Monday, 20 January 2020

Why or how we have risen as ego is inexplicable, but Bhagavan does explain why and how we can cease rising

In my previous article, What does Bhagavan mean by the term ‘mind’?, I explained that the mind is essentially just ego, and in the third section, Mind (in the sense of ego) is the extraordinary power called māyā, which is a distorted reflection of the original power of awareness (cit-śakti), so it is what causes all phenomena to appear, I wrote:
All vāsanās and other phenomena derive their power only from ego, and ego derives its power from its being a form of awareness, albeit only a seeming form of awareness (cidābhāsa). Since awareness (cit) alone is what actually exists (sat), it is the original source of all power, and hence it is often described as cit-śakti, the power of awareness, or cit-para-śakti, the supreme power of awareness. Since ego is not pure awareness but just an adjunct-mixed form of awareness, it is not cit-śakti as such but a limited form of it, so it derives all its power from the original cit-śakti, which is always shining within it as ‘I am’. Therefore, since all phenomena and their seeds, namely viṣaya-vāsanās, seem to exist only within the limited awareness called ego, they derive their seeming power from its limited cit-śakti.
and:
Cit-śakti as such never does anything, because it is not only the power of awareness but also the power of being, since awareness (cit) and being (sat) are one and indivisible, so what is metaphorically called the play of cit-śakti is actually just the play of ego, which derives its seeming power from the real power that is cit-śakti. Instead of facing away from ourself and thereby playing this game of creation, sustenance and dissolution with ourself, if we as ego turn back to face ourself alone, we will see that we have always been nothing other than real awareness (uṇmai uṇarcci or sat-cit), which alone is cit-śakti and which never does anything whatsoever, but rests eternally and immutably as sat-cit-ānanda, the pure joy of just being aware of itself as just being.
In a comment on that article a friend called Asun wrote:
If I have not misunderstood, sat-chit is ourself and in sat-chit there is a power, chit-sakti, which is the source of ego as avarana sakti, self-forgetfuness or self-ignorance, and viksep sakti or projecting and perceiving multiplicity by identifying itself with a body.

In your book “Happiness and the art of being” you say that self-forgetfulness is our choice to misuse this power lying in ourself. I searched in google chit-sakti and I came across with this: “chit-shakti or awareness has the will to know its own power and strength. It is for this reason that the universe is manifest: because chit-sakti has the will to know itself and its power” which seems to fit with what you say in your book so, it is rather this will to arise as ego, which is only possible through self-forgetfulness, than ego itself which is just an imagination, what has to be surrendered, isn’t it? And it is surrendered because it is realized that to deploy this power only brings about misery or dissatisfaction. When this will or power is surrendered, it is swallowed by ourself hence, ego not to arise anymore.

Question is: isn’t it necessary chit-sakti to deploy its power in order to know its capacity, i.e., to become active, for it to subside? If it remains in a latent state, there is always the possibility that it to arise as ego being, in turn, the mere existence of this possibility the reason for it to arise, isn’t it?
In reply to this I wrote a comment saying:
Asun, regarding what you wrote in your comment of 17 January 2020 at 14:58, it is much simpler than that. Awareness (cit) and its power (śakti) are one and indivisible, so sat-cit itself is cit-śakti. They are not two separate things, or even one thing in another. In its pristine state it is not a power of doing but only a power of being, because awareness (cit) is being (sat), so it never does anything or chooses anything. It is infinite, eternal and immutable, and since it alone is what actually exists, it is not touched or affected by anything else.

All choosing and doing is done only by ego, which borrows its seeming power from cit-śakti, but without affecting cit-śakti in any way, because cit-śakti alone is real, whereas ego is just an illusory appearance, and it appears only in its own view and not in the clear view of cit-śakti.

Who is self-forgetful? Who has a will to rise as ego? Our real nature (ātma-svarūpa) has never and can never forget itself, and consequently it never has a will to do anything other than just be, because it is sat-cit-ānanda, so it is immutable and eternally satisfied as it is. It is only as ego that we forget ourself and consequently desire to rise, stand and flourish as such.

I do not remember what I wrote in Happiness and the Art of Being, but if I wrote that ‘self-forgetfulness is our choice to misuse this power lying in ourself’, as you say, or something to that effect, what I meant is that it is ego’s choice, not the choice of our real nature. The reason it is necessary to say this is that we as ego must accept responsibility for our own self-ignorance and for consequently creating all phenomena. We are self-ignorant (or self-forgetful) and all phenomena appear in our view only because we do not attend to ourself keenly enough, and we do not attend to ourself keenly enough only because we have chosen to project and attend to other things instead.

We cannot blame God or cit-śakti or anything else for the mess we are in. This is all entirely our own making. We as ego are the dreamer, so we are responsible for all that we are dreaming. We may seem to be helpless, because we now mistake ourself to be a person in our dream, but we are always free to attend only to ourself and thereby stop dreaming. If we attend to ourself keenly enough, we will see that we are just pure awareness, so we have never risen as ego or consequently dreamt anything.

As I said above, cit-śakti is nothing other than sat-cit, which is our real nature, so it always knows itself as it is, and hence it is absurd to say that it ‘has the will to know its own power and strength. It is for this reason that the universe is manifest: because chit-sakti has the will to know itself and its power’, as you read somewhere on the internet. This is no doubt what some people believe, but it is quite contrary to what Bhagavan taught us.

Whatever we may learn about cit-śakti by googling the word is only what people believe about it, and there are of course many different beliefs that people have about it. However, most of the things that we formerly believed or were taught to believe will be demolished if we carefully consider and are willing to accept all that Bhagavan taught us. According to him the root cause of everything is only ego, so there is absolutely no cause antecedent to ego. Therefore all we need to surrender is ourself as ego, because when ego is surrendered its will and everything else will be surrendered along with it. And to surrender ourself, all we need do is attend to ourself keenly enough.

