — vaṇḍiyā
mūṉavuḍa luḷḷē yuṟaṅgumeyñ ñāṉikku
māṉadoṙi ṉiṭṭaiyuṟak kam
.

பதச்சேதம்: வண்டி துயில்வானுக்கு அவ் வண்டி செலல், நிற்றல் ஒடு, வண்டி தனி உற்றிடுதல் மானுமே, வண்டி ஆம் ஊன உடல் உள்ளே உறங்கும் மெய்ஞ்ஞானிக்கும் ஆன தொழில், நிட்டை, உறக்கம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): vaṇḍi tuyilvāṉukku a-v-vaṇḍi selal, ṉiṯṟil oḍu, vaṇḍi taṉi uṯṟiḍudal māṉumē, vaṇḍi ām ūṉa uḍal uḷḷē uṟaṅgum meyññāṉikkum āṉa toṙil, ṉiṭṭai, uṟakkam.

English translation: To the mey-jñāni [the knower of reality], who is asleep within the fleshy body, which is like a cart, activity [of mind or body], niṣṭhā [steadiness, inactivity or samādhi] and sleep are just like, to a person sleeping in a cart, that cart moving, standing or the cart remaining alone [with the bullocks unyoked].

That is, just as the various states of a cart are not experienced by a person who is sleeping in it, the various states of body and mind are not experienced by the jñāni, who is asleep to the appearance of body and world. This is why jñāna is sometimes described as the state of ‘waking sleep’, because the jñāni is awake to pure awareness (jñāna) and asleep to everything else. In other words, the jñāni is aware of nothing other than jñāna, which is what remains alone when ego is eradicated.

As Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām), ‘If ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist. Ego itself is everything’, so in the absence of ego there is nothing for us to know other than ourself. What teaching can be more radical than this?

Mouna said...

Steven, you said:
In relation to the idea that “he (Bhagavan) himself was not aware of his talking, walking etc”, you asked "Is that what others here believe too?”

No and yes.
It will depend how we define the term Bhagavan.

Bhagavan defined as the character in this play called life was certainly aware of his surroundings and phenomena in general, in the same way as you right now are aware of this comment, looking at the screen, others, etc. In the same way I was “aware” of my father talking to me in a dream I had several months after his passing, were he definitely was aware of talking to me; but after waking up from that dream I realized he was a character in my dream.
In this sense Bhagavan is ego's projection as any other physical, psychological (conceptual) phenomena.

Bhagavan defined as pure awareness does not and cannot be aware of phenomena, because there are no names and forms, time and space to limit its oneness (figure of speech). Absolute or pure awareness-existence is empty of limitations.

Steven and Bhagavan are different in the illusory dream, which is experienced by ego borrowing awareness from self.
Awareness-existence is all there is, but it does not include phenomena, like the rope does not include the snake which only exists in the illusory observer’s ignorance.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thanks for your comment. I remember this encouraging song of Pete Seeger, who was however then (perhaps 50 years ago) primarily a kind of political protest singer and folksinger/folkmusician.
But I am surprised that you as a native Karnataka-man (Kannadiga/Bangalorean) know this American singer ?
As you I have hopes that "We shall overcome, some day.":-)

Nothing special said...

Does acceptance fit anywhere in his teachings?

Nothing special said...

Michael is what Mouna wrote another way of saying what bhagavan was alluding to?

Steven said...

Michael James,
You said Ramana was not aware of his body or mind. “The jnani is awake to pure awareness and asleep to everything else,” you quoted.

Perhaps you are in your mind substituting the word “unconscious” for “asleep”?
Bhagavan didn’t say the jnani is “unconscious” of everything else.

For me, even when I am asleep I am still aware of my dream body. Even if I go into deep sleep, awareness of it is there. Not always are my dreams remembered perfectly but there was always awareness there at the time. And again Bhagavan said, “There can be no moment or condition from which awareness is absent. Its absence is their absence.”
So even if he was “asleep” to his body and mind… even in sleep awareness itself is always there. So imo being asleep to one’s body or mind does not mean being unconscious of them.
And there are perhaps millions of people who have had the mystical experience on LSD or other ethneogens or even by grace, in which the world was known and experienced as THEMSELVES. It didn’t disappear, it was seen as ME and nothing but ME. That is the more or less normal LSD break-through experience and the people who have had it talk in similar terms to what Ramana does. They don’t mean they were unconscious of their body or minds at all.

Anonymous said...

Steven
I got this radical idea based on my own experience too. I am absolutely sure that the real power that exists is not at all aware of its manifestations. I started understanding these teachings little bit better because of my experience.

Mouna said...

Nothing special, if I may:

In spititual terms, acceptance is a necessary condition of surrender. If we don’t accept what is (outside and inside) in its own terms, what kind of surrender would that be?
But from another angle, at the relative level, acceptance does not mean approval of actions by myself or others (Bhagavan was the living proof of that), from this particular point of view I will define acceptance as "clear seeing" (without conceptual filters).

Sanjay Lohia said...

We may have so many concepts about God, and these are no longer needed

Our religions teach us many things about God. Religions teach us God is all-powerful, all-loving, all-pervasive and many such things. Such concepts may be useful at a certain stage of our spiritual development, but once we have come to Bhagavan, such concepts are no more needed. In fact, we should forget about all such ideas because Bhagavan is teaching us post-doctoral standard. A part of the reason why we are told ‘you are that (God)’ is because we may have so many concepts about God, and these are no longer needed.

All we need to know about God is ‘God is that which is shining in me as I’. So we should turn our attention away from all the ideas about God towards ‘I’. There is no God other than ourself, and that is the absolute truth. But since we consider ourself to be very small, we feel God is very big. We may feel he is somewhere far away, at a distant place. So many ideas we may have.

Most religions say God is infinite, but they say God is other than you. That is a contradiction because if we consider God to be other than ourself, we are thereby limiting him. If God is infinite, he cannot be other than ourself. So by knowing ourself, we will surely know God. We are now doing our post-doctoral research, so we have to leave aside all theories and concentrate on the practice. What is the practice? It is knowing 'who am I?'

• Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (49:00)

Steven said...

Anonymous,
There are no manifestations without awareness present.
You have contradicted Ramana’s teaching:
“There can be no moment or condition from which awareness is absent. Its absence is their absence.”
Do you believe Ramana was wrong for saying this?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
many thanks again for your video transcription.

When you write "Most religions say God is infinite, but they say God is other than you. That is a contradiction because if we consider God to be other than ourself, we are thereby limiting him." one must correctly say that God himself is certainly not actually limited by our mind's false idea, image/picture of him. At the most we limit our mind's unrealistic expectations of God.

anadi-ananta said...

Mouna, greetings,
you say "But from another angle, at the relative level,...".
Our considerations never leave the relative level because at the absolute level we...:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Anonmous,
how can the "real power that exists" not be aware of its manifestations ? Is that real power not completely ident with its manifestations ? How can manifestations of the real power be imagined as separated from its source ?

Anonymous said...

He was not wrong. In his first sentence, he just said ‘awareness’ . He didn’t say awareness of xxxx. If I am enlightened, I will be aware of myself as just God and even if I became a tree, in that tree awareness of awareness is not absent, and if you ask awareness in that tree, the question ‘who are you’? Awareness would reply saying ‘I am that I am’. If you get a response ‘I am tree’ it means, you are delusional. The delusion is ‘the thought that manifestation has occurred and there is something else other than ‘as it is’. Hope I am clear. It is a simple concept. I did experience this and know this for sure. Also who is the doer is another question you should ask.

Anonymous said...

Steven I don’t know what LSD means. I had the experience too where world didn’t disappear(i was also awake) , but became a dream like and was I saw/became that Higher current which always seemed to exist. But the interesting part is higher power doesn’t know that anything else apart from ‘him/that/her’ exists.It doesn’t know anything else. It is we who is saying something else exists.

Bob said...

Michael

I'm having a bit of trouble with the following found in GVK, an analysis of the truth, #84.

All that is perceived by the mind was already within the heart.
Know that all perceptions are a reproduction of past tendencies now being projected outside (through the five senses).

I understand the first part but for some reason I'm lost on the last paragraph.

Thanks

Asun said...

“Our considerations never leave the relative level because at the absolute level we...:-)” anadi-ananta.