It is so simple. What is lacking at present is only our willingness to attend to ourself keenly enough and thereby surrender ourself entirely. However, if we patiently persevere in trying to be self-attentive as much as possible, we will gain the required willingness (bhakti) and will thereby eventually succeed in surrendering ourself entirely.
Asun replied to this in one of her subsequent comments:
Sorry, this is the paragraph I wanted to copy, previous to the first one I posted with your explanation that ‘self-forgetfulness’ “occurs only by our own choice — by our own misuse of our unlimited freedom and power”, where you clearly claim that self-forgetfulness is the necessary premise for us to arise as ego or to “be able to imagine ourself to be one body”:
if we had not forgotten the true nature of our real self, which always exists as our adjunct-free consciousness ‘I am’, we would not be able to imagine ourself to be anything other than that. That is, we would not be able to imagine ourself to be one body in the waking state, to be another body in dream, and to be ‘unconscious’ in sleep. Thus the fundamental sleep that underlies all our dreams, including the present dream that we now mistake to be our waking state, is our sleep of self-forgetfulness — the sleep in which we have forgotten our real self, the true nature of our essential consciousness ‘I am’.
When I asked you, before reading your book, if you still agreed with what you wrote in it, you told me that mostly yes, that perhaps now you would say a few things in a different way, but regarding this issue, what you say now is not what you wrote said in a different way, it is something completely different, isn’t it?
In reply to this I wrote another comment:
Asun, regarding the passage from the sixth chapter of Happiness and the Art of Being, True Knowledge and False Knowledge, that you refer to in your comment of 18 January 2020 at 13:13, the way I explained things in those days is not quite the same as I would now, but I do not think that what I wrote in that passage is ‘something completely different’ (in the sense of contradictory) to what I wrote in my reply to you yesterday, particularly if you read that passage in the context of what else I wrote about self-forgetfulness in that chapter. For example, in the later passage from the same chapter that you quoted in your comment of 17 January 2020 at 21:00 I wrote that “we are in reality only our fundamental self-consciousness ‘I am’, which can never forget its own true nature”, and in the paragraph before that I wrote, ‘Such is the inexplicable and illusory nature of māyā that though our self-forgetfulness is the original cause that created the spurious and unreal consciousness we call our mind, it nevertheless does not exist except in the view of this unreal consciousness that it has created’, thereby implying that what has forgotten our real nature is not our real nature but only the unreal consciousness called ego or mind.

What I wrote about self-forgetfulness in that chapter may seem to contradict what I replied to you yesterday only if we mistake self-forgetfulness to be anything other than ego, which it is not. Self-forgetfulness is the very nature of ego, because without being self-forgetful ego could not come into existence or endure, so in effect ‘self-forgetfulness’ is another name for ego.

In advaita prior to Bhagavan it was generally said that avidyā (meaning ignorance in the sense of self-ignorance) is the root cause of all our problems, so as I explained in There is not just one but many different and often conflicting traditional interpretations of advaita and the writings of Sankara, after Sankara there was a major dispute among his followers about whether the āśraya of avidyā (the thing in which avidyā inheres) is brahman or jīva. The vivaraṇa school argued that brahman must be the āśraya of avidyā, because jīvas appear as a result of avidyā, whereas the bhāmatī school argued that the jīva must be the āśraya of avidyā, because brahman cannot be affected by ignorance. When Bhagavan was asked about this he pointed out that the dispute arose because they mistook avidyā to be something other than jīva, whereas in fact avidyā is the very nature of jīva (which is another way of saying that self-forgetfulness is the very nature of ego), so without jīva (ego) there could be no such thing as avidyā (self-forgetfulness).
Asun then replied to this in her comment of 18 January 2020 at 17:55:
What you say now that ourself:
[In] its pristine state it is not a power of doing but only a power of being, because awareness (cit) is being (sat), so it never does anything or chooses anything. It is infinite, eternal and immutable, and since it alone is what actually exists, it is not touched or affected by anything else.
And what you wrote in your book that:
other than ourself there is no power that could make us forget our real self or even seemingly forget it. Hence it must be only by our own freedom of choice that we have seemingly forgotten our real self. Because we ourself are perfect freedom, we are free to be whatever we choose to be, and to do whatever we choose to do.
As well as all what follows and I posted already, is completely contradictory. Not to talk about the term “self-forgetfulness” you use many times in the book and now discard by asking “who is self-forgetful?” implying that there is not such a thing as self-forgetfulness since it implies, obviously, that it is ourself what chooses to forget itself, the primal form of maya as you define it, which would give rise to the secondary form of maya or what we call ego “I am this body”, as you clearly say and explain in the book, unless I’ve gone definitely mad.

In your latest response now you also say that self-forgetfulness “is the very nature of ego, because without being self-forgetful ego could not come into existence or endure, so in effect ‘self-forgetfulness’ is another name for ego.” But if self-forgetfulness is not the choice of ourself and the ego’s rising its consequence or manifestation, so to speak, it is me who ask now what you asked before “who is self-forgetful?”

I find the whole thing quite confusing and contradictory, to be frank.
The rest of this article is my reply to this comment:
  1. The sole aim of all of Bhagavan’s teachings is to show us why and how we should get rid of ego
  2. Our rising and our desire to rise seem to occur only in the self-deluded view of ourself as ego
  3. As ego we need to accept full culpability for having risen, and consequently full responsibility for ceasing to rise
  4. Rising as ego is a misuse of our infinite freedom, so it is only as ego that we have misused it
  5. Whatever is said about ego is not intended to be an adequate explanation of its seeming existence but just a pointer showing us how to get rid of it
1. The sole aim of all of Bhagavan’s teachings is to show us why and how we should get rid of ego

Asun, regarding what you write in your comment of 18 January 2020 at 17:55, this is why māyā is said to be anirvacanīya: indescribable or inexplicable. Ego is māyā, and as Bhagavan often said, māyā means ‘what does not exist’, so we cannot explain the existence of ego because it does not exist. This is the ultimate truth, which is called ajāta, because it is the truth that neither ego nor any of its progeny (namely all phenomena) have ever been born, come into existence or appeared.