According to Bhagavan, pure awareness is not the absolute level of mind or ego, there is no mind or ego in pure awareness at any level, nor there are levels in/of pure awareness. There are only degrees of clarity of mind which, certainly, can reach high levels of confusion and superficiality as well as of deepness and clarity. On the other hand, talking on relativeness when we talk on ego is not wrong since it only can exist related to phenomena, body and world, though it might be more accurate to say "as ego" and so long as we still take the dream to be reality because due to the dual nature of mind, as soon as we say "relative" the concept "absolute" arises as its opposite and we apply it where it doesn´t apply, actually.

Asun said...

"... a high degree of confusion ...", sorry :)

Steven said...

Anonymous,
You said,  "But the interesting part is higher power doesn’t know that anything else apart from ‘him/that/her’ exists.It doesn’t know anything else. It is we who is saying something else exists."

Are there two alive beings? You and a higher power?

Steven said...

Anonymous,
I know what you are saying. The Supreme in Its own realm knows only its own Love, not objects.
But imo enlightenment is not just about an ability to experience a non-dual realm [nirvikalpa samadhi]. It also is an ability to experience non-duality as a tree, a watch, a phone, a bottle, a table. In other words you are not limited to the disappearance of the world.

Anonymous said...

So my experience is not the final state. But I experienced something that made me understand how great Bhagavan is. To answer your question, real power only knows itself. Even after it becomes something, it will still remain as itself. That ‘something’ exists only for our eyes. Hope I am clear. And that power has love,wisdom,intelligence etc. it is not ordinary lifeless energy or force. The attributes of the power and its knowingness never changes even after it becomes something. Why did ‘something’ get created? I felt some force in that power automatically enabled the creation/manifestation. So in my experience I realized that power to be the real controller, doer(effortless though) . But even my experience has flaws(My ego was still there). Bhagavan says there is no doer at all and everything happens automatically(does it happen? And for who does it happen?). In my case, i didn’t imagine any of my experiences. Something else took over in place of me. I didn’t have any control over anything at all. I think I was alternating between fear and that beautiful state and then finally fear won:).

I am so obsessed with my experience because it had tremendous effect on me. It is extremely important for all of us to be loving, kind, compassionate etc .. if we are not, more than being evil, i would say we are just being a big fool and if we don't realize the truth , we will keep imagine to be manifesting with no end at all..

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bob, regarding verse 84 of GVK, Bhagavan explains in Padamalai, p. 263, v. 5. ‘Manifestation of previously accumulated vasanas is creation. Destruction of vasanas is the end of creation’.

Bhagavan has made it clear that the world we see is nothing but our own thoughts, and the seeds which give rise to these thoughts are called vasanas. So this world is nothing but a manifestation of our own vasanas. However, which vasanas is to be projected when is decided by Bhagavan. So our prarabdha is nothing but the projection of our own vasanas. This verse 84 of GVK appears as follows in the book Guru Vachaka Kovai edited by David Godman:

In the same way that the wonderful scene that manifests in a fireworks display is already present in the [unlit] fireworks, all the gross and subtle scenes that manifest through the brain are already present within the Heart in the form of ancient tale of vasanas [mental habits and tendencies] that manifest in such a way that they can be seen externally. You should clearly understand this in your mind.

Anonymous said...

Except that one highest state, every other state/experience is a flawed state. I watch lots of NDE videos. They all say they reached home at death, but I can still see the desires alive in them.

Anonymous said...

From ur last 2 starements, I have question: if you are seeing tree as love and also a phone as just love(or that higher power/god) what in you is differentiating the two objects as separate objects, but still as love? The answer would be you as a person.. right?

Steven said...

Anonymous,
You said, "what in you is differentiating the two objects as separate objects, but still as love? The answer would be you as a person.. right?"

No. If a tree appears, there is just a tree. There is not a tree and a person. For example right this minute there is a spoon appearing to consciousness. There is no person seeing it. If there were a person, that would be imagination, not reality.

Look now yourself. Do you see for example a keyboard and a person, or just a keyboard?

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
what I wanted to express in my reply to Mouna was that talking about anything is plainly always only a matter of "relative level". Therefore there is no need to mention it particularly. In no way my remark was intended to give a report on absolute awareness.:-)
By the way, what do you mean by saying "...pure awareness is not the absolute level of mind or ego" ? Certainly one cannot start out from the assumption that mind or ego could belong to the field of absolute pure awareness.

Asun said...

“what I wanted to express in my reply to Mouna was that talking about anything is plainly always only a matter of "relative level".”

Anadi-ananta,

Yes, exactly.That´s how I understood it hence, my reflection on it. I fully agree.
Whish you a very happy New Year :)

Anonymous said...

Spoon can never appear to consciousness. If I see a spoon , it is me as a person seeing it and hence spoon is as imaginative as me as a person. If I as consciousness see a spoon I will see spoon also as consciousness in which case spoon would not exist at all, since consciousness knows only love.

I think this can be a never ending argument :). Right now we have to focus on just removing the ego and nothing else. God will take care of the rest.

Anonymous said...

Steven just googled the term LSD. How can you make arguments based on experiences of people who had LSD. It will definitely be flawed. I always doubted even my experience which came all of a sudden after severe headache. I will stop here. Only Bhagavan’s teachings have to be followed and understood and nothing else:)

Sanjay Lohia said...

The purpose for which we have come to this world is only to investigate and surrender ourself

I wrote the following email to Michael yesterday:

As you spoke in your latest video, Bhagavan once told Sri Sadhu Om: ‘attend to that for which you have come’. Bhagavan seemingly said so because Sri Sadhu Om was reluctant to eat his idlies, and apparently Bhagavan wanted him to eat his idlies, but Sri Sadhu Om later realised that this instruction had a much deeper meaning. How did Sri Sadhu Om interpret this message in his context? Did he change (or at least tried to change) his actions in his life after listing to this instruction thrice in quick succession from Bhagavan? I would love to know more about Sri Sadhu Om’s reaction to this instruction by Bhagavan.

His reply was as follows:

What is the purpose for which we have come to this world? It is only to investigate and surrender ourself, so when Bhagavan said three times, 'Attend to work for which you have come', Sadhu Om understood that he was telling him to focus on this one task alone. In other words, it added impetus to his efforts to investigate and surrender himself.

More than that I do not think we can say. Just as we cannot trace the path that a bird takes through the sky, we cannot trace the path by which a jiva returns to its source.

My reflections: So, as Michael says, the purpose for which we have come to this world is only to investigate and surrender ourself. As Bhagavan told Sri Sadhu Om: ‘Attend to work for which you have come’. However, we feel we have so many things to do in this world. All our desires and attachments imply that we have so many things to do in this world. However, we should try to impress upon ourselves that we have only one thing to do, and that is to turn within and find out ‘who am I?’ Such an understanding will also add impetus to our efforts to investigate and surrender ourself.

This ego is like the demon Ravana. Ravana could have done only one worthwhile thing: that is, he could have surrendered to Lord Ram and thus could have saved himself and his followers from complete destruction. Ravana was full of ego and full of all rajasik and tamasik qualities, and therefore his liberation was not possible without his surrendering himself and all his asuric qualities to the feet of Lord Ram.

Like Ravana, this ego is full of all rajasik and tamasik qualities, and therefore it can be liberated only if it decides to surrender itself to Bhagavan within. Ego cannot do anything worthwhile in this world because whatever it tries to do will only add to its fetters. So ego should forget everything and remember that its purpose of existence is not to exist. So it should investigate and surrender itself here and now.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Eventually, we must be willing to give up even the sattvika feelings of love and compassion

Sadhu Om implies that we usually worry about other people or what is happening in their world and our concern may be motivated by the sattvika qualities of love and compassion. However, such concern shows we still maintain satya-buddhi (sense of reality) towards this world. Eventually, we must be willing to give up even the sattvika feelings of love and compassion.

According to Bhagavan, this world exists only when it appears in our awareness, so other people seem to exist only when we think about them, so we create others only when they appear in our awareness. We should try to curb our concern for other people because our concern about anything other than ourself keeps our ego alive. What we need to do is to ignore everything else and be concerned about one only thing: who am I? Every other concern is an unnecessary distraction.

• Based on some extracts from the article: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention (part 32) by Sadhu Om (as recorded by Michael James). This article has appeared in the latest issue of the Mountain Path (January-March 2020)

Sanjay Lohia said...

A great power is working within us rectifying our defects

Sadhu Om says a great power is working within us rectifying our defects. The more we come to know of its workings, the more ego will yield itself to that, thereby withdrawing from activity and subsiding.

What is this great power? It is atma-shakti. We can give it any name we want. How does this power work? This power works simply by being within ourself. Though this power is immutable, it seems to work by its irresistible power of love. The more we attend to ourself, the more we will understand the ways of its workings.

• Based on some extracts from the article: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention (part 32) by Sadhu Om (as recorded by Michael James). This article has appeared in the latest issue of the Mountain Path (January-March 2020)

Steven said...

Why would Bhagavan say he was “asleep” to his body and mind when in the West we use the word “asleep” to mean “unconscious”?
Because Bhagavan had no sense that the word sleep means unconscious, while we in the West would say for example “he was asleep at the wheel” meaning unconscious of his driving.
Bhagavan said many times that awareness continues through sleep, dreams, and even deep sleep. Then why would he use that word “asleep?”

Because sleep has the association of effortless and ease and lack of stress. Your breathing goes on automatically, your dreams happen automatically, you even wake up automatically and without any effort on your part. So yes, for the sage it is as if his body and mind are asleep. That is to say everything is happening automatically and without effort, struggle, or resistance. Effortless, easy, smooth, without stress or concern is the life of a sage, much like the easiness and lack of concern during sleep.

Sanjay Lohia said...

The mind as such is a shadow, and light can never know a shadow

The mind as such is a shadow, and light can never know a shadow. However, though taken as a whole, the mind is a shadow, but actually, it is a mixture of light and shadow. The mind is chit-jada-granthi, a knot (granthi) formed by the seeming entanglement of awareness (chit) with a body, which is insentient (jada).

The chit element of the mind is pure awareness, which is never aware of anything other than itself, but it is what illumines the mind, enabling it to know both itself (the subject or perceiver) and everything else (the objects or phenomena). All the phenomena known by the mind are just shadows because they are jada. So they are not known by the clear light of pure awareness, but they are known by the mind because the mind is not a pure light but a mixture of light and shadow, chit and jada.

The mind is a mixture of light and shadow, and therefore when we turn within, we should try to focus our entire attention on the light part of our mind, ignoring the shadow. If we travel deeper and deeper within, all the shadows will disappear forever. Eventually, what will remain is light alone in all its splendour. That is our destination, but this destination is what we actually are. We just have to look at it completely ignoring everything else.

^ Based on some extracts from the article: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention (part 32) by Sadhu Om (as recorded by Michael James). This article has appeared in the latest issue of the Mountain Path (January-March 2020)

Steven said...

Anonymous,
If you are following Bhagavan’s teachings then in reality you are not following Bhagavan’s teachings.
Why?
Because Bhagavan’s teachings are a second person external source and truth is first person singular. So any following of another, even Bhagavan, rather than looking to your own first person experience is mistaken.
Paradoxical but true.

You can trust your own experience, logic and understanding and nothing else. No one else has any answer available that you don’t have right now.

Asun said...

"Based on some extracts from the article: The Paramount Importance of Self Attention (part 32) by Sadhu Om (as recorded by Michael James)." Sanjay.

Part 32? I have only 1 to 7. Is the rest available somehow, somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Asleep to ‘x’ simply means lack of awareness of ‘x’ :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, you ask, ‘Bhagavan said many times that awareness continues through sleep, dreams, and even deep sleep. Then why would he use that word “asleep?”’ Michael has already answered this in one of his recent comments addressed to you, in which he wrote:

That is, just as the various states of a cart are not experienced by a person who is sleeping in it, the various states of body and mind are not experienced by the jñāni, who is asleep to the appearance of body and world. This is why jñāna is sometimes described as the state of ‘waking sleep’, because the jñāni is awake to pure awareness (jñāna) and asleep to everything else. In other words, the jñāni is aware of nothing other than jñāna, which is what remains alone when ego is eradicated.

So though our awareness continues through sleep, dreams and deep sleep, the jnani is not aware of these transitory states. He is asleep to these states which seem to be real only to ego, and the jnani is without ego. We will find it extremely difficult to understand Bhagavan’s teachings if we don’t try to jettison all our old ideas and beliefs. Bhagavan is the ever-existing, ever-immutable reality, and this reality is ever divorced from all forms. So nor is Bhagavan any form, nor is he aware of any forms.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Ego is neither the real awareness nor is it the body; it is in between

A term Bhagavan often uses while referring to phenomena is ‘form’ (uru). For example, he says grasping form ego comes into existence. In the context of Bhagavan’s teachings, form means any phenomenon. This phenomenon may be seemingly physical or seemingly mental. All phenomena are forms, and the nature of awareness is to be devoid of forms. Forms are not aware.

Ego is the link between the forms and awareness, and that is why it is called chit-jada-granthi (awareness-form-knot). When awareness seemingly becomes entangled with form, this entanglement is called ego. So though ego is a form of awareness, it is not real awareness. Forms come into existence only when we rise as ego. We rise as ego by projecting a form and by taking that form to be itself.

So ego is neither this not that. Bhagavan says in verse 24 of Ulladu Narpadu that the jada body does not say ‘I’, and the real awareness, sat-chit, does not rise. But between these two rises one spurious entity ‘I’ to the measure of the body. So ego is a form of awareness, but its awareness is limited to a body.

So ego is neither the real awareness nor is it the body. Ego is in between. The use of the term 'in between' is metaphorical. For example, a newspaper story may be neither fully true nor totally false but somewhere in between. It means the story has some elements of truth and some elements of fiction, so it’s a mixture. So in this sense, ego is a mixture. It has taken elements of both the awareness and the form, so it is in between, but it is actually neither.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (01:16)

Anonymous said...

:) ok.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
in one of your recent comments you write as heading:
"The mind as such is a shadow, and light can never know a shadow".
However, the beginning sentence of the third paragraph is
"The mind is a mixture of light and shadow,...".
So what is mind actually ?

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
on 3 January 2020 at 19:14 and at 19:16 you wrote in reply to Salazar referring to the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:
"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."
Is it not said that ātma-svarūpa does anyway always shine ?
So when it is true that ātma-svarūpa always shines how then could the world ever appear at all ?

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
you can find all the series of Michael's articles "The Paramount Importance of Self Attention" in the Mountain Path, beginning with 2012 April-June. There is free download of all the Mountain Path old issues.
As you know Mountain Path is the quaterly journal of Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai.
Website: www.sriramanamaharshi.org
Quick Links
> Mountain Path
Click on Select the Year and Select Issue
You will find the Contents on the beginning of each issue.
Sadhu Om is mentioned as author.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
thanks for your good wishes for the year 2020.
I too wish you a very happy New Year :-)
Do you still plan a visit in Tiruvannamalai ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
regarding your recent comment "Ego is neither the real awareness nor is it the body; it is in between",
"So ego is neither this not that. Bhagavan says in verse 24 of Ulladu Narpadu that the jada body does not say ‘I’, and the real awareness, sat-chit, does not rise. [...]"
When I say 'I' who then is saying 'I' if not the body ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, according to my understanding, all the articles titled ‘The Paramount Importance of Self Attention’ are not available in one place. These articles are being serialised in the ashram magazine, the 'Mountain Path'. So, yes, if Michael decides to make all these articles available on his website, it will be useful to us.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, the mind or ego is what we seem to be, but we seem to be this mind or ego only in mind’s own ignorant view. So the mind is a semblance of awareness – cidabhasa – so it is not our real awareness. As this semblance of awareness, the mind is just a shadow. However, this shadow is a combination of chit and jada. So though as a whole, this chit-jada-granthi is not real because it is just an unreal shadow, but this shadow does contain an element of reality. This reality is the light, the awareness (the chit portion of chit-jada-granthi).