Even if we come down to the level of vivarta (illusory appearance) by conceding that ego and its progeny do seem to exist, even though they do not actually exist, ego is still anirvacanīya in the sense that we cannot explain why or how it has come into existence, because it is the first cause, the cause of all other causes, so there can be no cause antecedent to it. However, like many ancient texts of advaita, Bhagavan sometimes seems to attribute the rising and existence of ego to some cause, such as avidyā or self-forgetfulness, so we need to consider carefully and understand why they do so.

For example, Bhagavan often said that ego exists because of pramāda (negligence, in the sense of self-negligence) or avicāra (non-investigation, in the sense of non-self-investigation), but this obviously does not mean that pramāda or avicāra exist prior to ego and cause it to come into existence, because what is self-negligent and therefore not investigating or attending to itself is only ego. What he means is that pramāda or avicāra is the very nature of ego, so in order to eradicate ego we need to eradicate pramāda and avicāra, which we can do only by being keenly self-attentive. Therefore the reason why he said that ego exists because of pramāda or avicāra is not to explain how ego came into existence but to imply how we can bring our seeming existence as ego to an end.

The same is the case when it is said that ego exists because of avidyā or self-forgetfulness. In effect pramāda, avicāra, avidyā and self-forgetfulness are all synonymous, because they all imply the opposite of self-attentiveness. Like pramāda and avicāra, avidyā or self-forgetfulness are the very nature of ego, and none of them exist independent of ego, so in order to get rid of ego all we need do is get rid of its pramāda, avicāra, avidyā or self-forgetfulness, which we can do only by being keenly self-attentive.

This is why correct understanding cannot come from mere śravaṇa (hearing or reading) alone. In order to understand correctly whatever we hear or read, we need to consider it very carefully and deeply. This is what is called manana, which involves not only recognising the basic principles of the teachings and making connections between them but also understanding the aim of each of them. The sole aim of all of Bhagavan’s teachings is to show us why and how we should get rid of ego, so whenever he seems to give a cause for the rising or existence of ego, his aim is not to explain its inexplicable (anirvacanīya) rising or existence, but only to explain its nature and thereby indicate how to put an end to its rising and existence.

2. Our rising and our desire to rise seem to occur only in the self-deluded view of ourself as ego

Regarding what I wrote about self-forgetfulness being our own choice, the aim is the same. This is something that is generally not emphasised enough, but Sadhu Om explained it very clearly in the opening pages of the Karma chapter in the supplement (second part) to The Path of Sri Ramana. As Bhagavan often used to say, bhakti (love) is the mother of jñāna (our natural state of pure awareness), and it is equally true to say that desire is the mother of ajñāna. This does not mean that desire exists prior to ajñāna, but that desire is what nourishes and sustains ajñāna. Like ajñāna, desire is the very nature of ego, so they both come into existence along with it and will remain until it is eradicated.

As Bhagavan says in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்’ (uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum), ‘Grasping form it comes into existence; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows abundantly’, so grasping things other than itself is the very nature of ego. Therefore, since grasping is driven by desire, desire is likewise the very nature of ego. This is why we need to understand that our rising and standing as ego is the result of our own desire.

This does not mean that desire precedes our rising, because what desires anything is only ego, but it does mean that our rising is driven by our desire to do so. Since nothing (except our real nature) exists prior to our rising as ego, there is nothing other than ourself (in the sense of ego) that could make us desire to rise, so rising is our own choice, and we will continue to rise and stand as ego so long as we desire to do so.

Our rising and our desiring to rise are one and the same thing. We could not rise without wanting to rise, and we could not want to rise without rising. Rising is a misuse of our will, so it would not be correct to say either that the misuse of our will (namely wanting to rise) must occur before we rise or that our rising must occur before we misuse our will, because they are inseparable, being not two things but just one.

What rises and wants to rise is only ourself as ego and not ourself as we actually are. When Bhagavan says in the second sentence of verse 24 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu, ‘சத்சித் உதியாது’ (sat-cit udiyādu), ‘sat-cit does not rise’, he implies not only that our real nature, which is being-awareness (sat-cit), never rises but also that it never wants (chooses or decides) to rise, firstly because if it wanted to rise (which it never would want) it certainly would rise, and secondly because wanting, choosing or deciding is itself a rising. As we actually are, we are completely devoid of any kind of rising whatsoever. We neither rise nor want to rise, because our nature is just being and loving to be.

What we actually are is just being-awareness (sat-cit), which never rises. What rises and wants, chooses or decides to rise is only the rising awareness called ego. Even when we rise as ego, we remain as we always actually are, so our rising or wanting to rise does not in any way affect our being. Our rising and wanting to rise are merely an illusory appearance (vivarta), so just as the illusory appearance of a snake does not in any way affect the rope, the illusory appearance of ourself as ego does not in any way affect ourself as we actually are. In the clear view of ourself as we actually are we never rise or even want to rise, so our rising and our desire to rise seem to occur only in the self-deluded view of ourself as ego.

3. As ego we need to accept full culpability for having risen, and consequently full responsibility for ceasing to rise

Why is it important to understand this? Because we cannot get rid of ego without giving up our desire for anything other than just to be as we actually are. Our desire for rising (and consequently for other things) is the nature of ourself as ego, not the nature of ourself as we actually are, so to be aware of ourself as we actually are and thereby to cease rising as ego we must surrender all our desires except the desire (love) to be just as we are.

That is, we will be able to turn our entire attention within to face ourself alone only when we are willing to give up our desire for rising and standing as ego. Bhagavan, who is the love that we as we actually are have for ourself as be actually are, is giving us all the help we require, not by doing anything but just by being as he actually is, but as ego we need to play our own part in this process by being willing to turn within and thereby surrender our desire for anything other than just being as we actually are.