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, you ask, ‘When I say 'I' who then is saying 'I' if not the body?’ What says ‘I’ is this ‘in-between fellow’, which is ego. Neither our real awareness nor our body can say or do anything. So, all mischief is caused only by this ‘in-between fellow’, this ego.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thank you for the explanation about the distinguishing features of the 'mind' given in your reply.
So to which text would you now amend the mentioned heading of your yesterday's comment at 07:49 ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

We need to be fed up of science before we are ready for Bhagavan’s teachings

Obviously, science has its own place. We are having this exchange through the internet, so science has its place. We should also listen to science. That is, when scientists warn us about global warming, we shouldn’t continue to burn fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow. Science has its place in its own domain, so within this dream world, dream science is valid and useful. So we can respect science within its own domain.

However, though science can tell us all about the physical world, it can tell us nothing about the metaphysical world. Science is based on the assumption that phenomena exist independent of our perception of them, so science wants us to believe that this world is real. However, if this world is a dream, then science is of very little use to us.

If fact, our trust in science makes us ignore Bhagavan’s spiritual science. For example, we trust science and science created doctors, hospitals, medical procedures to cure us. However, we sadly do not trust proper diet, rest and fasting to cure us. If we fast and allow our own atmic-shakti to do its work, it can cure most of our diseases without any doctor’s intervention. So our trust in science has made us ignore our own inherent atmic-power.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (01:35)

anadi-ananta said...

section 2.,
verses 22 and 27 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:

"Explanatory paraphrase: Consider, except by turning [bending or folding] mati [the mind or intellect] back within [and thereby] completely immersing [embedding or fixing] it in pati [the Lord or God], who shines [as pure awareness] within that mind giving light [of awareness] to the mind, how to fathom [or investigate and know] God by the mind?"

"Explanatory paraphrase: The state in which one exists without ‘I’ [ego] rising is the state in which we exist as that [brahman, the ultimate reality and infinite whole, the nature of which is pure self-awareness, uncontaminated by the appearance of anything else]. Without investigating the place [namely one’s fundamental self-awareness] where [from which or in which] ‘I’ rises, how to reach [achieve or take refuge in] the annihilation of oneself [ego], [the state] in which ‘I’ does not rise?"

Yes, both these rhetorical questions are completley coherent.
However, that demands full confidence in unknown pati who seems to rule over me (as mati, a person) as the real subject vaguely in the background. To build up /establish the required confidence holds a risky venture. However there seems to be no reasonable alternative than to give up/entrust or resign one's fate or "chairmanship" to the unknown Lord.

Michael James said...

Sanjay, when you write comments based on what I have said in videos or elsewhere, I suggest that when you want to express your own ideas, you should clearly distinguish them from your paraphrases of what I said (although you often mix the two together in such a way that it would be difficult for you to indicate where the paraphrase ends and your ideas begin). Even I am sometimes confused reading such comments, thinking ‘Did I actually say that?’, because sometimes your paraphrases seem close to what I said but misrepresent what I meant. In other places it is clear to me that you are expressing your own ideas, but anyone who does not listen to the portion of whatever video you are referring to may assume that your ideas are what I said.

In your comment of 9 January 2020 at 08:32, for example, the final paragraph is entirely your own ideas and not anything I would say, but under it you wrote ‘Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (01:35)’. By doing so you completely misrepresented what I actually meant to say, which is that though science is useful within the context of our dream life in this dream world, we cannot drawn any reliable metaphysical inferences from science, because any such inferences would be based on an unjustifiable metaphysical assumption, namely that anything perceived exists independent of our perception of it.

Incidentally, trusting ‘proper diet, rest and fasting to cure us’ has absolutely nothing to do with Bhagavan’s spiritual science, unless the proper diet you refer to is self-attentiveness and the rest and fasting is abstaining from attending to anything else, because this is the only diet, rest and fasting that will cure us of ego, the root of all diseases. In this context we should bear in mind what Bhagavan warned us in verse 12 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu Anubandham:

இழிவுடல்யா னென்ன லிகந்திடுக வென்று
மொழிவிலின் பாந்தன்னை யோர்க — வழியு
முடலோம்ப லோடுதனை யோரவுனல் யாறு
கடக்கக் கராப்புணைகொண் டற்று.

iṙivuḍalyā ṉeṉṉa lihandiḍuga veṉḏṟu
moṙiviliṉ bāndaṉṉai yōrga — vaṙiyu
muḍalōmba lōḍudaṉai yōravuṉal yāṟu
kaḍakkak karāppuṇaigoṇ ḍaṟṟu
.

பதச்சேதம்: இழிவு உடல் ‘யான்’ என்னல் இகந்திடுக. என்றும் ஒழிவு இல் இன்பு ஆம் தன்னை ஓர்க. அழியும் உடல் ஓம்பல் ஓடு தனை ஓர உனல் யாறு கடக்க கரா புணை கொண்டு அற்று.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): iṙivu uḍal ‘yāṉ’ eṉṉal ihandiḍuga. eṉḏṟum oṙivu il iṉbu ām taṉṉai ōrga. aṙiyum uḍal ōmbal ōḍu taṉai ōra uṉal yāṟu kaḍakka karā puṇai koṇḍu aṟṟu.

English translation: Cease considering the wretched [base, deficient, defective or impure] body to be ‘I’. Investigate [or know] yourself, who are ever unceasing [or imperishable] bliss. Thinking [intending or trying] to know oneself while cherishing the perishable body is like grasping a crocodile [as] a raft to cross a river.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "What says ‘I’ is this ‘in-between fellow’, which is ego. Neither our real awareness nor our body can say or do anything."
Give it a try, at least and in the end the body's brain and tongue speak the word 'I' according the person's will .:-)

Anonymous said...

I am still reading path of Ramana pdf. It says: There is a feeling I that always exists. Body doesn’t speak that word. It is just a subtle feeling of existence that you can feel when you are idle. I can feel it all the time. You can feel it as ‘beingness’ or ‘arising’. I think if you feel the former you have to enquire ‘who am i’. In case of latter you have to ask ‘whence am i’ . The ultimate result is either that feeling will die or get dissolved into the actual Self. I kind of understand now. Try this when you are engrossed in doing something else or when you have thoughts arising: just step back and be in the existence feeling. Thoughts will disappear. If you get stressed out do the same thing when negative thoughts arise because of stress. Stress itself may disappear.

anadi-ananta said...

section 7.,
"Pure awareness, which is our real nature and what shines within us as 'I', is the gracious feet of guru, so clinging to that awareness is the means for us to remove the bondage called ego".
I am asking myself why I do not sense that pure awareness much more stronger in me.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I thank you for your comment. I am sorry because that final paragraph was indeed entirely based on my own ideas. So I will be careful in future: that is, in future, I will try to separate your ideas from my ideas by some sort of demarcation. However, please correct my ideas wherever you feel I have deviated from Bhagavan’s teachings. We should love to know the errors in our thinking because if it does not happen, how do we grow?

As you have beautifully put it, our correct diet is only self-attentiveness and our rest and fast is abstaining from attending to anything else, so I should not be overly concerned about my body’s proper diet, rest and fast.

Bhagavan’s verse 12 of Ulladu Narpadu Anubandham is another absolute gem. Its message is extremely relevant to me now. I will try to paraphrase its message for my own benefit. We are ever over-overflowing happiness, but we ignore attending to ourself and thus remain miserable. Instead, we live our lives foolishly attending to this wretched body and its unending need and greed. This body is full of filth and defects, but we cherish it as if it is our most prized possession. So as Bhagavan says: ‘Thinking [intending or trying] to know oneself while cherishing the imperishable body is like grasping a crocodile [as] a raft to cross a river’. So leave this body immediately, and attend only to yourself if you want to be safe and alive! This is the core message here.

I thank you once again for your comment. It was a powerful reminder to me to ignore my body and its unending concerns and to focus all my attention on investigating myself alone. I am blessed to receive such reminders.


Asun said...

Thank you, Sanjay, anadi-ananta.

Anadi-ananta,

No, the idea of visiting the ashram still arises occasionally but it is more a want than a necessity.
Michael has brought Ramana-Arunachala to us in a very genuine and substantial way with his talks and writings and, on the other hand, now I can reflect indistinctly on Bhagavan´s teachings and on Bhagavan himself when a reference point in time and space is required which, naturally, kindle love and wonder in heart. I don´t feel like an orphan anymore but rather like the prodigal daughter. Maybe the few days I spent in there so many years ago weren´t in vain but enough :)

Rajat said...