Therefore we need to accept full responsibility for investigating and surrendering ourself, and we will be willing to accept that responsibility only when we recognise clearly that we alone are responsible for having risen as ego. We have risen as ego because we wanted to do so, and we are standing as ego because we still want to do so, so we will be able to put an end to our rising and standing only when we are wholeheartedly willing to do so. It is all entirely up to us, because there is nothing other than us that could have made us want to rise as ego, and there is nothing other than us that could make us want to cease rising as ego.

In order to cease rising as ego ever again we need to cease grasping any other thing by firmly grasping ourself alone, and when we do so we will discover that we are just pure awareness, infinite love and perfect happiness, and that we have never been anything other than that, so we have never actually risen as ego at all. However, until we discover this, we seem to have risen as ego, so as ego we need to accept full culpability for having done so, and consequently full responsibility for ceasing to do so.

4. Rising as ego is a misuse of our infinite freedom, so it is only as ego that we have misused it

From your various comments on my previous article, it seems that what you found most confusing in the sixth chapter of Happiness and the Art of Being and what you think is contradicted by what I have written more recently is what I wrote there about our unlimited freedom and misuse of it, so I searched for the word ‘freedom’ in the HTML copy of that chapter and read that portion again. If I were to rewrite it now, I would explain quite differently what I was trying to explain there, because I wrote that about fifteen years ago, and since then not only has my understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings become deeper and clearer but my ability to express my understanding has been considerably refined. In particular I noticed one sentence in that portion that may have confused you, namely ‘When we, as the absolute reality, seemingly choose to misuse our unlimited freedom and power to forget our real self and thereby to imagine ourself to be a finite individual, our power assumes the unreal form of māyā’. This is not entirely incorrect, because I qualified the verb ‘choose’ with the adverb ‘seemingly’, but it is phrased in a rather clumsy manner, so it could easily be misconstrued if this adverb were overlooked.

This is a very deep and subtle aspect of Bhagavan’s teachings, so it needs to be explained in a suitably nuanced manner, and unfortunately at that time I explained it too clumsily, so I will now try to clarify what I was attempting to explain in that portion. As I explained there, since we alone are what actually exists, there is nothing other than ourself that could limit our freedom in any way, so unlimited freedom is our real nature. Even when we rise and stand as ego, we do not cease to be infinitely free, because we can never cease to be what we actually are, so whatever limitations we seem to have imposed upon our freedom by rising as ego are not real but just an illusory appearance. Therefore even though our freedom now seems to be severely limited, we are actually always perfectly free.

As we actually are, we never misuse our infinite freedom, because we could never have any reason to do so. Why is this so? Firstly, what we actually are is not only infinite happiness but also infinite love for happiness, so we would never do anything to mar our own happiness. Secondly, we are also pure awareness, which is perfectly clear, so as such we know that happiness lies only in being, so we would never forsake our natural state of just being. Thirdly, true freedom lies only in just being, because if we were to misuse our infinite freedom to rise or do anything, we would thereby impose seeming limitations on our freedom and thus we would in effect (even though not actually) cease to be infinitely free, and hence since we as we actually are can never cease to be what we actually are, we would never forsake our infinite freedom by misusing it in any way. Therefore the only way in which we as we actually are ever use our infinite freedom is just to be as we actually are, because this is the only wise use we could even make of it.

Therefore in the clear view of our real nature (ātma-svarūpa or brahman), which is ourself as we actually are, we have never misused our infinite freedom in any way, because we always remain as we actually are. Hence it is only in the self-ignorant view of ourself as ego that we seem to have misused our infinite freedom by rising. Just as our rising is not real, our misusing our freedom is not real. However, in order to be clearly aware of the truth that we have never either misused our freedom or risen, we need to investigate ourself so keenly that we see ourself as we actually are.

Therefore when we talk about rising or misusing our freedom, we are talking only about ego, because it is only as ego that we seem to have misused our freedom and to have risen. Just as our rising and our desiring to rise are one and the same thing, as I explained above in the second section, our rising and our misusing our freedom are one and the same thing. We can say that we misuse our freedom by rising, or that we rise by misusing our freedom, but either of these statements would be like saying that we breath by drawing air into our lungs, because rising is by definition a misuse of our freedom, and misusing our freedom is by definition a rising, so we cannot separate one from the other.

Therefore it is only as ego that we are guilty of having misused our infinite freedom. As we actually are, we always use our freedom just to be as we actually are, and therefore we are never guilty of having misused it. Our very rising as ego is a misuse of our freedom, so the misuse occurs only when we rise, and the misuser is only ourself as ego.

So what practical benefit can we derive from understanding this? Firstly it is important that we understand that whatever limitations now seem to be imposed on our freedom are not real, because we are always infinitely free, since there is nothing other than ourself that could limit our freedom. Therefore even when we have risen and are standing as ego, we are infinitely free, so if we want to be as we actually are, there is nothing other than ourself that could prevent us being so. What seems to prevent us being so is only our own desires for things other than ourself. Therefore if we were willing to give up all our desires for anything other than being as we actually are, we would be so even now, at this very moment.

As I explained in the previous section, we need to accept full responsibility for investigating and surrendering ourself, and we will be willing to accept that responsibility only when we recognise clearly that we alone are responsible for having risen as ego. We have risen as ego by misusing our infinite freedom, and we are standing as ego by continuing to misuse it, so in order to cease rising and standing we need to use our freedom correctly by attending only to ourself and thereby being as we always actually are.

5. Whatever is said about ego is not intended to be an adequate explanation of its seeming existence but just a pointer showing us how to get rid of it

You end your comment of 18 January 2020 at 17:55 saying, ‘I find the whole thing quite confusing and contradictory, to be frank’. Whatever teachings have been given to us by Bhagavan were given for a purpose, and if we do not understand the purpose or aim of any particular teaching it may seem confusing, but we should not worry about that. Whatever is not clear now will become clear in due course, so if something is not clear to us, we should just leave it for the time being and follow whatever is clear to us.

Whatever may be said about ego will inevitably contain seeming contradictions, because ego is māyā and hence anirvacanīya. It cannot be adequately explained because it is by nature a contradiction, as shown, for example, by the fact that it is cit-jaḍa-granthi, a conflated mixture of what is aware, which alone actually exists, and what is not aware, which does not exist at all except in the view of ego itself. What can be more contradictory and confusing than this? Confusion is its very nature, so however we may try to explain it, it will always remain a confused self-contradiction. Therefore whatever is said about it is not intended to be an adequate explanation of its seeming existence but just a pointer showing us how to get rid of it.

21 comments:

Asun said...

Thank you, Michael.

Yes, I could understand or see by myself what you say in paragraph 1 because of your article “Ego seems to exist only when we look elsewhere, away from ourself”. I was looking for a response to the questions how and why ego rises and I found out what the very title says, that it seems to exist only when we look elsewhere. That was more than enough, not only to turn attention towards myself but also for the questions to drop off by themselves , also because all concern about wanting to know vanished.

Paragraph 2 is perfectly clear, nothing to say.

Paragraph 3 is interesting. I´ve been thinking on it and there is something quite comfortable in the idea of ourself choosing to rise as ego out of its power and freedom, kind of relief which is the danger about it, but I discarded it quickly because it implies that ourself is ego which is not the case, moreover, this clarification is one the most significant Bhagavan´s contributions. I think this is why I was so surprised that you said that in your book and I have insisted on it, to make sure that I wasn´t missing something. I appreciate you, in turn, to insist on our responsibility for having risen as ego :)

Regarding to paragraph 4, yes, I was aware you qualified the verb “choose” with the adverb “seemingly” but I overlooked the adverb intentionally because we read as ego and I use to take the adverb in this context mostly as a matter of etiquette, so to speak.

Yes, true freedom is being. Regarding to what I found so confusing and contradictory, you perfectly express it now and say it all at the end of this paragraph:

” Firstly it is important that we understand that whatever limitations now seem to be imposed on our freedom are not real, because we are always infinitely free, since there is nothing other than ourself that could limit our freedom. Therefore even when we have risen and are standing as ego, we are infinitely free, so if we want to be as we actually are, there is nothing other than ourself that could prevent us being so. What seems to prevent us being so is only our own desires for things other than ourself. Therefore if we were willing to give up all our desires for anything other than being as we actually are, we would be so even now, at this very moment.”

Much better, the meaning of the word “ourself” perfectly suits with the two different contexts. It doesn´t contradict anything you´ve been writing and saying and, at the same time, we can see how closely entangled is ego with ourself , without confusion. Hope not to sound arrogant, it was the only thing in the reading that “creaked”. I very much appreciate your explanation on it afresh, indeed.

Regarding to paragraph 5 and cit-grada-granthi, there was something in the way you explained it in your latest talk at RMFUK, when you said that ego is the knot tying two parts, don´t know, when looking at it as the knot itself, I almost got it but not, I didn´t. Yet, I´m starting to think as Bhagavan: we give too much importance to this body.

“whatever is said about it is not intended to be an adequate explanation of its seeming existence but just a pointer showing us how to get rid of it.”

This I get it :)

anadi-ananta said...

Catholic church:
„Confiteor […] quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, opere et omissione:
mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa […]“.
So we must have a guilty conscience and apologize to the highest power for our misuse. But could one who has obviously not prevented us from wrongdoing ever forgive us our guilt ? What will be our fate when it proves that our impudent injustice/sin is inexcusable/unpardonable ?

Sanjay Lohia said...

Only Bhagavan is serious about dissolving this world

'Bubba the Self' has left the following comment under Michael’s latest YouTube video:

For a year I was attending a Shankara (Dayananda “lineage”) based Bhagavad Gita Vedanta study group that firmly believed there is an outside world separate from our perception of it, and suggested that any form of solipsism is dangerous and that any idea that “the world is a problem” is also dangerous. They supported the idea of a jivanmukta who falls in love with the world (of form), sees no problem with it, and starts teaching others (the guru worshipping model). But such gurus have no interest in leaving this world- their intentions are ultimately egoic, and that is the dead end that one finds in almost any avenue in this world- all ultimately dead ends of the ego and with no happiness there. This Vedanta group supported the idea that a god out there called Brahma and Ishwara who created and sustained the universe who comes from Brahman and ultimately is not separate from you, but the only thing you need to do to realize this is to keep analyzing through books, rational inquiry with others, Satsang, pooja, study groups and lots of guru discussion sessions. Talking, talking, talking (when the real truth is in silence). This complex philosophy approach fosters a kind of “social spirituality” where people love to get together, dress up, have a nice potluck, do some prayers and rituals where some can show off their Sanskrit prowess, argue and debate some good points, feel good that one is so well versed in these Hindu teachings, and finally go home to yet another feeling of dissatisfied existence in this world. This is all a dead end. I’ve realized this now. Almost every spiritual path I take in this dream is just a dead end, because ultimately no one wants to end this dream. They want to continue it at all costs, and will disguise as a spiritual pursuit just to mislead us into these half truths and the wrong way. The only person in spirituality who is clearly pointing me OUT of the dream and has no interest in this world is Bhagavan. No one else is serious about dissolving this world. That’s why people are afraid of Bhagavan (even his own brother was). Because they know this is the real guru. All others I’m seeing are just clowning around and creating an enlightenment circus/show, and sustaining the ego yet another day. And I’ve been attending such groups for the past 3-4 years! Finally Bhagavan came into my life as if to say, “Enough clowning around. Time’s up.”

Bubba the Self says, ‘The only person in spirituality who is clearly pointing me OUT of the dream and has no interest in this world is Bhagavan. No one else is serious about dissolving this world. That’s why people are afraid of Bhagavan (even his own brother was). Because they know this is the real guru. All others I’m seeing are just clowning around and creating an enlightenment circus/show, and sustaining the ego yet another day’. So very true! Most of us are really afraid of Bhagavan’s real teachings. Many simply try to run away from Bhagavan’s original works like Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Ar? and Upadesa Undiyar because in order to believe in these works, they have to disbelieve this world, which they are not willing to do.