There is the beautiful analogy of the prey in the tiger's jaw that cannot ever escape now and will be devoured by the tiger. In Sri Ramanopadesa Noonmalai,explanatory note for verse 21, there is what seems to me to be a preamble to this analogy.
"Many scriptures speak of Self-realization and God-realisation as the goals which are to be attained by a spiritual aspirant. However, those who comment upon such scriptures often misunderstand and misinterpret these terms. For example, in Kaivalya Navanitham, 1.13, it is said, “If one sees oneself and God, who is the substratum of oneself, then that God having become oneself and (oneself) having become Brahman, one will put an end to birth….” Which is often misinterpreted to mean that one must first realize oneself, the individual soul, and then one must realize God, who is the substratum or underlying support of oneself.
To illustrate the import of this verse Sri Bhagavan used to tell the story of a man who wanted to see a tiger. After making enquiries among some villagers, the man was told that an old tiger lived in a certain cave in the nearby forest. Being very old, the tiger was unable to come out of the cave to hunt its prey, so it remained inside waiting for some prey to come of its own accord. After searching and finding the cave, the man peeped inside, but he was unable to see anything because it was so dark. His desire to see the tiger was so strong, however, that he gathered up his courage and entered the cave. But still he could not see anything inside. Little by little he proceeded further into the cave, but in the darkness he was unable to see the tiger. All of a sudden, when he had come very close to the tiger, it pounced and devoured him.
Just as the man never saw the tiger, so the individual self can never see or realize God, the real Self. But in its attempt to see God, who shines within it as the adjunctless consciousness ‘I am’, the individual self will become a prey to God. The means by which the individual can thus attempt to see God and thereby become a prey to him, is revealed by Sri Bhagavan in the next verse."
This adds some new meanings to the prey in the tiger's jaw analogy, in my opinion, firstly that the tiger does not come out of the cave but the prey has to walk in, secondly that the prey never even saw the tiger but was devoured nonetheless. This verse of Ulladu Narpadu seems to be a very beautiful one, although I don't understand it yet. That man must have been perfectly suicidal to have walked in to the cave to see the tiger!

Anonymous said...

Lol.. the last line is funny. Yes why else would someone enter the cave? I think that is the reason liberation is a rare occurrence. And good point about ego not capable of seeing self.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan gives us exactly the same teaching in verse 12 of Ulladu Narpadu and verse 27 of Upadesa Undiyar

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 12 of Ulladu Narpadu:

What is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is actually knowledge. That which knows is not real knowledge. Since one shines without another for knowing or for causing to know, oneself is knowledge. One is not void. Know.

Bhagavan teaches us in verse 27 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Only knowledge [or awareness] that is devoid of knowledge and ignorance is [real] knowledge [or awareness]. This is real, [because] there is not anything for knowing.

Michael has pointed this similarity in these verses in his latest video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (01:26). When Bhagavan says ‘What is devoid of knowledge (awareness) and ignorance is actually knowledge’, here Bhagavan is talking about knowledge (awareness) and ignorance of things other than ourself. This is such important teaching that Bhagavan repeats this message almost verbatim in verse 27 of Upadesa Undiyar.

Bhagavan adds in verse 27 of Upadesa Undiyar that ‘there is not anything for knowing', so in our real state, there is nothing to know. In pure awareness, there is nothing else for it to know. It is only in the view of ego that there is something to know.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, regarding your comment of 9 January 2020 at 10:14, in which you refer to verse 22 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu and say that it ‘demands full confidence in unknown pati who seems to rule over me (as mati, a person) as the real subject vaguely in the background’, Bhagavan says in this verse that pati (the Lord or God) is what ‘shines within that mind giving light to the mind’, thereby implying that it is the original light of awareness that shines within the mind as our fundamental awareness of our own existence, ‘I am’, and that it is what illumines the mind, thereby enabling it to know itself and all other things.

How could such a light, the light that enables you to know, be unknown to you? Saying it is unknown to us is like a person standing in broad daylight saying ‘I can see all these objects, but I can’t see any light’. Just as we can see physical objects only because they are illumined by physical light, we are aware of phenomena only because our mind is illumined by the light of awareness. When we see a physical object, such as a table, what we are actually seeing is the light reflected off that object. Likewise, when we perceive any phenomenon, whether seemingly physical or obviously mental, what we are actually perceiving is only a reflection of our own awareness.

Therefore what can be more clearly known to us than our own awareness? Whatever we may be aware of, we are aware of it only because we are aware, so awareness is the most obvious thing of all. Even when we are not aware of anything, as in sleep, we are still aware, because awareness is all that we actually are, so we never cease to be aware even for a moment.

The ‘I’ who says ‘I do not know God’ or ‘I do not know pati’ is itself the God or pati of which it is denying any knowledge. Once when Bhagavan was looking out of the window of the hall towards Arunachala, someone asked him, ‘Bhagavan, are you seeing God in Arunachala?’, to which he replied, ‘Who is ever seeing anything other than God?’ God is not only the very awareness by which everything is seen, but is also the reality of the ‘I’ who seeing.

We seem to be something other than God only because we do not look at ourself carefully enough. If we look at ourself carefully enough, we will see that we are only pure awareness, which is what God actually is, so then we will see as Bhagavan sees, namely that nothing other than God actually exists.

Even now, however, when we mistake ourself to be something other than God, he is the fundamental awareness that is always shining within us as ‘I’, illuminating our mind and thereby enabling us to know the appearance of all this bewildering multiplicity. Therefore there is never a moment when we do not know God (pati). Since we mistake ourself to be a body, we do not know him as he is, but we nevertheless know him more clearly than we know any other thing.

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

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to Anadi-ananta:

In two other comments, 8 January 2020 at 23:27 and 9 January 2020 at 10:41, you refer to the first sentence of verse 24 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, in which Bhagavan says, ‘சட உடல் நான் என்னாது’ (jaḍa uḍal nāṉ eṉṉādu), ‘The jaḍa [non-aware] body does not say I’, and you ask, ‘When I say ‘I’ who then is saying ‘I’ if not the body?’ and remark, ‘in the end the body’s brain and tongue speak the word ‘I’ according the person’s will’, so it seems you are taking these words of Bhagavan too literally. When he says, ‘The jaḍa body does not say I’, he is using the verb ‘say’ in a metaphorical sense, so he is not talking about the physical act of talking, nor about the desire and mental activity that cause the body to talk. What he means is simply that the body is not aware of itself as ‘I’, because it is not aware.

What is aware of the body as ‘I’ is not the body itself but only ego, as he implied in this verse by saying: ‘சட உடல் நான் என்னாது; சத்சித் உதியாது; உடல் அளவா நான் ஒன்று உதிக்கும் இடையில்’ (jaḍa uḍal nāṉ eṉṉādu; sat-cit udiyādu; iḍaiyil uḍal aḷavā nāṉ oṉḏṟu udikkum), ‘The non-aware body does not say I; being-awareness does not rise; in between one thing, I, rises as the extent of the body’. As he says in the next sentence, this one thing called ‘I’, which rises and experiences itself as being limited within the confines of a body, is what is called ego or mind, and as he implied in verse 22, within this ego God (pati) is shining as sat-cit, the fundamental awareness of being, ‘I am’, which is the original and infinite light, but which is reflected within ego as the finite adjunct-bound awareness ‘I am this body’, which is the reflected light by which ego is able to know both itself and all other things.

However, though the light of awareness by which we as ego are able to know all this multiplicity is just a reflection of our original light of pure awareness, within this reflected light the original light is always shining clearly as ‘I am’, so we never cease to be aware of the original light, even though we are now aware of it as if it were mixed with the appearance of adjuncts and other phenomena.

Salazar said...

Rajat, that analogy is truly quite beautiful.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Rajat, yes, the story that Bhagavan used to tell about a man who wanted to see the tiger is indeed apt and beautiful. You infer from this story that ‘firstly that the tiger does not come out of the cave but the prey has to walk in’. Yes, our true immutable self does not literally come out to receive us, but we as ego have to go in. This is true. We need to turn our entire attention within if we want to see the tiger (ourself as we actually are). However, though we have to walk into the cave, some heavenly smell seems to be emanating from this cave, and this smell compels us to go in to find the source of this irresistible smell. In other words, though we have to be willing to turn back within to face ourself alone, what inspires us to turn back within in the power of attraction of grace. This grace pulls us from within. So when we are turning within, we are in fact surrendering our will to the will of Bhagavan. So if we manage to turn back within, this victory is the victory of Bhagavan's love!

You also infer from this story that ‘secondly that the prey never even saw the tiger but was devoured nonetheless’. Yes, we as ego can never see ourself as we actually are. Ego has to surrender before it can see what it actually is. In other words, what sees what actually is is what actually is.

Sanjay Lohia said...

If Vedas says, ‘You are that’, then our immediate response should be ‘Oh, I am that, so what am I?’

Turning our attention back towards ourself, the source from where we have risen alone is the path of knowledge (jnana). Instead, thinking ‘I am not this body; I am that’ is an aid at the preliminary stages of our practice. But this is not the actual investigation. Bhagavan refers to this practice indirectly in four verses because people thought (or think even now) that the way to experience brahman is to be constantly meditating ‘I am not this body; I am brahman’ and so on. Bhagavan says such practices at best can merely be aids. This can remind us and encourage us to turn within, but it’s not the actual practice. Bhagavan teaches us in verse 29 of Ulladu Narpadu:

Not saying ‘I’ by mouth, investigating by an inward sinking mind where one rises as ‘I’ alone is the path of knowledge. Instead, thinking ‘not this, I am that’ is an aid; is it investigation?

‘Not saying ‘I’ by mouth’ implies not even thinking the word ‘I’ but inwardly investigating ‘from where do I rise as I?’ So this is the actual practice of jnana. Bhagavan also talks about this same practice in verse 32 of Ulladu Narpadu:

When the Vēdas proclaim ‘That is you’, instead of oneself being knowing oneself as ‘what?’, thinking ‘I am that, not this’ is due to non-existence of strength, because that alone is always seated as oneself.

If Vedas says, ‘You are that’, then our immediate response should be ‘Oh, I am that, so what am I?’ Our response should be ‘If I am that, I don’t have to be continuously thinking about God. In order to know God, I need to know what actually am I?’

We are seeking God or happiness outside ourself, but there is no God or happiness apart from us. We consider ourself to be very small and insignificant, whereas we consider God to be something very great. So we think that God is something other than ourself. But so long as we are looking for God outside ourself, our attention is turned away from ourself, towards whatever idea we have of God. However, that idea of God is not what God actually is. God is what we actually are.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (21:00)

My reflection: In verse 29 Bhagavan describes the practice of neti-neti as an aid to self-investigation, but in verse 32 he talks about this practice in more negative terms. In verse 32 he says that if someone practices neti-neti, this ‘is due to non-existence of strength, because that [brahman] alone is always seated as oneself’. Is Bhagavan contradicting himself through these two different viewpoints? Actually, neti-neti can be aid at preliminary stages of one’s practice, but if we continue doing it even after understanding Bhagavan’s teachings, this will clearly expose our ‘non-existence of strength’.

Aviveka is another term to describe ‘non-existence of strength’. We cannot know God by repeating the formula ‘I am God, I am God…’. We can know God by experiencing God as he really is. In other words, we can experience God by experiencing ourself as we actually are because we are one with God in our essential nature.


Sanjay Lohia said...

We need to be sceptical about everything in order to have faith in what Bhagavan taught us

Though as ego we can never be aware of pure awareness, we should try to be aware of pure awareness. However, as soon as ego sees itself as it actually is, it ceases to be ego. Bhagavan says in verse 16 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena], the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].

But how can the mind know its own form of light? As soon as the mind knows its own form of light, it ceases to be mind, and when the mind ceases to be mind, what remains is pure awareness. Bhagavan expresses these things in such a beautiful, nuanced and deep manner, but actually, it is very simple. We cannot grasp its simplicity because we are unwilling to let go of all our old beliefs.

So we need to be willing to give up all our old ideas and beliefs. Even after reading Bhagavan’s teachings, if we still think, ‘Oh, the world exists there. We were born on such-and-such a date’, then Bhagavan’s teachings are just a scribble on an already scribbled slate. So first we need to wipe out all these preconceived ideas and beliefs. However, in order to wipe them, we need to be willing to wipe them out. So long as we like all this scribble, we are not going to wipe them out. So willingness is necessary, and that willingness is the bhakti element.

We assume we are not dreaming now, but why should we assume so? In what way is our current state different from any of our other dreams? If we assume we are not dreaming, then we assume the existence of a world and so many things in this world. Why should we complicate things by assuming that this world I real?

So we need to be sceptical about everything, and then only we can have faith in Bhagavan’s teachings. People generally think faith and scepticism are opposed to each other, but in Bhagavan’s teachings, both are necessary. We need to be sceptical about everything in order to have faith in what Bhagavan taught us.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-04 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 36 (01:28)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Sir, I have just posted two comments based on the extracts taken from your latest video. In these comments, I have avoided inserting my own ideas. In the first of these two comments, I have typed my ideas separately under ‘My reflections’. I hope you will find these two comments in perfect accord with your views. Thank you.

Steven said...

Why would Bhagavan say he was asleep to the mind and body similar to the way a man in an ox cart is asleep on a journey and the ox and cart do all of the work?
Does this mean that Bhagavan is off absorbed in some cosmic plane and has no awareness of what his body and mind are doing? Does this mean his body and mind are like some sort of “Alexa” or “Siri” robot like device that can hear and respond but is actually devoid of awareness or consciousness of what is being said?
I don’t think so.
Then what does it mean?
It simply means that the sage is asleep to the “I am the body,” idea. Whereas the normal person believes “I am the body,” the sage has no awareness of being a body, or being a mind. That idea is gone, seen as false.
It doesn’t mean he has no awareness of a body. No, it means he has no awareness of being a body or mind.
Big difference.

Anonymous said...

If he has awareness of body, he has awareness of body as what? Hope my qn is clear. I can fully understand your comment. My exp. was very similar to what you have described. in my experience, i felt exactly like siri/radio. Forms were there, but all were made of that and functioning and shining with that. Basically we are all just energies at some level. I think at highest level body would get deduced to nothing.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, do you know why you cannot shake off your belief that Bhagavan had no awareness of his body? It is because you cannot shake off your belief that you can exist without the awareness of your body. So long as we are strongly attached to our bodies, we cannot but take Bhagavan to be another body. So if we want to know whether Bhagavan experienced himself as a body and mind, we need to investigate and experience ourself as we actually are. If we investigate ourself keenly enough, we will find that we are not the body and mind that we take ourself to be, and therefore we will also understand that Bhagavan was never that body and mind.

Michael has written on his website under the heading ‘About Michael James’ as follows:

Because he was truly never the physical form that he appeared to be, but has always been and will always be the infinite spirit, which is our own real self, Sri Ramana's guiding help or 'grace' can never be diminished in any way, and is therefore no less potent now than it was when he appeared to be living in a physical form. All the help and guidance that we will ever need in order to attain true self-knowledge are available to us outwardly in the form of the teachings of Sri Ramana, and inwardly as our own natural clarity of self-consciousness, which we always experience as 'I am' (the true form of both God and guru), so all we need do is to turn our attention selfwards in order to experience the true nature of this consciousness 'I am'.

So we need to practise Bhagavan’s path of self-investigation and self-surrender to the best of our ability. The more we practise these twin paths (which merge in the end), the more Bhagavan’s teachings will start becoming clearer to us. All our confusion arises due to our outward-facing gaze, so the way to end all confusion is to turn our gaze within. Truth and clarity exist only within, so we cannot escape untruth and confusion if we look outside.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
many thanks for your full explanations.
When you say "Since we mistake ourself to be a body, we do not know him as he is, but we nevertheless know him more clearly than we know any other thing." I am sure that my awareness does not fathom God clearly. Unfortunately my awareness seems to be so fully clouded and therefore I cannot verify at all what you tried to pass on to me.
Evidently I cannot look at myself carefully enough, because I don't see that I am only pure awareness. Sometimes I seem to be more unconscious than a stone.
The given example of a table "When we see a physical object, such as a table, what we are actually seeing is the light reflected off that object." is obviously the principle according to it photography functions. But that physical table one furthermore can touch and use it for putting any objects on it.
So I only can pray to Arunachala for regaining full consciousness to become able to comprehend Bhagavan's teaching and confirm it.

Asun said...