So though many claim to be the devotees of Bhagavan, I have not met even one devotee who has full faith in the teachings of Ulladu Narpadu, Nan Ar? and Upadesa Undiyar. Only Sri Michael James is a clear exception here because his whole life revolves around his faith in Bhagavan’s core teachings of self-investigation and self-surrenders. So let us cherish our association with Michael because we may not find another like him. His love for Bhagavan’s teachings is simply without parallel, and this love is infectious.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

Golden Shimmer quoted Leonardo Da Vinci under Michael’s latest YouTube video. He wrote: ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication ~ Leonardo Da Vinci’.

I replied to this by writing: Yes. Simplicity is a rare commodity. We find so much complexity all around us. Why? Because our mind is a complex mixture of what is real and what is unreal. So this complex mixture (mind) hates simplicity because simplicity threatens its very existence.

Asun said...

Anadi-ananta,

Michael talks on responsibility and the word “responsibility” is related to “response”. Once we arise as ego, we have to respond to this fact and either we identify ourself with this body enjoying it and world with all its implications and consequences or we turn towards ourself to be what we really are, also with all its implications and consequences.

Surely you know what Bhagavan says in Nan Yar? “Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep “O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?”; one should completely renounce the thought “I am a sinner”; and concentrate keenly on meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. “

Sanjay Lohia said...

Asun, in your comment addressed to Anadi-anata, you say, ‘Once we arise as ego, we have to respond to this fact and either we identify ourself with this body enjoying it and world with all its implications and consequences or we turn towards ourself to be what we really are, also with all its implications and consequences’. However, once we have risen as ego, we have already identified ourself with a body because there cannot be any ego without this ‘I am this body’ awareness. That is, we don’t rise as ego and then decide whether we should identify with this body.

However, once we have risen as ego, we have a clear choice: either we continue facing towards the objects and thus continue to remain as this ego or leave ego and all other objects by turning within to face ourself alone. As you imply, we should know the consequences of whatever choice we make. If we continue to remain as ego, we will be under the constant flux of desires and fears, and this will keep us always dissatisfied. However, if we decide to turn away from all objects to face ourself alone, we will slowly but surely give up all our desires and fears, and this will eventually end all our dissatisfaction.

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
look at section 3.: As ego we need to accept full culpability for having risen, and consequently full responsibility for ceasing to rise.
I don't believe any story about the origin of ego.
If ego has risen from pure awareness then it is evident that pure awareness has not prevented ego from rising.
How can at all false awareness rise ever from pure awareness ? That makes no sense.
If one is anyway self why should one need any meditation on it ? Such an assumption cannot be surpassed in absurdity.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Bhagavan once said: ‘Who is ever seeing anything other than God?’

When we see any phenomena, whether physical or obviously mental, what we actually perceive is only a reflection of our awareness. Just like when we see an object, say a table, we seem to be seeing that object, but what we actually perceive is the light reflected from that table. Likewise, when we perceive any phenomena, we just perceive the 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. Even when we are not aware of anything as in sleep, we are still aware because awareness is what we actually are. So we never cease to be aware even for a moment. God is that light of awareness that is clearly shining within us. So whatever else we may know is just a reflection of that light of awareness, so our whole experience is nothing but awareness. Bhagavan once said: ‘Who is ever seeing anything other than God?’ That is, whatever we know, we know that thing by the light of awareness, and this light of awareness is God. So we know God before we know anything else. Whether we aware of anything else or not, we are always aware of God because God is our fundamental awareness ‘I am’.

So there is never a moment when we are unaware of God. However, because we are now aware of ourself as ‘I am this body’ or ‘I am this person’, we are not aware of God as it actually is. In order to experience God as it actually is, we need to experience only ‘I am’ in complete isolation. That is, we need to experience ‘I am’ without any adjuncts, such as this body or mind. That is why Bhagavan says in verse 22 of Ulladu Narpadu, ‘how can we know God as he really is except by turning our mind within and merging it in him’. ‘I am’ if experienced in complete isolation is what we actually are, and what we actually are is not different from what God actually is.

So now we know God but don’t know him as really is.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why Bhagavan’s path is a path of unlearning (15:00)

Asun said...

Anadi-ananta,

You reject the term “culpability” for us as ego but, nevertheless, you seem to be ascribing this culpability to pure awareness for not having prevented the rising of ego. I think the mistaken tendency to blame god or pure awareness for the rising of ego, is precisely what Michael is pointing out in section 3, so that we can focus on ego exclusively.

I don´t believe any story about the origin of ego either, as Michael says, it is inexplicable and all explanations are “just pointers to show us how to get rid of ego”. Only then we´ll know that there is nothing to know nor to explain.

First thing we have to bear in mind is that ego which is just an illusion exists only in its own view, pure awareness doesn´t know ego only pure awareness so, how is pure awareness to prevent the rising of ego? It is absolutely powerless and so innocent as the body. From this powerless being-ness, all power arises. Sun doesn´t know flowers nor has any will, we can´t blame sun for flowers appearing and blooming, they appear and bloom because of the presence of sun, likewise, ego arises in the presence of awareness but we can´t blame pure awareness for ego´s rising though it couldn´t arise without pure awareness. The thought I or mind is the surface on which pure awareness is reflected and what allows ego to perceive phenomena, without surface to reflect pure awareness, without ego or the thought I, there are no phenomena either. This is why ego is called false awareness because it borrows awareness from pure awareness in order to know or to be aware of other things which it itself creates. It is us, ego, who have this power of arising, of creating and projecting forms and names . It is ego or the thought I, having borrowed awareness from pure awareness, what identifies itself with one particular form among all the forms it has created, to perceive and to know phenomena, so that it becomes that particular form or body among the rest, subject to all kind of laws and limitations, the dreamer becomes part of its own dream and gets involved in all kind of dramas. It is also ego what complains because it “can get no satisfaction”. Is not this complaint an expression of repentance? So it seems to me. But instead of turning towards ourself, we create a god out and different from ourself for this entity to solve the mess we have created.

Ego is no anyway pure awareness, it is pure awareness only when, by turning towards itself, it knows itself as what it really is, just being-ness which is total satisfaction and true power. At the very moment ego tries to turn towards itself, it discovers that its rising as well as its power of creation isn´t but weakness, actually. Why don´t we remain peacefully and without concerns, perfectly content and satisfied? What prevents us from it? Pure awareness? Quite the opposite, pure awareness is only attracting us to ourself. So, what is preventing us from not to arise as ego?

You already know all of this, anadi-ananta.

Sanjay Lohia said...

We have a desire to continue in embodied existence and enjoy whatever we think we enjoy through this embodied existence

A friend: Are we trying to get rid of all our thoughts or only our desire-impelled thoughts? To what extent is this distinction between our ordinary thoughts (which we need to navigate through life) and our desire-impelled thoughts useful?

Michael: All thoughts are desire-impelled. This whole world is nothing but thoughts, so this world exists because of our desires and attachments. That is, because of our likes and dislikes we project out this world, but some thoughts are more emotionally charged than others. In other words, the desires and attachments that drive some thoughts are greater some other thoughts. Obviously, the stronger our desires, the bigger the problem because the problems boil down to ultimately just our desires, likes and dislikes. It is even further: who has these desires, likes and dislikes? It is ego. So ego is the root cause, but ego itself is sustained by its own desires.

We as ego desire to continue in this life or some other life. We have a desire to continue in embodied existence and enjoy whatever we think we enjoy through this embodied existence. So we are not yet ready to surrender or let go. So our fundamental problem is ego, and our secondary problems are our desires, likes, dislikes, fears and all these things - in other words, our will. That is why we have to surrender our will to Bhagavan. If we surrender our will entirely, we wouldn’t rise as ego. But so long as we rise, we do have our desires, likes and dislikes. We cannot have a completely desireless ego. Bhagavan teaches us that ego comes into existence by grasping form, it stands by grasping form and it feeds itself by grasping form.

To the extent we can give up our desires, to the extent we cultivate vairagya, to that extent we are getting closer to our goal. In Nan Ar?, Bhagavan compares vairagya to the stone that a pearl diver ties to its waist. We can sink into ourself deep enough only with that freedom from desire. We need to sink deep enough to retrieve the pearl of atman, says Bhagavan.

• Based on the video: 2019-08-10 Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: discussion with Michael James on Āṉma Viddai verse 1 (1:02 to 1:09)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
thanks for your reply. It is all good what you write.
However, I don't ascribe/pin the blame for ego's rising to god.
I clearly stated only that pure awareness did not prevent ego's rising.
When you say "...ego is called false awareness because it borrows awareness from pure awareness..." you should take into account that borrowing is a kind of bilateral agreement - like lending or renting. For instance, if you borrow a book from a lending library you as the borrower need the consent of the lending company. Or another example from the field of loan business: Every hire company would examine first the creditworthiness of the borrower and could easily refuse any request for credit. So granting of credit primarily rests in the hand of the power of decision of the lending/offering bank.
You say also "...pure awareness is only attracting us to ourself."
Is it not evident that pure awareness would not need attracting us if it had not enabled/allowed antecedent the (seeming) rising of ego ?
Another point of view: Can from a pool of pure (innocent) water ever come out any impure drop of water ?
Nevertheless, as you imply, because of our constant dissatisfaction we in any case have to solve the mess we have created by our "loan business".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Our rising as ego and our desire to rise are one and the same, and these two happen simultaneously

Why do we desire to rise as ego and continue as ego? Michael answered this in one of his videos: ‘We as ego desire to continue in this life or some other life. We have a desire to continue in embodied existence and enjoy whatever we think we enjoy through this embodied existence’. My following reflection is based on Michael’s latest article: Why or how we have risen as ego is inexplicable, but Bhagavan does explain why and how we can cease rising:

How did this first desire to rise as ego first rose? Michael implies that whatever we say about ego, its first desire to rise and so on will inevitably contain seeming contradictions because ego is maya – ‘what is not’, so it is anirvachaniya (inexplicable). So whatever is said about it is not intended to be an adequate explanation of its cause of rising. Whatever Bhagavan teaches us about ego and its nature are just pointers showing us how to get rid of ego.

Grasping things is the very nature of ego, so ego comes into existence impelled by its own desire to rise. This does not mean that desire precedes our rising because ego has to first exist before it can desire to rise and grasp things. So rising is ego’s own choice, and we will continue to rise and stand as ego as long as we desire to do so. Our rising as ego and our desire to rise are one and the same, and these two happen simultaneously. We could not rise without wanting to rise, and we could not want to rise without rising. So we need to give up our desire to rise and remain as we actually are if we want to cease rising.

We need to accept full responsibility for investigating and surrendering our ego, and we will accept such responsibility only when we realise that we can cease rising as ego if we want to. We have to realise that we have misused our freedom by rising as ego, but rising is by definition a misuse of our freedom. So all we have to do now is to use our freedom correctly by attending only to ourself and thereby being as we actually are.

However, we have actually never risen as ego even though it seems we have risen. So egos, all its vasanas, all the phenomena projected by this ego and so on are all maya. However, all this seems real only because we seem to have risen as ego.

Asun said...

Anadi-ananta,

Pure awareness doesn´t agree nor disagree, allows nor doesn´t allow, it just is and because it is, it reflects on the thought I which takes this reflected awareness as its own and uses it to be aware of other things than itself, being these other things its own creations, just mental images without reality at all but that ego mistakes to be real. It is also ego what is affected by this misuse and mistake, not pure awareness which is always as it is not affected by anything at all. Attraction that pure awareness exercises on ego is non-voluntary either but due to its mere existence too. Since thought I is not only aware of other things but also self-aware, when it realizes that this self-awareness is the only reality in it, it can´t but turn towards itself in order to find out what it is this self-awareness or who or what am I, the source of its self- awareness, which is what it has forgotten and that isn´t but pure awareness aware only of itself which is true power and total satisfaction. Trying to remain as what it really is, is the practice of self-investigation.