Sanjay,

You just have to put quotation marks in Michael´s words and his name at the end of the quote. You can write your reflection below.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, thank you for your advice.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
today at 07:48 you obviously wanted to write "Why should we complicate things by assuming that this world is (not "I") real?"

Asun said...

Steven,

One day, when Bhagavan was served more food than the rest, he refused it because, he said, he was eating through many mouths. To understand this claim of him we have to be familiarized with what he taught that there is only one ego which is the thought “I am”. When this thought rises, it projects names and forms (the world) and then mistakes “I” to be a body which is only one of the pictures that it has projected and sees the world and others outside and apart from “I”. This is maya and what Bhagavan was pointing out in order we to focus attention on this thought “I am” which is not only aware of “I am this body” ,and world as something apart from “I”, but also of itself as “I am” or self-awareness.
I guess this is what you mean by a “cosmic plane” but, as we can see, that´s also a limitation onto what is unlimited. Precisely, the primal limitation, the thought I am which, in turn, limits itself by identifying itself with a body inside a world.

Being aware of the no existence of something is not being aware of that something, how could it be? if I´m aware of the rope, I can´t be aware of or know the snake. Being aware of the rope means that I´m aware or know that there is not snake at all.
This not only means that Bhagavan had no awareness of being a body but that he had no awareness of a body at all either. Big difference.

When the idea of being a body goes, ego which is the first thought “I am”, also goes and no one or nothing to be aware of a body is left since ego is that which is aware of “I am this body” and what projects it, there is only beingness or pure awareness aware only of itself. We say “aware only of itself” to differentiate it from ego which is aware not only of itself but also of body and world, in order it to diferenciate itself, the seer, from the seen, but actually it is not aware of itself either because there is nothing apart from it for it to be aware of itself, it is just pure awareness or so called satchitananda. This is what Bhagavan, and ego when completely turned towards itself, really is.

Mouna said...

”Then what does it mean?”
It means the “sage” is a body-mind idea as the body-mind idea of ourselves, both of them ego (maya) projections and insentient.
At the phenomenal level ego is everything, at the real level there is only pure awareness.
If we see the snake we don’t see the rope and if we see the rope there is no snake, there are no half measures.
The rope is real.
The snake is unreal.
The rope is that snake when seen through the eyes of a separate and ignorant observer.

Anonymous said...

https://books.google.com/books?id=ZnY2CgAAQBAJ&pg=PT122&lpg=PT122&dq=radio+ramana+maharshi&source=bl&ots=BRcbX8SQHU&sig=ACfU3U0WKVJlINYIY9wwnB2xVK9VsUg9cA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjkjZL2sPnmAhUOn-AKHeE5BJ84ChDoATADegQICRAB#v=onepage&q=radio%20ramana%20maharshi&f=false

Steven

Not sure if you are able to access the above link. But the comments by Bhagavan in that book are in alignment with your understanding. Conclusion is: final state is a mysterious state and can be understood only by realized beings :)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, yes, I should have typed, ‘Why should we complicate things by assuming that this world is real?’ Thank you.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, yes, Bhagavan’s sense of equality and fairness was legendary. He would not eat anything until the eatables were shared equally with all those who were present.

You wrote, 'that there is only one ego which is the thought ''I am'''. According to Bhagavan, ego is our primal thought ‘I am this body’. Ego is also called the ‘thought call I’ or ‘I - thought’. So it is not appropriate to call ego as the thought ‘I am’. ‘I am’ refers to our true nature. The term ‘I am’ refers to the awareness of our fundamental existence. So the term ‘I am’ refers to what we actually are, and the term ‘I am this or that’ refers to our ego. When adjuncts are added to pure ‘I am’, this adjunct-bound ‘I’ is our ego.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asking ‘who am I?’ is a wise foolish question

A friend: A want to ask you a question, but it is silly.

Michael: All our questions are silly, but what is the silliest question of them all? ‘Who am I?’ Bhagavan says asking ‘who am I?’ or ‘where am I?’ is like a drunk person asking ‘who am I?' It is necessary to ask ‘who am I?’ but to find an answer to this question we need to investigate ‘who am I?’ However, when we investigate ourself deeply enough, we will find we always knew ourself perfectly well. So from that perspective, ‘who am I?’ is a foolish question.

All questions are foolish, but this is one foolish question which is really useful. In that sense, though it is a foolish question, it is a wise foolish question.

• Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to overcome fear of an existential void (1:16)

Steven said...

Sanjay,
I don’t know if you even read my previous comment. I just said Bhagavan did not take himself to be a body and did not experience himself as a body.

From “The Core Teachings of Ramana Maharshi”:


“Q: … For instance he [jnani] walks along. He see the path he is treading. Suppose there is a chair or table placed across that path; he sees it, avoids it and goes around. So, have we not to admit he see the world and the objects there, while of course he sees the Self?

RAMANA: For instance you see a reflection in the mirror and the mirror. You know the mirror to be the reality and the picture in it a mere reflection. Is it necessary that to see the mirror we should cease to see the reflection in it?”

Sanjay Lohia said...

We need to restrain the mind from going outwards, and that is the courage we require

The practice of atma-vichara requires singleness of mind, one-pointedness. It is not for fainthearted. Bhagavan often said one has to be a dhira (a courageous one) to proceed on this path, so we need courage. Bhagavan used to say one needs an intellect which is full of courage. According to Bhagavan, ‘dhi’ means ‘mind or intellect’ and ‘ra’ means ‘protected’. So dhira means restraining the mind.

So we need to restrain the mind from going outwards, and that is the courage we require. We need to rein in the mind or curb the mind - like we control the horse by the reins. And how do we do that? We do that by turning within more and more.

•Based on the video: 2019-09-28 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses how to overcome fear of an existential void (1:08)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, in my recent comment addressed to you, I wrote, ‘When adjuncts are added to pure ‘I am’, this adjunct-bound ‘I’ is our ego’. I made a significant error when I wrote, ‘our ego’. There is nothing as ‘our ego’. There is just ‘ego’. In fact, the term ‘our ego’ implies ego’s ego, and that is obviously absurd. We are ego when we identify ourself with a body, and ego is the base or cause of everything else. So no ‘our’ can come before ‘ego’. So Sanjay doesn’t have an ego. It is ego’s Sanjay.

Michael James said...

Steven, like a mother who gives different food to a baby and an older child to suit the respective digestive capacity of each of them, Bhagavan gave different levels of explanation to suit the maturity of each questioner and their consequent willingness to understand his deeper and more subtle teachings.

In the case of the question and answer you cite in your comment of 11 January 2020 at 08:21, the questioner clearly mistakes a body to be the jñāni, because he or she says, for example, ‘he sees it, avoids it and goes around’. What sees a chair or table, avoids it and goes around it is a body, so since the questioner mistakes that body to be the jñāni, Bhagavan answered accordingly. Therefore the analogy he gave about seeing both the mirror and the reflection was intended to satisfy the mentality of someone who believed that though the jñāni is aware of his real nature (ātma-svarūpa) he is also aware of himself as a body.

However, to more mature aspirants, who were willing to understand his deeper and more subtle teachings, he explained that any state in which we perceive phenomena is just a dream, and a dream is perceived only by the dreamer, namely ourself as ego. Therefore when we do not perceive it, as in sleep, this world does not exist. Moreover, though we see many people in this world and though they all seem to be aware of this word just as we are, this world is not actually perceived by any person but only by ourself, the dreamer. However, because we mistake ourself to be a person, we mistake every other person to be a perceiver, just like us.

While we are dreaming, all the people we see in our dream seem to be aware of the dream world, just as we are, but when we wake up we recognise that that entire world and all the people in it, including the person we seemed to be, were just our own mental fabrication. Therefore if our present state is just a dream, as Bhagavan says, this entire world and all the people in it, including the person we now seem to be, are just our own mental fabrication. Therefore whether we take a particular person to be a jñāni or an ajñāni, they seem to exist only in to view of our dreaming mind and therefore do not actually perceive anything.

This is what Bhagavan teaches us if we are willing to accept it, but if we are unwilling to accept it, then he gives us more superficial teachings to suit our present level of maturity. Therefore it is up to us to choose whether we want to accept his deeper teachings or prefer more superficial ones. If we want to go deep in the path of self-investigation and self-surrender that he taught us, we will be able to do so to the extent that we are willing to accept his deeper teachings, because unless we are willing to do so, we will not be able to free ourself from our desire for and attachment to the appearance of all the phenomena that constitute this or any other world that we may perceive.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, the question and Bhagavan’s answer you cite in your comment are supposedly taken from a book or a source called ‘The Core Teachings of Ramana Maharshi’. Ironically, the core of Bhagavan’s teachings is not clear in sources such as ‘The Core Teachings of Ramana Maharshi’. This core is found in Bhagavan’s original works such as Nan Ar?, Ulladu Narpadu, Upadesa Undiyar and so on. The conversational recordings of his teachings are not a very reliable source if we want to really understand his core teachings.

As Michael writes, ‘Therefore whether we take a particular person to be a jñāni or an ajñāni, they seem to exist only in to view of our dreaming mind and therefore do not actually perceive anything’. This is an extremely significant aspect of Bhagavan’s teachings. We were discussing whether the jnani perceives this world or not, but this is not that important. The main thing we need to consider is that whether anyone other than the one dreaming ego perceives anything or not. According to Bhagavan, only one ego perceives all these persons, and this one ego considers a few of these persons to be jnanis and all the other ajnanis. So this is Bhagavan’s real and deep teaching, and understanding this is important if we want to go deep into Bhagavan’s path.

Therefore, Bhagavan’s teachings keep the focus on this one ego. If we can solve this one problem of ego, all our other problems will automatically vanish. How is it important to us to know whether the jnani sees the tables and chairs like we do or not? What is important is that who is the one who perceives Bhagavan’s form and considers him to be a jnani? We need to focus all our attention on this one ego. So the only question which is really useful is ‘who am I?’

Michael writes, ‘like a mother who gives different food to a baby and an older child to suit the respective digestive capacity of each of them, Bhagavan gave different levels of explanation to suit the maturity of each questioner and their consequent willingness to understand his deeper and more subtle teachings’. Bhagavan is love itself, and this love is extremely accommodating. Bhagavan will not reject us just because we are unable to grasp his core teachings. In his reply which you quoted, he seems to imply, ‘You think that I perceive this world! So be it. My only concern is whether or not you are willing to surrender to me. If we are willing to do so and if you are trying to do so, whatever you think about me is inconsequential’.

Steven said...

Michael James,
Bhagavan said, "Is it necessary that to see the mirror we should cease to see the reflection in it?”

The reflection in the mirror means the ordinary world. The mirror means awareness.
Bhagavan asks, that to see the mirror [that all is awareness and nothing but awareness] do we have to stop seeing the reflection [the appearance of the world]?
His obvious answer is no, we can see both. One is seen as reality [awareness] the other is seen as an appearance.

So the world is seen as nothing but awareness and not as a world by the jnani, whereas it is seen as a world by the ajnani. But that doesn’t mean the jnani is unconscious of the world.
Are you unconscious of the world? Is there no consciousness that is reading these words?
And if the Bhagavan had no consciousness of a world like an alexa robot, why did he read a newspaper? Alexa robots will talk and respond to commands, but they will not entertain themselves with reading newspapers.

To try to mythologize sages as if they are not ordinary perhaps builds a seekers ego but it is not the sage who is extraordinary. It is the ego that is extraordinary. The sage just sees what is as what is.
The ego sees what is as what is not, ie. mistaking an appearance of a body as a being.

Asun said...

Steven,

Realizing that I am not a body nor a person but holding on to the body still is ego. To a sage it is indifferent if there is a body or not, they don´t see the difference. We are not mythologizing sages but you are limiting them to your own framework which is very common in westerns. You mistake ego when distilled to its essence which is self-awareness, with self. According to Bhagavan´s teachings it is when we can hold on to self-awareness that true self-investigation begins.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Steven, I agree with you when you say, ‘To try to mythologize sages as if they are not ordinary perhaps builds a seekers ego but it is not the sage who is extraordinary. It is the ego that is extraordinary. The sage just sees what is as what is’. Bhagavan acted just like an ordinary ‘person': that is, there was nothing extraordinary about Bhagavan. Of course, he was extremely kind and gracious to all those who came in his presence, but he didn't have any airs about him. If anything, Bhagavan was humbler than the humblest. So, as you rightly imply, we should not mythologize Bhagavan’s life in any way.

Someone once told Bhagavan something to the effect: ‘Bhagavan, your realization is unique in the history of the mankind’. Bhagavan was not pleased. He simply said, ‘There is nothing unique about me. What is unique in me in unique in you too’. So Bhagavan acted and behaved like a perfectly normal human being. He had no bheda-bhava (the idea that he is different from any of us).

As you say, ‘It is the ego that is extraordinary’. At least ego behaves as if it is something extraordinary. We see so many self-conceited egos dancing around us. But the question is ‘who sees all these other egos’? It is ‘I’ - this one ego. Whatever defects we see in others are merely a reflection of our own defects which lie deep within us. So if we investigate ourself and see that we are not this ego that we seem to be, we will also see that there were no other self-conceited egos dancing around us. We will clearly understand that what we perceived earlier (as so many egos) was just a projection of our self-conceited vasanas.

So we need to work only on ourself (the one ego) and not be concerned about other egos. Everything other than myself is part of my dream, and even the person I take to be myself is other than my real self (so Sanjay is also part of my dream).

Anonymous said...

Michael,

You have said:
Bhagavan gave different levels of explanation to suit the maturity of each questioner and their consequent willingness to understand his deeper and more subtle teachings’.

I was never fully convinced with this chain of thought. If Bhagavan saw only self, how can he differentiate between different maturity levels? I never understood this. If he did that, it means he saw egos.

Also I think understanding what end goal actually is, is also important for us to walk in the right direction.

Salazar said...

Steven, I believe Michael has already answered on 11 January 2020 at 09:48 why Bhagavan made that statement you have in bold letters.

It is geared to someone who mistakes the body to be the Jnani. And your comment on 11 January 2020 at 11:38 shows that you belong into the same category. The sage is not an object nor an entity, that body you see is your own projection. The sage reading a newspaper is your own projection.

It is really not happening and I consent, it is quite outrageous for most. We are so attached to the body in various subtle and not so subtle ways that it affects our understanding. A deeper non-conceptual understanding can only arise with vichara. The mind quickly reaches an abyss it can't cross.

anadi-ananta said...

Regarding Michael's recent reply to Steven,
"However, to more mature aspirants, who were willing to understand his deeper and more subtle teachings, he explained that any state in which we perceive phenomena is just a dream, and a dream is perceived only by the dreamer, namely ourself as ego. Therefore when we do not perceive it, as in sleep, this world does not exist. Moreover, though we see many people in this world and though they all seem to be aware of this wor(l)d just as we are, this world is not actually perceived by any person but only by ourself, the dreamer. However, because we mistake ourself to be a person, we mistake every other person to be a perceiver, just like us."
Such a statement can make only a sage.
Because I cannot verify that statement from my own experience I admittedly must join the queue of the most immature aspirants.
One can only hope that Bhagavan Ramana Arunachala loves even such backbencher like me and forgives me my sin of unripeness/immaturity.
In my immature view one cannot state with certainty that this world does not exist when we do not perceive it, as in sleep. Because I can only state that I perceive the world or not, I cannot have any evidence that the world does not exist in sleep. Nevertheless, in view of Bhagavan's extraordinary experieces I have to respect Bhagavan's insight as correct even when it does not coincide with my plain and modest experience. So at most I can take Bhagavan's remark for the time being as possibility. Of course I cannot transform myself in a jiffy/trice in the required state of ripeness.

"Therefore it is up to us to choose whether we want to accept his deeper teachings or prefer more superficial ones. If we want to go deep in the path of self-investigation and self-surrender that he taught us, we will be able to do so to the extent that we are willing to accept his deeper teachings, because unless we are willing to do so, we will not be able to free ourself from our desire for and attachment to the appearance of all the phenomena that constitute this or any other world that we may perceive."
Yes, but ripeness is not (only) a matter or act of will.
I certainly am willing to understand Bhagavan's deeper and more subtle teachings. Whether I would be able to understand them is however an other question. :-)

Anonymous said...

https://www.davidgodman.org/ulladu-narpadu-anubandham-verse-39/

Salazar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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