The more we remain as what we really are, giving up what we are not or attending only to ourself, the more the love to be what we really are, and the more we love to be ourself, the more we know ourself. This knowledge is self-knowledge or being and the love to be what we really are, the love of ourself for ourself which is grace and what drives the practice. This is the only role that pure awareness or ourself plays. Just my view and understanding based on my own experience, though.

Salazar said...

anadi-ananta, many years ago I was plagued by recurring nightmares where I was stalked by something which apparently wanted to kill me. I tried to escape but the stalker was always close by and the whole experience was terrifying.

Then I woke up and I realized it was a dream.

Now (after waking up) would I still be concerned about the stalker and my well-being, trying to figure out how to escape and ponder "what did get me into that mess?", or just drop the matter?

Furthermore, would I speculate that this "dream-consciousness" is not "pure consciousness" and that it borrows awareness from pure awareness? Not at all since I know it was a dream and not real.

Okay then, why would I then ponder how his ego came about in the waking state and speculate about different kind of consciousnesses instead to just be what I really am? After waking up from this dream we call life one can only have the same regard to the waking state as with the dream state.

anadi-ananta said...

Salazar, thank you for your comment.
As you say "After waking up from this dream we call life ...".
Therefore, in order to wake up I need a shrilly jarring alarm clock ...:-)

anadi-ananta said...

Asun,
all is good what you say. Thank you.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
you say "This does not mean that desire precedes our rising because ego has to first exist before it can desire to rise and grasp things. So rising is ego’s own choice, and we will continue to rise and stand as ego as long as we desire to do so."
That is almost the same as the endless and unsuccessful debate/discussion about what was earlier, the hen or the egg.
You further say "So all we have to do now is to use our freedom correctly by attending only to ourself and thereby being as we actually are."
It should be granted to you a leisurely attending only to yourself and thereby being as you actually are. Do not keep yourself away from doing it.:-)

Sanjay Lohia said...

If everything depends on ego, how many egos are there?

If everything depends on ego, how many egos are there? There can be only one ego. Who is this one ego? The one who perceives all this is this one ego. Bhagavan says in verse 26 of Ulladu Narpadu:

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

Although what Bhagavan teaches us in this verse is extremely radical, it is actually our own experience. We all know that only when we rise as ego that we are aware of other things. But we would like to believe that all those other things exist even when we are not aware of them. We generally believe that this world continues to exist while we are asleep, but how do we know this is true? We say, ‘because other people tell us that when we were sleeping, this world was very much there’. But those other people are part of the world whose existence is in question. Bhagavan used to say, ‘calling on the testimony of other people to prove that the world exists when we are asleep is like in a court, asking the criminal to bear witness to his own innocence’.

Are we to believe the person who is a suspect? The very fact that he is a suspect means that we cannot believe his testimony. So we need some independent testimony. We need the evidence of our own experience, but our own experience in sleep is that there is no world. It is only when we wake up that we would like to believe that the world existed while we were asleep, but this is not based on our direct experience.

So Bhagavan’s teachings are in perfect accord with our own experience but at the same time, they challenge us to question everything else that we formerly believed about our experience. So if we are not ready to doubt all our former beliefs, we will not be ready to believe what Bhagavan teaches us. Bhagavan asks us not to believe anything which we do not know.

• Based on the video: 2020-01-19 Yo Soy Tu Mismo: Michael James discusses why Bhagavan’s path is a path of unlearning (50:00)

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, in the case of ego, both the hen and its egg appear together: that is, ego is seemingly born along with its desire to rise. In this regard, we may read what Michael wrote in a comment addressed to me on 10th April 2016 at 10:52:

Sanjay, the very existence of the ego (and consequently of all its progeny, this seemingly vast universe) is a paradox, because it defies all logic. It does not actually exist but only seems to exist, yet it does not seem to exist in the view of what actually exists but only in its own view. It seems to come into existence only by ‘grasping form’, which means due to pramāda (self-negligence or failure to attend to itself alone), yet how could it grasp any form or be self-negligent unless it already existed?

These paradoxes are logically unsolvable, because both cause and effect and logic come into existence only when this ego arises, so its origination and cessation are the very borders beyond which no logic or ideas about cause and effect can apply. However, the reason why Bhagavan teaches us that it comes into existence by ‘grasping form’ or by being self-negligent is not to give us paradoxes to puzzle about, but is simply to show us that the only means by which we can dissolve the illusion of our seeming existence as this ego is perpetual self-attentiveness or sadā apramāda (eternal non-negligence) — that is, grasping ourself alone instead of any other thing.

What perpetual self-attentiveness will reveal to us is that we alone exist, and that consequently this ego and everything else has never existed or even seemed to exist, so it is the only logical solution to all the paradoxes that surround the very existence of this ego. That is, these paradoxes cannot be solved in any way other than by realising there are actually no paradoxes because there is no ego at all, and the only way to realise this is to investigate this ego to see whether it is actually what it seems to be. When we do so, we will discover that we who now seem to be this ego are actually just the one infinite, eternal and immutable self-awareness, other than which nothing exists.

(end of the comment by Michael)

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
thank you very much for reminding me about Michael's comment (nr.3) of 10 April 2016 at 10:52 addressed to you.
Typical for my continuous pramāda (self-negligence or failure to attend to ego alone) - Michael wrote the underlying article of 8 April 2016 "Self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) entails nothing more than just being persistently and tenaciously self-attentive" in reply to me (using then one of other user names).

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Michael, you Said in this article “ but we are always free to attend only to ourself and thereby stop dreaming.”
And my question is: How really free are we if our Level of maturity is not enough and we stop ourselves to go insiste for the power of vasanas